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Does the instrament make the difference?

hank 13 Jul 99 - 09:12 AM 13 Jul 99 - 08:19 AM
Sam Pirt 10 Jul 99 - 05:11 AM
Rick Fielding 09 Jul 99 - 10:22 PM
Duckboots 09 Jul 99 - 10:18 PM
Little Doe (inactive) 09 Jul 99 - 10:03 PM
Dave T 09 Jul 99 - 08:21 PM
John of the Hill 09 Jul 99 - 07:43 PM
Indy Lass 09 Jul 99 - 01:29 PM
Neil Lowe 09 Jul 99 - 10:27 AM
ddw in windsor 09 Jul 99 - 12:49 AM
Songbob 08 Jul 99 - 02:48 PM
The Shambles 08 Jul 99 - 01:49 PM
Ted from Australia 08 Jul 99 - 09:45 AM
Roger in Baltimore 08 Jul 99 - 07:50 AM
Allan C. 08 Jul 99 - 07:23 AM
Slider 08 Jul 99 - 02:03 AM
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Subject: RE: Does the instrament make the difference?
From: hank
Date: 13 Jul 99 - 09:12 AM

Well, I'm back, after a week of much needed vacation. Somehow I managed not to die without the mudcat for an entire week, so I know it can be done. (hey max, I'm glad it is so easy to recall all the threads of last week)

An insterment is an extention of you. If the insterment is not very good, you suffer. I saw that on vacation while watching some girls play piano. They were better then the piano, and while they were probably used to inferior insterments (which are not that bad, I've heard some truely aweful ones, these were just not a full size Stienway grand.) When the best isn't avaiable though, they did just fine on what was there, and you could enjoy the music, but in the back of my mind was the nagging thought they they could do better on something else.

One of my co-workers used to play with a Jazz band, and he spent two years on the road taking his electric guitar to whoever the pro was in that town for an adjustment. One day he borrowed a different guitar from someone else, and was amazed at how much better it was.

Personally I hope to some day be at the level where my Mandolin isn't better then me. Not likely, it does have a sweet sound (as my instructer puts it). Accually the insterment does matter, as I discovered when I took the plastic uke off the wall and tried to tune it. Of course I could have a deaf from birth person out playing something like that in minutes.

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Subject: RE: Does the instrament make the difference?
Date: 13 Jul 99 - 08:19 AM

The right instrument is like finding the right woman; it practically jumps under your hand and has you doing and saying things you didn't know you could.

I recently found a Guild D55 in absolute factory mint condition, less than 1 yr old, for only $1095. The honeymoon is on! The Martin DCE goes on gigs, but the big booming D55 cannon is for fun! An angel in a spruce dress.

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Subject: RE: Does the instrament make the difference?
From: Sam Pirt
Date: 10 Jul 99 - 05:11 AM

Yes, I have just got a free-base convertor accordion. That allows me to take a completely different aproach to the type of bass lines I am now able to do.

Cheers, Sam

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Subject: RE: Does the instrament make the difference?
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 09 Jul 99 - 10:22 PM

Whoops, just noticed I was on Duckboots' cookie. Don't think she's ever played a note on a guitar in her life! She has a nice garden though.
rick again

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Subject: RE: Does the instrament make the difference?
From: Duckboots
Date: 09 Jul 99 - 10:18 PM

The instrument can make all the difference in the world. This week I'm officially retiring my twenty year old Lowdon/Flambeau. It has been the best sounding, best playing instrument I've ever owned, but it's time has come. The cedar top has become increasingly erratic and I never know whether the action will be high or low from day to day. It's seen a lot of the world, been played by hundreds of others, and has many battle scars, and I'm feeling very sentimental about it. (just as I felt 17 years ago when I retired my Larrivee- another cedar top)

If I'm being silly I can picture my Lowdon talking (with an Irish accent of course) to "Woody", it's replacement: Hey there "yank"! (Woody is a Martin 0-18) "I'm only twenty and you're fifty, and I'M getting replaced??" Ahh, don't take it so hard, I've got a spruce top, and I'll be around longer than Fielding will!
I guess I'll put silk and steels on the Lowdon and hang her on the wall, but I remember that first day I played her...magic!

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Subject: RE: Does the instrament make the difference?
From: Little Doe (inactive)
Date: 09 Jul 99 - 10:03 PM

Yes, I believe it does make a difference. My husband plays 6 and 12 string guitar. I play bass guitar. When we look for a guitar for my husband, it is nothing for me to wait all day for him to find one that fits. The last time he walked into a music store, he made a comment of not liking the looks of a brite red strat....he played every guitar in the house and could not find one he liked. He finally asked me to get him the red strat....after 3 strums, he said, this is the fits....had i known, i would have made him play that one first rather than wait hours for him to play every guitar in the store.

