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Does the guitar make the difference?

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GUEST,Martin Dawson (marty D) 22 Oct 00 - 12:21 PM
GUEST,Phil Cooper 22 Oct 00 - 12:27 PM
catspaw49 22 Oct 00 - 12:44 PM
Little Neophyte 22 Oct 00 - 12:54 PM
MichaelAnthony 22 Oct 00 - 01:00 PM
MK 22 Oct 00 - 01:03 PM
John Hardly 22 Oct 00 - 01:04 PM
RichM 22 Oct 00 - 01:18 PM
catspaw49 22 Oct 00 - 01:20 PM
Matt_R 22 Oct 00 - 01:20 PM
Mooh 22 Oct 00 - 01:29 PM
GUEST,Murray MacLeod (at the therapist) 22 Oct 00 - 02:13 PM
Bernard 22 Oct 00 - 03:44 PM
John Hardly 22 Oct 00 - 03:53 PM
GUEST,Alliekatt 22 Oct 00 - 04:36 PM
Rick Fielding 22 Oct 00 - 04:55 PM
Little Hawk 22 Oct 00 - 08:28 PM
MK 22 Oct 00 - 08:39 PM
Matt_R 22 Oct 00 - 09:14 PM
WyoWoman 22 Oct 00 - 09:42 PM
Little Neophyte 22 Oct 00 - 10:03 PM
Thyme2dream 22 Oct 00 - 10:30 PM
GUEST,pict 22 Oct 00 - 11:36 PM
GUEST,CraigS 23 Oct 00 - 12:52 AM
Bernard 23 Oct 00 - 04:41 AM
John P 23 Oct 00 - 07:39 AM
Bernard 23 Oct 00 - 07:59 AM
harpgirl 23 Oct 00 - 10:22 AM
Little Hawk 23 Oct 00 - 10:23 AM
M. Ted (inactive) 23 Oct 00 - 11:02 AM
Bernard 23 Oct 00 - 11:22 AM
Marion 23 Oct 00 - 12:12 PM
Whistle Stop 23 Oct 00 - 12:57 PM
John Hardly 23 Oct 00 - 01:49 PM
M. Ted (inactive) 23 Oct 00 - 02:15 PM
catspaw49 23 Oct 00 - 02:22 PM
Frankham 23 Oct 00 - 03:19 PM
Whistle Stop 23 Oct 00 - 03:28 PM
John Hardly 23 Oct 00 - 04:21 PM
John Hardly 23 Oct 00 - 04:24 PM
M. Ted (inactive) 23 Oct 00 - 04:39 PM
catspaw49 23 Oct 00 - 04:42 PM
hesperis 23 Oct 00 - 05:26 PM
John Hardly 23 Oct 00 - 05:39 PM
Bernard 23 Oct 00 - 07:18 PM
GUEST,Murray MacLeod (at the Advertising agency) 23 Oct 00 - 10:59 PM
Rick Fielding 23 Oct 00 - 11:03 PM
Matt_R 23 Oct 00 - 11:04 PM
Lonesome Gillette 24 Oct 00 - 01:13 AM
Thomas the Rhymer 24 Oct 00 - 03:07 AM
Marion 24 Oct 00 - 08:49 AM
M. Ted (inactive) 24 Oct 00 - 09:24 AM
Whistle Stop 24 Oct 00 - 09:58 AM
John Hardly 24 Oct 00 - 03:13 PM
Richard Bridge 24 Oct 00 - 06:17 PM
Richard Bridge 24 Oct 00 - 06:18 PM
pict 24 Oct 00 - 07:41 PM
Little Neophyte 24 Oct 00 - 07:56 PM
kendall 24 Oct 00 - 07:57 PM
WyoWoman 24 Oct 00 - 08:41 PM
Thyme2dream 25 Oct 00 - 02:48 AM
GUEST,Roger the skiffler 25 Oct 00 - 05:41 AM
Whistle Stop 25 Oct 00 - 08:21 AM
Rick Fielding 25 Oct 00 - 08:31 AM
M. Ted (inactive) 25 Oct 00 - 01:01 PM
Whistle Stop 25 Oct 00 - 01:10 PM
hesperis 25 Oct 00 - 01:29 PM
Songster Bob 25 Oct 00 - 01:46 PM
M. Ted (inactive) 25 Oct 00 - 05:56 PM
MK 25 Oct 00 - 06:40 PM
pict 25 Oct 00 - 08:00 PM
Lonesome Gillette 25 Oct 00 - 08:16 PM
Snagger 29 Nov 03 - 06:56 PM
Clinton Hammond 29 Nov 03 - 10:15 PM
GUEST,guitaristGreg 30 Nov 03 - 02:21 PM
Clinton Hammond 30 Nov 03 - 02:49 PM
GUEST,Guest 01 Dec 03 - 08:04 AM
M.Ted 01 Dec 03 - 11:32 AM
George Papavgeris 01 Dec 03 - 12:20 PM
George Papavgeris 01 Dec 03 - 12:27 PM
GUEST,Frankham 01 Dec 03 - 06:18 PM
Bee-dubya-ell 01 Dec 03 - 07:49 PM
Cluin 01 Dec 03 - 07:59 PM
Cluin 01 Dec 03 - 08:02 PM
The Fooles Troupe 01 Dec 03 - 08:26 PM
GUEST,reggie miles 01 Dec 03 - 10:28 PM
GUEST,Susanl 02 Dec 03 - 06:08 PM
Cluin 02 Dec 03 - 06:10 PM
George Papavgeris 02 Dec 03 - 06:37 PM
SueB 02 Dec 03 - 10:21 PM
GUEST,reggie miles 03 Dec 03 - 07:52 PM
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Subject: Does the guitar make the difference?
From: GUEST,Martin Dawson (marty D)
Date: 22 Oct 00 - 12:21 PM

I've read so many threads here about the finer points of every brand of guitar, and even bought a Martin partly based on some Mudcat advice. My question is though, can a different brand actually make someone a better player? I don't mean going from a cheap guitar to an expensive one, but if someone plays well or badly on a Martin or a Taylor will they play at the same level on a Gibson or Takoma? Am I making any sense at all?

marty D


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Subject: RE: Does the guitar make the difference?
From: GUEST,Phil Cooper
Date: 22 Oct 00 - 12:27 PM

It seems to me that a good player can find the spots that will make any guitar sound good. I had a friend who could make a $24.00 Sears silvertone sound great. I went through a series of cheaper guitars before I got the ones I play now, and don't think I could have appreciated the current ones without having gone through the others. But, it still gets back to: it's not the guitar, but the player that makes a difference.


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Subject: RE: Does the guitar make the difference?
From: catspaw49
Date: 22 Oct 00 - 12:44 PM

Yeah, I think its been said a lot here before, but the player makes the difference. Now.....Does a good player sound better on some instruments than others? Sure, but some of that is related to what YOU hear and the kind of sound you like. Martins don't all sound the same. Gibsons don't all sound the same. Some Gibsons and some Martins sound very much alike.

Then add in that even good players have a certain "comfort zone" they prefer and the neck of one or the gauge length may not be as comfortable to them as another and that does affect how well they play.

Does a guitar make a difference......sure it does, but the differences are subtle and personal and not of the "get a good guitar and I'll be great" variety.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Does the guitar make the difference?
From: Little Neophyte
Date: 22 Oct 00 - 12:54 PM

What about a better guitar making it easier for someone to become a better player because it is not such hard work anymore. So now they become more interested in playing more often and that results in them becoming a better player.

Actually, I am running into this very problem right now with my Goodtime banjo. I would like a better banjo that responds more. When I play a better banjo it responds more, sounds better and I want to play it more.


Bonnie


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Subject: RE: Does the guitar make the difference?
From: MichaelAnthony
Date: 22 Oct 00 - 01:00 PM

I think if you're playing classical or a style that is very dependent on variations in tone, a good guitar can "teach" you a little.

