Collectible Guitar :: Then and Now - Mar/Apr 2014

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Korina, Korina

Mick Flynn’s Lifelong Search for the Gibson Flying V


$5.95 US $6.95 Canada VOL 1 :: ISSUE 2


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With a Little Help From My Friends. I have been enamored with guitars ever since I was a young teenager. I have had the opportunity to travel the world quite a bit when I was younger, and I knew so little about guitars that I was dangerous. Case in point, when I was fourteen years old I found a music store in Hong Kong that was jammed to the gills with instruments. I played a Yamaha acoustic 12 string that I liked and bought it. I didn’t even know how to tune a 12 string, and the language barrier between broken English and my naiveté, even after the explanation they gave me I was still unsure how to tune it. Worse yet, once I got it back to the States it turned out that the neck was built with a bad angle and if I ever wanted low action I would need to have the neck reset. It was a little far to take it back for a refund. I wished I’d had a good guitar counselor with me on that trip. A year later I was in Bangkok, Thailand and I found another music store there. This time I bought an acoustic Eko guitar that was the heaviest acoustic that I have ever picked up, even to this day. It was made in Italy but felt like it was made from solid Thai teak woods. It did sound nice however, so without good counsel I did okay. Did I mention it was only $50.00? I don’t think I had enough money to buy a case for it if my memory serves me right. The next year I was in Vientiane, Laos and I wandered into a Yamaha motorcycle shop that also carried Yamaha guitars and amps. Go figure. Maybe it is high time for Harley Davidson to get into the guitar and amp business? I bought a white Yamaha electric guitar that was sort of strat shaped and had several switches to it for controls. I liked the white finish because back in my bedroom in California I had a large poster of Jimi Hendrix on my wall playing the white strat at Woodstock. That was a cool guitar, it wasn’t

set up well at all though and again very inexpensive. Could I have benefited from some good guitar advice when I bought it? You bet. I may have bought a little higher up the food chain if I had known. But it was that same summer in Laos that my father gave to me something that really was collectible. He had started playing a broom stick with a string attached to a wash bin, and had worked his way up to a real stand up acoustic bass, playing in jazz trios. He was an airplane pilot by day, and maybe the only person in Laos to own a stand up bass. My dad wanted to get me started playing the bass as well. He found me an American teacher there and somehow he found a mid 1960’s Hofner Beatle bass for me. Wowzers! It was way cool and I loved those Labella nylon strings - they were easy on the hands. Of all places on earth to come across a Beatle bass! I took that bass back with me to the U.S. when the summer was over kept it for several years. Finally, right before the vintage market started to take off, I sold it through a friend to the Beatles tribute band Rain in Hollywood for a mere $300.00. Last year at the Dallas International Guitar Festival I saw two of them just like mine for sale for $4,400.00 each. Could I have used a good friend who knew what was trending in the guitar market back then? You bet I could have! Back in those days I knew so little that I was be dangerous… and now I know just enough to be dangerous. I have walked into more than a few guitar deals that, thankfully, gave me just enough of a twinge that I called friends who knew vintage guitars and they warned me to stay clear. I shoot photos with my phone and text it to them, and often I will get a word back saying, “they are asking too much” or, “those aren’t as rare as you think”. It has been said that there is wisdom

in many counselors and I have seen it play out to be true for me. I was told a story from a Craigslist ad that this young man’s grandfather had bought this 1972 black Gibson Les Paul back in the day and had left it to his grandson when he passed away. I sent a grainy photo of the guitar via text to one of my confidants and he told me in 10 seconds three reasons why it was a Chinese made knockoff. One of the reasons being in the way the name Gibson was in laid into the headstock. I thought $1,000.00 was a really good price for a 70’s Les Paul. Thank God I asked! All this from a grainy low-resolution photo! That is why I love the premise of this magazine. I am gathering together, for you the reader (and for me too), a fine staff of writers who know their stuff and like to share their accumulated knowledge. They are guitar confidants, counselors, and friends. That is a good thing! Maybe this magazine will help you in your guitar escapades. Maybe reading the articles and columns will help you make a better decision on a new or vintage guitar, amp, or pedal. Maybe you will gain some insights from learning where guitars have been and where they are going. That is why we like to say as our slogan, “Guitar people helping guitar people.” Enjoy this, our second issue of Collectible Guitar – Then & Now. Which leads me to another saying from back in the early Hofner Beatle bass days, “I get by with a little help from my friends!” Yours truly, 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

Photographer/Advisor: Joe Riggio

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.

Customer Service: Brian Felix,


Copyediting: Kevin Wilber

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Korina, Korina

McPherson Guitars: A Lesson in Excellence


Will McFarlane: Three of the Best Shopping Days I’ve Ever Had



To Be (A Luthier), or Not To Be (A Lawyer)




COLUMNS 12 The One That Didn’t Get Away The 1961 Fender “Del Tones” Jazzmaster by Rick King 18 State of the Union The Future of Vintage by Dave Belzer

24 View of the Day by Dave Cleveland 30 iOS Mobile Music Movement Guitar Tracker App by Michael Elsner

34 The Fretboard Less Traveled by Rich Severson 44 Guitar Show Profile with Jimmy Wallace



8 Doyle Dykes Signature 12 String Cutaway by Guild by Bruce Adolph

40 ToneVille “Sunset Strip” Amplifier by Joe Riggio

16 Shin’s Music Dumbloid Twin Pedal by Doug Doppler

42 RainSong CO-WS1005NS by Bruce Adolph

28 VFE Pedals... Helping You Find Your Sound by Bruce Adolph


32 Rock N Roll Relics Thunders Model by Doug Doppler

16 Cover photo by Richard Green Courtesy of Mick Flynn



Doyle Dykes Signature 12 String Cutaway by Guild by Bruce Adolph

I had the pleasure of sitting down with Doyle Dykes at the NAMM Show recently to discuss his brand new Doyle Dykes Signature 12 string Guild guitar. I have known Doyle for the last 10 years or so, and have booked him to play at several different events I produce. He is always the consummate country gentleman, and he is one of the finest fingerstyle players walking the earth today. If you are not familiar with him, go to YouTube and watch his U2 medley… it always inspires me. We found a somewhat quiet part of the Guild booth to sit down so Doyle could play his new guitar and tell us all about it. If you are going to

review a Signature Series guitar why not sit can order the regular way from Guild, or down with the guy whose signature is actu- have it changed. I have actually taken files ally on the guitar, right? and changed them myself before. When I Bruce: So Doyle, why the 12 string guitar? play I can skip over the octave string and you hear it more like a regular 6 string at those Doyle: Well I thought that if you play times. something on the 12 string… it comes out Bruce: Now most 12 strings do not have a twice as fast. (both of us laughing). cutaway right? Bruce: That is funny. Doyle: You are right, most of them don’t. Doyle: To me the 12 string has a beautiful I felt like I really had to have that in order to sound. I was experimenting around one time do some of the high end register things that and could hear voicings sometimes that were I play. When I am playing “Freebird” I play piano-esqe. When playing octaves, they can way up there. I’ll go to the 17th fret on some get lost, but with the fourth string it puts it songs. in a higher register just like you are doing a The 12 string is a little bit larger than my harmonic with it. When you do a harmonic normal signature model. That is Ren Ferarpeggio (Doyle plays me a beautiful example) guson’s genius (the master luthier at Guild). you can have a similar effect without doing I talked to him about it and said I wanted the harmonics, since you can do this with something more like the grand symphony the octave strings on the 12 string guitar. sort of style. Sort of a smaller jumbo. So it What I also do to get that sound is that is a little heftier at the waist. Ren said that I change the bass strings, the A and the E they already the body style for that and all respectively. I turn them around. A friend the tooling… it is the Orpheum series, and I of mine and I (Darrel Owens - a Pastor in had a fit when he said that because that is my CA) were talking about it and just messing favorite guitar that Guild makes, besides the around. I wanted a fuller sound, so instead Doyle Dykes models. They are wonderful of cutting off the A and E octave strings I guitars, with more of a vintage look. So we just turned them around, and it works. took the Orpheum series and put a cutaway Bruce: So the thicker string is on the top in it and made it a little thinner in the body depth. and the octave is on the bottom. Doyle: Yes, because you come down with Bruce: What is the top made of ? your thumb when you are playing finger- Doyle: Solid Adirondack red spruce with style. And I usually use thumb picks so I solid maple back and sides. It has an ebony come down and it gives me an advantage in bridge and fingerboard. This was designed to getting a big sound (especially plugged in). be a stage guitar; an instrument that you can Then there are other times when you don’t walk out on stage with and really be comwant that to ring out so you can actually fortable playing it. The input jack is on the mute it because it is on top. It gives you bet- lower bout and the strap button is moved ter control over those bass strings. to the upper bout. The position markers Bruce: So the D, G, B and E strings are are sort of Gretsch-like, but also Guild. Instead of putting the thumb print markers (as like a regular 12 string then? Gretsch called it, the ‘neo classic’) we used a Doyle: Yes, so you get a big fat rectangle. It was Kirk Sand’s (from Laguna sound because you hit the bass Beach, CA) idea to put the little triangle in string first. Usually something gets there. He has been a Guild dealer since the muted on your left hand with a 1970’s and thought that it would look more thumb over or something, so you Guild-esqe. So it is more of a tribute to Chet would hear the octave string first. Atkins as well as working for you functionBruce: So when you cut the nut ally, as they are easy to see. for the guitar is it interchangeable, Bruce: Tell us about the color – spruce is or is the nut cut for the bass string normally white. Did Guild use a type of anon top? tique coloring to the top? Doyle: No, the nut is cut for this way. You


