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What’s On The Bench – Filing Frets

In the photograph above are some of the tools I use when filing frets after they are installed on a dulcimer. On this dulcimer the ends of the frets have already been filed flush with the sides of the fingerboard. The next step is to assure there are no high or low frets as these … Continue reading "What’s On The Bench – Filing Frets"

The Guitars of Roger McGuinn

The Unique Guitar Blog - Sat, 08/05/2017 - 19:09
Roger McGuinn
Roger McGuinn was born in 1942 and grew up in the Chicagoarea. His parents were journalists. They loved to read and were devoted to literary charities, even going so far as to have a book published.

James Joseph McGuinn, his given name went to The Latin School of Chicago. He became bitten with the music bug after hearing Elvis Presley sing Heartbreak Hotel.  

He begged his parents for a guitar.

Other childhood influences include Gene Vincent, Carl Perkins and the Everly Brothers. 


Old Town School of Folk Music


In 1957 McGuinn enrolled in Chicago’s Old Town School of Folk Music. It was there that he learned to play the five string banjo and got serious about playing guitar. By his graduation he was playing solo at various Chicagocoffeehouses.  




The Chad Mitchell Trio

His influences included several trio vocal groups including the Limeliters and the Chad Mitchell Trio, a group which he would later become a member.
Bobby Darin

McGuinn got a job playing guitar and singing background in Bobby Darin’s band. This job lead to him relocating to California and the Los Angeles music scene. It was in Los Angeles that he met future members of the Byrds.




The Brill Building


In 1962 Darin hired McGuinn with the thought in mind that Darin wanted to add some folk music to his career. These were the years that Folk Music had significantly gained in popularity. By mid 1963, Darin’s health began to fail and he retired from singing. He opened a songwriting and publishing office in New York City’s Brill Building and hired Jim McGuinn. 

McGuinn also found work as a studio guitarist and that same year was backing up Judy Collins and Simon & Garfunkel on their recordings.

The rumblings of Beatlemania and the British Invasion were about to take place. Within less than a year the Beatles American tour would commence. 

The Troubadour

McGuinn traveled back to Los Angelesand took a job at Doug Weston’s The Troubadour. Jim McGuinns act included folks songs that were played in a rock style. 

This caught the attention of Gene Clark. Clark befriended McGuinn and thus was formed the beginnings of the Byrds.

Eventually the duo found other like-mined folk/rock influenced member, Chris Hillman, David Crosby and Michael Clarke. The quintet began to perform at Los Angeles clubs. In January of 1965 they recorded the monster hit, Mr. Tambourine Man. 

The Byrds' version was much different than what the songs writer, Bob Dylan, had put down on vinyl.


Their version began with an amazing four bar guitar intro and outro that was played on a Rickenbacker 12 string guitar. This was a fairly recent instrument at the time and provided a very unusual sound. Part of that sound was dependent on the engineers use of compression technology. 

Members of the Byrds were dismayed by the fact that the only group member playing an instrument on the recording was McGuinn. 

This was typical of most major recording sessions. Studio time was expensive and record companies wanted ‘product’ out as soon as possible. And this track was being done at Columbia Studios.  


'65 McGuinn and producer Terry Melcher
Members of the Wrecking Crew, including Bill PIttman on guitar, Hal Blaine on drums, Larry Knechtel on bass, and Leon Russell on piano, backed up Roger McGuinn, who played his 12 string guitar on Mr. Tambourine Man. 

The other members of the Byrds sang back up.

Members of the Wrecking Crew were hired to play on the hit instead of The Byrds members. The Byrds did their own vocals with McGuinn singing lead. 


Rickenbacker 360/12 string
In McGuinn’s words, “The Rickenbacker 12 string by itself is kind of thuddy. It doesn’t ring. But if you add compression you get that longer sustain. I found this out by accident. 


Teletronix LA-2A Compressor
The engineer, Ray Gerhardt would use compression on everything to protect his equipment from loud rock and roll. Two Teletronix LA-2A tube based compressors and the guitar signal was sent directly to the board. 

"That is how I got my ‘jingle-jangle’ tone. I was able to sustain a note for three or four seconds.”


The Byrds Eight Miles High

This came in handy with the Byrds next hit, Eight Miles High. It was in this song that Jim McGuinn attempted to emulate John Coltrane’s disconnected jazz riffs. He didn’t think this could be accomplished without such sustain.




