Soundboard: Red Spruce top with Red Spruce bracing.

   Bracing glued to top with hot hide glue

Back and sides: Honduran Mahogany

Binding: Flamed Maple

Purfling: Mahogany

Neck: Three Piece Maple Mahogany    

   (may be custom carved to customer specs)

Face Plate: Ebony

Fingerboard: Ebony

Bridge: Ebony

Tuners: vintage style Gotoh open back

Neck Width at nut: 1 3/4" (unless otherwise specified)

String Spread at bridge: 2 1/4" (unless otherwise specified)

Scale length: 24.9”

Material used for nut and saddle: vintage animal bone

 

Note: Guitar shown with Honduran Rosewood

In it's earliest days, the blues had distinct regional flavors. “The Georgia Peach” is dedicated to all the blues pioneers from Georgia.

 

Early Performers

The blues had many distinct regional flavors, and Georgia has produced a rich blues heritage that showcases a variety of styles from Ray Charles from Albany, Little Richard from Macon, and Robert Cray of Columbus, to more obscure players like “Blind Simmie” Dooley from Hartwell and Dolphus “Gus” Gibson from Fort Valley.

 

Little is known about the earliest forms of the music, but Gertrude Ma Rainey a native of Columbus, claims to have sung blues in front of live vaudeville audiences at the age of sixteen (around 1900), which may make her the first professional female blues performer. Rainey performed at the 81 theater in Atlanta, where she influenced the teenaged Bessie Smith. Atlanta's Decatur street had a thriving music scene populated by barrelhouse blues pianist (the loud, percussive style of playing suitable for noisy bars or taverns) like Thomas Andrew “Georgia Tom” Dorsey from Villa Rica, Big Maceo Merriweather from Atlanta and Wille Lee “Piano Red” Perryman from Hampton.

 

From The 1920s through the 1930s, artist and repertoire staff scoured the south for new talent for race record subsidiaries of major record companies, and in Atlanta they recorded a distinct style of country blues performers. The use of twelve- string guitars, more strumming than picking, irregular rhythms, and nasal vocal technique typified the Atlanta sound, as performed by Robert “Barbecue Bob” Hicks from Lithonia. The influence of the intricately fingerpicked piedmont style of the country blues also appeared in Georgia with Eugene “Buddy” Moss from Jewell and Joshua Barnes “Peg Leg” Howell from Eatonton, who maintained one of the most successful early blues recording careers into the 1930s. “Blind Willie” McTell from Thompson, another country blues singer active from the 1920s, played Atlanta until shortly before his death sometime in the late 1950s and like many songsters of his day. He incorporated a wide variety of popular songs styles in his repertoire. A long time resident of the city, McTell often played on the street outside the Pig 'n' Whistle barbecue stands and collaborated with the Hicks brothers, Buddy Moss, Curly Weaver from Covington, and piano Red

 

Blues Revival

When white listeners became interested in blues music in the 1950s and early 1960s, many of the country blues musicians had ceased playing music or lived in obscurity until blues revivalists searched them out. Jesse Fuller from Jonesboro, a one man band, and harmonica player Buster Brown from Cordele benefited from the renewed interest in there music, but the blues revival treated no early Georgia blues musician better than Sonny Terry of Greensboro. From his first recording in 1937, Sonny Terry remained active in music and even played Carnegie hall and on Broadway, but his popularity grew in the 1960s. Solo and with his long time partner Brownie McGhee, Terry played numerous festivals and recorded many albums until the 1980s.

 

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, when the blues began to have an overt influence on white musicians like Duane Allman and The Allman Brothers from Macon and Tinsley Ellis of Atlanta, white performers had overtaken their black peers in popularity. Luther Johnson, of Davisboro, who played extensively with Muddy Waters, and other important blues performers of the 1970s were often overshadowed by their white contemporaries, a trend that continues to this day.

 

Georgia still produces blues performers like Neal Pattman from Madison County and Robert “Chick” Willis of Cabiness, but the blues tourism and the record industry continues to homogenize the genre, and the distinctive traditions of the early blues records and the Atlanta style no longer remain.

Photos: Mike Bresnen