In 2016, Charvel introduced an upgraded collection of amped up Pro-Mod Style 1 guitars that shook up the lineup with all-new features. This year, Charvel continues to wreak havoc with a new lineup of all-new Pro-Mod San Dimas Style 2 guitars featuring a variety of finishes with options including ash, alder or okoume bodies, hardtail or Floyd Rose® bridges, 6-or 7-strings, rosewood or maple fingerboards and a left-handed version.
Here’s a quick breakdown of all 10 variations:
Showing off the beauty of the ash wood in a Natural finish, this guitar features a two-piece bolt-on maple neck with graphite reinforcement rods, a 12”-16” compound radius maple fingerboard with 22 jumbo frets and offset dot inlays, a convenient thumbwheel truss rod butt-adjust, Seymour Duncan humbucking pickups, a push/pull coil split volume control, No-Load tone control, a Charvel® HT6 string-through-body hardtail bridge and a licensed Fender® Stratocaster® headstock.
This Style 2 stands out with gorgeous quilt maple top on an alder body that emphasizes the complementary turquoise to deep ocean gradient Chlorine Burst finish. Other features include a two-piece bolt-on maple neck with graphite reinforcement, a 12”-16” compound radius maple fingerboard with 22 jumbo frets and offset dot inlays, as well as a convenient thumbwheel truss rod butt-adjust. It’s also equipped with a pair of high-output Seymour Duncan® humbucking pickups, a push/pull coil split volume control, No-Load tone control, a Charvel® HT6 string-through-body hardtail bridge, and a licensed Fender® Stratocaster® headstock.
This 7-string model is a unique creature fit for modern players looking to expand their sonic palette. The Charcoal Gray stain over the natural ash body looks meticulously charred to perfection, accentuating the grain of the wood with highlights of a light gray/nearly white crackling throughout.
Features include a two-piece bolt-on maple neck with graphite reinforcement rods, a 12”-16” compound radius rosewood fingerboard with 24 jumbo frets and offset dot inlays, and a convenient thumbwheel truss rod butt-adjust for easy access. It’s also equipped with a high-output Seymour Duncan® Nazgûl humbucking bridge pickup and a Seymour Duncan Sentient humbucking neck pickup, controlled with a three-way blade switch. The Charvel® HT7 string-through-body hardtail bridge provides endless sustain with laser intonation.
For players that prefer a more raw look, this 7-string offers a gorgeous okoume body with a Natural finish and a maple fingerboard with 24 jumbo frets and offset dot inlays. Like its darker ash counterpart, it includes high-output Seymour Duncan® Nazgûl and Sentient humbucking pickups, a push/pull coil split volume control, No-Load tone control and a Charvel® HT7 string-through-body hardtail bridge.
The Style 2’s are also available with a Floyd Rose® double-locking recessed tremolo. This Metallic Black beauty is constructed with an alder body and a two-piece bolt-on maple neck with graphite reinforcement rods for rock-solid stability. It also features a 12”-16” compound radius dark rosewood fingerboard with 22 jumbo frets and white dot inlays, as well as a convenient thumbwheel truss rod butt-adjust. It’s powered by high-output Seymour Duncan® JB TB-4 and ’59 SH-1N humbucking pickups, which are controlled by a three-way blade switch. A push/pull coil split volume control and No-Load tone control contribute to its “Six Pack of Sound” capabilities.
With the same great features as the Style 2 HH FR, this model stands apart with a maple fingerboard with black dot inlays. The Style 2 HH FR M is also equipped with a Floyd Rose® double-locking tremolo bridge, high-output Seymour Duncan® humbucking pickups, a push/pull coil split volume control and No-Load tone control.
Available in Satin Red with black hardware or Satin Silver with chrome hardware.
So nice, we made it twice. The Natural Ash finish is such a stunner, it was also created with a Floyd Rose® double-locking tremolo bridge to complement the hardtail version. The Style 2 HH FR Ash includes a 12”-16” compound radius dark rosewood fingerboard with 22 jumbo frets and white dot inlays, a convenient thumbwheel truss rod butt-adjust, high-output Seymour Duncan® JB™ TB-4 and ‘59™ SH-1N humbucking pickups, a push/pull coil split volume control and No-Load tone control. Black hardware adds a bold contrast for a classic finishing touch.
