Collectible Guitar :: Then and Now - Jul/Aug 2014

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the Hendrix One of a Kind Coral Electric Sitar

FEATURES Peek Behind the Scenes Godbox Effects The Real Story Behind The Guitar Auction That Wasn’t


$5.95 US $6.95 Canada VOL 1 :: ISSUE 4

Terry Foster Reveals His Fender Vault



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I Found One! Last issue I told you all about my aspirations to find a “King of the Flat Tops”, a Gibson J200. I could pursue an older 1950’s era one or find one from the late 1980’s on, built in Bozeman, Montana.

was starting to pour in. Joe picked up a 1989 sunburst J200 and handed it to me. The store had just acquired it the day before. I played it for all of 60 seconds as I had to get back to producing the guitar show. I look often to Since writing that piece in late April I Joe for guidance and I asked him, “What do had been going about my business with the you think?” Joe replied, “I think you should magazine and my guitar shows and then buy it”. It had the original hardshell case two weeks before my Seatac Spring Guitar with that pink inside cover. Show, my dear 88 year-old mother (Gloria I knew right then that I wanted to play it at Mae Smith), passed away. She was in a very my mother’s memorial service the following challenging health situation so it wasn’t a weekend. I know the owner of the store surprise, but it was a huge loss…she was a and we have a good repoire. He was asking terrific woman. I was asked by my brother $2,900.00 for it but Joe thought that there and sister to give the eulogy and my mother’s was some room for a discount there. In my request was to have “Amazing Grace” sung head I was thinking $2,500.00 was the right at her life celebration service. I asked my amount for me. I spoke with the owner, told oldest son and his wife to sing it live and they him I wanted to play it for my mom’s service said they would - if I promised to accompany and that it would always be a guitar with them on an acoustic guitar. a special meaning to me. He said, “How The morning of my guitar show arrived bout $2,500.00?” I said, “Deal!” and had (we held it at the Meydenbauer Center in him put the guitar back in its case and tuck Bellevue, WA) and after more than two it away in his booth so it wouldn’t get sold hours of loading in over 100 vendors, we were ready to open the doors to the public. A long line had formed outside of guitar enthusiasts waiting to get inside. It was going to be a good show. Then right at the very moment I said, “Open the doors” I got a phone call from my good friend Joe Riggio saying he found the Gibson J200 I had been looking for… 75 feet from where I was standing at a well know Seattle vintage guitar store’s booth at my own guitar show! I walked over there briskly as the public

again by mistake. I went about taking care of the guitar show with a smile on the inside knowing that things couldn’t have worked out better for me in my search for the “King of the Flat Tops” – a Gibson J200. It wasn’t till two more days had gone by that I had time to even play it at my house. This J200 is a “strummer” and has that big rambling bass sound to it. In fact, the more you dig your pick into it, the more it responds. I proudly showed it to Judy and told her I was going to name the guitar “GIG” after my mother. I told her that “GIG” stood for “Gloria in Glory”. Judy loved that. I only practiced “Amazing Grace” on the guitar until the day of the service for my mom. I wanted that to be the only song I played until the memorial was over as a way to honor her. We played an upbeat and celebrative version of it to end the service, the kids sang great and the friends and family in the audience enjoyed it. Yes, I had found a J200 and it couldn’t of come at a better time… we miss you Mom! Guitar People Helping Guitar People, Bruce & Judy

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 Published by The Adolph Agency, Inc. ©2014 The Adolph Agency Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any portion of this magazine may not be used or reproduced without the expressed consent of The Adolph Agency, Inc.


Photographer/Advisor: Joe Riggio Customer Service: Brian Felix, Director of Advertising: Steve Sattler 626-836-3106 Advertising Sales:

FEATURES The Hendrix One of a Kind Coral Electric Sitar by Rick King

Peek Behind the Scenes: Godbox Effects

by Michael Elsner


The Real Story Behind The Guitar Auction That Wasn’t




TERRY FOSTER Reveals His Fender Vault

by Gabriel J. Hernandez


10 Quirky Vintage Collecting Vintage Pawnshop Guitars:: Part Two - Japan & Italy by Bob Cianci

16 All About Amps Is it Important to Have Vintage Tubes? by Skip Simmons

14 The One That Didn’t Get Away The Hendrix One of a Kind Coral Electric Sitar by Rick King

18 State of the Union Another Day in the Garden by Dave Belzer

cover photo by Joe Riggio

34 The Fretboard Less Traveled by Rich Severson 36 View of the Day by Dave Cleveland 42 Pedal Snapshot by Phil Traina

REVIEWS 8 Kevin Ryan’s Nightingale Grand Soloist Acoustic Guitar by Bruce Adolph

8 26

26 Taglio Fiato by Scero Guitars by Mitch Bohannon 30 Eventide H9 Core & Blackhole Plug-in by Michael Hodge

44 Saga’s Blueridge BR-60T Tenor Guitar by Bruce Adolph 46 Deering’s Goodtime Solana 6 String Acoustic Electric Openback Banjo by Bruce Adolph

32 Red Iron Amps’ Pedal Pusher by Steve Mercer 38 Alclair “Curve” Universal In-Ear Monitors by Judy & Bruce Adolph




Kevin Ryan’s Nightingale Grand Soloist Acoustic Guitar by Bruce Adolph

Kevin Ryan is a well respected builder who had the pleasure of having two other builders I respect as friends and mentors (James Olson, Olson Guitars and Richard Hoover, Santa Cruz Guitars) but the contributions Kevin himself has made to modern acoustic guitar building techniques stands tall on their own.

“Wow” upon seeing the Kevin Ryan Nightingale model inside. You really don’t know where to look first. It’s a pretty amazing first impression. Sitting down on a stool I hit an open E chord and another positive exclamation came out of my mouth, “Man, this sounds amazing”.

It is always exciting to open up a cardboard guitar box when the guitar to be reviewed shows up. This time the guitar case itself blew me away before I even got to the treasured acoustic guitar inside. It was a composite graphite case made by Hoffee with black hardware and big rubber knobs on the bottom (when standing) and the bottom (when sitting or laying down). Composite materials of course are lighter and stronger than wood cases. It just says, “Quality” when you slide it out of the cardboard shipping box.

I immediately went into one of the hardest pieces of finger-style music I play and the clarity mixed in with the complex harmonic tone of this guitar captured my attention right off the bat. The sound was so clear that it challenged me to play better because every nuance of my playing was coming right back at me.

jumped to the head of the class with a lush full sound. The body isn’t that large either – it is a grand concert size. I took my playing down to gentle soft flat-picking and this guitar wins it for being crystal clear even at a whisper playing volume.

I switched to a flat pick and the sheer volI have been aware of Kevin Ryan guitars for ume of this instrument was something. I have reviewed a lot of different hand built over a decade but I have only had two friends I opened the case up to exhale an audible, high-end acoustics in my life but this one who owned them and I hadn’t had a chance to play a Ryan until now. I am sold on this Nightingale. Now, let’s figure out why. What design elements make this guitar as big and loud as a cannon and as gentle and clear as a summer rain? Kevin states that he set out to meet a formidable design challenge in this grand concert size, to build a guitar that has the powerful bass and baritone richness of a larger bodied guitar while keeping those sparkling trebles and crisp midrange that is inherent in this style body shape. Kevin was after groundbreaking tone, ergonomics and aesthetics in this technologically advanced instrument. How is it advanced you ask? How is this for starters… the Ryan Ergonomic Bevel (very comfortable on your right arm over the top bout, you may of seen this on other guitars but it was Kevin who developed it), Bevel Flutes (small sound holes in the bevel project the bass to your ears; that area of the soundboard just behind the bridge is far more acoustically active than the upper bout), EO bracing (stands for Engineered Openings, Ryan’s innovation to achieve the balance between structural integrity of the bracing and great tone all the while at 180 pounds of string torque), Acoustic Honeycomb (the concept of a double-top soundboard with Ryan’s made entirely from wood take on it), A4 kerfed liner (this was invented in the Ryan Shop and adds a unique touch to his guitars), a proprietary micro-adjustable truss-


rod/neck stiffening system (in addition to be being stable, the neck is fast and low-profile) and lastly the Integrated Fretboard Binding (again, Ryan’s pioneering procedure - the fret slots are milled with the tool stopping short of the fretboard edge to hide the ends of the fret slots and to strengthen the fretboard itself). OK, by now you are thinking to yourself, “How much can one luthier bring to the table?”

Could anything else help deliver the round bass and lower mid-range tones on the Nightingale? Kevin uses a deep body to complement its 16” lower bout, a fingerstyle scale-length, an arched back and a forward waist placement (higher up on the guitar than is usual with steel-string instruments). The trebles all benefit from the aforementioned EO bracing and by now I hope you can see that this guitar has a lot going on instead of your typical “X” bracing pattern acoustic guitar box. Ryan’s claim is that “together these elements create a steelstring instrument that plays, looks, feels and sounds like no other guitar…” and he has a valid point here.

off this piece of art meets extraordinary playing instrument. Now the price tag for this Nightingale may be the highest I have seen yet, but the guitar that accompanies it parallels the cost. This instrument is the rare air that all other guitars try to emulate. Retail: $27,000.00

The back and sides are solid Brazilian rosewood (if you are not familiar with the gorgeous curvy grain of this rare tone wood you should become so) and the top is a quality solid red cedar. The tuners are made specifically for Ryan and the inlay appointments along the fretboard, around the sound hole, on the headstock and on the bridge all add a simple beautify to top



Collecting Vintage Pawnshop Guitars: Part Two - Japan & Italy Jazzmaster and Jaguar, although one will also see features taken from Gibson, Hagstrom, EKO and Vox guitars as well. The Japanese, always clever copyists, changed a few things here and there so the guitars weren’t direct copies but it’s pretty easy to spot the similarities. Teisco guitars are usually characterized as having numerous switches and control knobs and most frequently, single coil unpotted low output pickups. There’s no getting around the fact that these were cheaply made instruments and many of them featured necks of varying shapes and sizes without truss rods (the necks usually warp of course). Despite their low-end character, hundreds of thousands of Teisco and Teisco/Kawai-made guitars have survived.

In Part One of Quirky Guitars, we looked at American manufacturers of funky “pawnshop” guitars, and now, it’s time to switch our attention to Asian and Italian manufacturers, where “funky” takes on a whole new level of meaning. American designs were tame compared to some of these “works of art.” Did you ever see the Teisco guitar with a monkey grip handle? Or, how about an Italian beauty from EKO with lots of Veg-O-Matic switches and a plastic covered body? Read on.


