Clarence White – 33 Acoustic Guitar Instrumentals

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33 Acoustic Guitar Instrumentals

33 Acoustic Guitar Instrumentals came from a cassette tape discovered in Clarence’s personal archives after his untimely death. These home recordings feature him playing lead guitar accompanied by Roger Bush on rhythm for a number of bluegrass standards. All the songs are tantalizingly brief. The longest, “In the Pines,” runs a mere 2:11.

The format is simple; Clarence plays the solos two or three times, then the song ends. But in each tune are enough musical ideas to keep you busy dissecting them for a lifetime.

The album was recorded in 1962 on a pre-Dolby Wollensak machine. While these units were known for reliability (you could find them in most high school language labs) they were not exactly ultra-high fidelity. Their high-frequency limit was around 8 kHz, and they had a consistent amount of wow and flutter. Given the Wollensak’s technical limitations, this recording is astonishingly good. Even with the occasional volume drops, and slight pitch variations, the sound of White’s ’57 D-18 comes through with remarkable fidelity. Surprisingly, he preferred to play solos with the D-18 rather than his fabled ’37 D-28 (now owned by Tony Rice). The D-18 was stolen in ’67 while White was recording in Los Angeles. It has never resurfaced.

This review originally appeared in VG‘s Jan. ’01 issue.