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One thing about Frank. He could make up a song about anything. Anything, don't care if it's your foot. - Joe Callicott remembers Frank Stokes, Gayle Dean Wardlow interview

Author Topic: Guitars/Gear of whatever sort--how much of a difference do they make?  (Read 6064 times)

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Offline lindy

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Re: Guitars/Gear of whatever sort--how much of a difference do they make?
« Reply #15 on: March 23, 2011, 10:44:36 AM »
In the 20-plus years I?ve been a country blues fanatic, I?ve never ever heard a black performer boast about the number of vintage guitars he/she owned. Larry Johnson, John Jackson, Jerry Ricks?they never traveled with more than one guitar. Maybe Larry and John had others at home, but Jerry?s home was basically what he could carry or wear. Honeyboy Edwards, one guitar. Robert Belfour, one acoustic, one electric. The three Africans who taught at PT in ?08, they came with one guitar each, plus a second instrument such as a balofon or ngoni. Rev. Robert Jones, Rev. Wilkins, Nat Reese, one guitar each, I?m pretty sure it?s the same with Jerron Paxton. When they want to play in a different tuning, they change the tuning on that one guitar. Right now I can think of one exception?Alvin Youngblood Hart, who likes old Stellas, and I understand he owns a few of them. But he doesn?t talk about them unless you push. John Cephas traveled with two Taylors, and occasionally mentioned them because he had some kind of promotional agreement with the company.

In contrast, I hear many white players, mostly amateurs, go on and on about the large numbers of guitars they own, and the different aspects of their instruments (no entendre intended).

Nothing is that black and white. But all of the exceptions I can think of right now are white players who are more in the mold of the older black players?people like Del Rey and Steve James and Mike Dowling, who can play full concerts with one guitar. Del will sometimes mention that her guitar was made by our friend Ron Phillips, and Mike has some kind of promotional thing going with National. Roy Bookbinder is a big collector, but he never talks about it on-stage, he?s got too many jokes to tell. He?ll talk for hours about guitars off-stage, though.

It seems to me to be a very different way of looking at things in general, not just the music.

Lindy

Offline Dave in Tejas

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Re: Guitars/Gear of whatever sort--how much of a difference do they make?
« Reply #16 on: March 23, 2011, 01:57:50 PM »
Hi guys, it has been a while since posting, but I check in regularly.

I "sort of" agree with the OP, but I think the most enjoyable part of playing, not just country blues but all music, is really enjoying your own guitar. I am a "one guitar guy" and if I wasn't able to try many guitars and find the "one" I would sort of go crazy. I mean, what if I still had to play that Stella that dad bought for $24 in 1960? It was ladder braced, and it was a mistake.

So, you get to pick out at least one guitar after trying many, new & old until one of them makes the sound that makes you think you sound like your blues hero. If the guitar that does it is a 1920's ladder braced Oscar Schmidt, all power to you. I'm not going to judge you if you pick a new Gibson, and no one else will. You're nuts maybe, but all power to you.

Offline uncle bud

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Re: Guitars/Gear of whatever sort--how much of a difference do they make?
« Reply #17 on: March 23, 2011, 02:03:45 PM »
I believe the topic is more about the choice of instruments people use and why they use them.

Actually, I believe this thread was about the choice of instruments people use being largely irrelevant if a true understanding of the music is absent. Or as Blind Lemon supposedly said, "Until you get that sound in your head, shit, you ain't gonna do nothin'."

Offline Stumblin

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Re: Guitars/Gear of whatever sort--how much of a difference do they make?
« Reply #18 on: March 23, 2011, 04:00:44 PM »
To modify my 5th Sept. '10 post, since getting my greasy paws all over a lovely Washburn Parlor about five years ago, I find the narrow necks of what I guess I can term: "modern design" guitars scarcely pick-able. I think most mass-market modern acoustics, particularly dreadnought models, are of a neck width that is easier to (plectrum) strum and harder to finger-pick than are the wider necks often found on older guitar designs.
I flatter myself that my playing has improved since acquiring my Parlor guitar. I attribute this to the difference in neck widths and inter-string spacing. I also love the 12 fret neck, I think that makes a big difference to the tonal qualities of the instrument.
Answers, on a postcard etc...
cont. p.94
« Last Edit: March 23, 2011, 04:53:54 PM by Stumblin »

Offline Mr.OMuck

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Re: Guitars/Gear of whatever sort--how much of a difference do they make?
« Reply #19 on: March 23, 2011, 04:52:25 PM »
Mike Porco the late proprietor of Gerde's Folk City once opined to me that the more guitars a performer had the more the likelihood that they wouldn't be so good. Just a bit o' historical irrelevancy.
My loathings are simple: stupidity, oppression, crime, cruelty, soft music.
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Offline Stumblin

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Re: Guitars/Gear of whatever sort--how much of a difference do they make?
« Reply #20 on: March 23, 2011, 05:06:21 PM »
Mike Porco the late proprietor of Gerde's Folk City once opined to me that the more guitars a performer had the more the likelihood that they wouldn't be so good. Just a bit o' historical irrelevancy.
Mmm.. Totally understood.
I've been working towards modifying an instrument to "J-of-all-Ts" status, so I won't have to carry so much fsck*n stuff. I guess I'll just have to stay crap until I get thet fixed up  ;)

