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Author Topic: Barney Kessel WIBN Mandolin Found AND Sold Nov 10th...But the mystery deepens...  (Read 2843 times)
aeijtzsche
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« Reply #25 on: December 04, 2018, 10:26:59 AM »

While we have this discussion open,

I really don't understand why the OP has abandoned his topic. Let's hope he and c-man look in again soon.

Well, the OP states he is done with this thread, as he's made up his mind - not necessarily on what the mystery WIBN instrument is, but rather on what it isn't. As for me, I do have more to contribute, and will be doing so soon. It won't be conclusive (nothing short of photo stills or live action film that is verifiably from the WIBN session will ever be that), but simply more evidence to bolster the argument that it is the Mando-guitar we're hearing.

Looking forward to it.  After my retuning experiment, I am more convinced than ever it's the mando-guitar.  To me the outstanding questions are how was it tuned and how was it plugged in.
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guitarfool2002
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« Reply #26 on: December 04, 2018, 10:49:35 AM »

While we have this discussion open,

I really don't understand why the OP has abandoned his topic. Let's hope he and c-man look in again soon.

Well, the OP states he is done with this thread, as he's made up his mind - not necessarily on what the mystery WIBN instrument is, but rather on what it isn't. As for me, I do have more to contribute, and will be doing so soon. It won't be conclusive (nothing short of photo stills or live action film that is verifiably from the WIBN session will ever be that), but simply more evidence to bolster the argument that it is the Mando-guitar we're hearing.

Looking forward to it.  After my retuning experiment, I am more convinced than ever it's the mando-guitar.  To me the outstanding questions are how was it tuned and how was it plugged in.

I have to clarify this: It reached a point for me where it felt like the known parameters and realities of playing and tuning such an instrument were being stretched beyond practical reality of what these sessions would have been like. And, moreso, why such an instrument would be made and played by the likes of Barney and Tommy in the first place. It was quite simply to give these heavy hitters a practical and easy way to deliver a mandolin part on a session while reading the part and playing it as if it were a standard guitar. It's the same as the 6-string banjo as played by everyone from Neil Young to Taylor Swift to Joe Satriani - It's tuned EADGBE just like a guitar and can be played with guitar shapes and chords, but it sounds like a banjo minus the different tuning. It's Tommy Tedesco's "Plectrum Tuning" concept where he'd have several dozen exotic string instruments and have them tuned like a guitar so he could read the parts fast and easy on these sessions.

I bowed out of the speculation because ultimately this mando-guitar is a tool designed to make the job easier. As in...Tune it EADGBE like a guitar but with the mandolin string setup in doubles.

My issue is you would not have such a tool to use and play it above the 12th fret. It is designed to play in that range on a guitar that sounds above the 12th fret (up an octave) without dealing with tiny frets and shoddy/spotty intonation. Even great mandolins, well-made instruments get dodgy above the 12th fret. So why would Barney or Tommy have a tool to make these parts easier to play in open position then tune down an octave and have to play it in a range where the instrument isn't as reliable or doesn't sound as good?

They wouldn't.

Which is why I totally disagree that Barney would have restrung this mando-guitar with guitar strings, tuned it down an octave, and played it up above the 12th fret. It just defies practical logic to think that's what he'd do when the part can be played "open position" with a lot more fluidity and sustain.

I compared it in my mind to seeing a block of wood with a nail hammered in. The most logical thought would be that someone hammered in the nail with a hammer. To take it further and say what if he used the wooden handle of the hammer, or what if he used a rock, or what if he used his shoe or anything else gets away from the fact we have a wooden block with a nail hammered in. And 99.9% of the time it was done with a tool that was made to do that job with as little jiggering and modification as possible because there are tools made to do that job.

I was told firsthand about the Kessel family's involvement in the film and the saga of this instrument. We saw a premier auction house and a respected long-time guitar dealer take it public via sales and auctions with the provenance and authentication attached that this was the instrument heard on WIBN.

The conflict for me was recalling the session tapes and also frustratingly not remembering some of the chatter and sounds on all of them from 10 years ago or more when I was into them head-first. The discussions here made me second guess things, which can be good as well as frustrating because for all intents and purposes I thought it was case closed.

All I'd ask is that the most simple and direct line to get from point A to point B be considered more heavily than trying to suggest Barney would restring and retune this instrument to where playing it became much more difficult if not impossible and would defeat the purpose of having such an instrument in the first place.


Postscript: "Amplifying" the acoustic mando-guitar could be as easy as dropping a D'Armond old-school pickup on it just as upright bassists, acoustic guitarists, John Cale with his viola, and many others did in the 50's and 60's to amplify an acoustic string instrument. It would not need to be permanently attached or drilled into the top either.

But I'd check the session tapes and hear when and how the players voices come through (I seriously cannot remember the tapes enough) the mix. If the guitarists playing the intro are heard on the studio floor, or one of them is talking, then they had something mic'ed. If they're only heard on the talkback, they're obviously in the booth direct. That's as simple a test as can be done. If you hear Barney on the studio floor or hear Barney talking at all, he was mic'ed.
« Last Edit: December 04, 2018, 10:55:30 AM by guitarfool2002 » Logged

ďSome people think you have to knock somebody down in order to build yourself up, I donít look at it that way. To the mentality that likes to disparage other people, I say perhaps you should get a life. Itís just wrong thinking in my opinion and I donít mind saying that.Ē - Mike Love

"Every single person who criticized Brian for having She & Him, Kacey Musgraves, Sebu and Nate Ruess guesting on his solo album can now officially go heartily f*** themselves." - Wirestone
aeijtzsche
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« Reply #27 on: December 04, 2018, 11:03:37 AM »

While we have this discussion open,

I really don't understand why the OP has abandoned his topic. Let's hope he and c-man look in again soon.