But if a guitar player has an ear and a love for music and guitars, he or she will find a way to maximize the good points about any instrument, $25 guitar or $800 guitar. It's nice for me not to have just one guitar--I need the variety.


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Subject: RE: Does the guitar make the difference?
From: MK
Date: 22 Oct 00 - 01:03 PM

Ultimately, it comes down to the player
(which more or less summarizes the points already made here.)


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Subject: RE: Does the guitar make the difference?
From: John Hardly
Date: 22 Oct 00 - 01:04 PM

Actually, though I don't take issue with 'spaw, I assume what you are driving at is--can the specific differences that come standard in one brand make a better player out of your average run-of-the-mill player (not can a good player make a bad guitar sound good). The answer is an emphatic probably. Case in point. Larrivee has a wider, less radiused neck standard. As a finger-style player I find myself making far fewer extraneous left-hand mutes on a Larrivee. In that way it makes me a "better player". The reason it's not necessarily true is that almost all the major manufacturers are aware of the variations we look for and offer them on one model or another--it's just a maze to figure out what model has what. For instance, if you favor short-scale because of the comfort and accuracy of a short reach/straight attack in first position, you'd have to make yourself aware of f'rinstance, Martin's 000 as opposed to 0M (same body/woods etc--different neck).--blow hard, John


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Subject: RE: Does the guitar make the difference?
From: RichM
Date: 22 Oct 00 - 01:18 PM

Yes, yes, yes: the instrument you choose makes a difference.
I agree that a good player can get the best out of any given guitar-but-he or she will get MORE out of a better quality instrument. I have played many acoustic guitars in many years of playing, and a good player can instantly feel immediately when playing,how responsive or non-responsive an instrument is.

I know what I like: a certain combination of sound that is clear,loud and has a degree of sustain with attractive overtones. There may be time you want a kind of funky cheap-guitar sound, but that guitar will never be your all round favorite...

Rich


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Subject: RE: Does the guitar make the difference?
From: catspaw49
Date: 22 Oct 00 - 01:20 PM

Yeah John......In a way, that's the point. I don't even want to count the models available within any line. Most makers have a wide variety of "feels" and "sounds." My only point was that a good player will find certain things more comfortable and hence play a bit better on Instrument A than Instrument B.

And to say something to Bonnie's point.....You're quite right. If you feel better and are more comfortable and you think you sound better, yes, I think you're more likely to play more.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Does the guitar make the difference?
From: Matt_R
Date: 22 Oct 00 - 01:20 PM

Hey, I got news for ya, Rich. My guitar is a $130 Yamaha from 1994. It IS my all around favorite.


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Subject: RE: Does the guitar make the difference?
From: Mooh
Date: 22 Oct 00 - 01:29 PM

While I agree with Phil (who has great guitars) and Spaw above, I will say that I fine instrument can be very inspiring, and that's purely psychological but not a bad thing. Too, if you can forgive a slight drift of thread, the guitar can make a difference if it is what fits the music. By this I mean that not all guitars, cheap or expensive, may have the desired sound for a tune or song. I get a little weary of the same guitar sound all the time. Often a 12 string, electric, alternate tuning, high-strung or capoed, baritone, bass, or whatever guitar can break up the monotony of the same guitar sound or timbre, no matter how good, all the time. That said, there's still lots of ways to get a variety of sounds from one decent instrument, and I wish more folks would.

Gear acquisition syndrome (GAS) victim, Mooh.


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Subject: RE: Does the guitar make the difference?
From: GUEST,Murray MacLeod (at the therapist)
Date: 22 Oct 00 - 02:13 PM

There comes a point in the development of every guitar player when they realise what it is they need in a guitar in order to fulfil their potential. The requirements may vary from player to player, but I would suggest that almost every guitarist could benefit from playing a guitar with a wider neck than the standard 1-11/16" nut width. 1-3/4" is good and 1-13/16" is even better.

Paradoxically, this benefits women, with smaller hands, even more than men.

Tony McManus (the world's greatest guitarist) attributes his development largely to his custom-built guitar.

Murray


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Subject: RE: Does the guitar make the difference?
From: Bernard
Date: 22 Oct 00 - 03:44 PM

A good player will make it despite the instrument. I'm living proof of that (this is genuine humility, BTW!). I've never owned a guitar more expensive than my 1971 Yamaha FG160 and FG260 (6 & 12 string, respectively).

I have lesser-able friends with Gibsons, Martins, Guilds, Lowdons, Fyldes, etc., and I sound better because I play better.

Maybe if I could afford it, I'd buy something expensive... then again, don't fix what ain't broke...

Accordions - now that's another story...


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Subject: RE: Does the guitar make the difference?
From: John Hardly
Date: 22 Oct 00 - 03:53 PM

Bernard,

Your post helps me make my point exactly. I also learned to play much of what I know on my '69 FG140. I can tell you, same guy different guitars--I can play much better, much more challenging material, and sound better on my Larrivee or my '62 LG2 Gibson--It's not even close. I still love my Yamaha (it's out in my shop and I play it daily). Glad you're satisfied with your Yammy though--it's great to find a guitar you love.

John Hardly


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Subject: RE: Does the guitar make the difference?
From: GUEST,Alliekatt
Date: 22 Oct 00 - 04:36 PM

I have an old Yamaha that I still prefer to the Guild monster that I just bought...the Guild wails, and is really well made, but my old Yamaha somehow has the kinder sound, especially when strung with fingerstyle silk-and-steel. It's all wood too.

Now I've played an OLD Martin before, and I do have to say it does make a big difference. On old Martins, the tonality is far richer from being played, the way a very well made and old German violin will have a piercing and beautiful tone. This is mostly based on the grain of the spruce in a guitar's top, as well as the back and sides also being solid wood and not laminated. Modern acoustics nowadays are laminated, but since most of them have tinny internal pickups, it doesn't really matter when they're plugged in. A lot of internal pickups sound the same regardless of the brand of acoustic guitar, unless you're using a K&K pickup, which is by far the best on the market.

When you're playing a well made acoustic with a K&K pickup, such as an old Martin, a better Spanish classical, etc. etc., your sound will blow any other old acoustic setup to bits.

Price does not necessarily mean quality. If you find a weatherbeaten Yamaha (or Alvarez, or Epiphone) that's at least twenty to twenty five years old, several of the pegs are loose, it needs a new bridge, and somebody's asking two hundred for it, then in my opinion haggling is negligible. I would take that old guitar and get it fixed, (as long as the neck's fine), stringing it with silk and steel. This I would take, even if a newer model Martin were the same cost. Which they're definitely not.

These older guitars are often made so well, that any made nowadays in the same fashion would cost three, four times as much.

And, by the way, K&K pickups are often cheaper than the usual pickups on the market; they're fantastic.

Alliekatt


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Subject: RE: Does the guitar make the difference?
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 22 Oct 00 - 04:55 PM

Oops, guess I shoulda been in here this morning instead of trying to play carpenter (and I DON'T mean "If I was a Carpenter") out in my new shed.

Marty already has my two cents worth on this issue, but since I love talking instruments, here it is again. Nothing new, 'cause he's getting excellent feed-back and I hardly disagree with anybody's point of view here, but...

...the answer is a difinitive YES! YES! YES!.........and no.

It's all INCREDIBLY personal. For example, on my old Epiphone Texan, with it's micro-thin neck I could play lightening fast chords, runs, and thumb chords. (playing the 6th and 5th strings with my thumb on "Bm" and "Bb" style chords was a breeze) One of my current instruments is a big herringbone D-35. I can knock walls over with it's volume on flatpicked bass runs, but because of the shape of the neck, it's impossible to cover both bass strings with my thumb...so, I have to play a different style altogether (mostly barre chords), and because the guitar needs heavier strings to drive the top, the action is stiffer, and hence the playing is not as fast up the neck. My "little Martin" ('49 0-18) is somewhere in between the Texan and the D-35, and in many ways is an acceptable compromise (after I had the neck shaved)

Part of the fun of playing for me, is to try and get better every year (or month or week) and never let the creative process die. I've worked with both Bonnie and Mike and I gather they feel the same. Sometimes a new instrument can be absolutely inspirational in that process. Whether the "buzz" you get is from the new instrument's physical properties or even if "it's all in your head" who cares? If it makes you play more accurately or faster (if you want) or with more character, it's worth it.