For fans that clamor for quilt maple tops, this Floyd Rose model delivers in a striking Transparent Red Burst or Transparent Blue Burst finish. Premium features include a 12”-16” compound radius maple fingerboard with 22 jumbo frets and black dot inlays, a convenient thumbwheel truss rod butt-adjust, high-output Seymour Duncan® JB™ TB-4 and ‘59™ SH-1N humbucking pickups, a push/pull coil split volume control and No-Load tone control.
The Style 2 HH FR QM includes the same great features as the Style 2 HH FR M QM, with the exception of a dark rosewood fingerboard with white dot inlays in a classic Transparent Black finish. This sleek and slightly more subtle addition offers an alder body with a quilt maple top, two-piece bolt-on maple neck with graphite reinforcement rods, high-output Seymour Duncan® JB™ TB-4 and ‘59™ SH-1N humbucking pickups, a push/pull coil split volume control, No-Load tone control and a Floyd Rose® double-locking recessed tremolo bridge.
Southpaws, rejoice! This left-handed Pro-Mod Style 2 is available in a classic Black finish will all-black hardware. Features include an alder body, two-piece bolt-on maple neck with graphite reinforcement rods, 12”-16” compound radius maple fingerboard with 22 jumbo frets and black dot inlays, and a convenient thumbwheel truss rod butt-adjust. It’s also equipped with Seymour Duncan® JB™ TB-4 and ‘59™ SH-1N humbucking pickups, a push/pull coil split volume control and a Floyd Rose® double-locking recessed tremolo bridge.
Martin Ambassador Sam Hunt is putting the pedal to the metal with a new single and headlining tour.
"Body Like A Back Road" is the first single off the Martin Ambassador's much anticipated sophomore album. The new single gives a lightened up feel to an album that is expected to be heavy. You can listen to Sam Hunt's new single here.
The Martin Ambassador will also be headlining an upcoming tour. The "15 In 30" tour will kick off on June 1st and also include Maren Morris, Chris Janson, and Ryan Follese. You can find a full list of tour dates here.
Martin Ambassador Sam Hunt's guitar of choice is the OMJM John Mayer.
Every year, Martin Guitar introduces a guitar that was designed by our very own CEO and Chairman Chris Martin IV. This year, the guitar comes to us in the form of the CEO 8.2 and the CEO 8.2E.
The CEO 8.2 is an FSC certified grand jumbo 14-fret acoustic guitar. The CEO 8.2E is also available and comes equipped with Fishman Blackstack electronics. The top of the guitar is crafted of European Spruce with the Vintage Tone System and a Bourbon Sunset Burst finish with genuine mahogany back and sides. Other features of the CEO 8.2 and CEO 8.2E include a Martin archtop headstock shape, bone nut and saddle, an ebony fingerboard, and mother-of-pearl skeleton diamond pattern inlay. The guitar will come with a TKL Alumin-X case that has patented technology for a strong, lightweight case with great protection. The guitar will be strung with LJ's Choice Martin Strings.
You can learn more about the CEO 8.2 and CEO 8.2E here.
|Mark Knopfler's '58 ES-335|
McCarty felt the ES-335 was right behind the Les Paul solid body as the companies most important body design. He stated, “I came up with the idea of putting a solid block of maple in an acoustic model. It would get some of the same tone as a regular solidbody, plus the instrument's hollow wings would vibrate and we'd get a combination of an electric solidbody and a hollow body guitar.”
In 1952 Gibson had taken a chance on production of Les Paul’s concept of a solid body guitar which would eliminate the electronic feedback that was common to hollow body electric guitars when they were amplified loudly.
|Les Paul with The Log|
|A modern ES 335 with maple block|
This concept was essentially repeated with the Gibson ES-335. Its body had wings that were hollow shells of maple with F-holes over those chambers, but a significant maple block separated the two sides and it was routed out to contain the pickups and anchor the neck.
|'49 Bigsby Guitar|
Fender had been making its double cutaway Stratocaster since 1954. Surprisingly enough Paul Bigsby had built double cutaway guitars as early as 1949. And Bigsby’s guitars, though solid in appearance were actually hollow body instruments.
By 1958 Gibson had latched on to the double cutaway concept.
An original 1958 Gibson ES-335 was given a suggested retail price of $335. Although in 1958 most were selling at around $267.50. By the way, in today's money $267.50 is equivalent to around $4,000 USD.
|1958 Gibson ES-335|
|1958 ES-335 Neck view|
|PAF Stricker from 1958 humbuckers|
This year the ES-335 was only available with a sunburst or natural finish.
|1959 ES-335 Cherry finish|
A few changes occurred in 1960. This year the neck was given a thinner feel to the back shape. The volume/tone knobs have a chrome reflector top. The pickguard was shortened this year and does not extend past the bridge.
