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Ten Killer Pro-Mod Style 2’s Make their Debut

Charvel Guitars - Thu, 02/02/2017 - 12:30

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:

Pro-Mod San Dimas® Style 2 HH HT M Ash

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.

Pro-Mod San Dimas® Style 2 HH HT M QM

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.

Pro-Mod San Dimas® Style 2-7 HH HT Ash

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.

Pro-Mod San Dimas® Style 2-7 HH HT M Okoume

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.

Pro-Mod San Dimas® Style 2 HH FR

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.

Pro-Mod San Dimas® Style 2 HH FR M

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.

Pro-Mod San Dimas® Style 2 HH FR Ash

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.

Pro-Mod San Dimas® Style 2 HH FR M QM

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.

Pro-Mod San Dimas® Style 2 HH FR QM

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.

Pro-Mod San Dimas® Style 2 HH FR M LH

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.

Categories: Manufacturers


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

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.

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

Categories: Manufacturers

Steve Jones' Lonely Boy - The Ultimate Rock Biog

Guitar Vibe - Mon, 01/30/2017 - 17:10
Steve Jones of the Sex Pistols recently published his long-awaited autobiography "Lonely Boy." I've read lots of rock bios over the years, and this is certainly the funniest, but also the starkest. Jones pulls no punches as he tells of... Zack Urlocker
Categories: General Interest


The Martin Guitar Blog - Mon, 01/30/2017 - 08:07

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.

CEO 8.2E.png

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.

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

Categories: Manufacturers

The Gibson ES-335

The Unique Guitar Blog - Sun, 01/29/2017 - 07:23
Mark Knopfler's '58 ES-335
The 1950’s were essential years in perfecting the design of the electric guitar. For Gibson Guitars, under the leadership of Ted McCarty, 1958 was a magical year. He and his team had come up with a series of futuristic solid body guitar designs, which included the Flying Vee, the Explorer and the elusive Moderne, but they also created one of the most original and iconic electric guitars of all time; The ES-335TD, or Electric Spanish model 335 Thin - Double Pickups. Or as it is more commonly known; the Gibson ES-335.

1958 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
To prove this point, in 1941 Les Paul had created “The Log” which was a solid piece of 4 x 4 pine wood on to which he had attached an Epiphone Broadway guitar neck. Two single coil pickups were mounted to the wooden frame, along with a tailpiece to attach the strings. To make it appear to be a guitar, Paul had sawed the body of an Epiphone guitar in half and bolted the “wings” on either side of the pine plank. And that instrument did not feed back.

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.

'48 L-5
In the 1950’s Gibson had its feet staunchly planted in the hollow body guitar market manufacturing some of the finest electric and acoustic instruments. Up until the production of the ES-335, all the Gibson guitars with cutaways had only been manufactured with one either Venetian or Florentine cutaway, but never with two cutaways.

'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.

'55 Mousegetar
Now this may sound far fetched, but in the year 1958 one of the most popular television shows was The Mickey Mouse Club. Host Jimmy Dodd played a tenor guitar that Walt Disney commissioned to be produced by Candeles Guitars of East Los Angeles. Walt wanted that guitar to appear as if it had “mouse ears”. So the Mousegetar was built with double cutaways in 1955, three years before the ES-335. I have to wonder if this particular guitar inspired anyone in the Gibson design department.

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
In 1958 the ES-335 body was 1 3/4” deep and had the usual Gibson scale of 24 3/4”. The top and back on the double cutaway body were made of laminated maple as was the center block. The body had single white binding around its perimeter. The neck was also made of laminated maple, for added strength and on original models, it was not bound and had a rather large feel to it. The fretboard was made of rosewood with pearl dot inlays.

1958 ES-335 Neck view
The original ES-335 guitars came with either a stop tail piece or a Bigsby B7 vibrato tail piece, which sometimes came with a sticker that said “CustomMade” to hide the routing holes for the stop bar. The bridge/saddle was a tune-o-matic model with adjustable nickel saddles.

PAF Stricker from 1958 humbuckers
This guitar came with twin PAF humbucking pickups and each had an individual volume and tone control in a gold finish with gold tops. Nearby was a three-way selector switch with an amber plastic top. The original models came with the long beveled pickguard. The strap button was made of plastic.

