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Re: Vintage Gear, E-bait etc

Vintage instruments?

It IS something you have to experience to know. Most guitars are made of wood. Wood ages. And wood that's had sound put through them for ten or more years sounds DIFFERENT than wood that's new. Simple physics. The more sound put through and the older, the better they can sound. In the old days we used to put our guitars, especially acoustics, in front of our stereo speakers and crank it and leave them to cook for as long as we could stand it. We might have been crazy, but the theory is sound I think.

I know - I've played a lot of nice guitars. My new Collings acoustic, actually 12 years old, sounds wonderful. I have a Santa Cruz here (Bill Bloomer's) that's about the same age that sounds incredible. But my grandfather's Maurer, made around 1924 by the Larson Brothers, sounds so good it just howls and humiliates my other guitars. And it is loaded with personality... or, what's called in Sanskrit, 'bhava'. Now you might think this is strange, but I don't play it all that much because it spoils me... and because I can't take it on the road.

Now, many musicians of India, who I think have had an awful lot of time to think about their instruments and who practice probably more than anyone on earth, quite often won't let anyone else even TOUCH THEIR INSTRUMENT. I've wondered why this is and have concluded that guitars - wooden instruments especially - become charged with the spirit of the player. I know this may sound a little fern bar and double latte to some, but I know it for a fact, or have experienced this with my guitars and playing the guitars of others. It's almost like you can download a bit of the players energy when you play their guitars. Or when they play your guitars they get charged. John Fahey played my guitars frequently and vice versa. Danny Gatton played my guitars etc. David Sylvian played my guitars and vice versa.. and many others. This is all very subtle stuff but very tangible if you pay real close attention. And, because I am mainly a tone junky more than a technician. it makes all the difference to me.

Wait! Save your typing fingertips! Yes I AM crazy! Don't waste your time belaboring the obvious. The catch is, I haven't met a soul yet who isn't. 58 years and counting.

Now all of this doesn't mean you can't go into a store and buy a new Tele that doesn't sound magnificent. And it doesn't mean you HAVE to have an old guitar to make great music, or become famous, or to write that song or do that solo that will change the world for the better... or be a worthy human. There's a different kind of aging that does that. But there will always be incredible players who use dog guitars and make magical music. One of the best guitarists I've ever worked closely with (Kenny Davis - The Platters, The Flamingos) had about five brand new Japanese strats that he torqued and tortured and squeezed devils and angels out of. So...????

Who cares? I care because, FOR ME, I love it and am spoiled by very fine instruments. Does this make me a better player? Hard to say. I personally think so because I think tone is everything. I've always thought one really well played howling note could out perform a blizzard of thirty second notes. It's all about soul. And if you've got soul, you can make it happen with a two string ektar. I've seen it happen. I perform with a guy who does just that (Bhagavan Das). If you don't have soul, you couldn't do it with a Stradivarius.

There's nothing wrong with that! The world needs good accountants and business people. And I don't say that sarcastically. All people have soul - just some have it for music, some for numbers, some for zeros and ones, some for scalpels and bone saws, some for literature, storytelling etc. And they all deserve equal respect.

Therefore, I think it's most important to focus on our own hearts and minds and wood shedding and conquering our own demons & shadows (and technologies) and training our own angels to come when we whistle. It's FAR more important than vintage or not vintage. I just like to make my angels job easier by having a nice axe to land on.

And, Luca, thanks for the kind words. I'm always so reluctant to write.

I bow to all of you and your ever expanding talent, intelligence and value.

richard sales
glassWing farm and studio
vancouver island, b.c.

On 19-Dec-06, at 6:55 AM, Goddard, Duncan wrote:

I'm sorry, this is the largest pile of arse I have ever heard.<<

it's quite obvious to me from damian's measured response that he's never had the good fortune to encounter an "inanimate" object possessed of the spirit either of it's makers or it's previous owners. this leads me to wonder if NZ is a desert when it comes to elderly fenders & the like.

damian, don't knock what you don't understand.