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Bruce MacNeill Acoustic Necks ? (26) RE: Acoustic Necks ? 08 Dec 08

When I started taking guitar lessons, back in '50 something, when I was about 10 I think, I was told my fingers were too short to really be any good at it. I think they're about average at least now. I learned from some old Jazz men my father knew so my first real guitar, once he decided I was going to learn, was a Gibson L7-C, F-hole, archtop, acoustic with a narrow neck, low action and a big enough body, bigger than I was at the time, to still make some volume. I think gibson still makes them occasionally although they officially stopped in the early 70's. Now, I suppose it looks strange when I'm fingerpicking folk on the beast, but it's what I learned on and the easiest guitar to play I've ever had or played. To be fair, I have a bolt-on pickup for the thing too so it can be electric as well. Later I got a Gibson ES-165 which is escentially the same as the L7 but with a real pickup, still a full body F-hole with a jazz neck. Properly setup it plays like the L7 but just doesn't produce the same volume. Whether that's because of different wood or the electrics, I don't know. What I do know is that when I was teaching, if I let a kid who was having trouble with whatever cheapie the parents got as a starter guitar play the Gibson, they could tell the difference. I suspect you would too. Of course then I had to tell them that they had to learn on what they had but if they did, someday they'd get something better.

Later, much later, I got a classical and took some lessons once I figured out I couldn't teach myself. The classical neck is much better for the technical finger style of classical music and I can't really play much of the clasical stuff on the Gibsons. I also have Don's problem of switching between the two styles and having to readjust my hands. I know that guitar playing, like any instrument is really a matter of muscle memory and I would think that when I play something that I learned on the classical my muscles would move appropriately and then when I play something I learned on the Gibson it would be automatic but it doesn't seem to work that way. When I switch guitars I have to play a couple of simple pieces to get adjusted before I can do anything complex either way.

Anyway, if you think you need an acoustic with a narrow neck like an electric, and if you can get over the fact that it looks funny to flat-top players, try an acoustic jazz guitar like the L7 (the -C just means it has a cutaway). Pawn shops are generally a good place to look for old "Kalamazoo's".


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