Collectors often prefer the more oddball Teisco examples, such as the Spectrum 5 and the artist palette-shaped




ner and intermediate market. Teisco stands for Tokyo Electric Instrument and Sound Company, and produced guitars and amplifiers from 1948 until 1969 when they were acquired by Kawai (who still owns the trademark). Teisco instruments were sold under numerous names, such as Kingston, Kent, Kimberly, Belton, Duke, Norma, Heit, Encore, Jedson, Lyle, and many others. Musical instrument distributors would place an order and put their own chosen brand name on the headstock, something Teisco was For many collectors, the name Teis- quite happy to do. I can’t help but co or Teisco-Del-Rey first comes to think there’s a woman named Kimmind when the subject of low budget berly out there today who secretly ‘60’s guitars comes up. After The Bea- hides the fact that a line of guitars was tles and their contemporaries created named after her. Dad made sure his a worldwide demand for electric gui- baby was immortalized. tars, Japan, which had become indusTeisco-made guitars feature numertrialized again after the end of World ous body shapes and styles, but most War II, concentrated on lower end of them were modeled after Fender guitars, aimed squarely at the begin- products, including the Stratocaster,

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May Queen both of which now fetch prices in the thousands. Your standard Teisco models however are still bargains and are easily obtainable just about everywhere… especially on eBay where they abound (although some rarer models are now bringing higher dollars). Scanning a guitar forums’ classified section the other night I came across a Teisco/Heit for a mere $99 or best offer. I paid $189 for my Kingston one pickup screamer with an intact whammy bar and the biggest baseball bat neck in existence. It’s a great slide guitar that I gig with all the time. If Hound Dog Taylor was still with us, I’m sure he’d agree because he also used Kingston guitars (purchased at Sears). Ry Cooder, David Lindley, Jackson Browne and James Iha (formerly of Smashing Pumpkins) are all Teisco fans. Jim Reid of The Jesus and Mary Chain and Eddie Van Halen have played the Spectrum 5 thereby driving the price up on that model. Teisco’s sixstring baritone guitar the ET-320 (also called a six string bass), was played by bassist Vern Miller in his Boston band The Remains from 1964-66. Today they are as rare as hen’s teeth. Indeed I have never seen one. In addition to Teisco there were sev-

eral other smaller guitar factories in Japan. This collector owns an offset bodied, two pickup electric with a six-in-line headstock that features no makers’ name. The fellow who sold it to me, an expert on vintage Japanese guitars, hadn’t a clue who made it but it’s clearly not a Teisco. Moving now to Southern Europe, Italy had been known as the world’s leading manufacturers of accordions and to a lesser extent stringed instruments and cymbals. After the Beat Boom hit in 1964 Italian manufacturers (realizing that accordions were hopelessly out of style) turned their attention to electric guitars. The leading Italian guitar maker of the day was EKO (pronounced “echo”), a company started by Oliviero Pigini in 1959 in Recanati. EKO guitars were of a higher quality than their Japanese counterparts and were most frequently exported to the USA, England and Australia by the LoDuca Brothers of Milwaukee or Rose-Morris and Rose respectively. EKO also made Vox guitars after the English Vox company ceased guitar production. EKO instruments were often covered with plastic covered bodies (after all accordion makers had lots of plastic lying around), sometimes three or four pickups, and numerous switches and knobs. The 500V4 in my collection features a white “mother of toilet seat” covered body, a comfortable neck painted black and

four low power microphonic pickups (each with eighteen small pole pieces). If you crank this baby up too loud it squeals but it’s a fun guitar to play with a look and sound all its own. I have gigged it on rare occasions, with a little TLC by my Italian/American guitar tech, Tony Marchatelli, it plays just fine. Another EKO oddball is the Rokes model, a rocket-shaped solidbody that was made famous by the English expatriate rock band The Rokes, who recorded the original version of “Let’s Live For Today,” a hit for them in Europe and big seller for The Grass Roots stateside. Interestingly, EKO’s best selling export guitars were their Ranger 6 and 12-string acoustic guitars, which are fairly plentiful. Vintage EKO electrics are starting to climb in price, so now is the time to buy. Italy also produced numerous other electric guitars in the ’60’s with names like Crucianelli, Gemelli, Meazzi, Zero Sette, Bartolini, Galanti, and the infamous Wandre guitars, the brainchild of Bohemian conceptual artist Wandre Pioli. Most of Italy’s guitar factories were located in the town of Castelfidardo, including Wandre. If you Google Wandre guitars, you will be amazed at the strange globular shapes, styles and colors of the instruments. Wandre guitars are like nothing else produced back then and are highly prized these days, they fetch prices much higher than their Japanese counterparts. American roots rock and Americana guitar player Buddy Miller owns several Wandre Les Paul shaped solidbodies that he uses all the time. He paid $75 apiece for them in where else?, “A pawnshop!” For more information on Japanese and Italian vintage guitars, visit and fetishguitars. com.


EKO Rokes Guitar

EKO Rokes Bass

Next Issue-Part Three: Western European Guitars Bob Cianci is a lifelong musician, music journalist, and author of the book, Great Rock Drummers of The Sixties, and has written extensively for many guitar and drum publications, newspapers, websites, and fanzines. He is a working guitarist and drummer in three bands in New Jersey. His guitar collection numbers over twenty-five pieces at the moment, and is constantly evolving.

Zac Brown and Collings Guitars

Zac Brown with his Collings I-35 LC Serious Guitars | | (512) 288-7770


The Hendrix One of a Kind Coral Electric Sitar

While attending the University of Washington in 1979, two college friends introduced me to three things that would have a profound impact on my life. Al Chang introduced me to the Ramones and punk rock music, and best of all my future wife, Sheila. The second friend, Curtis Lee, who actually takes claim for my relationship with my wife, introduced me to the Danelectro Long Horn. My fascination for everything Danelectro occurred at that time.

would call back from time to time, requestI spent the next eight years or so buying ing other Danelectro models and our relaevery Danelectro I could find. I discovered tionship grew into a great friendship. Domia community of like minded maniacs, ob- nick passed away last year and he is greatly sessed with Masonite, pinewood and lipt- missed. stick pick-ups. Through my obsession, after About this same time, I met a man from amassing about 200, I decided I would weed southern California, Jim Washburn, who and feed my collection by running an ad in in July 1983 interviewed Nat Daniel, Mr. the back of Guitar Player magazine, with Danelectro himself, for Guitar World magathe heading “Danelectro Mania!” Through zine. Jim, being left handed, when the interthat one monthly ad, that cost me $50, for view was over, asked Nat if he had ever built about the next year, I received over 300 reany left-handed guitars. He said that they quests for my inventory list. Selling to and had indeed and that they had only made one meeting some of the nicest people I will left handed guitar and that guitar was a Corever know. One of those letters came from al Sitar made for Jimi Hendrix. I had pretty New Rochelle New York resident Dominick much forgotten about that fact until an issue Monturo. I disregarded his letter because he of Guitar World in April 1988 showed a phosimply requested a “Silvertone Guitar”. I knew that Sears had many different models of their guitars, and his request seemed too vague, so I put the letter off to the side. A little while later he somehow tracked down my phone number. In a thick New York accent he asked if I had any Silvertone guitars. He was looking for the quintessential two pick-up “amp-in-case” model. I had just what he was looking for. He


to of Peter Frampton on stage, for a David Bowie tour, playing a Coral Sitar that the article said purportedly once belonged to Jimi himself. Vincent Bell, the designer of the instrument, reports in the article that Hendrix had two right handed models that he would flip over and play lefty, as he would all his guitars. Bell then stated that he had made him a lefty sitar, but it’s current whereabouts weren’t known. Forward a few years to 1991, where I had just spent weeks on the road with a broken truck trying to get back from the Dallas guitar show. When I finally returned from the trip, I was unable to sleep the first night back, got up at 3:00 am and went downstairs. I looked at a stack of bills and magazines that had piled up, and grabbed that months 20th Century Guitar magazine. As I thumbed through, I saw that a music store, on the east coast, had listed a lefty Coral Sitar for sale. I remembered what Jim had said years ago and realized that I may have found my “Holy Grail”! Since it was 3:00am in the morning west coast time, the store with the sitar was not open for another 5 hours. When they opened, I anxiously called and asked if they still had the Sitar. My heart pounded as he went and checked. Yes! They still had it! He proceeded to tell me that he would need to get $500 more for that lefty then he would for a right handed model, because “they” were so rare….. I sent the money overnight, but when I called them the next day to request overnight shipping, they unfortunately said they had already shipped it on the slow boat, and I had to wait for over a week to get it. When it arrived, I pulled it out of the box and jumped up and

photos by Joe Riggio

down like a 5 year old at Christmas, and chanted “It’s real!..... Its’ real!”. I called local Hendrix historian, Kevin Randall, to come down to my store. When he walked in I handed him the Sitar, snapped a quick Polaroid of him and he asked me if it was Jimi’s. It was time now to go about authenticating it. When I called the music store back to ask them where they bought it, I volunteered that I believed it was made for Jimi Hendrix. They hung up on me. I called them back, to state my case again. They hung up on me again. I then called Steve Soest, who co-wrote the article with Jim back in 1983. I asked if he knew how to get in touch with Al Brown, a friend of Jimi’s back in New York. Steve said I should instead call Vincent Bell and gave me his phone number. I was excited to be able to talk to the designer of the Electric Sitar directly about this. He answered the phone right away and asked me to call him “Vinnie”. I proceeded to ask him what he would think if I told him that I was the owner of a left-handed, Coral Electric Sitar? He then told me that I should think about taking the next year off! I had already planned a trip to New York, to visit my friend Dominick. Vinnie said that it would be fine to bring the Sitar with me so

he could take a look at it. Dominick and I drove to Tenafly, New Jersey to meet with Vinnie. Our meeting lasted 4 hours as he looked over the Sitar, showed us his hidden laboratory and gave us a history lesson on everything Danelectro. A few weeks later, in the mail, I received a letter of authenticity from Vinnie. In a November 1998 Vintage Guitar magazine article, author of the book “Guitars from Neptune” Paul Bechtoldt states that although they could not pinpoint an exact date when the Lefty Sitar was received by Hendrix, they could confirm it was delivered between July 15th and August 8th by a Danelectro sales representative to Hotel Navarro in New York. Jimi Hendrix, played many guitars, but to my knowledge, only two were built specially for him. One was a left handed Guild acoustic 12-string. The other was this left handed Coral Sitar... a very rare find indeed!

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. Contact Rick:


ALL ABOUT AMPS with Skip Simmons

Is it Important to Have Vintage Tubes?

Hello Skip- Is it important to have vintage tubes? I wouldn’t mind spending the extra money, but will they really make an audible difference in my gear? I recently made a service call to an extremely well equipped studio, where owner/producer/guitarist Matt Baxter ( suggested a test. A client (an excellent male vocalist) was interested in hearing the difference vintage tubes could make in his own current-production Universal Audio LA-610. Using a Neumann TLM 49 microphone through the LA-610, Matt recorded two takes of him singing a chorus accapella, without any accompaniment or backing tracks whatsoever. The only difference between the two takes was about $300 worth of pre-tested vintage Telefunken, Amperex, and RCA tubes that I installed in the LA-610 after the first take. Absolutely no changes were made in levels or settings of any kind. Then we got to sit around and listen to the takes on a super-fine monitor system in the control room.

in the highs. The vocalist had a nice Merle Haggard-sounding deep catch in his voice, which sounded deeper and more resonant. The better ears in the room also noticed an increase in the compression effect as if the compression had been manually increased. The biggest plus to me was that the vocalist was extremely pleased.

new tube could match the factory-specified 10,000 hour (!) life of a Telefunken 12AX7. Besides, there just could be one lurking in that old radio at the thrift store right down the street … Skip’s Tip: Guitar players, if you have a small amp (new or old) that uses a single 12AX7 preamp tube, you also own a fantastic tube tester. Just try different 12AX7s in your amp without altering any of the amp or guitar settings. Any significant difference in tone, gain, or noise will be very apparent. Be careful because tube pins bend easily.