Well, the OP states he is done with this thread, as he's made up his mind - not necessarily on what the mystery WIBN instrument is, but rather on what it isn't. As for me, I do have more to contribute, and will be doing so soon. It won't be conclusive (nothing short of photo stills or live action film that is verifiably from the WIBN session will ever be that), but simply more evidence to bolster the argument that it is the Mando-guitar we're hearing.

Looking forward to it.  After my retuning experiment, I am more convinced than ever it's the mando-guitar.  To me the outstanding questions are how was it tuned and how was it plugged in.

I have to clarify this: It reached a point for me where it felt like the known parameters and realities of playing and tuning such an instrument were being stretched beyond practical reality of what these sessions would have been like. And, moreso, why such an instrument would be made and played by the likes of Barney and Tommy in the first place. It was quite simply to give these heavy hitters a practical and easy way to deliver a mandolin part on a session while reading the part and playing it as if it were a standard guitar. It's the same as the 6-string banjo as played by everyone from Neil Young to Taylor Swift to Joe Satriani - It's tuned EADGBE just like a guitar and can be played with guitar shapes and chords, but it sounds like a banjo minus the different tuning. It's Tommy Tedesco's "Plectrum Tuning" concept where he'd have several dozen exotic string instruments and have them tuned like a guitar so he could read the parts fast and easy on these sessions.

I bowed out of the speculation because ultimately this mando-guitar is a tool designed to make the job easier. As in...Tune it EADGBE like a guitar but with the mandolin string setup in doubles.

My issue is you would not have such a tool to use and play it above the 12th fret. It is designed to play in that range on a guitar that sounds above the 12th fret (up an octave) without dealing with tiny frets and shoddy/spotty intonation. Even great mandolins, well-made instruments get dodgy above the 12th fret. So why would Barney or Tommy have a tool to make these parts easier to play in open position then tune down an octave and have to play it in a range where the instrument isn't as reliable or doesn't sound as good?

They wouldn't.

Which is why I totally disagree that Barney would have restrung this mando-guitar with guitar strings, tuned it down an octave, and played it up above the 12th fret. It just defies practical logic to think that's what he'd do when the part can be played "open position" with a lot more fluidity and sustain.

I compared it in my mind to seeing a block of wood with a nail hammered in. The most logical thought would be that someone hammered in the nail with a hammer. To take it further and say what if he used the wooden handle of the hammer, or what if he used a rock, or what if he used his shoe or anything else gets away from the fact we have a wooden block with a nail hammered in. And 99.9% of the time it was done with a tool that was made to do that job with as little jiggering and modification as possible because there are tools made to do that job.

I was told firsthand about the Kessel family's involvement in the film and the saga of this instrument. We saw a premier auction house and a respected long-time guitar dealer take it public via sales and auctions with the provenance and authentication attached that this was the instrument heard on WIBN.

The conflict for me was recalling the session tapes and also frustratingly not remembering some of the chatter and sounds on all of them from 10 years ago or more when I was into them head-first. The discussions here made me second guess things, which can be good as well as frustrating because for all intents and purposes I thought it was case closed.

All I'd ask is that the most simple and direct line to get from point A to point B be considered more heavily than trying to suggest Barney would restring and retune this instrument to where playing it became much more difficult if not impossible and would defeat the purpose of having such an instrument in the first place.


Postscript: "Amplifying" the acoustic mando-guitar could be as easy as dropping a D'Armond old-school pickup on it just as upright bassists, acoustic guitarists, John Cale with his viola, and many others did in the 50's and 60's to amplify an acoustic string instrument. It would not need to be permanently attached or drilled into the top either.

But I'd check the session tapes and hear when and how the players voices come through (I seriously cannot remember the tapes enough) the mix. If the guitarists playing the intro are heard on the studio floor, or one of them is talking, then they had something mic'ed. If they're only heard on the talkback, they're obviously in the booth direct. That's as simple a test as can be done. If you hear Barney on the studio floor or hear Barney talking at all, he was mic'ed.

Craig, did you watch either of my videos where I tuned my mando down to guitar pitch?  All it took was changing one string out, and as I showed, it is possible to play that way.  I agree-it's nutty.  But then again, so is plucking piano strings with paper clips, putting masking tape on piano strings, making accordion players triple-bellow shake, finding a marxophone to record, or Swedish Frog.
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« Reply #28 on: December 04, 2018, 11:14:39 AM »

While we have this discussion open,

I really don't understand why the OP has abandoned his topic. Let's hope he and c-man look in again soon.

Well, the OP states he is done with this thread, as he's made up his mind - not necessarily on what the mystery WIBN instrument is, but rather on what it isn't. As for me, I do have more to contribute, and will be doing so soon. It won't be conclusive (nothing short of photo stills or live action film that is verifiably from the WIBN session will ever be that), but simply more evidence to bolster the argument that it is the Mando-guitar we're hearing.

Looking forward to it.  After my retuning experiment, I am more convinced than ever it's the mando-guitar.  To me the outstanding questions are how was it tuned and how was it plugged in.

