always loved the sound of the twelve string guitar ever since the
days of Roger McGuinns nimble picking on the early Byrds recordings.
Even George Harrison of The Beatles used his Rickenbacker 12 string
while newer bands like Israels Rockfour find imaginative ways
to feature the 12 string electric in a rock format. However, theres
something to be said for the woody 12 string acoustic. One acoustic
guitarist making the most of the 12 string format is Ohio based Neil
Jacobs, who released the simply titled 12-String Guitar in
2009. Filled with imaginative originals penned by Jacobs, the fifteen
cut CD also features some well chosen covers including Peters
Themebased on the theme from Peter And The Wolf and Ghostrider
Medley (subtitled Russian Cowboy Medley) which combines
Ghostriders In The Sky with Griegs In The
Hall Of The Mountain King and Rossinis William Tell
Overture to great effect. On his fifth solo CD, Jacobs proves
once again that hes clearly a master of the 12 string guitar,
which in his hands often sounds like a cross between an acoustic guitar
and a harpsichord. As he states in the CD booklet, all tracks were
performed on five different 12 string guitars without the aid of recording
overdubs or special effects. Track by track liner notes from Jacobs
sheds further light on his fondness of the 12 string guitar, as well
as his extensive musical imagination and crafty fretboard expertise.
12-String Guitar is one of the finest solo 12 string guitar
albums ever caught on disc. www.NeilJacobs.com
WEB EXPRESS 3000
think I began my musical career in a shoe box with rubber bands when
I was quite young. I am essentially a self taught musician, and tended
to create my own musical path. I formed an eclectic ensemble in the
80's, and was inspired in my opportunity to open up for some of the
fusion greats of that time, including Spyro Gyra, Jeff Lorber, Herbie
Mann, Airto & Flora Purim, and Weather Report. I was invited to
Moscow Film Festival after working on a film score, where I became
exposed to Russian Gypsy and folk music. This eventually lead to joining
the Balkan music and dance troupe, "Zivili". I felt connected
to the Gypsy and folk music's of Eastern Europe, and learned how to
play many of the folk instruments, especially including those of the
tamburitza family. I returned to the Balkans to visit and perform
at the refugee camps and orphanages following the war, which had a
profound effect on my compositions. In 1994, received a grant to study
the music and culture of the gypsies of Spain, and lived and performed
in Andalusia for a year, as my interest in the contributions of the
Roma to the world's music grew.
The latest CD, 12-String Guitar is an homage to my primary instrument, the 12-string guitar. It spans 20 years of compositions that I have somehow neglected to record, and features five of my favorite 12-string guitars. The span of time helps to gives a compositional CD variety in that many styles are represented. The 12-string guitars include John Goodall, Lo Prinzi, Langejans, Larrivee, my favorite old 1975 Alvarez Yairi.
was my first 12 string. I bought it new in 1975, and it has traveled
around the world with me. I had the misfortune of giving it a less
than loving toss after drinking a bit too much coffee one day, (the
pesky G-sring kept breaking) and it was lost to me for many years.
I haplessly sought a replacement for my "magic guitar" for
years (a cautionary tale for anger management). My travels took me
to a small guitar store in Berkeley, CA, where I bartered for a famous
special copy of Leadbelly's Stella. I strung it up like Huddy would
have, with oversized heavy strings, and it roared, until my arms gave
out. After a year of physical therapy, I put away the Stella and found
a luthier to glue the Yairi back together. I did originally write
the opening tune, "Song for Huddy" on the Stellla, but it
is recorded on the rehabilitated Yairi.
My latest CD, 12-String Guitar is completely solo. There are no overdubs or special effects. I have a tradition of producing CDs with very few overdubs, but sometimes I will allow a few to slip in. This CD absolutely solo, and reflects many of the sounds and textures one can achieve with a 12-string guitar. The CD is a blend of styles combinations including, fingerstyle, flat-picking, and what I like to call "Spanadonian" style. Surprisingly, I tend not to use exotic tunings on this or most of my recordings. For the most part, I use mostly standard or drop D tunings (very boring), although "Song For Huddy" is in what I like to call "D minus tuning"...
I do vary the sound by using a variety of string types. For a classical sound and light guitar fingerstyle playing, I use silk and steel strings, for the more a agressive playing style, I use phosphor bronze and bright bronze strings.
there were numerous guitarists that I listened to in my youth, I did
not emulate any particular guitarist. I was not a natural imitator,
and it took a long time to develop my own particular style. My travels
and studies were perhaps a greater influence and inspiration for me
later in my career. I combined elements drawn from Eastern European
folk, Spanish, Gypsy, Russian, Balkan, and Western Classical influences
in my compositions.
like more of the same this year - traveling and performing, and perhaps
one new CD. I have no plans to leave the country this year, and I
have been avoiding flying with instruments that past few years. As
far as projects, I hope to publish a song book with at least a dozen
of my favorite original compositions. I also have a few CDs
in mind, the most likely to be completed will be a solo CD entitled
Balkan Memories which will feature some amazing melodies and
arrangements of songs from that region.