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Everything posted by milod

  1. Good on yah for bringing this thread back. A bit over two years ago "Digger" got things going to bring prayers and positive vibes after I has a stroke that messed up a lot of my left side's "fine motor skills" like typing and <argh!> guitar picking. Today my lady and I were out "shooting" for the local newspaper and basically although I could, nobody else could tell what we'd been through. It's a testimonial to folks here, I think... There was a "roping," cowboys and cowgirls roping calves and steers in timed competition, a car show and quilt show in a small rural neighboring town's Labor Day celebration. Now I've gotta write a news story and process a dozen digital pix for publication, so... Life's good. Cherish it while you can take enjoyment from it. m
  2. Just trying to figure an open G version for this one to make my now-funky left hand sufficiently functional on a cupla pieces. This piece should work well enough that way, and it fits the time and place, especially since we had about a foot of snow early this week... and the buffalo grass is doin' pretty well, been hearing geese and when driving, watching out for elk, deer and even antelope. Kid... Only 60? "Kid" is right! <grin> m
  3. Curious... is that an early Ruger .22? Can't see much of it. Neat pix... Truly. m
  4. Well... For me, guitar-wise it's been a bit rough. Almost exactly two years ago I had a stroke that kinda screwed up my left hand. Luckily not much more. Typing speed down from gusts of 150 to, when I'm at it, around 5-60 wpm. Guitar... well, still in cases mostly. Since my typing is part of making money, albeit down to theoretical half time (now about 35-40 hours for less paycheck, actually), I put emphasis on that. I did give away four guitars to nice young ladies aged 20-50, that I knew would appreciate decent instruments. So... when I finally get tired of the baloney surrounding my "job," I'll get back to pickin' more heavily. I can't tell you how much I miss picking up a guitar and messing with updating how I'd do piece "A" or "B" but then I'm not dead yet, either. m
  5. Izzy... Super that things are working for you. I got a kick out of the term "drum machine," since for a while in the mid '70s when this other guy and I were looking for a human drummer, we used one from that era for a two-or-three gig a week as a saloon house band. If used right folks didn't really think about it, and we kept things moving. That old analog outfit still is packaged and I still have it. Any "drum machine" has many weaknesses compared to even a half-decent human drummer, but it's more fun to practice with, I'm sure, than a metronome. All my best. m
  6. Izzy... Good to see you back... Hope you're still pickin'! m
  7. They look nice... I have a Gretsch G100CE Synchromatic Hollowbody - Black. In ways it's awfully ugly. Single floating pup, controls on the pickguard. It plays well, and I used it in a couple of stage sets, but no way around it, I prefer the shorter scale rather than the 25.5. m
  8. In the olden days for me as a photojournalist I used a number of cameras... Can't even recall the label on my rangefinder; but then there were the 2 1/4 square cameras, as in Rollei... and given that without a pentaprism, one "shot" while seeing things backwards and upside down, shooting basketball was a gas... My first printed color shot was with an old press graphic, sheet film. Frankly my SLR digital Nikons and Photoshop handle current needs quite well, although I still have some film cameras gathering dust or existing as worn-out trophies of travel to other places and even other continents. As others, my darkroom is long gone. The thing is, there are thousands of ways one might consider photography. I'll occasionally think "art shot," but most are those of a working photojournalist - regardless that some few have won awards. Tools, in photography or guitar playing, have importance, but regardless, they're but part of a craftsman's system to produce a result desired at a given point in one's life. Oddly that's even essentially a major message in Musashi's Go Rin No Sho, but must be read as metaphor: "The carpenter will make it a habit of maintaining his tools sharp so they will cut well. Using these sharp tools masterfully, he can make miniature shrines, writing shelves, tables, paper lanterns, chopping boards and pot-lids. These are the specialties of the carpenter. Things are similar for the soldier. You ought to think deeply about this." Ditto the photographer and whatever tools he uses... the tool is still but an instrument... m
