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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.

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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

Custom Pickups for Epiphone Zephyr Emperor Regent Varitone

James Roadman Instrument Repair - Sat, 07/22/2017 - 22:02

A customer brought in this Epiphone Zephyr Emperor Regent without the original New York Pickups.  Having rewound some in the past I have an understanding about how they are constructed.  The owner wanted to try something different so I made a set of traditional single coil bar pickups in the same type of mounting rings as the originals.  I milled delrin bobbins to surround the steel bars and used rare earth magnets.  The covers are bent brass.  Shaping the mounting rings was a challenge due to the curvature of the top.

IMG_8697 IMG_8698 IMG_8699 IMG_8700 IMG_8701 IMG_8702 IMG_8703

The post Custom Pickups for Epiphone Zephyr Emperor Regent Varitone appeared first on James Roadman Instrument Repair.

Eric Johnson's 1957 Fender Stratocaster

The Unique Guitar Blog - Sat, 07/22/2017 - 10:34
Eric Johnson's 1957 Fender Stratocaster
I was recently made aware that Eric Johnson sold one of his favourite guitars. This was his 1957 sunburst Fender Stratocaster. The guitar was offered through Gruhn Guitars of Nashville.

There are probably very few Stratocasters of that era left in such pristine condition.

1957 Fender Stratocaster

Johnson purchased this guitar in 2001 to use mainly in his home.

The original bridge and middle pickup were replaced, as were the tuners, and frets.

The original tuning machines, frets, pickup, and back plate were placed in the guitar case and included in the sale.



Eric Johnson Stratocaster



Johnson eventually took this guitar on the road, and used it for the past nine years.  This strat became his touring guitar of choice.






1957 Strat serial number


The guitars serial number is 17882. Fender guitars made in 1957 have five digit serial numbers starting at 17000 and ending in 25000. The guitar has the original spaghetti logo. 






Eric Johnson's 1957 Stratocaster
It is a lovely instrument and has been sold for $60,000 USD.

 All information from the Gruhn Guitars website.

(Unfortunately I am unable to find a video of Johnson playing this guitar.)



Categories: General Interest

Cool Preamps They Don’t Make Any More

I Heart Guitar - Sat, 07/22/2017 - 02:42

 

In the late 80s and early 90s, preamps and power amps were where it was at. Amp heads? Pfft. Sure, you put them on top of your dummy stacks on stage, but you didn’t actually use them. In the 90s that all changed and players rediscovered the glories of stacks, half stacks and combos, so everyone sold off their preamps. Now you can’t take a stroll on eBay or through a secondhand guitar store without tripping over a stack of the damn things. That’s very bad news for the clumsy of footfall, but great news for those of us who can’t get enough guitar gear. So I present to you, dear reader, Cool Preamps They Don’t Make Any More.

Marshall 9001

This preamp holds a special place in my heart because it was advertised on the back page of the very first guitar magazine I ever got – the March 1991 Guitar World with ZZ Top on the cover. Part of the 9000 range that also included a few different power amp options, the 9001 rocked three channels of 12AX7 goodness. It also had a cabinet emulation switch for direct recording applications. It’s not the most well-known and full-featured Marshall preamp – that honour goes to the JMP-1 – and it seemed to be favoured more for its medium overdrive tones than its clean and screaming settings. But it’s still a cool piece of kit. 
CLICK HERE to see the Marshall 9001 on eBay

Marshall JMP-1


This preamp is an undisputed classic. Real tube operation with the flexibility of MIDI control, this one is still the heart of Def Leppard guitarist Phil Collen’s rack, and Iron Maiden has been known to use it pretty extensively. This beast packs four channels into a single rack space: Clean 1, the edgier Clean 2, Plexi-ish OD1 and high gain OD2. I’ve used a few of these in various situations over the years – usually in combination with a Marshall EL34 power amp – and I’ve never been anything less than completely blown away by the clarity and harmonic complexity, especially for fat-ass lead sounds and crunchy humbucker rhythm work. IK Multimedia has a great emulation of this in AmpliTube 4 which does an incredible job of capturing the spirit of the original.
CLICK HERE to see the Marshall JMP-1 on eBay.

