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  1. #1

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    Here is a Guild Artist Award, a typical 17" structure, in the lap of a small woman. She is dwarfed with it, but is a happy dwarf.

    Don't complain that the guitar is too big for you-f0b2ff0437142cc8ec327d032729f1c6-jpg

    Maybe when she's 65 she'll downsize her guitar as her body downsizes.


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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    Her arms look twice the lenght of my stubby T-Rex arms.

  4. #3

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    She will certainly downsize in height if she keeps playing in that position.

  5. #4

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    Yeah, people always want it to be some outside force holding them back. Not a lack of effort, practice, or discipline. It's these hands, my pinky is too short, if I only had better tone, then I wouldn't flub all these notes. It's this guitar, it's made in china, an American one would make me better.

  6. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by sgosnell View Post
    She will certainly downsize in height if she keeps playing in that position.
    She's 40 years old and hasn't downsized yet. But of course ultimately we all downsize I suppose.

  7. #6

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    We all do sooner or later. I just wish I had started later.

  8. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by AllanAllen
    Yeah, people always want it to be some outside force holding them back. Not a lack of effort, practice, or discipline. It's these hands, my pinky is too short, if I only had better tone, then I wouldn't flub all these notes. It's this guitar, it's made in china, an American one would make me better.
    I think this may be a bit overly general in it's condemnation. I can't handle a large guitar but it certainly doesn't hold me back. I just play smaller guitars and get on with things.
    Last edited by Jim Soloway; 04-07-2021 at 01:46 PM.

  9. #8

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    I had an Artist Award and thought it was small, but I’m 6-1. Probably the only archtop I developed active hatred towards.

    AllenAllen is right...Complaining to my first jazz teacher Bill Bitner about my large palm and shorter fingers, he cut me off with:
    ”have you seen Django Reinhardt’s fingers?“

  10. #9

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    For most of the video, she's not actually playing it anyway, so there's that much less to complain about. For everybody.

  11. #10

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    ..........I'll admit to ' down-weighting ' as I've gotten older... ......( assuming that's even a word )....

    ....for me that guitar would be just fine - if it didn't weigh over 7+1/2 pounds, which I'm pretty sure it does....

    .......but I'd rather have to make do with that guitar and that shape than the 3 p/u LP I ( mistakenly) tried once......

    ..just MHO.....

  12. #11

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    No complaints, just acceptance and accomodation. Besides, there's just more to love!

  13. #12

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    Carol Kaye loved her big Epiphone.


  14. #13

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    Depends on if you hold it "in the elbow" or "over the elbow." In either case, a recipe for shoulder joint problems down the road.

  15. #14
    There are a lot of ways a player finds a fit with a guitar. I've played some that felt too small, had some that felt too big, some too big that were smaller than the guitar I was using, and though I play a 15" guitar now, it's because of the sound and feel, the balance and this uncanny feeling that it reflects what I play in a way that makes the instrument "invisible" when I'm playing. But I don't really attribute it to the size of the guitar as much as who I become when I'm playing it.
    One time I spent some time with a D'Angelico New Yorker, 18". I had to adjust the way I sat with it so my arms and hands could get around on it, but once I started playing, it wasn't a guitar, but a conduit for turning ideas into sound that felt amazing. I knew at that point "THIS is what all the talk is about."

    My feeling is, when you become good enough to recognize extraordinary, in what you play, and what you play it on, it's not a matter of size, but you'll know it.
    I love Mary Halvorson. When she plays, she owns it. The guitar has her voice. It fits.
    Don't complain that the guitar is too big for you-screen-shot-2021-04-07-1-30-58-pm-png

  16. #15

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    As with everything else musical, generalizations are not always that useful.

    I'm 6' tall, long waisted, long arms, always thought any size guitar would work equally well. And they do, with one exception. Not body size per se, but body size and scale. A 17" lower bout archtop with 25.5" scale bothers my left wrist. Same size archtop with 24.75" scale is perfect. No idea why that would be. Perhaps my posture or approach to the instrument is wrong. Whatever the case, I won't persist with something that doesn't feel right.