Doyle: When I first went to the Guild fac-

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Doyle: There are certain songs that this 12 string just sound so much better on. There is a song I just wrote on this guitar called “New Hartford” (that is the city in Conneticut where Guilds are made) to honor Guild with it. Bruce: Wow… Tell us about the rest of the features, you have some nice appointments on this guitar. Doyle: Sure! It has abalone inlay on the bone pins, as well as a bone nut. You get a clear sound using those. We already mentioned the ebony fingerboard and bridge, but that adds to the clarity as well. It has abalone trim around the top of the guitar. The tuners are Goto and are as good as you can get. They are very smooth and, as you know, you need a good set of tuners with a 12 string guitar. It comes with a hardshell case. tory I was talking about Duane Eddy, and I mentioned that it was such a shame that he lost his Guild in the Nashville flood a few years back. The first time I ever met Duane it was on the Grand Ol’ Opry and we were playing together with Chet. It was such a cool thing. The three of us were there with the guitar trio on the Grand O’ Opry, which was Spider Wilson, Jimmy Caps, and Leon Rhoads. Then Duane Eddy walks up with this big cowboy hat on and he brings out the Guild that I had always seen him with in the 1960’s. I had to pinch myself! I had always loved that guitar. When I mentioned the loss of that guitar in the flood the folks at Guild said, “No, we have that guitar.” And they took me to the next room and they had completely restored that guitar. They wanted to match its unique aged color since it was from the 60’s, so they used this particular stain in restoring Duane’s guitar, and I said, “That is the exact same stain I want on my guitar. Make it to look like his!”

and we switched them out on all of my guitars as they are very easy to install and they are consistent in sound.

They also used the original G on the headstock that he had as well. Then, of course, the white rose inlay from the song I wrote “White Rose for Heidi” is on the guitar. Yuri Shiffkoff, Fender’s well-known artisan designed the rose for the inlay work.

Doyle: The tone is very clear with great separation. Balanced. When you are playing a 12 string guitar you can strum chords fine, but when you are playing fingerstyle and you need to hear the bass line, melody line, and chords you need that clear definition. I am actually fingerstyle playing it just like I would on a 6 string. People say that you are not supposed to play a 12 string that way and I say, “Why not?” (laughing)

I am really happy with this guitar. It has a Barbera pick-up. Bruce: I have never heard of Barbera… Doyle: He made violin, viola, cellos, and double bass bowed instrument pickups. Then he went into classic guitar pick-ups. Kirk Sand told me about them,

Bruce: Are they under the saddle then? Doyle: Yes, it is sort of like a hexaphonic, but they are all one piece. They sound very full; you can hear every string. The first string is as clear as a bell. It is something you can get up and play and not worry about things like if it is going to sound unbalanced if you have to change strings. The pre-amp system is as I have always liked to use – it is a LR Baggs. This particular one inside the guitar is basically what you would have inside the Venue floor system. It has anti-feedback, all these things. So I can plug this into some old Fender amps I have (blackface and brown) and this guitar actually sounds great through those! Bruce: So how would you describe the sound of your Signature guitar?


It just sounds huge! Bruce: It really does…

Bruce: What is the price of the 12 string? Doyle: $5,995.00 is the retail. It is just $500.00 more than the 6 string version. It would street for less than that of course. I have some accessories now with Guild as well. On the string side of things I worked for a year to put these things together. For the 12 string set we have the first unison sets (normal strings) but when you get to the octave strings these are flat top strings (sort of like flat wounds). So when I do a slide you don’t get the squeaks – they are very quiet. Then on the A it is phosphor bronze and on the octave string it is just a regular unwound string. But then on the E string you have a phosphor bronze, and then on the octave string you also have a flat top. So you get about ½ of the string noise when you are moving around playing. I think they run from a 10.5 to a 52 in size. I also have classical and a 6 string set of steel coming out as well which also have the flat tops on the 3rd and 4th strings. The first place I ever tried these less noisy strings was at Eric Johnson’s studio, and after Eric heard then he thought they were a great idea as well, so I am really happy with these new signature strings. I even have new guitar straps that match my boots. This whole relationship with Guild is a dream come true for me! for more info,


The 1961 Fender “Del Tones” Jazzmaster to them for just a few hundred dollars more than what I paid for it.

In the fall of 1987 my good friend Eric Lenius and I got into a Chevy S-10 truck, hauling a 6 foot U-Haul trailer, and drove 44 hours non-stop from Tacoma, WA to the Arlington Texas Guitar Show. I had 12 guitars; Eric had an early 60’S ES 335 and a small tweed amp. This was my induction into guitar shows. Show promoter, Dave Crocker, had told me for years that I needed to attend the Texas show. When Eric convinced me to get into that truck and drive, it truly changed everything. I would attend every Texas guitar show from that day forward. I remember the Easter before that first guitar show; I announced at dinner that I needed to immediately leave the table to go buy a 1964 Fender Stratocaster across town for $600. I saw the ad in the local newspaper. Oh, the romantic days of buying guitars out of the local newspaper. Expecting the guitar to be sunburst, I was surprised to find out the finish was blonde. 30 minutes later, I was back at the dinner table. I took that guitar to that first Arlington guitar show and sold it to a famous custom color collector for a nice profit. Dave Crocker was right! Fender Stratocasters have been very, very

good to me, but my true love is the Fender Jazzmaster. In the early 90’s, when the “Amigos” brought their guitar shows to the west coast, I attended those shows, and still do to this day. It was a relief to only have to travel 1200 miles to a guitar show. In the summer of 2000, the show was held at the Orange County Fair Grounds in Costa Mesa. I watched as two guys and a girl shopped around a refinished 1961 Fender Jazzmaster for hours, fending off insulting offers. As they stood dejected against the wall, I approached them. The guitar was on the ground and I asked if I could take a look. I opened the case to reveal a guitar that had a certain California “Kustom Kulture” vibe. Light to dark two-tone blue, like a 60’s George Barris custom car. I asked them what they had been offered and they indicated nothing anywhere near their $1000 asking price. Not wanting to insult them I offered $900. They accepted my offer and the cool guitar was mine. I put the guitar under the table and started to break down my booth because the show was ending. Just then, my friend Chris Karn and his wife Allyssa, who arrived late to the show, came to my booth and asked me what they had missed. Chris also has an extreme love for Jazzmasters. I was very excited to reveal to them my newest acquisition. I pulled it out from under the table to show them. A huge look of disappointment came over their faces. They wished that they had come earlier and bought the guitar themselves. I knew that Chris loved it as much as I did and that he would record with it as well as use this guitar live, so I reluctantly agreed to sell it


I packed up my booth and prepared to go home. On my way out, I said goodbye to expert repairman and guitar historian, Steve Soest. Steve asked me if I was the one that bought Ron Emery’s refinished blue Jazzmaster. I told him yes, I had. Ron Emery is the guitarist for Orange County’s T.S.O.L. I had admired Ron for years for playing cool vintage guitars. Steve told me that Ron had owned it for a while, but the original owner was one of the guitar players for the Del Tones, Dick Dale’s band. Soest also stated that the guitar was in one of those Frankie and Annette “beach” movies and was painted by Denny Swiden of Fullerton, California. Denny owed Piccadilly Square Sound and had been doing live sound for Dick Dale. He had painted the entire bands’ guitars to match, including a 50’s Stratocaster and a Precision Bass. When I realized that guitar I had just sold was a famous surf guitar, I really regretted selling it. In the summer of 2003 or 2004, I headed back to Costa Mesa for the Orange County Guitar Show. Once again I saw my friend Chris Karn, this time without his wife, but with one of his good buddies. They both spied my 2001 Gibson Custom Shop 1958 re-issue Les Paul. I was surprised when they both argued over wanting it. Chris asked me if I would trade him a clean 1965 Fender Jaguar in Sunburst finish for the Les Paul. I said we were close, but I wanted to know if he had anything else for trade. To my surprise, he explained that he still had the refinished blue Jazzmaster and that he could throw that into the deal. I held my breath as he drove home to get the guitar. It was in the same condition as when I had sold it to him years before! The deal was done and I was happy knowing it did not get away. Rick King is the owner of Guitar Maniacs in Tacoma Washington. He lives in Gig Harbor with his wife Sheila, two dogs and a cat.

