posted on 28 May 2015 22:45 by boringthrill1835
Byline: Kevin Galvin Associated Press

In the hands of masters, it has rocked smoky roadhouses and gently

wept in concert halls. It transformed American music and transported a

multitude of youths from the chill of the garage to the spotlight's

warm embrace.

Now the electric guitar has found a place alongside the light bulb,

telephone and other icons of American innovation at a Smithsonian

exhibit, ``From Frying Pan to Flying V: The Rise of the Electric



``More than any other instrument, the electric guitar has been the

dominant shaping force in American music in the last

half-century,'' said Charlie McGovern, a cultural historian at

the National Museum of American History. ``It completely changed the

direction of the blues. It pretty much rechanneled country music. You

can't have rock 'n' roll without it.''

And you can't overestimate its influence on American culture.

Creators of the blues, country and rock 'n' roll often

were racially or socially marginalized. But the instrument's

simplicity and power gave them, in McGovern's phrase, ``access to


``In the American context, that's democracy,'' he

said. ``The electric guitar became popular because it was very

accessible. It was very democratic.''

No one person can claim credit for inventing the electric guitar,

the product of a dynamic relationship between inventors and innovators.

It was shaped by the music even as its development shaped the music.

Today it's hard to imagine a time when the guitar was

relegated to rhythmic support, a scratching sound lost in the mix. It

lacked the power to stand out in an ensemble.

Guitarists tried home remedies to amplify their instruments,

resulting in poor sound quality and squealing feedback. In 1931,

magnetic pickups were developed to transform strings' vibrations

into electrical impulses that accurately reproduced the sound.

A tool and die maker, the Rickenbacker Co., that same year

introduced the Frying Pan, a stunted Hawaiian steel guitar with pickups.

Pickups became increasingly common in acoustic guitars.

By 1940, Les Paul was tired of the feedback from plugged-in

acoustic guitars. With a 4-by-4-inch piece of pine and a guitar neck, he

fashioned an instrument he dubbed ``The Log,'' convinced the

solid body would limit unwanted noise.

Today, the name of Les Paul is synonymous with Gibson guitars -

Gibson's best-known model is the Les Paul - but the company

rejected The Log in 1940 and finally embraced Paul's idea only

after Leo Fender began producing the Broadcaster a decade later.

As it developed, the electric guitar allowed musicians to sustain

and bend notes in ways that opened a new universe of sound.

In the hands of such pioneers as Bob Dunn, Charlie Christian, T.

Bone Walker and Muddy Waters, the electric guitar's harmonic

possibilities expanded the tonal palettes of jazz, blues and country


The instrument's keening and its biting thunder were

emblematic of rock 'n' roll's cultural revolution.

Plugging in, a player produced a sound much bigger than himself.

Yet while its vast range excited some, detractors complained the

electric guitar didn't make a pure musical sound. Such complaints

persisted deep into the 1960s - Bob Dylan was booed when he brought an

electric guitar to the 1965 Newport Folk Festival.

Perhaps most importantly, the electric guitar was accessible to

players with little money or training.

``You don't need but two or three chords to play the blues, or

to play most rock 'n' roll songs, from `Johnny B. Goode'

to `Psycho Killer,' '' McGovern said.

Thanks to that simplicity, American popular culture echoes with

stories of young men who began practicing in their parents' garages

and played all the way into the footlights.

In the 1950s, Chuck Berry and Buddy Holly achieved pop idol status

through their guitar playing. The Beatles inspired thousands of bands.

Jimi Hendrix, Jeff Beck and others were worshiped for their playing in

the late 1960s.

More recently, women broke through. In the 1970s, the Runaways was

one of the first female guitar bands. Today, Los Angeles' L7 plays

with a ferocity to rival any power metal band.

``For 100 bucks, you're in business (if) you've got a

garage to play in,'' McGovern said.


Among items on display through March: Gibson's Flying V,

Fender's Stratocaster, the original Log and Frying Pan, the

Strawberry Alarm Clock's custom-designed Mosrites and Prince's

``Yellow Cloud.''



Photo: John McCann, a blind guitarist, fingers a Fender

Stratocaster featured in the ``From Frying Pan to Flying V''

exhibit at the Smithsonian.

Associated Press

Box: EXHIBIT (See text)

COPYRIGHT 1996 Daily News

No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.

