Charles McNeil wrote a few excellent books for banjo and guitar, and lived at a time when the former was giving way to the latter in popularity. His Modern Method is subtitled, "A Plectrum Method for the Regular Spanish Six-String Guitar", and although published when Swing style was gathering momentum, it is largely backward looking,… Continue reading McNeil’s Modern Guitar Method (1930)
I wanted to commission a new all-acoustic, non-cutaway, archtop guitar from a European luthier, and after much deliberation chose luthier Frans Elferink [WEBSITE] of Holland to make it for me. I say after much deliberation, as there are a few world-class archtop luthiers in Europe, equal to the best of the American school. The reason… Continue reading Frans Elferink’s Excalibur
First we had better dispense with "What is a Plectrum Guitar?", as there are two distinct things to consider. When banjos ruled the roost in early jazz, most people played either a four-string tenor banjo, or a four-string plectrum banjo. The latter was originally a five-string instrument which was too quiet when played with the… Continue reading Learn To Play Plectrum Guitar
A thousand years ago (or so it seems) in 1977, I heard Derek Bailey for the first time. I was living in a condemned tenement building in the west end of Dundee, my home town. Fellow squatters included Gerry Mitchell, Tam McGibbon, and a few others whose names are fading from my memory. Gerry and… Continue reading Homage To Derek Bailey
Although oft-associated with jazz, the archtop guitar has of course been used in a multitude of genres since the 1920s. Eddie Lang was the first great virtuoso to embrace the Gibson L5, and we are lucky that many of his recordings survive. Take in his April Kisses - wonderful Italian-rooted popular jazz from 1927: https://youtu.be/hc1zuJ3VjLI… Continue reading From Mabel Carter to Derek Bailey
Here's an attempt to play music not usually, or at all, associated with the archtop guitar. The composer is Reginald Smith Brindle (1917-2003), who not only wrote some beautiful, if challenging music, but also wrote some of the finest books on 20th-century classical composition. Here Brindle borrows a tone row of the serialist composer, Anton… Continue reading John Cage? Anton Webern? Acoustic Archtop Guitar?
In retrospect, it took me an embarrassingly long time to figure out the differences between archtop guitars. They all looked cool, and in the right hands sounded cool too. I bought a number of guitars over the years, eventually selling them for others, but slowly I discovered what made some guitars the right guitars for… Continue reading Choosing The Right Acoustic Archtop Guitar
Hi folks, and Welcome to my archtop guitar blog and website. I've populated it initially...