“Oh yeah, I was into them back when I used to listen to music.”
“That band is still together?”
“They were the soundtrack to my teenage years.”
I’m a music journalist, and a dad in my late 30s. That means I run into a lot of parents, some my age, most a few years older. It seems that most parents that I run into had their kids later in life than we did, and indeed a lot of my classmates are having their first kids now, while my son is 10. And the sentences quoted above are something I hear a lot when I chat with fellow parents. Inevitably the question of ‘What do you do for a living?’ comes up and I find myself explaining my cool-ass job. And I inevitably hear things like those statements, and others like “I used to listen to heavier bands but I grew out of it” or “I have no time to listen to music now.” It really hit home with the passing of Chris Cornell, when a bunch of friends on Facebook posted things like “You’re my favourite, I used to listen to you all the time,” as if Euphoria Morning wasn’t fucking phenomenal, or like Audioslave didn’t exist, or King Animal wasn’t a thing. That really bummed me out because Cornell continued to make music every bit as vital as those big Soundgarden records. He never went away and his standards never slipped (well, there was that one pop album but even then, dude was following his muse).
I know I’m lucky because my job forces me to listen to new music. It’s the same as in any profession: you can’t really do it to the best of your ability if you’re relying in information that’s 20 years old. Still, it makes me sad that there are people out there who are my age and who would have been raised on the same diet of 90s alternative, industrial, metal, grunge and other now-retro-but-then-nowtro stuff, who think of music as something in their past rather than something that grows with them. The musical nostalgia industry is fuelled by the power of music to make you remember how you felt at the time you first heard it, but there’s no reason you can’t continue to bring new music into your life to serve as the soundtrack to where you are now. Hell, Spotify is like twelve bucks a month. YouTube is free and it’s loaded with new music. It’s so easy now to find out what your old favourite bands are doing today or, even more importantly, to find new ones that can represent you and your feelings.
Something I’ve been doing a lot of lately is going back and listening to things I never really had the access to check out back in the day, when in order to listen to a band you had to either buy the record, hear someone else’s copy or catch it on TV or radio. I loved the Cure songs I saw on the Australian music video show Rage, but my CD money was always spent on metal and shred. Now I’m digging further and deeper into their back catalog and more recent records, and while many of these tracks are over 30 years old and totally new to me, they’re finding a place in my heart that’s every bit as important as Dirt or Passion And Warfare or Fair Warning. Now I’m catching up on bands like The Replacements, or filling in the gaps of my knowledge of The Cure, or getting into Crowded House non-album tracks. But I’m also checking out newer artists like Between The Buried And Me, Rival Sons, St. Vincent, Northlane… and this music, all of which is new to me whether it’s new or not, has its own emotional resonance for my present-day life. I can still always put on Living Colour’s Stain or Ministry’s Psalm 69 to remember how I felt at 16, but I can also put on Ryan Adams’ Prisoner or Periphery’s The Price Is Wrong to capture how I feel today at 38.
My buddy Dean Delray, whose podcast Let There Be Talk is an essential listen, is always talking about this. He always hears folks saying “There are no great bands any more.” There are fucktonnes of them out there. But to hear them you have to own the fact that maybe the music you loved as a teenager wasn’t any more special than the music today’s teenagers are listening to: it’s just that you heard those songs at a time that was special to you, and you’ve associated the excitement of ‘first kiss, first beer, first party’ with those bands as part of one whole package of nostalgia. That’s totally cool, but see it for what it is and let yourself feel the same way about new music that can accompany new moments. Music is vast and beautiful and alive and you don’t need to stop listening to new music the moment you turn 18.
We'll bring the Martin Dreadnoughts, you bring the jam session!
Martin Guitar will be in Nashville, Tennessee this weekend for CMA Music Festival. You can find us on 2nd and Broadway where we will be jamming all weekend, giving away cool gear, plus the chance to win a Martin guitar! Come visit us between 10AM-6PM Thursday, June 8th through Sunday, June 11th. You can find a full list of festivals Martin Guitar will be attending here.
Also don't forget to catch performances from Martin Ambassadors Dierks Bentley, Thomas Rhett, Sam Hunt, Brandy Clark, and Hunter Hayes during the weekend. For a full list of 2017 CMA Music Festival performers, click here.
Sitting on my deck looking out over fields that are under cultivation, with an old terraced mountain behind them, I think of the valley that lies between. I got on a bus nine days ago to come to this village in order to write some music free from distraction. Here, at the busiest time of day I might see ten people in a cafe and be passed by three cars and a motorcycle. No need to hurry, the shopkeeper might keep you waiting for ten minutes as they finish a converasation on the phone.