Does this mean that your life just can’t go on without a bunch of old tubes in your gear? No. In the first place, the vocal sounded just fine with the modern tubes. Some expert EQ would probably allow the new tubes to sound extremely close to the vintage tubes. Later in the session Matt made the two takes sound almost identical on playback through additional EQ and compression, but not without losing some of the dynamics and smooth highs that the vintage tubes provided Skip Simmons is a nationally known vintage amp on the second take. Interesting!

repairman. He can be reached

I’ve always said that a change is not nec- at essarily an improvement, but there certainly is something to be said about the “tone” of vintage tubes, which this test illuminated The change was instantly noticeable - nicely. Also, as a repairman I appreciate the vintage tubes made the vocal sound vintage tubes because they tend to be very smoother and rounder, with less grittiness reliable and consistent. I’m not sure any


Photo by: Forrest Gibson

the d-Law

Scott Law playing his signature model Mahogany/Italian Spruce Dreadnought New album: Black Mountain out now

“We weren’t going for a signature model from the outset, we just ended up designing a killer guitar with my name on it.” - Scott Law


STATE OF THE UNION by David Belzer

Another Day in the Garden

One of the most challenging things about collecting vintage guitars and amps is knowing when it’s time to trade up, and facing the choice of letting a good guitar go for a great one is not always an easy thing to do. One of my first experiences with this came about many years ago as I was purchasing a near mint 1965 Martin D28 from a local dealer out of his personal collection. I was very curious as to why he would let such an exceptional original mint guitar go. He looked at me and said, “Weeding and seeding”. It so happened a mid 1930’s Martin 000-28 had just come available to him and the time had come to trade up.

see where this is going? Whatever that covering was that was touching the back of the bass did not like the nitrocellulose lacquer Fender used back then and oh what a mess it made. Needless to say when he sent a picture over I thought the back was down right ugly.

I liked the term “weeding & seeding” and it really stuck with me. It sounds like a positive action to me, like cleaning out the garden so something new and fresh can grow. For whatever reason, weeding out the old for something that is more desirable to us is a great part of what collecting is all about.

The next day (let me just say here that this was a really good weekend, they’re all not like this) I have the opportunity to purchase a 1963 Ampeg B-15N amp in excellent original condition that’s been in sitting in a private collection for many years. When I first plugged the bass into the 1963 B15N, I would swear the heavens opened up and I was in right in the middle of bass nirvana. Wow! I’m not a bass player, I’m a guitar player but since that day I have not been able to put down that 1957 P Bass because it’s just that good. I have to play it for 15 or 20 minutes every day just to feel it vibrate. I did end up cleaning the back up a little the first day I had it, but I haven’t touched it since. I still haven’t cleaned off the green tarnish around the frets or changed the strings but I will eventually. Actually, I think the back will come out pretty good once I get to it but for right now I’m just enjoying playing it.

I along with most collectors have been weeding and seeding in one form or another since we started collecting. We as collectors always want to better our collections in one form or another and unless we are blessed with unlimited funds, the only way to do that is to let something go. Letting something go is not always as easy as it sounds. We have to know what we really want, have the patience to wait for it to come along, and know when a better one comes along, it’s time to say goodbye to the one we have.

The next day he brings the bass over and sure enough the back is that ugly (really ugly) but the bass has tons of vibe and as a player, awesome (and then more awesome). It weighs practically nothing and just acoustically sounds amazing. Then we plug it into my 1965 Ampeg B-15N and it sounded even better!! Motown here we come. Sold, ugly back and all.

My latest weeding and seeding adventure just came about in the last few weeks. Don’t we love to talk about the ones that didn’t get away? A friend that I have bought guitars from for years recently called to offer me a sunburst 1957 Fender P-Bass with original gold anodized pick guard and tweed case that he had just acquired from the original owner. He described the bass over the phone as ‘played but in good shape’ with the exception of the finish on the back. He explained to me that back in the late 50’s early 60’s, the owner wanted to try and protect the finish on the back and had covered it with something to do just that. You


So time to weed out the 62 Fender P-bass and the 65 Ampeg B15N amp and say hello to the 57 Fender P-bass and the cleaner, slightly rarer and better sounding 63 Amped B15N amp. Just another day in the garden. David Belzer is one of the top vintage guitar authorities in the world, with over 30 years of experience in vintage. His knowledge of vintage guitars is only exceeded by his passion for playing them. For more information or to contact him directly, visit


Terry Foster Reveals His Fender Vault

by Bruce Adolph

Oddly enough I found out about Terry Foster on FaceBook. He had commented on a guitar builder friend of mine’s picture that he just posted of a new guitar he had made.

I wasn’t aware who Terry was but I stopped by that builder friend’s house that very day and asked him about Terry. My friend walked over to his bookshelf and handed me a large coffee table size hardback book that read, “Fender – The Golden Age 1946-1970” written by Martin Kelly, Terry Foster and Paul Kelly. I was enthralled with the book. It was full of beautiful photography on quality paper (which you


know we like) and it had really good content. I was learning things left and right reading it. It thoroughly covers Leo’s humble beginnings and takes you through the first five years of the sale to CBS in 1965. As good as the book is, my friend didn’t think that Terry had been given the proper accolades for what he personally brings to the table as an extraordinarily knowledgeable Fender collector. We at Collectible Guitar magazine thought it was time to try to change that; all the way from Toronto, Canada… meet Terry Foster.


What is the difference between hoarding and collecting? There is a very fine line between collecting and hoarding, real collectors are curators rather than unfocused excessive accumulators. I collect Fender guitars, amplifiers, ephemera and dealer items (e.g. banners, shop signs, branded stands, point of sale items etc). My collection has several themes which developed through careful curation over the years as my knowledge grew. The first is very early years of Leo Fender’s work, the second is Fender’s student offerings and the third is Don Randall’s contribution to Fender’s business. Why are you fascinated with the early history of Fender? It’s an under documented part of Fender’s history. In the ‘90s when Richard Smith’s and John Sprung’s books came out, I used to stare at the photos of those early K&F’s and Fenders. They were very exotic to me. I grew up in Canada and the early stuff just doesn’t turn up here like the old Strats and Teles did. I had never seen anything like those original woody amps and simple K&F guitars. Those very early Fender creations are the embodiment of rapid experimentation and refinement that Leo became famous for. It’s


TERRY FOSTER hard to appreciate just how quickly the guitars and amplifiers evolved and just how passionate Leo Fender was until you’ve seen a number of the K&Fs and early Fenders all in one spot How did you start collecting? When I first started playing guitar I read everything I could get my hands on about the guitar. There were very few resources in the pre-internet days. Guitar Player and Vintage Guitar Magazine were my guides. These magazines celebrated and romanticized the golden years of American guitar manufacture, but I saw very few of the things they were writing about outside of the pictures that graced their pages. Unlike the first generation of collectors who were trying to find guitars that they may have had as teenagers or to capture the sounds they heard on the records they grew up with, I wanted these things because they were better than what was being manufactured at the time when I started playing in the late 1980s. Although there has been a real renaissance in guitar and building over the 15 years or so, there is nothing like the real thing. Tell me about your book, Fender: The Golden Age 1946-1970. Is there another book in your future? The book was written with brothers Martin and Paul Kelly. I met Martin after selling him a manual for a mid-60s Stratocaster on eBay when I lived in London, England in the early 2000s. We had unprecedented access to the best guitars from the best collections in the world (including our own collections) and were able to tell the complete visual history of Fender from its inception in 1946 until Don and Leo left in 1970. I am in the planning stages of my next endeavor with a friend of mine, Tim Pershing. Tim and I share a mutual love for Fender student offerings and between us we



have a fantastic collection of Musicmasters, Duo Sonics, Champs, Princetons etc. We intend to write the definitive history of Fender’s student range. Martin and Paul are very close to finishing their new book on Vox guitars. I understand that you knew Don Randall. How did you meet him? In the course of writing our book, Martin Kelly was able to get Don’s office phone number and I called him one day. Don was a hero of mine and in his late 80s at the time and I had no idea what to expect when I first called him. He was still going to work almost every day and always carved out time to talk to me. We struck

up a friendship in the last few years of his life that I will cherish always. It meant a lot to me to be able to talk to him and ask him anything I wanted. He had a profound impact on not only Fender as Leo’s business partner, but the musical instrument industry as whole as an innovator in his own right.

Fender branded guitar ever made, Leo Fender’s Country Music Association membership card from 1965, a 1927 Yearbook from Fullerton High School signed by Leo Fender and the Duo Sonic prototype from 1956.

What are the most interesting pieces in your collection.

It came from John Sprung whose collection of early Fender and K&Fs was one of the best ever assembled. I was fortunate to acquire a few things from John over the years including a very early K&F with a tulip shaped headstock. This guitar is also the first double neck Leo ever made. It is a K&F and Fender put together as custom job for an

I’m very lucky to have come across some very cool things and few oddities. I have one of the original prototypes of the Stratocaster tremolo from 1953, a jersey from the factory baseball team (there were at least two factory bowling teams as well, a men’s and a ladies’ team), the very first

Tell us more about that first Fender guitar.


Jensen Vintage Alnico

Vintage Vibe. Classic Tone.

early radio shop customer. John suspected it was the earliest Fender branded guitar in existence when I purchased it from him. Just by chance, I happened to have a K&F one serial number preceding it - definitive proof of what John believed. It wasn’t until after I received the guitar from him that I realized I had the last K&F and proof it was the first Fender guitar.

your collections. For you, what are those pieces and why are they important to you?

I would love to own a radio built by Leo Fender. Fender catalogs and ephemera from the 1940s and dealer items from the 1950s would fill a few holes in my collection. The very early days of Fender are my current passion and it’s hard to say exactly what is out there beyond the instruments, but that’s Like most avid guitar collectors you most what I’m looking for. All of it tells the story likely have a few things on your list you of Leo and Don and the company that fuwould like to acquire to keep rounding out eled the rock and roll fire. •

See the newly redesigned 24 :: JUL/AUG 14 :: COLLECTIBLEGUITAR.COM


Taglio Fiato by Scero Guitars by Mitch Bohannon

There is something to be said (and sung) about the touch and feel of a finely crafted, hand-made guitar. It’s just one of those things, those experiences where you think, “Yes, this is the way it’s supposed to be!” We’ve all been there. We walk into a concert venue, guitars are jamming and without being able to see the stage we’re thinking, “I bet I can name that guitar in three notes!” Some guitars have such a signature sound. I guess that’s why we gravitate to them in the guitar stores… we want to sound and play like this artist or that artist. However, there is a community of players – creatives, who are searching for that uniqueness… that somehow, expressible uniqueness that they hear deep within their soul. They are searching for a guitar that was built with the same kind of passion with which they pour into their songs. Because there is a community of players searching, there are some new builders building fine, affordable guitars for them.

start, the feel of such a quality instrument is memorable. Louis did a relic finish on this guitar. It takes an artist to make a guitar appear “aged” and not “abused”. Combine the finish, coupled with the quality level and I felt like I was holding a guitar that could have been responsible for someone’s induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. I took the guitar to friend, Thunder John (yes, his name is Thunder) with a much better rig than I have to run this guitar through it’s paces. The fretboard plays fast and smooth. The neck pickup (clean, T-style with p/u cover) has a creamy, nice smooth tone. I loved the clean sound and it was surprisingly pleasant running through a bit of fuzz. The bridge pickup (single-coil T-style) had all the spank and twang you’d want in a T-style pickup. It also added a nice boost compared to the neck pickup. Lynch of EJ Lynch Guitars.