I think any good player can make a cheap guitar sound better, just as I've seen limited players make fabulous instruments sound ordinary...but it's all in what turns your crank, isn't it? Everyday I pass by the service station next door where the three owners park their Ferrari's. There's always a crowd of people admiring them (while they get their Fords fixed), but I'd rather stare at a piece of rosewood!

Rick (only obsessive when it comes to guitars and banjos...and mandolins..and dobros...and)


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Subject: RE: Does the guitar make the difference?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 22 Oct 00 - 08:28 PM

In Nigel Tufnel's case...no difference at all. The man is just sheer, raw charisma, and a visionary besides, no matter which one of his 35 guitars he decideds to play.

NIGEL! NIGEL! NIGEL!


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Subject: RE: Does the guitar make the difference?
From: MK
Date: 22 Oct 00 - 08:39 PM

It comes down to the player. Yes a great player can make a cheap instrument sound good. A weak player will not sound any stronger on an expensive instrument....but like Rick and others have pointed out, a higher end instrument may be easier to work your magic on.

Reminds me of a story Chet Atkins used to tell about years ago taking a cruise with his wife, and they were socializing with some guests they met on the ship. At this point they'd not yet introduced themselves by name to the guests. One of them had a really old beat up guitar and was strumming it, and Chet asked if he could borrow it, and proceeded to play it for them. At the end, the guest who owned the guitar said to Chet " Not bad.....but you're no Chet Atkins."


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Subject: RE: Does the guitar make the difference?
From: Matt_R
Date: 22 Oct 00 - 09:14 PM

Wow, Alliekat...someone out there who strings their Yamaha with silk & steel strings--just like me!


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Subject: RE: Does the guitar make the difference?
From: WyoWoman
Date: 22 Oct 00 - 09:42 PM

Hey, I string MY Yamaha with silk and steel strings. As of last Wednesday. I really like those strings.

I wonder if I would have progressed faster in my playing though if I had had something from the very beginning that was easier on my fingers. I'm finally beginning to be able to mash all the strings down without dampening them, but it has been such a slow process. Partly that's because my hands are small and haven't been very strong, but I also wonder if maybe a more expensive, "better" guitar might have been easier on my hands and therefore, as Bonnie says, more tempting to play.

Whatever -- at least I've got callouses now ... and I'M LEARNING A FAKE Bm CHORD!!!! Who-hooo.

ww


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Subject: RE: Does the guitar make the difference?
From: Little Neophyte
Date: 22 Oct 00 - 10:03 PM

I was at a song circle this weekend. I swapped banjos with someone there who had a 'better banjo' than mine. I played a tune on his banjo that I was having difficulties with on mine. On mine I could not do the 'hammer-on' technique up the neck. But on his banjo it worked beautifully. We swapped back. I told him what my problem was. He tried himself and found he could not do it either. He said "oy, this is awful!"

Bonnie


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Subject: RE: Does the guitar make the difference?
From: Thyme2dream
Date: 22 Oct 00 - 10:30 PM

There's definately a point at which a bad instrument really does hamper your ability to do new things... I used to play an old no-name guitar that had a lovely deep rich sound, but terrible action. I still played quite a bit, but kind of like your experience Neo, I couldn't do a lot or the things I wanted.

I had much better luck playing my darlin's Takemine/Jasmine when he brought it for a visit last MArch...almost made him leave it with me..it's a sweet little guitar, and I could even play barre chords and up the neck and all! This summer tho, when I was across in Scotland, I played a guitar I have never heard of before (anyone ever heard of the Landola make??) and I fell instantly in love. My mom had a Martin when I was a teenager, and I loved that guitar as well, but this Landola thingie has stolen my heart...I'm going to save my pence and try to aquire one when I'm over again in the spring.(if I don't decide to get the cittern I also fell in love with...just what I need, another instrument I can barely play!)


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Subject: RE: Does the guitar make the difference?
From: GUEST,pict
Date: 22 Oct 00 - 11:36 PM

I personally think it really just comes down to luck with instruments I've heard and played many that are expensive but didn't warrant the price asked and others that were cheap and sounded and felt great.In the end I think it's best to aim at getting a guitar from a maker that achieves a reasonably consistent clear tone and good intonation,setup etc. across their range of instruments (Seagull comes to mind).If you can't improve your playing ability on an instrument like that regardless of make or cost then basically you just can't improve your playing ability period.


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Subject: RE: Does the guitar make the difference?
From: GUEST,CraigS
Date: 23 Oct 00 - 12:52 AM

"The smoker you drink, the player you get" as Joe Walsh once put it. Unless the guitar is really badly set up, it is down to how it is played as to how good it sounds. If you have a good guitar, it will usually sound and play better than a laminated top Korean guitar. But get past this point and you have to work on tone production in the way you use your right hand. If you don't work on it, you will not get a better sound. This is even more true with high-quality classical guitars - if you don't work on it, a lot of them, eg. Fleta, sound awful. Incidentally, I have a very good Bacon & Day Senorita,which sounds excellent in the right hands - when I play it sounds sh*t! I get a better sound from my $300 Seagull.


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Subject: RE: Does the guitar make the difference?
From: Bernard
Date: 23 Oct 00 - 04:41 AM

There's a lot to be said for choosing the right strings, but it's a very personal thing.

Some people want their strings to last (hello Jon! rusty banjo strings at Llanstock!), whereas others prefer a good, biting sound that you tend only to get when the strings are new.

I fall somewhere in between - it tends not to matter too much when I'm gigging, because new strings tend to be wasted on an average audience. That's not said in a nasty way - good strings only really make a difference in an intimate setting, such as a recording studio. You do yourself no favours recording with strings that have passed their best.

I once tried recording a tune using old strings, then again having restrung. Not only was the quality better, but the recording level was improved.

I suppose my point is - The guitar is secondary to the performer, but strings are another story!


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Subject: RE: Does the guitar make the difference?
From: John P
Date: 23 Oct 00 - 07:39 AM

Alliekatt said: "Modern acoustics nowadays are laminated, but since most of them have tinny internal pickups, it doesn't really matter when they're plugged in."

Alliekatt, what makes you think that modern acoustic guitars are laminated? Any guitar that costs more than about $800 will be made of solid wood. Taylor, Martin, Goodall, Lowden, Collings, Everett, Froggy Bottom, Larivee, and Santa Cruz, to name a few, are primarily solid wood instruments. I agree that any guitar with a piezo style pickup inside sounds more like the pickup than like the guitar, but not that most guitars have them.

The quality of the instrument definitely makes a difference, both in what it is possible to play and in how good it will sound. Yes, a good player will make that $300 Yamaha -- or the $25 Silvertone -- sound as good as it can, but the fact is that a $2800 Goodall will offer a much wider and richer palette of sounds for the guitarist to work with. And there will be a range of techniques that can be played on the good guitar that are not possible on the cheapie.

The REALLY bad guitars can cause a new player to not want to practice enough, and to not get enough out of the time they spend practicing. I often find myself in the position of advising people about their first guitar purchase. I always tell them to get a good sounding and good playing inexpensive guitar (Simon and Patricks or Seagulls are really good for this). If they don't play a lot and don't really push the skills, they will never need to buy another guitar. If they practice every day and start getting to be a good player, they will know when they have outgrown the beginner instrument. And they will have acquired, through experience, a very clear idea of what they are seeking in a nice guitar, both for feel and for sound.

