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Tech: Amplifying acoustic guitar

Stringsinger 09 Jul 19 - 01:55 PM
GUEST,matt milton 09 Jul 19 - 05:24 PM
Big Al Whittle 09 Jul 19 - 05:54 PM
Phil Cooper 09 Jul 19 - 06:12 PM
Tony Rees 09 Jul 19 - 06:31 PM
Tony Rees 10 Jul 19 - 03:12 AM
GUEST,Ray 10 Jul 19 - 11:11 AM
olddude 10 Jul 19 - 11:21 AM
gillymor 10 Jul 19 - 11:29 AM
GUEST,Ray 10 Jul 19 - 11:32 AM
Backwoodsman 10 Jul 19 - 01:36 PM
punkfolkrocker 10 Jul 19 - 02:06 PM
punkfolkrocker 10 Jul 19 - 02:19 PM
Tony Rees 11 Jul 19 - 03:09 AM
Stringsinger 11 Jul 19 - 01:22 PM
punkfolkrocker 11 Jul 19 - 01:30 PM
GUEST,Ray 11 Jul 19 - 01:56 PM
punkfolkrocker 11 Jul 19 - 02:17 PM
gillymor 11 Jul 19 - 06:01 PM
Rigby 12 Jul 19 - 04:03 AM
Tony Rees 12 Jul 19 - 07:19 AM
punkfolkrocker 12 Jul 19 - 07:35 AM
Stringsinger 12 Jul 19 - 01:23 PM
gillymor 12 Jul 19 - 01:31 PM
gillymor 12 Jul 19 - 02:38 PM
Big Al Whittle 12 Jul 19 - 05:11 PM
Tony Rees 13 Jul 19 - 02:22 AM
GUEST,Threethumbs 13 Jul 19 - 05:44 AM
GUEST 13 Jul 19 - 03:09 PM
GUEST,Ray 13 Jul 19 - 03:09 PM
Tony Rees 14 Jul 19 - 04:39 AM
Backwoodsman 14 Jul 19 - 04:45 AM
GUEST,Ray 14 Jul 19 - 04:46 AM
GUEST,Guest, Spencer 14 Jul 19 - 10:16 PM
Seamus Kennedy 14 Jul 19 - 11:27 PM
Backwoodsman 15 Jul 19 - 03:45 AM
GUEST,matt milton 15 Jul 19 - 06:00 AM
GUEST,Warwick Slade 15 Jul 19 - 11:10 AM
Tony Rees 16 Jul 19 - 12:22 AM
Stringsinger 17 Jul 19 - 01:56 PM
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Subject: Tech: Amplifying acoustic guitar
From: Stringsinger
Date: 09 Jul 19 - 01:55 PM

What experience have you had in retaining the natural acoustic guitar sound amplified?
In my experience, it seems that a condenser mic is preferable to a pickup but what is your advice?

I have heard that k and k makes a good pickup and mixed with iSolo brings out an acoustic sound.

I've also heard that DexterTone (something like that) is a sampler that acts as a pre-amp
and can simulate the sound of your guitar if you record the guitar into it.

What do you think?

Thanks in advance


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Subject: RE: Tech: Amplifying acoustic guitar
From: GUEST,matt milton
Date: 09 Jul 19 - 05:24 PM

I've never heard a pickup that's as good as a mic'ing up an acoustic. I really hate the sound of piezo pickups.

I would never record using a pickup, always mic the guitar

I can't remember the last time I played in a big enough room, to a big enough audience, to even need to use a pickup. There have been times over the last few years when I've played in noisy pubs and thought it would have been preferable to have had a pickup (than placing the venue's SM58 in front of the guitar)... but then again it would have been preferable to have not played those gigs!


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Subject: RE: Tech: Amplifying acoustic guitar
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 09 Jul 19 - 05:54 PM

In my experience - K and K pickups are extremely good - but to get the best out of it - it needs to be fitted by a luthier of great skill.. Someone who really knows acoustic sounds. The k and k fitted by Alan Marshall at Northworhy guitars outstrips just about every other pick up. None of the other k and k's, I've had fitted comes near it.

Piezzo guitars can be quite wonderful - but you need a top notch acoustic amp, which in my experience, miles above the opposition are the top end Fender Acoustasonics.