Korina, Korina

Mick Flynn’s Lifelong Search for the Gibson Flying V by Mick Flynn My first recollection of the Gibson Flying V is pretty vague as to when I first saw one, but it was probably when I saw Lonnie Mack with one. When it first really caught my eye however was when I saw Dave Davies of the Kinks playing one in 1964. By then, I was starting to pay attention to anything “guitar”, and the Flying V really caught my attention. I knew I wanted one, but where would you find one in the countryside of Suffolk, England in the 60’s? I moved to the States in 1965 and discovered that I could now find some of the guitars that I had an interest in. After school, while living in Lynnwood, Washington, I would go to Joo’s Music and look through all the cases of old used guitars and look for that Flying V. It never turned up, much to my dismay. Going through all the old cases lined up against the wall proved to be a good education though! In 1967, Gibson re-issued the Flying V, but it did not look like the one I remembered. The pick guard was different, and the pickups were mounted in the pick guard. The color was Cherry, not the natural Korina that I liked so much. My search continued . . . In the early 70’s my band, Child, was playing at My Place Tavern near Seattle-Tacoma airport, when a guy came up to me and said, “I have one of those.” I was playing a 1959 Les Paul Sunburst at the time. So, we started talking about guitars, and he informed me that he had a 1958 Flying V. During the next few weeks my new friend Jim started bringing different guitars for me and the band to play every night, including an original 1959 Sunburst Les Paul, a Firebird, an original Explorer, and the Flying V. The next few weeks were like a guitar aficionado’s dream. Then one night, he brought 3 Original Flying V’s for us to play at the Aquarius nightclub in north Seattle. We had 3 guitar players, so this was perfect. 3 Original V’s in one place at the same time! One was Jim’s, and the other two, along with the Explorer, were getting ready to be sent to a collector friend of his in


Indiana named Mac, who Jim had known for years. I told Jim, “I need one of these Flying V’s. Where can I get one?” He told me he had a dealer friend in St Louis named Ed Seelig at Silver Strings Music that had one. I got in touch with Ed right away and worked out a deal for the Flying V. Ed told me some history behind the guitar. “I bought it from the late Gene Edlen, who was well known around St. Louis in the late 60’s for his biker band, Rush, and the Gene Edlen Band.” Unfortunately, Gene passed away in 2002. I now had a 1958 Flying V of my own. I was a very happy guy! I would play and love this guitar for the next few years, playing it in nightclubs, concerts, and recording sessions. Some of the best sounding recordings I have ever done featured this guitar. After decades of searching and researching the Gibson Korina guitars, this last year I came across one that I was unaware of. The Gibson made ‘Dwight’ branded Skylark Steel guitar. I know that Epiphone and Supro made student guitars for Dwight “Sunny Shields” Music in St Louis in the 50’s and 60’s, but this is the first I have seen of the Korina Dwight Steel guitar, which just might be the rarest of all the Gibson made Korina guitars. You just never know what might be out there.



Shin’s Music Dumbloid Twin Pedal by Doug Doppler


FEATURE SET Channels: 2 Controls: Drive, Accent, Tone, Volume x 2 Switches: Jazz/Rock x2

sensitive, and deliver that classic Dumble bloom.

The Dumbloid Twin is the latest addition to the line and debuted at the 2014 Winter NAMM Show. Channel One is identical to de•goop•ing the Dumbloid Special, and Channel Two adjective. The practice performed by amp techs to removed is based upon Dumbles’ HRM (hot-rodded the black goop used by Alexander Dumble to cover Marshall) circuit, and features more gain his circuits in an effort to keep them from being than you can shake a pick at. copied. CHANNEL ONE You would be hard pressed to argue the fact that Alexander “Howard” Dumble is the most esteemed boutique guitar amp builder of all time. His designs helped players like Larry Carlton, Robben Ford, David Lindley, Stevie Ray Vaughn, and John Mayer craft their signature tones. Part of the mojo of Dumble’s legacy is the fact the he fine-tuned each amp specifically for the player who originally bought it. Although Dumble continues to produce amplifiers, they are only available to top professionals, and have a lengthy delivery time that’s nearly as famous as the amps themselves. Over the years a number of manufacturers have endeavored to capture the magic of Dumbles “crystal lattice” in the form of a pedal. Shin’s Music is the namesake of Shin Suzuki, one of Japan’s most renowned techs. The Shin’s Music Dumbloid pedals have become fodder for thousands of posts on The Gear Page and have found their way onto the pedal boards of some of the most esteemed players in the business (and I mean the big boys). The Dumbloid Standard and Special were the first of Shin’s Dumble-inspired builds to hit the States. Both pedals were inspired by the Dumble Overdrive Special and feature Drive, Accent, Tone, and Volume controls. The Dumbloid Special also incorporates the infamous Jazz/Rock switch. Both pedals do an outstanding job of capturing the Dumble magic, and are incredibly dynamic, touch

Like the amp that inspired it, Channel One delivers tones that are brilliantly lyrical and incredibly touch sensitive. At lower settings the Drive control fattens things up in a way that is remarkably rich, but not tubby. The more you bring this control up, the more the notes start to bloom into beautiful sustain. This is further refined by where you place the Accent control, which functions like the best Presence control you’ve never heard! At lower Accent settings the bloom tends to stay focused on the fundamental, making for one of the most incredible sensations I’ve ever felt under my fingertips. As you increase the amount of Accent the bloom starts to shift up an octave. In turn, as you increase the Drive control, notes bloom faster and develop in intensity. The Tone Control allows you to fine tune the tonal spectrum of the pedal to taste, and is pleasantly interactive with the Accent control. Interactive being the operative word here, all the controls work incredibly well together, and are further refined by the placement of the Jazz/Rock switch. Unlike most Dumble inspired amp builds, the Rock position of the switch does not bypass the tone stack to whatever extent, but still delivers much the same affect by adding additional gain and some additional frequencies to the tonal spectrum. The Volume control offers more than enough scalable boost to pummel the front end of any amplifier into submission, offering further control over the level of bloom and harmonic overtones.


Having spent a bunch of time playing the Dumbloid Standard and Special pedals, I was very excited to get a chance to hear Shin’s take on Dumble’s HRM. Although Channel One has enough gain to imitate an uber-gnarly fuzz box, having even more gain, makes it easier to manipulate the bloom. Like Channel One, I tended to prefer the Jazz mode as the notes tend to be a bit more dynamic to the touch given the lower amount of gain. In either mode this channel oozed classic Dumble HRM vibe, and delivered nearly infinite sustain on virtually any note up and down the neck. TOGGLING CHANNELS This to me is where the magic of this pedal truly lives. Given the remarkable range of tones both channels deliver, the suggested settings on the sheet that came with the pedal provided valuable clarity into what Shin wanted to achieve with this design. Being able to fine-tune his suggested settings to fit the guitar and amp, and in turn toggle between the two channels was a truly amazing experience. While the two channels are different in gain, they are not disparate tonally. This gives you the flexibility to use either channel for rhythm or lead and have more drive and boost than most players will ever need. CONCLUSION If you’ve fallen in love with the Dumble sound, but can’t see shelling out $40k anytime soon, the Dumbloid Twin is a brilliant alternative. Thanks to Vision Music and for kindly providing the Dumbloid Twin. Thank You, Doug Doppler, CCO When Doug Doppler is not writing gear reviews, the former Guitar Hero session player and Favored Nations recording artist spends his days, hours, weeks and years demoing the coolest gear on the planet for his web site