In the midst of this tranquility I wonder about various kinds of internal suffering. There is of course the Buddhist doctrine, “All life is pain.” Today I seem to equate busy-ness with pain. One of my students told me that he has been able to concentrate much better since he had his knee replaced a couple of years ago. He figured it was the unconscious underlying pain that prevented him from paying more attention when he played guitar.
I have spent decades training myself to pay attention, to the music as I learn it, to my students as they play and to the people that share conversations with me. Since reading about the problems of “internal dialogue” in Carlos Castaneda in the 70’s my life’s work has involved managing my ability to focus.
For all these years of work there has been an underlying theme – to communicate something of musical value. One might say this is about attracting a certain kind of attention. Here, I play my guitar, far away from my friends and colleagues: there is no hope for attention. As I was playing the other day something very interesting began to happen: the melody of the piece started to take on another character. In my imagination it felt like a sustaining instrument. Between these medieval walls in this apartment in an old village, the tune came through as never before.
So, as the melody continues in my imagination as a sustained line, I convince myself that it might be possible to project this sense to the listener. They might hear a flute or a violin playing the tune. There might be some sleight of ear taking place – there might be magic.
Adrenaline Mob released new album We the People on Friday, June 2, and new single “Lords of Thunder” can be heard below.
Main members Mike Orlando (guitar) and Russell Allen (vocals) focused their writing efforts on the band’s third studio album on recent political events and their sentiments towards the current climate.
The heavy and melodic track “Lords of Thunder” reinforces that polarizing theme with the following lyrics mixed in between impressive soloing from Orlando.
You can die today or you can join with me
So let your voice be heard and tell us where you stand
We value the word of each and every man
Listen to the track now, and also watch the official video for We the People’s opening track “King of the Ring” below. The band is also about to head out on the road this summer. View tour dates here.
I only run two sales a year and now is the time for one of them.
Save on almost all the Download Versions for many of the courses I have created for learning how to play blues and slide guitar.
This sale won’t last long so be sure to take advantage of this discount as there will not be another sale for a long while.
Thanks for the support!
This Rick Toone T2 is designed to be polarizing. The craftsmanship may speak for itself. It looks extremely well made and has all the elements of a great guitar.
What I'm mostly offended by is the price, $17500 US.
Admittedly I know very little about the Luthier Rick Toone apart from the fact that I've heard his name before, and have seen one or two of his more ergonomic offerings.
Has anyone here own/played one of his guitars? Is it worth the hefty price tag?
© 2016, Guitarz - The Original Guitar Blog - the blog that goes all the way to 11!
Please read our photo and content policy.
A truly eXceptional event is happening at an authorized Martin dealer near you!
Starting May 28th, 2017 through June 28th, 2017, you can head to an authorized Martin dealer in the USA to save up to $200 instantly on select Martin guitars including the PA4 models, D Jr, models, LX models, and X-Series models.
Dealer participation may affect discount amount.
I am always looking for new gear that will make my gigging and teaching experiences easier and I recently bought a cool little device that falls in that category. It is called the Quiklock music stand. Part of my quest with all new gear I buy is to make my set-up more condensed and easier to transport and set up. This thing helps. It is a music stand/holder that attaches horizontally to a mic stand. While not as spacious as a regular music stand it holds two lead sheets side-by-side on an arm that is adjustable both in the distance from the stand and angle of the back that holds the music. It attaches to the stand via a clamp. I’m not entirely convinced the clamp will hold up in the long term (that is a complaint in reviews of the thing) but for now it seems to hold just fine. I doubt I would trust it to hold something valuable like an IPad but it serves the purpose with printed music. There was a time in my gigging life that I scoffed at people who didn’t have ALL their music memorized and needed a music stand. Not anymore. Seems like many if not most single performers use them or an IPad holder these days. I do know enough to bring along clips to hold the music to the stand in case it’s windy. Anyway, I recommend this inexpensive little device if you don’t want to lug a full size music stand to your gigs.
My favorite song lately is a great one by Ry Cooder called “Tattler.” His recording features his fine guitar playing but also a full band so I had to adapt it somewhat for my own use and use with students. What a sweet and catchy tune! It has a bit of a Caribbean or New Orleans vibe too, which immediately attracted me. Check it out if you can. Ry Cooder is hugely respected in the singer/songwriter world although he doesn’t have the wide recognition of some. His work as a writer, player and producer is stellar. Also, it was Ry who brought the wonderful Buena Vista Social Club musicians of Cuba to the attention of the world. In some small way, I believe that his work with them may have contributed in some small way to the opening of relations with that country and more exposure to its rich musical heritage.