Of course you can't generalise. The touch of the guitarist is very personal, and you have to work out your own salvation.

I simply hate mic-ing up. I hate the compromises, the sound spillage, the inability to doctor the eq to the room,   the low volume. The lack of control - basically - the one who has spent fifty odd years working on my instrument is ME, not some dogmatic, arbitrary, twaddle talking character who happens to have read some daft article full of daft ideas.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Amplifying acoustic guitar
From: Phil Cooper
Date: 09 Jul 19 - 06:12 PM

I've had good results with a highlander stand alone mic, which is installed inside the guitar. You do have feedback issues if you're too close to a monitor, but the guitar sound is good.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Amplifying acoustic guitar
From: Tony Rees
Date: 09 Jul 19 - 06:31 PM

I'm sure this topic has been done to death elsewhere - even on mudcat, probably - but most people say go with K & K pickups. I have done that myself with 4 instruments - 2 mandolins and 2 guitars - and have to say that the guitars do not sound quite as "natural" as the mandolins - although I am using a standard DI, not the dedicated K & K preamp, which might perhaps improve things further.

My best sounding amplified guitar is a 45-year old Martin dread in which I fitted a hybrid (mic + piezo) blender around 20 years ago, made or endorsed by Dana Bourgeois (no longer available of course). I use the mic/piez blend at around 50:50 which is as high as the mic component will go. I imagine similar, more recent blender systems made e.g. by LR Baggs and similar probably sound good as well. Just my 2 cents... - Tony


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Subject: RE: Tech: Amplifying acoustic guitar
From: Tony Rees
Date: 10 Jul 19 - 03:12 AM

Further to my post above - the L.R. Baggs Anthem looks like the nearest currently available offering to my preferred set up - see e.g. https://acousticguitar.com/l-r-baggs-anthem-review/ , Near the end of the video clip is a piece where the player switches continuously between the Anthem and an external mic - the result is very good to my ears (maybe try listening through headphones or decent speakers to get the full impression).

The K & K pure mini is cheaper of course but in my experience does not sound quite as good; plus with the K & K you possibly also need to budget for an external preamp, and not necessarily that from the original manufacturer.

Others may have their own preference of course... I am by no means the most experienced in these matters.

Regards - Tony


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Subject: RE: Tech: Amplifying acoustic guitar
From: GUEST,Ray
Date: 10 Jul 19 - 11:11 AM

You wonít get Alan Marshall at Northworthy to fit any sort of pickup nowadays as he retired over a year ago.

He struggled to fit an EMG under-saddle piezo to one of my guitars - couldnít get the string balance right - so we settled on a Baggs iBeam with the EMG preamp. Iím currently running this through a TC ďBodyrezĒ pedal into an Acoustic Image Coda - which is really intended for double bass but works well with anything you care to plug into it.

I should say that I can also get a pretty decent sound from a Martin D18 within which I epoxied a Barcus Berry pickup over 40 years ago. The moral of this is that itís not entirely down to the pickup but also what you plug it into.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Amplifying acoustic guitar
From: olddude
Date: 10 Jul 19 - 11:21 AM

For me a great acoustic sound for my d28 1965 Martin is a condenser mike placed back behind the sound hole lower bottom


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Subject: RE: Tech: Amplifying acoustic guitar
From: gillymor
Date: 10 Jul 19 - 11:29 AM

I have a L.R. Baggs Lyric mic in my Crump bouzouki and it provides the best amplified acoustic sound I've ever gotten plus it's got a volume control that tucks away neatly in the bass side of the sound hole. I've played it through 3 different PA's in 3 different venues and it performed well in all of them.

Lyric mic

Here's a review

I have a K&K Sound Pure in my slope D Bourgeois and a K&K Iternal Twin in my Davy Stuart mandolin and they both do a pretty good job, better than any undersaddle I've ever tried.
On the rare occasions when I play out these days I lug around a Marshall Acoustic Soloist as a preamp and monitor.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Amplifying acoustic guitar
From: GUEST,Ray
Date: 10 Jul 19 - 11:32 AM

A mic. is generally preferable providing you have control of your entire signal path. Even if itís your mic., your sound is dependent on the eq, amps and speakers being used. Itís often simpler to be able to plug into your own amp.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Amplifying acoustic guitar
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 10 Jul 19 - 01:36 PM

I have K&K Pure in two Martins, two Lowdens, and a Fylde Mandolin. Iím a firm believer in the KISS Principle.

