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Logically, when you talkin' about folk music and blues, you find out it's music of just plain people - Brownie McGhee

Author Topic: First Signature Model 12-String Named for an African-American Musician  (Read 358 times)

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Offline Mr.OMuck

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Just an aside, can anyone tell me which Guitar company was the first to name a model after an African American Blues-Folk Musician? They went on to produce the go to 12 string guitar of the '60's and 70's, which had huge sound but wqith a huge number of overtones too, which I think is the reson they never were popular with Blues players. I can't imagine though that if they weren't tuned way down they might not sound very good. I think they are cursed with being seen as fatally unhip.



« Last Edit: November 27, 2017, 03:57:45 PM by Mr.OMuck »
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Offline Mr.OMuck

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Re: First Signature Model 12-String Named for an African-American Musician
« Reply #1 on: November 27, 2017, 04:56:00 PM »
THAT's RIGHT! MORGLAP GUITARS!...no not really...
My loathings are simple: stupidity, oppression, crime, cruelty, soft music.
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Offline big joe weems

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Re: First Signature Model 12-String Named for an African-American Musician
« Reply #2 on: November 27, 2017, 05:40:02 PM »
Ovation Josh White?

Offline Mr.OMuck

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Re: First Signature Model 12-String Named for an African-American Musician
« Reply #3 on: November 28, 2017, 06:20:32 AM »
Right person, wrong company. Ovations. imo, were incomprehesably awful guitars, I've found more than one in the garbage with the top seperated from its turtle shell.




My loathings are simple: stupidity, oppression, crime, cruelty, soft music.
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Offline big joe weems

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Re: First Signature Model 12-String Named for an African-American Musician
« Reply #4 on: November 28, 2017, 07:17:10 AM »
Guild didn't produce their proposed Josh White model, so that's not it.

Offline Mr.OMuck

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Re: First Signature Model 12-String Named for an African-American Musician
« Reply #5 on: November 28, 2017, 09:49:20 AM »
Guild is it! Yeah they did a short run early on I believe..I could be wrong though. Slot head cinched waist..nice looking guitar. I'm not certain how they went from being the standard 12 string to being beneath contemp but I doubt it amounts to much beyond image. I'll have to try one again.


My loathings are simple: stupidity, oppression, crime, cruelty, soft music.
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Offline waxwing

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Re: First Signature Model 12-String Named for an African-American Musician
« Reply #6 on: November 28, 2017, 07:03:09 PM »
Actually, looks like big joe is right, Mr OM. according to this review of a History Detectives episode:

https://www.premierguitar.com/articles/History_Detectives_Journal_The_Josh_White_Guild_Mystery

Quote
It turns out that the guitar was made for Josh White, but he and Guild never made an endorsement deal. He did later make one with Ovation and that may have been the first signature guitar with an African-American signature. You have to remember that signature guitars were not nearly as common in the 1960s as they are today. As an historian, my day job, I was struck by the fact that by 1965 a signature guitar for an African American was seen as a valuable or viable sales tool. The times were then a-changing; the 1962 Guild catalog could not be whiter, but by 1966 several African-American artists adorn the cover page.

And according to the wikipedia article "Ovation Guitar Company":

Quote
In 1965-1967, the Ovation Guitar Company produced a signature guitar for Josh White, which was the first signature guitar made for an African American. White was the first official Ovation endorser.

Upon completion, the first Ovation Guitar was called the "Josh White Model," which White played at the Hotel America (Hartford, Connecticut), 14 November 1966; at the same show, the Balladeers played Balladeer models. The show was witnessed by "300 representatives of the press and the music industry"

So the custom model was built by Guild in 1965, and the first Ovation, a Josh White signature model, was first created in 1965, the two companies were likely in competition for his endorsement.

Wax
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Offline Mr.OMuck

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Re: First Signature Model 12-String Named for an African-American Musician
« Reply #7 on: November 29, 2017, 05:54:24 AM »
I stand corrected..I think...



The price of bad aesthetics. The headstock Guild landed on after being chased off using the Gibson design, which pre- existed Gibson by ..oh 2500 years or so, was and is just God awful, though  recent refinements have made it better. Likewise the pickguard shape, which while it makes a lot of sense as a protective device is an unpleasing shape. Designing a nice looking pickguard is harder than it might seem. I've messed with dozens of shapes over the years just out of curiosity and have yet to arrive at one I thought was really beautiful. There's also snob appeal. The two major poles of guitar design, what I'd call Martin's Shaker simplicity and Gibson's much more risky and adventurous Honky Tonk Cowboy aesthetic sort of orphaned Guild's apparent attempt at reconciling the two. A Blingy headstock with a relatively unadorned body. Then the fact that they weren't as expensive as the other two big players left them in middle of the road status, the guitar for the unhip, although Mississippi John Hurt, Dave Van Ronk and Richie Havens did a little to ameliorate that..then came John Denver...need I say more. Still I find it odd that their estimable 12 strings are never heard of in Blues circles. It's the overabundance of overtones I'm guessing, though Rev.Davis' Bozo certainly had those in spades!
« Last Edit: November 29, 2017, 05:57:19 AM by Mr.OMuck »
My loathings are simple: stupidity, oppression, crime, cruelty, soft music.
Vladimir Nabokov (1899 - 1977)

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Offline Stuart

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Re: First Signature Model 12-String Named for an African-American Musician
« Reply #8 on: November 29, 2017, 05:43:07 PM »
Thanks for posting the link to the article, Wax.

Here are a couple of follow ups:



http://www.pbs.org/opb/historydetectives/investigation/josh-white-guitar/

Offline orvillej

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Re: First Signature Model 12-String Named for an African-American Musician
« Reply #9 on: November 29, 2017, 08:24:35 PM »
I don't know anything about the whole Josh White guitar thing but, regarding 12 string guitars, I've never really cared much for them, but the best sounding 12 string I've ever heard or played was a Guild.

Offline alyoung

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Re: First Signature Model 12-String Named for an African-American Musician
« Reply #10 on: November 30, 2017, 01:17:58 AM »
I have a c. 1967 Guild F212XL that I think does rather well at playing blues (I leab towards Lead Belly and McTell). Yes, I'd like to have a good Stella or similar, but there's little chance of that happening now, so my Guild continues to enjoy job security.

 


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