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Clarence White and Mentors

Mike Mullins

Clarence White and Mentors


Mike: Tony Rice’s guitar, it’s a dreadful for a collector it’s got a gretch fretboard on it for one thing.

Neil: Really.

Mike: With an extra fret, it’s got a 21 fret.

Neil: Wow.

Mike: Fingerboard with binding on it and the sound hole has been enlarge ridiculously enlarge

Neil: Yeah.

Mike: No one really sure how that happen and that guitar use to belong to Clarence White you know,
whos a fantastic flatpicker who left us in 1973 that he was a real visionary and he actually you know,
transferred his playing over to electric guitar he usually the birds and the flying grade of brothers and
a few other bands at that time. Tony’s guitar belong to Clarence and before that where not sure, but
anyway the sound hole has been enlarged and thats just you know. It’s great sounding guitar it’s a 1935
D28 and it becomes synonymous with Tony’s playing and Clarence’s

Neil: Yeah.

Mike: So, virtually every guitar maker that builds dreadnoughts is now has a version like Santa Cruz’s
Tony Rice model.

Neil: Yeah.

Mike: And it has the enlarge sound hole.

Neil: Right! Brazilian Rosewood it as much as it can make like Clarence’s guitar.

Mike: Yes it have a standard Tony Rice model which is Indian Rose and then the professional model
which is…

Neil: Oh Yeah.

Mike: Can be Brazilian and very expensive and Aditondack spruce on the top and then Collings made
a guitar years ago, called Clarence White model apparently he wasn’t really license to use the name
Clarence White and Clarence’s widow negotiating the deal with Martin to put out reissued Martin was
the last one jump on board…

Neil: Negotiating things or whatever…

Mike: Yeah, well with reissuing the, coz years and years ago back in the early 80sruz came with the Tony
Rice model.

Neil: Right.

Mike: The enlarge sound hole andlarence white model because they couldn’t used Tony’s name and
then now Martin has now the Clarence White model and then so Collings change his very cleverly to
CW which they say stands for Collings Winfield because winfiled kansas is when we have the national
flatpicking championship.

Neil: Ah.

Mike: Every year

Neil: Right.

Mike: So, when he was watching a football game he took a file and he chiselled out the sound hole, it
look terrible, it was all…

Neil: Yeah.

Mike: I mean it look like you do it with a rocktail file ot something…

Neil: Yeah.

Mike: And he showed it to me and he goes; I’d really think it made the guitar sound better and I said
well; if you say so…

Neil: Yeah.

Mike: And Tony has go on some record on people not to mutilate their guitars just so it look like hi.

Neil: Yeah.

Mike: Thats just like that when he got it, nobody knows who really did it,I don’t I never heard of any
stories, as far as the sound enlarge sound hole…

Neil: Yeah.

Mike: I’m not you know I don’t have much of an opinion on it, there’s people who claim it but I think it
does something with the sound. Some players modified their target…

Neil: The players new close…

Mike: Personally I don’t think it does much in fact anything it would hurt the sound, you have less,,,

Neil: Vibrating area on the top.

Mike: Vibrating area on the top.

Neil: Yeah.

Mike: And you know Tony’s sound comes from Tony you know…

Neil: Right!

Mike: And it’s not co’z the guitar has a large sound hole that guitar its a nice guitar. I had the opportunity
to play it ones but it was not at least from my technique which is you know light years behind Tony’s,
but I thought it was a good sounding guitar. But my impression at that time it wasn’t the best sounding
D28 I’ve ever heard.

Neil: Right, so this was Clarence White guitar?

Mike: Yeah.

Neil: Sohe actually give you a chance to play it?

Mike: Oh a long time ago

Neil: Ok…yeah

Mike: It love me hold it (laughing)…

Neil: Yeah…he was walking up or something…

Mike: Hold this I’m gonna go get a beer.

Neil: Yeah

Mike: So, of he let me play it a little bit, but I heard you know since now a better sounding 28’s

Neil: Yeah.

Mike: And this is like become a symbol you know it a great guitar, I mean and makes this sound all this
recordings are virtually done with that guitar and you know, but the tone he gets is from his technique
and his you know somebosy just more than a technique. It’s just I don’t know its almost just heartless
virtual thing.

Neil: Right…

Mike: It’s like a living entity with its inside you’ll be able to express it to this particular instrument.

Neil: Yeah.

Mike: So, really great players it was have their kind of their own signature sound as far as producing a
good tone I mean theirs players who they learn how to play the riffs and stuff, but when I first started
playing Mandolin I learned some little tunes and I can play them pretty fast, but I had this thin sound
kind of papery tone, and so I go to jam with people and and you could hear them, and people eventually
I just you know we like, is kind of get ignored you know…(laughing)

Neil: Don’t mind them

Mike: Its not he can’t hear me don’t mind this guys co’z his…

Neil: Don’t take him a solo coz everybody…

Mike: Well you know, so importance of learning the song its equally important to produce a good tone
and if therese some player that you like you know, you really like the way they sound not just what they
play but the sound they get out of their instument. There’s nothing wrong with trying to reproduced
that coz with their style. I can guarantee if you pursue somebody as a mentor a goal and something in
mind it will lead you to your own style you know, eventually your incorporate what they have when your
playing you know if you pursue it hard enough and you will. Then that will lead you to kind of to your
own style which is an outgrow, theirs much really a great player to started of listening to other players
and you can hear it and their playing. And they kind of taking it a little different direction, you know and
if you get into that musical aspect of it you will, you will get your own sound. It’s great to have a sound
in mind you really want to produce, you kind of love the way that sounds, what can i do to make that
tone for me it was David Grusman on Mandolin I just really love the way that this Mandolin sounded you

Neil: Yeah

Mike:The realization was it was him doing it you know

Neil: Right.

Mike: Some a player whos not very skill to pick up his Mandolin and it would sound dreadful you know

Neil: Yeah

Mike: It holds to brainy instrument which just…that one of the thing I would tell people…

Neil: Yeah.

Mike: Is to find somebody…

Neil: Find somebody like him.

Mike: Listen to this guy…

Neil: Yeah…(laughing)

Mike: Right here.


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