Copyright 1996, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.


edit @ 22 Sep 2015 10:28:43 by boringthrill1835

Music as Therapy - Making Melody to Ease the Tension

posted on 25 May 2015 07:19 by boringthrill1835

Your rating: None Average: 3 (1 vote)

"The power of music to integrate and cure is quite fundamental. It is the profoundest non-chemical medication..." These words from famous neurologist and author Dr. Oliver Sacks, underline a fundamental truth often times overlooked by medical science. Music can have a soothing and calming biological effect on a nervous brain and stressed body - and today thousands benefit from the therapeutic influence of song and harmony.

If your life is a combination of rushing from one dilemma to the next, while trying to maintain a household and remembering to attend Pilates class, you will most likely understand the importance of regular relaxation, but may find it difficult or impossible to implement. On the other hand, if you've forgotten the feeling of jumping into the deep end of an oasis after a crushing day at the office, it may be time for a much needed change. Stop maintaining a lifestyle that deducts a month from your life after every year. Now recognize and employ, in your daily routine, the healing effect of music. This is true both in the context of listening to music, or making some form of it by yourself. As a musician of many years, I have observed the amazing effect that playing a few chords or notes has on an anxious person.

The organiser of a recent symposium on the understanding of the human musical experience said: "We may be sitting on one of the most widely available and cost effective therapeutic modalities that ever existed. Systematically, this could be like taking a pill ... music seems to be able to change brain functioning to the same extent as medication, in many circumstances."

My wife's sentiments will also be shared by many: "I have no musical talent whatsoever, I cannot keep a note let alone hear the difference, but I've learned basic guitar patterns. I cannot play without looking at them, but even with my eyes glued to the music sheet I find my mind quieting and my body relaxing as I play my simple melodies. My 56 year old mother even started playing and using guitar jargon like 'chords' and 'scales'!"   http://boringthrill1835.exteen.com/20150523/the-high-value-of-japanese-acoustic-guitars
Learning a new instrument is by itself a wonderful and refreshing experience, simply because of the fresh perspective and stimulus that accompanies the learning process. And your newly acquired skills can and will help aid in your quest for a more relaxed lifestyle.

If this appeals, you may wonder where to start? I can only comment from personal past experience: Like many children with recognized musical ability I was somewhat forced into musical tuition for a variety of instruments as a young child - today I play guitar, bass guitar, drums and some piano. I have found the piano or guitar a good starting point for prospective musicians. Piano is more difficult to master without live lessons or instruction, but guitar can, in most cases, be learned independently. This instruments' composition means that a new player has minimum finger pattern (or chord) memorization and, unlike the piano, you really don't have to do much to start sounding like you know what you're doing.

The only discomfort that accompanies learning the guitar will be the silent cries of your new and awkward fingers. Contrary to what many believe, this passes fairly quickly and by playing four to five times a week, you will develop natural calluses and will quiet the pleas from your fingertips.

My website, http://www.pluckandplayguitar.com/ has a free video based guitar course for absolute beginners. The course assumes you know nothing or close to nothing about guitar, so might be a good place to start. You will learn some basic guitar chords and start playing a few very easy songs.

Author's Bio:

Leon Potgieter is a musician with many years of performing experience. His website, http://www.pluckandplayguitar.com/ offers free video based tuition for prospective guitar players.


edit @ 22 Sep 2015 10:25:27 by boringthrill1835

The High Value Of Japanese Acoustic Guitars

posted on 23 May 2015 11:37 by boringthrill1835
I fell in love with a used Alvarez Acoustic Guitar.

I'll tell a bit of a story here. I grew up spending most Saturday's with my late Maternal Grandfather, Argus Troy Coker - everyone called him A.T. I'd typically spend the night on Friday night, and then we'd wake up early, get into whichever beat up old Chevy he'd decided to stretch the life of, and we'd head to whichever flea market was going on that weekend.

My grandfather was a World War Two veteran, and he'd fought the Japanese, and been on the Island of Guam in the South Pacific theater of war. One of his brothers was captured in the Philippines on the very day he got off a plane, and then was forced into a horrific march where inhuman war crimes took place the likes of which American servicemen had never imagined - the Bataan Death March. My great-uncle then survived years of torture at the hands of the Japanese in prison camp, and returned to Kaufman, Texas - a shell of the very young man he'd been.   http://boringthrill1835.exteen.com/20150521/learning-to-read-piano-sheets
Basically, my Grandfather struggled with absolute hatred of the Japanese, but as a Christian man who knew that he couldn't go on that way - he over came that hatred.