ART Powerplant

Designed by N.S.”Buck” Brundage, this unit was manufactured from 1990 to 1997 and it was a favourite of producer Max Norman – yes, he who worked with Megadeth on Rust In Peace, Countdown To Extinction and Youthanasia, not to mention Ozzy Osbourne in the Randy Rhoads era. Back in the day, ART said: “Power Plant combines the finest elements and saturation curves of 12AX7s into 6L6 tubes giving the user the thickest, heaviest crunch of classic tube amps without diction and articulation of notes! The Power Plant is one of the most versatile studio and live sound production tools available. It has totally separate clean and overdrive channels, master volume control, a switchable effects loop, and a +20 dB output for a power amp feed (this output has a unique equalization and pre-emphasis circuit that reflects the curve of a guitar amplification section).”
CLICK HERE to see the ART Power Plant on eBay

A/DA MP-1


This little beauty was popular among many players in the early 90s, especially when paired with a Marshall JCM 900 amp head. The typical trick was to bypass the JCM 900’s preamp section entirely by plugging into the MP-1 then sending its output directly into the Marshall’s effect loop return. Players who were big on the MP-1 included Nuno Bettencourt, Paul Gilbert, Kirk Hammett and White Lion’s Vito Bratta. Believe it or not, even Billy Corgan used one in Smashing Pumpkins. You get 128 programmable user patches, plus a chorus effect. ADA made an amp called the Quadtube which featured a rather MP-1-looking control section. They also released the MP-2 and the MB-1 bass preamp. Awesome. Now A/DA is back, and you can get the A/DA MP-1-Channel, a pedal version of the MP-1 rack preamp which employs the 4-stage vacuum tube design to achieve the same rich tone that made it the staple for most of the touring bands in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
CLICK HERE to see the ADA MP-1 on eBay.

Soldano/Caswell X99


Another tube-driven preamp with 128 presets and MIDI control, part of the X99’s cool charm is that the passive control knobs are moved by little MIDI-driven motors. The idea is that if the pots themselves were motorised, an additional gain stage would have been introduced, and you’d get all sorts of additional noise. When I was 16 I played in a band with a few older dudes. The singer/guitarist had one of these and an Alesis Quadraverb. I thought it was the coolest damn rig I’d ever seen, and the warmly overdriven sounds were godlike. The X99 is a great choice for rock styles, and although I don’t know if I’d use it for metal, it’s one powerful piece of kit with a killer pedigree. Great colour too.
CLICK HERE to see the Soldano/Caswell X99 on eBay.

Bogner Fish


This all-tube four-channel blue behemoth is one of the most lusted-after pieces of guitar kit around. Forgive me for going back to Megadeth but if you dig the tones of the Rust In Peace era, they burst forth from this piscatorial pulveriser. It’s also all over a lot of early 90s work by Alice In Chains and Anthrax. The Fish is exceedingly hard to find today, so if you see one, snap the damn thing up.
CLICK HERE to see the Bogner Fish on eBay.

Hafler Triple Giant

The Bogner you buy when you can’t afford a Bogner, the Triple Giant was indeed designed by Reinhold Bogner himself. It’s not quite in the same league as the Fish, but it’s certainly not without its charms. There’s a pleasing depth to the midrange and bass. Just know that if you cover up the Hafler logo with black tape so people think you have a real Bogner, we’re onto you. *cough* Hi Simon.
CLICK HERE to see the Hafler Triple Giant on eBay.

The post Cool Preamps They Don’t Make Any More appeared first on I Heart Guitar.

Categories: General Interest

Totally Guitars Weekly Wrap Up July 21st, 2017

On The Beat with Totally Guitars - Fri, 07/21/2017 - 20:41
Master The Guitar with the online guitars lessons from Totally Guitars! Totally Guitars News Podcast Well I am finally getting a bit of time to pick up the guitar, although it was probably more inspiration that was missing as the knees were healing. Today started with a little improv in D Minor, which later became […]
Categories: Learning and Lessons

Doctor Who's Guitar

The Unique Guitar Blog - Fri, 07/21/2017 - 17:43
Doctor Who
I have been a fan of the British television series, Doctor Who, for many, many years. For the past two years, the Doctor has been played by Peter Capaldi, who has done a wonderful job in the role as the Time Lord. In fact he is my favorite incarnation of the Doctor.