Offline Doc White

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Re: Guitars/Gear of whatever sort--how much of a difference do they make?
« Reply #21 on: March 23, 2011, 08:04:02 PM »
Just came across this thread. For me the answer is real simple. I really like guitars. Old ones, new ones, 6 string, 12 string, resonator...whatever. I love 'em. I love opening the case and taking in the smell of the wood, sweat and other odors that emanate. I love exploring the instrument to see if it and I can make something happen. I can't get enough of them. So, if I want to take 10 guitars on the road and use every one of them - I will - and devil take the hindmost. The gig is as much about me having a good time as the audience.
I've never regretted buying a guitar, but I have regretted selling one.

Doc

Offline Parlor Picker

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Re: Guitars/Gear of whatever sort--how much of a difference do they make?
« Reply #22 on: March 24, 2011, 02:10:26 AM »
When listening to a performance, I like it when the player switches guitars occasionally, as it makes things more interesting to have different tones. For example, a whole evening on a National gets a bit wearing (in my opinion - I have friends who would disagree) and a changeover to a wooden-bodied instrument offers a little light relief.
"I ain't good looking, teeth don't shine like pearls,
So glad good looks don't take you through this world."
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Offline uncle bud

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Re: Guitars/Gear of whatever sort--how much of a difference do they make?
« Reply #23 on: March 24, 2011, 06:07:26 AM »
This has become a thread about guitarists liking guitars. Imagine that.

Nigel Tufnel would be proud.

Offline LB

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Re: Guitars/Gear of whatever sort--how much of a difference do they make?
« Reply #24 on: March 24, 2011, 06:39:56 AM »
I just caught this one and great thoughts JM, which is really the HEART of it all... The Player.

But going to any extreme in this topic automatically makes a person flat wrong. The real answer is balance and all of the above.

For example pick something like a Washburn dreadnought for 200$ on Musicians Friend and have it professionally setup. Give everyone the same guitar. That would prove the point but music would be a lot less enjoyable for the player and the listener.

There's more than price, tone, there's nut width, neck size, sustain, overtones and not too many years ago the industry refused to make all the things players wanted. That spawned a new golden era of building and a huge market.

Just my O

Offline jopoke

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Re: Guitars/Gear of whatever sort--how much of a difference do they make?
« Reply #25 on: March 24, 2011, 08:43:08 AM »
I think John's point was that you can't purchase "Authenticity".  Anyone with a disposable income or a credit card can buy a vintage or boutique guitar.  Do players have street cred. if they don't use a certain type of guitar in the CB genre?

Thanks, Joe

Offline dj

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Re: Guitars/Gear of whatever sort--how much of a difference do they make?
« Reply #26 on: March 24, 2011, 08:54:45 AM »
Me, I like it when a pianist brings a bunch of pianos from his/her collection to a gig.  A Steinway and a Bosendorfer grand, a baby grand, a couple of uprights, a spinet, maybe a few 19th century instruments without a cast iron frame on the soundboard.  Of course, every one of the dozens of pianists I've seen do this has had a broken foot from dropping an instrument on it...     :P

But what I REALLY like is when someone plays interesting music that engages my attention.

Offline Mr.OMuck

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Re: Guitars/Gear of whatever sort--how much of a difference do they make?
« Reply #27 on: March 24, 2011, 09:01:42 AM »
Personally, and I'll admit quite unfairly and irrationally, whenever I see a National or an old small body Gibson. I expect to hear crap. Fortunately my expectations are occasionally met with the reverse situation and the player is good. But more often it is the case that these two "Authenticity approved" instruments are in the wrong hands.

I'd say the reverse is true with older no name parlor guitars. People who get these are often pretty good it seems.
And if you see someone with a totally Blues inappropriate guitar...oh say a Martin dreadnaught for example...WATCH OUT!
My loathings are simple: stupidity, oppression, crime, cruelty, soft music.
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Offline eric

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Re: Guitars/Gear of whatever sort--how much of a difference do they make?
« Reply #28 on: March 24, 2011, 09:35:28 AM »
I think it's important to distinguish between playing guitar and collecting guitars.  I collected 78s for years, and there's a certain psychological mindset to that pastime where there's always a need to get that one more desirable object.  Right now, I'm de-accessioning my collection (all but a few anyway) because it became burdensome to be responsible for all those irreplaceable art objects, and I wanted to get them to others who could enjoy them.

In some ways, it would be nice to have a Franklin, an old Stella, a National, etc.  But my trusty old SJN that I bought for $300 40 years ago, while not ideal for finger style, has served me well, and I don't play it enough as it is.  But I still may succumb and buy a new one... ;D

Best, Eric
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Eric

Offline Mr.OMuck

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Re: Guitars/Gear of whatever sort--how much of a difference do they make?
« Reply #29 on: March 24, 2011, 09:44:02 AM »
SJN?
My loathings are simple: stupidity, oppression, crime, cruelty, soft music.
Vladimir Nabokov (1899 - 1977)

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

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