Rickenbacker 360/12
McGuinn goes on to say, “I practiced eight hours a day on that ‘Ric,’ which worked out well. Acoustic 12 strings have wide necks and thicker strings that were spaced farther apart and were hard to play. But the Ric’s slim neck and low action let me explore jazz and blues scaled….I incorporated more hammer-ons and pull-off into my solos. I also translated some of my banjo picking techniques to the 12 string. 

By combining a flat pick and metal finger picks…I discovered I could instantly switch from fast single-note runs to banjo rolls and get the best of both world."



The Byrds
As a group the Byrds lasted two years, but played and recorded with other members and other differing names. The actual band officially called it quits in 1973. McGuinn went on to maintain an electric guitar band until 1981 when he decided to be a solo artist.




Roger McGuinn 2014
When James Joseph McGuinn started with the Byrds, he used his given nickname ‘Jim.’ Sometime in the mid 1960’s he started exploring spirituality and became involved with the Subud Spiritual Association. In 1967 the groups leader suggested if he was going to vibrate with the universe, he should consider a new name. 

Jim sent in a list of ten names that had to do with airplanes and science fiction

As Roger was the one actual name and the 18th letter of the 
alphabet that air pilots use when talking on the radio, that was the name McGuinn chose. 


Camilla and Roger McGuinn


Since then Roger and his wife Camilla have become Christians.





370/12RM

McGuinn’s first Rickenbacker was a two pickup model 360-12 that had a beautiful blond finish. He was fascinated by the guitar George Harrison played in Hard Days Night. Harrison’s guitar was bound on the front and the back of the body. It was done in a yellow-to red sunburst finish that Rickenbacker calls Fireglo. 

McGuinn could not find a Rickenbacker 12 string that had the pointier cutaways and top trim. He purchased the only available model and used it through his Byrds career.

This guitar was stolen and when he replaced it with a similar instrument. He states that in later years it showed up at an auction and sold for $100,000.

JangleBox Compressor
As he states, much of his sound is based on compression, for years Roger McGuinn was unable to replicate that sound on a live stage. 

Paul Kanter of the Jefferson Airplane suggest using a Vox Treble Booster. This was one of the first generation sound enhancers. The unit was small and plugged into a guitars input. 


McGuinn took the booster apart and installed in internally in his Rickenbacker. He states he tried other compression units, but could not get his sound until the Jangle-Box was invented.


Rickenbacker 370/12RM
McGuinn states that he has since he currently has a built-in compression unit onboard his triple pickup Rickenbacker 370-12RM that was designed by engineer, Bob Desiderio. As an aside he states that John Hall, the owner of Rickenbacker, allowed 1000 370-12RM models to be built and will not produce anymore to preserve their value.





Roland JC 120 Jazz Chorus

McGuinn currently uses the Jangle Box and a Roland JC120 amplifier to achieve his sound. 







Rickenbacker 360/12

McGuinn does his own string changes and set up on his guitars. Changing strings on a Rickenbacker 12 can be an all day task. McGuinn has produced a video to show how he changes strings and also how he makes neck adjustments.


Martin D12-42RM
Besides the Rickenbacker 370-12RM, McGuinn has other guitars he carries with him on tour.  The Martin Guitar Company has produced and provided two Roger McGuinn models. The first is a D12-42/RM 12 string guitar. This is an exquisite 42 model Martin with all the bells and whistles. Alas, it is no longer in production.


Martin also came out with a very unique model for McGuinn called the HD-7. This is a historic dreadnought style 45 Martin that has 7 strings. The unusual thing about this instrument is that an octave ‘G’ string is added to give the sound of a 12 string guitar, but the ease and convenience of a 6 string guitar.  

Roger frequently utilized single string runs to get his sound and this guitar does the trick.  It too is no longer in production, but is still available through some major music stores.

He was using a Fender Mastertone banjothat was given to him by Fender guitars when they were about to be acquired by CBS. He traded it to a friend for an old banjothat was made using Vega and Ode banjo parts.





During his days with Sweethearts of the Rodeo, he used a Gretsch Country Gentleman. He did not think the Rickenbacker 12 would fit into Country Music.


He states that he owns two Rickenbacker ‘Light Show’ guitars, but no longer takes them on the road. He owns a number of Rickenbacker guitars. He also owns a Martin 00-21.


Now in his 70’s, McGuinn only tours to theaters and performing arts centers stating they are well equipped facilities. He travels with his wife and enjoys getting in touch with fans all over the country.


The Rock Bottom Remainders
Roger is also part of a novelty band called the Rock Bottom Remainders. This is a group of writers, who would like to be musician and musicians and all are having a great time. 

The band was established by writer, producer and literary agent Kathi Kamen Goldmark.  