This year the ES-335 was only available with a sunburst or natural finish.

1959 ES-335 Cherry finish
A year later the familiar cherry red finish was added as an option. This year binding was added to the neck. Some of the 1958 models had irregularities in the shape of the neck. By 1959, these issue were resolved. A 1959 ES-335 is considered to be a very desirable guitar to collectors.

1960 ES-335

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.

1961 ES-335

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.

1962 ES-335
Big changes occurred in 1962. Instead of pearl dot inlaid fret markers, the markers were now small block inlays. The shape of the cutaways have a slight change in that they are now rounder instead of being more pointed. The saddles in the tune-o-matic bridge are now made of white nylon. Most of us will never see this, but the PAF sticker on the back of the humbucking pickups now shows the patent number.

By 1963 the neck shape gradually got larger again.

1965 Gibson ES-335 
In 1965 Gibson changed the stop tailpiece to a chrome trapeze model. This may have been the most visible change. However the most dramatic change was the width of the neck at the nut. It changed from 1 11/16th” to 1 9/16th”.

1966 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.

1981 ES-335DOT

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.

ES-335 Artist
Through the years Gibson issued some variants on the ES-335 model including a 1981 model called the ES-335 Artist, or more properly, ES Artist, which came with a large headstock logo, no F-holes, a metal truss rod cover, gold hardware, and 3 knobs. The circuit inside the guitar was developed by Moog.

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
By 1984 Gibson had moved all electric guitar production our of Kalamazoo, Michigan to Nashville, Tennessee. The ES-335 was then being made at the Nashville factory.

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

Categories: General Interest

Check Out the Charvel Booth at the 2017 NAMM Show

Charvel Guitars - Thu, 01/26/2017 - 15:13

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.
































































































Categories: Manufacturers

Nickel Thick, Dime Thin

Brokeoff Mountain Luthierie - Thu, 01/26/2017 - 12:58
Top thickness is, along with bracing, the most debated and tinkered-with area of guitar making.

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.

Silviu Ciulei - Nueva Vida (1962 Manuel de la Chica) from Guitar Salon on Vimeo.


The Martin Guitar Blog - Thu, 01/26/2017 - 05:00

revised The golden thread.jpg

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!

Danny Brown

Custom Shop Administrative Manager

C.F. Martin & CO., Inc.

Categories: Manufacturers

7 Charvel Custom Shop Marvels

Charvel Guitars - Tue, 01/24/2017 - 13:11

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.


Dinky Poplar

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.


Categories: Manufacturers

…dew is her cool way of being satisfied.” Robert Priest

wilbeau - Tue, 01/24/2017 - 06:19


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.

DSCF8018For 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.

solfar-sun-voyager-a-bellIf 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!”



Categories: Learning and Lessons

Cloning Github Repository from Mac Terminal

Learn Guitar with Will Kriski - Mon, 01/23/2017 - 15:08

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!

The post Cloning Github Repository from Mac Terminal appeared first on Will Kriski.

Categories: Learning and Lessons


The Martin Guitar Blog - Mon, 01/23/2017 - 08:36

Meet the newest signature edition that is stealing everyone's heart!

DD28 Dwight Yoakam4.jpg

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.

You can learn more about the Dwight Yoakam DD28 Signature Edition here. You can also watch the product spotlight for the guitar here. 

Do you love the Dwight Yoakam DD28 Signature Edition? Find an authorized Martin dealer here or a certified online Martin dealer here.

Categories: Manufacturers

Gig Report: TC Electronic Hall of Fame Reverb

Guitar Gear - Sun, 01/22/2017 - 11:30
Yesterday, I wrote an article about how my beloved Hardwire RV-7 Reverb had finally gone on the fritz, and I was going to try out the TC Electronic Hall of Fame Reverb, which I’ve had now for a few years, but hadn’t put on my pedal board. This wasn’t because I didn’t think it was […]
Categories: General Interest

That Feeling You Get When Gear Breaks Down…

Guitar Gear - Sat, 01/21/2017 - 11:00
That feeling is a mixture of sadness and sickness. After many years, and literally, thousands of gigs, my trusty Hardwire RV-7 Reverb finally stopped working. I remember that before I got this pedal, I went through several reverbs before I finally found one that inspired me, and that was the RV-7. Built in partnership with […]
Categories: General Interest

New Guitars from C.F. Martin

The Unique Guitar Blog - Fri, 01/20/2017 - 20:08
C.F. Martin Guitars made a hit at this years winter NAMM show with their D-200 Limited Edition guitar that has a suggested retail price of $149,999.