I have to clarify this: It reached a point for me where it felt like the known parameters and realities of playing and tuning such an instrument were being stretched beyond practical reality of what these sessions would have been like. And, moreso, why such an instrument would be made and played by the likes of Barney and Tommy in the first place. It was quite simply to give these heavy hitters a practical and easy way to deliver a mandolin part on a session while reading the part and playing it as if it were a standard guitar. It's the same as the 6-string banjo as played by everyone from Neil Young to Taylor Swift to Joe Satriani - It's tuned EADGBE just like a guitar and can be played with guitar shapes and chords, but it sounds like a banjo minus the different tuning. It's Tommy Tedesco's "Plectrum Tuning" concept where he'd have several dozen exotic string instruments and have them tuned like a guitar so he could read the parts fast and easy on these sessions.

I bowed out of the speculation because ultimately this mando-guitar is a tool designed to make the job easier. As in...Tune it EADGBE like a guitar but with the mandolin string setup in doubles.

My issue is you would not have such a tool to use and play it above the 12th fret. It is designed to play in that range on a guitar that sounds above the 12th fret (up an octave) without dealing with tiny frets and shoddy/spotty intonation. Even great mandolins, well-made instruments get dodgy above the 12th fret. So why would Barney or Tommy have a tool to make these parts easier to play in open position then tune down an octave and have to play it in a range where the instrument isn't as reliable or doesn't sound as good?

They wouldn't.

Which is why I totally disagree that Barney would have restrung this mando-guitar with guitar strings, tuned it down an octave, and played it up above the 12th fret. It just defies practical logic to think that's what he'd do when the part can be played "open position" with a lot more fluidity and sustain.

I compared it in my mind to seeing a block of wood with a nail hammered in. The most logical thought would be that someone hammered in the nail with a hammer. To take it further and say what if he used the wooden handle of the hammer, or what if he used a rock, or what if he used his shoe or anything else gets away from the fact we have a wooden block with a nail hammered in. And 99.9% of the time it was done with a tool that was made to do that job with as little jiggering and modification as possible because there are tools made to do that job.

I was told firsthand about the Kessel family's involvement in the film and the saga of this instrument. We saw a premier auction house and a respected long-time guitar dealer take it public via sales and auctions with the provenance and authentication attached that this was the instrument heard on WIBN.

The conflict for me was recalling the session tapes and also frustratingly not remembering some of the chatter and sounds on all of them from 10 years ago or more when I was into them head-first. The discussions here made me second guess things, which can be good as well as frustrating because for all intents and purposes I thought it was case closed.

All I'd ask is that the most simple and direct line to get from point A to point B be considered more heavily than trying to suggest Barney would restring and retune this instrument to where playing it became much more difficult if not impossible and would defeat the purpose of having such an instrument in the first place.


Postscript: "Amplifying" the acoustic mando-guitar could be as easy as dropping a D'Armond old-school pickup on it just as upright bassists, acoustic guitarists, John Cale with his viola, and many others did in the 50's and 60's to amplify an acoustic string instrument. It would not need to be permanently attached or drilled into the top either.

But I'd check the session tapes and hear when and how the players voices come through (I seriously cannot remember the tapes enough) the mix. If the guitarists playing the intro are heard on the studio floor, or one of them is talking, then they had something mic'ed. If they're only heard on the talkback, they're obviously in the booth direct. That's as simple a test as can be done. If you hear Barney on the studio floor or hear Barney talking at all, he was mic'ed.

Craig, did you watch either of my videos where I tuned my mando down to guitar pitch?  All it took was changing one string out, and as I showed, it is possible to play that way.  I agree-it's nutty.  But then again, so is plucking piano strings with paper clips, putting masking tape on piano strings, making accordion players triple-bellow shake, finding a marxophone to record, or Swedish Frog.

Did you watch my video where the intro was played verbatim on a standard mandolin in mandolin tuning and it sounded (even acoustic) very, very close to the tones on the original minus the studio effects? If it can be done on a regular mandolin, and sound pretty close, why would a busy player like Barney restring his for one session lasting a few hours when the same part can be done if he had it tuned as the instrument came from the factory, which is the whole point of getting such an instrument?

The difference in the examples is that the bellows-shake was a standard part of playing accordion that any pro players would be proficient at doing. Is it common? No - But it is a standard playing technique for accordion players. No physical modification to the instrument is necessary. Putting tape on piano strings is just a way to dampen them - Not even getting into "prepared piano" compositions such as John Cage putting nuts and bolts on the strings to vibrate and produce new sounds several decades before this. The paperclip was Brian and Tony Asher experimenting - No modification necessary beyond bending the paperclip perhaps, and not done with over a dozen musicians working on the clock as they experimented.

And Barney would probably have not modified this mandolin specifically for one "teen" session with Brian by changing strings then changing them back. The phrase "time is money" comes to mind. And the fact that Barney was one of those original LA session players who still looked down on these rock-pop sessions and thought of them as a good way to make money versus actually being emotionally tied into the music as he was with jazz. It was a gig. I doubt Brian would ask him to restring any of his instruments for a 3 or 4 hour session, and I doubt Barney in early 1966 would have done it for one session.

Which returns back to the most logical assumption, that he played it "open" on the instrument tuned as it was built to be tuned with mandolin strings tuned in EADGBE guitar tuning.
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ďSome people think you have to knock somebody down in order to build yourself up, I donít look at it that way. To the mentality that likes to disparage other people, I say perhaps you should get a life. Itís just wrong thinking in my opinion and I donít mind saying that.Ē - Mike Love

"Every single person who criticized Brian for having She & Him, Kacey Musgraves, Sebu and Nate Ruess guesting on his solo album can now officially go heartily f*** themselves." - Wirestone
aeijtzsche
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« Reply #29 on: December 04, 2018, 11:27:13 AM »

While we have this discussion open,

I really don't understand why the OP has abandoned his topic. Let's hope he and c-man look in again soon.

