Del McCoury Interview

(This interview with Del McCoury appeared in a Japanese guitar magazine)

Q:  [Referring to the dark brown D-18 that Del McCoury was playing] This
D-18 (#65120 from 1936) is not a sunburst but does have a dark
brown top. Was it original?

DM: I got this nine months ago and I guess it was like that.

Q:  You usually play D-28, don't you?

DM: I have two 1954 D-28's. One of them, I bought in 1966. I used to use
the other D-28 a lot in 70's, but I prefer this D-18 now a days, since
the sound does not deteriorate thru the mic and sounds good in studio.

Q:  You like vintage guitars?

DM: Yes, I guess so. I like my D-28 since I can hear it when I play and I
like the feel. This D-18, however, goes well with miking and sounds
clearer. Maybe the D-28 is a little too bassy.

Q:  Have you tried newer guitars?

DM: Not really, altho I hear Santa Cruz makes good ones.

Q:  Regarding maintenance, do you do anything special? Cases? Strings?

DM: I keep the strings at pitch all the time [*]. When I travel on bus, I
use a normal case. When I travel in a car, I use a smaller sturdier case.

Q:  Strings?

DM: I use D'Addario medium gauge

Q:  And what about pick?

DM: I use David Grisman pick. He gave me a bunch. It was a rounded
triangle but as I used it, it became even rounder [an accompanying photo
shows an almost-circular pick]

Q:  How did you start music?

DM: I think it was 1956 when we did a band in Brookline, called "Stevens
Brothers Band". It had some brothers on mandolin and guitars. That was
the first one. I also played with Keith Daniels and Blue Rislammer [**]
before I joined Bill Monroe in 1963

Q:  When did you start your own band?

DM: About 1966?

Q: So that's after Bill Monroe?

DM:  Yes.


Chief's note:

*:  In Japan, people loosen strings on guitars when it is not played.
Some loosen it by a full note, and others may loosen it all the way. And
this is practiced everyday, not only when you leave it for a week but
done on a daily basis. The argument is that it is bad for the neck joint
to do this but the top will not the pulled. The neck joint can be reset
but once the top is bellied, there's no way to restore the top without
affecting the tone. All the guitars I got to play in stores in Japan had
the strings loosened all the way.

**: Due to the Japanese language, I can only guess the spelling from
phonetic symbols. Furthermore, there are some ambiguities on "r" and "l"
and other consonants. Maybe someone can correct the Proper names?