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Kurt Cobain Guitar and Jerry Garcia Guitar to be Auctioned

The Unique Guitar Blog - Tue, 02/14/2017 - 20:12
1958 Hagstrom Deluxe 90
One of Kurt Cobain’s guitars is to be auctioned on eBay with the proceeds going to charity. The proceeds will benefit Transition Projects, a Portland, Oregon based organization that benefits homeless veterans and their families.

This auction marks what would have been Cobain’s 50th birthday had he not taken his own life at age 27. A cardigan sweater once owned by the musician brought in $137,000 USD some years ago. This auction will run from February 16 starting at 11:00 am EST to February 26, 11:00 am EST,

Owner Nathan Fasold displays the Hagstrom

The guitar is a vintage 1958 Hagstrom Sparkle Deluxe guitar that is currently owned by Nathan Fasold of Black Book Guitars in Portland.

It has been authenticated by Earnie Bailey, who was formerly Nirvana’s primary guitar tech who personally delivered it to Cobain in 1992. At that time it was converted to a left-handed model. 

Jerry Garcia with Wolf Guitar
Jerry Garcia’s “Wolf” guitar is to be auctioned off this May with proceeds to benefit the Southern Poverty Law Center.

This gorgeous guitar is a 1973 creation of Grateful Dead builder Doug Irwin and was given the name “Wolf” after Garcia affixed a sticker of a cartoon wolf to its lower bout.

Through the years, the guitar went through many updates with pickup combinations.

Body of Wolf guitar

Garcia used this guitar for over 20 years before retiring it in 1993.

After Garcia’s death in 1995, a dispute occurred regarding ownership of Garcia’s instruments. As a part of a settlement, Doug Irwin reclaimed this guitar.

Jerry play Wolf in later years

He later sold it auction to its current owner for over $700,000. The anonymous owner will auction the Wolf guitar at an event to be held at Williamsburg’s Brooklyn Bowl.

The back of the Wolf guitar

The Wolf guitar is an exceptionally gorgeous instrument as was hand-made with book-matched curly western maple for it’s body and the builder also used amaranth wood, also known as purple heart and African ivory. The inlay work on the neck is superb.

Categories: General Interest

Happy 10th Anniversary to GuitarGear.org

Guitar Gear - Tue, 02/14/2017 - 09:58
Wow! Ten years! It is hard to believe that GuitarGear.org has been around that long! What’s even more amazing is that despite having had lapses in posting, I’m actually still adding content after all this time. I thought about what I might write for this momentous occasion and played around with several ideas but in the […]
Categories: General Interest

Got the drop-sies?

