Thursday, July 28, 2011

Iconic Instruments...

I made some photos, unfortunately through display glass at the Country Music Hall of Fame earlier this summer on our visit to Nashville.

Here's the pedal steel Sneaky Pete played on George Harrison's All Things Must Pass, the first album he released as a non Beetle. Funny thing was we listen to that recording in the car on the way to Nashville. After being an icon of early alt/country music Pete made sound effects for movies like The Empire Strikes Back and the Terminator movies.








Chet Atkins's guitars and amps. When asked to the define the Nashville sound Chet reportedly would stick his fist in his pants pocket and shake the coins there making the jingling sound of money hitting the cash register. You have heard these instruments on may popular recordings.















Not a good photo, but it's Bill Monroe's mandolin. This instrument was once smashed to 180 pieces in the 1980s by an intruder with a fire place poker. The intruder's name has never been
reveiled but widely thought to be a woman as conventional wisdom holds that a man would have swung it by the neck to smash. What ever, the Gibson Guitar Company repaired this 1920s instrument and he played it the rest of his life.

Something speaks to me about these old instruments being behind glass never to be heard again and I really don't know what it is. I guess the men who made the sounds are gone, maybe they won't sound the same played by others. Looking at these brought to mind a recent experience at a dance we played. A guy comes up after the show (no I don't think he was flirting with me) asks how low the action was on my bass. I had cased it, but I took it out and let him examine it. It was a funny feeling showing that guy my ax. As I handed it over to him I seemed to feel all the dents and dings, how really fine the play-ability and action really are on a guitar I have been playing for 26 years. The guy looked at it and acknowledged that the action was quite a bit lower than his guitar. I had never really though much about it, I just fool with stuff till it feels right.

I don't know where I am going with this. Old instruments, magic, or just stuff?


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