Over the years the Remainder has included among its members Dave Barry, Stephen King, Amy Tan, Cynthia Heimel, Sam Barry, Matt Groening, Greg Iles, Maya Angelou and Al Kooper.
 

Click on the links below the pictures for the sources. Click on the links in the text for more information.
©UniqueGuitar Publications




Categories: General Interest

Totally Guitars Weekly Wrap Up August 4th, 2017

On The Beat with Totally Guitars - Fri, 08/04/2017 - 15:07
Improve Your Guitar Skills with the online guitars lessons from Totally Guitars! Totally Guitars News Podcast So August is here and the weather is really unusual in Northern California. It is a day reminiscent of geese and Leo Kottke’s comments on his own vocal skills.We are ramping up for IGC 2017 and now registration is […]
Categories: Learning and Lessons

Number one with a bullet. The Squier Bullet Strat project

Lone Phantom - Thu, 08/03/2017 - 19:00

It’s been a while since I had a project on the go, budgets have been a bit tighter, and life a bit more hectic. One thing I’ve wanted for a while is an actual “stratty” Strat, and whilst I have built a couple of Statocaster type guitars (see my Charvel San Dimas style build project and my Strat build project), they are far more hot-rodded than traditional. I’ve been wanting something far closer to the Stratocaster blueprint, with the three single coil pickup setup.

A couple of weeks ago I was browsing in Cash Converters during my lunch break, and on the wall was a filthy looking black Squier Bullet Strat. I had read that some years were sought after for their great necks and general build quality that was above their price point, and with a few modifications they could be transformed into killer guitars.

I quickly looked up the serial number, and sure enough, this was a 2008 “COB” Chinese made Bullet, which are known to be pretty good. The neck looked straight, and the fretwork was pretty reasonable so I went ahead and bought it. Knowing that I already had a few parts at home that would be perfect for this guitar, I could get started straight away with the transformation.

The Squier Bullet Strat come with a basswood body, maple neck with rosewood fretboard, and vintage six screw tremolo bridge with more modern design saddles. The neck width at the nut is 42mm, and fretboard radius is 9.5 inches. The frets are a fairly common medium jumbo fretwire, the nut is plastic, and tuners are very basic and average performing sealed die-cast, vintage style units. The bodies on Bullet Strats are a quarter inch thinner than a traditional Stratocaster body.

First up for the transformation was removing the rusty strings and giving the guitar a good scrub down. I made up a bowl of warm soapy water, using dishwashing liquid, and began scrubbing the plastic and painted parts with a microfibre cloth. I hit the fretboard with Dunlop Fingerboard Deep Conditioner and removed all the grime, and got the rosewood looking bright and vibrant again. Once the guitar was cleaned up it was apparent that this guitar was almost like new. There were barely and scuffs or dings to be found, and this made me very happy.

One of the parts I had left over from my white Stratocaster build was a black Wilkinson six screw vintage-style tremolo bridge.  The stock Squier unit has a small and thin sustain block, and the screw-in whammy bar is a bit average too. I figured the Wilkinson bridge would be perfect for this guitar, since it has a full-size sustain block, a far nicer push-in whammy bar, and slightly wider 2-1/8″ spaced saddles.  The only tricky part to installing the Wilkison is it’s 2-1/8″ screw spacing – the standard bridge is a 2-1/16″ screw spacing. When I built the white Stratocaster I discovered that the middle four holes of the Wilkinson would line up with the holes on a body with 2-1/16″ spaced holes, so at least only the outer two holes would need to be filled and re-drilled.

Another thing I had left over from the white Stratocaster build was some Hantug Custom Guitars black brass 2-1/8″ solid saddles. These would be the perfect tonal upgrade to the vintage-style saddles on the Wilkinson bridge. To top off the bridge related upgrades was a Hantug solid milled titanium spring claw, and some Raw Vintage tremolo springs. The stock springs are extremely tight, and the looser feeling Raw Vintage springs would provide a slinkier feel when bending strings and using the whammy bar.


I got on to installing the Hantug saddles on the Wilkinson bridge, and then removing the stock unit. I figured I’d install the bridge using the middle four screws for now and get around to filling and re-drilling the outer holes later. This would be required to get the best tuning stability when using the whammy bar.

Next up was removing the stock spring claw and installing the Hantug claw and Raw Vintage springs. When I pulled the claw out I discovered that the previous owner had stripped one of the holes in the body, and rather than filling the hole, they just drilled a new hole. The angle was a bit off, but I figured I’d leave it as is and see how things worked. I also put some foam under the springs to reduce the sympathetic reverberations that can occur with Strat and Floyd Rose type bridges that use tremolo springs.