Cape Cod Acoustics - Tue, 02/14/2017 - 09:47
One of my favorite guitarists, local jazz great Jim Robitaille is not only inspirational to hear but always fascinating to watch. Jim has technique to the max, controlled and expressive with no wasted motion. One thing that has always intrigued me is his use of both fingers and a pick with his right hand. He can instantly switch from “block chord” playing with his fingers to fluid lead lines with his pick, which he keeps tucked into his hand when not in use. Although I’ve watched him closely I’m still not sure how he does this. I have a feeling if I tried that more picks would end up on the floor than in my hand!
Dropped picks. Picks that turn in our fingers when we play making them useless. Is there a solution to this, other than just gripping tighter? Maybe. Here are a few tricks I’ve tried over the years.
These days, I’m mostly a finger-style player but I still make a point to practice with a flat pick and in my days of playing lead guitar or strong rhythm guitar in various groups the issue of pick control was always part of the equation. I’ve written before about the importance of using at least a medium gauge thickness flat pick or even a heavy one rather than a thin pick, which may be easier to use initially but encourages bad habits, i.e, depending upon the flexibility of the pick to make a controlled attack rather than your wrist and forearm, which is where control should come from. Plus, thin picks break – frequently – when used in an aggressive manner. It’s instructive that the vast majority of great players in rock, jazz, blues and bluegrass use medium to very heavy gauge picks. Thumb picks are another issue entirely and because I’ve never had much luck with them I’m not qualified to comment of those things.
So, what to do? First, don’t get locked into the idea that you MUST use the standard shape triangular picks (with rounded tops and corners) that have been the most popular shape for decades. If they work for you, great, but don’t be afraid to try different shapes and sizes. After many years of using the standard shaped ones (Fender mediums) I went to the smaller Fender “jazz” teardrop shaped picks in heavy gauge. My tone, accuracy and speed improved quickly and I used them for many, many years. Still do from time to time. But the issue of dropping picks at just the wrong time continued. So I began drilling small holes in the center of those picks, usually with a 1/16” drill bit. This improved my grip and helped immensely. I remembered that the small music store in my home town when I was growing up had a big display of picks and some had a round hole that was surrounded by a ring of thin cork. Can’t remember if I ever tried them but later on the hole thing seemed like a good idea, and it was.
These days there are a few companies that offer round and star-shaped holes in picks but these are mostly the standard overall size and frankly if there’s one thing I know for sure, I prefer a smaller flat pick. I have no doubt they work however and are probably worth a try.
Then a few years ago a student turned me on to Clayton Piktac Adhesive Dots. These little circles of plastic have adhesive on each side, one to adhere to your pick and the other to stick to your finger. They work, for sure – you will NOT drop your pick when using them – and they don’t leave residue on your fingers but I just couldn’t get used to the feel of things. But I have this weird thing about having sticky fingers or anything stuck to my fingers so that’s most likely just me. They come in packs of 50 pieces and are relatively cheap so they may be worth a try.
There was a recent thread on one of the guitar forums on this subject (dropping picks) and one person suggested and uploaded an image of his solution. He buys a roll of some sort of fabric backed adhesive material used for bandaging wounds and cuts it into small pieces that he sticks to the top area of his flat picks. He claimed that they not only improve the overall grip but the fabric absorbs moisture from the fingers, making them even more grip-friendly. I tried to find some of the stuff at a pharmacy yesterday and was unsuccessful. I will keep trying but I suspect the added thickness when the stuff is applied will be off-putting, to me anyway.
My latest solution has been picks from a small company called V-Picks. These are made of some sort of polymer that makes the pick adhere quite nicely to my thumb and forefinger when slightly moistened or heated up while playing. They come in various shapes, sizes and colors and I tried a variety pack initially. The model called the “Chicken Picker” in thin gauge (which is actually more like medium gauge in terms of flexibility) is my favorite. It is slightly smaller and more teardrop shape than traditional flat picks. I ordered more of them, and while expensive at about $4 each they have become my go-to flat pick. I’m not 100% thrilled with the tone I get from them as they are quite bright sounding but the lack of bulk and great adhering qualities make me reach for one every time I want to do some flat-picking, both strumming and single note playing.
I’ve also tried many others that are supposed to reduce the problems of dropping and pick rotation while playing including a bunch with various textured surfaces, rubber pads, etc. and some are pretty good. But in every case I did not care for the overall tonality that I achieved with them.
This gets to the good and bad of flat picks for today’s players. There are hundreds of designs, materials and shapes available these days, including some “boutique” picks that cost upwards of $20 each. I’m too cheap to take a chance on those fancy ones but if I ever have the opportunity to try a couple I may end up buying a few. After all, last year I spent more on a “boutique” capo than I have for some guitars! It’s great by the way.
The bad: you can spend a lot of time, effort and money searching out the perfect flat pick and you may never find it.
The good: Same thing. We have more choices than ever and I think everyone’s playing is better for that.
And it all gets back to technique. Take a flat pick between your fingers and grip it as hard as you do when you play. If you feel your wrist and forearm tighten up, you’re probably gripping too hard and whether you know it or not, this will slow you down and make you less accurate. Only grip hard enough to keep the thing between your thumb and the forefinger or middle finger (depending on which you prefer). If you can keep that grip as light as possible – thanks to a pick that stays securely between your fingers – you WILL be a better flat –picker!
Peace & good music,

