Recently reunited RATT members Warren DeMartini, Juan Croucier and Stephen Pearcy caught up with radio station 98.9 The Rock during their appearance at Rockfest in Kansas City last week.
The original trio’s interview with station’s DJ Nivens included talk of their desire to head back to the studio to record a new album. While Croucier was reluctant to over-promise, lead singer Pearcy was more straightforward.
“I would love to get that done, actually. I would,” he said.
Earlier in the year, Pearcy told journalist Mitch Lafon about their plans to follow up last record Infestation.
“We want it to be brilliant, and we’re gonna take the time and effort to do it,” he explained. “We just don’t wanna go out there and … I mean, of course, we’re gonna go out there and play the hits and do what we do, but at the end of the year, we wanna start on the record.”
While fans will have wait for a future new album, they can at least catch the band live this summer on the following dates. Also, check out some great footage captured by Decibel Geek TV below of RATT’s recent performance at the Rocklahoma Festival in Pryor, Okla.
Jose Luis Romanillos, luthier
Today marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of Antonio de Torres.
Those of us who love the classical guitar owe this man everything, he created a model of the guitar that continues to capture the hearts of true music lovers.
He really didn't do anything that hadn't already been done by other guitar makers - other makers had used larger bodies, the so-called fan bracing, domed tops, longer string lengths, all this was already known - but Torres guitars sounded different from others.
Many contemporary classical guitar makers build copies of the original Torres guitars, there are several well known classical guitarists that concertize on original Torres guitars because even after 130+ years those guitars still have wonderful voices.
Antonio de Torres apprenticed with a carpenters guild in Vera, Spain when he was 12 years and when he was 17 he was listed in the guild rolls as a master carpenter. Several writers have stated that Torres was a "simple" or "lowly" carpenter, but to be a master carpenter in 1834 was anything but simple.
You were expected to know all the latest building styles and construction techniques, many of these techniques were published in books which meant that you had to be able to read. At that time in Spain, 76% of the population was illiterate, yet, Antonio de Torres could read and write. Torres' father was a tax collector, perhaps he taught his son how to read and write. In the book, Antonio de Torres, Guitar Maker, by Jose Romanillos, Romanillos speculates that Torres attended local schools before he became an apprentice.
I have done some research on the Internet about traditional Spanish carpentry and discovered that Spanish carpenters of the time dealt with the same construction problems the rest of Europe had to deal with, namely how to keep the building from falling apart. As a master carpenter, you would know la carpinteria de armar(how to construct a building); la carpinteria de lazo, (loop carpentry) and perhaps mostly importantly tocar de madera, (how to work wood).
I want to believe that Torres was a carpenter, not a joiner, because a guitar is in a way, an architectural creation. It is constructed so it can stay together under pressure (a modern classical guitar is subjected to 90 pounds or more of pressure from the strings). If the top is not properly braced to take this tension it will collapse or even worse the whole guitar may fly apart. Most cabinets and chests are not subjected to a constant pressure. Cabinetry is not carpentry.
It is claimed that Torres went to Granada, Spain in 1836 to learn how to make a guitar, when he returned home he continued as a carpenter and tried several other business ventures. His first wife died in 1845 and that is when he moved to Seville and by 1852 was known as a guitarrero.
I would like to thank Don Antonio de Torres Jurado for the work that he did. The guitar is a beautiful instrument, but Torres took all the work of the great makers before him and made it the most beautiful instrument ever created.
If you are interested in learning more about traditional Spanish carpentry I recommend that you click here to visit the Albanecor website on carpinteria de lo blanco.
The earliest example of a true double neck guitar is from the year 1690. A guitar of that era, small by today’s standards, was built by luthier Alexandre Voboam of Paris. This unique guitar had a smaller sized guitar jutting out of the instruments lower portion. Both guitars/necks had five courses of gut strings; however the smaller guitar/neck was tuned to a higher pitch. This allowed the player to play in a low key or a high key and use similar fingerings.