I strung up the guitar and set the saddles up to match the radius of the fretboard, and did a basic setup. The guitar’s acoustic tone was surprisingly quite good, the body resonated nicely, and the guitar sounded bigger than one would expect from a cheap, thinner than standard strat body made from basswood. As expected, there was one downside to how the guitar played, and that was the tuning stability. The combination of the cheap, badly cut plastic nut, average string trees, and slipping tuners made it a bit hard for the strings to hold their tune after a few string bends.

So at the end of stage one of the Squier Bullet Strat project, the basic bones of the guitar appear to be sound, and the first upgrades have resulted in a great tone. Next up will be trying to get the guitar holding tune, and altering the look of the guitar. Hopefully this project will prove that it is possible to create a fantastic playing and sounding guitar on a very small budget.

Categories: General Interest

MAY IT LAST: A PORTRAIT OF THE AVETT BROTHERS

The Martin Guitar Blog - Thu, 08/03/2017 - 05:00

A special one-night only event of The Avett Brother's documentary will be released on September 12th.

May It Last.jpg

The documentary from Judd Apatow and Michael Bonfiglio follows the Avett Brothers as they undergo marriage, divorce, parenthood, illness, and challenges of the music business. It follows the Martin Ambassadors over two years and is set against the backdrop of the Avett Brother's album, True Sadness. "May It Last" has already been recognized by the 2017 SXSW Film Festival.

You can watch a trailer for "May It Last: A Portrait Of The Avett Brothers" here.

Martin Ambassador Seth Avett's Martin guitar of choice is the D-35 Seth AvettYou can purchase the   D-35 Seth Avett at an  authorized Martin dealer , by finding a  certified online Martin dealer , or exploring the  buy from factory program .

 

Categories: Manufacturers

More Adventures In Dulcimer Making

Yes, another thrill-packed day in the adventurous life of a dulcimer maker. Not long ago I wrote about my reasons for no longer taking advance orders for dulcimers.  One reason I did not mention in that post was that sometimes things … Continue reading

MARTIN MONDAY: THE GPCRSG

The Martin Guitar Blog - Mon, 07/31/2017 - 06:53

Looking for a great cutaway guitar to take on the road with you? Meet the GPCRSG!

GPCRSG.png

The cutaway Grand Performance guitar is crafted with a Sitka spruce top and mutenye back and sides. It produces a beautiful even tone with good bass response and clear mids and trebles. The GPCRSG also features a Richlite fingerboard and bridge, high performance taper neck and Fishman® Sonitone electronics to make this guitar ready to go.

You can learn even more about the GPCRSG here.

You can purchase the GPCRSG at an authorized Martin dealer, by finding a certified online Martin dealer, or exploring the buy from factory program.

Categories: Manufacturers

Hantug Custom Guitars sustain block upgrades for Ibanez Edge Pro – review

Lone Phantom - Sun, 07/30/2017 - 23:45

I’ve documented a range of sustain block upgrades over the years, and they really are a great way to improve the tone of a non-hardtail bridge equipped guitar. Brass is the common upgrade for double locking bridges, and titanium is another popular option. I’ve reviewed a range of brass options from several manufacturers, and a few titanium options previously, made by Hantug Custom Guitars. Hantug have been kind enough to provide me with a couple more sustain block upgrades to review, this time a brass and titanium sustain block for the Ibanez Edge Pro bridge.

The test guitar for this review is my 2003 Ibanez RG 450 LTD, which features a basswood body, and maple neck with rosewood fretboard. As with most Ibanez bridges, the stock sustain block is made out of some sort of pot metal alloy. I compared this against the brass and titanium options from Hantug.

As with all other parts created by Hantug, the brass and titanium sustain blocks are high quality units. Hantug have done a fantastic job of machining these blocks to match the dimensions of the stock unit. The Edge Pro has cutaways in the sustain block to allow for the string ball-end holders, and Hantug have designed their blocks with two options: deep grooves for those who prefer to use the ball-end holders; and a non-deep groove option for those who prefer to lock their strings in the traditional way

The blocks are nicely machined, particularly the titanium unit with it’s etched logo, and it’s almost a shame that the block is hidden away in the guitar’s body. The only downside in the design is that the spring retainer bar is the same configuration as the stock one, and that it can hold a maximum of three springs while still having two bolts holding the bar. The Hantug Edge/Lo Pro Edge blocks allow up to five springs while still allowing both bolts to hold the retainer bar.