Categories: Acoustics

Get the Six Pack of Sound with the New Charvel Style 2′s

Charvel Guitars - Tue, 02/14/2017 - 08:59

Experience the six pack of sound in this video demo featuring guitarist Jordan Ziff on the NEW Charvel Pro-Mod San Dimas Style 2 HH FR M in Transparent Red. Firstly, Ziff runs through pickup positions 1, 2 and 3 with the volume knob in standard position. He then splits the coils by pulling the volume knob and again runs through all three pickup positions.

Watch below …

Categories: Manufacturers

Fighting with it… Working for It…

Guitar Gear - Mon, 02/13/2017 - 12:29
I’ve sung the praises of my 1958 Fender Champ in the past, and as I use it regularly, my opinion of the amp hasn’t changed. The Champ has been on several recordings of famous artists through the years, and it’s no small wonder why: With a Champ, it really is WYSIWYG as far as sound […]
Categories: General Interest

Gear: Markers Along a Journey

Guitar Gear - Mon, 02/13/2017 - 09:02
Besides music and golf, another passion I have – though nowhere near the level of the former – is wine. I’m not a collector, but I keep a modest amount of great bottles in my small wine cooler. But apart from the wine itself, I love keeping up to date with what’s going on in […]
Categories: General Interest


The Martin Guitar Blog - Mon, 02/13/2017 - 07:52

Nothings makes a Monday quite as great as the announcement of the eXceptional sales event!

exceptional sale 1.jpg

You can instantly save up to $100 instantly on the D Jr., LX, and X Series models at participating U.S. dealers. But you may want to hurry! This sales event will end on March 31st. 

You can find your nearest participating U.S. dealer here.

Categories: Manufacturers

Electro-Harmonix Effects Pedals; A Brief History

The Unique Guitar Blog - Sat, 02/11/2017 - 06:24
Electro-Harmonix original logo
For electric guitarists it is not enough to have your instrument sound like a guitar; We leave that to the jazz players, the classical players, and the folkies. Electric player want to make their instrument growl, wail, and and scream.

Guitar George

We are not like “Guitar George, he knows all the chords. Mind he’s strictly rhythm he doesn’t want to make them cry or sing.” The majority of us want to express ourselves and be heard.

Maestro Fuzztone
Aside from a loud, over driven amplifier, effects pedals are necessary tools for most guitarists and bass players. The granddaddy of them all was the Maestro Fuzztone. This was the original pedal used on the Rolling Stone’s hit song, Satisfaction, and it started a whole industry.

One of the original and most prominent manufacturers of guitar and bass effects pedal is Electro-Harmonix. This company emerged on the scene in New York City back in 1968.

Mike Matthews in 1979

Back in 1967 Mike Matthews, the companies owner and founder was a rhythm and blues piano player and had a day time sales job. His friend, Bill Berko, was an audio repairman who had just constructed a circuit for a guitar fuzz pedal.

'67 Axis and Foxey Lady fuzz pedals

Under the advice of Matthews, Berko hired a company to construct these pedals under a deal with the Guild Guitar Company and the device was given the name of the Axis fuzz pedal. It was also sold under the name Foxey Lady.

All parties made a little money off the deal, and eventually Berko and Matthews parted ways.

Mike Matthews 1967
However Mike Matthews was smitten with the idea of creating guitar effects. As I've mentioned, at the time Matthews was a salesman for IBM and he next teamed up with an IBM colleague who was an electrical engineer by the name of Bob Myer.

In 1969 they worked together to create a distortion free sustain device. Some fuzz tones of that era produced a buzz saw like effect that produced some sustain, while others like the Maestro box, just added gain to distort the guitars signal. Guitarists at that time wanted the ability for notes to be played and held, just like those played by horn players.