  9. Ziggy... I'm not turned on that much by the Joe Pass Epi either. If nothing else, it feels different. A few folks have gone on record in the forum, however, that they'd not swap their JP for a 175. That's because of their "feel" for an instrument. And Epi 175 copies have varied even more than Gibsons through the years. My point is that to me it's playing geometry. Frankly I wasn't that turned on by the 175 at first, regardless Gibson or in the mid '70s the excellent "patent infringement" Ibanez. That changed about 15 years ago when I messed around with string choices that actually fit my playing far better than "the traditional jazz guitar" choices. The minute I had the 9-42 "on," and plugged in, there was a discovery that for me, this was "the" guitar. The real Gibson, a better Epi piece and the Eastman copy all "fit" in that sense. Again, that's me, my average overall body size and shape and arms shorter than average, as in 32-inch sleeves are too long for me in a dress shirt purchase. Is the Gibson almost certainly a better quality of parts and artisan construction than options today or 40 years ago? Yeah, with some variations on individual instruments. But that's not really what I'm talking about. And again, to me it's the actual geometry of the instrument to the player, and that's my priority along with the more pragmatic of one's purchase decisions. A lot also has to do not just with the player's physical body with the overall guitar geometry, but also with the playing geometry given how a given player uses left and right hands, string choices, etc. I return again to my perspective on the LP: Even the best quality, fanciest edition of an LP simply doesn't fit me, either standing in a band or sitting for a solo instrumental or instrumental/vocal. I can appreciate a lot about the LP, but it just doesn't fit me. You could give me one and it simply wouldn't get played. A 175 probably would, but with my strings and setup to get it working for me personally. One might note that the 175 Gibson made for Joe Pass, there were some slight personal variations to the instrument that Pass wouldn't really be specific on, and that he noted are not a "Joe Pass Special" 175. It was a one-off for him to reflect yet more closely his geometry and playing style. A one-pup archtop often gets bad comments too, but having used one on stage for a wide range of saloon band material in my area in the '70s. I'm not one to take that tack given amplification options. For what it's worth, in other circumstances I've also not really cared about the appearance of guitars I played at home or on stage since around 1972 so much as appropriateness to what I was doing. The AE IMHO also brought me a totally different perspective on guitars and setups for what I was doing. To me also, the major weakness in ways of the Gibson electrics is the normal lack of a master volume. Otherwise again, archetypes of instruments most appropriate for many, many pickers, and why they're so often copied in varying quality. m
  10. Leave it to the old guy to be politically incorrect, but... I'd say it's not "Gibson" as much as "Gib-Epi" physical playability. That's both electric and acoustic. It's the shapes and playing geometry. Other pickers may and should disagree, 'cuz we ain't all the same. Now personally, I've never cared for the LP shape and find it difficult to play comfortably, where the SG somehow feels "right" and my only "board" guitar is a Guild S100c, pretty much an SG clone from the 1970s I'll not give up. The shape somehow works whether sitting and playing fingerstyle jazz or messing with the controls to play rock/country in a saloon gig, whatever. I like a 24 3/4 scale. I love the body dimensions and feel of the ES175, the Epi clone or even the Eastman AR371. They have half-played themselves. The Epi and Eastman ain't Gibsons, but I look at it more this way: My wife is just about perfect whether she's dressed and "made up," or ready to go deer hunting; and when she's in full battle-rattle, is and has been super-cute for over 40 years. But its what she is that I like, not the outside dressing that guitar-wise are like abalone or gold plating. Yes, the Epis and my Eastman aren't Gibsons, nor is my 1970s Ibanez "patent infringement" 175 clone, although they're not "cheap crap guitars," but I doubt anyone hears much difference. Frankly I don't feel any real difference. To me, there are certain guitar designs that help me play, and others that don't. Fender electrics don't. Gib-Epi designs do. I'd add that I haven't had access to a Gibson collection to try out in decades, well over 40 years. There's no question in my mind that buying a Gibson is inevitably an "art" choice more than really a pragmatic one. But that's not a bad point. They're great instruments; they're archetypes of a number of musicians' choices for a huge range of expression. I've played a lot of brands, a lot of individual guitars, though, and I'd rather have an Epi version of a Gibson than any Taylor, Martin, Fender, at any price simply on a basis of feel due to overall design. On the other hand, Mother Maybelle's big old acoustic archtop is/was a testament to Gibson longevity and quality - but I didn't really feel comfortable with the size and shape if she gave it to me when she let me mess with it a bit back in the mid-late '60s. But she surely could make it dance with her musically. Now if I get my left hand back functioning at even 50 percent for pickin', and I hit a Gibson that helped me play? Absolutely worth it as a playing artwork. Until then, I'll be messing most likely with a single-pup Eastman 175 clone that still sits in the bedroom or a little small-body, short scale Epi AE that's in my "man cave," or perhaps even the old Guild. m
  11. "Notes" pretty much hit it... I'd add that audiences listen to songs, not "tone" per se. If we're tying to capture a specific sound for a "cover band perfection," yeah, I can understand attempting to match this or that recording. But for an average saloon or "event" gig, it's my observation that the venue, its acoustics, its crowd and PA will make more difference than about anything else "we" might hope to do. Again, to Norton's point, its how the live entertainer presents the "show," including everything that ideally will create a whole that is greater than any of its parts. I get a kick out of folks saying "blues" has a tone expectation when I got into Blues from some pretty famous musicians in everything from a bare crummy flattop to a home-varied 9-string electric to a dixieland largely brass combo, a solo piano or... All of the above have made audiences pleased. m
  12. Retired... I think you have a great point, but we're talking kinda two different things. The "tone" of an individual instrument vs the book selections for a gig. When I was doing saloon band stuff, yeah, frankly we tried to mix things up in terms of general sound as well as tunes. But that's different IMHO from what one expects from an amp from one's electric or one's acoustic through a mike. I see what you're talking about more on the lines of how swing bands would toss in different section and individual solos regardless that their arrangements in general reflected a more identifiable feel. Glenn Miller vs Benny Goodman for example.
  13. Too, what is a "jazz tone?" The Roy Buchanan voice on the start of this little piece is a tribute to the still-great Mundell Lowe who's old enough to be my Dad and still's apparently pickin'. Buchanan has the Tele still pretty much sounding like a Tele, and who's to say what he does ain't "jazz" any more than Joe Pass? So... with apologies to "tone," and praise to pickers who both "Play the song" on very different instruments and with very different technique and versions... Which is "better" or even "more appropriate" tone? Or is it just the song and great pickers with how they hear it? Misty... Roy... Joe
  14. My "jazz guitar" for years was that Guild S100c that's functionally an SG clone. It has marvelous "jazz" tone even with the 8-38 strings on it that some would say are "wrong" and I should use 22-155 gauge for jazz. It wasn't until around 2003 that I messed with that 175 hidden for over 20 years in its dusty case that I went "archtop" for most playing. And that's with 9-42. OTOH, I used an old '50s single pup archtop for country/rock gigs in the late '70s and it worked quite well for CCR songs and such as well as more traditional country and pop for small town saloon audiences. Yes, 9-42. m
  15. I've run into variations of "peer pressure" rather frequently until gray hair took over my head. Direct and indirect peer pressure is more powerful, I think, in many of our musical choices than sometimes we can admit to ourselves, and I'll point three fingers back at me if I try to point at others. For those of us who do, or who have played "out," I think it tends to "go away" as one's musical comrades age, but I still can see some of it. "Oh, you don't have a Martin?" or "Isn't that a jazz guitar?" Yeah, it's an electric archtop I tend to use fingerstyle for "cowboy" songs 'stedda strumming on a big body Marin or Gibson. So what? It's gonna be run through a PA anyway. <grin> m