We ran the guitar through everything Thunder uses… overdrive, delays, fuzz, and Louis sent me his “Taglio Fiato” (tele-style) clean. I give it a 10 on all counts. This guiguitar. It’s got a beautiful tobacco burst on a hand-made alder body with flamed-maple tar normally would sell for $2,300 and is well top. It’s also boasting a hand-made Quarter worth the money! I met Louis Scutti on Facebook: Gear Talk Sawn maple neck and maple fretboard with Praise and Worship. Regularly, I would see a 10” radius. The pickups are Ian Anderson him post pictures of fresh builds and regu- Pickups. This is the first time I have heard Mitch is one of the pioneers larly I would wish I could play one. I called Ian Anderson pickups… they are hand- in the development of the him up and arranged to try one out so that wound in California by Ian. Louis made Kyser Short Cut Capo – an I could share with you what it’s all about. an excellent choice with these pickups (quite alternate tuning device used by many guitarists today. He is a Oh, the fun I endure. Louis builds all of impressed). And to round it off… Fender regular contributor to our sister his guitars completely by hand in Pueblo, tuners. publications. Mitch and his Colorado. It was there that he honed his wife Noelle have 3 awesome Out of the box, like I mentioned at the kids! craft in a 4-year apprenticeship under Ed


This strap elevates “soft” to an art form. If you are looking for a soft feel and total comfort on stage, this is your strap. The strap begins with a soft core of top quality suede. We place a wafer of foam on the top of the suede and then wrap it with our plush glove leather. Wrapping the glove leather around the suede achieves a “rolled look” that will remind you of the deep, tufted custom upholstery you would find at a classic car show. Adding another wafer of foam on the back, under more glove leather, enhances the “upholstered” look and feel to an extravagant level.

A Greg Bennett Co. Brand

Peek Behind the Scenes by Michael Elsner Godbox Effects

I recently sat down with Carl Updegraff, the creator of Godbox Effects, for what turned out to be a very inspiring and informative conversation about his design philosophy and the pursuit of great tone.

ing to convey to the audience. The same is true as a guitar pedal builder. ME: So you see yourself more as a facilitator. CU: Absolutely. An engineer is going to use different terms to describe frequency responses than a musician would. When a guitarist says “there is too much treble in my guitar,” as an engineer I think, “you’re not even talking about treble, you’re talking about himids.” So knowing the language of the two is tremendously beneficial.

Michael Elsner: Now, every GodBox pedal is hand built by you personally, correct? Carl Updegraff: Yes. I make my own circuit boards, drill the holes, apply the powder coat and graphics, so it’s all done by me. There’s about 4 to 6 hours of real personal time invested into every pedal. Of course, there are some that take longer, like the DUDE (DaVinci Ultimate Drive Extraordinaire), which takes 4 hours just to populate the PCB. So, we’re talking 7 to 8 hours for the complete pedal. ME: What was it that drew you to building FX pedals? Do you have a technical background? CU: As a guitarist I went after the rock and roll dream, but found that I was more interested in the technical aspects of pro audio and I have been working as an audio technician for almost 20 years now. Through my professional experience, which is both a left and right-brain thing, the left-brain being the electrical engineering, and the right brain the art and music, it’s allowed me to build circuits that effectively capture what the musician is going for. Building pedals is extremely heavy on the

ME: So, let’s talk about some of your pedals. You have two Teslas and a God Complex, all of which seem very similar to each other. CU: I have three ‘full featured’ fuzz pedals based on the same Arbiter Fuzz Face circuit. Though the circuits are very similar, they sound and react very different from each other. With the God Complex, you get all the modern, aggressive fuzz sounds. It’s a very straightforward fuzz in all of it’s glory, with a couple of tweaks thrown in. The Tesla is a hybrid with a germanium transistor at the beginning of the stage, giving you a mix between the old school classic germanium sound and the new, more modern aggression left-brain, which really in(a’la Nine Inch Nails). Then trigues me, so I make it a there’s the Tesla 2, which is an point to learn absolutely everything that’s going on within my circuits all germanium circuit. It’s the classic fuzz deand what each component does. So, when sign than can do everything from Gilmour to I listen to a musician and his description of what he wants to accomplish sonically, a circuit will come to mind that’ll do that. As an audio engineer, I’m facilitating the band’s sound and the emotions they’re try-


Clapton to Page, and even that fluid Eric Johnson tone. There’s tremendous versatility in that you can adjust them to be a mostly clean boost to a medium overdrive. You can make them a full on fuzz, or an overdrive fuzz sound. You can even drop in some hard clipping, to go into Big Muff territory, or you can dial that fuzz back so it’s an overdrive reminiscent of a Tube Screamer. ME: I love how you refer to your newest pedal, the DaVinci Ultimate Drive Extraordinaire, as ‘The DUDE.’ CU: The DUDE is a fantastic pedal! It allows you to choose between 12 different distortion sounds. Even better is that there’s a hi/lo gain switch, so when you flip the toggle, you now have 12 lower gain, and 12 higher gain settings. Best of all, it has an active clean blend, so you can get that popular Klon type sound. You can dial up the most raunchy distortion ever on this thing, and then blend in your clean tone, so it’s like layers upon layers of sonic alchemy. In essence, just by adjusting the settings, you can get in the ballpark of an OCD, an Angry Charlie, Marshall Blues Breaker, Fender Bassman,

etc. It’s truly a sick pedal, but the clean blend alone is worth the price of admission. ME: Speaking of the price of admission, tell me about your World’s Fair Exclusive Pedals. CU: Nikolai Tesla was was responsible for supplying both AC power and light bulbs to the 1893 World Fair in Chicago. So, I decided to make a limited series of Tesla and Tesla 2 pedals that incorporates images from that fair. There are maybe 20 pictures in existence from that fair, 10 of which have been turned into graphics for these pedals. So, not only does it have a unique look, but it also ties heavily into the history of Tesla. ME: You obviously put a big emphasis on not only the sound of your pedals, but the look of them as well. CU: If you can’t look at the pedal and feel something, then we’re not doing our job. We do the best we can to tie the imagery into the sound and identity of every pedal. For example, the Dillon, that’s obviously an homage to the outlaw days in the wild west. It gives you that light overdrive, treble boost with a little dirt, so if you play country music, you have to own the Dillon. The Teslas are supposed to look like something out of a 1920’s science lab that got shut down, and last week someone discovered a box with them in it. With the God Complex, it had to be very garish and gold and in your face. Why? ‘Well, I’m a guitarist, I have a God Complex, so when I step on this pedal, I sound like God.’ For the DUDE, DaVinci

was the ultimate creator, and that’s really what this pedal allows you to do. You can get any hard clipping sound that you want out of it, and when you think of DaVinci, one image that comes to mind is the Vitruvian Man. My business partner Leah Milton took this image, then made it look old by incorporating the burnt parchment. So the imagery plays into what it does. ME: What is the inspiration behind your Chaplin Compressor? CU: Charlie Chaplin was the actor you saw, but never heard. The Chaplin compressor is a VCA based compressor, just like those built in to a lot of high end mixing boards. It doesn’t pump or breathe, so it’s as invisible and transparent a compressor as you can get. I didn’t want you to feel like you have to play differently, or change anything in your signal chain when you use it. And again, the graphic ties into this idea, along with the film on the side, to further strengthen this image and pull it all together. ME: Thanks for taking the time to talk with us. Before we wrap up, how can people find your pedals? CU: That’s the perfect question to end this with isn’t it? is my distributor, so all of my pedals can be found and purchased through that site. 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.



Eventide H9 Core & Blackhole Plug-in by Michael Hodge

Eventide has been an innovator in digital products for decades. Back in the 70’s their infamous H910 Harmonizer had a huge impact on the recording industry, and could be found in practically every professional studio. Years later Eventide joined the world of Stomp Boxes and introduced a line of four high-end pedals. They are the Time Factor, Mod Factor, Pitch Factor and Space. These took elements of their Professional Studio Rack mount gear and made them available in pedal form. This filled a void for pro players who wanted to replace their heavy guitar racks with something lighter and portable. The original H9 Harmonizer Effects Processor contained algorithms and presets from all four of the Eventide pedals. The H9 CORE is a less expensive version allowing one to get the Eventide sound and quality for a lower price point. Though it’s an entry-level pedal, it can be fully upgraded by purchasing extra algorithms from Eventide. Since both H9 and H9 CORE use the Stereo Expression Pedal jack, Power Supply same algorithms, owners of an original H9 in, and a mini USB 2 port. can also share their presets with up to 5 pedIN USE: als on their account, making having more than one H9 cost effective. I have to say that this is a very cool pedal. I have been taking it with me, and using it OUT OF THE BOX in the studio and live. The nice thing is that The H9 CORE feels solid like I would ex- it works well placed at the end of the signal pect. It weighs in at about a pound and a chain, making it simple to hook into my live half. On top are two footswitches. One is or studio pedal boards. The H9 Core still Bypass (true bypass) and the other is a Tap/ comes preloaded with about nine algorithms Patch Change switch. There is a large mul- and a bunch of patches taken from the four tipurpose rotary knob that can be assigned Eventide Factor pedals. Included is a code to a number of parameters for editing and is for one additional freebie from the web store. large enough to use with your foot. With the I’ve gotten a lot of mileage from the Shimrotary knob you can access presets, or edit mer and Black Hole presets from the Space any of three X, Y or Z parameters. By hold- pedal, and the H910-949 sounds from the ing the knob down for 2 seconds, it becomes Pitch Factor. All the different delays from a ‘hot knob’. In this mode it can be assigned the Time Factor are cool and tweekable, to alter a number of parameters in real time. and the Mod Factor has some crazy pulsatMy preference would be an expression ped- ing and panning effects. I recorded guitars al, but it’s a nice feature if you don’t have for a client recently running my small mono one. Above is a large LED display showing pedalboard into the H9 Core and direct into patch names and parameters of what is be- my DAW. It was perfect for ping-pongy deing accessed via the rotary knob. There are lay stuff with the harmonizer love added in. also small Bluetooth and Input Level indica- It reminds me a little of the Adrenalinn but tors. On the left side of the H9 is Midi In & is so much more intuitive and quick to use Out. On the back are a set of two ¼ inch with the Control App. Input and Output jacks. Also found are the