First cab off the rank is the brass unit, and as expected from this metal, it provides a warmer and louder tone that sustains more than the stock unit. There’s a thicker low end, and the mids are pushed more into the mix. I find that the clarity is enhanced over the stock block, and there’s a greater ability to coax harmonics out of the guitar. Comparing recorded waveforms, it’s clear that the brass block compresses the sound,which gives the perception of greater volume, and enhances the sustain.

Next up is the titanium block. Titanium provides a brighter tone that has a higher level of clarity over the stock and brass units. String seperation is amazing on chords, and the harmonic quality is pushed even higher. Titanium is bright without being too shrill, and the volume pretty much matches the brass unit. Sustain is similar to the brass, so it’s a boost over the stock unit.

Overall the Hantug Edge Pro sustain block upgrades are a fantastic option for guitars loaded with this bridge. Both brass and titanium blocks offer an excellent upgrade over the stock Edge Pro sustain block. When it comes to picking one it’s more down to tonal preference and available budget, since titanium parts are generally more expensive. The Hantug blocks are beautifully machined, and also priced well against the competition. If you are looking to push your Edge Pro equipped Ibanez guitar’s tone into new territory then definitely check out the Hantug upgrade options.

Categories: General Interest

Emerald Guitars

The Unique Guitar Blog - Sun, 07/30/2017 - 16:45
Alistair Hay

Alistair Hay grew up in the Irish seaside town of Creeslough, located in North West Donegal in Ireland. His father ran the family farm. His father was quite a craftsman and made whateve was needed by the family or at the farm. His father eventually took a job with an engineering firm as a designer and moved the family to East Donegal.




East Donegal Today
When the firm he had joined began to fail.  Mr. Hay set up his own business building products made from fiberglass that included boats, children's play equipment, and go karts.

As Alistair grew up, he went to work with at his fathers business where he learned about composites and fiberglass. This peaked Alistair’s interest in engineer and designing products mad
Royal & Prior - Athlone Tech

Alistair went on to attend Royal and Prior College, and the from compounds. Upon graduating he went on to attend Athlone Institute of Technology to study Polymer Engineering.

Seebold Sports Formula One Racing
After graduating, Alistair Hay had an opportunity to take a job with Seebold Sports, a company that builds fiberglass bodies, motors, and parts for racing boats. The owner of the company, Bill Seebold, became his mentor.

He encouraged him to follow his own path and find a career based on what he knew and enjoyed. Hay chose to work with carbon fiber; a subject of which he has amassed tremendous knowledge.

Steve Vai with Custom Emerald Ultra
In 1994, while still working at Seebold, Hay had an idea to build guitars from composite material. But he had no knowledge of luthiery. Hay played guitar and was fascinated by guitar players, especially Steve Vai. But had no knowledge of guitar construction.

Hay learned to build guitars by reverse engineering his own guitar. He made many mistakes during his learning curve. He developed a friendship with a skilled luthier that offered him instructions that became a tremendous help.

The First Emerald Guitar
 to leave the factory
By 1998 Alistair Hay was confident enough to start Emerald Guitars and offer his instruments for sale. He admits it was trial and error, and continual improvement until 2001. The first Emerald Guitars were offered to the public in 1999.

During those early years, Emerald Guitars had partnered with Parker Guitars in a deal to use their fret boards. This was a great partnership until Ken Parker and his partner sold Parker Guitars to the musical instrument conglomerate US Music.

Richie Sambora with
Emerald 
The sale created a real problem for Hay and Emerald Guitars, since US Music quit sending fret boards to Hays’ company. In 2008 Emerald Guitars was unable to fulfill any orders and had to shut down operations.

Steve Vai  with Emerald Ultra LP Cover




As stated, Hay states he was always fascinated by guitars and guitar music. He found inspiration from listening to an album by Steve Vai. And later Hay built 3 guitars for Vai.





Wang Leehom & Alistair Hay
with Tay Kewei's Emerald Guitar

In 2008, while traveling, Hay met a singer from Singapore named Tay Kewei. She was in a band with guitarist Wang Leehom, who is very popular in his country. Kewei was looking for a new guitar, so Hay built one for her with a unique body and headstock that resemble dragons.

Hay with a custom guitar
This creation inspired Hay to start building guitars again, and restart Emerald Guitars.

It was almost four years before Hay was able to redesign his molds to include a carbon fiber fretboard. By doing this, the company is no longer dependent on outsourcing. Since resuming production in 2012, Emerald Guitars has come with with quite a line up.  Their guitars are well made and by no means inexpensive. However they are built for a lifetime.