Harp guitars and other multi-neck instruments were not produced on a large scale until the late 19th Century. These were instruments that allowed an individual player the ability to produce a much broader sound due to the addition of bass strings or sympathetic strings.
The sympathetic stringswere not strummed or plucked, but naturally made sound based on the vibrations of the fingered strings. There were few mandolin/guitar combinations produced in this era that allowed the player to change instruments during a song or saved them from having to carry two different instruments. Plus a double neck guitar looks great on stage.
One impetus that may have caused the creation of double neck guitars was the rise of interest in the steel or Hawaiian guitar.
During the late 18th Century, Spanish speaking Mexican cowboys arrived in Hawaii bringing with them their guitars. The arrival of the guitar in Hawaiicould also be attributed to missionaries.
Hawaiians took to the instrument andmade the guitar their own by tuning it differently and often to open chords.
As the years progressed, we can turn to the early 20th Century when Hawaiian music became popular inthe United States.
During this fad, guitar companies including Martin built instruments that were meant to be played on a persons lap. Instead of fingering chords and notes these guitars were played by use of a metal bar pressed against the strings. It wasn’t too long before the lap steel became electrified.
Since a lap steel player was limited to keys within the open chord which the instrument was tuned, the obvious answer was to add another neck that was tuned to a different chord. By the 1920’s and 1930’s folks like Alvino Rey were playing multi neck electric steel guitars with popular orchestras. Rey had Gibson Guitars build a double neck steel guitar for him and not long after he was playing three and four necksteel guitars.
During the era of World War II, much of the guitar building business was halted as manufacturers turned their attention and fabrication to building weapons and vehicles for the United States armed forces.
By the end of the war, Leo Fender had his own radio and television business in California. He also repaired guitar amplifiers.
It was not long before he realized a profit could be made by building amplifiers forthe electric steel guitar players from nearby Los Angeles and the surrounding area. He teamed up with his friend, Clayton “Doc” Kauffmann who had worked for Rickenbacker Guitars. The two men began designing and building steel guitars, and electronic pickups.
Traveling musicians stopped by and provided ideas of their needs. Fender went on to build two and three neck steel guitars, before turning attention to the electric Spanish guitar.
Meanwhile in another part of California, motorcycle enthusiast, Paul Bigsby, was casting his own parts for his bike. He began building his own version of the electric Spanish guitar. Though his instruments may have looked like solid body instruments, they were actually hollow to hold the wiring. Bigsby also built a vibrato unit that gave players an added dimension to their sound. His version of the guitar vibrato was built out of motorcycle parts including piston springs.
Guitarist Grady Martin asked Bigsby to build him a guitar that also had a mandolin-like neck. What resulted was an instrument which had a guitar neck, with three pickups and a Bigsby vibrato and a smaller neck with six individual strings tuned an octave higher. It wasn't a mandolin, as the strings were individual and not in courses, but itdid give Martin a unique sound.
Apparently Grady Martin’s Bigsby Double Neck was not the first that Paul Bigsby built. He built at least six double neck instruments. In those days, production records were at best sketchy.
|$266 K Bigsby|
It is worth noting that recently a 1949 Bigsby guitar sold at auction for over a quarter of a million dollars.
One of Bigsby’s employee’s was Semie Moseley. This is the same Semie
Moseley that went into business in a Bakersfield Californiagarage, building his own brand and naming it Mosrite Guitars.
Around this same time, the early 1950’s, Joe Maphis was a popular Country and Western guitarist and was a regular performer on a television show produced out of Los Angeles called TownHall Party. Maphis’ style was playing blazing fast arpeggios on the guitar.
Semie Moseley struck up a friendship with Joe Maphis and his wife Rose. Rose Maphis played rhythm guitar with her husband. Moseley built several beautiful personalized double neck guitars for Maphis. He even took Rose’s Martin guitar and customized it with a handmade Mosrite neck and he added a fancy large pickguard to the dreadnoughts body.
