Cowboy Guitar Question

Construction and repair of Classical Guitar and related instruments
PeteJ
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Cowboy Guitar Question

Post by PeteJ » Mon Aug 28, 2017 1:15 pm

In old b&w western's there's often a guitar being played in the canteena or at the back of the bar, and it always sounds fabulous. An intimate sound and very little resonance but very clear, even and unassuming. What sort of guitar is that and where do I get one?

Related question - Is there a way to calm down the attack and percussiveness of a CG? I think it's the top end I want to calm down a bit to have something more mellow. I thought you guys might have a trick or two for this sort of thing.

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Michael.N.
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Re: Cowboy Guitar Question

Post by Michael.N. » Mon Aug 28, 2017 1:41 pm

I think I know what you mean. It's probably a small parlour or romantic type guitar. Ladder braced. They give that very even, clear sound, a little woody sounding to the bass.
That's my guess. Mind you it's a good couple of decades since I've seen a B&W cowboy movie.
If you play without nails that should calm it down. Seems you need to look up Rob Mackillop on u-tube. I'm assuming that is the type of sound that you are after.
Historicalguitars.

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Steve Toscano
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Re: Cowboy Guitar Question

Post by Steve Toscano » Mon Aug 28, 2017 2:36 pm

PeteJ wrote:
Mon Aug 28, 2017 1:15 pm
I think it's the top end I want to calm down a bit to have something more mellow. I thought you guys might have a trick or two for this sort of thing.
Try sticking a lump of about 30grams of blutac (called poster putty in some countries) to the bridge wings of your guitar * .
You can alter how much to vary the effect.
The extra weight will take away a huge amount of the top end. You will also lose an amount of response from the instrument with this weight.
If you like the effect after doing the test you can stick it inside right under the bridge too.


* obviously be carefull not to damage the finish. Maybe try on a cheap instrument first. The stuff we get here in australia doesnt seem to damage french polish.

PeteJ
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Re: Cowboy Guitar Question

Post by PeteJ » Tue Aug 29, 2017 11:20 am

Thanks. Rob Mackillop is a good call, although his guitars still sound a bit expensive for the canteena. I'm a big fan of bluetack and have been experimenting for years with it. I recently asked a maker here to reproduce my best bluetack positions with some internal weights so I could play without lumps of the stuff on the front, and it worked well. But for the sound I'm thinking of I'd need a different guitar. I've filed off my thumb-nail but haven't dared taking off the rest of them. I should definitely try this sometime.

I wondered if anyone here builds small and unassuming instruments. A friend had a 1/4 size gtr from her childhood, more or less a toy, with strings that hadn't been changed for 25 years, and it was almost perfect. But she wouldn't sell it to me and then it was stolen. Maybe the trick is having very old strings.

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bear
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Re: Cowboy Guitar Question

Post by bear » Tue Aug 29, 2017 12:27 pm

Of course there was that whole movie studio thing with all those sound techs, dubbing and state of the art stuff.
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bear
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Re: Cowboy Guitar Question

Post by bear » Tue Aug 29, 2017 1:25 pm

Michael.N. wrote:
Mon Aug 28, 2017 1:41 pm
I think I know what you mean. It's probably a small parlour or romantic type guitar. Ladder braced. They give that very even, clear sound, a little woody sounding to the bass.
That's my guess. Mind you it's a good couple of decades since I've seen a B&W cowboy movie.
If you play without nails that should calm it down. Seems you need to look up Rob Mackillop on u-tube. I'm assuming that is the type of sound that you are after.
Gene Autry made a lot of those movies and is often seen playing the type of guitar that you describe. Off the set and in some publicity pics, he was shown with different types. He had that fancy looking 1939 Gibson J200, 1935 Santa Fe Harmony archtop, Martin 042 to name a few.
2013 Jeff Medlin '37 Hauser 640mm sp
2006 Michele Della Giustina Concert 10 string 650mm ce
2005 Jose Ramirez 4E 650mm ce
2005 Manuel Rodriguez Model C3F 650mm sp
2003 Manuel Rodriguez Model D 650mm ce

PeteJ
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Re: Cowboy Guitar Question

Post by PeteJ » Wed Aug 30, 2017 12:37 pm

Oh yes. Gene Autry. I'll do a search to see what it uncovers.

Bear - You're right, I expect a lot if the sound is to do with tape, the mics etc. These people knew what they were doing.