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

STATE OF THE UNION by David Belzer

The Future of Vintage I’ve spent days procrastinating like a madman on writing this article for Collectible Guitar Magazine. I seem to have run out of things to divert me, as my house is now really organized, so here I sit, writing. Bruce told me “Write about anything you want.” Great! That sounds easy. Not. I decided to write about a question that people ask me all of the time. “What do you think the future of vintage guitars will be?” Honestly, it’s a pretty loaded question. The vintage guitar market goes up and down, just like the stock market, and as much as I believe that there will always be a desire, as well as a market, for these great instruments, I realize that their future really depends on us. I’ve been fascinated by guitars in one form or another now going on forty-five years. Like many of you, I too was influenced by the Feb. 9th 1964 TV appearance of Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show. I was only five at the time, but by the next Christmas, I’d have a guitar. It was a horrible Harmony with strings a mile high, but it was a guitar, and it came with the Roy Clark guitar method book, which revolved around the strings being different colors. I did not get very far with that Harmony or the discounted summers worth of lessons at a local dances studio/music store. I remember the teacher would spend most of the lesson trying to tune my poor guitar.

sure hooked me on the visual aspect of these Something took hold of her and she began hypnotic instruments and started me down a to not just practice, but to play. All of a path that turned out to be a lifelong journey. sudden she was changing chords on the beat and strumming in time. She learned how to It wasn’t long before pop culture exploded use a capo so she could move her chords and and rock-n-roll was the sound track for the be in the correct key to actually play along explosion. I was about ten when I saw the with those songs. She gets it! The iPhone Cream Farewell concert on TV, and although has been replaced by the guitar, at least I didn’t know it at the time, my fate had been momentarily! sealed and my quest for tone had begun. But what is even more interesting to me What do all of these childhood memories is her choice of guitar. She has nested on have to do with vintage? This retrospective a 1953 Martin 000-28 which is the “hang was triggered while I was thinking about on the wall” house guitar. It’s a definite the current state of vintage, and more player’s guitar and shows its wear, but has a importantly, the future of vintage and sound to die for. What struck me the most is collectible guitars. that she knows it. She has her own smaller My eleven year-old grand-daughter Taylor baby Martin at her house that she can play started playing guitar a few years ago, anytime, but no. She calls up and wants to strumming a few choppy chords here and come over so she can play the 000-28. Now there, until frustration would inevitably I know it’s not because it’s easier to hold or make her put it down. The call of the iPhone play than her ¾ size Martin, which actually seemed to have more pull on her than the plays and sounds really good. When I asked guitar. Then just a month ago, something her why, she said, “This is the one. It just clicked. She had the moment; the moment sounds better.” Wow! She really gets it. It’s where she realized that with the few chords times like this that gives me hope that this she had learned, she could actually play the upcoming generation will appreciate these songs she was listening to on her iPhone. instruments, not just from the monetary value, but from their beautiful sound as well.

One thing did come of those tuning marathons. I had time to stare in awe at the electric guitars hanging on the wall behind him. I couldn’t take my eyes off them. Now remember, this is the mid 60’s and a little dinky dance studio/music store. These were inexpensive, imported, low-end electrics, but they were mesmerizing. They were gaudy, colorful, lot of knobs, switches, and glitter. They were cool. Needless to say, the five or six lessons that summer went nowhere as far as actually playing the guitar goes, but it


I guess the point of all this is that the future of vintage really is up to us. It’s up to us to pass the passion and enthusiasm on to the younger generation, in much the same way that fathers and mothers have passed down the legends of their childhood sports heroes, their favorite bands, their family traditions, all handed down from generation to generation. Much like the passing of the Olympic torch, we must hand over the knowledge and experience of vintage to the next generation and hope that it ignites that passion and desire to preserve it for the future. 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

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I first saw Richie Furay in concert from the back row of the Santa Monica Civic auditorium in California when he was fronting the Richie Furay Band. I had, of course, heard him in Buffalo Springfield, and grew to be more of a fan when he was in Poco. I had his first Souther-Hillman-Furay record, but really experienced Richie and his guitars when, a year or so after the Santa Monica Civic concert, I had front row seats (actually two seats and a little table butted up against the stage) at the Roxy in Hollywood. Wow! What a great concert! Richie helped pioneer the Country Rock category of music, and his guitars played an important role in that transformation. Born Richard “Richie” Furay in 1944, he has played in and formed bands with the likes of Stephen Stills, Neil Young, Jim Messina, Timothy B. Schmit, Al Perkins, and several others. We caught up with Richie to talk about his collectible guitars...

Richie's Guitar Life 20 :: MAR/APR 14 :: COLLECTIBLEGUITAR.COM

RICHIE FURAY What were your first guitars like? My first guitar was “like” this: a puke green, pressed board gut string guitar with cowboy scenes all over it. I got it for Christmas when I was 8 years old (1952). I have no idea what kind of instrument it was. All I know is, I marched up to my parent’s bedroom that Christmas morning and told them I wanted a “real” guitar! (page 17 of Pickin’ Up The Pieces). What were you playing when you were with Buffalo Springfield?

Buffalo Springfield: Stephen Stills on the left, Richie in the middle, Neil Young on the right, My main instrument in Buf- Joe Vitale is the drummer and Rick Rosas is the bass player. falo Springfield (when we played live) was a 1966-68? Gibson ES335-12. We were somewhat modeling ourselves after the Byrds and because Roger (Jim) McGuinn was playing a Rickenbacker 12 string, it was decided we needed a 12 string in our group as well. Sadly, I had two stolen from me during that time (a black one and a cherry red one [you know who you are]) but still have the last one I played before BS broke up – a nice black one with modified Schaller tuning gears on it.

What did you play when you were with Poco? I’m not sure how the transition took place, but I went from the Gibson ES335 12 string to a 1955 ES-355 for almost all of my days with Poco. I did have the guitar modified from a “stereo” instrument to a mono by changing out the stereo selector switch to a volume knob. Since my main contribution to the bands I’ve been in has been mainly as a rhythm guitarist, I really had no use for the stereo capability. It’s worked out really good for me. I can maintain the sound I want, and then as the evening moves on I can “crank it up” without altering the sonics that much! Of course, with Poco we were using acoustic guitars


RICHIE FURAY as well. My main instrument was a 1962 Martin D-28 I purchased before going off to college (folk music was the “thing” in the early 60’s) – trading in the Gibson ES-295 that I got after the “Christmas incident”. I also played a Martin 1971 D-28 12 string and a 1953 Gibson SJ-200. How about in SHF (the SoutherHillman-Furay Band)? Or the Richie Furay Band when it started? The Gibson ES-355 has pretty much been my “live” electric guitar for all of the incarnations of RFB. At least until recently, it has been the only electric guitar I played in the band. I mainly played a Martin D-28 and a Taylor C-814 acoustic guitar when the band started. What are you playing now? Because of the way we have to travel, the older guitars (Gibson ES-355, Martin D-28, Gibson SJ-200 and others,) stay at home. There are a couple of instruments I would like to leave at home when RFB plays “live” (namely a 2003 Petros Applecreek D acoustic which I absolutely love [Bruce and his son Matt make beautiful instruments] but, I will take it along if the logistics are right (i.e. 2010 Buffalo Springfield reunion). The electric instruments I use “live” are quite diverse – ranging from a 1963 Gibson ES-335; a 2010 Hanson 6 six string, and a 2013 D’Angelico Excel. The acoustics I use “live” are the Petros, a 2010 Gibson Hummingbird, and 2010 Gibson SJ-200. Which guitar do you wish you could get back?

Without a doubt I would love to have the two Gibson ES 335 12-strings that were stolen, and the Gibson 295 that was my first “real” guitar! I’d also like to know what that “Christmas guitar” was. What amps are you using now? Almost exclusively a Fender Deluxe (mine is a black face, early ‘60’s, no reverb). What are your favorite effects pedals? I use 5 pedals – all are Boss products. The most important is the Tuner, but along with that is a Reverb pedal, a Chorus, and a Tremolo pedal. The 5th pedal is a transfer pedal for when I switch from electric to acoustic. I don’t need much, so these suffice quite nicely. It’s interesting the different ways even the “best”, most accomplished musicians use pedals – when I’m in the studio I’ve seen the most elaborate pedal boards (Chris Leuzinger) to the bare-bones simplest set-up (Dan Dugmore) and they both get awesome sound. Scott Sellen, who plays in RFB, has found a balance between the two and gets great sound with just a limited number. The main thing is to let your ear dictate and determine what you need. When it comes to guitars, what advice do you give others? It’s quite simple – get the best guitar you can afford. If you get a cheap guitar you’ll lose interest because the intonation will be questionable and the action will make it too hard to play comfortably! There are a lot of standard instruments on the market today (Gibson, Fender) but there are some very nice “boutique” guitar makers (Bruce Petros) as well.



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Each bi-monthly issue is brimming with product reviews, features on historic guitars and the impact they had on the music, plus profiles on accomplished guitarists, luthiers, fascinating guitar stories, guitar show news, trends in collectible guitars, and more.