  16. Interesting point. OTOH, I'm not sure that the physical being of the pick - or the fingers - is as important as some of the less tangible technique behind using anything to excite strings. Joe Pass is known for using bare fingers in jazz guitar and yet, it's my impression that he always carried a pick - and his earlier material was playing with a pick. And... listening to his earlier material and later material, to me, at least, it all sounds like Joe Pass. That's even with different guitar rigs that might technically be considered to have different "tone." Perhaps that's from his emphasis on playing songs over any other issue when doing solo work. But I can't help wondering how many musicians seldom think of playing songs instead of notes and chords? m
  17. First, note my overall cynicism in that a "good deal" simply is one in which both parties walk away feeling they did well in the exchange. Second, I don't know how much you know about guitars. This is not a "stock" instrument, as presented by the proposed seller. Whether the pots and pups are as advertised, I'd have no clue. However, the hard shell case is worth having regardless of price on a semi-hollow. The photos make it look good, too. With case, you're talking about half the price of new "online," it sounds like a deal, especially with the case added. If I wanted something of the sort, I'd make arrangements to see the instrument. My own concerns would be on such as neck attachment, mechanical stuff like the bridge, output jack, etc., for its physical integrity and whether it'd require a major setup with my own strings. But... if I wanted something of the sort, I'd make arrangements to see the instrument at a safe neutral location, and with arrangement on type of payment, e.g., cash, money order, cashier's check, etc. I'm really cynical so I'd suggest working so you don't appear flush with cash when you do the meeting, and with arrangement to make the payment post-evaluation. E.g., "My wife (brother, whatever) has my cash at the XXXX restaurant a couple blocks away, so since I want it, can you follow me there for payment?" Again, I'll admit to cynicism and caution on such exchanges... m
  18. I know this may not go over well, but it includes some of my own experience in my younger years of playing as well as my retrospective at a rather more advanced age and experience. I am increasingly convinced that much of our "tone" chase, whether electric or acoustic, comes from our opinions colored by that music we "like" and often seek at least subconsciously to emulate. A few examples from my own experience, but believe me, there are more of my own "chases." 1. I've long had, until my stroke at least took much of my left hand fine motor control, a "dream" of getting a bass player, drummer and rhythm guitar player to back me up on stage for a final "rock blow-out" with my 120-watt tube amp of Link Wray's "Rumble" with intent to blow out windows. Toss in the reverb, pump up the trebles, and vibrato while wearing jeans, black T shirt with a pack of cigarettes rolled up into my left sleeve. Even while writing this I know exactly the sound I want, which guitar to play, which amp, which pick, where on the strings... 2. When I started playing I went quickly into fingerstyle playing. My right hand somehow could intuit stuff like "Freight Train" and "Railroad Bill" and "Cocaine," some folk blues like Mississippi John Hurt's material, and the PP&M backings to everything from "A-Soalin'" to "Don't think twice." BUT - (underline "but") my choice of guitar was a classical guitar obviously with nylon strings. Every dedicated folkie with Martins and Hummingbirds kept telling me I couldn't play on nylon because it wasn't the right "sound." Hadda be a steel string and hadda be a big body. Yeah, roughly the same sorta response to some of my guitar choices later in rock, later still in country. For flamenco, less but still a "you should have a flamenco guitar to get the tone." Okay, I ain't never going to sound like BB regardless if I use a 335 or BB special, nor like anybody else. It took me decades to figure just to play how I wanted whether it were a "version" of a well-known piece or not. I quit trying to sound like something else, or "just like the record," and frankly, never had sour audience feedback. Also, electric players might wish to look into the acoustic section of our forum and see how the acoustic guys will argue this or that on tone every bit as vehemently as some electric players. Tone varies immensely with the most barebones playing, acoustic or electric, at least as heard by an audience. And IMHO, it's about the last thing considered unless a performer, solo or ensemble, obviously seeks to be as close to "the record" as possible. Ditto on vocals, btw, regardless that various microphone companies