Mark Lucas | Guitarist | Live | Session | Arranger

Strats/Teles & The 'Cumulative Effect'

From time to time, I do get asked "what makes a guitar play great?" I've had the opportunity to watch and learn from some really, really good luthiers/repairmen--I would answer that it is the 'cumulative effect'--And what I mean by that is taking into account every component of the instrument--In my experience, the first thing is a neck that is properly adjusted and frets that are properly leveled, dressed, and re-crowned--A guitar simply will not reach its' full potential without this critical step--Even a guitar that does not have all the other elements(quality of wood, pickups, hardware)will play significantly better with the proper fretwork and a neck that has little to no relief in it--Along with that, it's impossible to discount a nut that is free of pinching and cut close to the first fret-- As to neck and body wood, wood that is cured and dried out simply sounds better and will improve with age--And as much mythology has gone on about finishes, I prefer a nitrocellulose finish--It's light, it breathes, and develops a beautiful patina over time-- Tuners, bridges, saddles have to be functional first--They all affect the resonant properties of a guitar-- Being a Tele/Strat fanatic of sorts, I love single coil pickups--They can go from fundamental overtones to a thicker sound easier than the other way around-- On to the playability factor--As much as I hear from some players that a heavier gauge string and relief in the neck make for better 'tone', I find it to be objectively without merit(aside from the fact that some players simply like a heavier string)-- I have found that a neck with almost no relief(bow)in it is a better way to go, because the guitar is not fighting itself--When it's 'even', the string vibrates more effectively--I have used a .09-.42 gauge string set for over 25 years, and have never felt like 'tone' was lacking--In fact, I think that playing the guitar, of and in itself, is hard enough work; I'm not interested in making it more challenging, at least from that end--


Full Circle is that place you want to be. It's the one you want to scroll down that loelny, romantic stretch of Central Park with. This is your Mom and Dad's jazz records back in the day because they truly were the hipsters' of the day! Bright when the path needs to be lit and dark when romance is the occasion! It's the song on the car radio that races through your mind and keeps you steady. Jazz is what it is a transender of European country borders as well as the big city cafe in the states

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