The exposure Maphis brought to Mosrite guitars paid off big time. A similar double neck instrument was custom made for pint-sized Larry Collins who was Maphis’ protégé and could match Joe note for note. All of the early double neck guitars Semie Moseley made had a guitar neck and an octave guitar neck.
Moseley did create one triple neck guitar in 1954. This instrument included a guitar neck, an octave guitar neck and a mandolin neck.
While on that subject, it is possible that Doc Kauffmann, who was Leo Fender’s long time business partner might have built a triple neck guitar under the brand Kremo Kustom. It is known that Kauffmann didbuild some guitars using that brand name.
Another builder was a South Carolina fellow named Pee Wee Melton. He built a triple neck guitar for himself, but later sold it to Johnny Meeks. Meeks claim to fame was as one of the guitarist who played for Gene Vincent and his Blue Caps. It was an attention-getter. Meeks eventually sold the guitar to Vincent.
But here I am digressing from the topic of double neck guitars.
In the mid 1960’s when Semie Moseley’s Mosrite Guitar Company was doing a brisk business, the company did offer a production twelve/six string double neck guitar for sale to the public. This guitar featured a twelve string neck on the guitars top and a six string neck underneath. Both sported twin Mosrite single coil pickups with black covers. The twelve string utilized Mosrite’s version of tune-o-matic bridge and the strings were anchored onto a chromed bar held into the body by three wood screws.
The six string neck featured Mosrite’s classic vibramute vibrato. The necks had micro-dot position markers on the rosewood fretboard. All Mosrites had a zero fret. These guitars were offered in various colors, with the most popular being sunburst.
Hallmark Guitars are stillin business. This company was started by Joe Hall. This story about Hall’s relationship with Semie Moseley is very interesting. He had asked Semie to build him a guitar. Somehow Hall wound up working at Mosrite and learned to build guitars using Semie’s methods.
Joe Hall left Moseley’s employment and building guitars under his own brand, that bore Mosrite traits. Hall’s most popular model was called the Swept Wing.
I do not know how many double necks he built. This guitar was specially built for Deke Dickerson.
After Moseley and Bigsby’s creations, it was not too long before other guitar companies began to eyeball the prospect of making double neck guitars.
One of the first that I came across was Carvin Guitars of California. Lowell C. Kiesel’s company first offered double necked electric guitars in their 1959 catalog. Long before the internet this company based their sales on catalogs. They still do. I recall ordering a Carvin catalog around 1963. What I received was a very plain document with black and white pictures of the guitars, guitar kits and amplifiers that Carvin offered.
I also received a typewritten page of price updates. During the early days of Carvin some of the guitars featured necks and bodies made by the Hofner Company of Germany.
Their first double neck offering was a guitar and bass. The necks were the same length, so the bass was short scale. The body was made of maple. The guitar had twin single coil pickups that were about the size of P-90’s, while the bass had just one pickup.
Their other double neck was a guitar and an eight string mandolin combination that came with a similar set up. These guitars were very plain and had a natural finish. The small bodies on these guitars were unusual
These styles were offered through 1967.
By 1968, the Carvin double neck had more of a guitar shaped body with necks probably imported from Hofner. By 1971, the guitar neck was similar, but the bass neck had a more refined headstock. In 1972, Carvin changed the shape of the twelve/six model.
It was in 1976 that the Carvin double neck guitar had a body that looked more like a small Les Paul. The necks were bound and topped with an ebony fretboard. The large rectangular position markers were made of mother-of-toilet seat. The humbucking pickups came with a chrome cover. The 1978 catalog shows a similar body with open humbucking pickups.
These instruments looked more like the guitars that we now associate with the Carvin Company.
By 1979 the double neck was no longer offered. By 1980, the double neck was back with a new improved shape.
In 1990-91 Carvin offered a twelve/six model. Both had pointy headstocks and tuner on one side. By 199, Carvin discontinued their line of double neck guitars as a standard option.