will emphasize this or that on their products even at times over and above the qualities of reliability and directionality. I'll never sound like Roy Orbison regardless that 30 years ago I actually had nearly the range. It never sounded right to me so I never tried on stage. Ditto Dylan's rasping or many blues singers' "dirty" vocal quality. But again, when playing for money in a saloon house band, when the band does its own versions and are "swinging" with whatever style, most customers go home happy with their evening and willing to pay money to come back. I remember an equipment disaster where one mike and one amp was working; while the other guy made repairs I did an AE solo version of "Me and Bobby McGee and folks were dancing and giving thumbs up... not even realizing the problem other than the other guys were scuttling around while I did my thing. But I was having fun. As the old, old song says without regard to style, "It don't mean a thing if it ain't got that swing... It makes no diff'rence if it's sweet or it's hot, Just give that rhythm ev'rything you got." I think that's true regardless of Baroque, Classical, Flamenco, bluegrass, blues or whatever... No mention of tone there in the old tune... m m
  19. Kinda funny here.... I'm working at home to process a batch of sports shots and listening to Joe Pass... In one interview Pass emphasized playing tunes, and playing notes you hear. Not a comment on "tone." Then again, is that the jazz player coming through or ... the great guitar player repeating to play the music, not the guitar? m
  20. BTW, I have kinda the same difficulty with my left hand after a stroke... but plan to get back attit when I'm forced to "retire" from the day job. Initially I'd planned to "retire" earlier and play on weekends since there have been some solo venues available. The stoke kinda took that. I dunno, I started using a metronome so long ago I just have a vague memory of it ticking while I tried to pick out something to the effect of "Grandpa Haydn's dead and gone..." on a piano keyboard with pre-kindergarten-age fingers. Used a metronome all through school for practice, and still functionally do so. It ain't fancy, but I don't think it's all that frightening. m
  21. A cupla years ago I ended up with a "mail order" steal on a slightly bashed Fender 12-string AE. I figured, what the heck, what can I lose? Well, I lost my prejudice against Fender acoustics. There may still be a lot of 'em that are crud, but... Mine, if it's not the CD-160SE, it's a predecessor. Current price is around $450 mail order. I got mine for about than a third of that, with case, from a major online "store." The price gave me courage to try, the playing? It did a half dozen gigs AE through various PA qualities with great results and a wide range of potential "tone" as well as excellent playability. I would have preferred a shorter scale, but given I tuned it down and use a capo anyway, no big deal. It can sound almost like a Ric, or like whatever picker you wanna mention you've heard live or on recordings. I wrote its praises "here" when I bought it, and here we go again. m
  22. I think Surfpup does have a good point that perhaps we ARE talking "sound" rather than "tone." Some good points too about how one plays compared to another with the same rig also affecting "stuff" that IMHO could be quantified and documented as opposed to our opinion of this or that. I do think also that "we" tend to think so much of what we think we hear that the impact of what we're doing, played electric or acoustic, to an audience is going to be heard differently. For me, I've still a batch of guitars I've got to get to work on playing again now that it appears my left hand types decently and might be more inclined to ignore a degree of stroke-induced lack of fine motor control. But I'll likely go to my favorite shape, the 175. Yes, I have other guitars, several amps, etc., but for different reasons. The full hollows are the same size. The AEs are strung differently for different gigs. The semi-hollows more for fun thinking of days of yore and the Guild S100c as a strange but nice-playing backup for the 175 types. That Guild, roughly an early '70s version of an SG, strung with 8-38, can hit anything from smooth jazz to country rock, and has done so for money through a variety of tube and SS amps. It's the only solidbody I've owned since I bought it circa the mid '70s, and the only one I've really cared to own. That said, I'd tend to agree with the concept that mostly, whether it's a pure acoustic player buying new bone nut and bridge every six weeks, or a Tele player buying new stomp boxes monthly, that we should look more into ourselves and how we're playing, especially at gigs. Also as part of that, consider first how relaxed and "fun" we're playing with, and then what the audience hears whether unamped from stage or miked or.... whatever. I think worrying about our sound inhibits what we'd like to hear more than any other factor. Just playing our stuff and having fun at our own comfort and skill level, seems to me to be most likely to have a happy audience, even if it's just ourselves recording a practice session. m