IPAD INTERFACE: One of my favorite things Eventide has going is the iPad, and iPhone H9 Control App. It’s downloadable at the Apple Store. On the app are large virtual models of the Factor pedals that live inside the H9. With the app you can easily program patches and save them to either the pedal itself or directly on the iPad. Since they communicate by Bluetooth, You can put the IPad on a stand and change stuff in real time for live. For each preset there is an info button on top of the page, that opens a window explaining how the effect works, and what all the different buttons and knobs do. It’s really fantastic. One of the other features is the online Store page. You can try out all of the different algorithms from any of the four Factor pedals. For every patch there is a Listen button to hear both a sample of the dry audio and then hear it with the effect you’re interested in. Furthermore you can also immediately buy or download the patch to your H9 CORE via Bluetooth and see how it sounds with your rig. They give you a five minute free trial period that can be accessed once a day. Also, if you open the app on it’s own without the pedal you can still audition those sounds in what is called Demo Mode. There is another section called Preset Lists. On this page you can assign your presets to the pedal in whatever order you like. If you need to set up for live shows, you can save collections of presets and name them, putting them in the right order for your set list. The presets can also be exported and shared through email. Another option is to limit the number of presets that show up on the H9 Core in case you want to just toggle between 2 or 3 favorite patches. It’s very well thought out. Also you can use the MIDI in to set tempos and MIDI out to run other Eventide pedals. BLACKHOLE ON YOUR DAW: I wanted to include that Eventide has released a separate BLACKHOLE Reverb Plug-in version for DAWS. The Plug-in continued on page 38


Red Iron Amps’ Pedal Pusher by Steve Mercer

Guitarists looking for a little help making their solos stand out in the mix have a number of options these days. But what if you want something more than just a signal boost? What if you could have a pedal that adds warmth and dimension to your tone without losing clarity and also lets you easily push your tube amp into blissful, creamy overdrive growl? Overview Not just another booster pedal, the real valve Pedal Pusher stands out from the production germanium or IC pedals. These are handbuilt preamp/buffer and DI units that boast point-to-point wiring and circuitry designed around vintage NOS (new old stock) subminiature pencil tubes. Pencil tubes were developed by Raytheon in the 1940s to meet stringent MIL-specs for reliability and for long life under extreme conditions. Who knew that they could be so musical? In addition to offering reliability and tube warmth (even to solid state systems), the Pedal Pusher provides true bypass for uncolored feed-through. And it acts as a DI, complete with ground lift. Finally, designer/builder/artisan Paul Sanchez also added a three-way mini-toggle to easily shape your tone with three tone settings that he calls “full body, clean with compression, and bite.” Features  Hand built, point-to-point wiring  Real tube organics at real-world voltages  Preamp/buffer with true bypass  Clean boost  Adjustable (to +11dB) gain  3-way tonal switch  Can be used as a DI  Ground lift  No wall wart  Customization available

the PA. My first surprise was how quiet the signal was. It seemed to add no noise at all. And I was also pleased that the bypass switch at the top was silent as I switched back and forth. Now I am kind of a tone snob, and I was dubious about the idea of getting any sort of tube warmth coming through the speakers of a solid state PA system. I was impressed. The difference was not subtle. I asked others to come over to hear me play while I switched the bypass on and off. Their comments included, “Wow, there is so much more definition” and “It adds dimension” as well as “I hear a much, much warmer tone.” Okay, so it functioned beautifully as a preamp and DI, warming up the signal while letting me fine tune the tone, but how well does it work in front of a real tube amp? Paul advises that the Pedal Pusher should be the first in line in the signal chain, so I plugged it into the front of my pedal board. With all other pedals in bypass mode the Pedal Pusher made the already big sound of my hollow and semi-hollow Gibson guitars sound huge. And when I plugged in my Strat I got enhanced mids and low-end while its characteristic nasal tone and spank came right to the top. By digging in hard or easing off with the pick the response was very expressive and natural. The tone was superbly rich. When I switched on my tube overdrive pedal, which usually just fattens my sound, it sprang to life as a growling beast. Overall Impression: Where can I get one?

I’ll just say it is never leaving my pedal board. If you are looking for a way to off rocker switch, the ground lift toggle, and transform your signal chain with real tube a chicken head gain pot, which lets you dial drive and tone (and who isn’t?) or need a in up to 11dB of boost. The opposite side of quiet, great-sounding and versatile preamp/ the box has the tone-shaping three-way mini DI to use in front of solid state components, First Impressions toggle. Sitting on the top of the unit is simply the Pedal Pusher delivers. Priced at $329, The first thing I noticed was the weight. the bypass toggle and a cool, retro-looking you may purchase it directly from Red Iron While it won’t hog a lot of pedal board blue light that illuminates when the boost is Amps at real estate, it is a very solid unit. Its thick on. black steel case measures roughly 4 ½ by The Test Drive Steve Mercer has been a 3 ¾ inches, and is about 2 ½ inches high. More guitarists these days are discovering guitar nut nearly all of his The second thing that caught my eye was life. He lives in Tacoma, the joys of minimalism, leaving behind their Washington with his wife, the power input. As noted above, there is arena amps and acre-sized pedal boards for with whom he writes, plays, no wall wart. Sanchez hates wall warts, so a pedal or two to plug directly into the FOH. and sings post-industrial folk it sports a hefty AC cable and three-prong I decided to first test the Pedal Pusher’s ability music. plug. to warm up a solid state signal so I simply The controls are simple. One side has an on- positioned the unit between my guitar and



In this installment I want to show you a powerful idea for blues playing. I know Bruce Adolph always likes a good blues lick so here goes. If we focus our playing on the arpeggios of two minor7b5 chords we can come up with some very cool sounds. The following licks can be played over any G7 which or G9, G13, and G7#9, and sound best over a medium tempo blues shuffle. By focusing on the arpeggios of Gm7b5 and

Em7b5 you can create some unique sounds and expand your blues vocabulary. Before you start playing these let’s look at why they sound unique. First the Gm7b5 arpeggios is spelled G Bb Db F when played over a G7 we accentuate the Root, b3, b5 and b7 if we play an Em7b5 arpeggio which is spelled E G Bb D we bring out the 6th ,Root, b3 and 5th. Combining the two our tones gives us G Bb Db D E F. If we just stick to those notes


for our improv solo we’ll get some different lines than the ordinary blues licks. Check out the five licks below and then make up your own. Hope you have some fun with this idea Rich Severson, guitarist, clinician, author, band director, former GIT instructor. To preview Rich’s music and guitar educational products go to and


LAKOTA LEATHERS Cottage Industry With a Twist by Bruce Adolph

Collectible Guitar magazine is all about both vintage and new boutique guitars and basses (not to mention we are fond of mandos, banjos and ukes). We like to tell the story of some of our cottage industry friends. Those folks who make quality guitar related products out of their own homes, garages and weather permitting… back yards. Kenny Bohling is one such guy but with a twist… he has people make things in their own homes, not his. I’ll explain. It all started in 2008 after Kenny had heard a Marty Stuart song on his local radio station WDVX in Knoxville, TN. The song you ask? “Three Chiefs”. Kenny bought the “Badlands” CD it was off of and it inspired him to make his first trip to South Dakota with a car load full of used blankets from local motels. Why blankets? You see, the Pine Ridge Lakota Sioux Indian reservation in South Dakota has the undesirable distinction of being the poorest county in the entire United States. After seeing first hand the poverty of the reservation, Kenny wanted to do more to help. Realizing that he had owned an American Bison (buffalo) hide banjo strap for over 25 years, Kenny set out to find a way to employ the Lakota people to make fine instrument straps. Years later, Lakota Leathers is now a reality and produces guitar, banjo, mandolin, and resophonic guitar straps all the while

improving the lives of those American Indians who make the straps on the reservation. Truly a “cottage” industry, these straps are assembled in living rooms and on kitchen tables. You can find Lakota Leathers at over 175 dealers nationwide and in several foreign countries now as well. They use only native leather (which have been used by the Lakota people for years on end). Bison (American buffalo) and Elk are their leathers of choice. These leathers are extremely supple and provide for unsurpassed comfort no matter what instrument you play. Their bison hide straps are available in four colors (chocolate, black, saddle, and tobacco) and in either 2” or 3” widths. Hand braided Elk hide straps are available for mandolin in a multitude of color choices. They even give a money back guarantee if you are not 100% satisfied.

Kenny sent one of each size buffalo guitar strap. I took the 3” one and placed it on my Gibson J200 (a big guitar to test-drive them with). The strap felt not only secure but also comfortable. The leather really is supple. My wife Judy loves working with leather and knows quality when she sees it. She took the 2” buffalo strap and a metal belt buckle she had been saving and made a very good-looking leather belt to wear with her jeans. She was all-smiles showing me her finished product. Maybe they should make a few belts too? If you have some thoughts about a special guitar strap you have always wanted Lakota Leathers does design and make custom straps too. That would be cool. Everything Lakota makes is hand made and has a purpose behind it to better the lives of the American Indians on the reservation in South Dakota. I like that type of American ingenuity. Way to go Kenny. Guitar straps are $50.00 for the 2” wide ones and $60.00 for the 3” ones.


VIEW OF THE DAY by Dave Cleveland

Larry Rolando

As a player in Nashville I get a chance to know a lot of great guitar players. The stories behind those players is amazing to me and inspiring. This month I sat down with a guy who has been active in the session world for 40 years! His name is Larry Rolando. He is one of those behind the scene session guys that has been involved with iconic artists over the years. From The Sonny and Cher show to recording with Art Garfunkel, Larry has done it all and seen it all. The hours he has sat in the studio recording has helped establish him as one of the best at what he does. I personally have learned so much from his wisdom as a session player that I felt it would be cool to feature him in my View of The Day.

Dave: Did you take lessons? Larry: I hit a brick wall at 12 years old. I started with a teacher in Texas by the name of Chester Rupe. He broke down the guitar into music as opposed to playing it as an instrument. When I got to North Texas State, I took privately from Jack Petersen; more of the same thing. Dave: How important was reading music to you and your career?

Larry: When I moved to Los Angeles in 1974 you had to read. Reading in LA was divided into two categories; TV film dates where it was just notes on a page and master rhythm charts for records. There was usually too much information on the page. So, Dave Cleveland: When did you pick up the you had to find a part to play in the midst of guitar? all this information in front of you. As we Larry Rolando: I was raised in Corpus moved closer to the 1980s, the whole recordChristi Texas. I started playing guitar when I arranger era gave away to a keyboard player was 8 years old, 4 months before the Beatles making up the arrangement and then the where on The Ed Sullivan Show. Guitar re- guitar coming in and finding a part to play ally exploded after that. with all these keyboards.


Dave: Can you give me a couple of specific tunes that were done this way? Larry: Tunes that Robbie Buchanan was involved in… the early Whitney Houston material… that kind of stuff. Dave: Who were some of your influences? Larry: Hendrix, Clapton… Howard Roberts changed my life as did going on a session seeing Larry Carlton. Dave: What was it about Larry Carlton that inspired you? Larry: The ease in which he did sessions. Effortless. Dave: When you started playing sessions, what gear did you use? Larry: It was very simple: Gibson 335, Princeton Reverb, Sho Bud volume pedal, Dyna Comp, Maestro phaser, Boss CE1. The CE1 brought us into the world of stereo guitar. Dave: How does that compare with what

you are using now?

