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Author Topic: Guitars/Gear of whatever sort--how much of a difference do they make?  (Read 6070 times)

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Offline cc132

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Re: Guitars/Gear of whatever sort--how much of a difference do they make?
« Reply #30 on: March 24, 2011, 10:25:34 AM »
What a strange thread.  We have a room full of people arguing, but no one really disagreeing with each other.

This thread can seemingly be summed up as follows:

* The best guitar in the world will sound awful in the hands of a terrible player.
* The worst (playable) guitar in the world will sound great in the hands of a great player.
* If someone can afford an expensive guitar (or 15) and wants them, then he certainly should.  But it will not make him a better player.
* If someone can't afford/won't buy/doesn't see the need to own an expensive guitar (or 15), it's no reason to assume that he's a terrible player.

Am I in the ballpark here?

Offline eric

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Re: Guitars/Gear of whatever sort--how much of a difference do they make?
« Reply #31 on: March 24, 2011, 10:27:24 AM »
Mr. O'Muck, It's checkered to hell and gone because of the dry climate here, the G string tuner is wobbly and I don't like the adjustable bridge, but it's an old, old friend.


--
Eric

Offline Mr.OMuck

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Re: Guitars/Gear of whatever sort--how much of a difference do they make?
« Reply #32 on: March 24, 2011, 10:35:38 AM »
There ya' Go!  A lot like the one guitar Pete Franklin appears to be playing on his Prestige record.
Some o' them square shouldered Gibsons are bitchin' and no mistake!
My loathings are simple: stupidity, oppression, crime, cruelty, soft music.
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Offline LB

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Re: Guitars/Gear of whatever sort--how much of a difference do they make?
« Reply #33 on: March 24, 2011, 11:43:15 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

Joe you bring up another point that even triggers another... That's why this can't actually be "summed up" imo.

For a live musician the guitar chosen for blues performance can be an additional conversation ice breaker, a way to cause listeners to approach you asking about them. Think of Bo Diddley, BB King's Lucille. I used to play an ES335 all the time, still own it, I would get hired for guitar spots and they would ask me NOT to bring the strat but to bring the 335. That happened way too many times over the years to be a fluke. Some guitars really resonate with a players style.

I hate to say it but everything counts when you are trying to pay bills with blues. The player, the instrument ergonomics, the instruments tone, the looks of the instrument. Collector or not ALL these things matter with JM's original point being just the most important one.

Mr Omuck, I always think of McGee when that point comes across the radar... He made that D-18 sing.

« Last Edit: March 24, 2011, 11:46:07 AM by LittleBrother »

Offline eric

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Re: Guitars/Gear of whatever sort--how much of a difference do they make?
« Reply #34 on: March 24, 2011, 03:19:39 PM »
Quote
A lot like the one guitar Pete Franklin appears to be playing on his Prestige record.

Good eye, O'Muck.  Looking at the photos on Stefan Wirz's website, it looks like one of the earlier round-shouldered 14 fret SJN's, more desirable from the collector's point of view.  They have a solid bridge.

I've never heard Pete Franklin, but I did read an interesting interview of him somewhere.  I'll have to check him out.

Cheers, Eric
--
Eric

Offline Stumblin

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Re: Guitars/Gear of whatever sort--how much of a difference do they make?
« Reply #35 on: March 24, 2011, 04:41:43 PM »
...I love 'em. I love opening the case and taking in the smell of the wood, sweat and other odors that emanate...
Doc
Nigel Tufnel would be proud.
I think I just swallowed a filling.
But apart from that, I still argue for a pre-WWII design-type guitar, with the wide neck etc. allowing for a more, I shan't say "authentic," but I do feel kind of drunk enough to say "realistic," sound.
PS. The wide neck is suitable for and conducive to my playing style, so I'm biased.
Does that make sense and/or sound reasonable to any respondents/protagonists/antagonists (have I left anyone out? If so, apologies - join in anyway) here?
« Last Edit: March 24, 2011, 04:43:34 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 #36 on: March 24, 2011, 07:03:28 PM »
Quote
What a strange thread.  We have a room full of people arguing, but no one really disagreeing with each other.

