Posts Tagged ‘Guitar’

Martin

August 28, 2012

Another guitar song, this one by the Zac Brown Band about my favorite brand of guitar.

He was born in the woods
Torn from his home.
Well, he was naked,
And destined
To be out on his own.
And he waited in darkness,
Hoping someone might see,
From something so rough,
What a treasure he’d be.

Stronger than steel and wood.
Seen me through the bad and good.
And when I’m hanging by a string,
Every little thing
Is understood
Between Martin and me.

Well he’s hollow in the middle
From the shape that he’s in.
He’s either filled up with music
Or locked in his shell again.
And it takes some fine tuning
To make him come around,
But he’s a huge piece of me
And I’ll never put him down.

Stronger than steel and wood.
Seen me through the bad and good.
And when I’m hanging by a string,
Every little thing
Is understood
Between Martin and me.

He is a good friend,
And he has his own voice.
And you get what you give;
Sometimes it’s just noise.
But if you treat him well
He will last your life long.
And if you’re honest and open
Well, he will write you a song.
(Write you a song, write you a song)

Stronger than steel and wood.
Seen me through the bad and good.
And when I’m hanging by a string,
Every little thing
Is understood
And when I’m hanging by a string,
Every little thing
Is understood
Between Martin and me.

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This Old Guitar

September 13, 2011
My Martin HD28 by pjbishop93
My Martin HD28, a photo by pjbishop93 on Flickr.

Dozens of songs have been written about guitars. Here’s the one written by John Denver.

This old guitar taught me to sing a love song
it showed me how to laugh and how to cry.
It introduced me to some friends of mine
and brightened up some days
and helped me make it thru some lonely nights. Oh
What a friend to have on a cold and lonely night

This old guitar gave me my lovely lady
it opened up her eyes and ears to me
it brought us close together
and I guess it broke her heart
it opened up the space for us to be
What a lovely place and a lovely space to be.

This old guitar gave me my life my living
all the things you know I love to do
to serenade the stars that shine
from a sunny mountainside
and most of all to sing my songs for you
I love to sing my songs for you.
Yes I do, you know
I love to sing my songs for you

Connections

March 27, 2009

I love connections. This week’s favorite connection starts with an African American guitarist in western Kentucky named Arnold Schultz. Born in 1886 in Ohio County, Kentucky, Schultz has attained legendary status as the key figure in the development of the guitar finger picking style that is known today as “Travis picking.” Like Robert Johnson, he was remarkably skilled on his instrument, only one photograph is know to exist of him (shown below), he died at a relatively young age, and the rumors that surround his death center on a jealous husband.

Arnold Schultz

Arnold Schultz

Where and how Schultz developed his unique finger-picking style is not entirely clear, but he appears to have traveled and performed widely in his youth, possibly on riverboats. His reputation as a guitarist led many to seek him out for instruction: Melford Everly, grandfather of the Everly Brothers, is said to have once hired him to teach his daughter, Hattie, to play a song called “The Drum Piece.” He may have taught Hattie his unique finger-picking style, which involved playing a bass note with the thumb and the melody with the other fingers.

Throughout the 1920s, other western Kentucky musicians also listened to and learned from Schultz, including Kennedy Jones, who added a thumbpick to the style. Jones, in turn, influenced Mose Rager (1911-1986) and Ike Everly (son of Melford and father of Don and Phil). Mose and Ike played together early in their careers but eventually went their separate ways. Mose, in particular, employed alternate chords, embellishments, and other trechniques with the style. Merle Travis (1917-1983), also from Kentucky, credits both men as influencing his own playing style, which can be heard on his numerous recordings during the 1940s and 50s. His style of playing became the predominant style in country music and the next generation of guitarists studied his work closely. One was Chet Atkins (1924-2001), who heard Travis on the radio and imitated his style, adding his own personal elements. In time Atkins would be become one of the greatest guitarists, session musicians, and producers in Nashville. In fact, it was Atkins who was instrumental in helping Don and Phil make the necessary contacts in Nashville and ultimately led the studio musicians in many of their Cadence recordings.

As a side note, I think nearly every guitar student in the South, at least back in my day, learned some variation of Travis-picking, usually on old standards like “Wildwood Flower.”

Sources:
Lightfoot, William E. “A Regional Musical Style: The Legacy of Arnold Schultz.” In Sense of Place: American Regional Cultures, edited by Barbara Allen and Thomas J. Schlereth, 120-37. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1990.

Wolfe, Charles K. Kentucky Country: Folk and Country Music of Kentucky. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1982.

Three People, One Guitar

March 9, 2009

The Everly Brothers appeared on the Tennessee Ernie Ford television show sometime in the late 1950s. In this clip, Don, Phil, and Ernie are all playing one guitar. Don is sitting and holding the guitar. Phil stands behind him and frets the lower strings with his left hand while Ernie stands on the side of Don and strums the lower strings with a pick. Don frets just above where Ernie is strumming and plays a lead melody just below where Ernie’s hand. The video makes it clearer.

According to one biographer, this neat little trick was one that Don and Phil learned from their father, Ike, and his two brothers, Charlie and Leonard.

The guitar is probably the black Gibson J-200 with dual white pickguards. Don and Phil played a number of J-200s during their career, including their own custom designed model.

Graduate Student Conference

January 28, 2009

I’m a (founding) member of the Boston University Music Society, a group for the musicology, ethnomusicology, and music theory students at BU. I’m going to shamelessly plug our upcoming graduate student conference. 

Our keynote speaker is Dr. Kiri Miller from Brown University. Her talk is tentatively titled “Virtual Virtuosity and Mediated Musicality: Why Guitar Hero Players Don’t Just Play Real Guitars.”  We have six student papers being presented that day that represent the wide and varied research interest of graduate students today. I served on the program committee and I am quite excited by both the submissions we had and the choices we made. You can see the program and read the abstracts here.

So if you’re in Boston on March 28, stop by. We are still making arrangements, but it looks like we’ll be in room B12 of the College of Arts and Sciences building, 725 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston. Keep checking our website for information or email us at bums _at_ bu.edu.

Fun Music

August 18, 2008

 

That’s right everyone! The electric guitar can make music fun. And following in the great French conservatory tradition, you can learn right here in Fun Music School in beautiful Chantilly, France, because what is fun if we do not learn to make it properly?

🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bodyless Guitar

August 11, 2008
 

 

We found this man in Montmartre in Paris, playing his guitar. If you look closely you may notice that the guitar has only the outline of a body, in other words it is neither a solid- nor hollow-body guitar. On the rear portion he had a headphone jack and some controls. When he played, I couldn’t really hear the strings that well. They look to be steel strings.

Bye Bye Love

July 22, 2008

The Everly Brothers’ first hit was “Bye Bye Love,” released in 1957. Here they are in a television show from sometime in 1957. I have been unable to track down yet what the original show was or from where this clip came. If you have any information, let me know.

Guitar Hero

July 18, 2008
Taken by musical mutterings

Taken by musical mutterings

My kind of place

July 18, 2008

Found this great photo surfing the blogs this morning. Kudos to the photographer.