Sunday, May 04, 2008

Tommy Emmanuel Concert - Ottawa May 2nd 2008

I attended the Tommy Emmanuel concert Friday because the guy that made my new acoustic guitar, Tony Karol, called me up a few months back and wanted to know if I could bring it down to the show, work his booth and get a free ticket in the front row. I'm there! I was going to buy a ticket anyhow! Woohoo! So I packed it up and headed on over.

What a show Tommy put on! He said next year, he'll have been "spankin' the plank" (Australian for 'playing the guitar') for near 50 years! And it shows! He has an excellent Lenny Breau technique and can alternate pick with a thumb-pick (why can't I do this?) like most guys can with a flatpick. I definitely gotta learn how to do that and reap the benefits of electric guitar shredding I spent most of my early life doing. Crap, he even threw in one sweep picking lick in the middle of something. You hardly EVER see that on an acoustic. I took a pile of photos (click here for my flickr set). I've gone from trying to take a good photo to using the "1000 monkeys in a room with typewriters" method of taking pictures. If you take about 500, statistically speaking, you will get one or two good ones!

The guitars he was using were quite beat up. He seems to prefer an off-the shelf Australian model of some sort and the back top of each behind the bridge is worn down the the wood. Literally. There will be a hole soon. And I soon saw why. He scratches and rubs there to get an amazing array of sounds. He made his guitar sound like a thunderstorm at one point. He has a rubber feedback plug in each sound hole because his stage volume is so loud, he'd be screetching without them. He is literally one of the nicest sounding guys I've ever heard at a show. Australians and Canadians seem to have a lot in common (besides the love of beer).

The guitar booth (corner actually) was really busy and there were lots of people checking out Tony's latest guitar's (here's his website). He had a nice Baritone up, had a spin on it.. Someday! (I want a Harp guitar first and Tony'd probably be the guy to make it!). Personally, I like the guitar, 3rd from the left. It's a beauty! (ok.. it's also mine). It was a bit weird letting complete strangers play my guitar, but as someone there reminded me, "Hey, you're driving up the value of your investment by bringing it out here!). Actually, since I'll never sell the thing, I guess it doesn't really matter.

If you haven't ever seen Tommy play, check him out on youtube!


Tripper said...

Wicked! I should have joined you for the show.

Anonymous said...

Great report. Only thing is, Tommy has his guitars custom made by Maton. They are not off the shelf.

But yeah, he sure wears them out!