1. #1

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    It's all related to a realization that I have had, which is...

    I have tons of recordings of gigs from back in the day. 50years up to the present. Chops-wise I could do a lot that just seems very hard for me now, but I have never stopped playing. I have slight arthritis, but nothing debilitating. But I have been chocking it up to aging, (I am 70), until now.

    This might sound absurd but I believe the 16" guitars I have been using for the last 15 years are too small for me. Nice instruments, a custom Slaman and a reverend PA-1 as my all around workhorse. Great playability, action sound. No complaints. But my right hand plectrum technique just ain't what it used to be. And the other day I was struggling with this and decided to lift my elbow into roughly the fulcrum position a 17" box would give me and a whole bunch of shit fell in place. So after thinking back I checked out my most "on" recordings and realized they were all done with 17" archtops.

    I am not saying there's a problem with 16" guitars, but back in my youth I was following the Johnny Smith technical approach with 17" 1967 and subsequently a 1958 Broadway that I played for years. I was into the support of the guitar body at the right elbow, and the movement progressing from the arm to the hand to the fingers and pick. As an obsessive practicer at the time I even developed a shortened right neck-shoulder muscle from hunching up.

    I went eventually from the Broadways to a 50's 175, but never got bonded, yet didn't think about why and I bought a 17" carved top from a local luthier who was a student of mine at the time, and I was back in business and kept it for over a decade. Did some of my best playing with it. Went through some changes into some other smaller guitars but finally ended up with a Tal Farlow, which I loved. But got seduced by a long standing desire for a Charlie Christian pickup and in 2004 discovered Daniel Slaman and sold the Tal and any other guitars I had to have him build me a CC loaded guitar. And being a Howard Roberts fan boy I wanted it to be based on his "black guitar". Turned out great...but it is 16". After all HR was a 175 guy, all his models were 16". But I have now concluded that I am a 17" es350 type of guy.

    Insane right? But please hang in there with me. OK, so I have this dream guitar,imo the slaman. I am thinking of an armrest that might lift my elbow into position of a 17" box. Any ideas or suggestions if you might know pf something?

    Secondly I am thinking of getting myself a Washburn J5 because it has a laminated maple top like the Tal or a 350, is similar in size with thoughts toward eventually upgrading some stuff, or not, depending!. No way I can afford another Tal, and I won't sell my Slaman to do so despite the above. Ideas and opinion of the J 5 for this purpose? I don't really want a laminated spruce top like the new Broadways and most other budget big boxes.

    Thanks for your support!


    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
  3. #2

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    I'm also old, a little older than you. I also like 17" guitars, because they just seem the right size. 18" is too big, 16" is a little small. One thing I did before I got the 17" is use a support, which lifts the guitar up to a comfortable position. I have the Mundo support, and I like it a lot. I don't use it with the 17" guitar, because I don't need it, but with smaller guitars it helps. Cheaper than a new guitar...
    MUNDO GUITAR SUPPORT – Mundo Music Gear

  4. #3

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    Thanks for your suggestion, I will look into that.