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VIEW OF THE DAY by Dave Cleveland It’s easy for me to remember the day I started playing guitar. The guitar I learned on is in my little studio at my house. I walk into that room and there it is, a constant reminder of the moment that would change the course of my life forever. My mom and dad were both musicians, so music was always a part of my life. Sometimes it would be just the sound of my dad practicing guitar or my mom singing her favorite jazz standards to a full on 5-piece band, rocking out the latest hits of the early 70’s in my living room. I remember liking the music loud! It seemed like a natural progression for me to dive into music. So one day I asked my mom to show me how to play something on guitar. The guitar in the picture is the guitar she reached for. I have no idea where it came from, it was just always there. My dad rumored that it had once belonged to Charlie Byrd, but that was just Cleveland family folklore :) The song that my mom chose for my introduction was the famous little guitar piece called Honky Tonk. One note at a time was given to me and away I went. I would literally practice the low end rocking riff for hours at a time. So much so that I would tear the skin off my fingers and blood would come forth. It didn’t matter! I just loved the feeling I got by hearing the sound of that guitar ringing in my ears. I learned so much on that guitar. The strings were high off the fretboard, but I didn’t care, I just had to play. Do you remember your first guitar? Do you remember the first song you ever learned to play? Your hands will remember. Does it still put a smile on your face to hear the original notes that you first learned to play?

tar was put aside, and I began working at a music store called Pickers Supply. The love and dedication for the guitar had been replaced with a steady job and a focus on family. The break from the constant practicing and gigging would actually be a huge benefit for me in the future. In 1990 we headed to Nashville to visit some friends that we had formerly toured with. While there, I ended up playing on a recording. The thought of playing guitar in the studio for a living had always been a dream, but I didn’t think I could really ever do it. With the support of my wife and family we packed up and left Virginia for Tennessee. Enter guitar pic number 2. I didn’t have a great electric guitar at the time, so before I left Virginia I knew I had to acquire something great. There was a guy named Ken Hoover that I had met while touring in the mid 80’s. He was the person that owned and made Zion Guitars. He let me play one at a festival and I absolutely fell in love with it. The problem was they were very expensive. Ken and I

Fast forward to 1988….After a long tour…. seriously long…3 years and 1000 concerts long. My wife and I decided to move back to our hometown and start a family. The gui-


reconnected through Pickers Supply, and Zion guitars were brought to the store to sell. In 1990, just before moving to Nashville, I was able to buy the guitar set before you. I bought it with EMG pickups. Today it is set up more like a Van Halen type guitar with a single 1972 dual sound Dimarzio. It rocks! Also, before making the big move I bought a Pearce G2R amp (solid state). My wife and I packed up and headed to Nashville. I have a Zion guitar loaded with EMG pickups and a solid-state amp, along with a Fernades lawsuit Tele and a Guild classical guitar. Not the typical Nashville set up! Yeehaw!! I hadn’t really practiced in 2 years, but that didn’t matter now. We were on our way! Nashville was the land of Fender guitars and amps, so it wasn’t unusual for an engineer or producer to look at me when I said I had a Zion guitar like I was crazy. But no matter, I was able to let my hands and ears dictate the tone that would come out of that Floyd Rose, dive-bombing Zion. Country music on a Zion? No problem. You need a Jazz solo. Got it! Whatever vibe the artist or producer would ask for I would make that guitar do it. Never limit yourself by the gear you own. Is it easier to have 40 guitars that each do a certain thing great? Yes it is. But there is no substitution for creativity. My diligence on that Zion guitar led to so many opportunities, and thus opened the door for me to have a career as a session guitar player. Almost 24 years now. Well, time to get ready for todays session. I think it’s a full day of tracking Southern Gospel. What guitar should I take??? Maybe the Zion?

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VFE Pedals… Helping You Find Your Sound by Bruce Adolph

Puyallup, WA is not only Collectible Guitar magazine’s home town, but you may know it from either Warmoth or U.S. Guitar for making guitar bodies and necks. But there is a new boutique effects pedal company, VFE Pedals, which is starting to stir things up in Puyallup too. Cottage industry effects pedals are starting to spring up everywhere across the nation. “Cottage Industry” is a nice way of saying that the builder works out of their home, or in this case their one-car garage. Ah, but this is the American way isn’t it? It is, and I love it! I met the inventor, Peter Rutter, a few years back and heard some of his pedals at a sound check for a concert I was promoting. The guitarist friend of mine doing the demo (who is a pedal nut) really liked Peter’s work. The interesting thing about Peter is his approach to making pedals. I recently went to meet with him at his manufacturing plant/garage. I asked Peter what got him started making pedals in the first place? “Well, like most guys I played guitar; acoustic first and then electric. It only took a year or so of playing electric to get me super into pedals. Then I found some kits and started looking at schematics. My background was math and physics and I thought, ‘hey I understand this, this is my world of thinking…. if I change that then this happens’. It was really just a snowball effect as I started modifying kits and then it was getting to the place where my ideas were too expansive to just modify a kit. So it was like, ‘Where can I find some software to make my own circuit boards’? Luckily there was some free software where you can try your hand at it and I just kept moving forward from there. Honestly it is actually crazy if you look at a pedal that I made even 4 years ago, on the surface it looks somewhat the same, but then if you were to ask me now I would say, ‘Well this changed, this changed, and this changed’. Now it is a something completely different because of what I have learned in the last 4 years. This has enabled me to move from expanding ideas into creating my own ideas.”

I liked what I had heard, so I asked the entrepreneurial question on my mind: “At what point did you make the leap of hobbyist builder to a full time job?” Peter replied, “Well it helped that before I started making pedals full time I was a private school teacher… (laughing) There wasn’t a large salary to try and replace”. Teaching actually gave flexibility to my schedule. The last paycheck from teaching came and the next month was when the pedal business had built up to the point to pay the bills. It was another nine months or so from that I started accepting inquires from dealers.” This sparked my next thought for Peter… “Do you sell both direct on your website and also through dealers now?” “That can be a tricky thing to do,” he replied, “Yes, but my goal is to find ways to help my dealers. With the Internet it is really tough for the brick and mortar stores and I don’t want to be the guy who is nickel and dimeing them. I want to support them well and give them something they can make a profit on. I have tried to structure it in a way where there is a balance for everyone involved. What I really want to do is get to the point where the dealers are primarily selling the standard pedals that we make and the direct orders can be the custom pedals and the special run ones. So I have actually created a second website for that.” ( for the regular ones and for the special orders). “What does VFE stand for?” “That is a long story that I will try to give you a short version,” Peter replied. “It stands for Von Rutter Family Effects. My last name is Rutter and the Von Rutter part comes from the Von Tramp Family and a family skit we did once about the Von Tramp family. Now, we are not singers, so it is basically a family joke” (laughing). It is a family business in one sense of the word as Peter’s brother (who is in the military) helps him part time with the business side of things (budgets and projections of sales etc.),


where Peter is more of the creative product guy… helping people find that sound they are after. If you have an idea about a custom pedal you can visit the custom side of things on his site and then talk with Peter on the phone. I asked him about the language of tone – because everyone speaks their own descriptive words and “bluesy” may mean different things to different people. “Most of the time I ask them for sound clips or a You Tube video, so now I can hear it and I can give you some sort of recommendations. Now I may not nail it 100%, but at least I can get you in the ballpark. When I design I don’t design for a single sound, but maybe a category of sounds. That is why my pedals have so much EQ, because it depends on what amp you are using. Also, what guitar you are using is going to shape the tone. So if you can add those little tweaks and have them available on the surface you can zero in on that sound better. I think that people like my pedals not because I have a golden ear, but because I think my customers do and I love the music. If I had a golden ear then I would build the pedals with one knob and tell you ‘this is how you should sound.” (laughing) VFE’s flagship design has 6 control knobs on it. “It is kind of complicated,” says Peter, “but to have the ability to do what you want is important”. He wrapped up his thoughts with this, “I don’t know how many times someone has picked up that Tube Screamer variation and said, ‘I just want it to be a little more ______’ and then fill in the blank right? Why didn’t the original design allow you to do that? We wouldn’t have so many modification clones of the Tube Screamer if the original design had given you some flexibility … you wouldn’t need anything else then!” (laughing) I was impressed with my visit with VFE pedals and with Peter and his boutique pedals. Good products made by good people. Pretty cool eh?


