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If you asked me a request today and I didn't know it, I'd go get the sheet music tomorrow and learn it so I wouldn't be caught the next time - Carl Martin, interview with Jeff Todd Titon

Author Topic: 12-String Players NOT from Georgia  (Read 11656 times)

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Offline Lyndvs

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Re: 12-String Players NOT from Georgia
« Reply #45 on: February 13, 2009, 07:26:30 AM »
Smoky Babe did some wonderful 12 string playing-i especially like the cuts on the arhoolie cd shared with Herman E.Johnson.
Also Guitar Welch and Hogman Maxey-recorded at the same time as RPW at Angola-i think they all played the same 12string?!.
I think it was a guitar belonging to Harry Oster-in which case it`s probably the same guitar played by Smoky on the aforementioned cd.
Please excuse me if i`ve mentioned any players mentioned previously-and for reopening an old thread.
    take care lyndvs.
« Last Edit: February 13, 2009, 10:24:48 AM by Lyndvs »

Offline uncle bud

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Re: 12-String Players NOT from Georgia
« Reply #46 on: February 13, 2009, 08:02:52 AM »
No worries about reopening old threads. Ignore the warning message. That's just built into the software.

Offline Parlor Picker

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Re: 12-String Players NOT from Georgia
« Reply #47 on: February 13, 2009, 08:46:36 AM »
Smokey Babe did some wonderful 12 string playing-i especially like the cuts on the arhoolie cd shared with Herman E.Johnson.
Also Guitar Welch and Hogman Maxey-recorded at the same time as RPW at Angola-i think they all played the same 12string?!.
I think it was a guitar belonging to Harry Oster-in which case it`s probably the same guitar played by Smokey on the aforementioned cd.
Please excuse me if i`ve mentioned any players mentioned previously-and for reopening an old thread.
    take care lyndvs.

I think Harry Oster carried a Stella 12-string on his field recording trips. Smoky Babe is shown in one of the photos playing it with 6 strings removed to make it a normal 6-string (albeit with a rather wide neck).

You notice the same guitars cropping up again and again with various researchers/recorders, e.g. David Evans' mahogany-top Guild.  And Pete Lowry (oddenda) once wrote to me saying he carried a Gibson acoustic and a National, amongst other guitars, on his field trips. This is because the old bluesmen often no longer had a guitar or had one that was poor quality and therefore not ideally suited to recording.
"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 Lyndvs

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Re: 12-String Players NOT from Georgia
« Reply #48 on: February 13, 2009, 10:13:22 AM »
Thanks for the insight parlor picker,i was wondering if that 12 string were a Stella.You`re right many players,in the
"rediscovery" period,didn`t own a guitar any longer-in some cases didn`t even play any longer-so taking a guitar along was sensible.Also i believe some of these field researchers were players themselves.I remember reading that David Evans would often play a few songs to break the ice.I was wondering maybe Babe removed the strings for his slide playing which definitely sounds like a six string-whereas some of the fingerpicking-has a thumping heavy textured sound like a twelve.
             take care,lyndvs.
« Last Edit: February 13, 2009, 10:23:28 AM by Lyndvs »

Offline oddenda

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Re: 12-String Players NOT from Georgia
« Reply #49 on: February 13, 2009, 07:29:06 PM »
pp -

          Right you are. I still have my Gibson SJ (early seventies/late sixties) and my 1939 National (dated by Bob Brozman - see it on Tarheel Slim cover) with me here in Oz. They both recorded beautifully, and both were requested  by players to give them to them! Eugen "Hideaway" Bridges did an in-store with the Gibson; I took the National on the train to Melbourne for Eddie Kirkland to play on the radio a few years ago. The rest of my collection is in storage with all the rest of my stuff in NJ. The wonders that were gettable in hock shops in the 70s!! I also have a Gibson 335, purchased from my sister's first husband-to-be and a fine tweed Fender Princeton amp... all used at some time or another on sessions. It was a GREAT boon to have dependable equipment... even the artists agreed. Had a funky 12-string that Kirkland played on his first LP, and also Willie Trice at one of our first sessions. Eddie was living in GA, but was not FROM that state, if you catch my drift. Alsom I had a battered but quite playable Gibson LG 1 that was my "road guitar" that I'd pull out to essentially audition anyone... even recorded one or two with it.

Peter B.
« Last Edit: February 13, 2009, 07:31:51 PM by oddenda »

Offline oddenda

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Re: 12-String Players NOT from Georgia
« Reply #50 on: February 13, 2009, 08:00:53 PM »
Having read over all the entries, I note that nobody has mentioned "Too Tight Henry" Castle, from Arkansas... or so Lockwood told me.

Peter B.

p.s. - there is that lovely vintage photo taken on the waterfront in Atlanta that is at the beginning of Larry Cohn's wonderful coffee-table book: A Black twelve-string guitarist at the front! Curiouser and curiouser.
« Last Edit: February 13, 2009, 08:08:07 PM by oddenda »

Offline Parlor Picker

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Re: 12-String Players NOT from Georgia
« Reply #51 on: February 14, 2009, 01:39:01 AM »
Thanks for the insight parlor picker,i was wondering if that 12 string were a Stella.You`re right many players,in the
"rediscovery" period,didn`t own a guitar any longer-in some cases didn`t even play any longer-so taking a guitar along was sensible.Also i believe some of these field researchers were players themselves.I remember reading that David Evans would often play a few songs to break the ice.I was wondering maybe Babe removed the strings for his slide playing which definitely sounds like a six string-whereas some of the fingerpicking-has a thumping heavy textured sound like a twelve.
             take care,lyndvs.