Original LPB-1
What Myer and Matthews came up with was a small device the Linear Power Booster, and called it the LPB-1. This pedal boosted the signal and made the guitar stand out. It did not sit on the floor, but was made to be plugged directly into the amplifier input.

Vintage LPB-1 interior

The price for this unit was about $20 USD, and it was an instant hit. The original units were hand wired with no circuit board.

1969-70 version Big Muff Pi (π)
The next effect that Matthews and Bob Myer created was the a fuzz tone that added a low end heavy sustain to any guitar sound. They gave it the name of The Big Muff Pi. It mixed harmonic distortion, sustain, and fuzz sounds together to make even a small amplifier sound huge. Plus it distorted at any volume. Both devices were instant hits and were put to use by well known artists.

'75 Big Muff Pi (π) interior
The original version of the Big Muff Pi was pretty much hand-made on perforated electronic boards with the wiring and parts hand-soldiered. But by 1970 these devices were updated to etched PCB boards.

Double Muff and Little Muff
The Big Muff was such a hit that subsequent versions emerged in later years, such as the Metal Muff, which had a higher gain threshold, and the Double Muff, which was two Big Muffs wired in series that offered overdrive through a single circuit, or through a cascaded version.

The Little Big Muff was a smaller version of the unit and had a slight variation in the circuit. The NYC Big Muff came with a tone bypass switch that allowed the user to bypass the tone control and another switch the adjusted the frequencies of 3 filters embedded in the circuit.

EH Bass and Treble boost

There were several other devices made by Electro-Harmonix in the late 1960's and early 1970's that included a Treble Booster, called the Screaming Bird and a Bass Booster called the Mole, that were made in a similar format to the LPB-1; These small boxes had an input on one end to accept the guitar cable and a plug on the opposite side that went into the amplifier. These units originally sold for around $20 USD.

EH Slap Back Echo

The company also produced the Slap-Back Echo box that produced a slap-back effect and came with a filter switch to shape the tone.

1975 EH Small Stone Phaser
One of the more popular effects the company produced at this time was the Small Stone Phase Shifter. It was a 4 stage phasing circuit, design by David Cockerell. This device had one large knob to adjust the rate of phasing and a slider switch labeled “Color” that engaged an additional stage of feedback for a more pronounced sound. Think of the Doobie Brothers song “Listen to the Music”.

EH Band Stone Phase Shifter

The Bad Stone Phase Shifter was an upgraded circuit that added a Feedback control and a Manual Shift control to filter the sweet spot.

'77 EH Octave Multiplexer

Electro-Harmonix came out with an octave box called the Octave Multiplexer which produced the clean signal and a filtered signal an octave below.

EH Elecric Mistress Flanger

The Electric Mistress Flanger Chorus Pedal came out in the mid 1970’s and was one of the first multi-effects devices.

Mid 70's EH Attack Equalizer

The Electro-Harmonix Attack Equalizer pedal was a combination of a parametric EQ to produce desired equalization and a pre-amplifier to boost the guitars signal.

1981 EH Graphic Fuzz

The Electro-Harmonix Graphic Fuzz was not only a fuzztone/distortion unit, but it added a six band graphic eq control section.

1980 EH Full Double Tracking Effect
The Full Double Tracking Effect, split the guitars signal. One signal was given a slight delay that was adjustable, while the other was the original guitar signal. It came with a switch that allowed the delay to be 50 ms or 100 ms. The knob adjusted the mix of the original and filtered signals.

'77 EH Triggered Y Filter

The Triggered Y Filter was sort of a phaser unit that allowed the frequency range to be adjusted to Lo or Hi and the amplitude/depth of the filter sweep.

Late '70's EH Echoflanger

The Echo Flanger produced a modulated Echo and a flanging effect, similar to what record producer did when they would press their finger or thumb on recording tape to cause the one of the tracks to be slightly delayed.