The Opus line is the most available. These guitars only come with a black finish. They come in a full line up of guitars, ukes, and a bass. There are options that can be added if desired.

Opus 7


The Opus 7 is a parlour sized instrument with a 24" scale. The overall length is 30", so it makes a great travel guitar.  The Opus 20 has similar accoutrements to the 7 model, but is a full sized guitar, with a 25 1/2" scale, and a 40" overall length.





Opus 20



The Opus 20 is offered for right or left handed players. Both instruments come with a gig bag, and pickups can be added at an additional cost.






Opus Chimaera
The Opus Chimaera is a double neck 6 and 12 string instrument. Both necks have a 25 1/2" scale, and the instrument weighs less than a Fender Stratocaster; only 6.3 lbs (3 kg).

Emerald Synergy Opus 7 and Synergy Opus 20 Harp Guitars
Emerald Guitar's forte is their harp guitars. Not a lot of companies specialize in harp guitars. For their Opus line, Emerald offers two instruments. The Snyergy Opus X7 pairs a 24" scale guitar neck with six bass strings that jut out of the upper bout and are attached to the top of the instrument. The overall length is 37 1/2". A few years ago, one of these instruments was being offered as a test guitar to anyone who signed up and agreed to pay $45 to keep it for a week and then ship it to the next person that wanted to try it out.. This guitar is acoustic, but a pickup can be added.

The Synergy Opus X20 is a full sized harp guitar, with a 25 1/2" scale on the guitar neck. It too has six bass strings, and a pickup system is an upgrade-able option. Both harp guitar come with a gig bag.

Balor Bass Opus
For bass players, Emerald offers the Balor Bass Opus. This is a five string, 34" scale acoustic bass guitar that can be upgraded to add a pickup. It comes with a padded gig bag, and Gotoh GB707 bass machine tuners.

Emerald keeps limited stock on hand for all their instruments, so check this link to the companies web site to see what is on hand.



Emerald Artisan Chimaera
in Wooded Bubinga

Emerald Guitars also offers their Artisan Line, which are custom, made-to-order hand built instruments. These include the L.R. Baggs Element active pickup system in the cost



The instruments are offered in your choice of these colours; black, blue, green, red, and amber. The guitars are sized much like the Opus series, X7, X20, the Chimaera six/12, and both Synergy series harp models.

Emerald Amicus Artisan models
Added is the Amicus Artisan model, which is a 12 string guitar, with a short 18" scale length. It is meant to be tuned down one whole step from standard E tuning. All Artisan models come with a deluxe padded gig bag.



Custom Shop X20 Woody Cocobolo


And if you want more, Emerald Guitars can create the guitar of your dreams through their custom shop.







Alistair with custom creation



If you want to, Alistair Hay will personally design and build and Emerald Guitar to your specifications.







Emerald custom made "Cello" Guitar

Such was the case with this custom guitar that he built for someone that wanted a nylon string guitar that resembled a cello. Click on the line below the picture to learn about this amazing creation.


Click on the links below the pictures for sources. Click on the links in the text for more information.
©UniqueGuitar Publications (text only)






Categories: General Interest

Totally Guitars Weekly Wrap Up July 28th, 2017

On The Beat with Totally Guitars - Fri, 07/28/2017 - 19:42
Learn To Play Your Favorite Song with the online guitars lessons from Totally Guitars! Totally Guitars News Podcast So it has been about 3 months since my last lesson, until today that is. I certainly did not think that was going to be the case going into the Hogan’s summer of surgeries. I hope everybody […]
Categories: Learning and Lessons

That Just Happened Interviews Jake E Lee

Charvel Guitars - Fri, 07/28/2017 - 12:07

That Just Happened caught up with Red Dragon Cartel guitarist Jake E Lee at Obscenic Arts Recording Studio in Pennsylvania where he’s been working on the band’s sophomore album, Patina.

In an exclusive behind-the-scenes interview, Lee dives into his “Guitar-senal,” which includes his signature Charvel guitar, and how his goal is to make music that he wants to hear and to “stir things up a bit.”

