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The Unwound Third => Gitfiddles, Harps, Washboards & Kazoos => Topic started by: NotRevGDavis on June 06, 2013, 07:56:14 AM

Title: Big Joe Williams Unique Guitar Sound
Post by: NotRevGDavis on June 06, 2013, 07:56:14 AM
I know there is a thread somewhere here I tried a search but all the different parameters I used I couldn't find it (Big Joe Williams guitar, Big Joe Williams 9-string guitar, 9-string guitar, etc.). If someone could guide me to it- it would be much appreciated.

Didn't he play a 12-string minus the three octave bass courses with a piece of wire wrapped around the neck to get that unique buzz sound?
Title: Re: Big Joe Williams Unique Guitar Sound
Post by: Parlor Picker on June 06, 2013, 08:06:46 AM
No Gary, he doctored a 6-string by adding a further 3 machines on a strip to the top of the headstock. A quick Google search renders plenty of photos.

Title: Re: Big Joe Williams Unique Guitar Sound
Post by: harriet on June 06, 2013, 08:24:38 AM
According to Mike Bloomfield, who travelled with him for a bit and wrote adiary of his experiences,  it was uniquely strung and tuned and he said that he couldn't figure out and Williams was guarded and disinclined to share to protect his unique sound. I read the guitar is still in the Chicago shop where he lived.
Title: Re: Big Joe Williams Unique Guitar Sound
Post by: Johnm on June 06, 2013, 08:55:43 AM
That is interesting what Michael Bloomfield said, Harriet.  I suspect that he chose to respect Joe's desire to have his tuning kept secret, because especially if he was spending a lot of time around Joe, Michael Bloomfield was a musician who could have figured out Joe's tuning pretty easily.  That's pretty nice of Michael Bloomfield to stay mum about it.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Re: Big Joe Williams Unique Guitar Sound
Post by: NotRevGDavis on June 06, 2013, 09:11:19 AM
Thanks for the info I found many images of Big Joe's guitars. I wonder if he carried a roll of tape in his guitar cases?  This photo from the SF Chronicle (Big Joe and Chris Strachwitz) was why I thought he used a 12-string.
(https://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fi6.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fy210%2FNRGD%2FBJWampCS_zps8f3190f7.jpg&hash=f0f16b502c96aa2dd2bd8ed5f8cb0cc239a86b79) (http://s6.photobucket.com/user/NRGD/media/BJWampCS_zps8f3190f7.jpg.html)
Title: Re: Big Joe Williams Unique Guitar Sound
Post by: Stuart on June 06, 2013, 10:14:56 AM
If You Love These Blues is definitely a good read, and not just for the Big Joe info.
Title: Re: Big Joe Williams Unique Guitar Sound
Post by: harriet on June 06, 2013, 10:52:17 AM
Here's another thread here:
http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=2102.0 (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=2102.0)
Title: Re: Big Joe Williams Unique Guitar Sound
Post by: NotRevGDavis on June 06, 2013, 11:35:26 AM
Thank you harriet that is exactly what I was looking for.
Title: Re: Big Joe Williams Unique Guitar Sound
Post by: CF on June 06, 2013, 11:51:05 AM
I may be wrong but the above photo does indeed look like a twelve string guitar but this does not represent Joe's usual set-up
Title: Re: Big Joe Williams Unique Guitar Sound
Post by: harriet on June 06, 2013, 12:00:20 PM
Welcome Stuart.

I think I have also seen a picture of him with a resonator - maybe those guitars were handed to him to play and he was photgraphed with them?
Title: Re: Big Joe Williams Unique Guitar Sound
Post by: NotRevGDavis on June 06, 2013, 01:16:45 PM
Looks like typical Big Joe prep on the 12 in the photo.
Title: Re: Big Joe Williams Unique Guitar Sound
Post by: harriet on June 06, 2013, 05:33:44 PM
Seattle Folk has a great session of him on youtube if anyone is interested.

One of the things I like that they caught, besides the incredible closeups,if you watch the whole thing -its in two parts- he seems to be getting progressively overheated, then a little irritated at the whole business, then he plays something that amuses himself and loops back into being in a good mood - kind of added to the drama of the performance for me.

Title: Big Joe Williams Unique Guitar Sound
Post by: P D Grant on June 10, 2013, 04:42:17 PM
Here's the guitar from the Jazz Record Mart in Chicago. Didn't get the headstock in I'm afraid, but it was a modified 6 string.
Title: Big Joe Williams Unique Guitar Sound
Post by: P D Grant on June 10, 2013, 04:55:31 PM
Not sure what happened there, but it's the guitar in this photo http://oldies.s3.amazonaws.com/i/boxart/zoom/07/67/038153076726.jpg?v=2
Title: Re: Big Joe Williams Unique Guitar Sound
Post by: harriet on June 10, 2013, 05:31:20 PM
It's such a visual work of art IMHO as well as being a musical instrument. I like that the one at the record mart is behind glass and in the state it's in, sort of says to me lived with Joe and died with him, no other players. A piece of Big Joe. Thanks for posting.
Title: Re: Big Joe Williams Unique Guitar Sound
Post by: uncle bud on June 10, 2013, 07:24:31 PM
Yes, thanks for posting PD. That's a great pic.
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