Guitars and Guitar Nerds...., By Char

Those of you who have seen us perform recently will have heard Sarah bemoan the concept of 'Guitar Nerds' on the the introduction to Steve's Taylor 8 string baritone guitar, questioning the need for so many different guitars when you can only play one at a time. The other night she asked us how many we own.... 'errmm... off the top of our heads...' it turned out to be combined total of 19. I thought about this the day after and remembered I had forgotten to include my Martin Backpacker and a Hagstrom (with a nickname of Odin) guitar that has been permanently loaned to me to look after, so my count actually went up by 2. I said this to Steve and he had also forgotten to include his backpacker in the count, so the actual combined total is in fact 22.

I mention this as a couple of weeks ago we attended a Taylor Roadshow in Birmingham, where a couple of representatives from Taylor Guitars presented an evening dedicated to showcasing the full range of guitars they produce and talked about the different models and wood variations, demonstrating them so people could hear the differences a design and wood choice makes to a guitar sound. I first became aware of how a certain type of wood affects the tone of a guitar when I looked into upgrading my main 'workhorse' acoustic about 4 years ago. As so often happens with me, I had a make and model that I had my heart set on and went on a mission to find a shop that stocked it so I could BUY IT! After a lot of research I located one at a shop not too far from us, so both Steve and I drove over to go and have a play... I ran in and excitedly grabbed it off the shelf and sat down and played it... and was utterly disappointed. The sound didn't match up with what I had in my head. I wanted a big warm full sound, but inadvertently I had managed to single out a physically large bodied instrument made out of maple, which turns out is a very bright and brittle sounding wood. Not what I had in my head. I went home feeling quite dejected and massively disappointed. Back to the drawing board.

A couple of weeks later, out of the blue, my dad phoned quite late at night and asked me to collect him from his friend's house after arriving back from holiday... so I drove over and was invited in for a cup of tea. The chap who owned the house kept some very nice guitars in his wall cavities for security (as you do!) and handed me an Eric Clapton Martin Signature model to try. I had been a bit apprehensive about Martins as I had read they were difficult to play and needed to be 'played in', but as soon as I played it, I knew it was what I wanted. It was instant. This made me reassess things, so Steve and I set a day aside, drove up to Leicester to a guitar shop called Sheehans and spent the day there trying different guitars, made from all sorts of different woods, and really listening. It was a revelation to us how different materials affected the tone of a guitar. I came back with a Martin made from Rosewood and extremely happy! My role in the band a large proportion of the the time, is to provide quite a lot of the backing. My sound needs to be full and big and meaty, to try and compensate for not having bass, drums or keyboards, and my Martin does that really well.

Going back to the Taylor Roadshow, it was really interesting to hear the different models and relate it back to my experience, The Taylor guy said 'the guitar more often than not chooses you', and I really agree with that. The reason guitarists often have a collection of different guitars is to get different sounds and to play different styles of music. But, yes, admittedly it is also that guitarists generally love guitars, to me they are works of art and I'm proud to be a nerd! Incidentally, the Taylor Roadshow was staged at 'Guitar Guitar' in Birmingham. It was the first time Steve and I had visited this shop and we were both really impressed with the range of guitars stocked and the helpfulness of the staff, I am going back to purchase a GS Mini Taylor in a bit. It's my birthday coming up soon.... and I want one to add to my collection. 'My name is Charlotte Elizabeth Watson, and I'm proud to be a guitar nerd.'

Taylor Roadshow @ Guitar Guitar in Birmingham

Taylor Roadshow @ Guitar Guitar in Birmingham

Taylor Roadshow @ Guitar Guitar in Birmingham Taylor Roadshow @ Guitar Guitar in Birmingham  


Gareth Thomas
October 29, 2017 @09:48 am
Well at least I am watching with interest! Your rendition of The Boxer is absolutely superb - possibly my most favorite acoustic song ever. The guitars featured had me really guessing. The Taylor is generally hogging it, but you start on the Martin and somewhere it morphs - with your darker hair colour?? - into a Hagstrom I just could not put a name to. Also on Google I could not find this guitar, so it must be pretty well unique. They did not produce many round-hole semi-acoustics as far as I can see, and that is truly a one-off! I am not a true guitar nerd, but I do always love to identify what folks are playing when I see them. Perhaps I am a true guitar nerd after all! Hope to see the band in December at Neen Sollars. Though from Ludlow, I have not come across you before. Looking forward to that. G

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