In 1961, Gibson discontinued the ES-335 with a natural finish. This year the strap button were changed to metal. The selector switch tip colour was gradually changed to white. Most notably the serial number was stamped into the back side of the head stock.
By 1963 the neck shape gradually got larger again.
|1965 Gibson ES-335|
By 1966 the Brazilian rosewood on the fretboard was changed to Indian rosewood. The neck angle decreased from 17 degrees to 14 degrees. The bevel of the pickguard was also changed making the black/white/black layers less noticeable.
|1968 Gibson ES-335|
By 1968 Gibson resumed making the nut and neck slightly wider by going back to the 1 11/16th” spacing.
|1969 ES-335 Walnut Finish|
It was not until 1969 that any more changes occurred. That year the guitar was offered with a walnut finish.
|1977 ES-335 with coil tap switch|
In 1977 Gibson, now owned by Norlin added a coil tap switch on the upper treble cutaway to keep up with the trends of the day.
In 1981 the ES-335TDC was discontinued, but replaced with the ES-335DOT. These were made through 1985 and were very good guitars.
|1990 Gibson ES-335|
By 1990 the Gibson ES-335DOT was discontinued and replaced with the Gibson ES-335 reissue which remains in production.
|1987 ES-335 CMT|
From 1983-1987 the ES-335 CMT was available. A very similar guitar to the ES-335DOT, but with a curly maple top and back and with gold hardware.
|1990 ES-335 Studio|
I recall the music store I used to spend time at had a Gibson ES-335 Studio model. It was Gibson’s effort to update and offer a lower price point. This guitar had no F-Holes, and came with twin Dirty Finger humbucking pickups. These were made from the mid 1980’s through 1991.
|1988 ES-335 Showcase Edition|
The Gibson ES-335 Showcase Edition lasted only a year. The hardware was black. It came with two EMG pickups. The guitar was either white or beige. Only 200 units were made in 1988.
|'94 ES-335 Centennial|
1994 gave us the Gibson ES-335 Centennial model to celebrate the company’s founding. This also was a limited edition of only 100 units. This guitar came with a gold medallion on the headstock and the tailpiece had diamond inlays.
|1998 ES-335 Historic '59|
Four years later Gibson came out with the ES-335 Historic Collection, which was a replica of their original 1959 ES-335.
|'85 ES-335 Nashville made|
However in 2000 Gibson opened a facility in Memphis, Tennessee. This is where ES-335’s are built today.
Through the years following 1958, Gibson made other models that were either based on the model ES-335, such as ES-330, which was a hollow body guitar, or the ES-345 and ES-355, which had a broader tonal palette and were fancier guitars, and even the Trini Lopez Standard, which had a similar body, but different sound holes, inlays, and headstock, the ES-335 is the original starting point for all similar models.
Click on the links in the photographs for their source. Click on links in the text for further information.
© UniqueGuitar Publishing
Check out the Charvel booth from the 2017 NAMM show in Anaheim, Calif., offering a glimpse of the latest and greatest products for the year, including new Pro-Mod Style 2′s and signature models from Joe Duplantier and Guthrie Govan. Charvel artist and Stone Sour guitarist Christian Martucci and Revocation’s Dave Davidson also stopped by the showroom for an up-close look at what Charvel has to offer.
Ervin Somogyi, Guitar maker, 2013
How thick to make a classical guitar's top is a subject of heated debate. I know, other makers, and amateur classical guitarists, have argued at me about top thickness. I see no point in arguing about top thicknesses, either you like my guitars or you don't. You are suppose to buy the guitar you love.
I found the following tidbit of information in Ervin Somogyi's Specific Top Thickness in the Guitar:
...Mr. Tatay motioned the young Newberry over to his workbench and, using hand gestures and some coins, indicated to him that the secret to his lutherie was to make the guitar top about the thickness of a nickel in the middle, and the thickness of a dime at the edges.
These two coins have been in my jean's pocket for the last two weeks, so I can pull them out throughout the day and feel how thick they are between my thumb and forefinger.
According to my General brand caliper, a nickel is .070 inches thick, or about 1.8mm...
a dime is is .046 inches thick, 3/64th of an inch, which would make it between 1.1-1.2mm thick.
