Collectible Guitar :: Then and Now - Jan/Feb 2014

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Museum Treasure

1901 Martin 00-27




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THE SEED TO SONG JOURNEY Bedell Guitars are rooted in the simple belief that extraordinary acoustic guitars can be crafted from the world’s most precious tonewoods in complete harmony with sustaining our forests and honoring the indigenous cultures and economies that live among them. At Bedell, it’s all about the wood – knowing where your instrument comes from and knowing that the woods were obtained responsibly. The journey at Bedell Guitars is far different from other acoustic instrument builders. It starts with a commitment to appreciate every individual tree used in our guitars: where and when it germinated, the length of its life, and how it was salvaged. We then thoughtfully and responsibly handcraft that instrument entirely in the U.S.A. We’re committed to complete transparency, from Seed to Song.

THE BEDELL TONEWOOD CERTIFICATION PROJECT To live according to the values of responsibility and stewardship requires due diligence and a commitment to a very different approach of wood procurement and management. The Bedell Tonewood Certification Project sets rigid standards, which are adamantly adhered to. Every tonewood set is labeled with a code, and as much of its story as we can uncover is attached in our newly developed Wood Management System software. All required Lacey Act, CITES and Chain of Custody documents are included. A Bedell Seed-to-Song Journal accompanies each instrument with the individual Seed-to-Song story of the back and side tonewood, the soundboard, and the neck wood.

E V E R Y 2 0 1 4 B E D ELL I S HA N D C RA F T ED I N T HE U.S . A .

FROM ONE COLLECTOR TO ANOTHER... Collectible Guitar – Then & Now Magazine… Starting the Conversation This is New Year’s Day 2014 and I am warming myself by the fireplace in my home about 45 minutes south of Seattle, WA. While writing this I am watching/listening to Eric Clapton’s Crossroads Festival marathon on cable TV. Jeff Beck, Stevie Winwood, Vince Gill, and other guitar heroes are sharing the stage and reminding me why I was so inspired by their playing and music in the first place.

pened next. As he was walking towards the door with cash in hand, he turned around, and as a “thank you” he handed me his guitar strap and said, “Bruce, I want you to have this”. It was one of those inexpensive woven cloth types. I called them “hippie” straps (coming from my hippie background, I was speaking from a place of experience). But I have always remembered that single act of kindness. Now, some 30 years later I still This new year marks the 19th consecutive have that guitar strap, and every time I see it year I have been publishing print magazines I think of that man… I also reflect and refor musicians. I have been in the “industry”, mind myself to be grateful that I still can sit so to speak, for more than 30 years as I ran down and play a guitar (no matter what you a music store in Los Angeles for 11 years be- may think of my playing skills… Ha!). fore that. This Winter NAMM Show where Being in the industry has also allowed me Collectible Guitar – Then & Now will debut to meet some of the great luthiers of our is my 34th year of attending the large con- times. Men and women who strive for excelvention. Along the way I have also become lence and ways to either improve or recapowner of the SeaTac Guitar Show here in ture elements of the lost art of the guitar as the Great Northwest. It is a gathering of an instrument. I have become friends with vintage dealers, boutique builders of guitars, boutique amp builders and cottage industry amps, and effect pedals, as well as private guys who make crazy good sounding effects collectors. pedals in their garages. All of the knowledge From the first moment an aging mailman that it takes, and the creativity to take things came into my retail store and handed me a to the next level interests me. The more I 1960 Gibson J-50 acoustic, I have been en- find I know about the “classic” vintage guithralled with vintage guitars. What came tars and the “fresh off of the work bench” next also has stuck with me all these years… masterpieces, I realize I have a need to learn the story behind the guitar. The man was more. dealing with arthritis and it physically hurt him too much to play his guitar, and it hurt him too much emotionally to look at the guitar and know that he couldn’t play it. He was almost begging me to buy his guitar, and I could tell it wasn’t easy for him. I gave him a fair price, as the guitar was in mint condition and I was trying to be as encouraging as I could with the man, but my heart was breaking inside for him. I’ll never forget what hap-

more personally to a player more than others (you may have your grandfather’s guitar that is a bit difficult to play, but you wouldn’t sell it no matter how many dollars someone threw your way). I have a Limited Edition OM42PS Paul Simon Signature model Martin guitar that they only made 220 of. Mine is number 60. The inside label is signed by Paul himself, but more than that, it has a beautiful sound. Before I bought it, the guitar had sat in its case for 16 years – un-played. As I played it each night over the next two weeks, this guitar’s sound grew more resonate and rich in tone… it literally “opened up” a little more each time I picked it up. It is valued at around $4,500.00 or so, but I wouldn’t sell it for twice that much. It is a special guitar to me because of its quality and the story behind it. So, this new magazine’s focus will be a practical approach/journey to walk together and learn more . . . more about both vintage and boutique guitars, amps, and pedals. We like to review products (because it is good for you and fun for us). We will cover historic guitars, different luthiers, new release collectible guitars, guitar show news, and trends in guitars. As we like to say here at Collectible Guitar, “Our passion is all things guitar… from vintage to new, then and now!”

There are all types of collectors, from the Come along for guys who have 350 guitars all labeled and the ride! stored away in humidity controlled ware- Guitar people houses, to the guy that just has $1,000.00 helping guitar in his pocket and wants to know what is the people… best vintage guitar he can buy for the money. There are all types of collectible guitars, some vintage, and some new limited or art- Bruce and Judy ist signature models. Some guitars are worth Adolph

Subscribe to Collectible Guitar for only $19.95 per year... Editor & President: Bruce Adolph VP/Office Manager: Judy Adolph Street Team: Mike Adolph, Jesse Hill & Winston Design & Layout: Matt Kees 4227 S. Meridian, Suite C PMB #275, Puyallup Washington 98373 Phone: 253.445.1973 Fax: 253.655.5001

Photographer/Advisor: Joe Riggio

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FEATURES Museum Treasure 1901 Martin 00-27

Surviving a Mid-Life Guitar Crisis


Gibson Art Deco Series



VINCE GILL Preserve, Play, Repeat


COLUMNS 10 The One That Didn’t Get Away The “Purple Strat” by Rick King

30 iOS Mobile Music Movement Primer by Michael Elsner

42 View of the Day Worth Their Weight in Tone by Dave Cleveland

12 On The Bench Intonating a 1960 Gibson ES-335 by John LeVan

34 The Fretboard Less Traveled Amin7 = C6 by Rich Severson

44 Guitar Show Profile with Larry Briggs

18 State of the Union by Dave Belzer

REVIEWS... 8 65amps “London” Model Head and 2x12 Speaker Cabinet by Joe Riggio 16 Visual Sound VS-XO Pedal by Michael Hodge

& MORE 32 Martin D-28 Authentic 1941 by Bruce Adolph 40 Rubicon RC-8 Mini Amp by Scotty Murray

24 14 Ideas for Improving in 2014 by Rich & Gail Severson 50 10 Ways to Avoid the Wrath of Your Significant Other After Buying Another Guitar! by Gabe Hernandez

28 JHS Panther Cub Delay Pedal by Bruce Adolph Cover photo by Joe Riggio Cover inset photo of Vince Gill by Jim Wright



65amps “London” Head and 2x12 Speaker Cabinet by Joe Riggio

LAYOUTUnlike many channelswitching amps that run clean and high-gain, the “London” is laid out in the unique platform of 2 channels, each with their own voice and input jacks. The concept is to offer a greater variety of tones and voices, or “vocabulary” as Dan puts it, all from a single amplifier.

channel also includes a tremolo circuit that sounds very organic and sweet. Bliss, I tell you.

Channel 2’s voice is as-advertised: chimey and bright, much like many recordings you’ve heard by so many great bands of the 60’s and beyond. The overtones are quite complex, and with the boost switch engaged, enter into modern gain levels to boot. The 6-way COLOR rotary switch allows you to adjust the midrange focus of the channel. Over This is really helpful for making your amp the past 10 Channel 1, or the Trem chan- “play well with others”, making it possible years or so, artists nel, is designed around a 12AX7 to adjust your voice to fit well and stand out on stages both large and small preamp tube and is reminiscent of in a full band setting. have become more and more demandthe great British 18-watt amps from Both channels speak well with a variety ing of lower volumes from the instruments the 1960’s. It also includes an onboard foot- of pedals, including different levels of overon stage. In-ear monitors and lower instruswitchable tremolo circuit. Controls include drive, from subtle, to the highest gain your ment volumes make it both easier to control Volume, Tone, Treble-Cut, Tremolo Depth, heart desires. a house mix from the front of house, and and Tremolo Speed. CONCLUSIONmore comfortable for the artist on stage. This creates a challenge for guitarists who Channel 2, or the “Color” channel, is As the first model in a now long-line of are accustomed to getting their favorite tube based around an EF86 preamp tube, which models from 65amps, the London is proof is known for its British Invasion-style tones. that Dan and Peter’s initial research and amp tones by using higher volume settings. The channel consists of a 6-Way color development paid off and it is still a viable A few years back, this demand sparked a switch, Volume control, Tone control, and contender for the company. The price point movement of lower-wattage guitar amps, deBoost switch. is well beyond entry-level, and for good reasigned to fit the lower volume stage needs. TEST DRIVEson. The build quality of all components “Needs” is exactly what sparked 65amps to build their take on a lower wattage amp that For our test we ran the 18-watt London including chassis, birch cabinetry, electronic still retained the glorious tube tones of the head into the matching 65amps 2x12, cabi- layout, and coverings make them second past, while offering them in a package of net, which comes stock with the combina- to none. All 65amps are also made in the the highest quality possible. In fact, the first tion of one Celestion Alnico Blue and one U.S.A. with a no-compromise approach, and “London” model was designed and built Celestion G12H30. This is to add to the to play one is to have known the level of the purely to meet the needs of Peter Stroud: sonic complexity of the set and also provides very best there is. guitarist for Sheryl Crow. He and partner a choice for mic placement. Nice. London Head - $2495 MSRP Dan Boul designed and built the first exam2x12 Cabinet - $995 MSRP ples for Peter to use, not even intended to be Channel 1 provides a very round and warm tube tone that speaks well with both single marketed to the public. Well, like any other great concept, it caught on and led to the cre- coil and humbucking-equipped guitars. Both the TONE control and the CUT control are ation of 65amps. very effective and intuitive, making it simple FIRST LOOKJoe Riggio is a professional to dial in a variety of classic guitar sounds. guitar repairman/technician Upon first glance, the 65amps distinctive The beautiful thing about this low-powered and recording engineer, based styling is unmistakable. A beautiful com- design is the ability to go from perfectly clean in Tacoma, WA. He owns and bination of complementary-colored vinyl to quite over-driven settings without getting operates “Service Guitar Recovering, pleasing cabinet lines, and ventila- louder than is desired on most of today’s pair” and “House Of Sound tion grates that are inspired by vintage Ford quiet stages. My personal favorite sweet spot Recording Studio” He has a Mustang tail lights make this a flat stand-out was around 4 on the volume control, where deep love and knowledge of among ho-hum cabinets offered by other touch-sensitivity seems to be maximized, al- vintage guitars, as well as companies. This beauty screams class and lowing for the distortion to respond to the modern and loves to share his passion with others. He players touch in a very natural way. This can be contacted at style! website:


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The “Purple Strat” University of Washington. We would not remain close friends through all those years, but we would stay in touch.