  17. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wildcat
    Her arms look twice the lenght of my stubby T-Rex arms.
    I got your body right now on my mind
    But I drunk myself blind
    To the sound of old T-Rex
    To the sound of old T-Rex
    Oh, and Who's Next?


  18. #17

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    Hugely depends on whether you play seated vs. standing. Personally almost all my playing is standing (you know, what with sitting being the new smoking and all, although I've been mostly standing for guitar since about 2012). Also interesting that she does not "cross a leg" to put the guitar in the right (approx) position for her. That's actually because the guitar is so big. When I play "seated" I still use the strap and so the guitar is basically in the same position as I'd have it in while standing, but if I was playing without a strap and with the guitar just resting on my leg I'd go for a larger instrument too.

  19. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marty Grass View Post
    She's 40 years old and hasn't downsized yet. But of course ultimately we all downsize I suppose.
    I've downsized in every dimension. It's amazing to me. I now wear size small clothes from Costco and even those sometimes are too big.

  20. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by mad dog View Post
    As with everything else musical, generalizations are not always that useful.

    I'm 6' tall, long waisted, long arms, always thought any size guitar would work equally well. And they do, with one exception. Not body size per se, but body size and scale. A 17" lower bout archtop with 25.5" scale bothers my left wrist. Same size archtop with 24.75" scale is perfect. No idea why that would be. Perhaps my posture or approach to the instrument is wrong. Whatever the case, I won't persist with something that doesn't feel right.
    I think I can relate. If you find yourself playing that long one again you might try tilting the neck up.

  21. #20

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    St Vincent designed her signature guitar to fit.


  22. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Soloway View Post
    I've downsized in every dimension. It's amazing to me. I now wear size small clothes from Costco and even those sometimes are too big.
    Can you teach me the secret of downsizing? I've been upsizing pretty steadily for the last few years, and trying to keep my L from going to XL.

  23. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by Doctor Jeff
    Can you teach me the secret of downsizing? I've been upsizing pretty steadily for the last few years, and trying to keep my L from going to XL.
    We're vegetarians and I cook pretty much every meal using healthy and fresh ingredients. We rarely eat out and we stay away from most processed foods and manufactured snacks. We also exercise every day. (I should probably also mention that we don't drink).

  24. #23

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    I don't usually listen to Mary Halvorson (nor to Derek Bailey, of whom she reminds me) but I have to say that she has found a guitar sound that really seems to suit what she does.

  25. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by jazzkritter
    I had an Artist Award and thought it was small, but I’m 6-1. Probably the only archtop I developed active hatred towards.

    AllenAllen is right...Complaining to my first jazz teacher Bill Bitner about my large palm and shorter fingers, he cut me off with:
    ”have you seen Django Reinhardt’s fingers?“
    Why did you develop a hatred towards an Artist Award? I found that guitar as one of the finest guitar specimens ever created. However it’s 3 1/8” in depth. Not nearly as deep as an L5. Do you hate L5’s too?

  26. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Soloway
    We're vegetarians and I cook pretty much every meal using healthy and fresh ingredients. We rarely eat out and we stay away from most processed foods and manufactured snacks. We also exercise every day. (I should probably also mention that we don't drink).
    pretty close to the Mediterranean diet, but it allows lean protein (i.e. fish) and pasta and wine - as in ONCE per week. and lots of walking.

    cardiologists recommend.

    I call it the NF diet. (No Fun). But it works.

  27. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by BigDaddyLoveHandles
    St Vincent designed her signature guitar to fit.

    Wowee. If that’s what a saint looks like I may have to start attending Mass again.

  28. #27

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    Well, my spine knee and shoulder injuries dictate how big (and more importantly how heavy) of a guitar I can comfortably play. I’ve learned to live with this limitation.

  29. #28

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    I need everybody to send me their biggest American guitars so I can impartially review this matter.

  30. #29

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    I play 17''+ guitars most of the time... although I'm noticing back pain and neck pain when I play seated for anything more than an hour or so.
    Does anyone else have an issue like this? When standing, no issues.

  31. #30

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    These days, pushing 64 years of age, I am experiencing fingertip pain no matter what size guitar I play. Light strings are now my friend.

