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E-minor7

Another 1963 Bird

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Between 4 and 6 months ago I sat up a 1963 Hummingbird, which sounded incredible.

Here is another one from the same year and camp. Seems it has a replaced bridge (original probably plastic), but the ceramic saddle is intact.

Lots of core and sweet-juice there, but the fresh-string-power is almost too overwhelming.

Though louder recorded than the first, these bluegguitar-folks really know how to get a decent acoustic test-sound down 'on tape' - (a skill in itself).

 

1963 ~ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_cnDr2Iz4TA

 

 

Here's the first, which keep the position as my all time favorite quintessential Bird.

 

1963 ~ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LDTTri080ok

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Those are two nice-sounding guitars. It certainly reinforces the vintage 'bird as an ultimate strummer.

 

(Get thee behind me, Satan. I don't need another guitar right now.)

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60's Hummingbirds are really a whole level above their modern true / vinage versions. That dry bottom end thud and such level of saturation you just wont find on the youngsters.

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John Hiatt once called the HB the greatest rock & roll acoustic ever. I do believe that the HB and J-200 were the best strummers on the planet. I am more and more becoming convinced that the Gibsons made from 1955 on with the non-scalloped bracing are the "Holy Grail" for strummers. While they give up something particularly on the low end, they have really nice punchy mids. Alas for me 1960s Birds are a no starter. I just do not cotton to the skinny neck carves. The day Bozeman comes up with an HB with early 1960s bracing and a roundback D neck though I might just be first in line at the guitar store window,

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Those are two nice-sounding guitars. It certainly reinforces the vintage 'bird as an ultimate strummer.

 

(Get thee behind me, Satan. I don't need another guitar right now.)

 

As many of you know I guess, we have a 62 with the plastic bridge. It sounds great IMO as it is, so I have never been tempted to change it.

As many of you also know I guess, we have been collecting old guitars for a long time -- and we have a lot. Since we now play a lot of bluegrass, there has been a lot of emphasis in our lives on 30s Gibsons and Martins -- particularly our AJ and D-28s. They deserve all the accolades they get -- they are incredible tools for making strong acoustic music like traditional bluegrass. And true enough those guitars come from a whole different world than 60s Gibsons, particularly for strength -- 60s are not a good match to the louder, higher, faster creed of traditionasl bluegrass.

But before we went over to the dark side in the early 70s, we were folkies -- I married a folk singer. So we still love that genre, and we play both style still -- folk circles and bluegrass jams. Those are very different things -- even totally powered up, we are only marginally adequate for bluegrass but we way overpower a folk circle -- think bull in a China shop.

 

Because of our early love of folk revival music, we have collected 60s guitars with as much enthusiasm as 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s and earlier. To me, like Nick says, the hummingbird was a quintessential folk strummer -- full and warm and loud-but-not-too-loud.

 

As many of you also know, we put together a system for demoing vintage guitar tone and used it to demo 100+ instruments. Our setup is a bit like the one used here, but it uses two large diaphragm condenser mic backed off about four feet. This is the advantage of removing proximity effects, but it does include room effects. Here is my demo of the 62 Hummingbird.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hGisgSqe38Y&feature=youtu.be

Here is us doing folk materials we learned in the 60s.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T8Y05tFm0AE&feature=youtu.be

Our recording system is about perfect for its intended purpose IMO -- single guitar demos -- but it does not really work for full up bluegrass bands. The room effects are dramatic and bad -- the environment is muddied up by the old 7/8 Kay bass, prewar herringbone and mastertones. They over excite the room. But of course we would like to record some of our bluegrass materials anyway.

 

CONTINUED IN NEXT POST

 

Let's pick,-Tom

Edited by tpbiii

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So we used a different set of instruments -- less natural power more matched to the room. For this the Hummingbird excels. The other elements are a 1/4 sized 48 Kay bass and a 1924 Gibson RB-4 trapdoor banjo -- both lovely tone but without the power of their later and larger sisters. We also used a 1930 Larson -- lots of RW picking projection for our (light picking) lead guitar player. Here are a couple of examples.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sNB4XWp25QE&feature=youtu.be

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hkqr7hV9nao&feature=youtu.be

Best,

-Tom

 

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So we used a different set of instruments -- less natural power more matched to the room. For this the Hummingbird excels. The other elements are a 1/4 sized 48 Kay bass and a 1924 Gibson RB-4 trapdoor banjo -- both lovely tone but without the power of their later and larger sisters. We also used a 1930 Larson -- lots of RW picking projection for our (light picking) lead guitar player. Here are a couple of examples.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sNB4XWp25QE&feature=youtu.be

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hkqr7hV9nao&feature=youtu.be

Best,

-Tom

Wow! Tom, you should sit down and write a book on this stuff - I'll happily reserve my copy (first edition and signed, please) as soon as you begin.

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