William Hartnell, the 1st Doctor

For those who are unfamiliar with the show, the original Doctor Who was played by actor, William Hartnell from 1963 to 1966. Due to his poor health, he resigned from the series.

The show is about Doctor Who, a Time Lord, who is from another world, who travels throughout time and space in his craft that is disguised to resemble and old British Police call box. He usually travels with one of more companions. In doing so he solves problems, and sometimes changes the course of history. The older episodes had delightfully quirky special effects, For the past decade, the writing, effects, and backgrounds are all wonderful

Because of the shows popularity, the writers decided that the Doctor would occasionally be regenerated, through elaborate visual effects, and then morph into a different person, that would still be The Doctor, but have a different body (and be played by a different actor). This allowed the show to continue, remain fresh, and attract a larger audience.

Peter Capaldi, as Doctor Who
Peter Capaldi was cast as Doctor Who in 2013, as the Twelfth Doctor Who, when actor Matt Smith left the series. It was recently announced that Capaldi would be stepping down this years and would be replaced on a special show to air during the Christmas season.

In fact, the new Doctor is to be named on the same day I am writing this article; July 16th, 2017.

Peter Capaldi as Dr. Who playing guitar
You may be asking, “What does this have to do with unique guitars? Well Capaldi is the first Doctor ever to play guitar during the series, and he does a bang-up job.



Doctor Who on guitar with Clara
The 60 year old actor probably grew up listening to some of the same music of the ‘60’s, ‘70’s, and ‘80’s that many of us have, and it certainly shows in his playing.



Dreamboys - 
Capaldi in front Ferguson in back
Back in the mists of time Capaldi, now the Time Lord, was in a rock band called Dreamboys – formerly The Bastards from Hell – with comedian and talk show and game show host Craig Ferguson.

Capaldi stated, “I was really delighted to open the script and find the Doctor playing guitar”. “I think I’d sort of half mentioned it in joking, but I was really delighted that these guys went for it as an idea.”

Doctor Who with his guitar


He also revealed that – just as when he hand-picked the Twelfth Doctor’s costume – he had a say in which axe he’d be wielding.



Denmark Street London, music shop

“We had a great day when I went to pick the Doctor’s guitar,” he recalls. “We went to Denmark Street and went to various vintage guitar shops, looking for Doctor Who’s guitar.


And at first I thought it should be like a Stratocaster or a Telecaster, one of those old classic guitars, but they all started to look like I was having a midlife crisis.” “We ended up with a guitar that looked like a Fender Stratocaster that had been described to someone who had never seen one.”

Yamaha SVG300



The guitar chosen was a Yamaha SVG300. This is an offset guitar that was made by the company from 2000 to 2007 and is based on the Yamaha SG reverse cutaway design first seen in 1966.




Yamaha SVG 300

The SVG300 came with a single coil pickup in the neck position, two single coils in the bridge position that can be set out of phase, for a humbucking sound. The electronics include a single volume control, a master tone control, and a blend control for the bridge single coil pickups There is also a three position pickup selector switch.

Yamaha SVG 300

The body is made of alder, and the bolt-on maple neck features a rosewood fretboard with 22 frets, and a 24.75” scale. The narrow six-on-a-side headstock comes with Yamaha die cast tuning machines.


The string attach on the body to a Yamaha roller style bridge. The input is located on the lower edge of the body.

Doctor Who


The Doctor’s guitar is finished in black and gives he impression of a very futuristic looking instrument.



Here are Dreamboys with Peter Capaldi and Craig Ferguson

Categories: General Interest

MARTIN | THE JOURNAL OF ACOUSTIC GUITARS- VOLUME 8

The Martin Guitar Blog - Thu, 07/20/2017 - 05:00

A new volume of Martin | The Journal of Acoustic Guitars has arrived!

journal-1.jpg

The latest volume features a new Word From CEO & Chairman Chris Martin IV focusing on sustainability, more about the #FollowTheFrog campaign and Martin Ambassador James Valentine of Maroon 5's involvement, an in-depth interview with Martin Ambassador Jason Isbell on his new signature edition D-18, and more. 