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Larry: It’s kind of the same except there’s more stuff on a pedal board wired up nice and clean with good power supplies. Now it’s back to mono. No more stereo chorusing, pitch shift, ping-pong delay. Dave: Are there any pedals that you are really digging right now? Larry: Strymon Timeline and Mobius. The guys here in Nashville, XTS, are building the best overdrives. Their Precision OD and Atomic OD are some of the best. I use Paul Cochrane’s Timmy every day. Dave: Who do you use in Nashville to wire up your board? Larry: XTS has a custom shop here also. They have really stepped up the game for having world-class rigs in Nashville. Dave: Tell me about life as a Los Angeles session player and the opportunities that presented to you? Larry: 1974 was the tail end of the Wrecking Crew era. Dave: Who was the wrecking crew? Larry: A group of guys from the 60s. Hal Blaine, Joe Osborn, Carol Kaye, James Burton, Tommy Tedesco, Howard Roberts. There is great movie coming out on these guys. They played on hundreds of hit records. I did my first sessions two weeks after I moved to LA. It was a session Glen Campbell was producing at Hollywood Sound. Al Casey and I were on acoustic guitar. Hearing your self on “playback” through the big monitor speakers the studios had back then was a great first experience. A year later I was doing the Cher show, Mac Davis show and Rockford Files along with Dan Ferguson. In 1976 live TV work started to die off so I worked my way into recording sessions full time. It was a great era for making records, great budgets. You had people trying to compete with Steely Dan albums… the bar was set really high. Dave: How has the session scene changed since you started? Larry: That is hard to answer from my perspective. It is like asking how has your son changed from a precious 3 year old to the 22 year old adult. It just happens, and you go with it. What is the same? You have to play in time, be in tune, and be pretty quick at doing it. Everything else is just the world changing. No tape rollback, no bad punchins and no decisions being made until the end of the record. Dave: After 40 years of doing sessions would you do it again? Larry: Yes and another 40. •

“Matt is a very musical songwriter, producer, mixer and a very good friend of mine. I love hearing his work as he is one of the best in the business. I always look forward to working and making great music with Matt.”

~ Gregg Bissonette

(Ringo Starr and his All Starr Band, David Lee Roth, Joe Satriani, Toto, James Taylor, Ray Charles, Brian Setzer Orchestra, Steve Lukather, Don Henly, Santana, Spinal Tap, Andy Summers...)

Studio Dome Bluetooth Audio Speakers Studio Dome’s flagship SD1 features a two-speaker Bluetooth system with separate bass-film subwoofer and 40mm NIB main speaker for crystal-clear highs, singing mids, and a thumping bass that belies its size. Its an ideal minimonaural solution that can be taken anywhere, and rugged enough for the rigors of the road. The Studio Boom Box comes in a compact, Bauhaus-inspired package where independent left and right channels are combined with an integrated subwoofer for room-filling audio. Studio Dome’s Signature Series SFM (Studio Field Monitor) and SPA (Studio PA) products are designed by David Lei, assembled, and tested in the USA. Even though they’re only the size of a toaster, the SFM is loud enough to provide a p.a. solution for a small venue and features three separate inputs including Bluetooth and a three-band EQ and can connect to a second SFM, splitting off into L/R channels for a true stereo image. With no need for wall warts, the SFM delivers eight to ten hours of use on a full charge. The SPA adds more watts and headroom with a larger speaker and battery life up to 15 hours. MSRPs range from $99 to $799, and their MAPs “still allow you to maintain a healthy profit margin.” Summer NAMM Booth 350 COLLECTIBLEGUITAR.COM :: JUL/AUG 14 :: 37

continued from page 30 works on both Mac/PC and supports VST, AU and AAX formats. Installation is pretty straightforward. I downloaded and installed it on my rig in minutes. It does require the dreaded ILOK Authorization. My main beef is that I fear losing it & have to keep it with me at all times. If only they could make it small enough to live on your Laptop without sticking out. The Blackhole Plug-in has the same luscious algorithms as in the Space Pedal and H9. It has all the cool features like the Gravity control, which can turn the reverb backwards. It’s a killer plug for soundscapes, guitar swells, strings and EDM music. There is even a Freeze button to make an endless feedback loop that can sync with your song. It’s very flexible and I enjoy messing with it. It takes vocals out of the ordinary and is very modern sounding. The Blackhole is an expensive sounding reverb, and a solid bang for the buck. Most parameters can be automated including the ribbon

slider section that morphs between two settings. You can also Load and Save presets, which is always good for workflow. END OF THE DAY: The H9 Core is becoming one of my favorite pedals. I like leaving the Shimmer patch on most of the time for a bit of verb and fairy dust. There are a lot of ethereal patches, which are really great for swells, delays and textural pads. I really do like having

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Rhiannon Giddens of the Carolina Chocolate Drops with her Deering John Hartford banjo

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the references right there on the iPad. In the Studio, the Control app is fun. One of the unsung features is the actual size of the H9 Core. It’s only about 4 ½ inches wide, whereas the Factor pedals are each 7 ½ inches wide, it’s a huge plus for that precious Pedal Board real estate. The fact that it’s stereo in and out and such high quality means it qualifies as a possible piece of outboard gear for recording or mixing. The Blackhole Plug-in is really cool as well. For the price of an average plug-in, it has a very powerful algorithm. Great lush deep reverbs. The street price for the H9 Core is $399.00. The Blackhole Reverb Native Plug-in goes for around $199.00. For more information:

Michael Hodge is a guitarist and producer from Nashville, TN


Alclair “Curve” Universal In-Ear Monitors by Judy & Bruce Adolph

Judy like’s her universals but was hoping for something more, better sound without having to go and visit an audiologist to take the molds (which depending on where you live in the country can vary quite a bit cost wise).

I first met Marc Musselman from Alclair at one of our training conferences. He had an exhibit booth there and was making in-ear molds right there in his booth. That was convenient for our conference registrants and a fellow writer for Collectible Guitar magazine Steve Mercer and his wife Linda both ordered a pair. They loved them and appreciated the good customer service as well. I use molds, but my wife Judy has been using universals (non-molded to your specific ears) for years. She has used a major manufacturer’s models ranging from the $200$400.00 price range. Judy’s uses them for exercise, house cleaning and regular listening… she listens to a lot of music.

When I heard that Alclair (who is well known for high-end in ear molds) was going to release their first pair of universals I was intrigued. They call them the “Curve” and they are dual drivers with 26db of noise isolation. I told them that Judy was the best candidate to test them on. They showed up in the mail and then we jumped into the car to run some errands. Placing them in her ears she stated right off the bat how comfortable they felt (with her other models she had to sometimes pinch the ear bud part like crazy to get it to fit correctly). Alclair gives you three different sizes of two different types of tips for your ears, to ensure that you will find one that fits you the best. She hit the jackpot right away as they felt good. Then plugging into her iPhone’s iPod she hit play on the song “Crazy Train”. “Oh my gosh! She yelled (remember her ear buds were in). “These sound great!” I was glad she liked them but was trying to get her to talk a little

softer… ha! “The music is just right there… it is so clear”. I was glad she liked them as we have gone through a few of other company’s universals and that is when it happened. The guitar solo by Randy Rhoads part of the song came on and she cranked them up. “It is like hearing him live in concert – these are amazing!” Well, I knew she would be mentally out of pocket while the guitar solo roared but it did give me the answer I needed from my most reliable source regarding universals. Her only complaint (and she says this about everyone’s ear buds) is that she wished they looked less like hearing aids. I told her that was the nature of in-ears but if she did later step up to molds then Alclair offers a ton of fashionable colors and custom looks. She said, “No, I will keep these” as she rocked out. There you have it, another affirmation from my specialists that Alclair is onto something special with the Curve. These Alclairs sounded twice as good as the other brand she used that cost twice as much. She had found the universals she was looking for. And yes, they are made in the USA. Retail $199.00


CLIMATE CASES STANDARD PREDRIVE Pettyjohn Electronics This highly versatile, studio-grade guitar pedal is built to be always on and first in your chain of effects. It starts with a pristine buffer, clean boost and transparent tone shaping controls, and then adds the ability for you to mix in the amount of harmonically rich overdrive you desire.


Reflects 90% of heat from direct sunlight Protects from dust & rain Protects from extreme changes in temperature/humidity Keeps your case looking new


A combination overdrive & distortion pedal. The pedal is built on our popular Alpha Dog distortion and Pale Horse overdrive Available in Classical/Dobro/Small circuits, each with dedicated gain Acoustic, Pre-1991 Martin, Banjo, controls. A blend control provides Mandolin, Rectangular Tele/Strat- the best of both worlds - thick, type solidbody Electric Guitar creamy distortion with a clear, Cases & Rectangular Precision/ smooth top end. Jazz-type Electric Bass Cases.




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PEDAL SNAPSHOT by Phil Traina Dew Drop Reverb $179.95 Street

MI Effects Crossover Drive XOD $199 Street



* Mix: How much reverb is mixed with dry signal. Set low to stay shallow, crank for full soak * Dwell: Atmosphere…How much do you want? * Tone: Dark to bright…Cut back for a warmer verb, up for brighter sparkle

* Volume: Louder * Gain: From Boost to Rock N’Roll!! * Balance: Allows adjustments to the upper end harmonics to cut through the mix. Nice round full lead tone to a mid-punch in the face. * Detail: Changes the character of the body pf the tone. Perfect for bright amplifiers.

Just a great spring reverb plus more. The mojohandfx guys have given us a reverb that can give you just a little verb to a whole lotta verb in a cool package. If you are the guitar player that just wants a hint of reverb to enhance your tone or if reverb is a big part of your tone, it can be accomplished with this pedal. What sticks out to me is the slight modulation on the reverberation trails, it fattens up the tone a bit. The tone knob also allows to perfectly dial in a perfect flavor of bright or darkness into your chain.

You may have heard of MI Effects before. They are the creators of the famous Tube Zone and Crunchbox pedals. The Crossover drive is a super dynamic touch sensitive FET drive pedal. Only 250 units were made. The heartbeat of this pedal is 4 discontinued FET drivers. The gain is not just your average gain knob, it actually enhances your tone. You can use this as a boost, overdrive or even add some fuzz characteristics when driving this bad boy. The guys at MI audio know their stuff and build great stuff. This is pretty much a little amp in a box. This original design makes me want to play more. +612 95195902

Horus Overdrive $160 Street Features: Oddfellow FX Caveman Drive $149 Street

* Volume: Louder * Tone: From dark to light…Tonewise of course. * Growl: Added girth and hair * Gain: Overdrive amount * Bass Cut: 3 way bass cut switch

(Subject to Change)

Features: * Volume: Louder * Tone: Darker to Brighter, lets you dial in singlecoils and humbuckers * Drive: Gain * Bypass: On/Off... * Boost: On/Off… Just enough umph The caveman drive is a very versatile, transparent, organic drive/ boost pedal. The caveman drive while having quite a bit of gain on tap, still let’s the note articulation shine through. It almost gives a sense that you are running a clean rig and overdriven rig in parallel. I really dig it as a little push for my singlecoil equipped guitars. The caveman cleans up really nice when you roll the volume back. When you add more gain the tone stays fat and clear at the same time, those characteristics are often not used together. Dial in your level of gain, add a boost and call it a day. I can see why the chatter on the inter webs have been so great.