1978 EH Memory Man

The Electro-Harmonix Memory Man, was introduced in 1978 and produced analog delay and echo using “bucket brigage” integrated circuits and incorporated a chorus effect. So the user could choose echo or chorus

EH Deluxe Memory Man

Several models of this effect including a stereo version and the Deluxe Memory Man that added a chorus/vibrato feature to the echo.

EH Small Clone Chorus

The Small Clone chorus, introduced by EHX around 1981 remains a very popular chorus pedal. it was also produced in two different smaller versions known as the Neo Clone and the Nano Clone.

EH Holy Grail Reverb

Electro-Harmonix issued a very popular reverb pedal called The Holy Grail.  This pedal came in several different formats including The Holy Grail Plus and the Cathedral. The Holy Stain was a multi-effects pedal that offered two different types of reverb.

EH Wigger 

Tremolo was one of the very earliest guitar effects and Electro-Harmonix offered a solid-state tremolo/vibrato pedal called the Stereo Pulsar and a tube based model called the Wiggler.

1972 Mike Matthews Freedom Amp
In 1972 the company came out with The Mike Matthews Freedom Amp. This DC powered amp put out around 25 watts RMS into a 10” speaker and was wired point-to-point. The controls included Volume, Tone, and Bite. The housing was rugged and built to be carried around. It was possibly the first battery powered amplifier.

Interior of Freedom Amp with battery clips

The only drawback was that it took 40 D cell batteries to power the thing.  It was also available as a bass model or as a public address amplifier which came with built in reverb.

'90's EH Freedom Amp
An updated 1990's version of this amplifier was later produced with a lower wattage but in an all wood cabinet. This version came with a wall adapter and a rechargeable battery.

By 1982 Electro-Harmonix was facing a multiplicity of problems. First there was a labour union dispute. And about the same time the company filed for bankruptcy protection. Two years later, in 1984 Electro-Harmonix was in deeper financial problems and Mike Matthew decided to shift his attention away from the little effects boxes to a new venture.

Mike Matthews

He launched a new company that he called the New Sensor Corporation, which was based in the Soviet Union. Matthew saw the need for vacuum tubes, which were no longer being manufactured in the United States and in short supply, but were plentiful in the USSR.

Sovtek Tubes
Matthews put together factories in three Russian cities to produce Sovtek tubes and eventually became one of the largest suppliers of vacuum tubes in the world. To this day they still offer a variety of the most popular tubes used in modern amplifiers.

Sovtek Mig 50 amplifier
At the time the company went on to produce several tube amplifiers under the Sovtek brand name that included the Mig 50, the Sovtek Mig 60, and the Sovtek Mig 100, were all named after Russian fighter jets.

These amps were based on popular circuits and can still be found on the web at bargain prices.

New Sensor EH Russian made Big Muff Pi

In 1990 Electro-Harmonix resumed the building effect pedals. Some of these were made in Russia through 2009.

EH 2006 Nano Pedals

In 2006 the smaller and more standardized "micro" and "nano" effect lines using surface-mount circuit components were introduced.

The circuit board manufacturing was outsourced, but the final assembly of the pedals was done in New York.

Vintage EH Micro Synthesizer

When synthesizers came into vogue, EH offered the Micro Synthesizer for guitar or bass and the HOG effects unit; Harmonic Octave Generator.

An original EH POG

The POG or Polyphonic Octave Generator was released in 2005 and an enhanced version called the POG 2 came out in 2009. These units allowed your instrument to produce notes 2 octaves up and one octave below the guitars signal.

EH 22 Caliber Amplifier

Two of the more interesting and modern Electro-Harmonix creations may look like effects pedals, but are actually amplifiers housed in pedal sized effects box. The EHX 22 Caliber was a 22 watt solid-state amplifer capable of driving an 8 or 16 ohm speaker cabinet.

EH 44 Magnum Amplifier

It was discontinued and replaced by the EHX 44 Magnum, which could pump 44 solid-state watts into an 8 or 16 ohm speaker cabinet. These are small enough to pack into your guitar case. It is important to note, these units must be connected to a speaker load to work.