Now put an hour or two aside and completely lose yourself in Martin | The Journal of Acoustic Guitars here.

Categories: Manufacturers

Reverend Reeves Gabrels Dirtbike

I Heart Guitar - Wed, 07/19/2017 - 23:48

Aah, how cool is this! Reverend Guitars has just unleashed the Reeves Gabrels Dirtbike, a stripped-back, ready-to-get-down-and-dirty guitar inspired by Reeves’ personal history. In his own words:

“What I think is cool about this guitar is the fact that I have a whole ongoing story/reason/explanation of always having a no frills simple, fast and blue thing to zip around on that threads thru my whole life. This guitar is a continuation of that sense of freedom in the form of speed and power stripped down to its essentials. And Reverend Guitars matched the light metallic blue color of both of its two wheeled predecessors. To me a single pickup guitar with a trem is just like my 1966 Schwinn Stingray with the extension spring on the front wheel or my 1971 Honda dirtbike with the raised front fender and slightly extended fork. It’s a guitar with enough agility that it will let you grab air and do wheelies and the power to leave some rubber on the asphalt in front of the neighbor’s house. And, really, that’s all you need. Did I mention it’s blue?” – Reeves Gabrels.

It has a custom Railhammer pickup, solid Korina body, Wilkinson WVS50 IIK tremolo, passive bass contour knob and a 22 jumbo fret Rosewood fingerboard on a three-piece Korina neck. It comes in three colours: Reeves Blue, Violin Brown and Cream. More info here.
 

The post Reverend Reeves Gabrels Dirtbike appeared first on I Heart Guitar.

Categories: General Interest

MARTIN MONDAY: THE SS-00L ART DECO-2017

The Martin Guitar Blog - Mon, 07/17/2017 - 07:38

The Martin Custom Shop is always on point with the NAMM Show Special guitars. And this new guitar is no exception!

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The unique 14 Fret Slope shoulder 00L guitar, is limited to a run of 30 guitars with a custom paper label signed by Chairman & CEO C.F. Martin IV. The show special is the same size and shape as the popular CEO-7 model.

The SS-00L Art Deco 2017 features a design motif in collaboration with luthier Bruce Petros in the form of wood purfling that extends around the top, back, and fingerboard. The purfling is laser cut from beautiful flamed maple. The top is Adirondack spruce with an antique toner and the guitar is further complimented with open gear Schaller Grandtune vintage copper tuners.

You can learn even more about the gorgeous SS-00L Art Deco-2017 here.

Coming soon you will be able purchase a SS-00L Art Deco-2017 at an authorized Martin dealer, by finding a certified online Martin dealer, or exploring the buy from factory program.

Categories: Manufacturers

Collings Guitars - The Passing of Bill Collings

The Unique Guitar Blog - Sun, 07/16/2017 - 15:46
Bill Collings
Collings guitars got its start in Houston Texas, when Bill Collings began working in a machine shop back in 1970. He began building his first guitar in 1973.

Bill Collings in the 1970's

By 1975 he was working as an engineer with a pipeline
and oil field company. At night he continued building guitars.

Lyle Lovett with a Collings Guitar
He developed a reputation among local musicians and caught the attention of Lyle Lovett, who asked Collings to build a guitar for him



By the early 1980’s Bill decided to move to California, but he never got farther than Austin Texas.

It was there he met fellow luthiers, Mike Stevens, and Tom Ellis. Ellis built handcrafted mandolins. Collings began working with them, but after a few years before he moved into his own shop which was in his garage.

Bill Collings in his shop

It was in 1987 when Nashville based vintage guitar collector/seller George Gruhn hired Bill Collings to make 25 guitars for his shop. This had a wonderful impact on Collings reputation.


1989 Collings made for Gruhn
Shortly after his products were soon requested by music stores and featured in magazines.

By 1989 Bill Collings was able to hire his first employee. Since then Collings guitars have become one of the most recognized and respected instrument manufacturers in the business.




