Joe's right; Bob Shane did indeed play accompaniment to his own vocal on 'Scotch and Soda'. My own preference has always been the original version, the one on the first album, rather than those on subsequent recordings. The original featured Mr. Shane strumming with his thumb which gave the song exactly what it requires – an understated, smokey intimacy. That quality is all but lost in a concert setting where a flat pick was employed for the sake of volume.
I also agree with Joe that Mr. Shane does not get the credit he deserves as a guitarist. Throughout his tenure with the KT, his rhythm playing was varied, creative, and consistently spot on. Anyone seeking to master right-hand rhythm guitar skills can benefit greatly from listening to Bob Shane.
I'm in mild disagreement with Joe on one point: I don't think that it's all that difficult to determine how skilled a guitarist Dave Guard was. Although the guitar work he did with the Trio was not challenging for a reasonably competent player, Guard's strengths were his creativity and his taste - his ability to play what sounds like exactly the right part for any given song. Listen for example to his intro on 'Leave My Woman Alone', or the guitar break in 'Southwind', or even his unaccompanied playing on 'Raspberries, Strawberries'. As I said, none of these are technically challenging, but each is so well paired to the song that it's hard to imagine any lines that could be better suited.
Nick Reynolds was able to strum very fast patterns on his guitar without a lot of effort, at least that's how it appeared during each of the many times I saw him perform. His fluid wrist action was complemented by another gift he shared with Bob Shane - excellent rhythmic sensibilities. A perfect example, one I've cited before, is on 'Hard Travelin' from the Make Way album. Turn up the volume (or better still, put on headphones) and listen to the tenor guitar part that accompanies Shane's verse. Creative and rhythmically complex, it's a terrific addition to the song. Although usually not prominent in the mix (not enough for my taste, anyway), Mr. Reynolds frequently added single-string work on songs with the Trio. Some examples are quite noticeable, such as 'Blow the Candle Out' and 'Coplas'. Others are more subtle, such as 'You're Gonna Miss Me' and 'Speckled Roan'.
I agree that John Stewart was a solid and innovative guitarist. I don't think, however, that his overall skills were the equal of Guard's who could fingerpick, Carter-scratch, and use a flatpick, all with authority. I never saw Mr. Stewart use a flat pick when he was with the KT.
Finally, any definitive information on Buckwheat's post-Trio, post-Whiskeyhill involvement with Dave Guard is apparently not available, except perhaps from Judy Henske, Gretchen Guard, or any of Mr. Wheat's friends who may still be living. Unfortunately, it was among the topics that were left unexplored in 'Greenback Dollar'.
: I've been creating a list of questions to ask Bob Shane regarding the group, should I
: ever get the chance to talk with him again. One this group might be able to answer
: concerns the technical aspects of Nick's and Bob's playing.
: Until recently, I always thought Dave played "Scotch and Soda" behind
: Bob's singing and strumming. Having read the Bush book several times, I now get the
: idea Buck Wheat played the more sophisticated technical guitar, replaced again by
: John Stewart. This later fell to George Grove. Did Bob pull back from playing the
: individual notes while he sang in front of one of the others?
: How technically strong were Bob and Nick as guitarists during both the Guard and
: Stewart eras? My impression has been they fell back and relied on Buck, Dave, John,
: or George, to support their primary roles, which were to sing and harmonize.
: After joining the Whiskey Hill group, was Buck Wheat ever reconsidered as Kingston
: support persona, or was he too close to Dave to be included?