John


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Subject: RE: Does the guitar make the difference?
From: Bernard
Date: 23 Oct 00 - 07:59 AM

> The REALLY bad guitars can cause a new player to not want to practice enough,
> and to not get enough out of the time they spend practicing.

True of players who will never be outstanding, but, once again, I cite myself as an example of learning despite the instrument.

I had been playing for over a year (1964) before owning a guitar - I learned on a home-made guitar borrowed once a week from a friend. Against all the odds, I learned - self taught, too.

I eventually bought a very cheap guitar, very secondhand, in 1965. It wasn't until 1970 that I finally bought a half-decent instrument - the legendary Eko Ranger! - which was a delight to play, but dreadfully quiet.

The following year I bought my Yamahas...

I had already qualified as a teacher in 1969 - my salary enabled me to progress...

Since then, I've been fortunate to teach many people to play, and have influenced the playing of many others. Not my own opinion, incidentally!!


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Subject: RE: Does the guitar make the difference?
From: harpgirl
Date: 23 Oct 00 - 10:22 AM

I recently visited Dave Mallett, and he was playing the old Gibson I gave him. He told me that it had made him a better picker. No question about it...he loves that guitar. Now, the old bitch never did anything for MY picking. But..my Taylor has. You could walk a ways in shoes that dont fit very well, but, you will go a lot further in shoes that DO fit! One final observation...a good picker can bring out the best that a cheap guitar has. Problem is, he/she cant bring out what is not there. My friend harpgirl has a Takamine that can hold its own in a group, but, it has little bass, and, Norman Blake couldn't make it sound like it has any bass. IMO silk and steel strings make good rabbit snares.


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Subject: RE: Does the guitar make the difference?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 23 Oct 00 - 10:23 AM

I had an astonishingly bad guitar when I was around 16, and never got anywhere with it. It was worse than those Kent guitars they used to sell in places like Woolworth's. Some bastard of a salesman in Auburn, New York sold it to my parents. All you could do with the f##king thing was tune it to an open string chord (very tinny at that) and play it like a drum. The intonation was totally off, the frets were bad, the action was an inch off the fretboard...it was totally, utterly useless except for firewood.

Five years later I got a decent guitar from a real guitar teacher (an American draft-dodger, and a very cool guy) in Toronto, Canada...and I have never looked back. I love a good guitar. It makes a really BIG difference!!!


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Subject: RE: Does the guitar make the difference?
From: M. Ted (inactive)
Date: 23 Oct 00 - 11:02 AM

Gee, another opportunity for people to plug Larrivee guitars and Tony McManus--does poor Tony know that the more obnoxious Murray McLeod get about plugging him, the less likely people are to listen to him? As to the Larrivee people, nothing anyone says here is going to change my opinion of their instruments, nor will it change the opinion of anyone who has played them--I am getting really sick of these posts that read like advertising copy!!!


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Subject: RE: Does the guitar make the difference?
From: Bernard
Date: 23 Oct 00 - 11:22 AM

The one thing that has emerged from this thread is what we all knew already - it's all down to personal preference.

'...it was totally, utterly useless except for firewood.'

That sums up the first guitar I used to borrow!!


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Subject: RE: Does the guitar make the difference?
From: Marion
Date: 23 Oct 00 - 12:12 PM

I'm interested in this statement of Murray's:

"There comes a point in the development of every guitar player when they realise what it is they need in a guitar in order to fulfil their potential."

I think it's about time that I sold my classical guitar (my first guitar, and the one that fell into my hands - I didn't choose to play nylon) and got a steel string, but I've been putting the decision off because I'm intimidated by the process of choosing a guitar.

I've browsed in music stores, but every steel string that I try sounds the same to me. And I don't have any idea what I need in a guitar. The music stores have dozens of them and I don't know where to begin except by how the guitars look.

Does this mean that I'm not ready to buy one and should wait for this critical point in my development? Or maybe I should take a step of faith and just buy a Seagull since they seem to be so commonly pointed to as an honest guitar for a novice.

Marion


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Subject: RE: Does the guitar make the difference?
From: Whistle Stop
Date: 23 Oct 00 - 12:57 PM

Marion, I also started on nylon strings, and studied classical guitar for years before buying my first steel-string. If you're new to steel strings, you may not know how to get the most out of them. The way you pluck the string is different, the way the strings handle the dynamics of your playing is different -- it's a different instrument, basically. But they are not all the same, by any means. If possible, I would spend time with an acoustic steel-string (or several) before purchasing one. Given time, you will start to recognize what it is that makes a steel-string guitar respond well, and what "responding well" means. Then you'll be able to make an educated choice.

Ted, sorry you don't like Larrivee guitars. I love mine (my second; had to sell my first years ago during hard times), and I don't work for the company. Different strokes for different folks, I guess.


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Subject: RE: Does the guitar make the difference?
From: John Hardly
Date: 23 Oct 00 - 01:49 PM

Harpgirl, (Kendall?),

You got my attention. I love David Mallett's music and NOTICED that (J45?). He also plays a beautiful Guild that I admire every time I pull out "Parallel Lives" (which is quite often). I'll bet he appreciates the gift!!

John


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Subject: RE: Does the guitar make the difference?
From: M. Ted (inactive)
Date: 23 Oct 00 - 02:15 PM

Didn't say whether I liked them or not--when I was in acquistion mode, I certain tried them, but didn't feel the urge-What I did say was that I am getting really tired of seeing what strikes me as commercial sounding plugs--such as the following "Larrivee has a wider, less radiused neck standard. As a finger-style player I find myself making far fewer extraneous left-hand mutes on a Larrivee."

It is a perfectly crafted "Feature/benefit" statement of like you'd see in the better guitar advertisements--As a general rule, people don't write like that in discussion threads--

I am somewhat paranoid, I know, but I fear the day that our Mudcat is awash with little plugs like "I particularly enjoy playing :Wild Mountain Thyme on my "Hoot Gibson Commemorative Clavinet" which comes, standard, with an embossed Faux-Cordura gig-bag, and 180 Hours of AOL"--


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Subject: RE: Does the guitar make the difference?
From: catspaw49
Date: 23 Oct 00 - 02:22 PM

LMAOROTF.................You have my vote for "Best Line of the Week."

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Does the guitar make the difference?
From: Frankham
Date: 23 Oct 00 - 03:19 PM

My view is that you can learn on the best guitar you can afford then once you have the skills, play anyone you want within reason. It's easier to learn on a better instrument.

Frank


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Subject: RE: Does the guitar make the difference?
From: Whistle Stop
Date: 23 Oct 00 - 03:28 PM

Point well taken, Ted. I don't know if it's paranoia or not, but I'm sure some of that "ghost endorsement" stuff goes on. In fact, last night 60 Minutes featured a 16-year-old kid who made a killing (around $800,000) buying penny stocks and then signing onto various investment chat rooms under a number of assumed names and talking about how this company or that was about to be the next big thing. apparently it caused enough people to buy the stocks he was talking about, so he would turn a quick profit and then dump the stock before the price came back to earth. The SEC got after him, and eventually settled for a payback of around $250,000 -- leaving the kid with a half million free and clear. Kid bought his folks a Mercedes, and he isn't even old enough to get his driver's license yet.

So... has Larrivee gone public yet?


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Subject: RE: Does the guitar make the difference?
From: John Hardly
Date: 23 Oct 00 - 04:21 PM

M.Ted,

I am stunned.


I will attone and ammend.





I hope my writing is not also sub-standard for your ideal post :>).

John Hardly

Hey Fielding, One more mention of those damn [B]Shubb[/B] capos and I'm afraid it's gonna come to blows!!:>)


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Subject: RE: Does the guitar make the difference?
From: John Hardly
Date: 23 Oct 00 - 04:24 PM

M.Ted,

I am stunned.


I will attone and ammend.