Collings Acoustics

Their forte is acoustic guitars, but they also build  archtop guitars, mandolins, and ukuleles.



2006 Collings City Limit



In 2006 the company moved into the electric guitar market and were featured at that years Summer NAMM, National Association of Music Merchants convention.




2006 Collings OM


As of 2012 the company employees 85 people and manufactures six acoustic guitar, three electric guitars, two mandolins, and two ukuleles per day. In fact Collings Mandolins are highly regarded in the Bluegrass community.





2014 Waterloo WL-14L

By 2014 it was announced that the company would be making a guitar based on a currently popular Depression-era design and resemble Kalamazoo guitars of that era.  These guitars are sold under the "Waterloo" brand and are based on an old guitar that Collings had sitting in his office.




Colling WL -14 -  Kalamazoo Sport

He decided to repair the instrument by removing the back and put new bracing in it. After reassembling it, he realized these old guitars had a much different sound than that of today’s instruments due to their construction and size. The brand has become a success with Blues and Country players looking for that old tyme sound.


Bill Collings 1948-2017
Sadly the following statement was just issued on the Waterloo Guitars website:

”We lost our dear friend and mentor Bill Collings yesterday. He was the amazingly creative force behind Collings Guitars for over 40 years. Through his unique and innate understanding of how things work, and how to make things work better, he set the bar in our industry and touched many lives in the process. His skill and incredible sense of design were not just limited to working with wood, but were also obvious in his passion for building hot rods. 

To Bill, the design and execution of elegant form and function were what mattered most. Perhaps even more exceptional than his ability to craft some of the finest instruments in the world, was his ability to teach and inspire. He created a quality-centered culture that will carry on to honor his life's work and legacy. He was loved by many and will be sadly missed. Our hearts are with his family.”

William R. Collings  8/9/1948 – 7/14/2017.

Click the links under the pictures for the sources. Click the links in the text for further information.
©UniqueGuitar Publications (text only)





Categories: General Interest

Eastman Guitars

The Unique Guitar Blog - Sat, 07/15/2017 - 08:22
The Seldom Scene on Jubilee
One of the best quality Chinese made guitar are now being used by some major industry guitarists. I’m referring to Eastwood guitars. I don’t watch a lot of television, but when I do I find myself gravitating to music shows. And in my part of the world, there are a lot of shows about Bluegrass music.

'53 Martin D-28 - '23 Gibson F5


Traditionally Bluegrass music is played on an old Gibson F-5 mandolin and a Martin guitar, preferably a D-28 or a D-18. But in the past few years I’ve noticed a change. Players are now using Asian made guitars and mandolins.




Perhaps it is because the price of Martin and Gibson instruments are beyond the reach of many working class players, or possibly it is because the value of a well made instrument is not worth the risk of taking on the road only to have it stolen. In any event the quality of some of these guitars currently being made in Asia is excellent.

1957 Guyatone LG-50H

Going back historically we know Japanese musical instrument builders that began building guitars back in the 1920’s and 1930’s for domestic use. In the late 1950’s some of these companies started building electric guitars, not just for domestic use but for import.


1960 Teisco


By the 1960’s, due to the popularity of Folk music, then the music of the British Invasion, importation of cheaply made, Asian imported guitars skyrocketed. In doing so they gained a negative reputation, since the quality of those instruments were inferior to the Fender, Gibson, Gretsch, Guild guitars, and even Harmony and Kay guitars that were produced at the time.




1978 Ibanez Iceman JC 210
But by the mid 1970’s the quality of Japanese and Korean made guitars had greatly improved. Some of these companies, such as Ibanez and Takamine were building acoustic and electric guitars of superior quality that rivaled the USA made instruments that these guitars copied.

In 1977 a lawsuit ensued that was instigated by Gibson guitars against a company called Elger Music, who was the US agent of Ibanez guitars. The suit was brought about partly due to the much improved quality of these copy guitars. The parties settled the suit before it went to trial and the results caused a great change in the way Asian made guitars were to be made in the future. Though these instruments now had similar features to Martin, Gibson, and/or Fender guitars, there needed to be some originality added.

