How many guitar pickers seriously mess with their instrument? Normally I’d be safe in saying banjo players do a lot more of that kind of thing than guitar pickers. On a banjo you can adjust or change the head, adjust or change the tailpiece, try a different bridge, stuff the back of your instrument, or even put tape over the strings behind the bridge in an effort to modify the sound.
Big Joe Williams is one guitar player who wasn’t afraid to change things on his guitar. In fact he doubled up 3 strings and became known as the “king of the 9-string”. He was also known to add stuff to his amp to make a more percussive and rattling sound.
Williams was born in 1903 and passed in 1982, age 79. He was very well recorded with a career which spanned 4 decades. Many of his early sides were recorded with John Lee “Sonny Boy” Williamson on harmonica (that’s the first of the two Sonny Boy Williamsons…it was the second one who called himself the original). At one time I listened to most of those recordings and as I recall they were all excellent.
There was a time I listened to a lot of blues and Big Joe Willliams was among my faves. I love his rough and ready guitar attack.