I plug direct into my Roland AC-60 amp or, if Iím going through a PA and using multiple instruments and depending on how well I know the sound-guy, I use either my Orchid Acoustic Pre-amp, or my pedal board with my Orchid Muting DI and Source Audio Four-Channel Programmable EQ (plus TC Polytune and Boss Chorus).

Great passive pickup, no batteries, no on-board electronics, no ugly barn-doors, no quack, just warm, natural tone.

The usual disclaimers apply......IMHO, YMMV etc.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Amplifying acoustic guitar
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 10 Jul 19 - 02:06 PM

So if I suggested a midi keyboard and a laptop loaded with acoustic guitar multi samples...

.. I recently got a Taylor thrown in with a samples bundle..

It'll be at least a laugh trying it out..
At several gigabytes, it surely must sound a bit better than a 1990s general midi acoustic guitar preset...???


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Subject: RE: Tech: Amplifying acoustic guitar
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 10 Jul 19 - 02:19 PM

Can't remember which software developer I got the Taylor from,
but instead you can have a chuckle at this "exceptionally great sounding vintage Martin D28"
I got in another bundle but haven't enough spare drive space to install yet...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5YteKVs9knY


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Subject: RE: Tech: Amplifying acoustic guitar
From: Tony Rees
Date: 11 Jul 19 - 03:09 AM

Interesting pickup comparison here - though each is in a different guitar...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=juGX9KanYfA

Answers/preferences on a postcard please!


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Subject: RE: Tech: Amplifying acoustic guitar
From: Stringsinger
Date: 11 Jul 19 - 01:22 PM

Thank you all. This is all very good advice. I've listened to the Baggs PU and it seemed to break up with fuzz when a full chord was strummed.

I play in an acoustic trad jazz band with banjo, fiddle, keyboard, cornet, clarinet and bass and I need a sound that would be clean when strumming jazz chords on my Martin 0021. I have an AKG condenser mic but I would like to try a good PU that faithfully reproduces the sound of my guitar amplified since I'm playing with horns.

Anyway, that's why I ask.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Amplifying acoustic guitar
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 11 Jul 19 - 01:30 PM

Last year I bought an EMG under-saddle piezo so cheap in a sale, it couldn't be ignored..

So if I ever do get it fitted in my 20 year old art & lutherie cedar top..
will it sound as shite as I anticipate...???

At the moment the box is still factory sealed, with the option of shifting it ebay or reverb...


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Subject: RE: Tech: Amplifying acoustic guitar
From: GUEST,Ray
Date: 11 Jul 19 - 01:56 PM

Iíve always thought that, when playing in a loud band situation, looking for a pickup to reproduce the exact sound of your guitar is likely to be something of a lost cause.

Nobody has mentioned them yet but a good and simple solution might be one of the Fishman ďRare EarthĒ (magnetic soundhole) series. If you want to push the boat out, you could also look at the Mimesis pickups; produced by the original inventor of the Rare Earths.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Amplifying acoustic guitar
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 11 Jul 19 - 02:17 PM

I started off at 15 gigging with a Shaftesbury acoustic [Eko...???]
from my mum's mail order catalogue,
fitted with a Schaller soundhole pickup...

That sounded crap playing pub rock and proto punk through a 100watt solid state combo amp...


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Subject: RE: Tech: Amplifying acoustic guitar
From: gillymor
Date: 11 Jul 19 - 06:01 PM

I used a Fishman Rate Earth soundhole pickup for awhile when playing in a 5 piece "Celtic" band. Pretty good acoustic sound and you could get fairly loud without feedback.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Amplifying acoustic guitar
From: Rigby
Date: 12 Jul 19 - 04:03 AM

The most natural sound I've heard from an amplified acoustic was using a Fishman Aura pedal, but they only work if you have a guitar / pickup combination that fits one of the presets.

I'm another who can't bear the sound of piezo pickups. I'd rather have a magnetic pickup like a Sunrise -- they don't sound very natural but at least they sound quite nice in their own way.