Our story begins in 1973 at the finish line of the Tacoma All City Track and Field half-mile finals. I approached the two guys from Hunt Jr. High School who had just beaten me and asked them where were they attending High School next year. They both said “Henry Foss”. My sophomore year was the first year of open enrollment in Tacoma, WA, which meant you could go to any High School in the city. I had also chosen Henry Foss High. It was brand new that year and I would be a member of the class of ’76- the first graduating class that would attend all three years. One of the two half-milers from Hunt Jr. High School was Chris Ballasiotes, who would not only be a friend in High School, but who would later, along with myself, attend Green River Community College and the


I bought my first vintage guitar for resale in Sept 1981 out of the classifieds of the local newspaper. This started my fascination and obsession with vintage guitars. Sometime in 1986, I got a call from Chris. He had heard I was buying and selling vintage guitars and wanted me to find him a Stratocaster. I told him that the price of pre-CBS Fender Stratocasters had just taken a giant leap in value, and that it might be hard to find him one at a reasonable price. He wasn’t interested in anything old or collectable; he just wanted to own a used Strat. Shortly thereafter, I found him a clean, early 80’s 1962 reissue. It was a little over $200. When he came to my house to pick it up, he brought a 1965 Fender Deluxe reverb amp for trade. I gave him a fair trade in value for the amp and the deal was done. He loved the guitar and thanked me again and again. We reminisced about old times, and he said he had wanted a Strat since we were in High School. He was teaching guitar back then and said that one of his students had a purple Strat, and that it looked old . . .even back in the 70’s. My jaw hit the floor, and I proceeded to inform him that the color purple was known as Burgundy Mist Metallic, and that it was one of the most desirable colors among Fender collectors. I suggested he call the family to see if they still had the guitar. He laughed, but I said I wasn’t kidding. He called the dad, and was told that yes, his son still had the guitar, but that his son was enlisted in the Navy for another five years and we would have to wait. In the winter of 1991, I was laying

on the couch sick with the flu when my phone rang. I let the answering machine pick up. It was my old friend Chris. He asked me to give him a call. About an hour later he called again, leaving me a message that his exstudent was back from the Navy. He had just looked at the “Purple Strat” and the family was willing to sell the guitar now. Every bone in my body ached, but I bolted to the phone to talk to him before he hung up again. Chris told me that the family had taken it to Farmers Music in Burien to have it appraised. Farmers offered to consign it with a 25% commission fee. I told Chris that I was sick, but that he should come get me and we could go look at the guitar together. Thinking that the family also lived in Burien, about 45 minutes from my home, I was not looking forward to a long drive in the car. Fortunately, when Chris showed up he told me that the guitar was just a few miles away. I was quite excited when we arrived at the house to look at the guitar, and the family was very gracious. The “Purple Strat” was on the floor in the living room. When I opened the case to expose the 1961 slab-board Burgundy Mist Metallic Stratocaster, in its original case, the color was so bright that, when I closed the case, I could still see the “flash” of Burgundy Mist Metallic. It was exceptionally clean and we bought the guitar on the spot. That day the family also sold us their 50’s Martin 0-18. Chis and I split the cost of the two guitars. I found a loving home for both of them in Northern California and Chris and I shared in the profit. Later, the guitar appeared in the “The Galaxy of Strats” book by Yasuhiko Iwanade. I bought a copy for Chris so he and I could both look back fondly on the “one that didn’t get away”… Rick King is the owner of Guitar Maniacs in Tacoma Washington. He lives in Gig Harbor with his wife Sheila, two dogs and a cat.

ON THE BENCH by John M. LeVan

Intonating a 1960 Gibson ES-335 Correcting the Intonation using a shelf nut.

Recently, one of my clients brought a beautiful ES-335 into my shop. This ES335 played and sounded fantastic, but would not play in tune. It would (somewhat) intonate at the 12th fret, but the notes in first position were dreadfully sharp. My client is a studio player, so I needed to find a solution that wouldn’t devalue the instrument. Figure 1 1960 Gibson ES-335. EVALUATING THE GUITAR The guitar is a 1960 Gibson ES-335 in excellent condition. When evaluating a guitar, I always look at the condition of the frets, string nut, and bridge. These components have a profound effect on the intonation. In this case, all three were perfect! So what could possibly cause this amazing guitar to play so horribly out of tune? I suspected the string nut was in the wrong location. If the nut is too far away from, or too close to the first fret, the guitar will never intonate properly. After measuring the scale length (with a micrometer) and processing the measurements using the rule of 18, I found that the location of the string nut was .027” off. Now .027” doesn’t sound like much, but on a guitar it’s a mile! The task at hand now became figuring out a way to move the string nut closer to the first fret without permanently modifying the guitar.

current location of the string nut was 1.410”, it should be 1.3831”. After all of the calculations were checked and rechecked, I was ready to correct the location of the nut. RELOCATING THE STRING NUT


Figure 3 Carving the shelf nut.



Figure 2 Measuring the nut placement.



Figure 4 Shelf nut in process. After restringing and adjusting the intonation, this 335 finally plays well in tune and is now studio ready! If you have any questions about this, or any of my other articles, feel free to e-mail me at Be sure to visit us on the web at www. John M. LeVan The Guitar Services Workshop

Here is what the formula looks like: Scale = 24.642” ÷ (rule of 18) 17.817 = (correct location for nut) 1.3831”. The

Using an oversized piece of bone, I removed material from the nut so that it fit into the slot and extended over the fretboard. Once the nut was fitted, I gently sanded the face of the nut until it was the correct distance from the first fret. From there, I carved the string slots and contours to the back and sides of the nut. I colored and polished it to give it a vintage look. This process is easily reversed and undetectable.

Figure 5 The new shelf nut.

THE RULE OF 18 This is the standard unit of measurement to determine the correct placement of the string nut and frets. I measured the scale length of the guitar from the face of the string nut to the top of the 12th fret. Then I multiplied that by 2. That gave me the exact scale length of the guitar. Then I took that figure and divided it by 17.817 (the rule of 18). The quotient (result) of this equation is the theoretical distance from the string nut to the top of the 1st fret.

Typically, I would remove material from the end of the fretboard. However, since this is a vintage Gibson, the last thing I wanted to do was to modify the fretboard. Cutting the fretboard would devalue this guitar! The best solution was to carve a shelf-nut. A shelf-nut is a string nut that has an extension over the fretboard (moving the nut closer to the first fret). I carve these out a single piece of bone so that it will last as long as a traditional string nut.


Copyright ©2013-2014 John M. LeVan all rights reserved. Photos by John M. LeVan.

Museum Treasure by Joe Riggio

1901 Martin 00-27

It’s hard to imagine what it might have been like to work in a guitar factory in the earliest years of 20th Century America. The country was only 125 years old, and post Civil War culture was even younger. To be sure, it was very unlike anything in existence today. Even the most hand made guitars in our modernday market have some form of technology involved, somewhere in the process. Certainly there are simple things we

take for granted that are a given: electricity, pneumatic power tools, and modern spraying equipment, to name a few. In rural American towns like Enumclaw, WA, life was even more archaic. The mountain community thrived on such industries as farming, timber, and …well …farming. One such Enumclaw native was Henrietta Blakely: the granddaughter of a local lumber worker

Curator: Ron Tyler


who raised her and taught her to play the guitar he had recently purchased from the other side of the country. His appreciation for wood and fine craftsmanship was likely the motivation for ordering such a fine example of German-American tradition: a 1901 Martin 00-27. After passing on from this life, the grandfather left his 1921 home and all of its contents to his dear granddaughter Henrietta. She continued to play and care for the guitar, and never sold it. Fast forward to 2005, when the Enumclaw Plateau Historical Society Museum, somewhat lacking in content, received the timely surprise it so needed before opening in 2008. Its collection of local artifacts was topped off by a donation made by the recently deceased Henrietta Blakely. Most of her belongings were donated to the museum, including antique furniture and other period correct household items. One of the last items to be discovered in the home was the beloved Martin guitar, in its original coffin-style wooden case!

The museum curator’s son-in-law knew of my guitar repair services, and asked me if I would be interested in restoring the old Martin. Of course, I was delighted at the thought of the opportunity to have this come across my bench. I had visions of the typical scenario of the old decrepit acoustic, damaged by decades of moisture and temperature torture. You know: a pile of dead bones that once danced the songs of yesteryear. Much to my surprise, I found this guitar to be a near mint example of a very rare, upper-end 00-27 model, made by the hands of the finest craftsmen at the C. F. Martin Guitar Co. of 1901. The only repair needed was to remount the slightly lifting bridge. A dull restoration story, I know, but my pleasure came from beholding such a clean and unmolested Martin, including an original neck angle that had never been damaged by the stress of steel strings. It was a rare glimpse into the past, when finishes were applied by hand and fine details made these models such a sight to behold‌



Visual Sound VS-XO pedal by Michael Hodge

Visual Sound has just released the new VSXO pedal. It’s possibly the coolest new pedal in their lineup. Out of the Box: The VS-XO comes in a velvety cloth bag with a drawstring. It’s a nice touch. Also included are a sticker and manual. The Dual Overdrive pedal has a solid metal case with a glossy black finish. It’s a nice size at roughly 5” wide by 4 ½” deep and 2” high. On the top there are six normal size knobs, two mini knobs, and for the Drive-1 channel: two sliding switches. There are two footswitches: one for each drive. Blue LEDs indicate the individual pedal is on. On the back are four ¼ inch jacks, two in and two out, along with a Boss type 9v DC power jack. Two better than one:

allows for 3 different Clipping Types. Position A has no diodes, which makes for a pretty clean sound that can still get dirty with graininess. Position B has two LEDs and makes for bright symmetrical clipping. Position C switches in a third diode which makes for smooth asymmetrical clipping and the most saturation, along with a more compressed sounding tone. All three affect how the Drive Knob saturates the sound. The Bass switch has 3 level settings as well. A is a slight bass cut, B slight boost, and C Larger bass boost. Drive-2 The left side of the pedal, Drive-2 is designed to be more amp-like. There are three knobs for Drive, Tone, and Volume. Also added is a small Bass knob that allows you to go anywhere from bass cut to bass boost. This side employs op amp and diode clipping. Drive-2 has a fairly flat EQ, without a mid range bump. However, as you adjust the tone knob, the gain characteristics also change. If you are an avid Visual Sound user you might be reminded of the Open Road pedal, yet the VS-XO has been newly designed from the bottom up.