This thread can seemingly be summed up as follows:

* The best guitar in the world will sound awful in the hands of a terrible player.
* The worst (playable) guitar in the world will sound great in the hands of a great player.
* If someone can afford an expensive guitar (or 15) and wants them, then he certainly should.  But it will not make him a better player.
* If someone can't afford/won't buy/doesn't see the need to own an expensive guitar (or 15), it's no reason to assume that he's a terrible player.

Am I in the ballpark here?

I think you should apply this type of analysis to every thread on the forum. I think in the end you'll discover that ....WE"RE ALL FUGGIN NUTS!!!! NAH HAH HA HAH!
My loathings are simple: stupidity, oppression, crime, cruelty, soft music.
Vladimir Nabokov (1899 - 1977)

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

Mister Steve

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Re: Guitars/Gear of whatever sort--how much of a difference do they make?
« Reply #37 on: March 25, 2011, 02:47:30 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!

Mr. O'Muck:  I think you're really onto something here.  Were "parlor guitars" intially intended for the blues?  Take out some of the rebellion, inappropriateness...

The Martin dreadnaught or really almost any dreadnaught reference....is spot on!
« Last Edit: March 27, 2011, 06:48:35 PM by stevej »

Offline Gumbo

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Re: Guitars/Gear of whatever sort--how much of a difference do they make?
« Reply #38 on: March 25, 2011, 04:38:07 AM »
Quote
Were "parlor guitars" ever intended for the blues?

that's an interesting question. Which guitar makers specifically designed guitars for the blues.

Offline Norfolk Slim

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Re: Guitars/Gear of whatever sort--how much of a difference do they make?
« Reply #39 on: March 25, 2011, 04:44:18 AM »
Just in passing, I feel I should add that I play the blues on a Martin dreadnought regularly.  Love it.  The bass is fantastic and means I can get a massive thump, without a thumbpick. 

And i speak as someone who owns a 46 Stella, a Fraulini etc. Some songs love the martin and others prefer the other guitars. 

Offline Doc White

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Re: Guitars/Gear of whatever sort--how much of a difference do they make?
« Reply #40 on: March 28, 2011, 06:39:17 PM »
How can you design a guitar for a genre of music? I think a guitar is designed for a sound, a look and a feel and then offered to players to make of it what they will.

Offline LB

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Re: Guitars/Gear of whatever sort--how much of a difference do they make?
« Reply #41 on: March 29, 2011, 11:27:05 AM »
How can you design a guitar for a genre of music? I think a guitar is designed for a sound, a look and a feel and then offered to players to make of it what they will.


I see nothing to disagree with Doc. And especially if starting from scatch. But if you want a guitar that's great at bottleneck slide, outdoor busking and other aspects commonly desired by roots music and blues players you're going to design or seek out a guitar with certain aspects. Otherwise you better have some magical skills to overcome those strengths and weaknesses. So far nobody has designed a guitar that can replace all others. Sorry to beat the horse.

Mister Steve

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Re: Guitars/Gear of whatever sort--how much of a difference do they make?
« Reply #42 on: March 29, 2011, 03:10:57 PM »
How can you design a guitar for a genre of music? I think a guitar is designed for a sound, a look and a feel and then offered to players to make of it what they will.


And that was why I raised the question with respect to parlor guitars.  They were not designed originally for blues...

I have to say that one odd effect of this thread was to help me admit my denied (here and there over the years) love of dreads...kind of like some woman you badmouthed...but you really couldn't get enough of her...