Watch the clip below …

Categories: Manufacturers

A Few Basic Truisms

Cape Cod Acoustics - Fri, 07/28/2017 - 09:50
Some basic truisms about playing the guitar, based on good and bad experiences teaching and performing for over 40 years:
 
There are almost unlimited ways to screw up a song! My dad, a superb musician who decided to take up guitar after he retired put that statement a bit more colorfully. And he wasn’t prone to cursing. I see it with my students on a regular basis. No matter how well you may know a song, no matter how many times you’ve played it, danger lurks. We can practice and practice and get it right almost all the time but don’t be surprised by those unexpected turns. My own feeling (based on plenty of screw-ups!) is that – assuming you know a song pretty well – the worst moments occur when I’m on “auto-pilot” and make the mistake of listening to myself play. “AW-right!” says the little man in my head. “Sounding good today, Gene!” Crash. And. Burn. Paying attention, thinking ahead, and most of all, not being rattled when something bad happens is the key. I readily admit this is never easy.
 
There will be times when you’re absolutely sure you play best in the first 10 minutes or so of a practice session but then things begin going downhill. This can be hugely frustrating. The reality is probably quite different than your perception. When we begin to play we often hear the best of our efforts and this is very satisfying, as it should be. But as our session moves along those little glitches become more and more annoying. With some people they can become downright debilitating, to the point that they put the guitar down and walk away in disgust and it may take days to recover. There are couple possible solutions here. First, no matter what, get through as much of a song as you can, warts and all. Then go back and focus on the section or individual changes that are problematic. After a few minutes of doing these, try to reassemble the song. Sure, those hard parts will still be hard but your perspective will probably change. Another solution is to just put the guitar down, go for a walk, read the newspaper or have an adult beverage if that’s appropriate. Clear the hard drive, in other words. Then pick it up and try it again. For what it’s worth, my students who progress the fastest often practice multiple times a day, if only for a few minutes each time.
 
You’re your own worst critic. Most recreational players have no intention of performing but if there is anyone within earshot it’s easy to assume they are listening intently and maybe being critical. I can assure you, in 99% of the cases no matter what your level of playing, no one is judging you. In fact, family and friends are your cheerleaders; they want you to succeed or at least be happy with your own playing. Listeners are way more forgiving of mistakes than you might realize. If you don’t believe me, go to a karaoke session some time. While you may hear some pretty amazing performances, you will surely hear some that belong in a person’s shower and nowhere else. But regardless, the listeners are enthusiastic and admire the performer’s courage.
 
But what bookends with this a bit is….
 
You can always tell when another guitar player is listening. The sideways glances or outright staring, usually with a blank expression. This can be disconcerting to say the least! It took me many years to not get rattled by this, I must admit. Finally, I figured out that all guitarists, regardless of their age, experience or musical tastes have some sort of innate need to demonstrate some level of coolness about other guitarists they don’t know personally. Why is this? I have no idea. Does it mean anything or matter? Not at all! That staring could have any number of underlying reasons. Some may be flattering; some may be ego-driven. I’ve had many instances when a guitarist stared at me for quite a long time, never clapped or even smiled at the end of multiple songs, but then came up (still without smiling????!) and said something to the effect of how much they enjoyed my playing and put a generous tip in the tip glass. A smile, a thank you very much and “glad you enjoyed it, hope to see you again!” are appropriate responses. On the other hand, I’ve seen guitarists I vaguely know show up at gigs and walk out with a smirk after a song or two. “Let it roll on by!” sings one of my favorite singer/songwriters, Shawn Mullins. It really and truly matters not what that person thinks. You’ve got the gig and he was just sitting there. That is all that truly matters.
 
Reserve judgement about performers, no matter what level they may be on. Here’s another case of Gene having to learn the hard way. In my younger days I routinely dismissed certain musicians based only upon my perception of their abilities, style of music, or even really silly things like their stage presence, equipment (!) or even their physical appearance. The result has been that I missed appreciating some very fine musicians. These days, even if I don’t particularly like a certain style of music I do my best to find value in it or at least try to figure out just why it or the people performing it are popular. Then I can make an informed decision as to whether or not to explore it further. And often, that’s just what happens and I think both my playing and my horizons have expanded.
 
Peace & good music,
Gene
Categories: Acoustics

THOMAS RHETT TO RELEASE NEW SINGLE TOMORROW!

The Martin Guitar Blog - Thu, 07/27/2017 - 05:00

Martin Ambassador Thomas Rhett has been teasing us for awhile with his new single "Unforgettable" but tomorrow is finally the day we get to hear it!

Thomas-Rhett-reveals-Unforgettable-New-Single-2017-07-21.jpg

"Unforgettable" is the second single off the Martin Ambassador's third studio album that is expected to drop in the fall. The song which was written on his tour bus, along with every other song on the upcoming album, and includes the chorus “I can smell your perfume, girl that night was just like you / UnforgettableFrom your blue jeans to your shoes girl that night was just like you / Unforgettable.”