The VS-XO has two pedals conveniently living in one case. Both pedals are normally set in order to run from Drive-1 to Drive-2 inside, with the option of separate outs on the back by which you can change the pedal order or even add something else in between the two. The pedal is also both Buffered and True Bypass. These are individually switched in and out inside the unit. This should make tone guys happy on both camps. It’s extra work for the manufacturer, and a great idea! In Use: The Foot Switches are custom designed and control gold plated relays inside the unit There is a lot to this pedal, and it’s very for reliability. They feel great. The VS-XO musical in that it’s easy to get very usable weighs in at about 1½ pounds and draws tones. In the studio it’s set up to win because of the incredible range of tones. I took it about 36mA max. out on tour to see how it would fare on my Drive-1 main board there. I put it in place of two The Drive 1 side has a lot of options. overdrives because of space. Starting out, there are 3 knobs: Drive, Tone, My first instinct was to set up Drive-1 as a and Volume. Added to this, however, is a lighter gain and Drive-2 for solo. That wasn’t small mix knob that allows you to control my favorite. I then set Drive-2 to more of a the mix ratio of drive to clean. The pedal slight gain and Drive-1 more for a crunch can be set up as a clean boost only, a mix of vibe. This worked great. I bet that’s what both, or just overdrive. The Clipping Switch they were thinking. I could leave Drive -2 on

most of the time. It has a lot of headroom and can take a lot of signal. The VS-XO is not tame. It has plenty of “hair” for the modern vibe. I found it much more versatile than a Tube Screamer type of pedal, especially since it is two pedals in one. I do love the mix knob. It is what made the Sparkle drive special, and is such a plus. I got some cool tones by cranking up the gain on the Drive-1 and mixing in some of the clean for a very complex sound. The pedal cleaned up real nice when I backed off the guitar volume. That, to me, is a good sign. The pedal was also happy with all the drives in the chain in front of it, and all the mod and delay pedals got along with it quite well. There is plenty of gain left if you run a few pedals in front of the VS-XO. I address this because some pedals, (I won’t name names) have a great sound and vibe but very little volume output. If they have pedals in front of them the volume actually goes down when you kick them on. Therefore you have to spend a lot of time with gain staging your board. Fortunately not with this pedal! There are so many tone options; you’ll have a lot of fun trying different combinations. It looks great on the board, and the Blue LEDs are cool and easy to see. Conclusion: Bob Weil and his team have really put a lot of thought and care into this special pedal. It’s not enough for a pedal to look cool; it has to really perform to be a hit. With all the buffered/Bypass options, flexible routing, switchable clipping modes, mix control, and overall vibe, this pedal is a winner. At $179.00 MAP it’s a very competitive price. You can get one from your favorite local or on-line retailer. For more info see:

Michael Hodge is the music director and guitarist for Lakewood Church in Houston, TX




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STATE OF THE UNION by David Belzer

pricing is top dollar, it doesn’t matter Why do we love vintage . . . if it’s the right piece. A preguitars? What makes us want war Martin D45 in clean original that aged, stringed beauty condition has held it’s value over instead of a shiny brand new the years and will continue to do so. guitar straight off the line? There are only so may pre-war D45s There is a magnetism that in the world to begin with. Only 91 draws one to a vintage guitar, were manufactured, and how many whether it’s because of a song of those D45’s survived the last 75 that was played on it, or the years? How many of them survived artist that played it. Many of in very good condition? You get my us started playing because we point. heard a song on the radio or TV and wanted to sound just like This year, there has been a stronger the guy playing it. Or maybe The Burst Brothers with Clapton’s Classics: Drew Berlin with “Blackie” market for the very high end, blue it was as much the look of the and David Belzer with the Cream era ES-335. chip guitars. I have also seen a lot guitar that he was playing as it will stay with me ‘til the end. of movement in the $2,000 to $5,000 was the sound. I was fortunate recently to be invited by range. It’s the guitars in the mid-range level, Over the past decade, the prices on vintage Christie’s to view the Bob Dylan 1964 Fender the $10,000 to $25,000 level that have been guitars have zoomed up and come down, Stratocaster while it was in Los Angeles for slow to move. much like the other investment markets only one day, and was going back to New Guitar shows are usually a good indicator today. In recent years, they’ve gained York to be auctioned in a few weeks Here’s of current guitar market trends. The attention by investors who are trying to a guitar that was bought for a couple of Arlington Texas Guitar Show in October is cash in on the possibility of the increase in hundred bucks back in 1964, and sold for still the benchmark for these shows. This value. There’s really no way to predict why a $989,000 in 2013, breaking the record set past show definitely was more upbeat than certain guitar takes off in value when it does. by Eric Clapton’s “Blackie”, which sold for the last few years. Good guitars, priced In 2004, the vintage Fender Stratocaster shot $959,500 in 2004. right, freely sold. Ones priced too high did up like a rocket ship, and still buyers were On the same day as the Dylan auction, not. Public attendance seemed up from over eager to have one. A few years later, the the last four years, although it seemed like value came down, leaving those who bought Julien’s Auctions of Beverly Hills auctioned fewer attendees were bringing pieces in to at the height of the market holding guitars a Jerry Garcia owned and played Travis sell. that had decreased in value. That’s where Bean TB500 guitar for $238,700, and a My prediction for 2014 is that if the a lot of love for playing that guitar really Hofner Presentation Bass made for Paul McCartney (but never received or played by economy continues to grow and the stock comes into light. Not all vintage guitars play and sound wonderful, but hopefully if you him) also sold for $201,800. Needless to say, market keeps going the way it’s been going made that kind of investment in a guitar, it’s it was a busy week in the high-end celebrity in the last year, the vintage guitar market will follow. because the guitar has the feel and the sound guitar market. that you love and it’s the one for you. There is a difference between the celebrity So if this is the year that you are looking Vintage guitars come in all variations of driven vintage guitar market, and the high- to buy the vintage guitar of your dreams, a condition and originality. From the pristine, end market. Take Eric Clapton’s “Blackie” little advice. Do your research and buy from untouched, all original ones that have most which sold for almost a million dollars. It a reliable dealer. Due to the value of these likely done serious case time, rarely seeing sold for that not because of its rareness or old guitars, there are a lot of fakes out there the light of day, to the players guitars that its originality, but because it was his main in the world, so always remember: BUYER show all the wear and tear of many years guitar for 20 years. If it had no attachment to BEWARE! I hate having to reveal to on the road. Then we have everything in him, it would have been a modified Fender someone that their treasured vintage guitar Stratocaster worth a couple of thousand is not what they thought it was. And be between. dollars. patient. Buy the guitar right, and it should Some collectors only want the cleanest, That brings me to today’s current guitar always hold it’s value, as well as give you most original guitars they can find, handling years of enjoyment because it feels right in them very carefully and only occasionally market. There is always a demand for very your hands and inspires your best playing. rare and very original higher end pieces. The take them out to play, some want a certain year, and for some is just a certain color. 1954 Fender Stratocaster, 1959-1960 Gibson David Belzer is one of the top Then there are the players: people who Les Paul Standards, the late 1959 Gibson vintage guitar authorities in appreciate the historic value, but don’t mind ES-335s, and Martin pre-war D45 acoustics the world, with over 30 years if something has been modified, just as long are always in demand. A 1941 pre-war of experience in vintage. His as the guitar plays and sounds great, or Martin D45 sold last month for $300,000. knowledge of vintage guitars With the down turn of the economy in is only exceeded by his passion should I say, “speaks to them”. the last few years, people with the money for playing them. I’m a bit of all of those, although the older to spend see a buying opportunity when For more information or to I get, the more I realize it’s the players that these rare guitars become available. Even if contact him directly, visit


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Vince Gill

Vince Gill Preserve, Play, Repeat by Rusty Russell


Vince Gill From the moment the word “vintage” began sneaking into discussions of stringed instruments (as opposed to merely calling them “old,”) certain axioms have emerged and remained. Re-finish a vintage piece and you’ve cut its value nearly in half. Original accessories, sales receipts, and one-owner instruments have serious cache. And of course, vintage stringed instruments just sound better than the newer models (not true in every case, but nearly always presumed). One undeniable truth in the vintage guitar world is that, with spiraling values putting them far beyond the reach of journeyman pro players, most of the real gems have settled into the hands of well-heeled collectors. Vince Gill is certainly one of those. A bona fide Country Music superstar whose album sales top twenty-six million, whose searing tenor is by now one of the genre’s iconic voices, and whose Grammy wall holds twenty (and counting) of those little trinkets, Gill could afford to own a staggering collection that included at least one of most every storied model. Which he does. And he could house them in a special room, tucked away or displayed in specially built drawers and racks. Which, he does. Anyone who knows Vince Gill beyond the

radio voice and frequent TV appearances, however, knows he could have had a fine career as simply “Vinny,” the guitar player, even if he’d never sung a note. Beyond and before most everything else, Vince Gill is a player. A real player. With picking pals like Eric Clapton, Mark O’Connor, Brent Mason, and the late, great Chet Atkins. So when he pulls out, say, one of his (two) 1930-31 OM35 Martins and plays you a big, open G chord, his eyes light up and he smiles a knowing smile. A player’s smile. Whatever the guitar’s monetary value, that sound is why he owns it. “I don’t buy a guitar just because it’s rare or valuable,” Gill explains. “It has to speak to me in some way. There’s got to be something special about it that I can make music out of.” And these days, with the big-label record business and country radio caught in the thrall of a beat-heavy, distortion-thick sound that just isn’t his bag, he’s finding more time to focus on getting music out of all those special instruments. The 2011 MCA release, Vince Gill – Guitar Slinger served notice. His weekly Mondaynight Nashville gig with the Time Jumpers, a world-class Western Swing outfit, has him trading jazz lines with other Music

City super pickers. And he’s liable to pop up anywhere the playing is hot – from an obscure night spot to Clapton’s annual Crossroads Festival. “All my life,” he says, “I’ve always just wanted to get better, and that’s still a driving force, always. Even the best players you’ve ever heard, they’re still driven that way. I don’t think it ever ends. I sure hope it doesn’t, anyway.” Vince was kind enough to talk about some of his extensive collection, and the meaning that the instruments have for him, as well as how he came to own them.

photo: Kristen Barlowe

“If there’s any guitar that made me who I am, this would be it,” says Gill of his 1953 Telecaster. “It’s been with me through so many of the stages and changes in my career. I bought it from a dear old friend back in Oklahoma named Bob Woods. Paid him 450 dollars for it, which was pretty cheap even then. It’s a little heavier than some of them from that era, and it’s got the most amazing sound – it really speaks.”

One of Gill’s two 1930-31 Martin OM45s was a gift from his wife, Contemporary Gospel artist Amy Grant. “There aren’t a whole lot of these out there,” he says. “Somehow, I ended up with two of them. It’s a small body, but they have a big, beautiful sound. It rings with all these overtones. It’s like playing a lap piano.”


Vince Gill Vince’s first guitar, bought for him by his parents, was a cherry red 1966 Gibson ES-335 that now lives in the Country Music Hall Of Fame. This 1959 Dot-neck is a nod to those beginnings, and one of the holy grails of vintage electric collecting. It’s all original, save for a replacement (vintage) P.A.F. rear pickup. Gill played 335s extensively during his late 70s/early80s stint with Pure Prairie League. It’s often his model of choice for the Time Jumpers gig.