Well, the OP states he is done with this thread, as he's made up his mind - not necessarily on what the mystery WIBN instrument is, but rather on what it isn't. As for me, I do have more to contribute, and will be doing so soon. It won't be conclusive (nothing short of photo stills or live action film that is verifiably from the WIBN session will ever be that), but simply more evidence to bolster the argument that it is the Mando-guitar we're hearing.

Looking forward to it.  After my retuning experiment, I am more convinced than ever it's the mando-guitar.  To me the outstanding questions are how was it tuned and how was it plugged in.

I have to clarify this: It reached a point for me where it felt like the known parameters and realities of playing and tuning such an instrument were being stretched beyond practical reality of what these sessions would have been like. And, moreso, why such an instrument would be made and played by the likes of Barney and Tommy in the first place. It was quite simply to give these heavy hitters a practical and easy way to deliver a mandolin part on a session while reading the part and playing it as if it were a standard guitar. It's the same as the 6-string banjo as played by everyone from Neil Young to Taylor Swift to Joe Satriani - It's tuned EADGBE just like a guitar and can be played with guitar shapes and chords, but it sounds like a banjo minus the different tuning. It's Tommy Tedesco's "Plectrum Tuning" concept where he'd have several dozen exotic string instruments and have them tuned like a guitar so he could read the parts fast and easy on these sessions.

I bowed out of the speculation because ultimately this mando-guitar is a tool designed to make the job easier. As in...Tune it EADGBE like a guitar but with the mandolin string setup in doubles.

My issue is you would not have such a tool to use and play it above the 12th fret. It is designed to play in that range on a guitar that sounds above the 12th fret (up an octave) without dealing with tiny frets and shoddy/spotty intonation. Even great mandolins, well-made instruments get dodgy above the 12th fret. So why would Barney or Tommy have a tool to make these parts easier to play in open position then tune down an octave and have to play it in a range where the instrument isn't as reliable or doesn't sound as good?

They wouldn't.

Which is why I totally disagree that Barney would have restrung this mando-guitar with guitar strings, tuned it down an octave, and played it up above the 12th fret. It just defies practical logic to think that's what he'd do when the part can be played "open position" with a lot more fluidity and sustain.

I compared it in my mind to seeing a block of wood with a nail hammered in. The most logical thought would be that someone hammered in the nail with a hammer. To take it further and say what if he used the wooden handle of the hammer, or what if he used a rock, or what if he used his shoe or anything else gets away from the fact we have a wooden block with a nail hammered in. And 99.9% of the time it was done with a tool that was made to do that job with as little jiggering and modification as possible because there are tools made to do that job.

I was told firsthand about the Kessel family's involvement in the film and the saga of this instrument. We saw a premier auction house and a respected long-time guitar dealer take it public via sales and auctions with the provenance and authentication attached that this was the instrument heard on WIBN.

The conflict for me was recalling the session tapes and also frustratingly not remembering some of the chatter and sounds on all of them from 10 years ago or more when I was into them head-first. The discussions here made me second guess things, which can be good as well as frustrating because for all intents and purposes I thought it was case closed.

All I'd ask is that the most simple and direct line to get from point A to point B be considered more heavily than trying to suggest Barney would restring and retune this instrument to where playing it became much more difficult if not impossible and would defeat the purpose of having such an instrument in the first place.


Postscript: "Amplifying" the acoustic mando-guitar could be as easy as dropping a D'Armond old-school pickup on it just as upright bassists, acoustic guitarists, John Cale with his viola, and many others did in the 50's and 60's to amplify an acoustic string instrument. It would not need to be permanently attached or drilled into the top either.

But I'd check the session tapes and hear when and how the players voices come through (I seriously cannot remember the tapes enough) the mix. If the guitarists playing the intro are heard on the studio floor, or one of them is talking, then they had something mic'ed. If they're only heard on the talkback, they're obviously in the booth direct. That's as simple a test as can be done. If you hear Barney on the studio floor or hear Barney talking at all, he was mic'ed.

Craig, did you watch either of my videos where I tuned my mando down to guitar pitch?  All it took was changing one string out, and as I showed, it is possible to play that way.  I agree-it's nutty.  But then again, so is plucking piano strings with paper clips, putting masking tape on piano strings, making accordion players triple-bellow shake, finding a marxophone to record, or Swedish Frog.

Did you watch my video where the intro was played verbatim on a standard mandolin in mandolin tuning and it sounded (even acoustic) very, very close to the tones on the original minus the studio effects? If it can be done on a regular mandolin, and sound pretty close, why would a busy player like Barney restring his for one session lasting a few hours when the same part can be done if he had it tuned as the instrument came from the factory, which is the whole point of getting such an instrument?

The difference in the examples is that the bellows-shake was a standard part of playing accordion that any pro players would be proficient at doing. Is it common? No - But it is a standard playing technique for accordion players. No physical modification to the instrument is necessary. Putting tape on piano strings is just a way to dampen them - Not even getting into "prepared piano" compositions such as John Cage putting nuts and bolts on the strings to vibrate and produce new sounds several decades before this. The paperclip was Brian and Tony Asher experimenting - No modification necessary beyond bending the paperclip perhaps, and not done with over a dozen musicians working on the clock as they experimented.

And Barney would probably have not modified this mandolin specifically for one "teen" session with Brian by changing strings then changing them back. The phrase "time is money" comes to mind. And the fact that Barney was one of those original LA session players who still looked down on these rock-pop sessions and thought of them as a good way to make money versus actually being emotionally tied into the music as he was with jazz. It was a gig. I doubt Brian would ask him to restring any of his instruments for a 3 or 4 hour session, and I doubt Barney in early 1966 would have done it for one session.

