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The song, the player and the instrument


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I have come to the conclusion that I could never be a "one guitar" type person, because each of my guitars pulls something different out of me (although some don't bring out much). As soon as I pick up my LG2 it takes me down a different road than my J45...


it would be interesting to know how, if at all, folks have found similar paths on similar instruments....We can get at this question from many of the performance posts here, but I thought it might be cool to talk about the musical triangle between the song, the player and the instrument. Is there a unique combo for you that happens when you pick up one guitar versus another?


Here's some of what i play, and it probably doesn't look much like different directions to all of you, but each of my guitars has its own flavor, so I tend to play different things on each. The difference is probably reflected more when I am just noodling on the couch, but for me ....



For no one. Beatles.

Hands on the wheel. Willie Nelson

El Paso. Marty Robins

Black Balloons Syl Johnson (still don't have all the chords figured out on this one)

Romeo and Juliet. Dire Straits



Black Sheep Boy. Tim Hardin

That's Entertainment. Paul Weller

Things We Said Today. Beatles

Man of Great Promise. Paul Weller

Poncho and Lefty. Townes Van Zandt

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I've actually bought guitars just from having a single song in mind, but I generally think more in terms of genres when I pick up a certain guitar.


I'm generally concentrating on fingerpicking now--some Dylan, some traditional rag-timey stuff like MJ Hurt, Van Ronk, actually stealing from Ernie Hawkins and Fred Sokolow. And I'm working on a couple of John Fullbright's songs. The means primarily playing the L-OO or the SJ, either of which works well for most of this stuff, as different as the two guitars are.


The L-OO is sort of dry compared to the SJ, but it's also a more "personal" guitar. In general, I'm finding the L-00 very versatile provided you aren't trying to make yourself heard over other guitars. Not a strummer, however.


Like you, I pick up a slope J for anything requiring a flat pick. Definitely for the John Fullbright stuff, although I'm trying the mimic his thumbpick strumming/fingerpicking technique, which I find really, really appealing. Just not sure I've found the "right" thumbpick, although I seem to have a drawer full of them.

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Do I pick up a guitar for a certain type of song? Oh hell yeah. I think we all do. Who hasn't stopped moments into a song & put a guitar down to pick up one more suited to the song?


Along similar lines to what Nick was saying about buying a particular guitar with a song in

mind, I've bought guitars the very second I heard a certain sound come out of the sound hole. I know that sound is in that guitar.


But just recently, I was thinking about the merging of what sound the player wants to make, & the sound the guitar has in. it. You'll always sound better when you listen for that sound.

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As of late, I have been hung up on two very different types of songs - Blind Willie McTell's "Broke Down Engine" and James Keelaghan's "Cold Missouri Waters." The McTell tune is pretty much right up my alley and I fall into it very easily but the Keelagan song is a horse of a different color for me. With my J-50 still in the shop, I have been playing around with them on my LG-2, Epiphone FT-79, Schmidt Jumbo, even the B45-12.


I do not really give much thought to which guitar is in my hands. To me it is not the guitar but the way I approach it - how I vary my attack, where I position my right hand and so on. I just adapt for each instrument. Some need to be played more aggresively while others can get what I want to get across with a lighter touch. Sometimes it does seem to come out easily while other times I almost need to pull the music out of the guitar. But to me that is part of the fun of it all - seeing exactly what I can coax out of a guitar. And in the end, I just sound like me no matter what I am playing.

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