What kinds of guitars did early bluesmen play

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by fish78, May 10, 2015.

  1. Coldacre

    Coldacre Supporting Member

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  2. Stratburst70

    Stratburst70 Member

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    Bluesmen play whatever the hell they can afford. I caught a blues festival in Chicago several years ago, and I noticed all the lesser known blues players were playing old Ibanez, Kramer, Jackson, Peavey shredders from the 1980's - basically the stuff cluttering up pawn shops at the time. Amps were 99% Peavey.

    Needless to say, I always have to smile whenever I see threads about "What guitar/amp should I buy to play blues?" :stir
     
  3. stevieboy

    stevieboy Clouds yell at me Gold Supporting Member

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    Stella and Washburn were big, like the article said. Kalamazoo was another inexpensive brand of fairly good guitars. Robert Johnson apparently actually played one of those mostly and not the Gibson L1 that he is pictured with in the photo where he's wearing a suit. The pic with the cigarette that you can't see the headstock of the guitar he's holding, that one is a Kalamazoo KR-14. Ladder braced not X braced.

    Gibson L1

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    Kalamazoo

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    Some managed to get Martins, Gibsons, Nationals and all too.

    Doesn't everybody? :dunno
     
  4. peskypesky

    peskypesky Member

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    :beer
     
  5. peskypesky

    peskypesky Member

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    Last edited: May 11, 2015
  6. bismark

    bismark Member

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    I bet these bluesmen don't visit TGP often or at all. Or else they might learn a thing or two from the resident experts here about what playing da blooze is all about - ie. attempting some blues licks and/or looking for the perfect blues tone with a vintage correct Fender CS strat/tele or Gibson R9 plugged into a Two Rock Overdrive Special via a gold infused directional cable aided by a Klon Centaur for added boost in the comfort of your home. :p
     
  7. drbob1

    drbob1 Silver Supporting Member

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    There used to be a guy who busked down on the docks by the river in Savannah. He apparently had a paying gig with a big band, but just loved to play-old time blues and originals. His guitar for busking was an old Ibanez acoustic, with action super high. He'd break a string at least once a night (played pretty hard)-he'd just unwind the ball end, retwist it onto the string and tighten it back up.

    My guess is that real blues players, the ones who came up poor and earned their stripes the hard way, played whatever they could find cheap. And played it till it died then found another. Of course, once they hit it big they could afford something nicer and often moved up. At that point they'd be playing Fenders or Gibsons or some custom thing built for them. I saw Gatemouth Brown a few years before he died, I think he had a nice reissue Firebird at that point.
     
  8. 73Fender

    73Fender Member

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    Ha, if they developed the TGP habit, their playing time would decrease dramatically, they would start to abscess about gear, start modding their guitars etc etc..
     
  9. Tim Plains

    Tim Plains Member

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    Great thread. Puts things into perspective.
     
  10. oldlefty

    oldlefty Member

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    eeeeewwww.........
     
  11. milli vanilli

    milli vanilli Member

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    THIS. I'm in Chicago (aka Shitcago or Chiraq)... yeah, guys that gig pretty much get a nice playing pawnshop special. I think way, way too much emphasis is placed on WHAT guys play. I don't mean guys that have real jobs and also gig, I mean guys that gig as their sole means of bread and butter. There's a lot of "the body? No idea. Think it has an 1980 something neck on it though. I'd love to chat but gotta go, giving a lesson early tomorrow" LOL...
     
  12. peskypesky

    peskypesky Member

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    here's Pistol Pete, rocking an inexpensive Jay Turser SG copy...
    and sounding quite bluesy.

     
  13. Zuhzuhzombie!!

    Zuhzuhzombie!! Member

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    Junior Kimbrough played some god awful guitars in his time. When I saw him live he was playing some super cheap Ibanez.


    BB King played a 330 before he hit it big.
     
  14. straycat113

    straycat113 Member

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    Seriously as stated= whatever they could get their hands on. I remember Buddy Guy telling a story of how he used to nail a single string from the door and play on it.
     
  15. SPROING!

    SPROING! Member

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    My dad was an early bluesman, I suppose. He played some blues, though he never made a living at it. He was a railroader.
    At any rate, his weapon was a 46 Silvertone archtop. This one.

    [​IMG]

    It was his first and only "good" guitar. Before this, he owned some no-name acoustic he said he thought he recalled buying for $2 at a pawn shop.
    He bought the Silvertone for himself as a gift for surviving World War II.
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2015
  16. King Loudness

    King Loudness Member

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    Nationals were popular in the 30s for those who could afford them. Their original price tag (IIRC, it was around $32.50) was too much for a lot of people back then, though. I think Sears even had a run selling Duolians and Triolians in their catalog around 1932-1933. The Stellas and Kalamazoos seemed to be the most popular choice for blues players in that area, as well as some other brands. As was stated, most people in that field regardless of era played what they could afford, or what was available. Case in point... I've seen Hubert Sumlin playing everything from a then-new '50s Gibson LP goldtop, to a cheap 4 pickup Italian special, replete with plastic trim and four pickups.

    W.
     
  17. misterturtlehead

    misterturtlehead Member

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    I reckon some bluesmen might have played one of these in the 1930s. It is a 1935 Supertone.
    [​IMG]
     
  18. Buelligan

    Buelligan Member

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    None of them played Yamahas...
     
  19. misterturtlehead

    misterturtlehead Member

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    Some that lived into the 1970s probably did.
     

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