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After consulting his preacher to make sure there was nothing sinful about playing blues records on the radio Mr. Wright decided to give it a try. He did it six days a week almost until his death on what became one of America's longest-running radio programs. From 6 o'clock to 9, he was the 'Soul Man' playing the blues. For the last two hours he was 'Brother Early' playing gospel music - Early Wright, obituary to the DJ, WROX Clarksdale

Author Topic: Which guitar for blues?  (Read 4544 times)

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Offline Thiago

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Which guitar for blues?
« on: May 30, 2011, 09:00:57 PM »
Hello there, now that I'm more involved with acoustic blues, I'd like to buy a new guitar. The guitar I own is a Samick Jumbo; relatively cheap, and with better tone than the pricier ones I saw in some stores. Ideal for starting. However, although I'm almost 1.9m tall, I find it a bit uncomfortable. Besides, I think it is time for a guitar of better quality (not to mention that I cannot even find a gig bag for this jumbo). Given the comfort issues, I was thinking of getting a parlor guitar (or similar) with the following features:

-Solid woods on top, back and sides (it's a must)
-Bolt-on neck (preferable)
-Slotted headstock (just aesthetic preference)

I was thinking about the Washburn R319 (was that the model?), but it has a dovetail neck joint; and the A&L Ami Parlor, but it has only a solid top. If no such guitar exists, well, I'll have to cope with dovetails. But if I could choose easy neck resets, I would certainly choose that option. I was aiming for guitars similar in price to the Washburn, but I think I can choose something pricier. Does this guitar exist, or only in my dreams?

Many thanks in advance,
Thiago


Online Norfolk Slim

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Re: Which guitar for blues?
« Reply #1 on: May 31, 2011, 01:42:03 AM »
I'm going to struggle to give you specific recommendations but I would offer the following general ones:

These days, reasonably well built guitars are simply not likely to need neck resets any time soon, unless you leave them in the boot of a car, in a baking hot car park every day.  That being the case, Im not sure that neck joint type really matters much.

In terms of actually choosing a guitar, arrange to go to a big music shop if you can, and just play lots of the things.  One or two will probably grab you.  If not, keep looking.  How it plays and sounds to you when you are holding it, is vastly more important, imo, than looking for specific specifications.

My first *serious* guitar was a Martin D-1 dreadnought.  I literally sat in the shop for a couple of hours and tried a dozen Martins, a dozen Taylors and a number of other assorted guitars.  Then I bought the one I fell in love with- it just seemed to come alive in my hands in a way the others didnt.

Since then I've acquired various guitars, including a 50s martin, resonators, an old stella, an old kaykraft, a wonderful Fraulini 12 fretter and so on.

Guess which guitar I still go back to for the perfect combination of playability, sound and comfort?  Some folk will tell you that a dreadnought isnt ideal for blues or fingerpicking, but it suits me just right.  Its such a personal thing...

Get down to the shop, with no preconcpetions of what you must have, and try lots!
« Last Edit: May 31, 2011, 02:52:40 AM by Norfolk Slim »

Offline Parlor Picker

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Re: Which guitar for blues?
« Reply #2 on: May 31, 2011, 01:58:10 AM »
That's good advice from Slim. After all, only you know what suits you. Buying second-hand, if you can find anything suitable, is a good option as you can get better quality for your money.
"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 blueshome

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Re: Which guitar for blues?
« Reply #3 on: May 31, 2011, 05:55:57 AM »
Slim +1.
You might also be interested in this discussion:
\http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?amp;Itemid=128&topic=6852.msg59803#msg59803

Offline Mr.OMuck

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Re: Which guitar for blues?
« Reply #4 on: May 31, 2011, 03:12:45 PM »
The Ami has solid birch or cherry back and sides. I would also look at Blueridge & Recording King guitars among the Chinese makes. For $650. or thereabouts you can pick up a solid Indian Rosewood, spruce top 000-28 type guitar that is all you'd ever need. Also there are some very good bargains to be had in 70's Japanese Martin dreadnaught copies with names like Cortez or Cortley.  I love the Canadian made Ami and have been very happy with the spruce top solid Maple Cortez D-45 copy I bought for $35.
Bolt on necks generally mean Taylors which imo have no soul. Of course old Gibsons and Martins are still the best, but also check out the new Guilds some of which people on this forum absolutely love.
My loathings are simple: stupidity, oppression, crime, cruelty, soft music.
Vladimir Nabokov (1899 - 1977)

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Offline Thiago

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Re: Which guitar for blues?
« Reply #5 on: May 31, 2011, 06:52:00 PM »
Oh, I forgot to mention that here in my country (Argentina), there is a limit to imports, especially foreign guitars. Apparently, local guitar producers protested because of Chinese shipments full of cheap (don't know about the quality) guitars. Without delving much into economic theory, I think their protests are well funded, since it is difficult to compete against these cheap Chinese guitars (as long as they are of relatively good quality). However, they pressured the government to limit all guitar imports (for some reason, though, electro-acoustic and electric guitar imports seem unaffected; at least there are more of them than acoustic guitars). If this measure was taken to favor national industry, I highly doubt this will help it (I hope this does not turn into an economics debate). In the meanwhile, we consumers end up with less options and higher prices, both for national and foreign guitars (customs duty is 50% of the product+shipping, so prices here for foreign guitars are doubled). I think this is the same reason I cannot get a gig bag for my Jumbo (oh, and forget about hard cases, too). There is a gig bag factory, but they are unable to produce jumbo gig bags. Consequence? My jumbo is wrapped in bed sheets. *Catharsis ends here*

Short story: testing a guitar is pretty much out of the question. If I'm lucky, I'll be able to bypass customs duty since a friend's father is coming back from USA. Apparently, you can bring a guitar to the country if you travel with it. However, I'll not be able to test it, so I must rely on videos and/or soundclips of it.

