#1
My only acoustic guitar is a Steel String Washburn G-30. Is it good enough? Are there any specifications that would make a guitar sound better for blues music?
A good song should make you wanna tap your foot and get with your girl. A great song should destroy cop cars and set fire to the suburbs. I'm only interested in writing great songs.
#3
cool thanks for the help.
A good song should make you wanna tap your foot and get with your girl. A great song should destroy cop cars and set fire to the suburbs. I'm only interested in writing great songs.
#6
Hello,
I am also looking for a guitar to play some blues on.

I am looking something that will sound similar to the way Robert Johnson's guitars sounded.I love Robert Johnson, and he has inspired me to start playing guitar. That being said, this is obviously my first guitar, and haven't learned to play yet. I looked at the Gibson L-1 RJ... and that is WAY over my budget, and I assume it's not a good place to start for a FIRST guitar.
Is there any cheap guitar <350 or so that will have a nice sound similar to his?

thanks!
#7
Quote by mastershake16
Hello,
I am also looking for a guitar to play some blues on.

I am looking something that will sound similar to the way Robert Johnson's guitars sounded.I love Robert Johnson, and he has inspired me to start playing guitar. That being said, this is obviously my first guitar, and haven't learned to play yet. I looked at the Gibson L-1 RJ... and that is WAY over my budget, and I assume it's not a good place to start for a FIRST guitar.
Is there any cheap guitar <350 or so that will have a nice sound similar to his?

thanks!

If you want an expensive guitars tone, you will need the smae guitar he used. If every nice guitar had a cheap cousin then companies would just quit making the expensive ones since there would be no need for the ones no one would buy. To an untrained ear almost any acoustic will sound the same if they have similar tonal quality woods, shape, supports, and it is in the right tuning. Most of your sound will come from technique over guitar.
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#8
robert johnson's guitar sounds like it has very high action, and it also sounds beat up. by looking at an enlargement of his guitar in that one pic, it looks messed up. add to that the fact that back then gibsons were the "working man's" guitar rather than high end. buying a new guitar of the same make and model will sound a lot different than he did - clearer, fuller, etc. i suggest a used guitar with a little high action if you want it to sound like his did.

also keep in mind that robert johnson's guitar was a parlor with a rounder bottom. parlors generally mean less sustain, as his did, so a smaller guitar (maybe even a parlor) would capture that authentic sound best.

but consider this - it's a great deal about the player, not the instrument. there's this woman, rory block. she's considered the foremost female interpreter of the blues (i'm quoting someone there). she has expensive guitars that are bigger than robert johnson's but she still manages to make her playing sound like his. songs at the bottom of this page - you'll see what i mean:
http://www.roryblock.com/Pages/Page%20Links/Lady%20%26%20Mr%20J%20Tracks.htm
Last edited by patticake at Dec 7, 2009,
#9
thanks a lot guys!

So what exactly is a "parlor" and "action"? Also can you guys/gals recommend a manufacturer or specific model for a beginner such as myself?

Basically tell me what I need to look for....
What type of wood, company, style...
#10
a parlor is a smaller guitar - the smallest standard size unless you count the terz, which is a smaller parlor. they don't have an exact standard size for a parlor but although they are mostly standard guitar scale, the lower and upper bout are smaller, leading to a more er... compact sound. the lower bout on a parlor is usually somewhere between 12 and 14 inches, where a grand concert is 15 and a dread is usually a bit over 15. it makes a difference in sound.

check out the thumbs of the guitar on the right side of this page
http://www.seagullguitars.com/productlistingcoastlineseries.htm
they're in size order from large down to small, the last one (the Coastline Cedar Grand) being the parlor. also check here
http://www.maurysmusic.com/blueridge_000_guitars?start=6
as the two in the middle - the 341 and 361 - are parlors. note the smaller upper and lower bouts and how similar they are to the seagull. robert johnson's guitar was a little rounder but otherwise small in the same way.
and one last one with a different shape and smaller size - it's a little below the middle of this page http://www.go-guitars.com/guitars.html


http://www.jameseinolf.com/robertJohnson.html
take a close look at the finish. it's mostly gone and the wood is exposed. chances are that since it's so messed up, the action was, too, since they didn't use truss rods back then. i've read that gibson didn't tune their tops when robert johnson's guitar was made, which means each guitar top was not shaped to sound its best.

action is basically how far your strings are from your neck. the further away, the harder to play. in robert johnson's recordings, he chokes the strings from time to time and has other things in his sound that sound like high action. the guy played all the time, and his fingers should have been pretty strong, and although part of the issues could be very thick strings and improper neck relief, which would have been likely without a truss rod.
Last edited by patticake at Dec 7, 2009,
#12
You can play blues on any acoustic guitar - obviously since we're talking acoustic we're probably talking about more of a folk / delta blues style (as opposed to chicago style blues which is played on electric), but even within delta blues there are variations - some play with a pick, some play fingerstyle, some play with a slide, etc. It doesn't really matter what guitar you end up with as long as it's decent playing - it's not like there is a particular guitar that gives you more of a bluesy tone that others. Obviously the Dobro-style guitars have that tin sound that you would associate slide playing with - but as for the rest... it all lies within the technique. I'm sure if Robert Johnson were around today you could give him a top-of-the-line Martin acoustic or a cheap Yamaha and he could make either of them sing.