Jimmy Bryant was a well known guitarist in the 1950’s. Much like Maphis, Bryant’s style was fast, but more in the jazz and swing realm. Early on Bryant was one of the first Fender endorsers playing a Fender Broadcaster. But he was looking for a new sound and came upon a guitar builder from Springfield Missourithat was building guitars under the name Stratosphere Guitar Company.
They built a Six and Twelve String double neck for Bryant. He used this guitar throughout his career. The Stratosphereguitar was rather unusual looking. It sported the maple twelve string neck on top and the maple six string neck underneath. Oddly, the headstocks for both necks were slotted. The body was offset and small. There were two single coil pickups for each neck. The neck pickups were parallel and the bridge pickups were slightly slanted.
Both necks had steel offset bridges and stop plates to attach the strings. A switch was near the stop plates that allowed the player to switch the necks on or off. There were two sets of controls, volume and tone for each neck as well as selector switches. There is also a slider switch on the lower side of the instrument.
Bryant tuned the six string neck in a normal manner; however, he tuned the twelve string neck to major and minor thirds.
The Double Twelve was a beautiful instrument. The body on these instruments was different than the SG shape we associate with the EDS-1275. The Double Twelve came with two humbucking pickups per neck.
A switch near the bridge plate provided the option of switching the electronics to either neck. The electronics were two volume and two tone controls and a pickup selector switch that controlled the pickups on either neck. The twelve string neck was on top with the six string neck on the bottom. In my opinion this was possibly the finest looking of all the twelve string double necks. The double cutaway body was thicker than the SG and it was bound in white trim.
The company also offered the Double Mandolin. This later was named the EMS-1275 (Electric Mandolin Spanish). This was similar to the double necks that Moseley and Bigsby had made in that it came with a guitar neck and an octave guitar neck. The guitar neck sported twin humbuckers, while the mandolin neck only had a single humbucker. Once again, the body shape was much different than the SG shape.
The controls for each neck were mounted on the lower bout under each neck. Both featured a single volume and tone control per neck. The switches were mounted near the string stop plate. The one for the guitar side controlled the neck and bridge pickups, while the switch mounted near the octave guitar neck controlled which neck was active. This instruments body was also bound in white trim.
|1965 EDS 1275|
The EDS-1275 was revived in 1974 and offered through 1998. The Nashville factory continued to build the EDS-1275 through 2003. The Gibson Custom Shop began building the EDS-1275 in 2006.
The Epiphone version has been available for many years under the model G-1275. I believe the initial models sold under the Epiphone brand had bolt-on necks. The current production model comes with set necks.
Nate Daniels had been building amps since 1948. His amplifiers were mainly sold through catalog companies such as Sears and Roebuck and Montgomery Wards.
It was not until 1956 that he introduced the Danelectro line of guitars.
Danelectro entered the double neck market with its 1959 advertisement of Stan and Dan; two clean-cut young men of the day both decked out with white shirts, Hagar slacks and DanelectroShorthorn double neck guitars. The top neck was a six string guitar and the bottom neck was a bass guitar.
While the guitar was a normal 24.75” scale with 21 frets, the bass had a short scale of 29.5” with only 15 frets. The Danelectro double neck was also available as a six string guitar and six string baritone guitar.
As usual, both necks had two Dano lipstick pickups.
The Masonite Danelectros lasted until 1966 when Daniels sold the company. In 1998 the company was resurrected under new ownership. This company made guitars through 2001. They offered two versions of the double neck. One was a six/twelve string model and the other was a six string guitar and a six string baritone guitar. Both were nice instruments with a great price.
Danelectro guitars looked cheap, but sounded great and were used on countless recordings.
This is a Gretsch Anniversary double neck. Gretsch currently offers a guitar/baritone guitar doubleneck.
After the British Invasion a flood of Japanese and Korean made guitars arrived in the United States. As you may have guessed some of these were double neck guitars. Greco/Kawai was a Korean manufacturer. This is a 1968 Bass/Guitar double neck.
This is a 1970 Aria copy of a Gibson double neck.