The Horus overdrive is a low to medium drive pedal. It works well with single coils and humbuckers. I can get dare I say, “Klon-like” boost tones and with the bass cut switch some Tube Screamer style midrange bump. The Horus adds some cool glass and upper end sparkle to your tone. The growl control adds girth and a bit of fuzzy hair when you crank it up. I found this pedal to be super versatile; to play it reminds me of a bunch of cool pedals from my past. If you are looking for a boost to midgain tone solution check out the Horus Overdrive. J.Coloccia Guitars 860-904-8213

Phil Traina "The Gear Concierge" Livin ' the dream in sunny California with my beautiful wife and daughter.

the Straight Truth About Pickups by Jason Lollar This was more like the dragon chasing us–over the years it’s been one of our most requested pickup designs. Of course, we had to add our own twists, including sizing it to drop into a standard humbucker route. A2 magnets, custom covers, lot’s of attitude. Starting with a ‘60s Country Gentleman as a benchmark, we went after the classic rock-a-billy ‘bucker tone, adding some “Lollar” along the way. The neck pickup is warm and buttery, with a clear, present top end. The bridge pickup is fat and honky, with a rich, defined low end. Combined, they sparkle and spank with clarity and punch. They’ll cover everything from “OZ” rock to “Nashville Super Pickers” to “Hot Rods and Hot Babes…” Go Man, Go! I’ve personally designed over a hundred different pickup models, including most of the vintage classics, some obscure works of art from steel guitars to clavinets, and even a few of my own designs that have never existed in the past. I invite you to visit our website for sound clips, videos and current product information or feel free to give us a call. Lollar Pickups PO Box 2450 Vashon Island, WA 98070 (206) 463-9838


Life is too short to play a lousy guitar!


Saga’s Blueridge BR-60T Tenor Guitar by Bruce Adolph

or fiddle all the better). It adds a different voice to an acoustic jam and adds another instrument to your musical palate/ arsenal at the same time. and this BR60T model was designed to offer you something a little higher up the food chain of a tenor guitar with solid Sitka spruce top, Santos rosewood back and sides (very nice grain), a Indian rosewood fingerboard and Gotoh vintage style open back tuners. In the late 1920’s several iconic manufacturers started making tenor guitars (Gibson, Martin, Epiphone) as well as several banjo makers. The trend in music was shifting towards jazz bands, dance orchestras and in later years country swing. Rhythm instruments with the capacity for more volume were filling the needs of the musicians of that day. A tenor guitar was tuned in fifths just like the tenor banjo, mandolin and violin, so folks migrating from those instruments found it easy to play the chord shapes and scales they already knew. Plus a C chord in tenor tuning (CGDA) sounds more open than a C chord on a regular 6-string guitar. As we got into more modern times you see Jimmie Dodd on the Mickey Mouse Club television show playing his Mousketar (a tenor guitar) and Nick Reynolds of the popular Kingston Trio folk group playing a Martin Tenor. As folks started tuning them differently you see tenors emerge in Celtic music and pop as well. Many guitarists like myself tune the tenor like the four high strings of a 6-string guitar (DGBE) and find it refreshing to think this through as you play songs without the E and A bass strings to bail you out. I like the baritone ukulele for the same reason. In fact, for a travel or vacation instrument, the tenor would be a good choice as it is smaller than a regular 6-string and fits in an overhead compartment easily. Saga Musical Instruments has had a lot of success with their Blueridge line of guitars

The body shape is basically a small guitar with a traditional X-bracing pattern, a bone saddle and nut (a nut width of 1&17/64ths) and a scale length of 22.9”. The neck is mahogany and the neck meets the body at the 14th fret. There are 20 frets total. Even though this tenor guitar is made overseas it has nice appointments… a natural high gloss finish, mother of pearl fret markers, the logo is abalone and mother of pearl as well and the back sports a checkered inlay stripe… all of this adds up to a very thoughtful presentation. As your reviewer I have to be honest with you and disclose that I am a bit left of center when it comes to the application of the merits of a tenor guitar. There are so many ways they are used in many different musical genres, but my favorite way could be considered odd by some… and I am cool with that. With a shorter scale length and steel strings you get less tension on the strings themselves. What this affords you is a great feeling “riff-zone” from the 7th-12th frets (especially on the G, B and E strings). It feels similar to your electric guitar’s tension. So not only do you get a versatile folk instrument, but you get a fun instrument to practice your lead playing on as well, with a lot of room to really bend those notes! The tone is really nice on the BR-60T. It won’t replace the E and A bass strings of course on your 6-string but it will help you find ways to make your existing songs work in the standard guitar tuning and also give you some big open chords when you tune to the normal tenor CGDA (if you play mando


Saga Musical Instruments has taken their Blueridge mojo (more quality than you would expect for this price point) and rolled it into this tenor guitar. If you are ready for something with historic roots and versatile applications, pick-up a BR-60T today. BR-60T Retail $795.00 Very nice blue colored gig bag – CB-361BL $89.95


LAC I N OU - O VE S T NE lr IC ba N gg U s.c E PE om /v D ™ D AL en I u e


Deering’s Goodtime Solana 6 String Acoustic Electric Openback Banjo by Bruce Adolph

Banjo’s are huge these days. Not only is bluegrass using them like usual but many pop and cross genre bands are bringing banjo’s to the forefront of their music. Five string banjo’s are prevalent with Mumford and Sons, The Band Perry and not to mention countless country bands of course. Deering as a company has been focusing on converting guitar players into banjo players for years now in their marketing efforts and the Boston B6 banjo was their first six string banjo model that won over the likes of Keith Urban and Taylor Swift. Deering’s other bright idea that has paid off in spades for them is their Goodtime series of banjos. They are stripped down entry-level priced banjos that are built with quality in mind in Spring Valley, CA. The violin-grade maple rim is made of the same wood used on the professional level Deering models and gives the Goodtime banjo a rich and round note distinction. Since the Goodtime has arrived on the scene Deering has sold tons of them. I have three personal friends who all own them and you can’t wrestle them out of their hands. Well built and affordable is the Goodtime motto. I have been asking Deering for years when were they going to make the six string version in the Goodtime series and now, they have finally done it. I was thrilled when I found out and I asked them to send me the prototype so Collectible Guitar magazine could have the scoop for you our readers. I opened the box with an element of excitement. The first thing you notice is the Goodtime banjo cardboard box that accompanies all Goodtime banjos. The box features artwork that says, “Music makes life better” and “Play the banjo”. That is a good start. I pull out the banjo and immediately I notice the nice width of the neck. Oh yeah. This is a six string classical style banjo. Which means a wide neck and

nylon strings. Why nylon strings? Deering tells it like this…”the reason for going with nylon strings is that there is quite literally nothing like this anywhere in the market and the nylon strings lend themselves beautifully to Deering’s intended result - a smooth, mellow and original sound”. The neck is made of maple and so is the fretboard. It has normal classic guitar tuners instead of banjo type ones. I have always liked the Goodtime’s tone even as an openback instrument with no tone ring on it. I was curious to see how I would like the switch to nylon strings. Actually, they sounded fine and the volume from this instrument was more than adequate (even loud at times). Now the traditional way to play the banjo is with a metal thumb and finger picks (which will give you more of that banjo “bite”). As a converted guitar player, I liked using a flat pick on the banjo and just my fingers too. I know it may seem like a travesty but this will be guitarists picking up the six string more than banjo players so they better get used to it. Ha! Deering was thinking of this Goodtime being used on stage as it comes equipped with a Kavanjo made piezo pickup under the


patented Deering bridge plate and it sports an input jack. The bridge plate helps to tame some of the bass response so that there is more of even sound across the banjo and helps to tamper down feedback when plugged in. This is the same patented bridge plate that comes on the $3,100 Deering Phoenix banjo. Some folks may think that a nylon string banjo is a lesser way to go tone wise but actually I have seen some very high-end boutique banjos at the bluegrass festivals I have attended. The nylon tone is more mellow than steel strings just like you would imagine on an acoustic guitar versus classic guitar scenario but with the banjo head you can still get that scratchy banjo strum happening and also not have the overly bright/brittle tone that some guitarists might think of when thinking about banjos in general (insert banjo joke here). I played several of my usual guitar ditties on it to see what would happen and I was pleasantly surprised. You do have a quicker note decay than an acoustic guitar of course but that actually can work to your advantage in some tunes. I further broke the rules and found that with a rounded body that sports the banjo head you have total access to the 22nd fret for lead playing… that was a revelation that many strictly banjo players may not consider a plus. Deering has a winner on their hands with their first foray into presenting a sx string banjo into the Goodtime line. This will make a great addition to your wall of different types of guitars that you utilize to offer different tones and styles. I can see quite a few places in my own music to insert the sound of the Goodtime Solana 6 openback banjo. Well played Deering, well played. List Price: $899.00

Your ears are important.

Love them.

800.933.9899 @alclair

Hand-crafted in-ear monitors

The Real Story Behind The Guitar Auction That Wasn’t by Gabriel J. Hernandez

000-28 with a 20-fret neck and Brazilian Rosewood ($14,640). Overall, Boak was quite pleased with Martin’s new additions to its museum, and the prices paid for the guitars.

It was supposed to be the mother of all guitar auctions. One of the world’s most respected auction houses assembled 265 of the most desirable guitars ever offered for sale. They hyped it with a public relations’ campaign that rivaled that of any presidential candidate’s, all of which bolstered both anticipation and expectations for the “shot-in-the-arm” the guitar market had waited so long for. Remarkably, and considering all variables, from the very first guitar offered for sale – an elaborately decorated 1928 Gibson Nick Lucas Special, with a pre-auction estimate of $35,000-to-$45,000, that didn’t garner one bid – those lofty expectations very quickly turned into harsh realities for Guernsey’s Auctioneers & Brokers and its founder and president Arlan Ettinger, who hosted the company’s first guitar-only auction this past April at New York City’s Bohemian National Hall. Appropriately dubbed “Artistry Of The Guitar,” the auction featured hand-picked instruments from one of the world’s most extraordinary collections of stringed instruments. Well-known – and somewhat notorious – guitar collector and business executive Hank Risan consigned 265 of his most prized guitars (not including his most desirable: an 1835 Martin 2½-17 model owned by Mark Twain) to Ettinger and his team of experts for an auction anticipated to break all previous guitar auction records. In fact, Ettinger in several national interviews prior to the start of the auction told the world he expected at least one or possibly two of the guitars to eclipse the seven-figure mark, which is considered rarefied air for any guitar. And with Guernsey’s – and Ettinger’s – solid reputation for having conducted numerous honorable and highly successful auctions over the company’s 40-year history, there wasn’t any clear reason to doubt whether him or the company could pull it off. Unfortunately, that’s not how it played out. Not even close. And though many guitar industry gurus and watchers alike have speculated and held numerous water cooler discussions about why the auction didn’t live up to expectations, Ettinger himself has never addressed the issue on the record ... until now. But before we get to Ettinger, let’s first take a look at some actual auction results. According to Guernsey’s, 179 of the 265 guitars “officially” sold for $2.14 million. The highest price paid for any one guitar was $366,000 for a very rare 1930 Martin OM-45 Deluxe (only 11 ever made). It was purchased

“We honestly didn’t think we were going to get the OM-45 Deluxe,” Boak said. “We were willing to go as high as $400,000 to $450,000 for it, but obviously we didn’t have to. We’d been looking for one of these guitars for a long time, and now it hangs in our museum. I’ve played it a few times and it’s truly a magnificent instrument.”

