Just a few thoughts on acoustic

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Just a few thoughts on acoustic

Postby Staemius » Mon Nov 05, 2012 1:59 pm

So, at the height of the Dead's electric blow your mind experience - they go acoustic. How cool was that? The first 'unplugged' of sorts. Keep in mind, Bobby was 'fired' for playing too acoustically - and then they go acoustic and play their first sets of 1970 unplugged. And, by 1971, Bobby (IMO) starts to really shine as the amazing rhythm player we now know. That acoustic stuff (as well as Working Man's Dead and American Beauty) really opened the door (and still does) to a lot of folks who wrote the Dead off (unjustly) as weird acid rock (I thought they were a heavy metal band for years until college, lol). Anyways, it'd be cool for Further to do an acoustic set - I don't think I've ever heard John K. play acoustic - would you'd be cool with that?
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Re: Just a few thoughts on acoustic

Postby Tennessee Jedi » Mon Nov 05, 2012 2:08 pm

Staemius wrote: I don't think I've ever heard John K. play acoustic - would you'd be cool with that?


Yeah man !
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Re: Just a few thoughts on acoustic

Postby Staemius » Mon Nov 05, 2012 2:17 pm

Oh my - that was just PERFECT Jedi - thx for that - haha!
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Re: Just a few thoughts on acoustic

Postby easytoslip » Mon Nov 05, 2012 3:38 pm

that's funny, my bro was into the Dead long before I and I also thought it was metal! acoustic guitar is a magnificent instrument when played well, but I still stand by my love of electric rock on Friday and Sat nights. nothing like it. btw this unbroken vid is really beautiful, thanks for sharing it :thewave:

edit to add: but yes, I believe acoustic can bring naysayers on-board, and I like acoustic to start with two electric sets to follow, if I have a choice
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Re: Just a few thoughts on acoustic

Postby Smolder » Mon Nov 05, 2012 4:11 pm

to play an acoustic in a remarkable way is so much simpler but so much more difficult than playing electric. (which would explain the 8:1 electric:acoustic ratio of my guitar collection)... I can't tell you how many time I've walked into a pub and been struck with a tendency towards an animal house belushi... but I digress.
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Re: Just a few thoughts on acoustic

Postby Staemius » Mon Nov 05, 2012 5:42 pm

Yep - Jerry had a quote, something to the effect of, 'I wish I had more time to master it', it really is a different animal. I've heard a number of folks complain about the Radio City recordings - apparently Jerry's guitar had a bit of a buzzing (fret buzz?) to it. I've always liked it- sounds like he's trying to contain a bee hive full of energy - hehe! Sublime stuff on Must Have Been the Roses, China Doll, To Lay Me Down, etc. wowza! Talking to myself here- I still haven't found that acoustic...
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Re: Just a few thoughts on acoustic

Postby tcsned » Mon Nov 05, 2012 7:38 pm

Staemius wrote:Yep - Jerry had a quote, something to the effect of, 'I wish I had more time to master it', it really is a different animal. I've heard a number of folks complain about the Radio City recordings - apparently Jerry's guitar had a bit of a buzzing (fret buzz?) to it. I've always liked it- sounds like he's trying to contain a bee hive full of energy - hehe! Sublime stuff on Must Have Been the Roses, China Doll, To Lay Me Down, etc. wowza! Talking to myself here- I still haven't found that acoustic...


I think his tone is a little rubbery/piezo sounding but his playing was brilliant and made everything else irrelevant IMHO. It was as much as anything a limitation of PA and acoustic pickup technology. He didn't like the dynamics and touch he got from using mics onstage. I heard Grisman fussed at him a lot about that :-) I play acoustic a lot In a bluegrass band, a gypsy jazz band, and my Dead band's other guitarist and I do acoustic duet gigs. It's a different animal for sure. I have a rough time transitioning from playing a lot of one or the other and switching. Different touch especially the gypsy jazz guitar with a 26 1/2" neck scale. With the bluegrass band we only use 2 mics, one for vocals, harp, and fiddle, one for guitars, banjo, mandolin and lean in for breaks. That has taken a lot of getting used to. i Love my Taylor 810 and Dell'Arte.
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Re: Just a few thoughts on acoustic

Postby The Stag » Mon Nov 05, 2012 8:09 pm

those are some pretty.....odd laa's he does towards the end lol
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Re: Just a few thoughts on acoustic