A.T. and I would pursue the stalls and booths at flea markets, like the world's largest one, in Canton, Texas - called "First Monday," and we'd very often rescue old beaten up guitars, fiddles, mandolins, banjos, dulcimers, hell - you name it; a country gentleman could sometimes even persuade himself to buy electric instruments on the cheap. He'd do minor or major repairs to these instruments, and the next week, or maybe the next month - or even the next year, he'd sell them. I have to admit that I'm rather frustrated at the fact that he'd not kept some of the very fine instruments he'd come across over the years.

I do have at my disposal and use, however, a very old, and no longer manufactured Martin that was left to my Mother - a wonderful guitar purchased for small bills, as it had a bullet hole through it when purchased at the flea market.

Over the course of my youth my Grandfather owned so many instruments that a list of them, were there a record, would startle the mind. Mostly, I remember the acoustic steel string guitars that were made in Japan, and purchased for very little - as the simple fact that they were not American Made devalued them in the mind of my Grandfather, and he seemed to be able to sell that idea into the minds of the persons that he bought them from.

Poor souls never knew what hit them.

Later in life, as a very lonely young man with no friends to speak of living as a cast off and reject in Dallas, Texas - I'd hit the bar at The Shuck N Jive on Lower Greenville Avenue, get tanked up a bit, and walk on down to the North Dallas Guitar Center. There, where all manner of guitars and other musical instruments are for sale - I'd always and only head to the very back of the store, my face instantly recognized, and towards the very expensive acoustic guitars. There are two rooms with expensive acoustic guitars, one of them is very small - and the other several times as large. I've no idea how they decide which room a guitar should go in; clearly, the decisions weren't based on price or value.

In those two rooms would be many a Martin, Gibson, maybe a Collings or a Santa Cruz, Larrivee guitars, and Breedlove guitars - all the most beautiful American or Canadian made guitars, and all of those companies top models - but I'd often return to a used $600 Alvarez flat top. Sure, it probably had cost around a thousand bucks new, and sure - that's pretty damn expensive for a Japanese guitar, but the thing was a treasure. Nearby were spun versions of Martin's D 18, a legendary guitar built from solid mahogany back and sides, and a solid spruce top. The Alvarez that I loved was the same, but priced well below used American models of the same design, but it sounded BETTER than those, for LESS money.

All acoustic guitars are "hit and miss." Two guitars could be made exactly the same by the same luthier out of the same trees to the exact same specifications - and those two guitars will still be VERY DIFFERENT INSTRUMENTS with different characteristics. Someone could play both of them and say,

"No, this one is clearly superior to the other one."

Another person could do the same and think the exact opposite. Both persons are right - they probably make music differently, and appreciate the characteristics that fit their personal styles. All is as it should be with this. Carry on.

What this all boils down to is this - you can get a great Japanese guitar for less money, new or used, than you can an American guitar. I won't say that Japanese guitars are "better," because I don't believe that that is true. What I will say is that for your dollar - assuming that you aren't looking for a top end professional studio guitar (and even if you are - for some high end Japanese brands and models) - you can get a higher quality steel string acoustic guitar made by a Japanese manufacturer like Alvarez, Takamine, or Yamaha.

My Fender F 65 Acoustic

The Fender F Series.

Most everyone knows about Fender brand guitars. Fender guitars are legendary in America, and the world over - but mostly for their electric guitars. Despite Fender being an American company that doesn't have a huge reputation in the acoustic guitar market, Fender makes some outstanding acoustic guitars - and these guitars, the "F" series, are made in Japan.

Fender F series guitars are a tremendous value on the used guitar market. I recently inherited a Fender F 65, and I couldnt' be any more pleased with the guitar. It's all solid wood construction with East Indian Rosewood back and sides, and a VERY high grade solid spruce top. The simple fact that this guitar is made in Japan rather than America makes if the bargain that it is for those who find and purchase one. Anyone can own one of these high value Japanese D 28 style guitars for less than five hundred dollars, typically, when found in a pawn shop.

Alvarez Masterworks MF75CE Folk/OM Acoustic Electric Guitar

Amazon Price: $1,349.00 $874.67

Buy Now

(price as of Nov 9, 2013)

Interested in a all solid wood Alvarez guitar for under a thousand dollars? This is the finger style player's dream guitar, solid rosewood back and sides, solid cedar top, built and priced to last a lifetime!


edit @ 22 Sep 2015 10:22:46 by boringthrill1835