Blog / Electric Guitars

More National New Yorker

I have added three new pictures to the National New Yorker gallery. This time I shot the guitar on a sheet of shiny black acrylic plastic for a mirror effect. I've been using this technique on several projects lately and especially like the effect here of black and white reflected in black.

The lighting was as usual, two softboxes left and right of the set and a strobe with a 10deg honeycomb grid overhead for accent lighting. Each strobe had to be placed carefully to ensure that there were no uncontrolled reflections. The real challenge in shooting shiny objects on a shiny background is to control each and every reflection so it shows only what you want. I routinely drape the set with black curtains to make sure nothing in the room is illuminated, or reflected.

I am still intrigued by the shapes and textures of this unique instrument and plan to continue my visual exploration of it. Look for more additions to this gallery in the near future.

Posted by Charles under Electric Guitars on 02/01

Shooting the National New Yorker

When David M. Seigler first showed me his National New Yorker lap steel guitar, I was intrigued by its distinctive, art deco appearance. It is finished in glossy black enamel on the sides and back with black plastic fret board. The trim is white plastic and with the round-shouldered shape gives the guitar a very 20’s feel.

The guitar, introduced as the Electric Hawaiian in 1937, was in production until 1968 in many model variations. This example has engraved position markers and a 3-position pickup selector marked “Hawaiian,” “Chimes,” and “Harp.”

I wanted to try to capture the art-deco design of this instrument and to emphasize the architectural influences on the shape.

The “catalog” picture of the guitar in front of a gray background shows the overall shape and motif quite well, and gives a good idea of the scale of the instrument.

National New Yorker lap steel guitar

As always, I try to find details that illuminate the whole, and in the case of this guitar, the roman numeral position markers engraved into the fretboard, held captive behind the bars of the strings, gives a glimpse of the nature of the guitar.

National New Yorker lap steel guitar

I think the most interesting picture from the session is this one, shot on a black velvet background. Since the guitar body is black, it disappears into the background, leaving only the front of the guitar floating in space.

National New Yorker lap steel guitar

All of these were lit with two strobes in softboxes, one on each side, and a strobe with a 10 deg grid on a boom overhead for accent light. Reflection control is always an issue with instruments with shiny parts, and the New Yorker is no exception. The hand rest over the bridge is bright shiny chrome and required special attention in every shot to ensure that there was nothing unwanted reflected there.

National New Yorker lap steel guitar

Posted by Charles under Electric Guitars on 04/07

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