Guitar Tracker Application

Guitar Tracker is a free web app provided by Music Nomad. This app allows you to keep track of and maintain all your gear, specifically your guitars, amps, and pedals. To get started, go to www. and create an account. Once you are logged in, you can start inputting a list of your gear, which is grouped into categories of Guitar, Amp, Pedal, and Other. Each category is then organized alphabetically according to manufacturer and model. The beauty of this application lies in the user-friendly layout and its ability to keep track of key information for each piece of gear. For example, you can input important records such as the serial number, year of manufacture, and price you paid, as well as up to 4 photos for each guitar, amp, or pedal. Guitar Tracker allows you to keep specific notes such as string brand, gauge, and tuning for every guitar, as well as pedal notes and amp notes. Specific to the guitars in your profile are a list of tasks that are automatically assigned

Once you have started performing these maintenance tasks on your instrument, you can view and/or email yourself, or anyone else for that matter, a complete history of the care and maintenance that has been performed over time.

to each one, and you can choose to be alerted via e-mail when these tasks are due. Some of the pre-assigned tasks include Clean/Polish, Restring, Set Intonation, and Oil Fingerboard. Other tasks such as Adjust Action at Bridge, Adjust Action at Nut, Adjust Neck, and Adjust Pickups allow you to include the action and relief measurements as well as pickup height. Once you find an ideal setting for each guitar, you can record this measurement so your setup technician can always get your guitar back into its ideal playing condition. You can also add your own maintenance or care tasks and be alerted when they need to be addressed.

If nothing else, Guitar Tracker is a well laid out application that can be accessed from any device, and takes the guesswork out of maintaining your gear. No more questions like, “what string gauge do I usually put on this guitar,” or, “when was the last setup performed?” For the more particular guitarists, keeping detailed notes on string height and relief measurements will take much of the guesswork out of keeping your guitar maintained to its optimal playing settings. 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.




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Rock N Roll Relics Thunders Model by Doug Doppler

SPECS Body & Neck: African Mahogany Radius: “1960” 12” Fingerboard: Rosewood Fret wire: Jescar 45 X 100 Medium Jumbo Pickup: David Allen Capacitors: .022 Russian Military Bridge: Tone Pros wraparound AVTII Fueled by a passion to build new instruments with vintage mojo, San Francisco based Rock N Roll Relics has been turning out killer creations since 2005. Owner/luthier Billy Rowe draws upon his extensive experience as a founding member of 80’s Glam Rock sensation Jetboy to craft instruments that deliver great tone, outstanding playability, and vintage aesthetics. Simply put, Rowe is turning out some of finest instruments on the market that are as pleasing to the eyes as they are to the ears. No instrument better exemplifies Rock N Roll Relics than the Thunders Model, taking its inspiration from the late Johnny Thunders and his famed Les Paul Junior Double Cut. Also available with a “model-correct”

David Allen P90 or mini-humbucker, the instrument we reviewed featured one of David’s P-51 Mustangs, which is a brilliant take on an Alnico 4 fueled 59 PAF. TONE Sonically speaking, these guitars these instruments are remarkably consistent. Each of the Thunders Models I’ve played has a certain kind of mojo that makes you feel great when you play them and sounds great when you do. David Allen’s pickups further refine what is already coming off the instrument by delivering the tone of the instrument as it responds to your playing. As expected, the Thunders Model I reviewed delivered extremely balanced tone in all registers and across the dynamic spectrum. It didn’t disappear when hit softly, nor did it get harsh or muddy when hit hard. It really reminded me of the best elements of a Tele, Les Paul, and SG combined - tight but present bottom end, warm mids, and highs that were present but never strident. For clean and dirty tones alike this guitar was incredibly consistent, delivering both warmth and body, which is something you might not expect from a single pickup in the bridge position. Backing off on the tone control brought out more of the Les Paul-ish character - without getting tubby. “Consistent” being the operative word here, this guitar

changed gears with remarkable efficiency, making for one of the most satisfying plays I’ve had from any instrument. From Rock, to Blues, to Country, this guitar consistently delivered the goods. LOOKS Most of us won’t readily admit that we want people to tell us how cool our guitars look, but that doesn’t mean we mind when they do! From the moment you open the case (included with the price of admission) this guitar screams vintage. True to the name, these instruments deliver both the rock and the relic. Although I don’t know how to relic an instrument, I do know a great relic job when I see one. Each of Rowe’s instruments are distressed by hand and pay homage to the hundreds of guitars he’s played. More than just a vintage look, these instruments have a vintage vibe that feels as if someone has played them for decades. PLAYABILITY One of my favorite things about this guitar was the balance it struck between vintage feel and modern playability. The frets and dressing felt great under the fingertips, and the action was wonderfully even across the fingerboard as well as up and down the neck. Chords, single notes, and riffs just want to pour out of this instrument. CONCLUSION If you’re in the market for an instrument that sounds as vintage as it looks, the Rock N Roll Relics Thunders Model does not disappoint. $2,300 hard-shell case included www.RockNRollRelics.



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Last issue we looked at inversions of an Amin7 chord, which also happens to be a C6 chord, it’s relative major. Amin7 = A C E G & C6 = C E G A, the same notes just a different order. I showed you several chord shapes in open and closed voicings. A closed inversion meant we have chords using four adjacent strings. An open inversion means we skipped a string in the voicing. I diagramed 20 different chord shapes of Am7, but since they are also C6 you got 2 for

1, so 40 different chords depending on how you look at them! This issue I want to show you how you can take each chord and lower one note and turn it into a Min6, Dominant 9th or Min7b5 chord. Now you’re getting 3 chords for 1! Remember this article is “The Fretboard Less Traveled” so let’s find some new ways of playing old progressions and discover some new sounds.

chord when I lower the G to an F# and I get A C E F#? Give up? It’s three chords! Amin6, F#m7b5 & D9 (omitted root) Amin6 has a chord formula of Root, b3, 5, 6 = A C E F# F#min7b5 is spelled Root, b3, b5, b7 which translates to F# A C E (the same notes)

The formula for D9 is Root, 3, 5, b7, 9 which translates to D F# A C E. Again the Amin7 is spelled A C E G. What is the same notes with the exception of the D root. The Chord Formulas

Inversions Last issue you learned 20 inversions for either an Amin7 or C6. Now all you have to do is lower one note to get a Dom7, Min6 & Min7b5 chord. A pretty good deal for the time invested! Now let’s play the chords The Chord Diagrams For this exercise let’s look at the first chord in each measure as an Am7 instead of a C6 chord. The second, let’s interpret it as a D9 (root omitted). Remember they could also be Am6 or F#m7b5. Am7 to D9 is a ii, V7 chord progression in the key of G. ii, V7 is a common progression found in most music. Now you can play an inversion of the ii chord (min7) and play the dominant chord (V7) that would generally follow it just by moving one finger. It’s like magic! Get familiar with these grips, you’ll find most are fairly doable, some you might not have any use for yet. “Yet” being the key word! If you’d like to view a free video on this lesson go to and click on the CHORDS button. Then, AMAJOR 6th = MINOR 7th INVERSIONS then Amin7-Dom9 Inversions. Add this video to your cart and use the discount code COLLECTABLEGUITAR2. The video will be sent to your computer. Next issue we’ll put these chord into progressions. Till then, work hard. It will payoff! Rich Severson Rich Severson, guitarist, clinician, author, band director, former GIT instructor. To preview Rich’s music and guitar educational products go to and






Stompblox modular pedalboards allow you to customize the shape and the size of your pedalboard. Hand tightening thumbscrews are attached to the board, so you won’t lose important parts. It’s easy to connect and disconnect Stompblox—have a monster practice board at home and disconnect a couple for the gig. Streets at $69.99

Shubb Capos has introduced a new finish for their award winning capos, a stunning brushed satin nickel. Available for all guitars, banjos and Ukuleles. All Shubb capos are precision engineered for flawless performance. Suggested list $26.95 Street price around $20.00

Maximizing tone just got a whole lot easier with “The Hook”! Mic your rig in seconds by simply sliding “The Hook” under your handle, between your head and cab or under your cab. The Hook is durable, compact, versatile and extremely easy to use. $29.99


VFE Pedals VFE Pedals Alpha Dog is vintage distortion without limits! HARD and SOFT controls dial in your exact sweet spot for harmonic overtones, natural dynamics, and added sustain. Unique FAT control provides a full-range boost with added low end. Built by hand near Seattle with American-made resistors, pots, solder and PCBs. $169.00

The Wishbone Workshop


Riversong patent pending

wooden pick design features great grip superior sound and A pick holder that suctions fantastic “wear-in”. These environmentally friendly picks to your guitar’s pick guard, holding your pick perpendicular naturally sticks to your fingers and balances flexibility and to the surface. The entry slot is strength. These picks are made slightly curved, providing an from specially treated Canadian excellent grabbing function that Chillakwian Flamed Maple allows a player to seamlessly offcuts from our award winning transition between fingerpicking guitars. Get a tone upgrade with and strumming. Colors: Clear/ Riversong wooden picks 3 styles Black/Orange to choose from. Available soon Retail: $9.99 at Music stores everywhere. $3.00 Website: Contact:

Hogjim Music Imports

McPherson Guitars A Lesson in Excellence

by Michael Elsner

McPherson Guitars first came into my life back in the summer of 2005. I still remember that day quite vividly, as it has forever affected my life as a guitar player. It began as a chance meeting with my friend Michael ‘Nomad’ Ripoll outside a Starbucks in Sherman Oaks, CA. At that time I had just received two beautiful acoustic guitars from a company who I’d been pursuing an artist deal with for quite some time. When I told him about these new acquisitions, he proceeded to his car and pulled out an acoustic from a relatively new company called McPherson. Then he offered to let me borrow it while he was out on tour.