1930 OM-45 by the C.F. Martin guitar company for its museum at the company’s headquarters in Nazareth, Pennsylvania. Pre-auction hype pegged this guitar as the most likely to exceed the highly coveted $1 million mark, with an overly ambitious sales estimate of $1.75-to-$2 million. Other guitars with equally bold estimates met the same fate. Among them, a 1941 Gibson SJ-200 formerly owned by Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Stephen Stills sold for $50,000 (preauction estimate was $500,000-to-$600,000); a 1936 Gibson Advanced Jumbo sold for $48,800 (pre-auction estimate was $135,000to-$150,000); a stunningly rare 1935 Gibson Super 400 Flattop Custom sold for $46,875 (pre-auction estimate was $525,000-to$575,000); an exceptionally rare and desirable 1934 D’Angelico Excel – possibly the very first Excel model made by the legendary luthier – sold for just $43,750 (pre-auction estimate was $450,000-to-$475,000); and another very rare and desirable 1928 Martin 00-45 sold for $42,700 (pre-auction estimate was $240,000to-$270,000).

Martin’s seemingly “cheap” acquisition of the OM-45 was typical of the bidding that occurred for many of the auction’s 265 guitars. When the OM-45 took center stage, the auctioneer announced the bidding would start at $850,000. When no one raised their hand the opening bid was lowered to $750,000, and then to $650,000, and so on, etc. Not until the opening bid was lowered all the way to $300,000 did Boak finally raise his hand to start the bidding. Fortunately for Boak and Martin, theirs’ was the only bid on the guitar (the additional $66,000 was Guernsey’s 22 percent hammer fee). So again, why wasn’t there a bidding war on such a rare, coveted Martin? And why did this scenario play out again and again during what was supposed to be the guitar auction of the new millennium? The answers are somewhat complicated, but Boak offered perhaps the most diplomatic response of all. “The collection really was a truly remarkable collection, especially in the huge number

So what happened? Were the estimates and expectations too high? Were there issues with the authenticity and condition of some of the guitars? And probably the most important question: was the auction an accurate reflection of the current vintage guitar market? Representing Martin at the auction was Dick Boak, the company’s long-time director of museum, archives and special projects. In addition to the 1935 OM-45 Deluxe, Martin and Boak also took home a 1969 D-45 with Brazilian Rosewood ($30,500), a 1904 0-42 ($12,200), and an absolutely stunning 1914


Collectible OM-45, just beautiful.

and that this auction was supposed to fulfill his obligation to the IRS. Although [Hank Risan] does have a ruling voice on what offers to accept or decline, I think at some point – because the IRS is involved – the IRS can physically come in and seize any lots that are unsold and sell it themselves, and they can then decide whether or not to sell it to the people that have previously placed bids or made offers on any of the unsold guitars.” Heller also mentioned that Guernsey’s 22 percent buyer’s premium was still in effect for any post-auction sales, but added that depending on how antsy the IRS agents got, there may have actually come a time when the IRS simply stepped in to take over the entire auction altogether, thus ending Guernsey’s association with it.

1969 D-45 of amazing guitars available for purchase,” Boak said. “But I think one of the problems that just about everyone interested in these guitars had was that the initial estimates were extremely high. And second, there was the thought that such a huge influx of guitars into the marketplace at one time would actually devalue the prices for the guitars. Letting go of so many vintage pieces at one time was not seen as a good thing. If they would have come out one or two at a time then maybe it would have been a different story. But the sheer number of guitars available I think hurt the auction.” So why would Risan offer up so many guitars at one time? We tried to reach Risan several times to get an answer to this and other important questions, and left numerous messages for him at his California office. Unfortunately, he never returned our calls. However, Guernsey spokesperson Lindsay Heller, who handled most of the sales and bidding that took place after the “official” end of the auction, shed some light on the subject. According to Heller, there was a little, lesser known fact about the auction that Guernsey’s did not publicize – that the auction was supposed to raise money for Risan’s apparent tax debt to the Internal Revenue Service. And since the auction allegedly didn’t raise enough money to satisfy Risan’s total debt to the IRS, post-auction sales were on-going for at least two weeks after the final gavel fell on April 3. “Yes, the IRS is involved and that’s the main reason that the timeline for this auction is somewhat blurry at this moment,” Heller said when first contacted back in April. “I’ve been told that we’re allowed to be frank about this whole situation, so the reality is that the consignor owes a debt to the IRS,

“The IRS has been very good to us throughout this whole process, and they know how much work we put into this auction, with the printing of the catalog and the hosting of the auction itself,” Heller said. “But if [Hank Risan] doesn’t act in due time then the IRS will, in fact, become the defacto consignor for all of these unsold guitars, and they would then decide when and to whom they will be sold.” Risan’s apparent debt to the IRS was at least one of the reasons behind the sale of so many of his prized guitars. But what about the other lingering questions regarding the auction? Were there issues with the authenticity and condition of the guitars? And – most importantly – was the auction an accurate assessment of the current vintage guitar market? According to a few experts, the answers to those questions are a bit more interesting than the IRS’s involvement.

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“My business partner and I were hired by Guernsey’s as a consultant for this auction, and to inspect and tune the instruments. So we got a pretty good look at all of them and it was definitely a very nice collection of

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the Grateful Dead. And you didn’t need to be a genius to see that [Hank Risan’s] collection was a great collection. So he consigned his collection to us, and once the word got out that we were going to sell his guitars, that’s when people started to call us and tell us about their own personal experiences with Hank. “But as our consignor, we worked with him as best we could. However it soon became clear that his expectations were very high and not in line with those of other notable guitar experts and independent appraisers,” Ettinger said. “Basically we were dealing with an overly optimistic consignor, and that’s something I have experienced in the past. For [Hank Risan], having to sell these guitars was like having to sell his own children. And how do you put a price on your own children? Bottom line is that we were told by many people that his expectations were very unrealistic.”

1914 000-28 acoustics and archtops,” said Alex Whitman, one of the owners of New York City’s famed TR Crandall Guitars. “But there was also a lot of discussion about the consignor’s reputation in general, and rumors of some shady dealings, though let me also say there was nothing that we or anyone else could verify. Personally, I think the biggest issue was that no one really knew the motivation behind his selling of so many guitars. I heard it was an IRS auction to pay off some debt, so the initial price estimates were high. In some cases the estimates were three to four times above reasonable prices for these guitars, and some were even higher than that.” Whitman continued, “And then there were the questions about the originality of some of the pieces. We had people asking our opinion on many of the guitars; whether they had been refinished, or whether some had had some work done to them, etc. There were many people that flew in for this auction from faraway places and they were very frustrated when they got to the preview. I think a lot of people were turned off by everything that was going on around it.” As Whitman pointed out, many people assumed Guernsey’s – and Ettinger – had done their due diligence prior to signing on to host the auction. After all, alongside Sotheby’s and Christie’s, Guernsey’s Auction House is also considered one of the most respected names in the auction business. So what, if anything, went wrong? “When Mr. Risan first contacted us, I immediately flew out to California to see his instruments,” Ettinger said. “Now, I’m not a guitar expert and I certainly don’t try to pass myself off as one. But I have sold some very nice guitars over the years, including the two guitars most used by the late Jerry Garcia of

Nonetheless, Ettinger – being the ultimate professional that he is – kept a very positive face and continued to encourage anyone that would listen to participate in the auction, “… because you never know what will happen in any auction,” he said. So did the auction satisfy Risan’s IRS debt? I guess we’ll never know for sure because Risan isn’t talking. But one thing we do know is that Guernsey’s is not deterred by one bad guitar auction. In fact, a recent email blast from the auction house received just prior to deadline revealed Guernsey’s is currently taking consignments for its next guitar auction, though no definitive date has been set. Ettinger’s company has held several prominent auctions over its 40-plusyear history, including the sale of rare items belonging to John F. Kennedy, Franklin Roosevelt, Princess Diana, Elvis Presley, Mickey Mantle, and a host of other very notable historical figures. He’s quite confident he can add historical and rare guitars to his company’s impressive resume, and probably won’t stop until he does. “It would be somewhat inappropriate to talk about the sales of our consignors, because ultimately we do have to be respectful,” Ettinger said rather politely when asked what lessons – if any – he took away from this past guitar auction. “It’s not that I ‘learned’ something, or that I never encountered this situation before. But in our enthusiasm to be accommodating to this consignor, will I maybe be tougher in some areas in the future? I guess you can read between the lines, if you want.” Ettinger continued, “When it was all said and done, I had many people call me and tell me they wish they would have participated, and that overall it was a great event and that we should be very proud of what we did for this auction. And ultimately I am. There were many independent collectors of high-end guitars and even dealers that came up to me


and said they would love to see us do more guitar auctions. Bottom line is we shoot to do things that people have never done before, and I would encourage anyone that’s reading this to give us a call and give us a chance. This past auction was OK. It definitely could have been better, but overall it as OK. I’m still very delighted with the event itself and with the beautiful catalog we produced for it. From here, we’re moving forward with our heads held very high.” As for the current state of the guitar market and possible success – or failure – of any future guitar auctions, the consensus of opinion among industry experts seems to suggest that everyone should sit back and take a big deep breath and exhale … slowly. Because as Bob Marley so eloquently professes in arguably his most enduring song, “Don’t worry ‘bout a thing, ‘Cause every little thing gonna be alright!” “Considering the state of our current economy, there certainly have been some price adjustments within the industry,” said longtime New York City guitar guru and industry expert Laurence Wexer, who attended both nights of the Guernsey’s guitar auction. “However, I see a moderate state of recovery as well. The desirable models and rare models are still bringing top dollar, and overall I believe there is still very strong interest in this market if the guitars are priced fairly.” And regarding any future guitar auctions hosted by Guernsey’s, Ettinger can probably take a deep breath and exhale as well. “We did very well on the guitars we purchased from [Guernsey’s],” said Whitman of TR Crandall Guitars. “I know for a fact we’ll be paying attention to any of their future auctions, and would be happy to assist them again, if asked. Mr. Ettinger and everybody that works there are really great people, and they tried very hard to make this last auction a success. Personally, I believe they’re going to hit a homerun with their next one.” Let’s all hope they hit it out of the park. Gabriel J. 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


FALL GUITAR SHOW 2014 Guitars Amps Mandolins Lap Steels Ukes Banjos Pedals

Sunday, Sept 14 9:30am - 4:30pm

Kent Commons, Kent, WA

Admission $10.00 On-Site Food & Drinks


Kent Commons 525 4th Ave N, Kent, WA 98032

Exhibit/Vendor Tables $60.00 For information or booth reservations 253-445-1973 The Seattle-Tacoma Guitar Show mailing address 4227 S. Meridian #C-275 Puyallup, WA 98373

Be sure to check out the brand new Tacoma Guitar Festival, Sun, May 17, 2015 photo: Joe Riggio courtesy of Rick King

a mellow blend


Escape the expected. Experience graphite.

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