“I spent my early years in Bluegrass,” says Gill,“ and if there’s one guitar that’s ‘the’ instrument in that world, it’d be a pre-war Martin D28. I saw this one at a festival around 1975. A fellow had it for sale. I gave him every dollar I had in the world and my own, much newer D28 for it. So that’s another one that’s been with me a long, long time.”

“I really believe this may be the best Strat I’ve ever heard,” Vince says of his 1959 slab-board Stratocaster. He’s the second guitar hero to own it; bought brand new by the legendary

Duane Eddy, the guitar didn’t see much use in his hands, or after it was passed along to his son. “It gets used a lot these days,” Gill states proudly. “It’s become one of my go-to guitars.”


14 IDEAS FOR IMPROVING IN 2014 by Rich and Gail Severson If becoming a better guitar player is one of your New Year’s resolutions, here are some great ideas to help you accomplish that goal. Winter is here; the days are short and the nights are long. Now is the perfect time of the year to get away from the TV and spend some extra time improving your playing. 1. Take private lessons. Either by Skype or in person will make you accountable to practice and motivated to improve. It’s always good to have a qualified teacher watch and hear you play; they can not only teach you, but also troubleshoot your playing and set you on the right path. There is usually too much information to remember, so record your lesson so you can go back to it and work on all the points covered. Set up your next lesson date while taking a lesson so you have a deadline. Give yourself sufficient time to learn all the material; 2 - 4 weeks is usually plenty. Don’t give yourself too long or you’ll procrastinate and never take another lesson. For more information about Skype lessons go to http://www.guitarcollege. net/1on1lessons.html 2. Attend a workshop or conference. Our workshop alumni come back over and over again. Not only is it a fun and affordable vacation, but it also keeps them motivated to improve. Sharing ideas and insights with other students is also very helpful. There are local music stores or church clinics, workshops, or conferences that you can attend. We hold an annual jazz workshop in Yosemite http:// . You’ll master some jazz standards, and then play them live with a rhythm section. We have students at many levels, so jump in and enjoy the fun! 3. Get a gig. Even if it’s free, start somewhere! You can find open mic nights or jams sessions at local coffee houses, restaurants, bookstores, bars, or libraries. Consider doing special music at your church or entertaining at a hospital, convalescent home, or school. If you would prefer to perform with others, your community center or local college often will have a band you can join. 4. Get a music buddy, group, or band. Playing alone all the time can get lonely and boring. Playing with others makes you accountable to someone else and will encourage you to practice. Meet weekly or monthly, and strive to learn some new tunes together. Find another guitarist, a bass player, keyboard player, a vocalist, or all of the above with musical interests similar to

yours. Start a guitar club at your church or in your community. If you don’t know anyone, Craigslist and music store bulletin boards have ads for musicians and bands. You can either answer an ad or post one. 5. Practice something new. Learn something that you’ve always wanted to learn. Most players practice the same old licks, solos, and songs for years and wonder why they haven’t improved. Find some learning material compatible with both your musical taste and skill level. might have just what you need. It’s better to err on the side of material being too simple at first. You will master the piece more rapidly, and can then move up in difficulty. Even 20 minutes a day working on something new will help your playing. 6. Teach, or share what you know. There is no better way to learn than to teach. Share your knowledge with others and it will motivate you to learn more, even if it’s just to stay one step ahead your students! You can even make some extra cash while being a positive, constructive influence in someone else’s life. Teach privately, or start group lessons at church or in your community. Teach alone, or with other musicians, rotating instructors weekly. You can even start a guitar club and just have the group share ideas and information and jam. 7. Buy a new guitar. Nothing makes you more motivated to play than a new guitar. Maybe you can sell some of the old guitars in the closet and get a new one. Be sure it is set up properly so it’s easy to play. Even new strings and a good set up on your old guitar can make it play like new! 8. Go see a live performance. Seeing someone playing in person in a style you like is very stimulating. Watch a local performer (or a pro performing in your area) that you admire; sit up close and take it all in. Figure out what it is you like about their playing and try to incorporate that characteristic into your playing. Ask if they offer private lessons or workshops. Influences from many players help you create your own unique style. 9. Record yourself. Recording yourself is like looking in the mirror, the recorder doesn’t lie. You will hear exactly where you need to improve. Beware; it can also be discouraging, so guard your attitude. Recording yourself is also a great way to chart your progress. You can go back and listen to earlier recordings and hear how far you’ve


come. Make a CD to play for others; this will motivate you to practice. If you know someone else will be listening, you’ll work hard to play your very best. 10. Listen to lots of players. When you want to learn a new song, do some research and listen to how your favorite players interpret it to inspire your creative ideas. It is so easy to download an mp3 or look on YouTube to hear a variety of arrangements of the song you want to master. Again, influences from many players help you create your own unique style. 11. Practice daily. Pick up your guitar and play some scales and exercises daily. Even while you watch TV... play your guitar. You can maintain finger memory and improve your skill. Find 10 ways to practice more efficiently at http://www.guitarcollege. net/20minutes.html 12. Take a music class. You will find classes in your area at local music stores, colleges, and adult education centers, or go online if necessary. Learn more about music. It can be about guitar, theory, piano, music ensemble, jazz, music appreciation, or whatever else is available. The more you learn, the more motivated you will be to practice and you will become a better, more well rounded musician. 13. Subscribe to a music magazine. There are so many music magazines, you can be sure to find one that suites your musical tastes. It’s inspiring to read about musicians, learn a new lick or song, and see all the new gear. Many magazines even offer free online editions; check their websites for details. Why not start with this magazine! 14. Attend a guitar show. Guitar shows are held all year long all around the country. This is a great opportunity to see and hear all the different new and used guitars you might be interested in. Often you can bring your old guitars and gear and sell them or trade them in there as well. Our favorite shows are the 4 Amigos Guitar Shows www. but there are many more to choose from. I can guarantee you’ll go right home and practice! Maybe we’ll even see you there some time. Hope you have a great 2014 and make great strides in your playing. Keep Pickin’, Rich and Gail Severson

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© 2014 OnBoard Research Corp. Photo: Sean Berry.

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JHS Panther Cub Delay Pedal by Doug Doppler

is the classic analog delay The highly anticipated Panther Cub is the tone. The Panther Cub’s eight latest release from JHS Pedals. This all- 3208 Bucket Brigade Delay analog delay pedal distills the classic tones Chips give you up to one full second of delay and modern feature set from the original time, which is well over twice what you’ll Panther Delay into an ultra pedal board find in a vintage EHX Deluxe Memory Man, Boss DM-2, or Ibanez AD9. If you’ve friendly footprint that’s half the size. been considering picking up a vintage analog FEATURE SET delay, you might want to think again. • Footprint: 1590BB Size Case (4.7” x 3.7”) MODERN FEATURES • Delay Time: 1,000 Milliseconds • Chipset: Eight 3208 Bucket Brigade What truly separates the Panther Cub from Delay Chips the analog pack is the massive range of • Controls: Mix, Feedback, Delay Time, features it has to offer. The rich feature set Modulation Speed, Modulation Depth, gives players a modern footprint for serving Four-Position Ratio (1/4, 1/8, dotted vintage analog delay, making it perfect for 1/8, Triplets) virtually any player on most any gig. • Jacks: In, Out (mix or wet/dry), Tap ON YOUR BOARD Tempo (in/out), Expression, EFX Loop The input, output, and power jacks are • Power: Standard 9v DC Negative all located on the upper side of the pedal • Display: On/Off, Delay Speed • Switches: True Bypass On/Off, Tap to keep the footprint as narrow as possible Tempo, Internal “ROAR” Oscillation on crowded pedal boards. And speaking of power, the Panther Cub runs on standard Sensitivity Switch • Point of Manufacture: Kansas City USA 9v DC negative power, another pedal board friendly feature. In mono the output jack serves up a blend of the analog direct and THE SKINNY delay signals. It can also be split via a TRS The Panther Cub is one of the most exciting cable to provide separate wet and dry outs new pedals on the market. What makes for stereo rigs, or the option of isolating just this pedal so special is the combination of the delay signal for even more intricate rigs. a modern feature set, pedal board friendly ON THE GIG footprint, and classic analog delay tone. It’s pretty much like a vintage Deluxe Memory If beat-synced delays are your thing, there Man on steroids. are number of tempo related features that make the Panther Cub particularly gig VINTAGE TONE friendly. The Ratio control and Tap Tempo Although the feature set is thoroughly functionality allow you to seamlessly dial in modern, the real heart and soul of this pedal and fine tune delay times on the fly without OVERVIEW


distraction—even on the quietest passages, thanks to the ultra quiet soft touch footswitch. The Tap Tempo jack further refines tempo control by allowing the Panther Cub to function either as the time master or slave, while the True Speed LED displays the rate of the delay. The EFX Loop jack operates via a TRS splitter so you can add additional effects to the delay path. Expression functionality can also be mapped to any of the controls on the face of the pedal. ON THE PLAYING FIELD We used an Elliott Guitars Tone Master and Morgan Amplification AC20 Deluxe to put the Panther Cub through its paces. Tonally speaking, this pedal does a fantastic job of straddling the fine line that separates delay driven parts and ambience—it’s there when you want it, and in the background when it needs to be. As simple as this sounds, this is more a matter of the voice of the delay than just the level, and this is another area where this pedals scores big. One of the things players love about the old analog designs was the fact that you don’t need a pocket protector and manual to operate them, something that was not lost in the design of this pedal. While the feature set is far more sophisticated than its analog predecessors, this actually makes dialing in classic tones even easier. Whether you’re looking for Edge-infused beat-synched delays, cascading oscillation madness, or SRV-inspired swirl, the Panther Cub is as easy to dial in as it is pleasing to the ear. $349.00 For more info,

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Technology is changing the way artists and music producers create music at a staggering rate. What’s even more amazing is how powerful mobile devices, and their respective apps, have become in just a few short years. Not only can we take our recording studio anywhere with us these days, the cost to have a powerful studio in the palm of your hand is mere pennies. This is a simple overview to familiarize you with what’s available in the world of mobile recording for guitars and vocals. All iOS devices have a built in microphone, however, digital distortion occurs at loud volumes and soft sections of songs can get lost due to low levels. When recording vocals and acoustic guitar, the following low cost, high quality microphones are worth looking into. Blue Microphones initially introduced their Blue Mikey a number of years ago to great reviews. They have since released the upgraded Blue Mikey Digital ($99.99). Equipped with a line input, 230-degree rotating design, and three gain settings, this mic easily achieves the optimum recording level for that loud chorus or soft verse. Tascam’s iM2 and iM2X (both for $79.99) offer 16-bit/44.1kHz A/D conversion as well as analog limiting to prevent clipping. The iM2 has a cardioid mic pattern, while the iM2X records an XY stereo polar pattern. IK Multimedia’s iRig Mic Cast ($39.99) is a small condenser mic that plugs into the headset jack of your iDevice. This frees up the 30-pin or Lightening ports, allowing you to continually charge your device while it’s in use. For electric guitar and bass, there are a plethora of apps to choose from. Sonoma Wireworks, a company whose goal has always been to create tools that are easy to use and sound amazing, offers Guitar Tone ($2.99) as a great low cost app containing a variety of vintage and modern amplifiers and pedals. Additional add-on amp and pedal packs are available for only $9.99 each.