Stay tuned to Thomas Rhett's social media outlets to hear "Unforgettable" tomorrow!

Martin Ambassador Thomas Rhett plays both a HD-16R Adirondack and a Custom Martin guitar. 

Categories: Manufacturers

Musical Instrument Museums On Line

Musical Instrument Museums On Line is a site that aggregates collections of musical instruments primarily held by European museums. The site offers a searchable database of instruments, links to the museums where the instruments are held, and photographs and general information … Continue reading

My eBay Listing: 50% Off, Vintage Fulton Transitional Jointer Plane, 26 inch

Brokeoff Mountain Luthierie - Tue, 07/25/2017 - 18:21
I cut my asking price by 50%, this plane needs to go to a good home to be used and appreciated! Please take another look! Thanks!

Watch Stone Sour’s Christian Martucci Give A Rundown of his Charvel Gear

Charvel Guitars - Tue, 07/25/2017 - 11:20

Stone Sour guitarist Christian Martucci is currently out on the road in support of fresh album Hydrograd, which debuted at No. 8 on the US Billboard 200 and features hit track “Song # 3.”  During one of his recent tour stops, Martucci allowed Charvel the unique opportunity of heading sidestage for a close look at his touring rig.

In the video from that visit (available below), Martucci shows off his road case, which just so happens to be loaded with Charvel guitars  — from a Jake E Lee signature guitar to an array of customized USA Select guitars.

“I started playing guitar around 1985, and my favorite guitar players at the time and even still to this day were guys like Warren DeMartini and Jake E Lee so Charvel was like the goal,” says Martucci.

As well as explaining what drew him to the Charvel brand, Martucci also gives a quick rundown of the features of each guitar, shares info about his tuning setups and details how he uses each one live or in the studio.

Check out the clip below, and be sure to enter for the chance to win a USA Select guitar signed by Martucci here.

Categories: Manufacturers

MARTIN MONDAY: D-BOAK

The Martin Guitar Blog - Mon, 07/24/2017 - 07:13

Martin is proud to offer this special edition featuring imprinted original artwork by illustrator, luthier, musician and Martin archivist Dick Boak.

Dick With D-Boak.jpg

In creating the artwork, Dick wanted to reveal and embellish the quintessential scalloped X-bracing of the Martin Dreadnought – the most beautiful and rarely seen internal structure of the company's flagship guitar.

db1.jpg

Personally signed and numbered in sequence, the D-BOAK Dreadnought is crafted with a Sitka spruce soundboard, genuine mahogany back and sides, a modified low oval neck, simple dovetail neck joint, bone nut and saddle, and an ebony fingerboard and bridge. 

" Tonally, I've always loved the breathy glassine clarity and relative affordability that mahogany lends to an instrument. Lastly, the signed interior label attempts to express my gratitude to the many friends I've made in the music industry. Thanks!"-Dick Boak

Anyone who has had the pleasure of working with Dick Boak over the past 40+ years knows the impact that his creativity and love of guitars has made upon the company and the industry. This edition celebrates and shares his long and storied tenure at C. F. Martin & Co.

Illustrator, musician, luthier, author, and employee of 41 years, Dick Boak currently manages Martin's museum and archives. He is set to retire in January of 2018.

You can learn more about the D-BOAK here.

Soon you will be able purchase a D-BOAK at an authorized Martin dealer, by finding a certified online Martin dealer, or exploring the buy from factory program.

Categories: Manufacturers

My eBay Listing: Vintage Fulton Tool Company Transitional Jointer Plane, 26 inch

Brokeoff Mountain Luthierie - Sun, 07/23/2017 - 09:46
The auction for this plane starts on Tuesday, July 25, 2017 at 6am PDT and will run for three days. It will not be listed on eBay until that day! Please visit eBay on that day and search for "Vintage Fulton Tool Company Transitional Jointer Plane, 26 inch"!

Vintage Fulton Tool Company Transitional Jointer Plane, 26 inch. This is a good user plane. Bottom and sides were jointed, not much patina is left on sides and bottom. A piece of ebony has been inlayed to close the mouth, finish work on mouth has not been completed. 85% of japanning remains on metal parts. Knob is in good condition, tote has some dings, patina remains on top and ends of plane. No manufacture mark on plane body, Fulton Tool Co. is on the 2 5/8" wide plane iron which still has plenty of length for use and no pitting. Light pitting on plane cap. This plane needs a good home! Please direct any questions to highcountrylutherie@gmail.com

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