Electro-Harmonix C9

For 2016 and 2017 Electro-Harmonix has developed some amazing pedals that can coax organ or piano sounds from your guitar without the need for special pickups.

Electro-Harmonix B9

The C9 and B9 Organ Machines replicate the sounds of several different types of organs, from Hammond organs to church organs, to combo organs.

Electro-Harmonix Key 9

The Key 9 Electric Piano Machine produces a number of electric piano sounds. Combine any of these with the Lester G Deluxe Rotary Speaker emulator or the Lester K Rotary Speaker emulator and as a guitarist you now have all the tools of a keyboard player without the weight of hauling a B-3 and a Leslie cabinet.

Electro-Harmonix Mel 9

The Mel 9 Tape Replay Machine produces sounds from your guitar that were only possible with a Mellotron.

A few of the Electro-Harmonix effects

Electro-Harmonix now offers a line up that is far too numerous to mention every product. And these include not just guitar effects, but bass effects, drum effects and vocal effects.  And they have also updated versions of their original effects that sell at a much lower price than the vintage models.

As a reminder, the sources for the pictures can be found by clicking on the links below them and the links in the text will take you to further interesting facts.
©UniqueGuitar Publishing (text only)

Categories: General Interest

I’ll Be Damned… James Taylor’s Tuning Works!

Guitar Gear - Fri, 02/10/2017 - 11:11
A couple of days ago, I wrote an article about how James Taylor tunes his guitars, utilizing the “cents” on the tuner to compensate for the shape of an acoustic guitar, and how the bass notes ring sharper than their tuning, and also to compensate for a capo pulling the strings sharp. Here’s the video […]
Categories: General Interest

The More I See This Guy…

Guitar Gear - Thu, 02/09/2017 - 11:25
…the more I appreciate his virtuosity with the guitar. “This guy” happens to be Eric Rachmany of Rebelution, and he’s absolutely amazing. If you’re familiar with Rebelution, you know that they’re a reggae band out of Isla Vista, CA. And you might think, “It’s reggae – all um-chuck, um-chuck. How hard could it be?” Admittedly, […]
Categories: General Interest


The Martin Guitar Blog - Thu, 02/09/2017 - 05:00

We are delighted to share with you Volume 7 of the beloved Martin | The Journal Of Acoustic Guitars.

journal ecard1.jpg

The publications is written exclusively for acoustic guitar enthusiasts, players, dealers, and owners. This volume includes: a new Take It From The Top from CEO and Chairman Chris Martin IV, a special feature on the Two Millionth Martin guitar, new models, an article featuring Martin Ambassador Megan Rapinoe, and more.

Download and enjoy Volume 7 of Martin | The Journal of Acoustic Guitars here.

Categories: Manufacturers

To Attenuate Or Not To Attenuate?

Guitar Gear - Wed, 02/08/2017 - 11:13
For me, an attenuator was a key component in my live signal chain for many years. As I was playing live mostly in a church setting, in order to get my amp to “growl” levels, I had no other choice but to use output attenuation to control my volume. And for this, I used several […]
Categories: General Interest

James Taylor: Making “Cents” Out of Tuning

Guitar Gear - Tue, 02/07/2017 - 15:28
If you go to a gear board like The Gear Page and search on tuners, you’ll see a lot of talk about a tuner’s “cents.” A “cent” is hundredth of a 1/2 note. People like to talk about “cents” to compare the accuracy of the tuners that they use. In general, if a tuner is […]
Categories: General Interest

The Lowly Capo: A TOOL of the Trade

Guitar Gear - Tue, 02/07/2017 - 09:31
Repeat after me: A Capo is just a tool… A Capo is just a tool… Over the years, a few people have approached me personally or online and have said that they considered a capo to be a “cheater,” simultaneously proffering a backhanded insult at the same time. The first time it happened, I laughed […]
Categories: General Interest

Making Wooden Capos/Cejillas for Classical/Flamenco Guitars

Brokeoff Mountain Luthierie - Mon, 02/06/2017 - 16:10
The musician that looks upon the capo as a cheater, becomes much more limited in his playing than the capo user.