I have noted that some early Carvin guitars were made of Hofner parts. Note the similarity between this Hofner double neck from the very early 1970’s and Carvin’s double neck of the same era.
Another German guitar manufacturer named Hoyer built this 1970’s model.
Rickenbacker built and offered several models of double neck guitars including a bass/six string using their 4001 template and a twelve/six string using their 360 design.
The B.C. Rich, Ibanez and Kramer guitar companies have all built special order guitars for artists, such as Eddie Van Halen, Michael Angleo Batio, and Dave Mustaine.
Often these guitars have two six string necks and are played by using the tapping method.
There were and are a few companies that make acoustic double neck guitars. For years Ovation guitars offered a twelve/six model. This is now made offshore under their Celebrity brand.
|1979 Yairi DY 87|
Around 1979 Yairi guitars offered the model DY 87. This was a wonderful guitar. It sounds great and very easy on the fingers.
In the late 1990's, the Washburn Guitar Company offered a twelve / six string guitar designated the model EA220 six/twelve string guitar in
their Festival Series.
I have recently profiled Blueberry Guitars. They make some fine instruments with intricate inlay and wood carving designs. All their guitars are handmade.
They offer several double neck models which include a six / twelve string guitar, a double neck with two six string necks and fan frets, as well as a six string / 4 string acoustic bass guitar. Blueberry does not sell it’s instruments in stores. Business is done only online.
Here is a Martin Double Neck Guitar made by their custom shop.
The clip below will give a better understanding of Jimmy Bryants odd 12 string tuning on his Stratosphere double neck. On the 12 string neck each string has two pitches that mimic the sound of two guitars. A guitarist today could use a harmonizer for the same effect. In 1956 that technology did not exist.
I have decided to go back to an older style of peghead assembly on the current batch of dulcimers I’m working on. I used this design for years and preferred how it looked but it seemed too labor intensive for a relatively simple part of the dulcimer.
I follow my intuition on things like this and it seems like time to use this joint again, at least for now. So what if it is a lot more work? I enjoy the process! There is the old saying that “time is money” but if I made more money off of my time I would just waste it on house payments, groceries, healthcare, etc.
The head block gets glued on with hide glue and is then sawn to rough shape with a kataba saw. Following the sawing comes bringing the block close to flush with the sides using a low-angle block plane followed by a scraper and file.
The first few times I did this required nerves of steel. It would not be difficult to have a major “Oops!” moment fairly late in the construction process. After gaining some experience I found this to be a relaxing and enjoyable process.
The gorgeous finish of the GPCPA4 Shaded will make heads turn no matter what venue you decide to play in.
The acoustic-electric guitar is crafted with the finest Sitka Spruce top and Sapele back and sides. The warm shaded top gives a vintage feel while the artist profile neck and Fishman F1 electronics are perfect for the modern performer's plug and play needs. The guitar is strung with SP Lifespan strings that along with the tone woods provide a great response and sound.
You can explore the GPCPA4 Shaded here. Don't forget between now and June 18th you can save up to $200 instantly on PA4 Series guitars during the eXceptional sales event happening at an authorized Martin dealer within the USA.
“Oh yeah, I was into them back when I used to listen to music.”
“That band is still together?”
“They were the soundtrack to my teenage years.”
I’m a music journalist, and a dad in my late 30s. That means I run into a lot of parents, some my age, most a few years older. It seems that most parents that I run into had their kids later in life than we did, and indeed a lot of my classmates are having their first kids now, while my son is 10. And the sentences quoted above are something I hear a lot when I chat with fellow parents. Inevitably the question of ‘What do you do for a living?’ comes up and I find myself explaining my cool-ass job. And I inevitably hear things like those statements, and others like “I used to listen to heavier bands but I grew out of it” or “I have no time to listen to music now.” It really hit home with the passing of Chris Cornell, when a bunch of friends on Facebook posted things like “You’re my favourite, I used to listen to you all the time,” as if Euphoria Morning wasn’t fucking phenomenal, or like Audioslave didn’t exist, or King Animal wasn’t a thing. That really bummed me out because Cornell continued to make music every bit as vital as those big Soundgarden records. He never went away and his standards never slipped (well, there was that one pop album but even then, dude was following his muse).
