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Is it cool in here, or is it just me? - Big Dave MacLean, in concert with loud shirt and stylish contrasting multihued beret

Author Topic: Big Joe Williams Unique Guitar Sound  (Read 3747 times)

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Offline NotRevGDavis

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Big Joe Williams Unique Guitar Sound
« 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?
Got the name, still workin' on the licks!

Offline Parlor Picker

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Re: Big Joe Williams Unique Guitar Sound
« Reply #1 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.

"I ain't good looking, teeth don't shine like pearls,
So glad good looks don't take you through this world."
Barbecue Bob

Offline harriet

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Re: Big Joe Williams Unique Guitar Sound
« Reply #2 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.

Offline Johnm

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Re: Big Joe Williams Unique Guitar Sound
« Reply #3 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

Offline NotRevGDavis

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Re: Big Joe Williams Unique Guitar Sound
« Reply #4 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.
Got the name, still workin' on the licks!

Offline Stuart

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Re: Big Joe Williams Unique Guitar Sound
« Reply #5 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.

Offline harriet

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Re: Big Joe Williams Unique Guitar Sound
« Reply #6 on: June 06, 2013, 10:52:17 AM »

Offline NotRevGDavis

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Re: Big Joe Williams Unique Guitar Sound
« Reply #7 on: June 06, 2013, 11:35:26 AM »
Thank you harriet that is exactly what I was looking for.
Got the name, still workin' on the licks!

Offline CF

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Re: Big Joe Williams Unique Guitar Sound
« Reply #8 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
Stand By If You Wanna Hear It Again . . .

Offline harriet

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Re: Big Joe Williams Unique Guitar Sound
« Reply #9 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?

Offline NotRevGDavis

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Re: Big Joe Williams Unique Guitar Sound
« Reply #10 on: June 06, 2013, 01:16:45 PM »
Looks like typical Big Joe prep on the 12 in the photo.
Got the name, still workin' on the licks!

Offline harriet

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Re: Big Joe Williams Unique Guitar Sound
« Reply #11 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.


Offline P D Grant

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Big Joe Williams Unique Guitar Sound
« Reply #12 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.

Offline P D Grant

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Big Joe Williams Unique Guitar Sound
« Reply #13 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

Offline harriet

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Re: Big Joe Williams Unique Guitar Sound
« Reply #14 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.

 


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