I play a certain manufacturer's guitar because I play fingerstyle and this unnamed company makes a wider, less radiused neck standard. It really helps me make less extraneous left hand mutings. So, to answer your question, Marty, the choice of guitar manufacturer can make a difference in your playing.


I hope my writing is not also sub-standard for your ideal post :>).

John Hardly

Hey Fielding, One more mention of those damn [B]Shubb[/B] capos and I'm afraid it's gonna come to blows!!:>)


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Subject: RE: Does the guitar make the difference?
From: M. Ted (inactive)
Date: 23 Oct 00 - 04:39 PM

OK, John, you've convinced be that you are really just a hopeless guitar wonk, and you just sleep with the brochure from that unnamed guitar company under your pillow--but what about that Clavinet?


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Subject: RE: Does the guitar make the difference?
From: catspaw49
Date: 23 Oct 00 - 04:42 PM

Well John I must say that your posting twice is, shall we say, indelicate. Try to do better.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Does the guitar make the difference?
From: hesperis
Date: 23 Oct 00 - 05:26 PM

Spaw - you accusing someone else of indelicacy?

You must be practising for your irony lessons again, eh?


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Subject: RE: Does the guitar make the difference?
From: John Hardly
Date: 23 Oct 00 - 05:39 PM

I am the sincere sort. Unfortunately, my sincerity is limited mostly to my ineptness. And yes, my clavinet is small but since I'm married I don't get to use it that much anyway. As for in delicates, my wife won't let me do that either.

John


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Subject: RE: Does the guitar make the difference?
From: Bernard
Date: 23 Oct 00 - 07:18 PM

Posting twice beats not at all any day...


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Subject: RE: Does the guitar make the difference?
From: GUEST,Murray MacLeod (at the Advertising agency)
Date: 23 Oct 00 - 10:59 PM

M Ted, I sincerely regret it if you find my light hearted plugging of Tony McManus "obnoxious". Tedious perhaps, misplaced, aggravating, but "obnoxious" ? I can guarantee that more Mudcatters have heard his music now than before I brought his name up. I can also guarantee that Tony doesn't give a tinker's cuss whether I plug him or not.

However I just realised that I had forgotten to mention the maker of his guita. He is a Scottish luthier called Bill Kelday, whose wider fingerboards and shorter scale length enable the advanced player to attain heights which previously they could only dream about .............

Murray


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Subject: RE: Does the guitar make the difference?
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 23 Oct 00 - 11:03 PM

Shubb forever....Down with the Kaiser!

Boy I feel old 'cause I remember the "Bill Russell" capo!

Ted, you'd have LOVED the old Gibson catalogues from the twenties (I've got reprints). They used hyperbole better than even Martin (who felt they were so much better than the other companies that their blurbs were relatively brief.

'Course Gibson's slogan was "only a Gibson is good enough" and don't forget the "THE GIBSON" logo on all their higher end instruments. They did bogus interviews with prominent players who'd claim: "I truly feel sorry for the musician who has to make do with other than a GIBSON"(!!)

Believe me they were both put to shame by the Dobson and Vega banjo companies who implied that before playing one of their instruments you should put on your tuxedo! (I'm not kidding) They had pictures of formally attired young men and ladies with Vega and Dobson banjos, next to farm hands and black(!!) labourers, who played inferior brands!

Rick


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Subject: RE: Does the guitar make the difference?
From: Matt_R
Date: 23 Oct 00 - 11:04 PM

Well Murray, I'd heard Tony MacManus even before I came to Mudcat, on the Thistle & Shamrock. And I'd just yawn and hope for some more David Allison or Burach or something...


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Subject: RE: Does the guitar make the difference?
From: Lonesome Gillette
Date: 24 Oct 00 - 01:13 AM

Didn't Hound dog Taylor play a real cheap import solid body electric. I don't know if he chose it of just didn't think about it that much, but he sure made it work. Different brands can make you play better, because different brands can make you play different. It's up to you to decide which ones are better. My favorite acoustic was a plain old Yamaha too, but it got stolen along with my old fender bronco, what a goofy guitar that was!


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Subject: RE: Does the guitar make the difference?
From: Thomas the Rhymer
Date: 24 Oct 00 - 03:07 AM

There are many reasons why people prefer
To play good guitars; so let us concur
Some like the status, some like the feel
Others like inlays, and engleman real

Action is everything to those who must play
And string size and tention both must have their sway
Some like their necks longer with cut-away shaping
While purist tradition needs no trendy escaping

But I want the sound to be full, warm and bright
And surely, to like it, will my playing requite
For the tone makes the tune, as the singer; the song
When I like what I hear, I know right from wrong

Technique is indifferent to the brand of the wood
For well set-up plywood lets our Jonnie be good
Yes, the richness of wood-tone amingling with steel
Brings enjoyment to players; a sensual meal. ttr


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Subject: RE: Does the guitar make the difference?
From: Marion
Date: 24 Oct 00 - 08:49 AM

Whistle Stop, I didn't mean to imply that all steel string guitars are the same! I mean that they all sound the same to me - it's my own inability to judge them properly that troubles me. I think what I'll do is just buy an inexpensive steel string with a "known" name, and bring a steel player shopping with me if I can.

Bonnie mentions being able to do some technique much better on someone else's banjo - I've had a similar experience. There's a very basic blues lick that I've been trying to get down on my classical - I've been practicing it daily for about six months but still only get it right about 1/4 of the time. Once I borrowed someone's Takamine for a few minutes, tried the blues lick, and did it perfectly the first try. And this was with a few people listening, in which situation I normally play worse than alone. Coincidence? Maybe.

And as Bernard said, a lousy instrument won't necessarily deter a beginner if they really really want to play. My first fiddle was a cheap Chinese thing, but I still practiced on it day and night and stuck with it (I now have a higher end student fiddle - thanks Mom!). I think if someone is getting an instrument "to see if they want to learn it" then a bad instrument might put them off, but if they know they want to do it but can only afford a bad instrument, they can still get by.

Although maybe if my bad fiddle had strings an inch off the fretboard like Little Hawk's guitar (did you mean that literally, LH?) it would be a different story.

Marion


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Subject: RE: Does the guitar make the difference?
From: M. Ted (inactive)
Date: 24 Oct 00 - 09:24 AM

Well Murray, so you admit that you were simply plugging Tony McManus all along --and as a result, more people are listening--do you charge a fee for your Promotional and PR Service, or are you "Jes heppin' the boy out"?

Well, I give up--guys like you run the country--


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Subject: RE: Does the guitar make the difference?
From: Whistle Stop
Date: 24 Oct 00 - 09:58 AM

Marion, I'm not sure what blues lick you're referring to. In general, though, blues guitarists have played on steel strings, and the techniques they have developed were worked out on steel strings. So what you say doesn't surprise me. If you're trying to bend strings, for instance (common in blues guitar, as I'm sure you know), you will find the result considerably less satisfying on nylon strings -- it can be done, and may even result in a pleasing effect, but it is a fundamentally different effect than you'll get from steel strings.

Again, it's a different instrument - so as long as you know that going in (it sounds like you do), you'll probably figure things out just fine. Have fun.


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Subject: RE: Does the guitar make the difference?
From: John Hardly
Date: 24 Oct 00 - 03:13 PM

Jeez Rick,

I didn't even realize Russell played guitar. I assume he played Celtic?

John


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Subject: RE: Does the guitar make the difference?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 24 Oct 00 - 06:17 PM

Just two things. TO answer an earlier question, Landola's are finnish, use birch, and are very good value partly hand built guitars at the proce of an average Yamaha, and good if they suit you, THey tend to be clear and bright, and the reinforced edge to the soundhole tends to exaggerate that. THey have a new process for drying the woowd now which sort of artificially ages it and these ones ('ve not seen one) are being well written up over here inthe UK. They are a slightly longer tha average scale, and so tend to be hard work, but the twelves really do ring out (and have a clever sort of upsode-down truss rod arrangement to stop the table bowing. Try other makes as well, but if you like it, buy it.