Primer tube ($9.99), and the various Signature Packs ($14.99), offer numerous additional features. This is a solid all around app, not only for generating guitar tones, but also for multitrack recording with the in-app purchase of the four track recorder. There is also a drum module inside Amplitube that allows you to program and play along with your own loops. AmpKit ($19.99) by Agile Partners features a bountiful variety of amp and pedal models. AmpKit is specifically ideal for bass players with their bundle of popular Ampeg, Fender, Trace Elliot, and Ashdown amps.

mal, and boost modes, and 60dB of continuous level control. IK Multimedia offers a number of interfaces like iRig ($39.99), iRig Stomp ($59.99), iRig HD ($99.99), and iRig Pro ($149.99). Depending on the features you’re looking for, one of these iRig interfaces will surely suit your needs. Peavey’s AmpKit LiNK HD ($99.99) provides a guitar input as well as separate headphone and line out jacks. A nice feature of the LiNK HD is the individual knobs to control the guitar’s input and headphone levels. Apogee’s JAM ($99) features Apogee’s PureDIGITAL technology. Along with a 1/4” guitar/bass input and gain control knob, JAM includes a status LED indicating when the input signal is too hot. For multitrack recording, there are a number of apps that every serious musician should have on their mobile device.

Mobile POD by Line 6 (Free), brings the same award-winning tones found on the POD 2.0 to your iPhone and iPad. Along with the 32 amps, 16 effects and 16 cabinets, you can also access over 10,000 tone presets designed by artists, Line 6, and other players. When combined with Line 6’s Mobile In ($49.95) or Sonic Port ($99.95) interfaces, Mobile POD allows you to record into numerous iOS music apps, play along with your iTunes library, and real, multi-track master recordings from today’s most popular artists in the award winning Jammit App.

Garageband (Free) is arguably the most complete multi-track app available for iOS. With a multitude of virtual instruments included with the application, as well as a wide assortment of amps and effects that allow you to find the perfect tone for any style, Garageband is possibly the most self-contained of all music apps.

While we’re on the subject of interfaces, Sonoma Wireworks’ GuitarJack ($129), a high quality 24-bit interface allowing for a 1/4” input as well as stereo mic/line input, has elevated the quality of mobile recordings to a level that rivals expensive desktop setups. GuitarJack also includes pad, nor-

The programs above are just a simple primer to get you started in the mobile music movement. While our handheld devices, applications, and interfaces will never replace the power of a real studio, we are truly experiencing the iOS Revolution. For music creators on the move, the artistic freedom to create literally anywhere is incredibly exciting.

Amplitube by IK Multimedia has a variety of amp modeling apps including the signature tones of Fender Amps, Slash, and Jimi Hendrix. There is even a free version. The paid versions Amplitube LE ($2.99), Ampli-


Some companies cram as many features as they can into their products, resulting in apps that are cluttered and ultimately inhibit the creative process. Sonoma Wireworks designed FourTrack ($4.99) for iPhone and iPod touch, and StudioTrack ($9.99), an eight-track recorder for iPad, with a focus on simplicity. Anyone who’s ever used a hardware four or eight track will feel right at home using either of these apps.

Michael Elsner is a guitarist/ songwriter/producer whose written for shows including American Idol, Amish Mafia, EXTRA, The Sing Off, and So You Think You Can Dance among many others. www.

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Martin D-28 Authentic 1941 by Bruce Adolph

When the C.F. Martin large rectangle shaped cardboard guitar arrived to my office it had been a record setting cold temperature for the Great Northwest. Knowing that this guitar had just traveled via ground through even colder climates to get to me from Nazareth, PA I decided to play it safe and let the guitar stay in it’s box for 24 hours to give it a chance to adjust to the climate changes. A guitar with a nitrose finish can panic somewhat with too much of a climate/humidity change and the finish can actually crack. I ran a music store in Los Angeles back in the 80’s and I was a Martin dealer. Back then they used to ship the guitars with the hardshell case actually shrink wrapped with thick plastic to a large piece of cardboard to help with the moisture and other climatic upheavals. So after waiting for a day I gladly opened up the box and pulled out the guitar case. Right off the b a t y o u

realize that this Harptone case is a high caliber one that doesn’t come with your regular Martin purchase. It has a thick grained tolex cover, solid latches and it weights a bit more than usual; solid stuff! I popped open the case and the first thing you notice is the quality Delmar pick guard. It doesn’t look cloudy, it looks crystal clear – it looks like a real tortise shell pick guard. Obviously it isn’t (that is a little hard on the tortises). The solid Adirondack spruce top is beautiful and the herringbone inlay around the body shape just speaks “Martin class”. The solid black ebony fingerboard makes the presentation look that much richer and add to that the position marker inlays that are “diamonds and squares”, the long pattern from the golden era circa 1941. And that my friend is the first clue that you are looking at a D28 Authentic 1941 model Martin guitar. As you dig deeper you will find many more reasons that just the inlay markers why this revisited Martin guitar is well worth the higher than usual price tag. A lot of companies talk the talk about their “golden years” and then pop out their regular fare. Not so here. Martin took a 1941 D-28 from their museum and traveled to the Smithsonian Institute and put it into their CAT scan machine to get exact measurements of the bracing, top, bottom… you name it. Then they built it the old way with hide glue (which is quite a bit harder to work with and some purists might make the case for hide glue sounding better). Just like the 1941 D-28 from Martin’s own museum, they used Madagascar rosewood back and sides. Our actual guitar that arrived here had amazing matched sides to it. The back piece was very nice and is accented by black/ white Boltaron inlay. This D-28 Authentic 1941 model is historically accurate right down to the neck barrel, heel, diamond, head taper and slots. Wow, well done. I have owned several different Martins in my lifetime and I prefer the nut width that is one this guitar sports (1-11/16”). Another plus is that back in 1941 the top bracing pattern was a standard “X” scalloped that has been rear shifted. The tuners


are nickel Waverly’s with oval knobs and the neck is made from solid genuine mahogany that feels great all up and down the entire neck. But how does it sound you ask? I have owned nice D-28’s before but all of the high-end pieces/parts that makes up the sum here really does add to the finished product… a rich and clear tone. The projected sound is full and the balance from low to high is just spot on (not to mention that the ebony fretboard is a joy to play). Knowing that I am a sucker for quality tonewoods I took this guitar to a repair man I know who has played a lot of old Martins. After just a few minutes of playing it he stated that the bass already is just as good as an old 1940’s Martin would be. He stated that after the finish got a chance to dry a little and the guitar is broken in some from playing/resonating the guitar body that the highs would get there as well. He said they sound good now but he could tell that there was more tone to come. We both commented on how you can feel the instrument resonate against your body when you strum it. For fingerstyle tunes it had that delicate delivery and nuance that you can only hope for in a guitar and when I took out my favorite guitar pick and started strumming away the only thing I could can say was, “BIG!”. The sound filled the room. After just 10 minutes with this D-28 Authentic 1941 model you realize that Martin is at the top of it’s game – still building phenomenal guitars. At a retail price of $7,999.00 this model is up in the rarified air range (but remember, we never pay retail do we? This guitar streets for around $6,700.00). But now, put this guitar up against other companies $8,000.00 list price guitars and I would be hard pressed to hand this Martin D-28 Authentic over… it really is well worth the money. It looks, plays and feels rich… 1941 must have been a heck of a year for Martin! $7,999.00

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Amin7 = C6 Way back in December of 1979 I was at a Christmas party for Dale Zdenek Publishing. Dale was sharing his success as a publisher of guitar instructional books. Dale’s first title was Ted Greene’s “Chord Chemistry”, which took off like a skyrocket. I worked for Dale as a staff writer and proofreader. While there, I wrote three books for Dale which were innovative only because they were the first to have sound sheets, a flimsy vinyl record which you can now only find in a museum, but back to the party.

him playing on hundreds of tunes from the 50’s through the mid 80’s, but you just never know that it’s Tommy. Anyway, at the party Tommy held in his hand what I want to show you now. It was a piece of paper that had guitar chord grids with fingerings written in Ted Greene’s famous freehand. In a sincere, humble voice I heard Tommy say to Ted, “Ted, this is all I would have ever needed.” In reality that probably wasn’t true, but it was the way Ted laid out these chords. Tommy was moved by their simplicity and versatility. I thought, “If Many of LA’s heavy hitter guitar players were Tommy would say that, I’d surely better study there, and among them was Tommy Tedesco. As them hard!” a studio musician Tommy held the record as the I’m giving you this big buildup so you will study most recorded guitarist in history. You’ll hear these chords with enthusiasm and learn to work


them into your playing. So here’s the basis of the lesson.

ful for a secondary guitarist, with the Here are some voicings for Amin7 first guitar playing the open stock Amin7 = C6 or C6. A closed inversion, for our chords and the second playing embellishments and fills. The first guitarist Simple, and something you might purposes, means we will have chords can play an open Cmaj chord while already know; they contain the same using four adjacent strings. An open the second plays a C6 on top of it. notes, the same makeup! Amin7 = A inversion means we will skip a string This gives the Cmaj a sweet country C E G. C6 = C E G A, the same in the voicing. sound. Likewise, when the first guinotes just a different order. So what? String group 1 encompasses strings tar plays Amin, the second can play But think about it, one voicing or 1 2 3 4, string group 2 uses string 2 3 Amin7, which will lighten up the michord shape can function as both a 4 5, and string group 3 strings 3 4 5 6. nor sound. Since these chords have major or a minor chord depending on In our open inversions we use strings the same makeup, each chord can where you place it on the fretboard, 6 4 3 2 and then 5 3 2 1. Learn to play serve as either a major or a minor, you relative to the chord progression. these not only up the neck on each just have to know where to place them In music, one of the most prevalent sting group, but also across the neck on the fretboard. As you learn these chord progressions is ii, V, I. If you as well. shapes remember you are getting 2 for learn these voicings you’ll have new 1. What a deal, and well worth the Transpose ways of playing the I chord and the work! ii chord. Next installment I’ll show Remember, if you really want to get you how to alter a min7 chord by one these grips down you’ve got to transpose them into other keys and apply Rich Severson, note, turning it into the V7 chord! them to all the common chords you guitarist, clinician, Let’s look at the 20, that’s right . . . currently play. Don’t forget, these author, band director, 20 voicings of an Amin7 chord or a chords will work for any major chord former GIT instrucC6 chord. Each one will have its own and its relative minor chord, F6 = tor. To preview distinct sound, or sound quality. If Dmin7, A6 = F#min7, D6 = Bmin7. Rich’s music and you want to develop your own sound, Someday these chords will become guitar educational products go to one way is to start playing some new part of your everyday playing. and voicings of common chords. These voicings are particularly use- Inversions

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The Santa Cruz Method by Larry Upton

My 3-year search for “The Guitar” has come to a successful conclusion. With that announcement also comes the realization that I have officially earned my mid-life crisis merit badge and can now close that chapter in my life.

process to be involved with, and one that taught me volumes about gratitude, destiny, confidence, and patience. Every time I open the case I’m reminded that “The Rev” has a message to share with me and anyone else willing to listen.