I have found there are some guitars that practically play themselves where others are uncomfortable to the hand and are not a joy to play. Once you find a guitar that fits both your music style of playing as well as your hands, hang on to it because you may never find one like that again.

Good Luck,

Little Doe

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Subject: RE: Does the instrament make the difference?
From: Dave T
Date: 09 Jul 99 - 08:21 PM

I think the instrument definitely makes a difference. I'm not sure about THE DIFFERENCE. I've played a 1967 Martin OOO-18 for about 3 years now. The short scale length (24.9 inches) and small body certainly affected my playing and I've probably adapted my style to that guitar. The other day I acquired a slightly used Martin D-1R. I noticed an immediate change in my approach to many songs I often play. It is definitely a "bluegrass" guitar. It holds its own with banjo as far as volume goes without having to try to overplay it. At the same time, I've come to appreciate the old OOO-18 for the songs that are really suited to its tone and balance.
So does the instrument make the difference? I'd have to say yes. Some instruments just have the sound, the look, the feel and even the smell that enables a musician to present a song in his/her own special way. After all...isn't that why we play?

After a long (too long) absence,
Dave T

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Subject: RE: Does the instrament make the difference?
From: John of the Hill
Date: 09 Jul 99 - 07:43 PM

I could never do a thing with DADGAD, then I stumbled onto EADEAE and tunes leaped of the fingerboard for me. I've ordered a cittern and have no idea what tuning I'll settle on for it. Part of the joy and wonder of music. John

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Subject: RE: Does the instrament make the difference?
From: Indy Lass
Date: 09 Jul 99 - 01:29 PM

There is definitly something to a rest period from...anything! Work hard on something for a while, then take a vacation, like, don't even look at it, and try not to think about it. Then, when you come back (and the longer breaks work best for me) there's something else there in your mind that adds to what you already knew. It's like it came from out of the blue. I've been away from my mandolin so long that David Grisman better look out! Har :-))

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Subject: RE: Does the instrament make the difference?
From: Neil Lowe
Date: 09 Jul 99 - 10:27 AM

The instrument determines my approach, attitude, and mental set towards accoustic guitar evokes country, bluegrass, and folk strummings from me because the wood in the instrument reminds me of pure, natural things. My recently acquired electric guitar has a sleek, sporty feel in my hands so I try to drive it fast by attempting those fluid, ethereal jazz riffs, or if I want to lay rubber, hard-edged electric blues runs. The piano, which I don't play, is foreign and strange to me, so I play it gently and simply, content for the time being if I can elicit anything from it resembling music and harmony.

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Subject: RE: Does the instrament make the difference?
From: ddw in windsor
Date: 09 Jul 99 - 12:49 AM

Darn, I thought I was into something unusual. Seems like a lot of people experience what I've been feeling lately.

About 18 months ago, after a 23-year layoff from guitar, I started playing again. Rough sledding. No left-hand co-ordination, no callouses, no rhythm, no voice. Nothing would sound right Kept slogging, got a little better. Then came the light.

Bought a guitar that had survived an auto accident; its previous owner didn't. Had the neck reglued, put on new strings and tuned it to an open D (or G, as needed) and started working on Robert Johnson stuff. Looked at some tablature of it, listened hard, and BINGO! You'd have to know how hard I tried to learn this stuff back in the '70s to know what a thrill it is to do it and get it to sound right (the guitar, at least; I'm still working on the voice).

Then I started listening to other slide players (Bline Willie McTell, Tampa Red and Georgia Tom and a whole bunch more) and found their stuff made a lot more "sound sense" to me. It's opened up a wealth of new material.

And while I was still on that high, I won a guitar in a raffle at the folk club. It came with very light strings (11s) on it; again the dark world opened. The quickness of the lights let me practice longer and make runs I never thought I could. More songs opened up and I'm having so much fun I'm having a hard time getting my chores done or any books read. But what a saw-off! I'm getting more pleasure out of my music than I ever remember in my previous incarnation.

Life is fun again.




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Subject: RE: Does the instrament make the difference?
From: Songbob
Date: 08 Jul 99 - 02:48 PM

I play just about every instrument that has a string, and it usually worked that whatever was the new one, in particular the new TYPE of instrument, was the one that opend something up for me. Worked that way for mandolin, fiddle, and five-string, but not so much for uke, autoharp, or dulcimer, now that I think of it. I suspect it may also have to do with whether the instrument has some major built-in limitations, like the latter three do. (Before you flame me, I know the limitations are simply "challenges" to the good player, but you have to admit that things like sustain, limited chords, high pitch, and a gapped-scale fret pattern do make it harder to play as wide a variety of music as some other instruments take "in stride.")