I do think bottleneck is another issue...but even there in many cases, we're talking adjustments.
« Last Edit: March 29, 2011, 03:25:38 PM by stevej »

Offline onewent

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Re: Guitars/Gear of whatever sort--how much of a difference do they make?
« Reply #43 on: March 29, 2011, 04:12:06 PM »
Quote
Were "parlor guitars" ever intended for the blues?

that's an interesting question. Which guitar makers specifically designed guitars for the blues.

Regarding the two questions, I can chime in:  First .. Parlor guitars were made during the era of parlor music, roughly the mid 19th cent through very early 20th.  Yes, many of these guitars were designed specifically for parlor music, and especially aimed at women, who would play music on Sunday afternoons in the parlor.  The guitar design was small and light.

The second, which makers specifically designed guitars for the blues? .. That's a modern thing, with the advent of the Rbt Johnson model, many resonators and so on.  But back in the day (first half of the 20 cent), what we typically look at as a 'blues' guitar today ..Stellas, Regals, cheaper Gibson/Kalamazoos/Nationals.. were actually made not for a specific type of music, but rather a specific type of buyer, likely someone in a rural area who bought from catalogs or the local furniture store, and didn't have a lot of money to spend.  (As a quick side-note, Nationals were invented for loudness in the pre-electric guitar era).  Consequently, many poor, rural 'bluesmen' of the day used these guitars.  If I recall, I've read some post WWII interviews where it's recorded that some of the old guys actually preferred that punchy ladder braced sound, indicating that they may have associated it with 'their' type of music.Granted, many of them were known to have upgraded their guitars in later days when their audience was primarily white middle/upper class, but that's another story. 

Finally, (steps up on soapbox) .. today, I feel the term parlor guitar applied to any small-bodied guitar is a misnomer.  That type construction ..very lightly built, gut string, often of high quality materials, diminutive dimensions .. was trending out of favor by the end of the first decade of the 20th cent.  The guitars that we refer to today as 'blues' guitars, made during the emergence of the 78s and era of the 'country blues' players, were more likely than not made from low grade materials, seriously mass-produced with little concern for fit and finish.  And, these guitars were actually named by the factories according to their size.  Check out the period catalogs of the era and you'll see the smaller ones referred to as Standard (under 13" across lower bout), then Concert (which are the typical 'blues' Stellas, and measured about 13 1/2"), then Grand Concert (14 1/2") and the largest, referred to as Auditorium size, often measuring over 15" across the lower bout.

Oh, and to address John's op ..I feel choice of guitar - old or new, cheap or expensive - is rooted in an individuals world view, psyche or subconscious mind..like why we choose a certain type of car, hobby, mate, ice cream and so on.  But whatever the choice, it's right for that person.  Some like to get really into a hobby, like playing golf in Scotland, or buying original 78s, vintage guitars and a cool hat to feel closer to the music they love.  Neither a vintage guitar nor a new guitar will make ones playing any more 'authentic' .. heck, the argument could probably be made that the only 'authentic' country blues would be someone like Blind Lemon playing to his audience somewhere back in the day around 1927.  Culture has a funny way of changing things over time..  Tom

Offline Doc White

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Re: Guitars/Gear of whatever sort--how much of a difference do they make?
« Reply #44 on: March 29, 2011, 04:17:52 PM »
For me, the whole authentic thing is fraught with peril. If someone has a set that contains a Rev Gary Davis tune, a Blind Boy Fuller tune, one by Robert Johnson and one by Doc Boggs and wants to be truly authentic they'd need a J200, a resonator, and L00 and a banjo. Any more tunes by different players and it would get a bit silly. Then there is the issue of what did these guitars actually sound like - Charlie Patton comes to mind - almost impossible to tell.
I only take one guitar to gigs - I take a banjo and a mandolin as well - but sometimes it is a different guitar - I go through phases. I used to take 2 plus a banjo and mandolin so I could play slide without retuning but I'm sick of lugging all the crap around.
I'll be touring the US next year and I'm going to leave the banjo behind only because of the excess baggage charges.
So for me, as I'm sure it is for a lot of musicians past and present, one of the major considerations is practicality.


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