Which returns back to the most logical assumption, that he played it "open" on the instrument tuned as it was built to be tuned with mandolin strings tuned in EADGBE guitar tuning.

I did listen to yours and I think mine sounds closer.

Regardless, I would be more inclined toward your point of view if not for the moment in the session tape when the lead instrument can clearly be heard tuning a course where the lower octave is below the bottom E of the tuning you're describing.  I'm happy to dig out the tapes and provide some time-cues if you would like.
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« Reply #30 on: December 04, 2018, 11:30:42 AM »

Also, it's one string--it took me maybe 2 minutes to take the old string off and tune up, and another 2 to put it back right afterwards.  Since the bottom three strings didn't need to be used (on Barney's), those could be left as is.
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« Reply #31 on: December 04, 2018, 11:39:08 AM »

Additionally -- whoever is playing it struggles to get it right.  Most of the false starts and breakdowns are (presumably) Barney's fault.  Why would he struggle so much?  Unless perhaps he was forced to squeeze his fingers into the higher frets, as I showed in my video.

I hope we can all take this as friendly, intense scholarly debate.  I think we all just want the truth!
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« Reply #32 on: December 04, 2018, 11:41:25 AM »

Yes, I'd like the time and track cues so I can listen - That's what I'm not remembering. But I still cannot see Barney changing strings like this on the fly. And I cannot see tuning an instrument like this down an octave when it defeats the entire purpose of having it, and when if that sound of an octave lower was what they wanted, Barney could get a 12-string, a Bellzouki, or anything off the rack at Wallich's versus detuning and restringing a mandolin instrument designed to sound like a mandolin. Again, it's like the example in my head of assuming a carpenter took off his shoe to hammer a nail into a wood block instead of simply using a hammer, the tool he had to do such a thing in the first place. There would be no point to using a shoe to hammer the nail if the guy had a hammer in his toolbox all along.  Smiley  It's adding extra steps and defeating the purpose of getting a custom guitar/mandolin hybrid with 6 strings tuned up the octave.
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ďSome people think you have to knock somebody down in order to build yourself up, I donít look at it that way. To the mentality that likes to disparage other people, I say perhaps you should get a life. Itís just wrong thinking in my opinion and I donít mind saying that.Ē - Mike Love

"Every single person who criticized Brian for having She & Him, Kacey Musgraves, Sebu and Nate Ruess guesting on his solo album can now officially go heartily f*** themselves." - Wirestone
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« Reply #33 on: December 04, 2018, 11:43:42 AM »

Additionally -- whoever is playing it struggles to get it right.  Most of the false starts and breakdowns are (presumably) Barney's fault.  Why would he struggle so much?  Unless perhaps he was forced to squeeze his fingers into the higher frets, as I showed in my video.

I hope we can all take this as friendly, intense scholarly debate.  I think we all just want the truth!

I agree!

The mandolin itself with the smaller frets up and down the neck is hard to intonate sometimes, and my fingers are a little big too and it can be hard to get the right sustain with those smaller frets. Maybe Barney had the same issues trying to get those arpeggios to sustain the way they needed to.
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ďSome people think you have to knock somebody down in order to build yourself up, I donít look at it that way. To the mentality that likes to disparage other people, I say perhaps you should get a life. Itís just wrong thinking in my opinion and I donít mind saying that.Ē - Mike Love

"Every single person who criticized Brian for having She & Him, Kacey Musgraves, Sebu and Nate Ruess guesting on his solo album can now officially go heartily f*** themselves." - Wirestone
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« Reply #34 on: December 04, 2018, 12:26:42 PM »

I hope we can all take this as friendly, intense scholarly debate.  I think we all just want the truth!

I agree!

Thanks, folks. You're the best. Smiley
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« Reply #35 on: December 04, 2018, 01:41:26 PM »

I'm going through the whole session tape as presented on the SOT boot, and keeping a record of every pertinent time stamp (i.e., where Barney's guitar can be clearly heard). So far, I've got through the first six takes (Track 9 on the disc) - most of which broke down after the intro due to the problems Hal was having with playing what Brian wanted. As you can see, Barney clearly struggled with fretting or was having intonation problems, and one take was stopped due to this:

Track 9 -
00:02-00:09 (Jerry can also be heard noodling on his electric 12-string in the background) - Barney is tuning his instrument -

Take 1 (00:13-00:21): funnily, Hal seems to be doing the count-in as "One...Two...One - Two - STEEL!"  On this first take, Barney is still struggling with the intro, and frets out on the last note of the second-to-last position (between 00:19 and 00:20) He continues to practice the intro while Brian instructs Hal on how to make his entrance from 00:23 to 00:46 (Jerry can be heard checking his tuning early on in this section) - at 00:58 Barney sounds a note, after which Jerry plays the first six notes of "The Star Spangled Banner" followed by an apparently improvised riff (00:59-1:03), after which he plays the same two riffs in a higher position (1:07-1:11) - at 01:14-1:18, Barney checks his tuning again -

Take 2 (1:29-1:32) - Barney's intro isn't precise, so Brian immediately calls for one more - Larry makes an undecipherable comment, there is laughter from the floor, and Jerry plays another riff from 1:33-1:35 -

Take 3 (1:48-1:56) - Barney plays the intro all the way through, but inadvertently hits some adjacent strings in the process; Brian and Larry stop the take after the intro because Hal didn't enter when he was supposed to - at 2:41-2:44, Barney practices the intro again, after which Jerry can be heard quietly playing a few notes around the middle of the neck - from 2:48-2:53, Barney again plays the intro, but faster (like double-speed) - from 2:55-2:56, Barney sounds the opening note twice -