This is a Port Orford cedar guitar top that is going to be paired with some "wild grown" East Indian rosewood. The caliper is on the very outside edge of the top, it measures in between 1/32th of an inch and 5/64ths of an inch, a hair or so over .070 inches, or about 1.8mm. So I got the top's edge to a little more than a thickness of a dime.
Just so you know, I made this top last fall, before I read through Mr Somogyi's article. I was using the top thicknesses of Spanish guitars that were made in the 1960's as a guideline.
Here at the middle of the top at the sound hole, the thickness is almost 3/32nds of an inch, about .090 of an inch, or somewhere around 2.2-2.3mm.
Should I go thinner? Maybe. I won't know until I glue the fan braces on and "tap tune" the top. Remember, Mr. Tatay said about the thickness of a nickel and dime.
When the great guitar maker, Antonio de Torres, was asked what his secret was for making such wonderful sounding guitars, he answered by holding up both his hands and put his thumbs to his fore and middle fingers. He said that knowing how to thickness a guitar's top was the secret, which was no secret to other guitar makers.
I wish I still had it! My very first guitar was a laminate Mahogany 00-14 fret that set me back $53! As a 14 year old I walked into the Wood Worker's Dream and spoke with a ‘guy’ by the name of Dick Boak. With a big smile he pointed me in the right direction and helped me pick out a great little guitar. As I had mentioned, I wish I still had it!
If we take the time to remember our very first guitar, we all will have stories as to what exact guitar it was and why we chose it. It may have been a Classical or a Steel String, it could have been a Dreadnought or the smaller OM size body. For some of us, our first guitar purchase may have been completely visual ala a Sunburst , but for others it was pure sound or playability, and for others still it was the overall size or how well it fit our body type. Back then if we could find something we liked in a music store that was a huge plus and of course if we could actually afford what we liked that made it even better!
Let’s fast forward to today. There is a lot of information out there and a lot of different guitars have now been played and talked about and guess what? We found some things that we like in these old beauties. Some of them really are pretty special. The Custom Shop allows customers to explore other options. Sometimes the requests are very simple and resemble that old favorite and other times it is more involved. Some of the most popular or common options we see requested by customers are body size, neck shape, and top species.
As for the body size, our list is pretty big. We offer the Dreadnought and other smaller OM/000 size bodies. Most are available in both 12 and 14 fret versions and most can be ordered as a Cutaway. There is also a newer Grand Jumbo body which is really big! Body size is an important factor so if nothing else, be comfortable! Dreadnoughts top the list of most popular but OM’s are chasing them closely every year!
The Neck Shape options offered include both the contour & width. While the Modified V is very popular it is not on every custom guitar. There have been many different neck shapes through our history, with the introduction of the Performing Artist Neck shape being most current. The new PA Neck taper has a nice blend of both current & traditional shape and width. It feels very smooth and playable up the neck. That being said, each individual neck shape will have slightly different feel as you wrap your hand around it and begin to play. Neck shapes such as Low Profile, Modified Low Oval or Full Thickness are all acceptable and sometimes becomes a very personal decision. A players style can sometimes be easily changed or adapted to playing a new neck shape. Other times, a different neck shape can be road block. Face it, when we play that new guitar, our hand is wrapped around the neck 98% of the time…it’s got to feel just right!
I saved the best for last! I was always told…to really change the overall tone of a guitar, change the top species and top bracing. That change in the ‘soundboard’ and how it is put together will give you the biggest bang for your buck! Top species options in the Custom Shop include Sitka Spruce, Adirondack Spruce, Italian Alpine Spruce, Carpathian Spruce, Engelmann Spruce, and Swiss Spruce. Each species comes from a different part of the world and each species of spruce has it’s own character both visually and sonically. Adding an Adirondack Spruce top is still a very popular upgrade in the Custom Shop. That top change will usually make the guitar a little bigger sounding & provide much richer tones. Visually Adirondack Spruce may be less attractive than the other spruces but most opinions will all agree that it makes a great sounding guitar top as well as the previously mentioned materials. And let’s not forget Red Cedar! That top species feels much softer than any of the spruces and there is a visual warmth and tone that Red Cedar provides. In the right hands, an instrument with a Red Cedar top may sound more mature right out of the box! As a guitar player you gotta love that!
Today, in the Martin Custom Shop we offer many different custom options, the important thing is to find the right options that help embellish your own playing style!
Custom Shop Administrative Manager
C.F. Martin & CO., Inc.
