More On Guitars

It’s 1:50am the following night and there may be a bit more to say. I apologize to everyone who is bored by technical guitar stuff. Not exactly what you wanted to read on a balmy Summer evening with the sun close to the horizon and a couple of glasses of St. Julien down the swannee. Never the-less….


Roger and the boys at FYLDE are good to deal with, and if you want a reasonably good guitar that’s honestly made and doesn’t take years to play into some sort of shape, then that could work. Mine is cedar. The action is a bit tough because of their penchant for having a raised fret where the nut should be, but the recorded tone is excellent for someone like me who really thrashes a guitar at times. If I have a song that needs to have a wholesome strum for the best recorded bouquet, then the Fylde has it. I can’t be gentle with it, because of the action, but it’s unsurpassed as a strummer. Just a thought; there’s spanish strum, which legacy/influence is in quite a bit of world dance. Then there’s a north american strum, which Woody influenced us all with, and has been extrapolated as far out as Frank Zappa and Nick Harper!? The portuguese strum is a good one. A lot of south america also has touches of the portuguese. The portuguese guitar is a weird and wonderful instrument… and a beautiful expression of the stringed instrument.. etc. Then, among the rest, there is the plain old english strum. I’m a fairly good exponent. Not the best, but I get by. It’s similar to the football team.. You know that it is fairly honest and straight-forward, but it loses a lot of games these days. Still, all that’s needed is an adequate defence. A platform for the strike. Which can be world class. What a dream. …. of course..

Then there’s my own man, John Bailey. I haven’t seen John for years but we’re in contact. He made me a guitar years ago that is still in use. He is threatening to make me another at the moment. Says he’s still got some of the same wood! Wood .. Now there’s a thing. Different properties. I think that Brazilian Rosewood is better than Indian for guitar making. But it’s to be hoped of course that those boys and girls are re-planting their neighborhoods because the world may need the guitars and the oxygen.. Shit… I was bound to get there and I did. I’ll leave again before customs spots me…..

I’m back playing my old Bailey now. It has it’s faults, like it’s difficult to tune the B string!, and it doesn’t strum as well as it picks. Never the less, it reminds me of ‘Flat Baroque & Berserk’ every time I play it. So, of a night, I just settle into playing that there A minor chord that goes with ‘Davey’ or the D in ‘East of the Sun’ and I’m off and running again.

I’d like a Martin 0M42 I’ve decided.. Maybe I can get the cash together on the next tour.. But it’s a necessity! But so is the ferry fare.. bollocks..  the Irish have a funny expression, which should become more widespread. One of the most common expressions over here is, “The man’s a bollocks” when referring to someone who has committed a perceived error. Which, among other things, is a comical way to use singular and plural at once..

Then there’s Taylor. Fancy in the upper ranges but you can get a good guitar. I find the smaller ones better to record with. Same with any make. Very often the dreadnoughts are good for making a lot of noise in a live, truly acoustic room, but getting that to translate to tape is not as easy as it is with a smaller guitar. All of this may be personal. Next time I get to thinking about all of this I’ll write something about sound reinforcement, pedals and all the rest of it.

Be seeing you.

Copyright 2000 Roy Harper