Second, My Mugen makes me sound a lot better than my Washburn D10 ever did - even though I am no better. THe chords just ring better and fuller.


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Subject: RE: Does the guitar make the difference?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 24 Oct 00 - 06:18 PM

Just two things. TO answer an earlier question, Landola's are finnish, use birch, and are very good value partly hand built guitars at the proce of an average Yamaha, and good if they suit you, THey tend to be clear and bright, and the reinforced edge to the soundhole tends to exaggerate that. THey have a new process for drying the woowd now which sort of artificially ages it and these ones ('ve not seen one) are being well written up over here inthe UK. They are a slightly longer tha average scale, and so tend to be hard work, but the twelves really do ring out (and have a clever sort of upsode-down truss rod arrangement to stop the table bowing. Try other makes as well, but if you like it, buy it.

Second, My Mugen makes me sound a lot better than my Washburn D10 ever did - even though I am no better. THe chords just ring better and fuller.


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Subject: RE: Does the guitar make the difference?
From: pict
Date: 24 Oct 00 - 07:41 PM

I personally don't like Landola guitars and I've tried a few.They don't really resonate and have,to my ears,an annoyingly tinny,trebley sound they are well constructed though but definitely not my glass of whisky.The question of guitar or player brings to mínd something I read about Charlie Parker playing many different brands of horns including a plastic alto for a while and still retaining the same tone regardless of horn used.He apparently viewed quality tone production as originating with the player rather than with the instrument.I think that generally speaking good players only sound good because of years of practice/constant playing rather than because they have a specific instrument that makes them sound good.I'm a firm believer of ability making the musician rather than the instrument.


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Subject: RE: Does the guitar make the difference?
From: Little Neophyte
Date: 24 Oct 00 - 07:56 PM

I know some might say that if I can do certain techniques on another banjo but not mine own then maybe my banjo only needs a new set-up. This could be true with other banjos but in this case I have taken my banjo in for a new set-up to fix the problem. There is only so much adjusting I can do with it because it does not have an adjustable truss-rod in the neck (bends the neck). So I can monkey around and adjust a few things but after that I'm stuck.

A banjo of better quality will have an adjustable truss-rod.
I would never give this banjo up, it is excellent for traveling, especially the back-country type places I tend to go.
But I still need a better banjo.

Bonnie


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Subject: RE: Does the guitar make the difference?
From: kendall
Date: 24 Oct 00 - 07:57 PM

Hell, Rick, I still have the first capo I ever bought...a Hamilton. It now has a penny under the felt! The old spring aint what it used to be.


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Subject: RE: Does the guitar make the difference?
From: WyoWoman
Date: 24 Oct 00 - 08:41 PM

Hey, Lonesome Gillette -- what about that Fender Bronco? Why was it a goofy guitar?

And Ted, my clavinet is pert-near useless these days. Left it on the shelf too long, I spose. Any idea where I can find a new 'un?

ww/Pansy Rue Twidgett


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Subject: RE: Does the guitar make the difference?
From: Thyme2dream
Date: 25 Oct 00 - 02:48 AM

Thanks Richard & Pict for your input in RE the Landola...I haven't seen them at all in the US, so if I really decide to get one, will have to wait til I'm over again in March.

Pict, maybe I missed it in your posts, what guitar make do you favor?? To me, the Landola not only felt just right when I was playing, but had a nice rich tone to it as well...but I'd be open to suggestions as to a guitar with a deeper sound.

Ian's Takemine/Jasmine always seemed to me to sound sort of "tinny", but the action is so nice it's a joy to play anyhow, just sort of snuggles right into my hands and does what ever I ask it too(Ian calls her his other darlin, and I guess I understand why!)

Get technical all you want fellas, I have to have a personal relationship with the guitars I'm playin'...


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Subject: RE: Does the guitar make the difference?
From: GUEST,Roger the skiffler
Date: 25 Oct 00 - 05:41 AM

Although I'm not a musician, just a listener, I find these discussions on rival makes of guitars, multiple guitar ownership etc. interesting.
Recently I've been discussing Bert Jansch with Rick. At one time in his career BJ didn't even own a guitar, he just used whichever was to hand from flatmates or people in the folk clubs he visited in Scotland. Still produced marvellous sounds.
I suspect the best players can make poor instruments sound good, average players can be helped by good equipment and people like me wouldn't be helped by a sterling silver kazoo! (But if you'd like to contribute...!)
RtS


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Subject: RE: Does the guitar make the difference?
From: Whistle Stop
Date: 25 Oct 00 - 08:21 AM

It's not all one or all the other. A good player with a bad instrument can generally still do good stuff, but not AS good as he can do with an instrument that suits his style and has a pleasing sound. So if the question is "Does the guitar make THE difference?", I would say that the answer is no. But if the question is modified to ask "Does the guitar make A difference?", I feel that the answer is yes.


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Subject: RE: Does the guitar make the difference?
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 25 Oct 00 - 08:31 AM

Good definition Whistle. Well put.

Rick


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Subject: RE: Does the guitar make the difference?
From: M. Ted (inactive)
Date: 25 Oct 00 - 01:01 PM

WW/PRT--Thanks for asking! The Hoot Gibson model, or the "Hooter" as it is referred to by professional musicians everywhere, is available from your local, authorized dealer, attractively priced for less than you'd expect to pay!!

Check the upcoming "Pro Tips" workshop at selected dealers throughout the United States and Canada--it will feature Lester "Funkfingers" Bunkum, who is best known for his work as a relief bus driver on Bob Dylan's Legendary "Rolling Thunder" Tour--

And if you plug "The Hooter" on the Internet, you're eligible for a complimentary "Wanna see my Hooters?" 100% Cotton T-Shirt!!!


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Subject: RE: Does the guitar make the difference?
From: Whistle Stop
Date: 25 Oct 00 - 01:10 PM

The Rolling Thunder relief bus driver? I love that guy!!


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Subject: RE: Does the guitar make the difference?
From: hesperis
Date: 25 Oct 00 - 01:29 PM

pict - "I'm a firm believer of ability making the musician rather than the instrument."

That's fine if you have the ability already, but for a beginner, a well-constructed guitar as opposed to a complete piece of crap, can only help to get you over the first hurdles. My mother's steel string is set up with horrible action. She never plays it. She lent it to me so that I could work out some chords to something I'd written. Do you think I ever play it? God, no!

The thing completely destroys my fingers in 43 seconds. Can I work anything out on it? No. Do I have the patience to play it for 43 seconds every day, and do I have the willpower to actually put it down after my fingers are dead? No.

Yeeeeooooooowwwwwwch!!!!!

I can't build callouses with that thing.

My mandolin is a beauty, especially since the action was fixed on it. My callouses are slowly building, and maybe three years from now, I will be able to play that guitar for more than a minute!!!

BTW, it's a Vanguard HGV-150. Whatever that means.

But I'm not actually a 'guitar player'.


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Subject: RE: Does the guitar make the difference?
From: Songster Bob
Date: 25 Oct 00 - 01:46 PM

One thing about this thread that hasn't been mentioned (that I noticed) is how one brand of guitar may have a characteristic sound and another a different sound. Necks were mentioned, and this is along the same lines. Some music sounds "better" (i.e., more natural to the style) on some makes of guitar. Gibsons, like the J-45 mentioned above, sound better for some blues styles, for instance, than a similar Martin would. Part of this is the wood of which the thing is made, and part of it is the bracing pattern, body size, scale length, etc.

So people gravitate to the makes and models that are customary for the music they're making. Bluegrassers like D-28s (even though a J-45 can boom out the bass pretty well), finger-pickers like Guilds, Martins, Taylors and Larivees (not to mention some of the more hand-made upper-end guitars around), but don't play Gibsons (despite that Rev. Gary Davis did) as often.

A good guitar makes you sound and play better. And specific "sounds" make you sound and play more like your idol, "X".