The Taylor Expression system is quite effective but I don't think it's possible to retrofit it to guitars.

I'm not usually a fan of miking guitars on stage. It means you can't move around at all, and it's impossible to get any level in the monitors before feedback.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Amplifying acoustic guitar
From: Tony Rees
Date: 12 Jul 19 - 07:19 AM

To the original poster - another angle is to keep your Martin for other stuff and find a cheap-but-decent alternative guitar for the jazz gigs. If you set yourself a limit of (say) 500 pounds - which is probably only around twice the price of a good aftermarket pickup - and play what is around in the shops you might find something that sounds great/just right amplified even if acoustically it is not your Martin. We (my wife and I) have 6 nice acoustics between us, and one that sounds great amplified - though not the best acoustically - is a little Tanglewood which cost about that. It has a built in B-band pickup system, sounds like a million dollars! That way your "best" guitar also does not have to travel to e.g. outdoor gigs in inclement weather, get blown off stands by the wind, etc. etc. Just a thought - plus you can audition them with the pickup already fitted before committing yourself, a hard thing to do with your own "best" guitar. Cheers - Tony


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Subject: RE: Tech: Amplifying acoustic guitar
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 12 Jul 19 - 07:35 AM

There's a wave of Yamaha flash sales on mid to top of the range acoustics,
in big UK online music stores this week...


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Subject: RE: Tech: Amplifying acoustic guitar
From: Stringsinger
Date: 12 Jul 19 - 01:23 PM

Thanks for the input. Greatly appreciated.

The Tanglewood sounds intriguing.

I like the American Acoustic sampler sounds. I'll look into Mimises. I'd like to avoid the magnetic sound of a Sunrise or of that in general.

I may be tilting windmills here but a combo of mic plus PU seems to be close.
For example, iSolo with a K and K.

What I want is a clean strumming sound with midrange and hopefully the overtones found in my Martin replicated.

I do appreciate all the information you've given me and it's widened my perspective.
Thanks so much.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Amplifying acoustic guitar
From: gillymor
Date: 12 Jul 19 - 01:31 PM

One affordable instrument worth trying would be an Eastman. A few weeks ago I played one of their dreadnaughts at Music Villa in Bozeman and it was the equal in both tonal quality and playability of two new Martin
D's I compared it with, an HD-28 and a D-18. I obviously can't vouch for it's sturdiness over the long haul but it did retail for $700.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Amplifying acoustic guitar
From: gillymor
Date: 12 Jul 19 - 02:38 PM

whoops! Just looked it up and it was an Eastman E20D Adirondack Spruce Top and went for 1319 and the Martins went for 2700 and 2500.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Amplifying acoustic guitar
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 12 Jul 19 - 05:11 PM

I suppose it depends which jazz guitarist you want to sound like.

If you wanted to sound Hot club of France, I'd go for a Yamha APX = -easy narrow fingerboard for barre chords Cutaway for access to the dusty end

Lonnie Donnegan skiffle - I'd go for an Epiphone j200.OPen strings and a capo for that clang.

Post war Django electric - Ibanez Gibson copy L Model
Eddie Laing - the Ibanez again but just the rhythm pick up

Terry Smith used to play a telecaster through a Fender Pro Reverb.

Charlie Byrd played a nylon strung guitar - some great tanglewood models . Tanita Tikaram used to have a nice Tanglewood model. very nice transducer on that. And very reasonable price.

The thing is go and ask people you see doing the stuff you enjoy. Most guitarists enjoy sharing their knowledge and slagging off their gear and wishing they could afford something else. I have found.

Louis Stewart, Barney Kessel , Larry Carlton , George Benson all favoured the big Gibson Cello number the L model. Although I think I saw Barney one time with a 335.

Eddie Condon played a 4 string guitar. Can't remember what kind.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Amplifying acoustic guitar
From: Tony Rees
Date: 13 Jul 19 - 02:22 AM

Hot club style rhythm - unlimited budget - then this is the one for you (plus a bigtone pickup or similar of course):

http://gypsyguitars.com/inventory/instruments/426

Cheers - Tony


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Subject: RE: Tech: Amplifying acoustic guitar
From: GUEST,Threethumbs
Date: 13 Jul 19 - 05:44 AM

That's some guitar, Tony. Fascinating also to view the log and see how many 4 strings (tenors?) were made at that time, in addition to the Ed Freemans. I wonder where they are now? I have heard of later conversions to "newly popular" 6 strings as dance band fashions changed.As an aside, I have a tutor book by Len Fillis for "The Spanish Guitar " which begins by explaining that the guitar should be held in the same way as the banjo!


