Swing Guitar

Dedicated to pre-bebop jazz guitar.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Swing Guitar on YouTube!

With Time magazine giving "us" collectively person of the year due to innovations like blogging and youtube, it's about time I picked out some of the best swing guitar clips currently on youtube. Some of these clips are really inspiring and some are just amazing historical rarities - as we all know, during the swing era guitar was not the feature instrument it is today.

Here are two rare ones to start.

Louis Prima/Pee Wee Russell - "
Isle of Capri" (Gerry McAdams - guitar)
Kind of a dixie tune with a slammin' chord solo from obscure player Gerry McAdams.

Les Paul - "and the Teenagers"
Les is playing the "Log" through a 40's Epiphone Electar Amp. Rad....

Django Reinhardt -
one of the very rare vids of Django
La Route Du Bonheur"
A bad-ass clip of Django playing in a more bebop style from 1952.

Lester Young, et. al, - "Jammin' the Blues" (Barney Kessel - guitar)
This is easily one of the most inspiring film clips I've ever seen. Everytime I hear or see it, I just want start jammin'. The link above is just the up blues part, here is the whole film (10minutes).

Coleman Hawkins - "I Found a New Baby" (Mary Osbourne - guitar)
This is early TV jam session, featuring 1st generation Charlie Christian devotee Mary Osbourne. The story is that she heard CC play in '37 or so, and went out the next day to get a Gibson 150 set.

Benny Goodman - "One O'Clock Jump"
Check out the featured Electric Guitar solo on this! This film dates to 1943, so this still pretty early to feature a guitar solo. I can't remember the name of the player right now, but I'll update when I remember.

Basie All Stars - "Dickie's Dream" (Freddie Green)
This is pretty rad clip anyway, but there are several shots of Freddie chunking, plus you can actually hear him in places.

More to follow....

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

I'm Back, again - no really....

So, I finished my last final yesterday, so now I have some time to put up several posts I've had planned.

First a gear update. So, last time I mentioned using a 1947 Dearmond FHC Guitar Mic and a 1936 EH-150. Well as I mentioned both of them had problems. The Guitar mic had a short in it somewhere leaving the output about a quarter of what it should be - which is not even remotely enough to use with the amp. The EH-150 had a blown speaker and other problems. I had the speaker reconed and the circuits cleaned up and it worked pretty good and sounded fantastic. But the big problem was that the cabinet was falling apart and the bottom was falling out, I used it for months and it was worth the hassle.

Since I couldn't use the two together, I got an 1965 Guitar Mic off ebay and started using that. Now that sounds great! Oddly enough the 60's Guitar mic seems as though its balanced for nickel (read:electric) strings, not bronze, whereas the 40's pickup sounds balanced for bronze strings and has a compensated B string. I guess in the 40's people where just sticking pickups on their otherwise acoustic guitars with bronze strings, and by the 60's people where more interested in the elctric sound and kept nickel strings on their jazz boxes all the time.

So now I had a working pickup that sounded great paired with the Gibson amp. But I was still dealing with a very, very fragile amp that was falling apart. So. next I bought another EH-150 on ebay, this time a Style 3 1937-1940, with a 12". Another selling point was that this amp had its back cover. But when the amp arrived, I realized that it was not a 150, but a very, very rare EH-160 - the AC/DC version. The thing has 11 tubes in it, a battery bias, and a bunch of other wierd features. Plus, get this... its a shock hazard! So I had to get an isolation transformer - which is like 15lbs - to keep from killing myself. Anyway, my bass player Wally gave the thing two different going overs and now it sound unbelievable. It has more bass because of the 12" speaker and I used it on our new record (recorded mid november - still in post). Of course, there are still some problems, the main one being that the bizzarre circuit in the 160 is actually only 5-6 watts, so its too quiet.

I tried to have the 1947 Deamrond rewound, with mediocre results. I don't know what I'm going to do with it now. As it stands I've got the '65 guitar mic on my blonde Eastman 810CE, and nothing on my sunburst Eastman 805. I've been taking the EH-160 to gigs and I'm planning to get a cover for it from studio slips. After christmas, I'm planning on getting either another regular EH-150 with a 12" speaker or an Epiphone from the era. I'm also planning on having my 1936 EH-150 reconditioned, and having the cabinet reglued.

I'll post sound samples when I get the rough mixes from our last recording.
More to come!