Saturday, November 18, 2006

Blogger Beta - new layout

Just upgraded my blogger to the new Beta version. You'll notice the new layout, hope you like it. It's a lot clearer and easier to navigate. You'll see a "label" list in the sidebar now. You can bring up a list of posts on each label subject by clicking on them. Feel free to leave a comment if you like.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

20 top slide guitarists

If you want some inspiration for your slide playing, check out the playing of these guys:-

Mississippi Fred McDowell
Robert Johnson
Bukka White
Son House
Muddy Waters
Blind Willie Johnson
Elmore James
Hound Dog Taylor
Homesick James
Taj Mahal
Bonnie Rait
Johhny Winter
Ry Cooder
Rory Gallagher
Duane Allman
Chris Rea
Jeremy Spencer (early Fleetwood Mac)
George Thorogood
David Gilmour
Joe Walsh

Read about these and more at

Be sure to check out my other posts regularly here at :-

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Cigar Box Guitars - How do they sound

Pretty damn good! Some have pick-ups fitted but I'm talking about acoustic instruments here. They don't have the volume of a conventional acoustic guitar but are still loud enough to hear in an average room. They obviously lack a good decent bass response but even so if strung with fairly heavy strings you can get some nice low notes - no problem.

The actual sound quality varies from one CBG to another. Some have a sort of banjo quality to their sound - hard to describe in words but a sort of "plunky" hollow sound when plucked. Sustain is quite good too considering. I guess it depends on a number of factors - type, guage and tension of strings; type of nut and saddle; size and material of box (soundboard); neck material density etc.

The thing is not to get too hung up on these things if you are making them. The fun of them is their simplicity and primitive nature. Make one out of whatever you've got and you'll still get a cool sound. The slide aspect of these things is mainly what gives them a distinctive bluesy sound. Different playing techniques will create different tone qualities too just as it does with conventional guitars. Palm muting and varying the position on the string where you pluck it, using fingers or picks, etc all affect the sounds you can get. They are amazingly versatile once you get familiar.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Cigar Box Guitars - why so addictive ?

They are incredibly addictive but why? It's partly to do with their simplicity. No fancy chord fingerings to remember and only three strings (on mine anyway). It pushes you to be more inventive with your playing and also to relish the purity of simple, uncomplicated music. I sometimes get down to the most minimalistic playing and love it. Getting into a simple groove is positively therapeutic.

It's also pretty cool playing an instrument you made mostly out of scrap or recycled materials. You don't need to be too precious about the instrument like you might be with your 2 grandsworth of Gibson or Paul Reid Smith. I can't stop looking at them and admiring them either. The fancy designs on some of the boxes excites my musical taste buds. Seeing one standing in the corner of the room just begs you to pick it up and play it. I absolutely love 'em!