I've got a couple of Smoky Babe LPs but from what I remember (sorry, I haven't played them lately - better rectify that this weekend) he always sounded as if he were playing a 6-string.  I imagine Harry Oster's logic in having a 12-string from which he could remove half the strings was basically versatility and convenience - like having two instruments in one.
"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 oddenda

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Re: 12-String Players NOT from Georgia
« Reply #52 on: February 14, 2009, 03:48:00 AM »
All you weenies who play -

          I do not; I have good relative pitch and can tune a guitar, which often saved a session (especially with a piano!) - missed on Henry Johnson's session on the Gibson, though. My question is: Is a steel-strung 12 louder than a steel-strung six? That may be the only reason for their brief appearance, as the National came along in the 20s with even more volume.

Peter B.

Offline Lyndvs

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Re: 12-String Players NOT from Georgia
« Reply #53 on: February 14, 2009, 04:13:36 AM »
Parlor Picker,i`ve been relistening to my Smoky Babe cd`s-i think you`re correct.He plays so hard and with such drive that i think he tricked my ear!.At one point i thought he may have the g and b string doubled-but i think i discounted that after a few tracks.I`m certain you are correct.He`s a great picker and i enjoyed going back to his music.
       Really the other guy`s i mentioned were only 12 string players by default-if DR.Oster had carried a Duolian or Gibson they`d have used that.Though RPW(my favourite postwar bluesman)did use a 12 string on later recordings.It`s great to hear other opinions and thoughts.
       Peter`s thoughts are interesting.In my experience a 12 string is louder than a 6-i have an old Regal 12 which is very loud.I Don`t know if this is generally the rule though?.
       Too Tight Henry was great-i`ve seen the photo of the 12string player-with the littleboy-surrounded by WW1 troops-wonder who he was?.Does anyone know of any instances of the use of 12string guitar in early old-time or country music?.
          take care,lyndvs
           














r
« Last Edit: February 14, 2009, 04:15:57 AM by Lyndvs »

Offline Rivers

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Re: 12-String Players NOT from Georgia
« Reply #54 on: February 15, 2009, 01:20:33 PM »
All you weenies who play -

          I do not; I have good relative pitch and can tune a guitar, which often saved a session (especially with a piano!) - missed on Henry Johnson's session on the Gibson, though. My question is: Is a steel-strung 12 louder than a steel-strung six? That may be the only reason for their brief appearance, as the National came along in the 20s with even more volume.

Peter B.

In terms of volume I think it's dynamic range where a 12 really shines, there just seems to me to be a whole lot more headroom available. In other words you can drive it to be much louder if you play harder, especially with fingerpicks, and especially on the bass end, where a 6 might tend to peak-out at a certain point. Playing at a normal level my 12 is louder than my 6's. Playing flat-out it's way louder. It varies with different instruments though.

Then there's the harmonic thing, a 12 is more saturated across the frequency spectrum. Quite a complex question, 'loudness', verses 'apparent loudness', in a noisy place, depends a lot on the type and frequency of ambient noise you're trying to cut through.

I think the fact you can make a 12 sound like an old time barrel house piano also helped it to take a hold. Perhaps that pianistic thing ebbed and the 12 ebbed with it? I really dunno. Did Nationals take over a niche, or create a new one. All interesting questions, I have no answers.
« Last Edit: February 15, 2009, 01:21:41 PM by Rivers »

Offline oddenda

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Re: 12-String Players NOT from Georgia
« Reply #55 on: February 15, 2009, 11:20:08 PM »
Rivers -

          My understanding is that the National took over from the banjo in dance bands, being louder that an arch-top wooden guitar. Blues performers took them on for the same reason... more volume; successful artists like Fuller, a.o. who played them on records probably facilitated their spread of popularity. How many musos today want amplifiers that go up to 11, anyway, thanks to Spinal Tap!!

          As for the 12-string, "it was just one of those things" and not an Atlanta attribute per se.

Peter B.
« Last Edit: February 15, 2009, 11:21:36 PM by oddenda »

Offline Parlor Picker

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Re: 12-String Players NOT from Georgia
« Reply #56 on: February 16, 2009, 02:55:30 AM »
I listened to some of the Smoky Babe stuff again at the weekend and can confirm he's playing on 6 strings.  What great tracks - he was brilliant and I never tire of listening to his recordings.  He was no recording star, just an ordinary bloke playing at home or in friends' houses after a glass or two of wine.  The guitar just rings out with such a clean, yet rocking sound. Highly recommended to anyone who doesn't have any of these recordings.
"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 Lyndvs

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Re: 12-String Players NOT from Georgia
« Reply #57 on: February 17, 2009, 07:43:22 AM »
Parlor picker,thanks for sharing your knowledge and ears!.He was a great picker,such a driving sound.I think the reason for 12 strings being less "popular"than 6 strings is that they`re harder to play expressively-a six string is much easier to play-bend strings etc..
      take care lyndvs.

Offline Johnm

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Re: 12-String Players NOT from Georgia
« Reply #58 on: March 15, 2011, 08:00:36 AM »
Hi all,
I don't know whether it was Joe Evans or Arthur McClain playing a 12-string on "Little Son Of a Gun", the Two Poor Boys debut recording, but since neither of them came from Georgia, they can collectively fall into this category.
All best,
Johnm

Offline LB

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Re: 12-String Players NOT from Georgia
« Reply #59 on: March 15, 2011, 10:52:56 AM »
Well, just have one music store in the decatur zone with credit or lay-away which was SUPER popular back then and suddenly a dealer that loves to carry Stella, Harmony, Kay starts a trend.

Hey what about the Texas Alexander guy. Which I think McTell knew, and supposed to also known many Texas artists.

I'm not sure there was such a state to state separation in these blues artists as one might assume. They seemed to be widely connected. And they also seemed to not stay in boarding houses or hotels as much as bunking at people's homes while on the road.


 


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