While some men may resort to other forms of entertainment on the Internet when going through this time in their life, I’m sure my wife was a little more than concerned finding me glued to our computer, eyeballing and discussing guitars every spare minute I could find. Once the design committee started waking me up every night at 3 AM to discuss another guitar option, I became concerned that therapy might not be far off. I’m happy to report that Richard Hoover and the folks at Santa Cruz Guitar Company stepped in with a successful intervention strategy involving a custom H-13 model that has fittingly earned the name, “The Rev”.

The vision I had in mind when setting out on this journey was a vintage style guitar built with modern era craftsmanship that a traveling wayward soul might carry into an old juke joint. I desired a guitar that could inspire an Amos Lee, Ryan Adams folksy, Americana sound held together with some pre-war and gospel blues roots courtesy of Eric Bibb, Keb Mo’, Kelly Joe Phelps, and Howard Emerson. Two years worth of exhaustive research included numerous conversations and brainstorming with highly respected builders such as David Flammang, Kevin Kopp, John Walker, John Greven, Tony Klassen, and Roy McAlister. In the end, based on my previous exposure to Santa Cruz guitars and the wealth of information I gained from the Internet, dealers, and other proud owners, I was convinced the Santa Cruz H-13 had the mojo I was looking for.

I have never felt the need or the inspiration to bestow a name on any of the guitars I have owned in my life, but it was very evident from the beginning this guitar would be different. It was an amazing


Santa Cruz has earned it’s reputation as a leader in the “boutique” guitar building world by perfecting the art of voicing and tuning a guitar while paying strict attention to the fit and finish of all components throughout the build process. While these characteristics are critical to the customtailored sound and feel of a handcrafted guitar, what I truly appreciated was how the pre-build discussions forced me to conduct a long overdue self-evaluation of myself as a guitarist. I knew 99% of my time with “The Rev” would find me laid back in my favorite upholstered chair with the guitar resting in my lap. With no formal training and years of bad habits, this guitar would have to support my far-fromprecise, 2 digit and thumb fingerpicking playing style best suited for the instrumental background music of a HGTV or Travel Channel show. My preference for playing tuned down ½ step or in open tunings led to the decision that medium gauge strings would be a better choice on this guitar rather than the light gauge strings I have grown accustomed to. The fact that the H-13 could be braced to produce lower register fingers capable of resonating right

through my body to gently massage my spine, while also providing more than ample sustain sealed the deal for me. After an embarrassing number of emails and phone calls (or should I say ‘therapy sessions’) to customer service representative Carolyn Sills, and in large part due to Richard Hoover’s personal preference, I opted to go with Mahogany and European Spruce for my tone woods. You have no idea how pleased I was when Carolyn mentioned they could easily satisfy both my weight and appearance preferences with a Figured Mahogany every other guitar would be jealous of. It’s dang near impossible to sit down and play this guitar without pausing every so often to turn the guitar over and over just to admire the 3D illusion of motion and depth in the grain. Trust me, I have run my fingers over the back more than once thinking I’m going to feel the rippled surface of a washboard. A custom full body burst idea was created by blending a Vintage Gibson style burst with the violin style burst of my 1961 Hofner 457 SE. The Tobacco Burst

that SGGC (Santa Cruz Guitar Company) produced was downright amazing, and so visually addictive to stare at that I’m surprised the Surgeon General didn’t require a warning label be placed on the outside of the case. Another visual feature I craved in my design was an Abalone herringbone rosette inspired by the Martin 000-28 M Eric Clapton model. While SCGC didn’t offer this as an option, they eagerly accepted my challenge to experiment with the design. We had a plan B just in case the Abalone idea consumed more time or effort than it was worth, but they were able to perfect the process on a test template and put any concerns either one of us had to rest. My other custom specifications were simply a matter of personal preference. A little wider 2 5/16-string spacing, Brazilian fretboard and bridge, along with a bone nut, saddle, and pins were all lifelong favorites that I couldn’t leave out. I switched from the standard S29 purfling to a standard herringbone in order to complement, rather than compete

with, the Abalone rosette, but kept the S29 for the backstripe. For the fretboard inlay I was drawn to the slotted diamond/ oval pattern commonly found in a Martin Style 45 design, since it closely resembled an inlay pattern found on my grandmother’s 1930’s era Washburn Mandolin that I cherish. This solo design graces frets 3, 5, 7, 9, and 12. Switching from the standard slothead to a solid vintage peghead design may be viewed as blasphemy by SCGC H-13 diehards, and for that I apologize, but once you see how well the ivoroid binding puts the defining touch on the neck, body, and ebony peghead, I think I can be forgiven. There was one glitch in the process that I feel must be mentioned, since it only boosted my admiration for the folks at SCGC. Almost a year to the day after I started the design talks with SCGC I was notified 24 hours prior to shipping that the QC manager noticed an imperfection in the finish on the mahogany back at final inspection and it was suspected a crack might have developed during the final tension period. Richard made it a point to personally contact me to explain


what may have happened, what steps would be taken to correct the issue, and to assure me that replacing the back with a sister set of the Figured Mahogany would be unnoticeable in every way except for delivery time which would be delayed by about 6 weeks. Having spent the better part of a year becoming part of the design

team and family at SCGC I’m sure my “attention to detail” personality was more than evident, and they made it a priority to see that every concern I had from start to finish and for years to come were fully addressed. I must publicly extend a huge, “Thank you!” to my wife, along with every forum

member, dealer, and luthier that helped me through my mid-life guitar obsession. I can honestly say the intervention worked as promised, and my days of lusting over guitars on the Internet have been replaced with more meaningful sermons courtesy of “The Rev”.



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Rubicon RC-8 Mini Amp by Scotty Murray

The RC-8 is a low wattage, lightweight am- 10-inch speaker make plifier with big fat tone! for a very large sound In the small clubs, church services, or even not normally found in live recording situations when controlling smaller amps. When stage volume is a must, this amp might be the amplifier is close mic’d with an SM57 your answer. or the like, the listenMeasuring 16.5” x 13” and constructed of ers will have no idea solid pine with a finger-jointed cabinet, the you’re not playing RC-8 also sports a 10” Jensen Falcon Jet through a cranked 30speaker. 50 watt amp. That One tone knob and one volume knob is can’t be said about the majority of small amwhat you get to shape the sound. Along plifiers I’ve played. with a 3-way gain selector and half power I’ve been on the road for the last few weeks attenuator switch, it’s all you need to get the with my friends Escondido from Nashville. vintage “cranked” amp tone we normally I’ve been using 2 of these in a stereo setup only hear from large stages or our favorite with fantastic results. I usually set them so records. they’ll break up if I hit the guitar hard and With a 6L6 power tube we get about 8 stay clean if I play soft to medium. With a watts. In some situations even that’s too 60’s AC-30 or Fender Bassman, I’ll have to loud to really get the amp cranking. Engag- reach a very high decibel level to get those ing the half power attenuator gets your tone kinds of tones. back in business! In smaller rooms I’ve been getting the kind of tone normally unattainable with my favorYou may ask yourself if that’s enough power to use in a band situation. To answer ite vintage amps. In the larger rooms, where your question, just remember this... 5 watts a powerful amp would have worked great, of tube power is as loud as a trumpet player I’m still getting very sweet sounds with these at top volume. If you’ve ever stood next to a little guys! The biggest difference is that the trumpet player then you know just how loud singers in the band can hear themselves. that can be! The Negative side: With the innovative built in tilt-back the With big amps on stage you feel a low-end amp can be placed in front of you, point- resonance that makes playing live music very ing right to your ears, right next to your live fun. It’s a sense of power that you can only monitor. I’ve never had a situation where feel with big stage volume. When you switch I couldn’t hear myself well with this set up. to smaller amps you will miss that. But keep Mic it up and the front of house mix techni- in mind that the low-end excitement you feel cian is loving what he hears, and loving you isn’t being picked up from the microphone for not blowing up the front row with vol- a half-inch from the speaker in your cabiume. You also get the benefit of guitar-amp net. Your tone in the front of house gains interaction that doesn’t happen when your no benefit from it. More than likely it’s be4x12 cab is mic’d up in the room next door ing picked up from every other live mic on to the stage. It feels like everyone kicked a the stage, causing the mix to be muddy. It’s goal! really a selfish pleasure, but a pleasure noneThe point-to-point hand wired circuit, theless. very well made cabinet, and well-chosen Now lets talk about the designer of these


amplifiers. A few years ago Robin Riggs brought one of his low wattage amp designs to a venue I was at in LA. It sounded great, but I had a few suggestions. I was sure he would dismiss them and we’d never see each other again. A few weeks later I got a call from him and he said he’d started working on a new amp design with all of my suggestions in mind! I couldn’t believe it. Over the next year we talked frequently and exchanged sketches and thoughts. Now I’ve got two of them in the back of this van while we drive across the country to entertain the masses. He’s a genius, and he may be the nicest man you’ll ever meet. In all seriousness I believe the Rubicon RC-8 is one of, if not the best low wattage amplifiers around. If you want big cranked amp tone in a small package; if you want to hear yourself well on stage; if you want the singers in your band to hear themselves; if you want guitar tone that sounds like a record in the front of house, then you should try the RC-8. I feel like it gets me all of those things. Price: $1,195.00 Scotty Murray is a Nashville based session guitar player, producer and songwriter.