  32. #31

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    Speaking of big guitars:


  33. #32

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    "We agree to abstain from all big archtop guitars of an intoxicating quality whether Gibson, Guild, Stromberg, Wolfrum or Farida,
    except as medicine.
    "


    Adapted from Joseph Livesey, teetotaler and leader of the 'temperance movement'

  34. #33
    Quote Originally Posted by entresz
    I play 17''+ guitars most of the time... although I'm noticing back pain and neck pain when I play seated for anything more than an hour or so.
    Does anyone else have an issue like this? When standing, no issues.
    I have had issues in the past. What helped me was getting a seat pad, one of those orthopedic office chair pads, that raised me up a little bit and gave my lower back support. Somehow, raising my body a little more changed the angle of my legs, took pressure off my lower back and gave me a more open, less cramped posture. I also use a classical guitar lift attached to the guitar to assure the neck is at least a 45 degree angle.
    It worked for me, and if I don't use these, my back and neck pain returns. This was explained as ulnar nerve related. When I do use a strap, I use one that has support over both shoulders so the strap doesn't concentrate on one spot. Planet Waves used to make the one I'm using now.
    Good luck

  35. #34

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    different bodies different requirements. At 50, I can't sit with my right arm out like that for extended periods. A 335 is as big/deep as I can manage.

    It's all individual.

  36. #35

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    I stand a little over 6'1" even with the beginnings of some height reduction due to aging.

    17" guitars are pretty much a perfect fit for me sitting without a strap.
    They just sit there and present themselves at exactly the right position to play.

    But I also have a fondness for playing archaic small bodied archtops and flat tops like some of the early 13.5" Epiphones, and my old Gibson L-3 and L-0.
    A few "friends" get some joy out of pointing out the visual mismatch with those and sometimes even with 16" guitars.

    I shall not be deterred or shamed.

  37. #36

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    Quote Originally Posted by BigDaddyLoveHandles
    St Vincent designed her signature guitar to fit.

    That's either a fabulous dream, or a bad nightmare. I can't decide.

  38. #37
    Quote Originally Posted by Woody Sound
    That's either a fabulous dream, or a bad nightmare. I can't decide.
    St Vincent was Annie Clarke, a talented jazz player. I knew her when she was a student at Berklee. She's actually a good jazz player, very hip chords and very talented. Her uncle is Tuck Andress of Tuck and Patty.
    But she didn't dress like this back then, and she played a big blonde jazz box.

  39. #38

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    The things some will do for stardom...

  40. #39

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    I have no problems with big guitars. I have for many years played them at an angle on my lap like Freddie Green or (to a lesser degree) Wes Montgomery. That way the right arm doesn't have to curl around the guitar body but can rest relaxed on it. It gives a more relaxed position of the right hand. It's the perfect position for 4-to-the-bar rhythm. It also allows me to keep the left wrist straight. To avoid the guitar sliding further out the thigh, I put a piece of silicon rubber web between the thigh and the guitar (same kind of web used on ships in rough seas to avoid plates and cups sliding off the table). Having the guitar in a vertical position feels awkward and anything but relaxed to me.

  41. #40

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Soloway
    I've downsized in every dimension. It's amazing to me. I now wear size small clothes from Costco and even those sometimes are too big.
    All that weight you lost?
    I found it.

  42. #41

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    Big guitar - powerful sound.

  43. #42

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    One of the most flamboyant guitarists of all time, TBone Walker also had a unique way of holding and slinging his big bodied guitars...



    And my all time favorite...
    Don't try this move at home!!


  44. #43

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    Then there was Jeff Healey


  45. #44

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sam Sherry
    All that weight you lost?
    I found it.
    It was an interesting journey. I had gained a lot of weight when I quit smoking in the mid-90's. After some of the usual struggles, I finally made a real commitment to get into decent shape around 2002. I made a lot of life style changes with my diet and exercise and got down to a really strong and fit 185 by about 2004. I thought I was done at that point. I never intentionally lost any weight after that but with every subsequent lifestyle change I lost a little more. I'm now about 150 lbs. and wearing size 29 or 30 jeans.

    And in reference to an earlier comment, it's definitely not a no fun lifestyle or even a no fun diet. I've learned to bake all sorts of things and keep them healthy, including brownies and even fudge.