And your mileage may vary.

Bob Clayton


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Subject: RE: Does the guitar make the difference?
From: M. Ted (inactive)
Date: 25 Oct 00 - 05:56 PM

Just a couple thoughts on the topic (ran out of smart remarks, I guess): Different types of guitars can produce drastically different types of sound--Taylor guitars seem to have a real special ring--reminiscent of the old Gibson J-200, but more affordable--The booming bass notes on those Martin Dreadnaughts has been mentioned before, and I will add that with a bit of palm-damping, you can do some mightly nice Chet/Merle fingerpicking on them, and, though not much regarded by the guitar collectors, the 70's models are great for playing rhythm for Jazz and such things--

Biggest problem that acoustic guitars seem to have is that, in closed positions, even very good ones don't produce the kind of clean, ringing chord sound that you can get with say a Les Paul or and of the arch top electrics, and forget about being able to do solid melody or solo work--

John Zeidler's guitars, particularly his archtops, are designed to do this, and they sound great, but they are a lot of work to play,, and ungodly expensive--


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Subject: RE: Does the guitar make the difference?
From: MK
Date: 25 Oct 00 - 06:40 PM

Scale length can make a big difference too.

I'm beginning to understand and appreciate why some people (Norman Blake comes readily to mind) like wider necked, 12 fret instruments when it comes to fingerpickin'.


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Subject: RE: Does the guitar make the difference?
From: pict
Date: 25 Oct 00 - 08:00 PM

Thyme I don't really have a preference per se but I have liked some Lowdens and I like some Martins and old Gibsons.I really only listen for a pleasing tone and look for clean construction.

Whistlestop "But if the question is modified to ask "Does the guitar make A difference?", I feel that the answer is yes." I totally agree. Hesperis I'm not suggesting that the inherent limitations of an instrument with a railway sleeper for a neck and an orange box for a body can be overcome by ability what I am saying is that a well made inexpensive instrument will not hinder the production of good music but lack of ability will.As for whether or not an instrument will improve your playing I think a decent well made instrument that the player is intimate with will produce better results than an another decent etc.etc. instrument that he/she/it is not familiar with.

Many are chosen few are Pict


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Subject: RE: Does the guitar make the difference?
From: Lonesome Gillette
Date: 25 Oct 00 - 08:16 PM

Hi WyoWoman, It was a neat one pickkup odd shaped little guitar. I've never seen another like it, but there must be loads of them out there. As a matter of fact, I just posted a message about how it got stolen . Thread's name is "Wierd Guitar History"


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Subject: RE: Does the guitar make the difference?
From: Snagger
Date: 29 Nov 03 - 06:56 PM

Dear Thread,

   I`ve been looking for a Bacon and Day Senorita for years. Would you know where i could find one for purchase? It`s a Bill Broonsy thing.
Snagger


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Subject: RE: Does the guitar make the difference?
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 29 Nov 03 - 10:15 PM

Can a good hammer make one a better carpenter?

Can a good gun make someone a better cop?

Or it's like a chum of mine once said... We were sat, a bunch of us, around discussion different dart weights, different materials... different flight materials and textures and what worked better for some and not other...

"Bullsh!t!", my chum said... "You can either play darts or you can't."

And to make his point, he went off and grabbed a set of plastic darts (Like they give you to throw at the mid-way... all plastic except for the brass head and point on them) and proceded to beat all takers with them...


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Subject: RE: Does the guitar make the difference?
From: GUEST,guitaristGreg
Date: 30 Nov 03 - 02:21 PM

Simple answer to your question. A good guitarist makes money from playing well, and can afford to buy a good guitar, a bad guitarist makes shite money and therfore don't waste it on something he has already. (Q)Definition of a good guitarist? (A)knowing why they put more than the first 3 frets on a guitar! But yes my friend you do have a point, i have a 1970's Martin D1. a beauty, nearly plays itself, anyone who disagrees with this theory, simply should forget about guitar playing!
Glad to be of help!


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Subject: RE: Does the guitar make the difference?
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 30 Nov 03 - 02:49 PM

A good guitar player can make a bad guitar sound better than it really is... just like a bad guitar player can make an otherwise good guitar sound like crud...

"anyone who disagrees with this theory, simply should forget about guitar playing!"

My oh my, isn't that nice and arrogant and dismissive...


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Subject: RE: Does the guitar make the difference?
From: GUEST,Guest
Date: 01 Dec 03 - 08:04 AM

Having played at many venues over many years the same annoying factor rears its ugly head time and time again. I don't mind low standards, I do mind people not tuning their instrument beforhand. The number of times I have heard an out of tune player does not bear thinking about. Having said that, there are many cheap guitars that are not tuneable


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Subject: RE: Does the guitar make the difference?
From: M.Ted
Date: 01 Dec 03 - 11:32 AM

Snagger, why did you revive a three year old thread with an inquiry about a Bacon and Day Senorita?


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Subject: RE: Does the guitar make the difference?
From: George Papavgeris
Date: 01 Dec 03 - 12:20 PM

I totally support ClintonHammond's point about good tools (not) making a good workman.
And I do agree with M.Ted - now sadly defunct for some reason - that some of the talk involving strings of digits and letters, hyphens and hashes next to well-known guitar makers' brands makes little sense to me. Perhaps I am not academic enough about guitars, I just play the damn things as best I can, and try to improve a little every time.
But for me the telling point about how good a guitar is can only be one: Does it support the beer mug properly, when it's flat on the floor and you want to rest your beer on its face? So, Bowl-back Ovations are out, according to that; and cutaways too - you can miss and drop your mug.
OK, OK, I feel extra facetious today...


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Subject: RE: Does the guitar make the difference?
From: George Papavgeris
Date: 01 Dec 03 - 12:27 PM

Apologies to M.Ted - he's been reactivated, I missed that; welcome back to the active world!


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Subject: RE: Does the guitar make the difference?
From: GUEST,Frankham
Date: 01 Dec 03 - 06:18 PM

A good instrument makes a difference. It helps a student progress
faster and a good player sound better.

Some players sound better on electric or accoustic, finger-style or pickstyle. The style influences the choice of guitar and vice-versa.
Django Reinhardt's best work was on his choice, the Selmer accoustic Modele and when he played electric guitar, it didn't quite sound
like him.

I don't think that many classical guitarists would be able to sound
as good on an electric solid body.

Style is an indicator of how you will sound. In Chicago, I played Big Bill Broonzy's guitar and couldn't come close to making it
sound like it did when Bill played it. I heard him live many times, there. People have played my Martin 0021 and can't make it sound
like I do even though they were good players. I can't make my
style sound right on a dreadnaught or other types of Martins.
A lot is playing on what you are used to.

I think that accoustic-electric guitars that are run through a direct box sound synthetic and I think that it hurts good accoustic players to do that. They would be better off with a high quality condensor mic pointed directly at their instrument.

So....yes a better instrument affects that quality of your playing
and not everyone can equally sound good on every instrument.

Frank Hamilton


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Subject: RE: Does the guitar make the difference?
From: Bee-dubya-ell
Date: 01 Dec 03 - 07:49 PM

For some people, owning a high quality instrument is throwing pearls before swine. They're never going to be serious enough about playing it to justify the purchase. For others, a quality instrument can provide the impetus to become a much better player. Unfortunately, the only way to find out which category one falls into is to take the plunge.

Now, if all the wieners that only know three chords but have a Martin or a Taylor in the closet would only take a beat up old Yamaha or Alvarez in trade and sell the good guitar to someone who knows what to do with it...

Bruce


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Subject: RE: Does the guitar make the difference?
From: Cluin
Date: 01 Dec 03 - 07:59 PM

I've known lots of 3 chord guitar players with Gibsons and Martins. They were fun to jam with and got a lot of enjoyment out of their music; some where even professional and made money with it and other people enjoyed listening to them. Who says you have to know more than 3 chords to justify having a good quality instrument?