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VIEW OF THE DAY by Dave Cleveland Worth Their Weight in Tone... It only takes one “big ol’ E” chord on a guitar for you to decide whether you like it or not. There is something special when all cylinders are firing from those 6 strings strapped to a couple big pieces of wood. Is it magic? Is it a full moon? Is it random? Or is there a scientific reason for certain guitars to sound better than others? Fortunately for the reader, I am no scientist! But I do know when things are right… and I know when things are uninspiring. This weekend I was reminded once again that a skilled repairman is worth their weight in TONE! There are four professional guitar repairmen I want to mention that have made my life a much happier place :)

of what I would see. The case was severely busted in the headstock region but there was still hope the case had protected the guitar. I slowly opened the case and was relieved to see the headstock was still connected to the neck. Then I noticed a couple strings were busted. Oh no!!... I carefully lifted the guitar out of the case and saw the damage the weighty Volvo had created. It was a pretty clean crack on both sides, right where the neck and headstock meet. I took the guitar to Gary in the case that had given its life to try and protect its precious cargo. He knew it was not good. After several minutes of evaluation and an equal

Living in Nashville has many benefits for guitarists. Early on I was introduced to Joe Glaser. For years he has been the first call “go to guy” not only for session players, but also for people like Vince Gill, Keith Urban, and many more ‘in the spotlight’ folks. Getting a guitar back from Joe guarantees that the “E” chord I mentioned earlier will ring and cause vibrations throughout the whole guitar. My SG, for example, will not only ring out through the guitar but will vibrate against my chest and even down my legs to my feet when sitting with it. Does every guitar have this potential? I’m not sure. I do know that allowing a guy like Joe Glaser to tweak any guitar will bring that guitar to it’s full potential. One of my favorite repairmen in the Franklin area is Gary Gilbert. He owns a shop called King Bee Guitars. Gary has a passion for guitars like no other. If you go to his shop you will be greeted by a man with a great sense of humor and a good story. Gary is a player. He knows how to set up a guitar and get the “magic” happening. Just recently I decided to test the weight of my Volvo XC 90 against the case that contained my 1991 Olson Acoustic. Yes, my Olson! I forgot my keys and set the Olson down on the passenger side of my SUV, I quickly ran back in the house to grab my keys…my cell rings..I answer it…my brain focuses on the call…I start the car…I cut the wheels to back up….. crunch!!….”I’ll have to call you back, I think I just destroyed my guitar”….. So I got out of the car and proceeded to sneak up on the guitar. I thought sneaking up on the guitar would somehow ease the blow

number of “running over my Olson jokes”, he gave me the good news that he could get the guitar back to original condition. I left the guitar in his capable hands and a month later I returned to find my tone yielding Olson restored to its Pre-Crunched condition.


Thanks again Gary! A capable and caring repairman saves the day! The last two repairmen are on opposite sides of the USA. The first is a man named Matt Brewster. He owns a company called 30th Street Custom guitars in New York City. His guitar brand is called “Rust”. I have several Rust guitars. A seafoam green Strat, A sunburst tele and a see through red Jazzmaster. I call that one my Rustmaster. All of his guitars are crafted to the exact specifications that the buyer desires. For example, I asked him to build the Rustmaster exactly like my 1965 fender Jazzmaster, except for these exceptions: I wanted the wiring like a strat, a stop tailpiece like a Les Paul and P-90’s like a Les Paul Junior. Once I received the guitar I immediately did the “E Chord” test and it passed beautifully! Matt is an expert builder and repairman. His client list ranges from Walter Becker, to Ace Frehley, to Wayne Krantz. Just recently I was in Seattle, WA for the Christian Musicians Summit. I had a K and K pickup system installed in my guitar 2 days before the event and was excited to play live with it because of the warm and woody tone the K and K provides. (By the way, none of the repairmen in this article were responsible for the install of the K and K!) While teaching my class I noticed the guitar cutting in and out. Was it the cable?.. or was it….NO!…not the K and K system! It was indeed the pickup, but how was I going to fix it and get it ready for the concert I was going to play that night? Enter Mr. Joe Riggio. Fortunately for me, and the other guitar players there, Joe had been asked by Bruce Adolph to come out and set up a repair area to assist guitarists with any guitar needs they had. Joe is a friendly and knowledgeable guy. He quickly found the problem and had it fixed in no time at all. I got the guitar back, and then realized that the installers of the K and K system had created another problem. The action was much lower and the notes were buzzing on the neck when I dug in. Joe!!! Help! He took the guitar back to his make-shift shop and looked under the saddle. The installers of the K and K had not replaced the old under saddle pick up with enough shim to get the action back to where it needed to be. Joe said this was an easy fix... if he was at continued on page 48


Life is too short to play a lousy guitar!


with Larry Briggs Larry Briggs has been active in the music business since 1970, when he and his father opened a used guitar shop in rural Tulsa County, Oklahoma. In 1974 he purchased a music store in Tulsa and proceeded to combine his extensive collection of old and rare instruments and amplifiers with the existing new inventory. Larry was one of the few people in the Southwest dealing in vintage guitars during this time period, and his reputation grew rapidly. Consequently, Strings West became an oasis of old and rare guitars, amplifiers, banjos, and mandolins. He sold guitars and amplifiers to many of the super groups and stars of the seventies, eighties, nineties, and into this century, including Stevie Ray and Jimmy Vaughan, Billy Setzer Gibbons, Ted Nugent, Vince Gill, Neil Schon, Rick Nielsen of Cheap Trick, Joan Jett, Little River Band, Heart, Bob Dylan, the Bee Gees, Barney Kessel, Brian, and more. In 1988, Larry co-authored “Guitars, Guitars, Guitars”, which contains some of the first comprehensive serial number reference information for Fender, Gibson, Guild, and other American brand guitars, and which was used extensively in the vintage guitar business.

tar Shows, Inc. (Four Amigos Productions). Their first show was a highly successful event held at the Tulsa Convention Center. The Amigos have produced over one hundred fifty guitar shows since that humble beginning. Larry is owner and president of California World Guitar Shows, and since 1993 has held four annual shows in various venues in the Los Angeles and San Francisco areas, as well as in San Diego, Phoenix, and Tulsa. He is also co-producer of the world’s largest consumer guitar event in Arlington, Texas each October. CG: Larry, what is the most rewarding part of producing your guitar shows? Larry: “It would have to be the people, meaning the different dealers from all parts of the country. All of us share a similar passion about the old guitars and amps. The dealers are from every walk of life in the guitar business. It is a close knit and small community. For instance, if you go to a gun show there are thousands and thousands of people just swarming, but when you go to a guitar show it is a much smaller group that are into the vintage and collectible side of guitars”.

Chief Mack Thomas 15 pedal Bigsby 3-neck steel guitar. Larry has also owned and sold eighteen 1958-1960 Gibson Les Paul Standard models. At one time Larry’s vast amplifier collection included 140 Fender amplifiers in black face, tweed, white, and brown colors. Larry’s collection of stencil guitars numbers over 200, and he still actively buys models with unique scenes painted on the front. CG: What collectible guitar have you personally bought recently that you get excited about? I would have to say the one I bought a week ago from a man in Tulsa, Oklahoma named Tommy Crook. Tommy was actually mentioned by name on the Tonight Show back in the 1980’s when the host Johnny Carson asked Chet Akins, “Who do you respect as a guitar player?” I got a chance to buy his guitar. He had a Gibson ES5 Switchmaster and he used bass strings on the 5th and 6th strings. He has played this guitar for 45 years in Tulsa and it has become an iconic guitar. Besides being Tommy’s guitar, it is also collectible on it’s own, as it is a 1961 Switchmaster… so that was like a good news double whammy!”

Larry has owned many significant E-mail The guitars, among them Billy Byrd’s Amigos also produce shows in AusIn 1978, Larry traveled to Dallas to Bigsby standard guitar, the iconic El- tin, Nashville and Chicago. www. participate in the very first national don Shamblin (Bob Wills Band) gold for more info. guitar show. In 1984, he joined forces 1954 Fender Stratocaster, and the with two partners to form Texas Gui-


Gibson Art Deco Series Guitars by Bruce J. Kunkel (Courtesy of Mick Flynn and Kelly Flynn - Guitar Archeology) Photographs by Richard Green (Jazz Moderne and Sophisticated Lady) Photos courtesy of Bruce Kunkel and Gibson (The Auburn)

Sophisticated Lady

NOTE: These are three of the rarest and finest instruments that have been produced by the Gibson Guitar Company. They are all one of a kind and not to be produced again.

everywhere you look in New York City is permeated in the Art Deco style. It is opulent, angular, aggressive, and emblematic of a great, wealthy, industrial power on the rise.

To explain to you the significance of these three unique collectible guitars in this pictorial overview you will hear from the designer of them, Bruce Kunkel (Gibson employee), and also from the un-named owner of them who wants to keep his/her identity private.

Orville Gibson, the founder of the Gibson Company, invented the carved-top guitar. In later years the Gibson Company was heavily influenced by the Art Deco style. Models like the L5 and the Super 400 were created in response to the need for larger, more powerful guitars that could be heard over the horn First up is Bruce Kunkel… sections of the Big Bands. They brought to “In the years between the two world wars, an end the use of the tenor banjo, and sigin the depths of the great depression, there naled the birth of the jazz guitar. These guiemerged a pinnacle of style and elegance tars were molded both visually and aurally known today as the Art Deco Era. Industrial by the art and music of the time, and have designers, artists, and musicians streamlined become historic artifacts of the period. their creations with radiating fans, stairsteps, and idealized beauty. Growing up in I had the good fortune to work with these the New York City area, I was immersed in iconic guitars from 1993 through 2003 in this style from an early age. The Chrysler the capacity of Designer and Creator of Art building, Rockefeller Center, and just about Guitars at Gibson’s Custom, Art, and His-


toric Division. They were a favorite canvas for my work because of their impressive size. In 1999 Rick Gembar, the General Manager, had the brain-child of creating a guitar to pay tribute to the 20th Century, and there’s only one guitar big enough to handle that huge subject; the Super 400. With over 135 separate images, it is a veritable history book, and took the better part of six months to create. Rick called on me again to design and build some very high-end guitars in the Art Deco style. This was an exciting assignment for me. Some of my favorite objects were designed in that period; the 1934 Boat Tail Auburn, and the 1931 Gee Bee racing planes to mention a few. I was already a very big fan of this time in history. In all, three guitars were created. The L5 Jazz Moderne, the Sophisticated Lady Super 400 and the L5 Auburn, the back of which

L5 Auburn L5 Jazz Moderne

depicts a 1934 Boat Tail Auburn automobile interpreted as a wood and metal marquetry. The back of the L5 Jazz Moderne is also a marquetry inspired by an old photo I found of a pair of elevator doors in a Los Angeles department store. The colorful, radiating fan top is pure vintage deco and is one of my favorite designs that I ever created. The Sophisticated Lady Super 400 pays tribute to Duke Ellington’s song of the same name; the melody of which is the audio equivalent of the visual style of Art Deco: elegant, posh, and fluid. The back of the guitar depicts a fashionable woman descending a hotel staircase with two Borzoi Dogs. She’s, no doubt, on her way to Central Park in her green caped frock and Robin Hood cap; the epitome of a “Sophisticated Lady.” Each of these guitars has a unique stairstepped pick guard and matching truss rod

cover, with its title engraved in the motherof-pearl inlays. The Gibson logo on the pick guard is hand cut from solid gold. The engravings on the gold tail pieces were masterfully executed by Nick Kimmons.” Bruce Kunkel Next, a few words from the, “to remain unnamed” owner of this collection… “All the Super 400 / Super 5 based Art Deco guitars were the inspiration of Gibson’s now-long-retired top master luthier, Bruce Kunkel, whom Gibson allowed to give them his all in these Art Guitars. To the best of my knowledge, Bruce Kunkel only built three of these Super 400 / Super 5 based Art Deco guitars. The first one was the Sophisticated Lady, a Champaign colored Super 400 with the back of the guitar hand-painted with the Lady and her dogs coming down a grand

stairway (though the chandelier in the scene is inlayed abalone, rather than painted). The second Art Deco guitar is the Jazz Moderne, a Super 5 with the alternating sunburst painted on its top and sides, and with a hand inlayed back, and a hand carved and hand painted heel. Bruce’s third Art Deco guitar was painted to look like a 1930’s Auburn boat-tailed car, and that was it. Gibson set a price of $80,000 for each of the Art Deco guitars. Although the Sophisticated Lady and the Jazz Moderne are without question incredible pieces of art, they are even more stunning because they are two of the finest sounding Gibson hollow-body guitars I have EVER heard, regardless of age.” Any questions please Contact Guitar Archeology at


continued from page 42

achieve the ultimate set up for you. All guitars are different; so don’t think 10’s work on every one of your electrics. Try heavy flat wounds on one, or light top and heavy bottom on another. On acoustic ... different types, brands, and gauges of strings can make a huge difference! Work with the skilled repairman in your area or call one of the superhero’s I’ve talked about so that when you pick up your guitar you are making music.

his shop. But because he had only brought very basic set up materials he did not have the proper shim material. Does that stop a great repairman? No! Without hesitation he begins a search of the surrounding area for some kind of material that he can form into a proper shim. He questions me about my playing style and what kind of action I would like. After about thirty minutes he had the frets polished, neck cleaned, strings attached, and the action perfectly adjusted for my playing style. It is the best my McPherson acoustic has ever played and sounded. Thank you Joe!!