Postby easytoslip » Mon Nov 05, 2012 9:36 pm

i was a good girl and googled piezo, but am not understanding entirely how it relates to discussion of Jerry's guitar playing. anyone care to shed a little light, I'd appreciate it. i keep seeing that here
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Re: Just a few thoughts on acoustic

Postby tcsned » Tue Nov 06, 2012 3:27 am

easytoslip wrote:i was a good girl and googled piezo, but am not understanding entirely how it relates to discussion of Jerry's guitar playing. anyone care to shed a little light, I'd appreciate it. i keep seeing that here

It's the type of crystal used in typical guitar pickups. They work and generally sound good but they color the tone and have kind of a rubbery tone IMHO. Grisman's contention was that acoustic tone needs to travel through air to really be acoustic otherwise it's really just another form of electric instrument. I tend to agree with this but the reality of performing on stage can easily push you in that direction. There are a lot of other options available today that are a lot more natural sounding.
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Re: Just a few thoughts on acoustic

Postby Lephty » Tue Nov 06, 2012 7:29 am

I loved Jerry's acoustic playing from day one and in fact it led me into the world of bluegrass in general (for better or for worse!). But if you've ever listened to "The Pizza Tapes" with Grisman & Tony Rice, the difference between Tony & Jerry is striking. Tony takes a solo on one of the takes "Shady Grove" that is just stunning, and when the tune is done you hear Jerry laughing and he says, "Jeez, Tony, try to restrain yourself".

Anyway it goes to show that acoustic and electric are indeed very different animals, and a guy like Tony Rice has devoted virtually his entire life to acoustic guitar. Jerry's musical tastes were broader than that, so he didn't get around to mastering acoustic on that level. But bluegrass definitely informed Jerry's playing, and I still thank him to this day for turning me on to that universe of music.
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Re: Just a few thoughts on acoustic

Postby TI4-1009 » Tue Nov 06, 2012 7:59 am

They work and generally sound good but they color the tone and have kind of a rubbery tone IMHO.


Yeah, right. I always considered it a kind of "plastic-y" tone.
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Re: Just a few thoughts on acoustic

Postby Maybeck09 » Tue Nov 06, 2012 12:11 pm

I play both and just love the acoustic. Its my bias, but I figured most guitars players come back to that. Sitting alone with a Martin unplugged and getting the exact sound you want on a very comfortable instrument is great. Feeling the throaty boom from the backside hitting your chest. And none of the annoying electronic issues that I always seem to have once plugged in. Additionally, I can sing so much better over the acoustic (even if plugged in) vs. our whole band setup.

Jerry certainly seemed to be a big fan of the acoustic side (what with his bluegrass background and love for acoustic players). Bob too. And yes, I also love the Pizza tapes and can hear a distinct difference in Jerry and Tony Rice's playing. Jerry (I love him) sounds great and is trying to fit in so many musical ideas, but he's not as tight and slips and slides around to the right note sometimes (a little buzz), where as Rice is crisp and dead on. Yeah, I know Rice is a full time acoustic guy.

As a practicing guitarist I think there's room for both (acoustic and electric) for most of us. Each with advantages, etc. And yes they are a lot more different to play then just switching back and forth. For example open strings sound so much better on an acoustic, so your chording and solos can be lower on the fretboard. Pick dynamics are different. The way you hold the instrument and where your elbow/wrist fall, etc. Good to do both. But if there is a fire and I can only get one out, its going to be my Martin.
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Re: Just a few thoughts on acoustic

Postby squire758 » Wed Nov 07, 2012 1:23 am

The electric guitar world can really be its own thing sometimes, and will always be a work in progress. Acoustic music and playing have a somehow more natural feel. It's associated with great dynamic, natural ability and all that good stuff. When people jam(and inevitably compare yourself to others or play unexpectedly) you hear alot of "well im not on my rig" and things to that effect. The beauty of acoustic is that everyones on the same playing field when someone hands you one. It's really the ultimate test, and the ultimate proof that the music is in the MAN. At this moment in time your duty is to entertain, heres a pick ya know? Most of these instances happen acoustically thanks to the "knockaround" and I love that. Communicating with musicians i meet for the first time and jam with is probably my favorite thing about music. This may be altogether removed from the original premise sorry lol :D
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Re: Just a few thoughts on acoustic

Postby easytoslip » Wed Nov 07, 2012 4:39 pm

tcsned wrote:It's the type of crystal used in typical guitar pickups.

didn't want to put entire quote here, but that's interesting, never knew that. What are the alternatives, possible to switch out for a better pickup? or just play up next to a mic? <--this option seems clumsy to me
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