Gibson v Elger Co.
At first the results of the lawsuit may have meant just a change to the headstock design.  However through the years Asian engineers and designers have come up with original ideas and improvements to their guitars.

The results have ostensibly put their instruments on par with guitars made in Western countries.

Qian Ni
Founder Easman Music Company

As stated at the onset Eastman Musical Instruments are building high quality musical instruments. The company is a relative newcomer to the musical instrument manufacturing business. They began in 1992, when a man named Qian Ni visited to the United States to study violin making. At that time, the Chinese were using the factory line way method of manufacturing musical instruments. Ni discovered that a different approach was needed to build violins.

He implemented a handcrafting method of building violins and bows in a manner similar to that of 19th century European violin workshops. This change resulted in a much improved tonal quality.

After this Mr. Ni established workshops to further this art. He states that early on, “I would load up his car with instruments that his workers made and drive from city to city selling them to violin shops and music stores. Those shops that did not buy his instruments gave me excellent advice.” This is almost verbatim the same story I have read about Robert Godin during his early days of building his instruments.

Eastman Strings
Now Eastman Strings is a world class company building stringed and bowed instrument for players of all ranges and abilities.

By the early 2000’s, Mr. Ni applied similar principles to crafting the guitar, and by 2004 his company, Eastman, had started a line of archtop electric guitars.


Eastman E20D guitar
and MD515 mandolin
A few years later his craftsmen applied this same approach to building flat top guitars and mandolins. I have seen several Bluegrass and Country player using an Eastman acoustic guitar. Like the Eastman Strings bowed instrument line, their acoustic flat top models come in models for intermediate players and pro's.




Eastman Guitars
Most of the wood used on Eastman guitars is grown in the United States. This has lead to a controversy since the State of California does not require guitars assembled offshore to be labeled with the country of origin, as long as the wood used is domestically grown.

Eastman guitars and other Eastman musical instruments are made in China.

Eastman AC-DR1
Unlike most guitar companies the wood used on even Eastman's less expensive models is solid. Though there are several models with a suggested retail price of $250 to $350 that have laminate back and sides.

Some of the intermediate models with a suggested price in the $650 ranges are made using a solid Sitka spruce top and solid sapele back and sides, while others have laminated rosewood back and sides. I find that outstanding since most

These models come in Dreadnought, Orchestra, Grand Auditorium, Grand Concert, Double O, and Parlor guitar sizes.

Where Eastman Guitars really excels is in their Archtop Jazz line of guitars.

Eastman solid carved archtop guitars

There fifteen electric models to choose from and one acoustic archtop guitar. They all have a solid hand carved top and back. Most feature a Kent Armstrong floating pickup. These guitars have a suggested retail price of $2050 to $3750 USD which includes a hard shell case.



Eastman solid carved top archtop guitars

There is also a line of six "Solid Carved Top" guitars, that have laminate back and sides that sell in the range of $1450 to $2300 USD. Most come with Kent Armstrong pickups, however two models have TV Jones Filtertron pickups.

Eastman Guitars also makes ten all laminate models. All laminate sounds bad, but consider the Gibson ES-175 has always been a guitar made of maple/poplar/maple laminate.

Eastman laminate models

Six Eastman models are based on the Gibson ES-175. Three models have a similar body shape to the Gibson ES-350, but have a single Kent Armstrong pickup. Two models are similar to the Gibson ES-125 and have a single Kent Armstrong P-90 pickup.



Eastman also offers a line of four unique archtops designed by two of the world's cutting edge luthiers and one series of guitars designed by jazz guitarist John Pisano.

John Pisano Line-up

Pisano's line includes four models ranging in price from $1600 to $3750 USD.



Eastman Pagelli models

Eastman also has two models designed by luthiers Claudio and Claudia Pagelli. The Pagelli's have been building amazing guitars in their own unique style since 1982. Eastman offers two models that were designed by the couple.



Otto D'Ambrosio began working at the Mandolin Brothers music store located on Staten Island New York when he was only 13 years old.  He learned the craft of repairing and restoring fine musical instruments, and then began building his own guitars.