  23. In a sense I think RCT kinda nailed it with: "Decent guitar players using decent guitars into decent amps all get good tone. Everything else is bullsh1t that people lap up because it means they won't have to practice to sound good. You do. Lots." Acoustic players, steel or nylon, will be pretty much the same sorta thing. I'd really emphasis the practice to sound good, too. My reasoning on that is my solid belief that "tone" can vary significantly by intent by a decent player of any style. I'm convinced the fuzz pedal actually was a way somehow to achieve a saxophone or "dirty trumpet" sort of sound. I've used a Leslie and emulators for a B3 sound when I thought it was appropriate, although it wasn't always... So again it comes back to decent equipment and solid technique - and sound-shaping "toys" when it seems appropriate on occasions. m
  24. Rev. David... Thanks for the reference. One thing I found about Des Moines Music was how kind they were to kids who may or may not have had the cash to buy much. I'd like to think I helped sell a guitar or two for them by playing for potential customers with cash, but... I think most of the folks I knew that had guitars in the months I lived there had bought them from DMM. Won't go too much further on that one, but I know at least one was in the fatal car crash of its owner; I think another is unplayed but held in a home in Vermont. No idea of a couple of others. m
  25. I've mostly done one sort of fingerstyle or another since I started in '63, with excursions occasionally into flatpicking for specific music types. IMHO, diet and general health are the primary considerations. Way back when, there was a product called "hard as nails" that a number of fellow fingerpickers of one sort or another would use. Generally I've also kept nails trimmed to meet the classical guitar concept of kinda a combination of fingertip and nail sweeping over the string as opposed to anything at all that would appear to be digging into the string. The "brush stroke" concept, in effect. That's also true even when the nail was more used for a sharper attack - but still with a "brush" sort of technique. The classical guitar "rest stroke" offers that rather easily and I've noticed that it's often used by flamenco players too... Using bare fingertips without nails contacting the strings has been used quite a bit bit players, perhaps nowadays largely jazz pickers kinda emulating Joe Pass, is still something where a free stroke or rest stroke, either one, is not "clawing" the strings. When I was doing much more classical and flamenco on nylon strings, I'd get frustrated with the broken nail. If possible I'd smooth it to roughly the shape of the fingertip; if not, down to the level of the chip and then smoothed to protect its growth. I've continued that even as I mostly am fingerpicking a "jazz" archtop electric or flattop. Too, for what it's worth, mostly I play with very light strings compared to what others prefer. All but two guitars, electric or AE, wear 9-42. One wears 8-38 and one slightly heavier AE setup that's roughly 10-46 for strumming with a flatpick or a Mother Maybelle sort of thumbpick and fingerpicks as one would do on an autoharp. That latter, though, has mostly been on a 12-string when not flatpicked. Yeah, it's my experience that if you're not a fingerpicker who uses a bit of nail in technique, it's hard to understand the concerns of nail shape and length. But like anything else, it's a matter of consideration of one's technique, how it might be improved, and what nail use/length/shape is most appropriate if nails are to be used. Again, I'd recommend the OP check on written/illustrated discussion of nails for classical guitar. IMHO that carries over into any sort of fingerstyle playing. Also, the battle against any sort of "clawing" at the strings IMHO is one I've seen flatpickers have to battle through as they work through any sort of fancier/faster picking - and that some sort of "brushing" tends to work best regardless, as opposed to anything that might encourage what I call "clawing" at strings. m
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