I know I’m lucky because my job forces me to listen to new music. It’s the same as in any profession: you can’t really do it to the best of your ability if you’re relying in information that’s 20 years old. Still, it makes me sad that there are people out there who are my age and who would have been raised on the same diet of 90s alternative, industrial, metal, grunge and other now-retro-but-then-nowtro stuff, who think of music as something in their past rather than something that grows with them. The musical nostalgia industry is fuelled by the power of music to make you remember how you felt at the time you first heard it, but there’s no reason you can’t continue to bring new music into your life to serve as the soundtrack to where you are now. Hell, Spotify is like twelve bucks a month. YouTube is free and it’s loaded with new music. It’s so easy now to find out what your old favourite bands are doing today or, even more importantly, to find new ones that can represent you and your feelings.
Something I’ve been doing a lot of lately is going back and listening to things I never really had the access to check out back in the day, when in order to listen to a band you had to either buy the record, hear someone else’s copy or catch it on TV or radio. I loved the Cure songs I saw on the Australian music video show Rage, but my CD money was always spent on metal and shred. Now I’m digging further and deeper into their back catalog and more recent records, and while many of these tracks are over 30 years old and totally new to me, they’re finding a place in my heart that’s every bit as important as Dirt or Passion And Warfare or Fair Warning. Now I’m catching up on bands like The Replacements, or filling in the gaps of my knowledge of The Cure, or getting into Crowded House non-album tracks. But I’m also checking out newer artists like Between The Buried And Me, Rival Sons, St. Vincent, Northlane… and this music, all of which is new to me whether it’s new or not, has its own emotional resonance for my present-day life. I can still always put on Living Colour’s Stain or Ministry’s Psalm 69 to remember how I felt at 16, but I can also put on Ryan Adams’ Prisoner or Periphery’s The Price Is Wrong to capture how I feel today at 38.
My buddy Dean Delray, whose podcast Let There Be Talk is an essential listen, is always talking about this. He always hears folks saying “There are no great bands any more.” There are fucktonnes of them out there. But to hear them you have to own the fact that maybe the music you loved as a teenager wasn’t any more special than the music today’s teenagers are listening to: it’s just that you heard those songs at a time that was special to you, and you’ve associated the excitement of ‘first kiss, first beer, first party’ with those bands as part of one whole package of nostalgia. That’s totally cool, but see it for what it is and let yourself feel the same way about new music that can accompany new moments. Music is vast and beautiful and alive and you don’t need to stop listening to new music the moment you turn 18.
We'll bring the Martin Dreadnoughts, you bring the jam session!
Martin Guitar will be in Nashville, Tennessee this weekend for CMA Music Festival. You can find us on 2nd and Broadway where we will be jamming all weekend, giving away cool gear, plus the chance to win a Martin guitar! Come visit us between 10AM-6PM Thursday, June 8th through Sunday, June 11th. You can find a full list of festivals Martin Guitar will be attending here.
Also don't forget to catch performances from Martin Ambassadors Dierks Bentley, Thomas Rhett, Sam Hunt, Brandy Clark, and Hunter Hayes during the weekend. For a full list of 2017 CMA Music Festival performers, click here.
Sitting on my deck looking out over fields that are under cultivation, with an old terraced mountain behind them, I think of the valley that lies between. I got on a bus nine days ago to come to this village in order to write some music free from distraction. Here, at the busiest time of day I might see ten people in a cafe and be passed by three cars and a motorcycle. No need to hurry, the shopkeeper might keep you waiting for ten minutes as they finish a converasation on the phone.
In the midst of this tranquility I wonder about various kinds of internal suffering. There is of course the Buddhist doctrine, “All life is pain.” Today I seem to equate busy-ness with pain. One of my students told me that he has been able to concentrate much better since he had his knee replaced a couple of years ago. He figured it was the unconscious underlying pain that prevented him from paying more attention when he played guitar.
