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Post new topic Johnny Farina tone
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Author Topic:  Johnny Farina tone
Eric Stumpf


From:
Newbury, NH 03255
Post  Posted 1 Mar 2000 6:27 am    
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For years I've wondered how Johnny Farina got a Stringmaster to sound so shrill. In some ways I hate the tone he apparently was so fond of and yet I think the tone is quite appropriate on many of his tunes; makes his playing instantly recognizable and hip. So what was the deal? Special pickups? And that tuning on "Sleepwalk"? I play the song on my A6th neck and it just doesn't come off sounding like the original.
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Andy Volk


From:
Boston, MA
Post  Posted 1 Mar 2000 7:45 am    
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The original recording sounds to me to be in C6th with "E" as the highest string. Johnny Farina is alive and working. Perhaps someone can supply his contact info and you can ask him.
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Brandin


From:
Newport Beach CA. USA
Post  Posted 1 Mar 2000 11:00 am    
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He also has that nice quick vibrato.
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mikey


From:
New Jersey
Post  Posted 1 Mar 2000 11:07 am    
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Mid scale String master, Fender Twin..Johnny's tone is in his hands...just like yours and mine,
Mike
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c c johnson


From:
killeen,tx usa * R.I.P.
Post  Posted 1 Mar 2000 11:25 am    
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if anyone kmows the add of FM studios somewhere in the ne they probably know his whereabouts.
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Smiley Roberts


From:
Hendersonville,Tn. 37075
Post  Posted 1 Mar 2000 1:05 pm    
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Eric,
To the best of my knowledge,Santo & Johnny do not have a website,but,I believe,Scotty has a fax # for Johnny.Check w/ him.

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  ~ ~


mm
-=sr=-
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Doug Beaumier


From:
Northampton, MA
Post  Posted 1 Mar 2000 10:20 pm    
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By the way... Santo played steel, and Johnny played guitar on the recordings. Santo retired from the music business many years ago and Johnny still tours and fronts his own band. But the original recordings that we all know and love feature the steel playing of Santo Farina.

dougb
www.dougbsteel.com
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Eric Stumpf


From:
Newbury, NH 03255
Post  Posted 2 Mar 2000 3:32 am    
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Doug, Look what I found: www.santoandjohnny.com and www.sleepwalk-instrumental.com
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Doug Beaumier


From:
Northampton, MA
Post  Posted 2 Mar 2000 7:09 am    
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Yes, Johnny plays steel on the current shows. One of my students recently saw him at Foxwoods casino and said he sounded great... however, Santo is the original steel guitarist of the duo and he played the Original Sleepwalk recorded in 1959, and throughout the 60s.

Tom Bradshaw has a lengthy bio of Santo and Johnny in his catalog of steel guitar products. He discusses Santo's career as a steel guitarist in some detail... and he discusses Johnny's guitar playing. Tom reviews 2 of the duos albums, and 1 of Santo's solo steel guitar albums. He mentions Santo's steel guitar playing many times. Johnny is pictured holding a guitar in the photos... the same Johnny who is pictured on the current website playing steel. Seems that Johnny has recently re-recorded Sleepwalk... and he plays steel now, but the sound that you refer to in your original post was not played by Johnny Farina. No big deal... it's still a great sound!

As far as the tone the steel guitar in Sleepwalk, I'd describe it as thin and soulful, and without a lot of sustain. Probably a combination of the instrument, the pickup, the amp, and most importantly, the mind and hands of the player.

dougb
www.dougbsteel.com


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Eric Stumpf


From:
Newbury, NH 03255
Post  Posted 2 Mar 2000 5:40 pm    
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Good info and most appreciated. Thanks for ironin' it out.
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Chris DeBarge


From:
Boston, Mass
Post  Posted 4 Mar 2000 11:56 am    
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Well, judging by the website sound clip, Johnny's playing and tone aren't nearly as good as Santo's, but I'm glad he's still at it.

I play it on C6th, but there's one run that just doesn't sound right to me. It's when you play the 3 string lick right after the first 2 single notes of the melody. I just grab the A, C & E strings at the 5th fret(then move to 7, 8, 7, 5). Something about it, just seems a little wrong. Any ideas?

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Brian Beebe


From:
Atlanta, Ga. 30214
Post  Posted 4 Mar 2000 6:38 pm    
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Chris, just play the C and A strings and leave out the E. It should work okay.

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Bob Stone


From:
Gainesville, FL, USA
Post  Posted 7 Mar 2000 6:23 am    
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No wonder I wasn't clear on which one was the steel player!

Here's something to think about. I recall Santo quoted somewhere--can't remember where but I think it was in a Guitar Player publication or CD, or a review of one--saying he played Sleep Walk in C#minor tuning on the original recording. As I recall, he went on to say he could play it in any tuning, but that was the one he used on the recording.

I have never tried the C# minor tuning. However, I have the original Sleep Walk on "Rock Instrumental Classics" Rhino CD R2 71601 and the pitch is definitely C#, not C, which is where everyone else seems to play it. By the way, I think it lays really nice in C6th. I like to play the first note on the 2nd (C) string 12th fret which makes for a nice slide down to the double stop at fret 7.

Also, in the earliest publicity photos Santo is playing a Dual 8 Professional, so it seems likely that is what he used on Sleep Walk.

[This message was edited by Bob Stone on 07 March 2000 at 06:25 AM.]

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Brett Habben


From:
Spicewood TX USA
Post  Posted 8 Mar 2000 7:03 pm    
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I love Santo's approach. Skinny bar, wild vibrato, rarely mutes. I spun a pile of their records again. What were some possible 50's tunings he could have used? It sounds like the top two strings are E and C#. A6? C#min? I wrote down a C#min tuning off Charlie Norris that went E C# G# E C# B G# E. The tip he used a Dual Professional explains why I can sound closer using my Deluxe 8 than a Stringmaster.
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