Anders Sterner, musician

Thought you might be interested in a short post on how I make capos, or cejillas, for classical/flamenco guitars.

First thing I do is roundup some black and white strips of veneer; a piece of nice wood for the core and even pretty wood for the outside laminations.

I plane pieces to proper thickness, align in proper order and glue all pieces together.

Here are two capo templates I came up with, I copied historic original Spanish capo shapes, I draw these onto the block of wood I just created from the veneer, laminates and core. Then I drill holes for the violin pegs and have a violin/viola/cello peg reamer handy.

Here is a photo of a shop made violin peg shaver that I made. I use 1/2 size violins for the capos.

Once the violin pegs fit perfectly in their holes in the capos, I cut them to proper length, drill a hole in the peg shaft between collar and head of peg for the nylon guitar string. I cut the capos to match the template outlines, sand, buff and apply some linseed oil.

I use LaBella brand nylon flamenco guitar strings to attach the friction pegs to the capos. The string will run through a piece of vinyl tubing which will protect the guitar's neck. After the strings and pegs are attached I glue a strip of neoprene to the face of the capo. Once the glue has dried I trim the neoprene...

and have a whole handful of beautiful capos!

Yes, I have left out a few steps of how I make these handy little tools for a guitarist, I can't give away all of my secrets!


The Martin Guitar Blog - Mon, 02/06/2017 - 08:44

Looking for an acoustic-electric guitar at a great price with robust sound? Meet the 000X1AE.


The guitar features a solid Sitka spruce top with mahogany-grained high pressure laminate (HPL) back and sides. The 000X1AE includes sustainable wood certified parts. It comes equipped with Fishman electronics which helps the guitar belt out rich clarity and tons of projection. The traditional Dreadnought design is strung with SP Lifespan Martin Strings.

 You can learn more about the 000X1AE here.

Like what you see? You can find an authorized Martin dealer near you to purchase your Martin guitar here, find a certified online Martin dealer here, or learn about our buy from factory program here.

Categories: Manufacturers

Recent observations 

Cape Cod Acoustics - Mon, 02/06/2017 - 07:44
Here’s an interesting phenomenon that I think we all experience when we play at some point or another. Those first five minutes or so seem like our best playing of the session. I mention this to students from time to time, especially when they are demonstrating some frustration.
“It seems like I get worse and worse the longer I practice!” they sometimes say. Well, not being with them at home I can’t say for certain just what their practice regimen consists of – although I do try to go through what should go on when they practice. The reality, based on my own playing for many decades is that this is often a false impression. I think our brains focus on the “good stuff” when we first pick up our guitars, but after a bit of time passes we start to hear more and more of what’s wrong with our playing. This is a natural but counterproductive way to approach our playing. It’s likely that you ARE in fact playing better as your session progresses but you must find the balance between the good and bad. I think the trick may be to look at the Big Picture. Ask yourself: Could I even come remotely close to playing that song a week ago? Or a month ago? Am I comparing my playing to what a more experienced player may offer as a finished product? Not a good idea!
I’ve mentioned this before but it bears repeating. Most of us have phones that include some sort of recording app or function. Record a part of a practice session, but resist the temptation to listen to it right away. Wait a couple weeks or longer, then give it a listen. I can almost guarantee you will find that you play that song better today than you did when it was recorded. Feels good, doesn’t it?
To shift gears a bit I wanted to report on my recent trip down to the Keys, which I love to do and will be doing again in a couple months. Sad to say, I have been having some back pain issues so I didn’t get to kayak fish as much as I would have liked but I did hear plenty of live music in Key West and elsewhere. This is always very instructive and interesting as there is so much music played there every day and night. Some trends I’ve seen for the last few years are continuing. If the performer is doing a single with just acoustic guitar and vocals, loopers and harmonizers are pretty much standard operating equipment these days. Some performers use them to good effect, others not so much. The better ones use those devices sparingly and they are set at levels that are subtle. The ones who don’t seem to just set the looper up for endless lead guitar noodling when they are engaged. Now granted, I am a guitar player and my standards are probably too high but my reaction to this is…… booooooooring. Stretching out a song that should conclude after four or five minutes to two or three times that long doesn’t work unless you’re Clapton! Harmonizers are great, IF the harmony function is set to be about ½ to 2/3 of the volume of the lead vocals. Anything more than that and they sound fake and frankly (to my ear anyway) a bit amateurish. But hey, they have a gig so more power to ‘em.
There was some good stuff however. At my favorite place on Duval, the Little Room Jazz Club I again made a point of hearing pianist and singer Ericson Holt, with his regular drummer. He plays some fine New Orleans-style blues and jazz and has been a regular at the Little Bar on Tuesday nights for a few years. He remembered me from last year (when I turned him on to singer Johnny Adams) and we had a great conversation. Ericson is a true professional and a fine, fine player and singer. Plus he and his drummer are tight as can be. I often forget just how great it can be to play with a drummer who has style and class and understands the importance of dynamics. If you ever happen to be in Key West, be sure to check him out and you can be certain whomever is playing at the Little Room will be very good.
One final recommendation. One of my favorite web sites lately is Music Aficionado (do a search). They feature lots of great articles about artists of today and yesterday. I learn something every time I visit that site. Recently they posted a feature on the great Motown guitarist Dennis Coffey, who (along with Hendrix of course) pretty much popularized the wah-wah peddle on songs like “Cloud Nine” in the glory days of Motown. Very interesting!
Well, time to practice. I hope I sound as good after a half hour as I do in the next five minutes! Ha!
Peace & good music,

