Archive for the 'Websites' Category

Jonathan Stout’s Swing Guitar Blog

March 20, 2010

Nicolai Foss

With his “Campus Five,” Jonathan Stout plays late 1930s small group swing. There is plenty of Stout on YouTube. As you can hear on these clips, Stout plays a mean swing rhythm guitar and his single-string work is more than decent. To quote from his bio on Campus Five page,

Jonathan has worked to preserve the sound of the original swing era, and pre-bebop jazz guitar. Jonathan specializes in the rhythm guitar style of Freddie Green, the chord melody style of Allan Reuss, the gypsy-jazz style of Django Reinhardt, and the electric guitar style of Charlie Christian.

Stout runs an extremely informative and well-written “Swing Guitar Blog” (“Dedicated to Pre-Bebop Jazz Guitar”). Lots of interesting stuff on swing harmony, essential swing CDs, essential rhytm guitar voicings and much else, plus some fascinating discussions of how radically different bebop really was/is from swing — rather than the logical continuation of swing that some musicologists have claimed.

Michele Ariodante’s New Blog

December 21, 2009

Nicolai Foss

Michele has recently launched “Guitar Idea” –” dedicated to the art of guitar playing and to the artists who use this instrument as a way to express their visions.” Check out the über-cool clip with a young Lenny Breau, and Tuck Andress in Christmas mood.

Hommage à Di Mauro

December 5, 2009

Nicolai Foss

Here is a website dedicated to Di Mauro guitars (and here are a bunch of Di Mauros, all sold, unfortunately). Di Mauros are often mentioned alongside classical original “gypsy guitars” like Selmer, Busato and Favino, but usually ranked a little below these (which is reflected in their considerably more accessible prices).

Many contemporary manouche players have played Di Mauro guitars, for example, Moreno Winterstein. And they were a favorite of French pop singers from the 1950s and until rather recently (e.g., Sascha Distel, Henri Salvador). These guitars — and their three builders: brothers Joseph and Antoine Di Mauro and Antoine’s son Joseph–certainly deserve a site. This one has been put together by (the younger) Joseph’s daugther, Dorothy.

My favorite Di Mauro is the delicious Special Chorus, probably Di Mauro’s best known design, and imitated in recent time by Dell’ Arte with their Swing 42. Pat Metheny is the proud owner of one of these (or at least he was in 1982). offers this beauty, which is identical to the 1942 Special Chorus in the “museum” section of the site (and apparently built by Antoine Di Mauro).

UPDATE: Have you ever speculated about the nature of Sacha Distel’s “premiere guitare“? Turns out it was a Di Mauro.

National Page

August 20, 2009

Nicolai Foss

Here is a fun and informative page on National guitars. To be sure, the Nationals, Dobros, etc. have mainly been popular among blues players. Yet, there is a distant archtop connection, for like the archtop guitar, the National is a product of the 1920s jazz craze and the attempt to compete with banjo players, including trying to combine the loudness of the banjo with the richer melodic and harmonic possibilities offered by the guitar. And of course the incomparable Oscar Aleman played a National.

Dave Gould’s Guitar Pages

March 2, 2008

Nicolai Foss

Quite simply one of the, and perhaps the, most impressive online jazz guitar sources. Here.

Archtop Germany

December 23, 2007

Nicolai Foss

Here is Archtop Germany, a site devoted to anything archtop’ish in the German way. Even if you don’t read German you can still enjoy the many nice pics and check out the many vendors and luthiers. I was surprised to see how much good stuff is actually on offer in my neighbour country (although buying from US vendors or on Ebay still seem a better bargain on average).

Jon Raney’s Jazz Forum

October 27, 2007

Nicolai Foss

One of my first great jazz guitar experiences was listening, as a young high school student, to Jimmy Raney’s talented son, Doug Raney. I remember several great concerts from around 1980, some of them in the classic “Montmartre” in Nørregade in Copenhagen, with Doug who was then in his late twenties, that is, not that distant from my own age. Doug became something of a hero to me, and I listened endlessly to his debut record, Introducing Doug Raney, which Doug cut at the tender age of 21.

I realized only yesterday that Jimmy Raney had another talented son, Jon Raney, who specializes in the piano. Jon runs Jon Raney’s Jazz Forum. For the Jimmy Raney fan, there is much interesting material. For example, here is Jim Hall on Jimmy Raney.

UPDATE: Here is the myspace page on Jimmy.

More Yahoo: An Archtop Group

October 25, 2007

Nicolai Foss

Strangely, I didn’t notice until today that there is a well-functioning Yahoo group on archtops. It is reasonably active with 88 members and 600 + posts over its about 3 years of existence (discussion intensity appears to be increasing). Interesting discussions on topics such as the Gibson ES 350T, Eldon Shamblin, and the fact that you can use toothpaste to polish your celluloid pickguard!

Lloyd Loar Site

October 2, 2007

Nicolai Foss

To anyone interested in archtops, Lloyd Loar is a towering figure because of his design of the Gibson L5, the introduction of f-holes on guitars and mandolins (and other instruments in the mandolin family), changing the position of the guitar’s bridge, neck and fingerboard relative to earlier designs, etc. Here is an elaborate tribute that, however, mainly focuses on the mandolin side of his innovations.

Jimmy Shirley

September 25, 2007

Nicolai Foss

Here is a Jimmy Shirley tribute page (in German), a largely forgotten player who worked in swing and early bebop but later on became best known as a blues player (among other things, he backed Screamin’ Jay Hawkins!).