Maybelle’s Guitar

Via Tim Worstall, this bollocks in The Guardian:

Cate Le Bon: ‘Guitars were inspired by female bodies. Why are they uncomfortable for women to play?’

One of the biggest guitars out there is the Gibson L-5, a model which dates back to 1922 and is akin to a cello. Here’s Maybelle Carter playing hers:

If only she’d had a smaller guitar designed especially for women!

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20 thoughts on “Maybelle’s Guitar

  1. Jelly Roll Morton swapped from playing the guitar to the piano because guitars were looked upon as being a girl’s instrument. On matters musical, turn-of-the-century Noo Awlins was pretty sound.

  2. But what about Ed Sheehan with his small guitar? Where’s that leave us?

    (St Vincent’s lead singer has a Musicman signature model that’s smaller and lighter and has some kind of contouring to make it more comfortable on stage if you have breasts. Quite why anyone who isn’t in the Shadows would have a guitar that high, I dunno.

    As a vague aside, being exceptionally lofty and long fingered, I have to take care what guitars I play. I never saw this as a discrimination issue- it just means I try them out for comfort and fit before I buy them. Like you should)

    Ps check out St Vincent and Nirvana doing Lithium at the hall of fame induction. She’s a worthy successor to Cobain.

  3. Didn’t click link- Apols for recap of Graun article.

    Cate Le Bon should be aware that sometimes a guitar is just a guitar /freud

  4. This woman is an idiot.

    …earlier this month… Annie Clark – St Vincent – unveiled on Instagram the guitar she has designed specifically for women’s bodies.

    Hmm… now where have I seen a guitar like that before? Oh, that’s right, the fucking 1950’s.

    If you really need a smallbodied guitar, there’s already plenty out there, and women have been playing them for decades without managing to smack themselves in the tit. If this is really how St. Vincent is marketing her guitar, then she’s full of shit.

    Often, I get called a singer-songwriter in the same breath as my musical collaborator, Tim Presley, is called a musician. …The impression given… is that I use a guitar to facilitate my songwriting needs while Tim really knows how to play his axe.

    Given that she doesn’t appear to know neither jack nor shit about guitars, I’d say that’s probably an accurate impression.

    Granted, many women may not take issue with the instrument’s current form, depending on how high or low they strap on their guitar or depending on their body type…

    Oh, so it’s a total non-issue then?

    …depending on their body type, but still.

    “But still, I’d better have a whinge about it anyway if I want to get this free plug in at the Guardian.”

  5. A friend of mine has a 1950’s Gibson LG. It stands for Ladies Guitar.

    It is small and (relatively) easy to play. Easier than my 1960’s J50 anyway.

  6. It is small and (relatively) easy to play.

    Yeah, I once helped a girl start playing the guitar once (no, that’s not a euphemism) and advised she should get a concert sized one: the dreadnoughts can be pretty hard to play if you don’t have long arms.

    Easier than my 1960’s J50 anyway.

    Nice! I have a Martin D28 Marquis (albeit one from 2007) and it’s not that easy to play, the action is quite stiff for a start. But it sounds *amazing*, and it’s as loud as hell.

  7. I learned a little guitar at university. I was pretty poor at it, but still better than most of the rockandrollers who rarely seemed to have mastered a fourth chord.

  8. Back in the 1980s I was looking for a Martin when this Gibson found me

    I was the other way around: I walked into a shop in Melbourne looking for a Gibson Hummingbird and came out with a Martin. I was in a cold sweat on the way home contemplating how much I’d just spent, and it was second hand too. Best thing I ever bought, though.

  9. I was pretty poor at it, but still better than most of the rockandrollers who rarely seemed to have mastered a fourth chord.

    More than three chords in a song is showing off.

  10. More than three chords in a song is showing off.

    Horse with no Name by America only has 2

    Turquoise by Donovan really only has one (with a hammer)… but some killer harp

  11. “Guitars were inspired by female bodies”

    My bullshit detector just emitted a quiet ping. I expect her statement is bollocks.

  12. Horse with no Name by America only has 2

    So does Little Red Caboose by The Maddox Brothers and Rose.

    More seriously, but only a little, so does My Dixie Darling by The Carter Family.

  13. My bullshit detector just emitted a quiet ping.

    I think everyone else’s was going off like the klaxon in the villain’s lair when they’ve discovered James Bond is somewhere on the premises.

  14. For the Guardian, that was actually quite a subversive article. Sure, it starts the usual way – identify a minor inconvenience and blame it on centuries of patriarchy. But then what happens – the young lady actually gets off her arse and designs and builds a guitar that suits her better. The problem – to the extent it ever existed – is actually solved rather than left to provide the raw material for several more decades of whining. Where is the shrieking for zillions of pounds of government grants for guitar consciousness-raising workshops, the forcible re-education of male-guitar makers and the official certification of organic lesbian fair-trade musical instruments?

    I fear the journalist in question has blotted her copybook.

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