I have spent decades training myself to pay attention, to the music as I learn it, to my students as they play and to the people that share conversations with me. Since reading about the problems of “internal dialogue” in Carlos Castaneda in the 70’s my life’s work has involved managing my ability to focus.
For all these years of work there has been an underlying theme – to communicate something of musical value. One might say this is about attracting a certain kind of attention. Here, I play my guitar, far away from my friends and colleagues: there is no hope for attention. As I was playing the other day something very interesting began to happen: the melody of the piece started to take on another character. In my imagination it felt like a sustaining instrument. Between these medieval walls in this apartment in an old village, the tune came through as never before.
So, as the melody continues in my imagination as a sustained line, I convince myself that it might be possible to project this sense to the listener. They might hear a flute or a violin playing the tune. There might be some sleight of ear taking place – there might be magic.
Adrenaline Mob released new album We the People on Friday, June 2, and new single “Lords of Thunder” can be heard below.
Main members Mike Orlando (guitar) and Russell Allen (vocals) focused their writing efforts on the band’s third studio album on recent political events and their sentiments towards the current climate.
The heavy and melodic track “Lords of Thunder” reinforces that polarizing theme with the following lyrics mixed in between impressive soloing from Orlando.
You can die today or you can join with me
So let your voice be heard and tell us where you stand
We value the word of each and every man
Listen to the track now, and also watch the official video for We the People’s opening track “King of the Ring” below. The band is also about to head out on the road this summer. View tour dates here.
I only run two sales a year and now is the time for one of them.
Save on almost all the Download Versions for many of the courses I have created for learning how to play blues and slide guitar.
This sale won’t last long so be sure to take advantage of this discount as there will not be another sale for a long while.
Thanks for the support!
This Rick Toone T2 is designed to be polarizing. The craftsmanship may speak for itself. It looks extremely well made and has all the elements of a great guitar.
What I'm mostly offended by is the price, $17500 US.
Admittedly I know very little about the Luthier Rick Toone apart from the fact that I've heard his name before, and have seen one or two of his more ergonomic offerings.
Has anyone here own/played one of his guitars? Is it worth the hefty price tag?
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A truly eXceptional event is happening at an authorized Martin dealer near you!
Starting May 28th, 2017 through June 28th, 2017, you can head to an authorized Martin dealer in the USA to save up to $200 instantly on select Martin guitars including the PA4 models, D Jr, models, LX models, and X-Series models.
Dealer participation may affect discount amount.
I am always looking for new gear that will make my gigging and teaching experiences easier and I recently bought a cool little device that falls in that category. It is called the Quiklock music stand. Part of my quest with all new gear I buy is to make my set-up more condensed and easier to transport and set up. This thing helps. It is a music stand/holder that attaches horizontally to a mic stand. While not as spacious as a regular music stand it holds two lead sheets side-by-side on an arm that is adjustable both in the distance from the stand and angle of the back that holds the music. It attaches to the stand via a clamp. I’m not entirely convinced the clamp will hold up in the long term (that is a complaint in reviews of the thing) but for now it seems to hold just fine. I doubt I would trust it to hold something valuable like an IPad but it serves the purpose with printed music. There was a time in my gigging life that I scoffed at people who didn’t have ALL their music memorized and needed a music stand. Not anymore. Seems like many if not most single performers use them or an IPad holder these days. I do know enough to bring along clips to hold the music to the stand in case it’s windy. Anyway, I recommend this inexpensive little device if you don’t want to lug a full size music stand to your gigs.
My favorite song lately is a great one by Ry Cooder called “Tattler.” His recording features his fine guitar playing but also a full band so I had to adapt it somewhat for my own use and use with students. What a sweet and catchy tune! It has a bit of a Caribbean or New Orleans vibe too, which immediately attracted me. Check it out if you can. Ry Cooder is hugely respected in the singer/songwriter world although he doesn’t have the wide recognition of some. His work as a writer, player and producer is stellar. Also, it was Ry who brought the wonderful Buena Vista Social Club musicians of Cuba to the attention of the world. In some small way, I believe that his work with them may have contributed in some small way to the opening of relations with that country and more exposure to its rich musical heritage.