Well, I am going to stop typing and start recording. Today: a project for an artist in South America. I’m grabbing my Rust Tele and Tyler 20/20 amp . . .It’s a good day for tone!

The other amazing thing about Joe is his ability to re-create vintage guitars. He brought several guitars and basses with him that he had made. I had intended to only play an acoustic at my concert, but was enticed by a certain Riggio Tele, and was able to play it that night. It sounded and played GREAT! I am in awe of the guys I have mentioned. I encourage you to find a guy in your area that has the characteristics of the repairmen I have talked about today. You will be amazed at the inspiration that comes from a well-tuned machine. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and experiment with all the components of your guitar to

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Dave is a session guitarist from Nashville, TN. He has performed with Steven Curtis Chapman, John Elefante, Matt Maher, Miley Cyrus, Martina McBride, Stephen Stills, Judy Collins, Whitney Wolanin, Little Big Town, Girls Generation & TV themes for Mud People, and Mustang Millionaire...



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Hand-crafted in-ear monitors


by Gabriel J. Hernandez

AUTHOR’S NOTE: As a dealer of high-end vintage guitars and amps, the majority of my customers happen to be male. As such, this particular column is not meant to be a partisan or sexist statement in any way. It simply happens to reflect the fact that based on my sales history and overall customer base, most of the guitar players and collectors I encounter are male. That’s why I decided to write this piece from a “male” perspective. Additionally, being male myself as well as a longtime player and collector of guitars – AND married with two children – I have lived with and dealt with this dilemma on a personal level for quite some time. That said, if you are a female player and collector of guitars then please simply reverse the male personifications in this column and characterize them to your gender. I am not in any way taking sides here, rather offering a few light-hearted suggestions and tips based on my own personal experiences, and those of a few of my customers that I’ve had the pleasure to witness with my own eyes and ears. If you play or collect guitars and have a life partner (in most cases a wife or girlfriend), this column is definitely going to hit home. Trust me, we’ve all been there at some point. You’re online browsing Craigslist’s vast musical instrument section, or on eBay drooling on your keyboard as you analyze picture after picture of that gorgeous Les Paul with a killer flame maple top, watching as the seconds tick away, inching you closer and closer to clicking your bank account away. Or you’re out and about and walk into your local music store or pawn shop and come face to face with still another guitar you simply cannot live without. In any of these scenarios, and usually with no hesitation whatsoever, you pull the trigger without even the thought of discussing the ramifications of said purchase(s) with your significant other. In many circles there’s a name for this: it’s called G.A.S., or Gear Acquisition Syndrome. And needless to say, it’s not a malady for the fainthearted. More often than not, money is not the issue. What usually matters the most is the fact that you chose to buy another guitar without consulting (or even telling) your wife or girlfriend, choosing instead to deal with the consequences of that momentary lapse of reason at a later date. The problem, of course, is that the “later date” creeps up on you faster than cheetahs chasing wildebeests on Animal Planet. You know it, and your significant other will soon know it. Frankly, you should have known better, or at the very least had a back-up plan in place ready to deal with the aftermath, because in your mind you already knew you were toast the next time she logs in to your mutually-held – and well-patrolled – bank account.

Well, consider this column your “howto” guide on handling these punishing predicaments. Think of this as prescription medicine for G.A.S. Mind you, I’m in no way advocating going behind anyone’s back here (just don’t let this column get into the wrong hands). But if you’re prone to G.A.S. or other seemingly collateral disorders, then at the very least you could use a little guidance (or medicine), right? Read on … Here are 10 ways to help you avoid your significant other’s wrath after buying another guitar, or piece of gear: 1. At the first occurrence of G.A.S., start with the diplomatic approach: discuss (don’t argue) the fact that “investing” in guitars is generally better than investing in the stock market, most mutual funds, and the majority of bank-issued CDs or interest-bearing checking accounts. This is a no-brainer, unless of course you’ve just purchased Bob Dylan’s 1965 Fender Stratocaster (sold for $965,000 this past December), in which case you might as well just stop reading now. However, if you can get away with this excuse (embellishment is a better word choice here), feel free to forego all other “embellishments” listed below. 2. Get defensive and revert to the truest and most time-tested response of all-time, “But honey, how many purses and pairs of shoes do you own, and why do you have so many?” (Be wary of the potential for flying objects.) 3. Come home with your new guitar or gear in hand AND the most expensive bouquet of roses you can find. Face it, most women love flowers, especially roses. If she’s allergic to floral arrangements, keep reading. 4. Come home with your new guitar or gear in hand AND a very nice, unexpected present, like new jewelry (diamonds and sapphires work best). Items such as sweaters (unless they’re made from imported South American cashmere) and lingerie (because you’re the real beneficiary here) don’t count. 5. Get ready for an expensive night out at a restaurant NOT of your choosing. 6. Take an accounting class and learn basic bookkeeping, then offer to take over the daunting task of balancing the checkbook for your mutually-held – and well-patrolled – bank account (to avoid suspicion, this one usually works BEFORE making your guitar or gear purchase). 7. Temporarily change the password on that mutually-held – and well-patrolled – bank account until your next paycheck, bonus check, or dividends payout check clears. Just


know that while this suggestion may delay the inevitable, it’s certainly not a fail-safe solution to your inescapable and ominous doom. 8. Open your own bank account and secretly deposit ONLY bonus checks, off-the-record transactions, and dividends payout checks not expected by your better half. Then again, this suggestion only works if she hasn’t met your entire family, which would allow you the opportunity to blame new acquisitions on that very generous and very rich uncle or cousin she’s never met. 9. Keep playing the lottery. If you get lucky and win, you can then buy all the guitars and gear you want with a clear conscience (and she can buy all the shoes and purses she wants, too). This is definitely a win-win for everyone! 10. Nice and simple: tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Then take your lumps, and a few nights on the couch, like a man or (in rare cases) a woman. When all else fails, one last resort would be to simply take your better half shopping with you when you go looking for guitar or gear. Think about it. If your destination is anywhere near a major shopping center – or in a major shopping center – she could easily embark on her own personal shopping spree and spend a bunch of money on a whole bunch of stuff you probably don’t give two hoots about, which – in turn – might make you less prone to persecution if she happens to take issue with your latest bout of G.A.S. In any case, happy guitar hunting … and please, don’t hurt each other. Gabriel Hernandez is the owner of Blues Vintage Guitars, Inc., a shop in Nashville, Tennessee, specializing in the buying and selling of vintage and newer high-end guitars and gear. He is also an accomplished writer, having earned a B.S. in Journalism from The University of Florida in 1988. Over a 25-year career he has worked as an investigative journalist for several news organizations and publishing companies, as a staff sports writer for The Palm Beach Post, and most recently as the Web Editor for Gibson Guitars at the company’s worldwide headquarters in Nashville. Hernandez has played guitar since the age of six, and been fascinated (some say obsessed) by the instrument – and music in general – ever since. You can reach him any time at 1-615-613-1389, or visit his company’s Facebook page at bluesvintageguitars.

Introducing a new musical instrument for guitarists and others who appreciate pristine, detailed sonics. The RC 500 solid-state channel strip. Make it part of your sound.

©2014 PreSonus Audio Electronics. All rights reserved. All specifications subject to change. XMAX is a trademark of PreSonus Audio Electronics, Inc.


f tone is everything to you, a fine channel strip should be in your signal path. The RC 500 solid-state channel strip delivers a vintage vibe reminiscent of classic highend products, yet employs a thoroughly modern design. In Baton Rouge, Louisiana, there is a white-haired gentleman named Robert Creel who

eats, lives and breathes audio circuit design. He’s the engineering mastermind behind many of PreSonus’ best analog circuits, including the ever-popular XMAX™ preamp. His most recent project was the ADL 700 tube channel strip, which has been a well-received "boutique"-style channel strip. In the process, Creel came up with a new design for a very special solid-state preamp that

uses a Class A hybrid input stage with discrete transistors and the latest-generation, low-distortion operational amplifiers. Everyone at PreSonus who heard his prototype was blown away by its transparent, detailed, clear sound. By popular demand, Creel’s superb preamp became the heart of the new RC 500, named "RC" in Robert's honor. The RC 500 combines his new FET compressor and semi-para-

metric EQ circuits with the equally new low-distortion, highgain, solid-state Class A preamp design he recently perfected. The result is a top-of-the-line — yet very affordable — channel strip for recording musicians and recording engineers, with a sound that is reminiscent of classic, vintage solid-state preamps. Bring a favorite guitar to your nearest PreSonus dealer and check out the RC 500 today.

◗ Transformer-coupled, high-gain microphone preamp with a Class A hybrid design ◗ Phase, 80 Hz high pass filter, -20 dB pad and +48V phantom-power switch ◗ Front-panel instrument input and Line / Microphone-Instrument switch ◗ 20 to 70 dB Gain control

◗ FET-based compressor using hybrid detection methods, with switching relays for hard bypass ◗ Rotary Threshold (-25 to +20 dB), Attack, and Release controls ◗ VU meter with selectable output level/ gain reduction display ◗ -80 to +10 dB Master output control

◗ High-grade components: film capacitors, 1% tolerance resistors, and very low-distortion op amps ◗ 3-band semi-parametric equalization: 20 Hz to 400 Hz, ±16 dB with Peak/Shelf switch; 400 kHz to 5kHz, ±16 dB; 2 kHz to 20 kHz, ±16 dB; with Peak/Shelf switch, and EQ In/Out switch

◗ Internal toroidal power supply with IEC connector ◗ Balanced output on XLR and ¼" TRS connectors ◗ Analog insert with balanced send and return ◗ Balanced XLR Line and Mic inputs

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