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Subject: RE: Tech: Amplifying acoustic guitar
From: GUEST
Date: 13 Jul 19 - 03:09 PM

A bit over-priced Tony. There are three of them for sale here for between Ä26000 and Ä32000.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Amplifying acoustic guitar
From: GUEST,Ray
Date: 13 Jul 19 - 03:09 PM

That was from me!


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Subject: RE: Tech: Amplifying acoustic guitar
From: Tony Rees
Date: 14 Jul 19 - 04:39 AM

What's a few thousand euros/dollars between friends?


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Subject: RE: Tech: Amplifying acoustic guitar
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 14 Jul 19 - 04:45 AM

As a collectorís item itís lovely. For playing purposes Iíd drive over to Alford and buy one of John LeVoiís jewels...

John Le Voi Luthier - D-Hole


But Iím not a good enough player to be a Gypsy Jazzer!


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Subject: RE: Tech: Amplifying acoustic guitar
From: GUEST,Ray
Date: 14 Jul 19 - 04:46 AM

Is it your round?


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Subject: RE: Tech: Amplifying acoustic guitar
From: GUEST,Guest, Spencer
Date: 14 Jul 19 - 10:16 PM

I had a new type of pick up installed on my Tenor Guitar. A previous saddle pick up left the sound lifeless...and the feedback was awful.
Randy Whitchurch of Liberty Music in Thayer, MO installed a pickup he invented that is installed under the bridge. I don't know much about the pick up itself, Randy said it is very simple. When I play it retains the "voice" of my guitar, and it won't feed back- even if I put it up to the amp or monitor! I have heard other guitars Randy has put these in...and they also retain their "voice", Including a Loar arch top, Randy's Ephiphone Hummingbird and others.   It is truly amazing. I use a Kustom Acoustic Amp.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Amplifying acoustic guitar
From: Seamus Kennedy
Date: 14 Jul 19 - 11:27 PM

Got a K & K in my '69 Martin D-18 on the recommendation of Chris Newman, and he ought to know. He has them in his guitars.
It works wonderfully.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Amplifying acoustic guitar
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 15 Jul 19 - 03:45 AM

Seamus, I completely agree - see my post of 10 Jul 19 - 01:36 PM above.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Amplifying acoustic guitar
From: GUEST,matt milton
Date: 15 Jul 19 - 06:00 AM

"cheap-but-decent alternative guitar for the jazz gigs"

The Loar LH-309

(or indeed any of the Loar's archtop series)

Wonderful tone to them


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Subject: RE: Tech: Amplifying acoustic guitar
From: GUEST,Warwick Slade
Date: 15 Jul 19 - 11:10 AM

I have several guitars with different pickups and played in a variety of venues, very large and small. A good PA system and expert sound man can work wonders.. He can make a cheap guitar sound great. However the opposite is true. A bad set up can make the best Acoustic guitar sound awful.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Amplifying acoustic guitar
From: Tony Rees
Date: 16 Jul 19 - 12:22 AM

By the way Stringsinger, if other folk are giving local recommendations, it might help to know which in country you reside... for example I am in Australia, which may or may not affect particular luthiers/brands/stores I might recommend... Cheers - Tony


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Subject: RE: Tech: Amplifying acoustic guitar
From: Stringsinger
Date: 17 Jul 19 - 01:56 PM

Hi Tony, Thanks for your response. I'm in Atlanta GA.

I'm still looking to amplify my Martin 0021 faithfully. i love the balance of the strings, not too bass or treble heavy but even across the spectrum.


I'll keep plugging away at it and when I found what I like, I'll give y'all a progress report.


Eddie Condon's four string guitar was tuned like a plectrum banjo, C,G,B,D
That would be like a five-string C tuning without the fifth string. It was probably a Gibson but I'm not sure about that.


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