Take 4 (3:03-3:09) - this intro is complete, but again breaks down because Hal has still not perfected his entrance - Brian calls for Take 5, then at 3:23, someone can be heard doing a quick downward strum of four strings (downward pitch-wise), however it may not be Barney, since Barney quickly plays his intro notes again from 3:33-3:44, while in the background we can hear not only Jerry's electric, but the archtop acoustic (played on this session by Bill Pitman), and the aural positioning of that relative to the other instruments suggests that maybe THAT'S what played the downward strum at 3:23 - Jerry's electric sounds a single high note at 3:50 -

Take 5 ? (3:50-4:01) - once again, the intro is complete, but Brian stops the performance due to Hal's incorrect intro -

Take 6 seems to be missing from the presentation, as a break in the tape is noticeable and Track 10 begins with Larry announcing Take 7

Incidentally, I don't recall hearing any of the guitar players' voices on the whole session tape, but I guess we'll see as I work my way through.

EDIT: separated out takes onto different lines for ease of reading.
« Last Edit: December 04, 2018, 01:48:41 PM by c-man » Logged
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« Reply #36 on: December 04, 2018, 03:22:06 PM »

[...]
after which Jerry plays the first six notes of "The Star Spangled Banner" followed by an apparently improvised riff (00:59-1:03), after which he plays the same two riffs in a higher position (1:07-1:11) [...]

In my opinion, Jerry does not play it twice--rather the first is Jerry, the second is actually Barney imitating him.  It's actually not higher--it's just the timbre of the mandolin and the clearer sounding on the octave string vs. the guitar on a neck pick-up.
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« Reply #37 on: December 04, 2018, 03:30:53 PM »

On the second track of the session (I don't know how it appears on the CD) which I have as labeled "Take 7" at around 2:24, Barney is practicing and it sounds like he bumps his open D-string, again, a whole step below what an octave guitar would be tuned.

Shortly thereafter (2:25-2:35 or so) is what is the smoking gun, in my opinion.  Barney is trying to get the opening A in tune and you hear him hammering away at that, then you hear him release it and tune the open courses, which are Gs--an octave below what an octave 12 would be tuned.  In this case, it is not below the range of an octave 12, but it is an open string G at 12-string guitar pitch, which would not make sense on an EADGBE octave 12.


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« Reply #38 on: December 04, 2018, 05:03:50 PM »

[...]
after which Jerry plays the first six notes of "The Star Spangled Banner" followed by an apparently improvised riff (00:59-1:03), after which he plays the same two riffs in a higher position (1:07-1:11) [...]

In my opinion, Jerry does not play it twice--rather the first is Jerry, the second is actually Barney imitating him.  It's actually not higher--it's just the timbre of the mandolin and the clearer sounding on the octave string vs. the guitar on a neck pick-up.


Yeah, I think you're right. Smiley
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« Reply #39 on: December 04, 2018, 05:19:53 PM »

My opinion:

The instrument is acoustic, not electric/plugged in.

The instrument has some octave sounds.

Possible guess (I know this will be controversial):

Bellzouki unplugged, close miked. This easily could have happened (Barney was practicing, BW liked the unplugged sound and went for that, everyone forgot later and assumed it was the mandolin, etc. Ösomething like that).
« Last Edit: December 04, 2018, 05:25:58 PM by DonnyL » Logged

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« Reply #40 on: December 04, 2018, 07:37:15 PM »

On the second track of the session (I don't know how it appears on the CD) which I have as labeled "Take 7" at around 2:24, Barney is practicing and it sounds like he bumps his open D-string, again, a whole step below what an octave guitar would be tuned.

Shortly thereafter (2:25-2:35 or so) is what is the smoking gun, in my opinion.  Barney is trying to get the opening A in tune and you hear him hammering away at that, then you hear him release it and tune the open courses, which are Gs--an octave below what an octave 12 would be tuned.  In this case, it is not below the range of an octave 12, but it is an open string G at 12-string guitar pitch, which would not make sense on an EADGBE octave 12.




I listened (am actually listening now)...and there is a smoking gun but not the one mentioned. There are no octave strings on a mandolin. When Barney starts plucking the high note A (take 7, just prior to take 8...as mentioned, SOT vol 13, disc 2, track 11, around 2:20), then the high note E, he's fretting them. The intonation is flat. He DOES start tuning his open G string to fix it.

BUT - The smoking gun is that Barney's mandolin both shown in the auction photo and mandolins in general do NOT have octave strings. They just don't.

If that is Barney practicing and tuning on these takes, he's playing a standard 12-string guitar. My ears hear it now plain as day after the reminder. He's tuning the standard string and the octave double separately to get them both to ring true with no wavering. The instrument's intonation is crap when he plays it above the 12th fret, but it's not a mandolin.

Hot damn.

And that stray D string hit at 2:24 is Jerry to my ears. Different timbre. But I could be wrong.

Anyway on these session tapes, Barney (if that's him) is not playing his mando guitar as seen in the photos on page one. There are no octave strings on mandolins. They're all doubles.
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« Reply #41 on: December 04, 2018, 08:00:42 PM »

Point of interest, SOT track 15, start at 2:50. It's between takes 15 and 16. Brian says cool the arms to give the players a break and you hear both guitarists noodling. At 3:02 you hear one of them doing odd be-bop runs.

