Gui­tar hits tra­di­tional blues note

Manjimup-Bridgetown Times - - News - Karen Hunt

A SPE­CIAL gui­tar has been un­veiled ahead of the Blues at Bridgetown’s 25th an­niver­sary this week­end.

David Bar­rett made the in­stru­ment – which is of course blue in colour and bears the fes­ti­val logo – from ma­te­ri­als in­clud­ing re­cy­cled jar­rah.

The jar­rah used to make the gui­tar neck was dis­carded dur­ing re­pairs to the Black­wood River bridge rail­ings and could be older than the fes­ti­val it­self, Mr Bar­rett said.

“There were some nice pieces, I don’t know how old they are, but it was lovely dark jar­rah, well-sea­soned, and it’s just beau­ti­ful to work with,” he said.

See­ing Two Dol­lar Dog per­form at the fes­ti­val with one of the in­stru­ments in­spired his first ef­forts three years ago.

He has now sold 21 on­line, mainly through word of mouth, he said.

Coun­try blues player Mar­tin Crop­per, who has played at the fes­ti­val from its early years, said Na­tional guitars were part of his trade­mark sound.

But cigar box guitars such as those made by Mr Bar­rett, his one­time pupil, are a re­minder of where the blues be­gan, Crop­per said.

Le­gends such as Robert John­son, Blind Lemon Jef­fer­son and John ‘Light­nin’ Hop­kins started out play­ing sim­i­lar sim­ple in­stru­ments, he said.

While nowa­days it is a chal­lenge for play­ers to hold an au­di­ence us­ing ba­sic in­stru­ments, he said the cigar box gui­tar would al­ways hold a spe­cial place in ev­ery blues fan’s heart.

“What I like about them is they are very much an in­stru­ment of the peo­ple,” Crop­per said.

“Peo­ple see them and think ‘oh they’re cute’ and it en­cour­ages them to play a stringed in­stru­ment.”

Crop­per said Blues at Bridgetown had al­ways been spe­cial to him and part­ner Deb Birch be­cause it in­spired them to per­form to­gether as The Riders.

“Deb went down to the blues fes­ti­val in the af­ter­noon in ’96 to the boat park where the lo­cals played and I stayed home with a tape she’d recorded with some of her tunes.

“When she came back I had half a dozen songs nailed to­gether.

“I clearly re­mem­ber that be­cause the blues in many ways was the spark to get us to play mu­sic again.”

Mar­tin Lee Crop­per holds a spe­cial blues cigar box gui­tar made by David Bar­rett, rear, to mark the fes­ti­val’s 25th an­niver­sary this week­end. Pic­ture: Karen Hunt

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.