Apr. 2, 2019

Folk Guitar - or Steel String Guitar

A descendent of the nylon strung Classical guitar, the steel string acoustic guitar is used mostly for playing folk music, bringing a louder, brighter sound.

There are several different types of steel string guitar, and as I found out earlier in this process, one size does not fit all!   I started with a large body and a wide fret board and have since downsized greatly to a beautiful slim line soundbox and narrow neck, that my fingers and arm can reach around much more comfortably.

The various styles are:

The OO or Double O or Grand Concert body type - these are comfortable to play but not very loud

The Grand Auditorium Guitar - (Also called the Triple 0) - played by such artists as Eric Clapton

The Dreadnought - a large bodied number that has a deeper soundbox. (It is named after a warship, so it is pretty heavy-duty).  I happen to have a Dreadnought at home, in a place of honour in my music room... as it is signed by none other than Jon Bon Jovi himself.

The Jumbo body type is the next step up in size and has a timbre similar to the Dreadnought.

The wood they are made of can vary but many are made from Sitka Spruce, which is the most common, and others are made from Alpine and adirondack spruce. 

Amplification can be added to these guitars by way of a clip on mic, or a detachable pickup, or a transducer which is built into the body, but they are generally played ‘unplugged’, and are popular for playing Bluegrass, Country, Folk music, Blues, and several genres of Rock music.

Perhaps the most famous of all Folk Guitarists is Bob Dylan, who has had a career spanning over six decades.  He is best known as a singer-songwriter, who has penned many ‘anthems’ for the Civil Rights movements of the 60’s, and who continued to write moving songs that resonated with the heart of America, and of the world.

Dylan has stated: “The thing about rock'n'roll is that for me anyway it wasn't enough... There were great catch-phrases and driving pulse rhythms... but the songs weren't serious or didn't reflect life in a realistic way. I knew that when I got into folk music, it was more of a serious type of thing. The songs are filled with more despair, more sadness, more triumph, more faith in the supernatural, much deeper feelings.“ (Wikipedia)