Martin D-200 
The 2017 Winter NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants) convention not only attracts musical instrument retailers, but also artists and lovers of musical merchandise, especially guitars. The D-200 is a collaboration with the RGM Watch Company and celebrates the fact that Martin Guitars has built 2 million guitars. Only fifty D-200’s will be made.

Martin D-200 back side
The company’s press release states"This unprecedented instrument is symbolic of the passage of time with a unique watch theme displayed throughout the many highly decorative aspects of the model. A classic 14-fret Style 45 Dreadnought is the basis for this work of art. The top is crafted from highly-figured bearclaw Engelmann spruce that features an aluminum rosette with guilloche engraving - a refined process of cutting geometric patterns into metal that also appears on the stainless steel tuning machine buttons of the edition. 

Martin D-200

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
Yet another unique decorative detail is the triple-strand abalone pearl striping that bisects the length of each side, referencing the early Spanish-inspired instruments of C. F. Martin Sr. The maple bound ebony fingerboard showcases watch gear mechanisms with the highest level of delicate inlay art. 

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
This gorgeous dreadnought style guitar features a solid sitka spruce top with East Indian rosewood back and sides. Thre fretboard is ebony with three mother-of-pearl clover fret markers and a mother-of-pearl inlay of reconstituted stone playing cards that cover the 11th through the 13th frets. The pickguard is in Martin’s “bull horn” style. The highly flamed headstock veneer of Indian rosewood features the deluxe C.F. Martin vertical logo.

John Prine D-28 LTD
Martin has also come out with a limited edition of 70 John Prine D-28 guitars to honor one of the world’s great songwriters and singers. This beautiful guitar features an Engleman spruce top that features an antique toner finish along with antique white binding. The bridge saddle is made of ebony with a bone saddle. Wood used on the back and side is Madagascar rosewood. The headstock veneer, also made of Madagascar rosewood features pearl angel wing inlays to commemorate Prine’s popular song, “Angel from Montgomery.”

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.

Martin CEO-8.2
When does a Martin guitar not look like a Martin guitar? When it is designed by Martin CEO C.F. Martin IV. Chris Martin came up with this exquisite grand jumbo guitar deemed the CEO 8.2, and topped it off with unique Bourbon Sunset Burst shading. The guitar is made entirely with Forestry Stewardship Council certified wood. Martin has done a great job with conservation over recent years. The headstock has a unique design taken from very old Martin archtop models and has an ornate design, and an unusual slanted logo.

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.

Categories: General Interest

Totally Guitars Weekly Wrap Up (Personal Update from Neil) January 20th, 2017

On The Beat with Totally Guitars - Fri, 01/20/2017 - 17:51
Learn to Play Your Favorite Song with the online guitars lessons from Totally Guitars! Totally Guitars News Podcast
Categories: Learning and Lessons

Roland JC 40 or Fender Ultra Chorus

Guitar Gear - Fri, 01/20/2017 - 11:03
You know what the best thing about guitar gear is? There's lots of it! You know what's the worst thing about guitar gear? There's lots of it!
Categories: General Interest

Recognizing Trends For The Sake of Your Career

Learn Guitar with Will Kriski - Fri, 01/20/2017 - 08:18

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.

The post Recognizing Trends For The Sake of Your Career appeared first on Will Kriski.

Categories: Learning and Lessons

Deep Learning and Data Science – New Blog Topic

Learn Guitar with Will Kriski - Thu, 01/19/2017 - 06:30

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.

The post Deep Learning and Data Science – New Blog Topic appeared first on Will Kriski.

Categories: Learning and Lessons


The Martin Guitar Blog - Thu, 01/19/2017 - 05:00


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.

Categories: Manufacturers


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