At 3:23 you hear again the first notes played, then the high e strings are tuned open. As that is happening you hear the other guitar run that same Star Spangled Banner-esque lick that pops up several times. But the clincher is these are *both* 12 string guitars.

At exactly 3:23 listen to the first note struck, as the intro is played very slow followed by tuning after that high note "A" is again out of tune because of intonation.

No doubt - This is not the mando-guitar heard on this session so far. It is a twelve string guitar. That first note is clearly the note A, fretted at the 14th fret (standard guitar) with an octave string ringing with the regular G string: The very same G-string and paired-up octave string that was being tuned earlier on these tapes. There are no octave strings on that mandolin instrument or any mandolin in general.

So what scenarios if anything am I missing? It's not the mando guitar on these takes where that high G octave string is heard clearly and obviously.
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ďSome people think you have to knock somebody down in order to build yourself up, I donít look at it that way. To the mentality that likes to disparage other people, I say perhaps you should get a life. Itís just wrong thinking in my opinion and I donít mind saying that.Ē - Mike Love

"Every single person who criticized Brian for having She & Him, Kacey Musgraves, Sebu and Nate Ruess guesting on his solo album can now officially go heartily f*** themselves." - Wirestone
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« Reply #42 on: December 05, 2018, 05:08:52 AM »

Double
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« Reply #43 on: December 05, 2018, 05:22:50 AM »

On the second track of the session (I don't know how it appears on the CD) which I have as labeled "Take 7" at around 2:24, Barney is practicing and it sounds like he bumps his open D-string, again, a whole step below what an octave guitar would be tuned.

Shortly thereafter (2:25-2:35 or so) is what is the smoking gun, in my opinion.  Barney is trying to get the opening A in tune and you hear him hammering away at that, then you hear him release it and tune the open courses, which are Gs--an octave below what an octave 12 would be tuned.  In this case, it is not below the range of an octave 12, but it is an open string G at 12-string guitar pitch, which would not make sense on an EADGBE octave 12.




I listened (am actually listening now)...and there is a smoking gun but not the one mentioned. There are no octave strings on a mandolin. When Barney starts plucking the high note A (take 7, just prior to take 8...as mentioned, SOT vol 13, disc 2, track 11, around 2:20), then the high note E, he's fretting them. The intonation is flat. He DOES start tuning his open G string to fix it.

BUT - The smoking gun is that Barney's mandolin both shown in the auction photo and mandolins in general do NOT have octave strings. They just don't.

If that is Barney practicing and tuning on these takes, he's playing a standard 12-string guitar. My ears hear it now plain as day after the reminder. He's tuning the standard string and the octave double separately to get them both to ring true with no wavering. The instrument's intonation is crap when he plays it above the 12th fret, but it's not a mandolin.

Hot damn.

And that stray D string hit at 2:24 is Jerry to my ears. Different timbre. But I could be wrong.

Anyway on these session tapes, Barney (if that's him) is not playing his mando guitar as seen in the photos on page one. There are no octave strings on mandolins. They're all doubles.
Unless you string them in octaves, which is quite possible.  I don't quite understand why you're so unwilling to even allow the tiniest possibility that the man who famously asked "Chuck, can we get a horse in here" might want to tune an instrument differently than what it was intended for.  Plus, there's the occam's razor thing to this.

The instrument on the tape has octave courses.
It sounds weird - (has been publicly confused with a calliope, a harp, an electric piano, etc)
There is an oral tradition of Barney playing a mandolin on the track.
His mandolin just sold, having been provenencially associated with WIBN.
I've proven that tuning a mandolin in such a way works and sounds very similar to what's on the session, and my mandolin has a much shorter scale than Barney's.  It took less than 5 minutes using extra strings I already had.

vs.

Mandolins just aren't tuned that way.
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« Reply #44 on: December 05, 2018, 09:00:48 AM »

On the second track of the session (I don't know how it appears on the CD) which I have as labeled "Take 7" at around 2:24, Barney is practicing and it sounds like he bumps his open D-string, again, a whole step below what an octave guitar would be tuned.

Shortly thereafter (2:25-2:35 or so) is what is the smoking gun, in my opinion.  Barney is trying to get the opening A in tune and you hear him hammering away at that, then you hear him release it and tune the open courses, which are Gs--an octave below what an octave 12 would be tuned.  In this case, it is not below the range of an octave 12, but it is an open string G at 12-string guitar pitch, which would not make sense on an EADGBE octave 12.




I listened (am actually listening now)...and there is a smoking gun but not the one mentioned. There are no octave strings on a mandolin. When Barney starts plucking the high note A (take 7, just prior to take 8...as mentioned, SOT vol 13, disc 2, track 11, around 2:20), then the high note E, he's fretting them. The intonation is flat. He DOES start tuning his open G string to fix it.

BUT - The smoking gun is that Barney's mandolin both shown in the auction photo and mandolins in general do NOT have octave strings. They just don't.

If that is Barney practicing and tuning on these takes, he's playing a standard 12-string guitar. My ears hear it now plain as day after the reminder. He's tuning the standard string and the octave double separately to get them both to ring true with no wavering. The instrument's intonation is crap when he plays it above the 12th fret, but it's not a mandolin.

Hot damn.

And that stray D string hit at 2:24 is Jerry to my ears. Different timbre. But I could be wrong.

Anyway on these session tapes, Barney (if that's him) is not playing his mando guitar as seen in the photos on page one. There are no octave strings on mandolins. They're all doubles.
Unless you string them in octaves, which is quite possible.  I don't quite understand why you're so unwilling to even allow the tiniest possibility that the man who famously asked "Chuck, can we get a horse in here" might want to tune an instrument differently than what it was intended for.  Plus, there's the occam's razor thing to this.

