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Jerry Reed

A Conversation with Jerry Reed (continued)

PM: I don't think anybody has ever heard a funkier gut-string player than yourself. I'm not sure one exists, really. How did the gut string come to be a prime ax for you, as a southern guitar guy?

JR: Because of the gut strings. I mean, it's that simple. Metal strings always tore my nails off because I played too hard. And when I found the gut string, I said, "Man, I never seen one of these."

PM: Wow.

JR: And I got to playing that thing, and I just fell in love with it. And I put the strings down to where they'd rattle and be funky.

PM: Right.

JR: And that's sort of what cemented my style of playing, really.

PM: No kidding. I mean, after I heard Live Still I had to--and I was so pleased when I got to iTunes and found that, oh, man, there's all kinds of Jerry Reed tunes up here on iTunes, and downloaded "The Claw," and bought the "Alabama Jubilee," and all kinds of tunes.

JR: [laughs] You did?

PM: Yeah! I had to get me some more Reed after I heard that live record.

JR: [laughs] Well, great, son.

PM: "The Claw" is incredible. Is that regular tuning?

JR: Oh, yeah. I do it in "A," in regular tuning.

PM: But I remember when you were over at the house that day ten years ago--I hope you don't mind, I was watching and stole some licks off you in what I believe was open "G" tuning. Did you also play a lot in that?

JR: Yeah, oh, yeah. I love open tuning, I love that open "G" tuning, that flat fingering.


JR: That's how I did "Alabama Lawman," the original was in open "G" tuning--

PM: Ah.

JR: --and the "Tupelo, Mississippi Flash," because it left my left hand free, see, and I could get in there and move around and boogie-woogie. [laughs]

PM: Right. Yeah, because you got the best thumb in the business.

JR: Well, I don't know about that, but it was fun.

PM: [laughs] How do you pickup that nylon string of yours, and what kind of a guitar is that?

JR: Oh, well, I fell in love with that old Electric Baldwin.

PM: Electric Baldwin.

JR: Yeah, and I've still got one. Funkiest most worthless guitar you ever seen, but that pickup was great. And I could be heard with the drums.


PM: So you mean Baldwin actually made the guitar?

JR: Yeah. It's a Baldwin guitar.

PM: Oh, my God. And you can't find those for love or money, I'm sure.

JR: Oh, no, they're scarce as hen's teeth.

PM: [laughs]

JR: But I got me one.

PM: And they worked with a certain Baldwin amplifier, then.

JR: Well, I play through any amp.

PM: Right, any.

JR: Yeah. But I played through a Baldwin. I recorded with a Baldwin amp, but also Ampegs and Fenders and every other one you can mention. Yeah, I've played through them all.   continue

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