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bear
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Re: Cowboy Guitar Question

Post by bear » Wed Aug 30, 2017 1:37 pm

PeteJ wrote:
Wed Aug 30, 2017 12:37 pm
Oh yes. Gene Autry. I'll do a search to see what it uncovers.

Bear - You're right, I expect a lot if the sound is to do with tape, the mics etc. These people knew what they were doing.
Also Roy Rogers
2013 Jeff Medlin '37 Hauser 640mm sp
2006 Michele Della Giustina Concert 10 string 650mm ce
2005 Jose Ramirez 4E 650mm ce
2005 Manuel Rodriguez Model C3F 650mm sp
2003 Manuel Rodriguez Model D 650mm ce

Number 6
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Re: Cowboy Guitar Question

Post by Number 6 » Wed Aug 30, 2017 5:51 pm

bear wrote:
Wed Aug 30, 2017 1:37 pm
PeteJ wrote:
Wed Aug 30, 2017 12:37 pm
Oh yes. Gene Autry. I'll do a search to see what it uncovers.

Bear - You're right, I expect a lot if the sound is to do with tape, the mics etc. These people knew what they were doing.
Also Roy Rogers
Yippee Ki Yay M***F***

hpaulj
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Re: Cowboy Guitar Question

Post by hpaulj » Wed Aug 30, 2017 7:03 pm

Magnetic tape recording was a post WWII technology. Prior to that the recording medium was the film itself (optical) ,or physcial - scratched on a wax disk.

Jeffrey Armbruster
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Re: Cowboy Guitar Question

Post by Jeffrey Armbruster » Wed Aug 30, 2017 7:49 pm

Number 6, I believe you mean this: (and please don't give Roy the trigger finger)

Happy trails to you
Until we meet again
Happy trails to you
Keep smilin' until then
Happy trails to you
'Til we meet...a...gain.

this I can remember after all these years. My grocery list, not so much.
Paul Weaver spruce 2014
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Guitar Slim Jr.
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Re: Cowboy Guitar Question

Post by Guitar Slim Jr. » Wed Aug 30, 2017 8:29 pm

Sounds like Autry played all kinds of guitars in the movies, not just the old-fashioned small-bodied ones. He was, after all, at the forefront of country-and-western music.

A quick Google also reveals:

The Gene Autry Roundup guitar, introduced by Sears in 1932 and probably made by Harmony. This IS a small-body guitar, solid spruce top, solid mahogany back and sides. In 1932 it sold for $9.75! Looks like a nylon, but is actually a steel string -- narrow steel rollers, pegs in the bridge, etc. This is according to a commercial site I won't mention here...but there seems to be a lot of info all over the internet about these guitars.

One final note, small-body guitars in general are making a real comeback, they're available everywhere at all price points. The ones I've seen in the retail stores are mostly steel-string, but I've seen nylon strings too.

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Guitar Slim Jr.
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Re: Cowboy Guitar Question

Post by Guitar Slim Jr. » Wed Aug 30, 2017 8:58 pm

Jeffrey Armbruster wrote:
Wed Aug 30, 2017 7:49 pm
Number 6, I believe you mean this: (and please don't give Roy the trigger finger)

Happy trails to you
Until we meet again
Happy trails to you
Keep smilin' until then
Happy trails to you
'Til we meet...a...gain.

this I can remember after all these years. My grocery list, not so much.
Try making your grocery list into a song! :wink:

Don't know how old you are, but I remember this from Sunday-morning TV in the states in the 60s and early 70s. Saturday was for cartoons and sci-fi/horror B-movies, but Sunday was Shirley Temple, Ma and Pa Kettle, and of course, Roy Rogers. More wholesome fare for Sundays, I suppose...

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Martin
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Re: Cowboy Guitar Question

Post by Martin » Wed Aug 30, 2017 9:52 pm

I don't know if its true, but I have read somewhere that whenever the hero walked into the cantina in those 1940's and 50's movies, and a Mexican-looking guy was playing guitar in the corner, it was almost always Vicente Gomez.

He also wrote Spanish Romance!*





* not really
If all else fails, try reading the instructions...

soltirefa
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Re: Cowboy Guitar Question

Post by soltirefa » Wed Aug 30, 2017 9:57 pm

I like Blue Shadows on the Trail from the movie The Three Amigos, sung by Chevy Chase. YouTube it.

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