The Charvel Custom Shop unveiled some magnificent beauties during the 2017 NAMM Show in Anaheim, Calif. Here’s a look at 7 by Master Builder “Red” Dave Nichols.
So-Cal Scallop Relic Black
Pulling from the more classic and conservative side of Charvel, this custom So-Cal Scallop axe looks like it’s been slung around for the last 25 years with its black finish, white pickguard and excellent relic job on both the finish and hardware.
The guitar features an alder body with a bolt-on quartersawn maple neck, scallop maple fingerboard with 24 jumbo frets, a reverse headstock, Seymour Duncan pickups, Original Floyd Rose® and Gotoh tuners.
Surfcaster Dart Swinger Brown
This offset gem features an alder body with a bolt-on maple neck, a rosewood fingerboard with 22 jumbo frets and bass sidebar inlay. Powered by Seymour Duncan P-90 Soapbar pickups, this axe also has a Tonepros Tune-O-Matic bridge and Gotoh tuners.
Its Dart Swinger Brown finish is set off nicely with vintage white binding around the body, neck and headstock, which features the Charvel script logo.
San Dimas Sandblast
A pair of San Dimas Style 1 ash bodies were sandblasted for a raw and edgy-vibe.
The San Dimas HSH Sandblast model features a black body with neon green satin grainfill finish. A bolt-on quartersawn maple neck features an ebony fingerboard, while the DiMarzio pickups are finished with matching neon green covers for a truly spectacular combo. Also offers a Floyd Rose Lo Pro Bridge.
The San Dimas Sandblast sticks with a basic monochromatic color palette, and yet is equally remarkable in looks, complete with a pair of Bare Knuckle Holy Driver pickups and a Hipshot hard tail bridge.
Sometimes you just need the bare essentials. The Custom Dinky Poplar is as natural as it gets, featuring a poplar body and a bolt-on quartersawn maple neck with a scallop fingerboard and reverse headstock. Powered by a Bill Lawrence L-500XL bridge pickup and a Seymour Duncan SH1 pickup, this high-performance axe also offers a spokewheel truss rod adjust at the butt-end of the neck, an Original Floyd Rose bridge, Gotoh tuners and chrome hardware.
San Dimas Big Mouth
For those who like to run their mouth, this San Dimas alder body got a sick and vivid custom graphic paint job featuring some sharp canines with tongue hanging out Miley Cyrus style. Its bolt-on quartersawn maple neck features a maple fingerboard with black dot inlays and 22 jumbo frets.
Also features Seymour Duncan pickups, a Charvel brass trem hardtail bridge and Gotoh Tuners.
Style 2 Cherry Burst
Simple yet stunning. That’s what comes to mind when taking a close look at this Style 2 guitar featuring an ash body with a Cherry Burst finish, a bolt-on caramelized flame maple neck and black six in line reverse headstock with a script Charvel logo.
Also features a pair of DiMarzio DP-184 Chopper pickups, a Hipshot USA Tele bridge in black and a convenient thumbwheel truss rod adjustment at the butt-end of the neck.
I am thinking about the ways we teach music in private studios. Often we quickly learn how to read before proceeding to learn pieces from a graded collection. The thinking is that works of a similar level of difficulty are nice when grouped together. From an early age we study varied repertoire because that makes a more interesting program. We adhere to this notion even though almost none of the students will go on to become concert artists.
For most of western art music history, you learned what your teacher knew and stayed pretty much within the time frame you lived in. This would have simplified learning because the repertoire reflected a narrower syntax. Students learned to play using music from a similar aesthetic, developing skills and dexterity based on those needs.
Knowledge in this sense is additive, we learn a little bit then add to it. An allemande does this and a sarabande does that. A study by Carcassi in A major employs certain chords while the same composer’s study in A minor does a few different things.
It is much more challenging to learn music from different periods and styles; an allemande from the 17 century, will be very different from one composed in the early 20th. Each of those requires a radically different skill set.
If one teaches a set of works by a given composer, the student learns how that creator explores the keyboard or fret board. Knowledge comes by seeing similarities. One of the main reasons so many teachers [and learners] use graded repertoire is because of an exam system and it is so much simpler to teach to the exam – four pieces and two studies. Work and refine. The graded repertoire books are marvelous collections of music sold at a very accommodating price. They are not a method. The problem with standardized testing it creates standardized teaching.
And then there are the profits from the exams…
One fine spring day a neighbour noticed Nasrudin digging a hole, and asked what he was looking for.Nasrudin said, “I buried something in this field last month, and I’ve been trying to find it all morning.”