Slim: that info about neck resets really eases my mind. Great advice, too, unfortunately testing is out of question.

Parlor Picker: I'll see about second-hand guitars. Not expecting much, though, give the supply of acoustic guitars here.

blueshome: oh yes, I had read that discussion before writing this. Great points made.

Mr.OMuck: I'll check those models (check = see if there are videos or soundclips). I didn't understand what you mentioned about the Ami. Did you mean that it has solid back and sides? From what I gather, it only has a solid top.

Thanks all for the info, in the meanwhile I'll keep searching.



Offline RobBob

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Re: Which guitar for blues?
« Reply #6 on: June 01, 2011, 07:03:12 AM »
Don't know about where you live but here in the states Eastman has some OM models that will knock your socks off.  All solid wood, bone nut and saddle and great sound for under $1,000 US.

There must be some established makers there that have lower end, or used models for sale.

Offline Mr.OMuck

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Re: Which guitar for blues?
« Reply #7 on: June 01, 2011, 07:19:42 AM »
The Ami's sides and back are solid last time I checked. There must be some "hip" adventurous Argentinian luthier who could make you up a superior steel string to your specifications, don't you think? Just show them a lot of pictures. Maybe you could start a new industry in your country! I think most of the measurement specs for most of the classic old Gibsons & Martins can be found on line. They probably have access to some great wood there, that you can no longer get here so it might be worthwhile trying that route. Its also always rewarding to meet fine craftsmen and see what they're involved in making, and hear their thoughts.
My loathings are simple: stupidity, oppression, crime, cruelty, soft music.
Vladimir Nabokov (1899 - 1977)

http://www.youtube.com/user/MuckOVision

Offline Thiago

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Re: Which guitar for blues?
« Reply #8 on: June 01, 2011, 08:20:55 AM »
Interesting post, Mr.OMuck.  I don't know why that thought didn't cross my mind; perhaps I was giving a hard time to local producers. Will certainly check it out.

Offline sworkshop

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Re: Which guitar for blues?
« Reply #9 on: June 01, 2011, 11:27:43 PM »
All of them. It's all in the fingers, but some are better than others, and this tends to vary nightly and sometimes randomly reverse. Good luck.

Offline ArthurBlake

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Re: Which guitar for blues?
« Reply #10 on: December 02, 2011, 01:13:52 AM »
Don't know about where you live but here in the states Eastman has some OM models that will knock your socks off.  All solid wood, bone nut and saddle and great sound for under $1,000 US.

There must be some established makers there that have lower end, or used models for sale.
Those guitars sound like a good deal, what are they like for bare fingerpicking ?,,,,, I hate an action that feels stiff in the strings, but here in Australia a well made acoustic for this exercise is very hard to find in Australia,, we are flooded with cheap and shoddy guitars here, we do have some excellent makers, in particular Gerard Gilet, he makes awesome blues guitars, but the COST starts at around 4 k AUS,,,,,, I would love to get a really nice instrument for pickin with that authentic old sound. Is there a possibility of getting one of those shipped over here. I'd like to hear a bit more about these Eastman guitars.
I met a woman she was a pigmeat some
Big fat mouth, I followed her home
She pulled a gun and broke my jaw
Didnt leave me hard on, I didnt get sore

Offline Parlor Picker

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Re: Which guitar for blues?
« Reply #11 on: December 02, 2011, 03:22:21 AM »
Don't know if they're available in Oz, but many of the Korean and Chinese made instruments are pretty good these days. The Guild GAD series (our local shop has a GAD-30R which is superb, but I don't need another guitar and can't afford it anyway) is excellent and I've tried parlour guitars by Crafter and Tanglewood that seem to be great value for money. Blueridge have a good reputation as well (think Mike Brosnan plays one and Mr. O'Muck sings their praises).

Undoubtedly not all cheaper far-eastern guitars are that good, but all you can do is try them out before you buy - assuming you have one or more guitar shops accessible to you.
"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 jaycee

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Re: Which guitar for blues?
« Reply #12 on: December 02, 2011, 09:16:12 AM »
its got laminate back and sides, but a solid cedar top stays in tune and sounds beautiful. the guitar i own is a, simon & patrick s&p 6. recomended to me by no less than, tim aves. and tim said to me they sound better than the lower priced matin guitars and you know what he was right. and so was the price! i believe simon & patrick are part of the godin family. a canadian based guitar company.
jaycee

Offline Stuart

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Re: Which guitar for blues?
« Reply #13 on: December 02, 2011, 09:52:07 AM »
Simon and Patrick and Ami have been favorably discussed both here at WC and elsewhere from time to time. Here are a couple of links:

http://www.simonandpatrick.com/intro.htm

http://www.artandlutherieguitars.com/ami.htm

http://www.godinguitars.com/


Offline col

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Re: Which guitar for blues?
« Reply #14 on: December 07, 2011, 01:33:55 AM »
Bolt on necks generally mean Taylors which imo have no soul. Of course old Gibsons and Martins are still the best, but also check out the new Guilds some of which people on this forum absolutely love.
Hmm, Collings use bolt on necks, and they have plenty of soul IMO - better than any martins I've played ;)
My own guitar is an Ayers, which is made in vietnam, to Australian specs. It's a lovely guitar and was cheap. All solid wood construction. Bolt on neck. Ayers used to do some with slotted headstocks, but I don't think their newer guitars have them.


 


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