By 2008 I had become the guitar player for a Friday night show on CBS. It was because of this, along with some other recent films that I’d played on, that I finally contacted McPherson to introduce myself. I figured if the little successes I’d had with that guitar could help them promote their brand in any way, that was the very least I could do to give back to a company who builds these incredibly inspiring instruments.

When I started bringing this unknown guitar to sessions, the first response from the producers or engineers would generally be, “what’s with that sound hole?” There was usually a bit of hesitancy from them, but once it was mic’d up, they too were sold. Soon, it wasn’t uncommon for me to get a call asking specifically to “bring the McPherson.”

my McPherson . . . and that was essentially the last I’d see of it for quite some time. She had effectively confiscated it for her shows, writing sessions, and photo shoots. Thankfully, Larry Klenc and the good people at McPherson believe in her as much as I do and offered to build her a custom guitar of her very own, complete with intricate inlays on the headstock and neck, commemorating

You can’t even imagine my surprise when a few weeks later a brand new MG 4.5 showed up at my door. Michael FINALLY got his guitar back, lovingly broken in for the past 3 years, and I’m beyond thankful that he was I must confess that I didn’t have the highest gracious enough to let me borrow it for so of expectations when I brought this guitar long. home, however within the next few weeks Fast-forward to 2013, and I found myself I returned my new ‘artist endorsement’ in the same exact situation that I had put guitars simply because I knew I would never my friend in 8 years prior. Suzi Oravec, an play them. I was hooked on McPherson. artist who I’d been producing, picked up


the passing of her mother from cancer a few years ago. In December of 2013 we were invited up to the McPherson Guitars plant in Sparta, Wisconsin to pick up her new guitar, spend some time with the luthiers who build these world-class instruments, and learn more about the company. McPherson Guitars are the brainchild of master craftsman Matt McPherson. Matt’s been Michael, Larry Klenc, Suzi Oravec

experimenting with various guitar designs since the mid 80s, and finally found his ‘secret formula’ by the early 2000’s. The company officially started production in 2003, and in 10 short years has made quite an impact in the music community. With artists such as The Band Perry, Brad Paisley, Florida Georgia Line, members of Carrie Underwood’s band, session players including Jerry McPherson, Dave Cleveland, Tom Hemby, and Tim Pierce, as well as legendary fingerstyle guitarist Phil Keaggy, among many, many others singing their praises, McPherson has set a new standard for uncompromising craftsmanship, attention to detail, inspiration, and excellence with every guitar they build. So what’s the story with that elliptical sound hole you ask? Well, it’s actually a very logical concept, discovered after many years of exhaustive R&D. The sound hole is placed towards the top of the body of the guitar to increase the flexible surface area on the central part of the instrument. By allowing vibrations from the bridge to travel across a longer, unimpeded soundboard, sustain and resonance is increased. In addition to the sound hole is the cantilevered neck design. This design prevents the neck and fretboard from impeding with the resonance of the body in any way. While we’re on the topic of the neck, another added feature is the carbon graphite


truss rod that runs the length of the neck and prevents any flex. Known for its incredible strength, this system stabilizes the neck and eliminates the need for any adjustment. Once the guitar has been put through the computerized fret dressing PLEK machine, it’s set up for optimal playability and intonation. I can personally attest to the stability of the neck design because after 6 years, my MG 4.5 is still perfectly intonated!

Bubinga, Flamed Black Acacia, Cocobolo, Beeswing Mahogany, and one of my personal favorites, Striped Macassar Ebony, among many others, the luthiers at McPherson will customize and tailor a guitar to your own unique playing style and sonic/aesthetic preferences. It’s not going to show up at your house in 2 weeks though. Since every instrument is individually and painstakingly handcrafted, each one takes upwards of close to 6 months to complete.

Mother of Pearl McPherson logo that’s found on the headstock is also inlayed on the internal bridge plate. Much like the way a Swiss watchmaker signs the inside of his watches, this is representative as a symbol of quality.

There are 3 models in the McPherson line. There is the standard 6 String Series, standard 12 String Series, and the Camrielle Series, which has a smaller body profile than the standard guitars.

However, the most important thing that I took away from my time at McPherson Guitars was a realization of the importance of having a high standard of excellence in one’s work. While achieving perfection is, in fact, impossible, we can achieve the highest level of excellence that we are capable of at any given time. By continuing to push ourselves to a higher level of excellence in business, relationships, art, etc, we are continually growing, improving, learning, and adjusting. I’ve witnessed how McPherson has continued to push their level of excellence over the years, and it’s that approach that has created one of the finest musical instruments available today.

With many other acoustic manufacturers the attention to detail on the woodwork and internal bracing inside the guitar is overlooked. You may find raw, unsanded wood, pencil Every McPherson guitar is fully customizable marks, or just an overall unfinished look. with not only your choice of woods, but also However, with every McPherson, the same custom inlay work. Using only the finest, attention to detail that’s placed on the outer and most exotic tonewoods available, such aesthetics of the guitar is also placed on the as Bear Claw Sitka Spruce, Adirondack Red inner. So much so, that if you were to stick Spruce, Hybrid Flamed Black Redwood, a mirror into the guitar, you’ll see the same Bastogne Walnut, Ziricote, Highly Figured

DEERING The Great American Banjo Company

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

Relax, Express, Enjoy. Find a Deering Banjo Dealer near you:


The day we toured the facility was an inspiring one. While there are only 6 luthiers who build every guitar, each individual’s passion for their craft was palpable. As they took time to take us through each step of the build process, I couldn’t help but realize how much they truly enjoy creating instruments that bring such joy, inspiration, and musical fulfillment to so many musicians. These men genuinely love their job!


ToneVille “Sunset Strip” Amplifier by Joe Riggio

Toneville…it sounds like a place long Vintage tubes! This eliminates the need forgotten, where things were made to last, to hunt down those great vintage tubes to with pride and by hand. get the optimum tones from your modern That’s an appropriate name for an amp amplifier. The 12AX7 is even a long-plate such as this. From its gorgeous hard maple version, known for it’s sonic excellence. The and walnut cabinet to its hand-wired circuit, control knob layout is simply: “Volume”, this beauty has a unique look. The cabinet is “Negative Feedback”, and “Tone”.

seems to cut high frequencies from the wide open setting, making this amp never overly bright. The Negative Feedback switch gives the amp the option of a bit more complex voice when introduced. This is a very subtle difference that is more easily detected in certain volume settings that in others.

definitely not from a do-it-yourself kit, but sports decorative cuts for both the speaker reveal and the illuminated front logo. The front panel of the chassis is a simply laid out brushed aluminum panel that houses controls that are mostly unmarked. The combination of cosmetics makes me think: military meets fine furniture maker. This amp just might be allowed to dwell in the living room, among your furniture.

Switching gears to a Les Paul with PAF humbuckers reveals a very sensitive preamp that reacts very differently to this type of push. Break up happens much sooner, and the overall tone characteristic is darker. The speaker also breaks up easier now and adds to the distortion voice, more so than with the single coils of a Strat. Lastly, as expected now, P-90’s and other single coils with more drive fall somewhere in the middle.