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Subject: RE: Does the guitar make the difference?
From: Cluin
Date: 01 Dec 03 - 08:02 PM

Whoops! Hit RETURN too soon...

The ones that bother me are the guys who buy those vintage instruments as an investment and never intend playing them. Guitars should be played, man. That's just mean.

That's all I gotta say.


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Subject: RE: Does the guitar make the difference?
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 01 Dec 03 - 08:26 PM

I have several piano accordions, bought secondhand purely for the reason that they have differnt sounds - thus suitable for different styles of music.

A straight tuned and a chorus tuned box sound so different, the chorus tuned box has a "big" sound: but there are some things for which the chorus tuned box sounds just wrong. the straight drier sound suits some styles and tunes better.

I also have several whistles, including Low Whistles, for the same reason.

Robin


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Subject: RE: Does the guitar make the difference?
From: GUEST,reggie miles
Date: 01 Dec 03 - 10:28 PM

I had the chance to acquire an old Martin. It was a 1929 000-28 OM. The braces were scalloped unlike any other Martin or any other guitar I've seen since. When I played it the back of the guitar trembled. I could feel the vibration of the strings pulsing through the rosewood back. It seemed to make my meager ability sound better or maybe it simply made me aware of just how good I could sound on the right guitar. Was I getting more from this instrument than I got from my lesser, funkier, cheaper guitars? I think so. Perhaps it was because this much better guitar had more to give, better design, construction and better materials. The result being a better ability to produce and reflect the sounds created with it. Being able to hear and feel the sound and tone of the guitar made it easier for me to play and enjoy. Isn't that the purpose of better instruments, to increase our enjoyment of playing by providing a better quality of sound, and to amplify our ability to the greatest possible degree via the best possible materials, design and construction techniques?

I foolishly let go of that 000-28. That's something that I will probably regret for the rest of my life. It was a once in a lifetime find for me. To this day, I have yet to play it's equal. I have not found anything close among the new reproductions being offered by Martin or other makers nor have I found anything as responsive among the older Martins and other brands I have tried. I suspect this may have been my one true Excalibur and I allowed it to slip through my fingers to another. Drat and double drat!


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Subject: RE: Does the guitar make the difference?
From: GUEST,Susanl
Date: 02 Dec 03 - 06:08 PM

Most decently made guitars are good instruments. If they have pitch, any kind of tone and an action that won't get your fingers caught in the strings, they are playable and capable of making beautiful music. I understand the idea of a beautiful instrument. I've heard some that are pristine. However, I get SO sick of listening to people talking about guitars and gear and tone. There are excellent musicians who know exactly what they are talking about and listening for who do this but my experience is that most of the people who talk about brands and tone and gear aren't usually great players. (I don't mean you Rick. You ARE a great player and you love talking about guitars. I'm sure many of the people on this thread fall into the Rick category. I haven't heard you play.) It's just that I'm sick of showing up for gigs and some guy asking me what kind of guitar I play and then telling me what kind of guitar HE has and what kind of guitar he USED to own. Not in a sentimental way either. In a way that proclaims his expertise.
A couple of weeks ago, I was at an open mike and heard a guy play a Takamine. Later, he was standing talking to my friend and I said to him, "Nice playing". I only said this because he was looking right at me and I'd had a couple of beers and I felt like I should say something. He said, "Crappy guitar. I'm amazed I could play it at all. Give me a Norman with a blah, blah, blah, pickup and blah, blah sound hole and .." went on while my eyes glazed over. The truth is, he WASN'T a great player and he took himself very seriously. The guitar sounded very nice. It had pitch and a nice tone and sang for him. It was way better than he was. It made me angry. It was like a mediocre jockey criticizing a good but inexpensive horse.

OK, I said horse but I've always felt that guitars are a lot like dogs. They don't have to have papers to be excellent and most of them are better than their owners.


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Subject: RE: Does the guitar make the difference?
From: Cluin
Date: 02 Dec 03 - 06:10 PM

Don't worry, Reggie. The "one that got away" is always the best one.


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Subject: RE: Does the guitar make the difference?
From: George Papavgeris
Date: 02 Dec 03 - 06:37 PM

Reggie, you don't say why you "let it go", if you liked it so much right away. Was it overpriced perhaps? But in any case, you must have had your reasons. Surely, the tragedy is not so great that you will "regret it for the rest of your life"...Life is too precious to be marred by loss of such possessions (or opportunities to possess, which is the case here).
Losing a friend, a partner, a child - yes, those things are to be regretted. Losing the chance to buy a guitar, even a 000-28, hardly merits spoiling one's life forever.
Sorry to pick on your statement, Reggie, and please don't take it personally. But I confess that I am astounded at the adoration that "guitarophiles" lavish on their wooden idols. A bit like motor car fanatics that can enthuse for hours about a minute detail on a fender.
As folkies, we are all "anoraks" by definition almost. But I won't start a thread about the colour or fabric of mine. And I won't cry if it's torn and I have to buy a new one.
As I said, it's all tongue-in-cheek, no offence meant. Let's keep this thread going, it is a cause of much mirth for me.
Misguided though I may be.


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Subject: RE: Does the guitar make the difference?
From: SueB
Date: 02 Dec 03 - 10:21 PM

Jumping back to the remarks about 3 chord players, someone recently told me that Woody Guthrie (or maybe it was Pete Seeger, I don't remember which she said it was) said something about more than three chords (the I, IV and V) being showing off. Is this true, can anyone confirm? Suzanne


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Subject: RE: Does the guitar make the difference?
From: GUEST,reggie miles
Date: 03 Dec 03 - 07:52 PM

Cluin, El Greko, if you only knew the whole story. It's not something I need to drag out further in this thread. I'm not fretting over the loss much these days. I've been having a great deal of fun creating my own guitars of late. Who knows, maybe one of my own will tickle me as much.

My point was to agree that, yes, I believe that there's a right tool for every job and it makes a noticeable difference. A better guitar can and indeed does enable even the average player to play with more definition. It can reproduce the same notes played on a cheaper, or lesser quality alternative with better results. I've played and owned plenty of guitars. This idea extends beyond just guitars and is true of many other tools, implements and instruments as well.

Susan, yes there are many good ones out there and many more average ones. There are also a number of funky guitars out there. Funky can be just what some players are looking for. It all depends upon your individual needs. No, guitars are not necessarily bad because they have a little known name or no name at all and some are even in demand by collectors of such. Knowledge about these more obscure guitars is limited because they initially were never produced in any great number. On occasion one can stumble upon guitars with no special name and find that it has all the quality of sound that any average player could wish for. Folks purchase guitars for a wide variety of reasons. Some feel confident with a major brand name. Others are just happy to have something that looks nice and plays okay. Many advanced players look for very specific designs and features to suit their particular fields of interest. There are guitars made to cover just about every need out there in the market place today and many are even very affordable. What a wonderful time we live in to be able to afford to purchase instruments of reasonable quality for such affordable prices. Some, who can't afford even the most reasonably priced guitars offered by sellers of such, are just as happy creating their own out of whatever they can find, even junk. They find great satisfaction in the creative process of taking something of little value, and using what skills they have, to turn it into something that they can use to further express themselves. Jugbands are a good example of this. Jugs and washtubs covered the bass lines while washboards and spoons clacked and scrubbed out the beat. One-string slide guitars were made by stretching a piece of bailing wire between a couple nails pounded into any front porch. Even the simplest of instruments, like the kazoo, could wail horn lines with all the fervor of the hottest jazz players when dedicated players applied their skill.

How can bailing wire compare to a top of the line guitar? Each can be used to advance one's self-expression and as such each has equal value. Good, better and best are all relative and ultimately subjective terms. I know a guy who can take an empty paper cup or a discarded newspaper and turn it into a resonator for this vocal thing he does. And man, can that cat blow! It's like a kazoo on steroids.


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