I recently bought the first electric guitar I’ve owned in a while, a semi-hollow body by a company called Prestige. I got a very fair deal on it locally; it is in perfect condition. There is a bit of mystery about this company. While their web site says they are based in Vancouver, Canada (there is no label in the guitar, but it is number 000113!), a person on the Acoustic Guitar Forum stated that it was in fact made in Korea at the same factory that makes Peerless Guitars and I believe this is the case as it is identical to one model they make. Peerless is producing some of the finest archtops made overseas and my hero, jazz guitarist Martin Taylor consulted with them to produce his signature model. They are rather expensive and fairly hard to get. My Prestige has many of the same features, and the fit and finish are top notch. It features two Seymour Duncan P-90’s and a super comfortable neck. The sound is just great, equally at home in both jazz and blues. It also came with high quality hardshell case, and being only a year old and hardly played it is in perfect condition and set up perfectly too. Best of all, it sounds terrific through my Carvin AG-300 (this was a big surprise!) so I don’t need to spring for another amp. With a beautiful tobacco sunburst finish, gold plated Grover tuners and bridge, and a very cool retro looking cream colored pickguard that matches the Seymour Duncans perfectly, it is a gorgeous thing to look at too. Only down side is that is has some serious weight due to the maple block inside but that is the trade off for the amazing sustain it has. Sooner or later, I will get some gigs that call for an electric, and I’ll be ready!
I had a great conversation with the person who sold me the guitar and this gets to my previous post about guitar teachers. It seems that his daughter took lessons – actually, just one lesson! – with a guy who lives not far away. This person is a former member of a very well known R&B group that broke up a while ago and he now lives in this area. While all reports are that he is a great guy, from what I was told his teaching style is a bit shaky at best. He basically did some playing and expected this poor young girl, a raw beginner, to then repeat what he played. Compounding the confusion was that he is left-handed, and she is not! His advice? Just look in the mirror! Yikes. Plus he demanded three months of payment in advance. Again, big respect for his playing and background but the reality is that a great player may not be a great teacher. The sad part is that he probably succeeded in turning off this youngster to ever playing the guitar. But the positive was that this inspired the guy who sold me the guitar to begin playing himself (after all, he had paid for three months of lessons….) and he seems to love playing without value judgements by himself or anyone else. Good for him!
Finally, as regular readers of this blog know, I have been playing regularly for about 5 years at a wonderful little café near my home called the Daily Brew. I play almost every Sunday from 10 till noon. When I started and until very recently it was all about challenging myself to carry the time with totally instrumental arrangements of blues, bossa nova, jazz and pop stuff. I can say the pay off is that my playing at this point in my life is better and more gratifying than it’s ever been. But recently I thought, what the heck, maybe I’ll start mixing in some vocals too. Understand that this was what I always did in the many groups I’ve played with over the years. So a couple of the locals were quite surprised to see a mic set up in front of me last weekend as they had never heard me in any of my previous musical endeavors. And you know what? In spite of dealing with the aftermath of a nasty cold and seasonal allergies it sounded…. Not awful. Or it seemed that way anyway. And it was fun! Looking forward to tomorrow morning, for sure!
Oh, and one more thing. As most of us know, this is the 50th anniversary of the release of what I feel is the great album of all time, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Heart Club Band. I listened to an interview with Sir George Martin’s son Giles yesterday on PBS radio and he went into great detail about the new box set and remixed Sgt. Pepper. It was absolutely fascinating. Contrasting the mono and stereo versions, alternative takes, and little tidbits about the behind the scene recording process back in 1967. I believe that interview may be available on You Tube or perhaps via PBS. Check it out and even if you can’t give that album a listen again. Pure genius.
Peace & good music,
|Jerry Garcia's Wolf Guitar|
On May 31st an event auction was hosted by Brooklyn Bowl for Jerry Garcia’s Wolf guitar. The auction was done by Guernsey's Auctions.
|Garcia playing Wolf|
|Marketing Lessons from the Grateful Dead|
The recipient of the money is the Southern Poverty Law Center.
|The Wolf Guitar|
The bid was then matched by another anonymous donor, making the total gift an amazing $3.5 million. This is the most money generated from a guitar auction.
|Joe Russo's Almost Dead|
The event also featured drummer Joe Russo leading an all-star cast, which included his own Grateful Dead tribute band known as Almost Dead.
|The Wolf Decal|
Through the years Garcia had several modifications performed on the instrument. The last time Jerry used the guitar was in February of 1993. He passed away 2 years later. He can be seen playing it in the Grateful Dead Movie.
|The Wolf guitar in original form|
Irwin tells the story that he was in the back of the store putting pickups on that particular guitar. Irwin says a couple of guys from the store came to the back room and told him that Jerry Garcia wants to buy your guitar. He thought they were joking.
|Wolf with 2nd pickup arrangement|
Irwin had just started building guitars at Alembic. This was a company run by Ron Wickersham, an electronics and sound expert that previously worked for Ampex, Rick Turner, a luthier and guitarist, and Bob Matthews, a recording engineer. The company started in a rehearsal room for the Grateful Dead, so there was an immediate connection between Alembic and the band.