“Well,” said the neighbour, “did you mark the place where you buried it?”
To which Nasrudin replied, “Of course I marked it, there was a cloud directly over my head as I was burying it. It cast a long narrow shadow as I was digging. Now, I can’t find the shadow or the cloud!”
I’m starting to play with deep learning, machine learning, artificial intelligence in a variety of ways from statistics, linear algebra, calculus, Python via KhanAcademy, DataQuest.io, Coursera courses, Udacity Courses, EdX courses (refreshing my memory in some cases). So I thought I would start to blog about my discoveries which will hopefully help you as well.
I was watching a video by Siraj Rival about Python for Data Science and he had put a code sample up on Github. Github is a repository for code (an online code versioning system) where people post and share code with each other. It’s becoming more of an online resume where employers can see that you’ve actually worked on projects, not just padded your resume
So when we find a cool project we want to play with we can download the code to our local machine using Git on our Macs. Git is a code versioning system (maintaining/updating code in an organized way) and Github is an online version of that. If you don’t know how to install Git, check out this article on installing Git.
Instead of downloading a zip file, forking the repo (using Github website to copy the code to my Github account) or using Github for Mac I wanted to download the code from the command line.
In the image above you see a green Clone or download button for a Github project. The project uses Scikit-learn for Python to do data analysis. Click that to see a dropdown where you can copy and paste the URL to the .git file. We’re not going to download the ZIP file. We’re going to pull the files from the Mac terminal instead. Go ahead and open a Mac terminal (it’s under Applications->Utilities). Go to a directory you’d like to install the code in (I use the default which is Users/myusername).
To clone a Github repository you just type:
git clone <URL to repository>
so for us, this is:
git clone https://github.com/llSourcell/gender_classification_challenge.git
This pulls the code down and will make a directory based on the project name (gender_classification_challenge). Now you can cd (change directory) into the gender directory and play with the code like I am going to do!
Meet the newest signature edition that is stealing everyone's heart!
The Dwight Yoakam DD28 is inspired by the 1972 D-28 that Dwight Yoakam has played his entire career. The model's theme is honky tonks and casinos. It features a Sitka spruce top and East Indian rosewood back and sides. The ebony fingerboard is the backdrop for the inlaid mother-of-pearl and recon stone playing card. The pickguard is unique with its bull horn shape. The guitar will be strung with SP Lifespan medium gauge Martin Strings.
|Martin D-200 back side|
The guitar's back of rare pre-CITES Brazilian rosewood, is inlaid with spectacular watch gears cut from reconstituted stone, mother-of-pearl, bloodwood, Hawaiian koa and ebony. The equally spectacular soundboard inlays feature a minute track in mother-of-pearl, birdseye maple, flamed Hawaiian koa and ebony, and a pickguard with pearl inlaid watch gears.
|D-200 Side view|
|Martin D-200 with RGM Watch|
Each guitar is furnished with a newly-designed wearable edition watch from RGM that references details from the D-200 guitar design and bears a matching serial number with each edition instrument.
|Martin D-200 with aluminum case|
Lastly, each guitar comes in a premium aluminum Zero Manufacturing attache case with a built-in hygrometer that allows the interior environment of the case to be seen without the need to open the case."
|DD-28 Dwight Yoakam|
C.F. Martin unveiled two other models that are more affordable. These include the Dwight Yoakam DD-28 model with a suggested retail price of $5,999.
|DD-28 Dwight Yoakam|
|John Prine D-28 LTD|
|Head and neck detail|
The neck comes with an ebony fretboard with abalone pearl snowflake inlays. The case is also unique. It features a cream tweed exterior and plush bright red inner lining. The John Prine D-28 has a suggested retail price of $5999.
|Headstock and neck detail|
The fret markers are unique and match the headstock inlay. It is priced at $3999 or if you prefer a Fishman soundhole pickup it will cost an extra grand. It comes with grained ivoroid binding and heelcap, a bone nut and saddle. The bridge is ebony and the bridge pins are called liquid metal. The case for this guitar is also unique and is a TKL Alumin-X case with a precise fit for this guitar.
|C-1 amd C-3 Ukes|
To celebrate 100 years of uke production, Martin unveiled three new ukuleles. These include the Style 3 Centennial Ukulele, with a suggested retail price of $2999, the Style 1 Centennial Ukulele, with a suggested retail price of $599, and the new Bamboo Natural Uke with a retail price of $449.