Eastman El Rey models
Around 2004, he designed a new model that he called The El Rey. This was a hollow body electric guitar with no sound holes. A year later he traveled to Beijing, China and licensed the design to Eastman guitars. Two of the Eastman El Rey models do have F-holes. The El Rey models have retail prices range from $1925 to $2350 USD.

Frank Vignola model
The last signature archtop model that Eastman makes in the Fank Vignola signature guitar, This guitar was based on Vignola's guitar that was designed by Utah based luthier, Ryan Thorell and based on Thorell's FV Studio model, which has a base price of $8500. However the Eastman version is about one-third the price, at $2995. The difference between the Eastman Frank Vignola models and the Thorell version is the pickup. The Eastman version includes a Seymour Duncan Johnny Smith floating pickup.

Other features include an ebony fretboard with no position markers, a very unusual sound hole on the lower bout, a sound port on the guitars upper side, and a slotted headstock. This guitar also features a beautiful ebony pickguard.

Ryan Thorell FV Studio guitar
These are all the same features found on the original Thorell verion, but the Eastman guitar is manufactured in China.

You can order the Eastman FV guitar direct from Frank Vignola and Ryan Thorell, for $2495 and Ryan will set it up for free. Click on this link for the phone number.

Most all Eastman guitars come with either a hard-shell case or a gig bag.

There are currently only a handful of stores in the United States that stock Eastman guitars

Click on the links under the pictures for the source. Click on the links in the text for further information.
©UniqueGuitar Publications (text only)






Categories: General Interest

MXR Carbon Copy Deluxe

Guitar Lifestyle - Fri, 07/14/2017 - 13:22

CarbonCopyDlx

MXR has updated and expanded their popular Carbon Copy delay to create the Carbon Copy Deluxe:

The Carbon Copy Deluxe Analog Delay features extended delay time with tap tempo functionality, optional modulation, a switch to toggle between the warm sound of the original pedal and vibrant sound of the Bright version, and much more.

A few of the high points:

  • Delay times extended to up to 1.2 seconds
  • Select between original Carbon Copy and Carbon Copy Bright delays
  • Modulation controls on top of the pedal
  • Tap Tempo
  • Expression jack
  • Programmable presets

This looks like a great upgrade to a very popular delay pedal. And, at a street price of around $230, it seems like it should be fairly accessible to delay fans.

Categories: General Interest

JHS Double Barrel v4

Guitar Lifestyle - Fri, 07/14/2017 - 09:49

JHS-Double-Barrel-V4

JHS Pedals has also updated their popular Double Barrel pedal:

This is our “Everything low-to-medium gain” pedal and it just got better!

The Double Barrel V4 is for the player who needs a versatile but transparent overdrive at medium and light gain levels. You won’t find face melting distortion here, but you will find overdrive with the character and stacking abilities to cover almost any tonal need.

The right side is our brand new Moonshine V2 which is a highly unique and massively tweaked version of the most famous overdrive ever created housed in a little green enclosure. The Moonshine V2 has the classic mid-heavy tones that you’d expect but with more gain, volume, and tones available than you ever thought possible. The Moonshine V2 has the same core tone as the Version 1 but we have added a new “Clean” knob to blend in the perfect amount of clean signal with your overdrive signal.

The left side of the Double Barrel is our best-selling Morning Glory V4 overdrive. Transparent and open tones are what lurk inside this circuit as well as the new hi-gain toggle with Red Remote capability. Just plug in the JHS Pedals Red Remote into the “Remote Gain” jack with a standard patch cable and you can switch the “Gain” toggle on the fly for even more tonal options. You now have five on-the-fly overdrive options to choose from in the Double Barrel V4!

When these two circuits are stacked, something magic happens. Tones that are original and fresh come with ease, as well as added exibility, due to the “order switching” toggle that lets you decide what pedal comes rst in the signal chain.

We are convinced that this is one of the greatest 2-in-1 pedals ever made… seriously. If you’re having problems getting the tones you want, just grab the Double Barrel V4 and you’ll find out how easy it is to hit the target!

Like on the Sweet Tea, it looks like the 808 circuit has been replaced by the Moonshine circuit. The 808 was discontinued several years ago, so this isn’t a big surprise. The left side of the pedal is still the Morning Glory circuit.

Categories: General Interest

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