As the story goes, Doug Irwin was recently hired by the Alembic company and was building electric guitars for them and he also built some for himself.
Garcia asked him to build him another guitar. Irwin took a cue from this and created The Wolf, which he sold to Jerry Garcia in 1972 for $850. Garcia played this guitar for more than 20 years. Garcia asked Irwin to optimize Wolf with three single coil Stratocaster pickups.
As stated, this guitar was made of purple heart wood and curly maple. The fret board was ebony with 24 frets; longer than Fenders, which at the time only had 22 frets. The first version had a peacock inlay made of abalone, but in subsequent years Irwin changed this to an eagle.
A blood-thirsty cartoon sticker of a wolf adorned the body. This gave the guitar its name.
|Garcia and the Wolf Guitar|
In fact it was Irwin who created both plates for the guitar. The pickup selector is the five position strat type.
|Wolf Guitar Controls|
There is also a mini switch to toggle the effects loop on or off. The electronics are accessible from a plate on the guitars back side and they are shielded. The tuning machines are Schaller’s and made of chromed nickel as is the bridge.
Wolf was the first guitar Irwin built that had the D shaped headstock that he used on other guitars he made as his trademark.
|Both Wolf Headstock designs|
On the headstock was the inlay of a peacock done in mother-of-pearl. While at a concert the guitar fell about 15 feet off of the stage and this caused a small crack in the head stock.
Doug Irwin took this as an opportunity to replace the head stock with ebony veneer and a mother-of-pearl inlay of an eagle, which by now had become Doug Irwin’s signature.
|Garcia with Wolf Guitar|
Click on the links below the pictures for their sources. Click on the links in the text for further information.
©UniqueGuitar Publications (text only)
I spotted this today on the Facebook page for ugly guitars. The poster calls it the Mongrelcaster. There are no other pictures or information.
It's my new favourite offset-tele syle guitar. Congrats on standing out without being too wacky or disgustingly odd. It's somewhat reminiscent of an Eastwood Senn model . Modern and classic.
Does it remind you of another guitar?
© 2016, Guitarz - The Original Guitar Blog - the blog that goes all the way to 11!
Please read our photo and content policy.
American Songwriter caught up with Martin Ambassador Taylor Goldsmith and his band Dawes for the C.F. Martin & Co. Presents: Dawes.
The band performed two acoustic tunes off of their latest album, "We're All Gonna Die." The performances of "Roll With The Punches" and "Roll Tide" took place at the Ryman Auditorium before the band's two night stand on April 28th and 29th.
Martin Ambassador Taylor Goldsmith's Martin guitar of choice is the OM-28E Retro. You can purchase the OM-28E Retro by finding your nearest authorized Martin dealer, finding a certified online Martin dealer, or exploring the buy from factory program.
Putting binding around the edges of the soundboard, especially a soundboard made of a soft wood, helps prevent dings and chips along the edges. To my design aesthetic binding the soundboard is also like putting a frame on a picture.
I usually do not put binding on the backs of my dulcimers unless someone really wants it. I don’t think it is necessary to bind the back since it is usually made of hardwood. Also, should the dulcimer ever need major repairs an unbound back simplifies removing the back of the dulcimer to gain access to its innards.
In the photograph above are the hand tools I use when preparing the dulcimer for binding.
In the upper left is a shop-made binding scribe. It consists of a scalpel blade glued and taped to a piece of wood the thickness of the binding that is again glued to a piece of wood that serves as a handle. I use this tool to gently score the binding channel on the soundboard. After the channel is scored I deepen the scored cuts with the scalpel and knife.
I use a simple router jig to remove some of the bulk and then finish up the binding rebate with the small chisel and file. I also use the chisel as a scraper, using my fingers as a depth stop to guide the cut.
After taking the photograph for this post I noticed the fingerboard did not look quite right. I realized I had left out one of the fret slots! It has since been cut and all is right with the world.
Forgetting to cut a fret slot is not a big deal as it is easy to add at anytime. What is a big deal is cutting a fret slot where one is not supposed to be.
Guess how I learned that lesson?