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Worst guitar you can bring to a Bluegrass Jam


Silver Supporting Member
is that a westone??? haven't seen that shape before, semi reminds me of some of billy gibbon's 80s guitars! ha.

i was going to say: Flying V with active EMG pickups?????

I like bluegrass. But folks there are quite traditional. Wondering which guitar you could bring which would get you the most glaring stares? Here's my vote:



Silver Supporting Member
Anything that's not a Martin. Bluegrass players are extremely traditional, to the point of being close-minded, I'm afraid. That's been my experience talking with them.
Not far from the truth but there are exceptions. My friend has a “bargrass” band and they don’t even have a banjo.

When I was in a bluegrass band 88-92 I often ran into older guys who, like Bill Monroe, saw no place for lead guitar in bluegrass and I was into Tony Rice.

There are alt bands now. Billy Strings and other “hippie” groups. The last version of New Grass Revival was very exploratory.

That said my acoustic is a Martin D2R. That is as much about Steven Stills and Jerry Garcia as Rice.


I was asked to play and did play, in a traditional bluegrass group in school called "Lunch At The Dump". They all played older, vintage, traditional instruments of great value.

They asked me to play an electric guitar, which shocked me, but I used both a LP, and a Tele.

They said I was the only guitarist they knew who could play an electric guitar at the volume and with the licks they wanted portrayed.

I believe it's not the instrument used, but the player's ability to interpret the music.
I've never played bluegrass myself. I do like listening to it sometimes, and I respect the players.
I did run sound on a few gigs for a bluegrass duo, and a couple times for a 5 piece band.
These guys did not use pickups of any kind, so getting decent volume before feedback was a problem.
In the duo one guy played guitar, mandolin and banjo. Banjos are loud, mandolins are not. For about two seconds, I hadn't turned up the mike when he went back to mandolin after playing banjo. He didn't care, but a "bluegrass Nazi" audience member ran over to yell at me that the mandolin wasn't loud enough. Jeez !
With the band, the lead singer sang in a really loud tenor voice, but when he spoke in-between songs he was incredibly soft spoken.
So his mike was low volume once when he went to talk and he noticed. Talk about riding gain and volume knobs !!!
Mixing a live rock band is a piece of cake compared to those guys.


I was asked to play and did play, in a traditional bluegrass group in school called "Lunch At The Dump". They all played older, vintage, traditional instruments of great value.
Stan Chew! Still in Lunch At The Dump.

Stan and I played in our first bands together, when were 14 and 15, on Taiwan.

Small world. :)
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As much as people say what to do and not to do, are there Bluegrass jams in your area? I find that guys seem to obsess over owning proper Bluegrass guitars, a proper Fender P bass to perfectly sit in the mix, etc. Even when my local scene was active, I can't say that there was ever a Bluegrass scene in my little corner of the Midwest.

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