Why do you have so many guitars?!

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Issue 223 August 14, 2014

Dakota Dave Hull is a pro touring guitarist, a veteran of years on the road. Lugging a half dozen heavy guitar cases, he stopped by Dan Erlewine’s shop and answered some questions, starting with “Why so many?!"

Whether he's performing at the renowned Caffe Lena or at a house concert in the Midwest, Dave carries a lot of guitars. We’re pleased that all of these guitars have Waverly tuners, available exclusively from Stewart-MacDonald!

Dakota Dave’s guitars in this video:

  • Fairbanks Guitars’ DDH Custom Jumbo, based on Dave's 1935 Gibson
  • New Era Guitars’ DDH Signature Big Boy by Tony Klassen
  • Hoffman Guitars’ 3/4 size Piccolo with a 22.5" scale length
  • National Guitars’ Tricone and El Trovador Baritone resonator guitars
In this Trade Secrets video:
  • What one guitar can’t do, another can — Dave plays examples
  • Microphone placement for acoustic guitars
  • Dave’s big hands form chords that Dan could never manage!
  • Rubber mutes dampen sympathetic ringing at the peghead

Video Transcription

[on-screen text reads: Stewart-MacDonald - Trade Secrets! Why so many guitars? Dan Erlewine, Stewart-MacDonald]

Dan Erlewine: This is my friend, Dave Hull, Dakota Dave Hull, from Minneapolis. Dave's traveling with no less than six guitars in heavy cases. Why do you take so many guitars on the road?

Dave Hull: Well, generally, when I'm traveling, I take four. I take a flat top, a resophonic, a baritone, and a piccolo guitar to get my different sounds

Fairbanks Guitars’ DDH Custom Jumbo, based on Dave's 1935 Gibson

[on-screen text reads: Flattop with 12th fret body joint - Fairbanks Guitars]

[Dave plays his acoustic guitar]

Dan Erlewine: What can't you do on this that you could on another one, one of those?

New Era Guitars’ DDH Signature Big Boy by Tony Klassen

[on-screen text reads: Flattop with 14th fret body joint - New Era Guitars]

[Dave plays his acoustic guitar]

Dave Hull: Well, a normal 14 fret guitar has a little bit more room up here. So if I'm ... run out of room. This is a 14 fret guitar, and this is the sort of thing I can do on this that I couldn't do on the other one.

[Dave plays his acoustic guitar]

Dan Erlewine: Killer guitar. That's the pearl inlay pattern I remember seeing back in the sixties. And then some of us guys tried to do that, not as fancy as that. We'd spend days trying to inlay those pearls. How come you point the mic here instead of at the sound hole?

Dave Hull: If you point a mic at a sound hole, you're going to get boominess in the bass and maybe even some low feedback or hums in the bass. And so you look for a place where mic'ing it will make the guitar sound as close to what it sounds like in a room without a microphone as possible.

National Guitars' Tri-cone resonator guitar

Dan Erlewine: Oh, a National. Let's hear some blues.

Dave Hull: Well, I think I'm going to play something else. These are sweet sounding guitars.

[Dave plays his guitar]

Dan Erlewine: That's pretty.

Dave Hull: It really is. You can certainly do some...

Dan Erlewine: What chord is that?

Dave Hull: F.

Dan Erlewine: Looks like C.

Dave Hull: It does almost, doesn't it? I am fortunate. I've got nice big hands [on-screen text reads: F chord using double stops]. I can do double stops.

Dan Erlewine: Geez. Let me see. Give me that thing. God. Robert Johnson here, only stronger. What's the story on this little guy?

Hoffman Guitars’ 3/4 size Piccolo with a 22.5" scale length

[Dave plays his guitar]

Dave Hull: Well, it's a piccolo guitar. Charlie Hoffman and I got together and we kind of designed this.

Dan Erlewine: What's with the rubber mute? Most of your guitars have that on it.

Dave Hull: Yeah, they do. And what it does is it sort of keeps this sympathetic ringing from going on, which is especially important to me in the studio.

Dan Erlewine: All of your guitars have Waverlys on.

Dave Hull: They do [on-screen text reads: Waverly tuners can''t be beat - Waverly Guitar Tuners with Ivoroid Knobs]. The thing I like the best about them [on-screen text reads: Waverly Tuning Machines #4065 Ivoroid], if you're tuning up to a note that's fairly typical of most tuners, but also tuning down to it, you can get there. This was the piccolo guitar. I also have a baritone guitar with me. You want to see it?

National Guitars' El Trovador baritone resonator guitar

Dan Erlewine: Mm-hmm. I've never played one of these. And I think if I owned something like this and I sat with it for an hour, something totally strange would come out of me music wise. And that's the beauty of having all these guitars on the road, is that you can get a different style in a moment. Dave says he only uses this on two or three songs a night, but it's the perfect thing when you get there. [Dan puts his foot down on a wooden foot support on the ground] And I love the acoustic wah-wah [on-screen text reads: Dave's wooden foot support].



"Dakota" Dave Hull

Pro Touring Guitarist

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