Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 14
I thoroughly enjoyed Wolf Marshall's piece
on Jimmy Bryant.
Jimmy was an inspiration when I was
starting to flatpick 58 years ago, and I've been
thinking about him again recently. His collaborations with Speedy West from the early
'50s still sound futuristic today, but Speedy
was making outer-space sounds on a console
steel, without pitch-altering pedals and cams.
Bud Isaacs pioneered the pedal steel, crafting his first pitch-altering foot device from
hinges and wire bought at a hardware store.
Bud's new sound made its recorded debut on
Webb Pierce's "Slowly," released in '57. So,
back in 1950, Speedy was a steel-guitar wiz,
but not a pedal-steel wiz. His instrument had
legs, but was not a pedal-steel.
This is a nitpicking semantic point, I'll
confess, but a reminder that what is now a
trademark feature of country music is only
just over 60 years old.
I continue to enjoy my
cover-to-cover escape into the entertaining
and sophisticated articles of each issue of
Vintage Guitar. I was a bit puzzled, though,
by Steven Stone's "Acousticville" column,
"Tonewood Interrogation" (April '18), in
which he initially appeared to extoll the
auditory richness of traditional descriptors
of solid mahogany guitars (darker, richer,
thicker, etc.) only to read further he was
waxing about rosewood tone, particularly
50-year-old rosewood Martin D-28s.
I'm the very satisfied owner of a newer
Gibson J-45 Custom I chose after playing the
mahogany-body J-45 Standard, noting it's
thicker, darker tone compared to the rosewood
Custom's brighter, more-complex midrange
and pleasing bass. It was interesting to read
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that when a rosewood
dreadnought is amplified,
you need to electronically compensate
to keep it from sounding boomy, but not
so for mahogany-bodied guitars.
Stone's column points out there are
a lot of complex factors contributing to an
instrument's tone, yet it may all be in the ear
of the beholder. I'm looking forward to more
Thanks for all your diverse coverage of
late. In the March '18 interview with James
Hetfield and Kirk Hammett of Metallica, an
ES-295 is pictured in their collection. Such
a distinctly vintage item surely has a story
to tell in that context; you might consider a
follow-up exploring whether it's connected
to their admiration of Geordie Walker, of
Killing Joke. I'd value hearing their thoughts.
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Attn: Reader Mail, PO Box 7301, Bismarck, ND 58507.
Illustration: Sean Thorenson.
As a reader of another great guitar magazine for 40 of its 50 years, it's now Vintage
Guitar that has me absolutely fulfilled on all
things guitar. It's incredible how in-depth
your writers go on historical data and as it
relates to all things "vintage," but you also
do the best coverage of what is happening
now and current players and instruments to
the point where I really do not need to go
May '18 was a giant-good issue. Wolf
Marshall's "Jimmy Bryant: Country-Jazz
Virtuoso" was exceptional, as Bryant is one
of my all-time favorite players, and just when
I thought I knew everything about him, I
learned something new. And the transcriptions were very cool.
I have read VG for many years and really
love what you folks are doing. It's very rare
for me to read any publication entirely, given
that we live in a time where I can look at
something or read about an artist or a type
of effect and instantly look it up online to
hear what it sounds like or what the player
does, etc., but I'm completely consumed by
VG. I've been playing for more than 40 years
and read every magazine of merit (I still read
Downbeat), but this one I read cover-to-cover.
Keep it going!