Tony McManus is Incredible, and Incredibly Underrated

Discussion in 'The Sound Hound Lounge' started by Scanloni, Jun 12, 2018.


  1. Scanloni

    Scanloni Member

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    I was lucky enough to see Tony live at a tiny music store in Connecticut last winter. There was a heavy snowstorm that night and only a handful of people (literally) showed up to the show. I made a night of it. Took a train from Providence, RI to CT, rented a hotel room for the night, took an Uber to the show and back.

    Tony sat on a folding chair in front of the small wall of high end acoustic guitars, and the handful of us sat on ours just a few feet away. It was a bit surreal to be honest. One of the greatest acoustic guitar players alive, arguably the Greatest Celtic Guitar Player on the planet, journeyed out into a heavy snowstorm to perform for just a handful of people at a little music store in CT. It was one of those moments that makes you think, “either I’m nuts for making this trip to see this guy play guitar at this little store, or the rest of the world is nuts for not being at this little store to see this guy play guitar.”

    Anyway, Tony played some of the greatest acoustic guitar I’ve ever heard that night, and it really felt like a special, private performance, on a snowy winter night for a few extremely lucky people. I was thrilled to be one of them. Below are a few of my favorite tracks from my favorite acoustic guitar player, Tony McManus.

    Oh, and how about that Greenfield he’s playing? Good lord, what a great sounding guitar. I wonder if it’s the cheaper Model GF priced from $10,400, or one of the other models priced from $14,500? (A non-refundable deposit of $3,000 is required to reserve your place on the Greenfield build-list and begin the consultation process.) http://www.greenfieldguitars.com/pricing-contact/





     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2018
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  2. townsend

    townsend Member

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    Thank you for this post and for sharing your experience of seeing him live in that music store.

    Here is one of their guitars (from the link) -- it looks killer and sounds even better:
    [​IMG]
     
  3. Steve1216

    Steve1216 Member

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    I looooooove this guys playing. I am a big fan of Celtic stuff, and he is the top of the heap. With Tommy Emmanuel level chops, I don’t see why this guy doesn’t get mentioned more often.
     
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  4. Ferret

    Ferret Supporting Member

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    He's a very fine player indeed. He's also an excellent teacher. He has an online course on Truefire that's well worth checking out for those who like Celtic guitar.
     
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  5. Scanloni

    Scanloni Member

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    Yes, I purchased “Celtic Fingerstyle Guitar, an Introduction” a while back. Beautiful music, and very well taught as you said. Much of hus music is in DADGAD or other alternate tunings. So, in order to learn/play his music or play in this style you have to really commit to learning a new tuning. I did that, but made the mistake of going back to standard tuning/playing for a while and am now re-learning DADGAD. It’s a really cool/fun tuning to play in.
     
  6. Ferret

    Ferret Supporting Member

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    Yes, DADGAD is cool to play in and sounds so good in Celtic music in part because of the rich sympathetic resonance of the unpicked open strings and the drone possibilities. It's not a new tuning to me and actually resembles open D major (and open G) and a slightly altered octave mandolin tuning (GDAD) which I've also been playing a long time. These tunings share a lot of advantages that carry over when you go from one to another and the fact that open D and G major works so well for slide and lap steel playing suggests techniques that carry over to the others. So once you learn to play Celtic music in one, you are a long way towards mastering the others. I recently transposed a difficult Paul Brady guitar part from open G to open D and the bulk of the work went into learning the part in open G; the transposition was an easy exercise afterwards. Once you are at home in DADGAD the other tunings will follow; they won't be like starting all over again.
     
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  7. Scanloni

    Scanloni Member

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    Excellent insight, and very well said.

    I’ve been so busy simply enjoying the haunting, beautiful tones that even basic DADGAD fingerstyle noodling conjur up that I haven’t given proper focus to actually studying the tuning. I’m really anticipating doing so, may even buy a new dedicated DADGAD acoustic. But which one.....
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2018
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  8. Barquentine

    Barquentine Member

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    Wonderful playing and the guitar sounds incredible - but the price !! $10,400 for the 'cheaper' model.
     
  9. Scanloni

    Scanloni Member

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    Tommy Emmanuel is an unbelievable player, no doubt. My proudest acoustic achievement is the ability to play “Those Who Wait” which, by no small coincidence happens to be arguably his simplest song to play. Nonetheless, it’s probably my second favorite TE tune behind Angelina.

    That said, I’ve seen his shtick a couple times, and it is indeed a shtick. For me, Tommy Emmanuel is best enjoyed audibly. On the other hand, having the pleasure to see Tony McManus play live again is an opportunity I never intend to miss.
     
  10. Ferret

    Ferret Supporting Member

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    I think any good guitar and perhaps a gauge of string that is a touch heavier on the detuned strings will get you there. Avoid boomy guitars, I think, as they don't handle detuning at all well. Some guitars do have a special magic though. Another guy why makes much of altered tunings but mixes Celtic with old-timey and blues is Martin Simpson. But he plays, or used to play, Sobell which would set you back at least K10 also. What's outstanding about his guitars is the balance and clarity in a lot of different tunings. He just retunes on stage. Simpson has a signature PRS model now that might be affordable but I haven't checked.

    Good luck. You'll have a lot of fun.
     

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