  46. #45

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    Quote Originally Posted by entresz
    I play 17''+ guitars most of the time... although I'm noticing back pain and neck pain when I play seated for anything more than an hour or so.
    Does anyone else have an issue like this? When standing, no issues.
    I think that's probably true of most of us who are getting to a certain age.

    Just like desk workers, you have to get up and move around at least a few minutes an hour! Also, I use a strap even when seated, that way I can straighten my back and not hunch over the guitar. But it requires being mindful of your posture- not always easy when you are working on the same thin over and over!

  47. #46

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    Yeah sometimes I wonder if my choice of guitar was quite right for me. (The hat came with it.)

    Don't complain that the guitar is too big for you-9c5e99f0-155f-43ea-861b-45b1f0d2edbe-jpeg

  48. #47

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    I would posit that Mary might have an even easier time if she didn't play a guitar that large. In any event, the wrong size guitar has been the cause of an awful lot of physical problems for a lot of players for a long time. To use her utilization of that guitar as an object lesson may be unwise. And anybody experiencing shoulder or back pain may want to experiment with different body sizes, shapes, depths and/or weights. I was very attached to my L5 until I played several smaller guitars that made the gigs much easier and less painful.

  49. #48

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    I gained a lot of weight back in the early 80s when I quit smoking, then used snuff, and quit that, and had to have something in my mouth for a long time, and started sucking on hard mint candy. Peppermint oil also has the effect of increasing alertness, which I also needed, spending 10 hours or more per day in the seat of a helicopter flying across the Gulf of Mexico. I gained almost 40 pounds, and finally decided that had to go. I never lost all of it, but I lost most of it and I'm still not overweight. But spending all that time hunched in the seat watching the instruments wasn't good for my posture, and old age doesn't help either. I have a 17" guitar on the way, but only 2.75" deep. To me it's the depth, more than the width, that makes a guitar uncomfortable. I have both a 15" and a 16" thin guitar (2.5" deep) and they're both a little too small in breadth for comfort. I used to use a strap, but now I use a Mundo guitar support, and that works wonderfully. The guitar stays up as high as I want, and I can move around however I want. I'm not planning on playing standing up any more. Blame it on my (lack of) youth. I keep working on curing my permanent hunch, and the Mundo helps. It's not cheap, but not much more than a quality strap, and it was worth every penny to me.

  50. #49

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    Quote Originally Posted by sgosnell
    I gained a lot of weight back in the early 80s when I quit smoking, then used snuff, and quit that, and had to have something in my mouth for a long time, and started sucking on hard mint candy. Peppermint oil also has the effect of increasing alertness, which I also needed, spending 10 hours or more per day in the seat of a helicopter flying across the Gulf of Mexico. I gained almost 40 pounds, and finally decided that had to go. I never lost all of it, but I lost most of it and I'm still not overweight. But spending all that time hunched in the seat watching the instruments wasn't good for my posture, and old age doesn't help either. I have a 17" guitar on the way, but only 2.75" deep. To me it's the depth, more than the width, that makes a guitar uncomfortable. I have both a 15" and a 16" thin guitar (2.5" deep) and they're both a little too small in breadth for comfort. I used to use a strap, but now I use a Mundo guitar support, and that works wonderfully. The guitar stays up as high as I want, and I can move around however I want. I'm not planning on playing standing up any more. Blame it on my (lack of) youth. I keep working on curing my permanent hunch, and the Mundo helps. It's not cheap, but not much more than a quality strap, and it was worth every penny to me.
    Guitar supports have been a blessing for me. My Dynarette cushions have solved at least some of my chronically bad playing posture and taken almost all of the stress off my lower back.

  51. #50

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    Quote Originally Posted by Donplaysguitar
    pretty close to the Mediterranean diet, but it allows lean protein (i.e. fish) and pasta and wine - as in ONCE per week. and lots of walking.

    cardiologists recommend.

    I call it the NF diet. (No Fun). But it works.
    My diet is very similar to yours. Lots of vegetables, pasta, rice, fish and wine once or twice a week. And always a generous amount of the best olive oil I can find.
    Why do you call it No Fun? I just love mine.