In this post, I’m going to talk about various decisions I made which lead to amazing opportunities. I believe you can achieve this predictive capability as well by observing, reading and having the mindset to watch for trends. Of course, you should do things that you are interested in, not just follow trends!
After a few years of doing structural engineering in consulting firms, I realized I wanted to return to my childhood passion, which was computer programming (my first computer was a Timex Sinclair ZX81). So around 1999, I looked into the industry and felt that object-oriented programming was where things were headed (a way to organize code into objects rather than endless lines of code). There happened to be a fast-track program at the University called OOST (object-oriented software technology). We learned different things but I felt that Java was pretty amazing and “free” or open-source (headed by Sun Microsystems at the time) and where things were going. Also, web-based applications were getting pretty interesting (much more powerful than the usual ‘static’ HTML websites), so I decided to work at Servidium which was developing a web-application framework called Jaydoh. Frameworks make it easier to build web apps and allow you to separate the view (HTML – what you see in the browser) from the controller (Java – the logic) which are also usually different skill sets.
Jaydoh was basically competing with Struts (an Apache open source framework) so the challenge to get sales was large, ie. to sell a proprietary framework when an open source one was already available. So I decided that I should get into open source Java instead for the sake of my career. That lead me to work at Digital Oilfield (DO) who was using J2EE (Java Enterprise Edition) to run their apps.
As it happened DO was about to release a new version of their software so they asked me if I wanted to learn something called webMethods. I said sure even though I had no idea what it was (always good to learn new skills). They needed a way to exchange invoice files between companies and were originally thinking of using Java (servlets) unless I could figure out webMethods quickly (which I did). This lead me to learn about the new area of ‘Enterprise Application Integration’ or EAI and B2B (business to business) transactions (exchanging data like invoices and purchase orders between companies essentially). At that point, I realized that this was an important and growing area. I’ve been working in this area ever since (about 2003).
Somewhere along the line people started talking about web services. So instead of applications full of code that are hard to reuse, we started to think about creating web services (similar to functions by accessible on the internet). In the corporate world this became SOAP (simple object access protocol) and on the internet, it became REST (Representational State Transfer). SOAP is pretty complicated compared to REST which is another important fact to take note of.
During my work as an integration consultant, I noticed that new areas were getting some interest such as business process modeling (BPM). I was pretty interested in this as well as it made sense to set up a process (step by step tasks that need to be done in a common business process) and plug in either automated or human-performed tasks. This is a higher-level layer than the integration layer of course. The challenge for me was that none of the companies I was getting called by had these types of opportunities (it was fairly cutting edge at the time). Also as a contractor, you are paid for your expertise so whenever you have a major learning project it’s probably best to join a company as an employee so you can learn the new skills. Another way is to pay for your own training and try to be put on a project with other experienced people (in BPM, for example). This is a bit riskier as you have the knowledge but not the experience.
I decided to keep doing webMethods projects which were lucrative and allowed me to ‘retire’ in my early 40s. In 2010 I moved to a semi-rural area of Eastern Canada but was still taking various webMethods projects with large breaks (usually many months) in between. The last one was only 1 day a week from home which was great because I could work on other things of interest. But in general, this work was getting pretty boring (not much new learning).
A few years ago I finally decided to get my health in order. So after reading a lot of books, I felt that a plant-based diet made the most sense. I ended up losing over 35 pounds, lowered my blood pressure and lower my cholesterol to ‘heart attack proof’ levels. I’m on no medications at age 47. In fact, I recently had to buy 30″ jeans which is crazy to me (I’m 6′ tall). So I recommend working on your ability to search, read books and papers and try to decipher some of the studies (say on Google Scholar) as it can be tricky to depend on an ‘expert’ in the field (many of them disagree with each other). My success with this approach ended up turning into an online business (Potato Strong) with ebooks, a program, a course, and coaching along with various social media channels that I maintain.
During the past few years, webMethods integration opportunities have diminished somewhat for various reasons (licensing fees, software competition, the influx of cheaper and/or offshore labor, etc) so here we are at another decision point. I’ve been working on other things but my mathematical and programming interests seem to keep coming back. I feel like there’s so much more I can do that I didn’t get into. I received a Ford Motor Company scholarship in 1988 which paid all my engineering tuition plus some living expenses (value $18,000), and then won an NSERC scholarship which paid for my Master’s degree.