Anyway, sometimes a new instrument will call up a heretofore buried side of your musical personality (like Leadbelly and Blind Willie songs on a 12-string) simply because of the affinity of the sound with the source. That is, you "hear" 12-string for Leadbelly, so you don't really expect to "sound right" till you get one, and all the actual knowledge you've possessed, which you haven't tried to use 'cause it didn't "sound right," comes out in a rush, and what a rush it is!

Not that I ended up suddenly channeling Bill Monroe when I bought my mandolin, but I did widen my "canvas" of available sounds when I took it up. The result was that, once past the learning curve, I could play better on both guitar and mandolin than before taking up playing the latter.

Another aspect is what a new instrument of even the same kind (i.e., six-string guitar) can do by way of making some things easier, or louder, or better-sounding. Most people report enjoying playing more when they first acquire a new guitar/banjo/mandolin/fiddle/whatever, especially an "upscale" one.

Enough blather from me. I've had this experience many times in the past, and expect it to reoccur whenever I get another instrument (which is about monthly of late).

Bob Clayton

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Subject: RE: Does the instrament make the difference?
From: The Shambles
Date: 08 Jul 99 - 01:49 PM

I had been play guitar for 25 years, but then my 'old trouble and strife' bought me a Bouzouki.

I still play guitar but the Bouzouki was MY instrument.

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Subject: RE: Does the instrament make the difference?
From: Ted from Australia
Date: 08 Jul 99 - 09:45 AM

DADGAD tuning which I have only recently tried seriously is doing something similar for me.
I am lucky enough to have 2 Maton CW 80s, a 12 and 6 So i can switch between the two, I keep the 12 in dropped D and the 6 in DADGAD
Slider, change strings often (if you can afford it) the sound of a good 12 in dropped D with new strings is practically orgasmic

Regards Ted

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Subject: RE: Does the instrament make the difference?
From: Roger in Baltimore
Date: 08 Jul 99 - 07:50 AM

As a guy who still bites his nails, I had avoided fingerpicking most of my guitar playing life. The discovery of Air-Pro fingerpicks (the metal ones with the hole in the blade) suddenly made that seem possible. That, in conjunction with buying a few instructional videos has made a sea change in my guitar presentation. I too began playing things I had hardly even thought about and creating my own back up and breaks for songs.

Roger in Baltimore

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Subject: RE: Does the instrament make the difference?
From: Allan C.
Date: 08 Jul 99 - 07:23 AM

I' just not sure. I am beginning to think it is some sort of Zen thing or something. Maybe your head and hands were ready for a change that you didn't notice on a conscious level. But once you had the appropriate "instrument" for change, your head and hands knew what to do with it.

I recently experienced a similar change. I had neglected my guitar playing for quite some time until recently. Then, a combination of life events, (the Mudcat is one of them) pointed me once again in the direction of the guitar. I quickly noticed that I was somehow inexplicably able to play things I never dreamed I was able to play. I won't say that I experienced a major change in style. But I will say that I have discovered extensions of a former style which I can scarcely believe I am actually playing! The best news is that it all sounds pretty good - sometimes even better than that.

For you, the instrument of change was the acquisition of a 12-string. For me, it was a couple of life events (not to say that getting a new 12-string isn't a major life event!). For someone else it might be something simple, like hearing some words of encouragement from somebody you admire.

It is such a powerful phenomenon that it makes you wonder what might have caused a musical epiphany in others of us. M-m-m-m if there were some way to figure out the right combination, maybe it could be made to happen at will and maybe, maybe I could use that power to finally learn to play my harp! (Just thinking out loud here...)

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Subject: Does the instrument make the difference?
From: Slider
Date: 08 Jul 99 - 02:03 AM

Dear Friends, Have you ever laid hands on an instrument that completely changed your approach to the music that you love? I just bought a 12 string guitar that has me playing stuff that I didn't even know that I knew how to play. I got it for cheap, and the next thing you know, I 've got Leadbelly and other folk stuff coming off my fingertips! I have since been developing my calouses and listening to the stuff in my head. All of a sudden, that Blind Willie McTell stuff sounds just the way it should! Even my wife says that it didn't take me long to make the change from the six string. Being an "ear" musician, I would love to hear about others who have waited for the call of just that "right" and totally inspiring guitar ,or what have you , that put you on the proper path to your own little piece of musical NERVANA.

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