Categories: Acoustics

Guitar Capos/Cejillas for Classical and Flamenco Guitars

Brokeoff Mountain Luthierie - Fri, 02/03/2017 - 16:02
Any prejudice that may exist against the use of this device (capotasto) with the classical guitar should be dispelled by the knowledge that Giuliani's nickname given to him by a frivolous secret society to which he belonged was Vilax Umo Capodastro.

Frederick Noad, The Classical Guitar, 1976

I made eight capos/cejillas for classical or flamenco guitars.

These cejillas/capos are based on a traditional Spanish design that dates from the 18th century. The peg is made from rosewood, the center section of each capo (capodastre) is carved from either hard maple or East Indian rosewood and the sides of the capo are either curly maple or East Indian rosewood.

Current capo inventory consists of two with curly maple sides and four with East Indian rosewood sides. There are two capos made from solid Vermillion, a very gorgeous hard wood from Africa.

All pegs are attached to the capo with LaBella brand flamenco "G" string, the faces that go against the guitar strings are covered with neoprene and the peg string is covered with vinyl tubing to protect the guitar neck.

The laminated capos are $30 a piece, plus shipping.

The vermillion capos are $20 a piece, plus shipping.

I will not be making anymore capos until June or July of 2017.

Please contact me at highcountrylutherie@gmail.com if you would like to buy a capo!


Gojira Perform live on ‘Quotidien’

Charvel Guitars - Fri, 02/03/2017 - 14:18

French metallers Gojira recently appeared on Quotidien, the most viewed television show in France.

While we couldn’t make heads or tails of the conversation leading into the performance, we sure did enjoy watching the band forcefully power through “Stranded” and “The Shooting Star.”

Check out both clips below, featuring singer/guitarist Joe Duplantier on his signature Charvel models.

Categories: Manufacturers

Where Do I Put My Volume Pedal?

Guitar Gear - Fri, 02/03/2017 - 09:36
I don’t know how many times I’ve been asked that question over the years, and my answer is pretty much the same: “It depends…” No, I’m not trying to be a dick, but it really does depend on what you’re after with your volume pedal. The reason I’m bringing this up is because of a […]
Categories: General Interest


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