I recently bought the first electric guitar I’ve owned in a while, a semi-hollow body by a company called Prestige. I got a very fair deal on it locally; it is in perfect condition. There is a bit of mystery about this company. While their web site says they are based in Vancouver, Canada (there is no label in the guitar, but it is number 000113!), a person on the Acoustic Guitar Forum stated that it was in fact made in Korea at the same factory that makes Peerless Guitars and I believe this is the case as it is identical to one model they make. Peerless is producing some of the finest archtops made overseas and my hero, jazz guitarist Martin Taylor consulted with them to produce his signature model. They are rather expensive and fairly hard to get. My Prestige has many of the same features, and the fit and finish are top notch. It features two Seymour Duncan P-90’s and a super comfortable neck. The sound is just great, equally at home in both jazz and blues. It also came with high quality hardshell case, and being only a year old and hardly played it is in perfect condition and set up perfectly too. Best of all, it sounds terrific through my Carvin AG-300 (this was a big surprise!) so I don’t need to spring for another amp. With a beautiful tobacco sunburst finish, gold plated Grover tuners and bridge, and a very cool retro looking cream colored pickguard that matches the Seymour Duncans perfectly, it is a gorgeous thing to look at too. Only down side is that is has some serious weight due to the maple block inside but that is the trade off for the amazing sustain it has. Sooner or later, I will get some gigs that call for an electric, and I’ll be ready!
I had a great conversation with the person who sold me the guitar and this gets to my previous post about guitar teachers. It seems that his daughter took lessons – actually, just one lesson! – with a guy who lives not far away. This person is a former member of a very well known R&B group that broke up a while ago and he now lives in this area. While all reports are that he is a great guy, from what I was told his teaching style is a bit shaky at best. He basically did some playing and expected this poor young girl, a raw beginner, to then repeat what he played. Compounding the confusion was that he is left-handed, and she is not! His advice? Just look in the mirror! Yikes. Plus he demanded three months of payment in advance. Again, big respect for his playing and background but the reality is that a great player may not be a great teacher. The sad part is that he probably succeeded in turning off this youngster to ever playing the guitar. But the positive was that this inspired the guy who sold me the guitar to begin playing himself (after all, he had paid for three months of lessons….) and he seems to love playing without value judgements by himself or anyone else. Good for him!
Finally, as regular readers of this blog know, I have been playing regularly for about 5 years at a wonderful little café near my home called the Daily Brew. I play almost every Sunday from 10 till noon. When I started and until very recently it was all about challenging myself to carry the time with totally instrumental arrangements of blues, bossa nova, jazz and pop stuff. I can say the pay off is that my playing at this point in my life is better and more gratifying than it’s ever been. But recently I thought, what the heck, maybe I’ll start mixing in some vocals too. Understand that this was what I always did in the many groups I’ve played with over the years. So a couple of the locals were quite surprised to see a mic set up in front of me last weekend as they had never heard me in any of my previous musical endeavors. And you know what? In spite of dealing with the aftermath of a nasty cold and seasonal allergies it sounded…. Not awful. Or it seemed that way anyway. And it was fun! Looking forward to tomorrow morning, for sure!
Oh, and one more thing. As most of us know, this is the 50th anniversary of the release of what I feel is the great album of all time, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Heart Club Band. I listened to an interview with Sir George Martin’s son Giles yesterday on PBS radio and he went into great detail about the new box set and remixed Sgt. Pepper. It was absolutely fascinating. Contrasting the mono and stereo versions, alternative takes, and little tidbits about the behind the scene recording process back in 1967. I believe that interview may be available on You Tube or perhaps via PBS. Check it out and even if you can’t give that album a listen again. Pure genius.
Peace & good music,