The instrument on the tape has octave courses.
It sounds weird - (has been publicly confused with a calliope, a harp, an electric piano, etc)
There is an oral tradition of Barney playing a mandolin on the track.
His mandolin just sold, having been provenencially associated with WIBN.
I've proven that tuning a mandolin in such a way works and sounds very similar to what's on the session, and my mandolin has a much shorter scale than Barney's.  It took less than 5 minutes using extra strings I already had.

vs.

Mandolins just aren't tuned that way.


My ears are telling me loud and clear he's playing a 12 string guitar *on those session tapes*.
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"Every single person who criticized Brian for having She & Him, Kacey Musgraves, Sebu and Nate Ruess guesting on his solo album can now officially go heartily f*** themselves." - Wirestone
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« Reply #45 on: December 05, 2018, 10:37:17 AM »

My opinion:

The instrument is acoustic, not electric/plugged in.

The instrument has some octave sounds.

Possible guess (I know this will be controversial):

Bellzouki unplugged, close miked. This easily could have happened (Barney was practicing, BW liked the unplugged sound and went for that, everyone forgot later and assumed it was the mandolin, etc. Ösomething like that).


I'm told Bellzoukis are relatively easy to play high up the neck, yet Barney struggles and struggles with this instrument...
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« Reply #46 on: December 05, 2018, 10:39:37 AM »


My ears are telling me loud and clear he's playing a 12 string guitar *on those session tapes*.

But how do you account for the fact that Barney is clearly struggling with intonation and fretting throughout this session? I don't think that would be the case with a regular 12-string electric guitar (whether amp'd or not), and I'm not aware of any 12-string acoustics with cutaways being around in those days (and it would be impossible to play without a cutaway).
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« Reply #47 on: December 05, 2018, 11:02:18 AM »

My opinion:

The instrument is acoustic, not electric/plugged in.

The instrument has some octave sounds.

Possible guess (I know this will be controversial):

Bellzouki unplugged, close miked. This easily could have happened (Barney was practicing, BW liked the unplugged sound and went for that, everyone forgot later and assumed it was the mandolin, etc. Ösomething like that).


I'm told Bellzoukis are relatively easy to play high up the neck, yet Barney struggles and struggles with this instrument...


He really does, and he even makes fun of himself for it later in the session by playing the lick with a high A# instead of A, maybe to express his frustration with stuffing his fingers in the smaller spaces.
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« Reply #48 on: December 05, 2018, 11:04:18 AM »


My ears are telling me loud and clear he's playing a 12 string guitar *on those session tapes*.

But how do you account for the fact that Barney is clearly struggling with intonation and fretting throughout this session? I don't think that would be the case with a regular 12-string electric guitar (whether amp'd or not), and I'm not aware of any 12-string acoustics with cutaways being around in those days (and it would be impossible to play without a cutaway).

I'm trying to think of another Barney session where he really plays much between takes at all.
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« Reply #49 on: December 05, 2018, 11:05:34 AM »


My ears are telling me loud and clear he's playing a 12 string guitar *on those session tapes*.

But how do you account for the fact that Barney is clearly struggling with intonation and fretting throughout this session? I don't think that would be the case with a regular 12-string electric guitar (whether amp'd or not), and I'm not aware of any 12-string acoustics with cutaways being around in those days (and it would be impossible to play without a cutaway).

I separate this into two categories, and both will perhaps never have a definitive answer.

First is the mechanical/technical side: A lot of 12 strings (electrics) have pretty bad intonation above the 10th fret, even worse above the 12th or 14th. That includes the esteemed Rickenbacker, which can be a nightmare to intonate and play in tune despite the cost of these guitars. Imagine Barney having a Danelectro with a shoddy bridge, and yes Barney did have a selection of Danelectro guitars as did many of the session players. A lot of them got them fixed by having a more stable bridge replacing the stock wooden Danelectro bridge because the intonation was an issue. But that's pure speculation.

Next is the one I've struggled with for many years after hearing these raw session tapes play out:

Barney Kessel is and was one of the most respected (and best) jazz guitarists of all time. He was an "original" Wrecking Crew member dating back to the early to mid 50's when there was no "Wrecking Crew", and he maintained his profile as a jazz heavyweight constantly finishing in the top of jazz polls and performing regularly on some of the most popular and respected jazz albums and recordings. Jobim credited his work with Julie London for helping "invent" Bossa Nova with Barney's chord inversions and accompaniment style with Julie...all the guitarists around Jobim were literally obsessed with Barney's playing and from their work trying to learn his chord style, they developed Bossa Nova.

I could go on with his accomplishments, but Barney was a musician who other LA session guitarists would seek out for guitar lessons. Simply put, he was one of the best in the business alongside names like Bob Bain, Tommy, etc...working the LA scene.

So to hear him struggle on take after take with what isn't really a complex part...I've never been able to rectify that with Barney's skill as a musician.

It is one piece of the puzzle that simply does not fit. Barney could play and read anything, yet maybe he was having an off day with WIBN because he's missing the part and trying to rehearse it dozens of times over the course of these tapes. It just isn't like Barney Kessel if that makes sense.
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ďSome people think you have to knock somebody down in order to build yourself up, I donít look at it that way. To the mentality that likes to disparage other people, I say perhaps you should get a life. Itís just wrong thinking in my opinion and I donít mind saying that.Ē - Mike Love

"Every single person who criticized Brian for having She & Him, Kacey Musgraves, Sebu and Nate Ruess guesting on his solo album can now officially go heartily f*** themselves." - Wirestone
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