Lately, I’ve been looking into deep learning, which is a subset of machine learning which is a subset of artificial intelligence. Related to that area is data science. Last year I took a Computational Investing course on Coursera taught by Tucker Balch of Georgia Tech. Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and others are investing billions of dollars in the area of deep learning. Just to give you an idea of how much better computers are getting at this type of work, there are computers winning Jeopardy game shows, beating people at chess and Go, recommending what Netflix shows you might like to watch, tagging photos on Facebook automatically (facial recognition), translating languages (Google translate), not to mention self-driving cars.
If you’re thinking of career longevity, you might want to focus on things that require very high-level knowledge or one-on-one contact (nurse). Even things like taxi/truck drivers could be replaced with self-driving cars. At a minimum, these are fun things to read about and even play with. Keep your eye open for changing trends and technologies that could affect your job security.
My website (the one you are on now) has historically been about guitar playing and teaching. I still play or practice every day as it’s a long time passion. I try to focus on one topic at a time, so currently it is using minor pentatonic scales (more so sequences) over jazz progressions (if interested drop me a message – I was working on an ebook about this).
After I lost a bunch of weight eating a plant-based diet (I’m now in 30″ jeans at age 47 at 6′ tall) I created the www.potatostrong.com website along with a ‘Potato Strong’ profile for each of YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr. That’s been going pretty well and it feels good to help a lot of people lose weight, get off medications and help the animals and the environment.
For Potato Strong I developed a couple ebooks, program, course, and coaching and as I started to make sales I shared this information on a Facebook page called Share Your Passion Online. Every month I shared my total online income which grew from nothing to a modest monthly income that helps pay the bills. I then had it on auto-pilot to some extent (using MeetEdgar and BoardBooster) but I would still post what I ate most days (to help people see what to eat) and also do YouTube videos which are fun. But I needed a new challenge as I love to learn new things.
My background is engineering (I have a Master’s degree) and computer programming (diploma in object-oriented software technology). I went from being an engineer to switching over to software development where I ended up doing integration for large companies using webMethods software (now SoftwareAG).
webMethods contract opportunities have slowed substantially in the past few years. I used to get calls from a lot of recruiters and had a few close relationships with small consulting firms that specialize in this area.
In one of the many books I’ve read lately (can’t remember which one) they suggested thinking about what you liked doing as a child. While this might not work in every case I used to program computers in my basement. It was fun to make the computer do things. I started with a Timex Sinclair computer that used a regular TV and no data storage (I would eventually turn off the computer losing everything) before I added a regular tape recorder. Then I met a friend in high school and I loaned him my Atari game system for his Vic-20 (with a tape recorder). Then I eventually got a Commodore 64 and my high school had PET computers.
I’ve always loved to learn and am constantly reading books on various topics. It’s a blessing and a curse because it’s hard to do the same thing every day especially if there is no learning component. So last year I took a Python course online that involved stock market predictions using Pandas, Numpy, etc. I did very well and was helping others in the forums.
For some reason, I recently started thinking about artificial intelligence, machine learning, and deep learning. It’s a complex area covering algebra, calculus, probability, computer programming and more (which is pretty much in my study background). I’m going to start with data science projects for the most part using a site called dataquest.io. This area touches pretty much every area of work from health care to social media as it helps employers figure out best business practices.
I’ll be posting my discoveries along the way here. Hopefully, I can add some guitar learnings and other topics over time. The topics are categorized in the top menu if you want to focus on one particular area.
CITES stands for Convention for the International Trade of Endangered Species. It is an international agreement that has been in effect since 1975. Its goal is to ensure that international trade of wildlife does not threaten the survival of species or the ecosystem. Nations participate in and adhere to CITES regulations voluntarily, but for those nations participating it is legally binding.
As many of you know, CITES recently held its 17th Conference of Parties in Johannesburg, South Africa. At that event all Rosewood (except Brazilian Rosewood which was already on Appendix I) and three species of Gubortia aka Bubinga were put on Appendix II. This ruling has caused much confusion and panic in the guitar world. I am here to help. If you have any questions, comment below and I will do my best to answer.
You can learn more about Martin Guitar's commitment to the environment here.
Michael Dickinson is a 26-year veteran of Martin Guitar. Michael has worked in numerous departments , such as the Sawmill and Customer Service, and is the current buyer of exotic, alternative, and sustainable woods. Ask Michael is a bi-monthly column that will appear on the Martin Guitar blog.
Please note, Michael will not be responding to every comment left on the blog.