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Published on Sep 18, 2012
David Grisman Quintet featuring Mark O'Connor (guitar) Darol Anger (violin) Mike Marshall (mandolin) and Rob Wasserman (bass) play Grisman's original "Dawg's Rag" on the Austin City Limits television show, 1980.
For a period of 18 months from 1979 - 1980, this line up of DGQ toured the U.S. and released an album on Warner Bros. Records called Quintet 80. During the shows O'Connor (the youngest musician here on this video at just 18 years-old) always played at least one piece on violin, but his role was guitarist and original member Darol Anger the violinist.
Notice at 6:37, as O'Connor begins his guitar solo, his string snaps and one can hear this audibly. The high E string of the guitar came lose from the end pin and dropped all the way down to where it was flopping. You can see O'Connor attempting to figure out what to do as he continued his solo on national television. Beginning on the lower strings, he mutes some with his right hand, then gestured towards David Grisman as if he was going to give his solo back to him. Grisman does not respond and continues to play rhythm not really knowing what happened. Then O'Connor turns away from the mic and within a period of three seconds (from 7:01 to 7:04) the high E string is perfectly back in tune for the remainder of the solo. This very moment back in 1980 helped solidify O'Connor's reputation as a young star whose ability as a great young musician was growing. These few seconds were the talk of the show to many guitar players watching at the time. Many experts just could not believe that O'Connor could tune the string during his solo from its "floppy" state to the precise pitch in an instant, without the ability to even hear it while the band was playing loudly.
The guitar O'Connor is playing here was newly made for him - a Somogyi from Berklee, California. Years later, Somogyi lost all of his instruments and guitar wood in a fire at his shop. O'Connor donated his guitar back to the luthier upon finding out about this news.
For more information on Mark O'Connor, String Camps, The O'Connor Method, ensembles, repertoire, sheet music and more, please visit http://www.markoconnor.com