I first tested this one with a Strat and put it through the usual ropes. One of the first things I like to establish is where, on the sweep of the volume control, does significant break-up start to happen. The Sunset Strip starts fairly late in the sweep around 2:00 with single coil pickups. Beyond that, the amp only breaks up a tiny bit more. This is definitely not more than a medium-gainy amp, much like a low-powered tweed, as ToneVille describes Features of this model include a 1 x 12” it. It does, however live in this mediumCelestion G12 Alnico Gold speaker and crunch zone very sweetly. A very nice tube a 10 watt amplifier, comprised of a tube saturation and compression happens here layout as follows; 1x Mullard GZ34 rectifier, and is nicely touch-sensitive, as well. The 1 RCA Black Plate 6L6GC and 1 Mullard clean settings are a bit too underpowered to 12AX7. What?...Yes, you read that correctly. have much bloom, but this is not unexpected This amp is equipped with New Old Stock from a 10-watt amplifier. The tone control is typical of the one-knob version and only


The ToneVille is something you really might want to try if you’re in the market for a beautifully crafted and NOS tube equipped amp. Retail price - $1,995.00 For more information,



Don Edwards Cowboy Singer Model

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RainSong CO-WS1005NS by Bruce Adolph

OK, time for some honesty here. I have been a fan of carbon composite/graphite guitars for a long time now. About 18 years ago was the first time I met Dr. John Decker, who pioneered composite guitars. Back then RainSong guitars were made in Hawaii (now they are made in Woodinville, WA, my home state). I was impressed while Dr. Peterson led me around his facility showing me all of the vacuum molds and explaining why he pursued building a weather resistant guitar in the first place. He was a physicist with degrees in aeronautical engineering and had a doctorate in plasma physics. He had attended a wedding outdoors in Maui when an unexpected downpour of rain fell on not only the attendees, but also on the guitarist playing the wedding music. Decker, a classical guitarist himself, sympathized with the player’s dilemma: Should he run for cover and risk the wrath of the bride’s family or play in the rain

and ruin his guitar? The good doctor thought to himself that there has to be a better way. With a composite guitar you get quite a few advantages over the traditional wood and glue designed instruments. One of them is the aforementioned imperviousness to weather. In fact with an all-composite construction (even the fretboard and bridge are made of composite materials) variations in humidity and temperatures are not a problem. If it wasn’t for the top-of-the-line Fishman Prefix electronics (with a built-in tuner) on this guitar you could take it in the shower and strum ‘till you get all wrinkly. The other advantage of graphite is that it is literally lighter than wood and stronger than steel. This gives stability to the neck (which means you will also stay in tune better than wood necks) and it makes for a very light full-sized guitar in your hands. There are no dead spots on the fretboard and the fretwork itself is top drawer. The 1.75” nut width is very comfortable to play, with plenty of room for your fingers. The CO-WS1005NS, like all the other members of the Concert Series by RainSong, has a unidirectional Carbon soundboard that mimics the tight grain of a fine spruce. Unique to this model however is the offset sound hole located on the player’s side of the upper bout. When you play this guitar the sound is coming out closer to your ears because of the proximity of the sound hole, and it just seems louder to your senses. Rather than joining the body at the 14th fret, the neck of the CO-WS1005NS joins at the 12th fret, which moves the bridge back on the soundboard and thus grants better sonic energy transmission from the strings through to the soundboard itself. Another bonus from this design is enhanced bass response… that is what a short scale 24.9” neck can do for you. Plus, it gives you an advantage in alternative tunings. Pretty versatile eh?

size one, but RainSong contends that combined with the uninterrupted larger vibrating surface of the soundboard the smaller sound hole actually accentuates the highs and the lows of the guitars overall sound. Confirming the applied physics is my natural ear which really does hear the more pronounced lows and clear highs. Truth be told, the highs were the only disappointment to me when I first played a RainSong all those years ago. They were more bell-like in tone, but several years back they really dialed in the right “woodsy” highs and now this guitar rings clear and bright. The sound is a nice balance of everything you want to hear in the lows, mids, and highs. RainSong would tell you that these soundboards are the lightest they have ever built, and that lends to the responsiveness and warm tone. I would tell you that this guitar is also louder than the usual guitar and that it simply is a winner. Plus, it really can go places where a conventional wood guitar may struggle, i.e. changing environments, outdoor performances, and overall better traveling endurance… in fact, a good friend of mine has been a street musician at Haight Ashbury in San Francisco for ages, and for the last 10 years he has played RainSong 6 and 12 string guitars out in the elements… whether in thick fog or in the hot California sun, he swears by his RainSongs’. If you are a traveling musician who flies a lot, your airplane would have to practically run over your composite guitar on the runway to hurt it, and you will feel very confident checking it into baggage. That is a lot less stress right there. The CO-WS1005NS has a clear high-gloss UV protective polyurethane finish, it sports shark shaped inlay fret markers, and the black graphite cloth grain on the back and sides reminds you that you are playing a completely different animal here… and loving it! Retail price is $3,332.00 and a nice molded hardshell comes with the guitar.

Depth at end-pin: 5 inches Lower bout: 15.8 inches Body Length: 19.5 inches Neck width at nut: 1.75 inches Scale length: 24.9 inches Tuning machines: Chrome plated Gotohs with 1:18 gear ratio The sound hole itself is Electronics: Fishman Prefix Plus-T

a little smaller than a regular


VINTAGE USED NEW Guitars Amps Mandolins Lap Steels Ukes Banjos Pedals



Sunday, May 18

9:30am - 4:30pm


Meydenbauer Center Bellevue, WA Admission $10 Vendor Tables $75 On-Site Food & Drinks photo: Richard Green



Life is too short to play a lousy guitar!



with Jimmy Wallace

I have attended several of Jimmy Wallace’s Dallas guitar shows before. They are always big, loud and fun! What makes the Dallas International Guitar Festival different from many of the others is that there is a “live music” component to it. They will bring in several well-known guitar hero types and many regional Texas acts to give daytime and evening live performances. I have seen Eric Johnson, Rick Derringer, Greg Martin, King’s X, Phil Keaggy, Doyle Dykes and even Paul Reed Smith in the lineup over the years. This year’s dates are May 2nd-4th and include Johnny Winter, George Lynch, The Stratoblasters, the Jimmy Wallace Guitar Army and several more guitar slinging personalities. Tack on all of that guitar moxie to a very large exhibitor list and a Texas size crowd and you get a guitar show to remember. I have been a vendor at the show every year I have attended and have sold well there too. The other vendors are friendly and I have built relationships there for our family of magazines. I asked Jimmy, “After all these years of producing the show, what is its biggest

strength? He replied, “I feel the collaboration of several things make up its strength. You can see great performances by iconic guitar players (along with young bands that are aspiring to become great guitar players), you can go buy and sell a guitar, you can see what Gibson and Taylor have out that is brand new (there are many manufacturers represented), you can make connections with dealers… on and on. All of these elements coming together in one place where you can have all those different experiences is what makes the show significant”. This year the show is moving to a new venue. I quizzed Jimmy, “Why the venue change?” In his easy-going Texas manner he responded, “Well in my mind, things have to constantly evolve. We have gone from the early stages of the guitar show in 1978 to the different venues… from the Dallas Convention Center to Fair Park. Then we left Fair Park to go The Market Hall and now we have circled back to the Fair Park. We helped produce the first Crossroads Festival there in 2004 and what we know to be true in moving back there is now the show is expanding. We are in two huge buildings (The Automobile and the Centennial Buildings) and there is also tons of grass lawn for the consumer to watch the concerts on the outdoor stages… it will be great. We believe the move to Fair Park will help the event grow even bigger and we also were able to keep the ticket prices the same.”


What I like about guitar shows is the sense of community. The motto for Collectible Guitar magazine is “Guitar people helping guitar people”. I asked Jimmy to give an example of this philosophy being played out at his show. Jimmy piped in quickly, “Yes, I have repeatedly experienced it. One thing we do in the printed program each year is write a feature on anyone in the guitar community there who has passed away in the last year. That is just what community does; we honor those folks. We also network from manufacturers to dealers and so forth. It is like a city there for four days to do business but there are also times when we help those in need as well. We have had numerous cancer drives over the years. We have raised money for different medical needs and for trusts. There is a strong sense of community there at the Dallas show and when they see a need, they draw together and respond to it.” Jimmy is upbeat about this year’s show and the growth that lies ahead for the Dallas International Guitar Festival. If you get a chance make the trip to Fair Park be sure and stop by our Collectible Guitar booth and introduce yourself! At guitar shows these days you get a mixture of vintage dealers, regular new stock dealers, boutique builders of guitars, amps and pedals, manufacturers and private collectors who like to sell and horse trade. It is a fun blending of all things guitar!


lyric classical ™


The Lyric Classical now pairs our ground-breaking TRU • MIC technology with a high-fidelity preamplifier specially crafted for nylon string guitars. Engineered for live performances, the Lyric Classical provides much of the same benefits as external mic’ing while achieving unprecedented feedback resistance and isolation for the stage. WATCH THE VIDEOS AT: LRBAGGS.COM/LYRICCCLASSICAL

Will McFarlane Three Of the Best ShOpping Days I’ve Ever Had Over the last 50 years of playing guitar, I have held some pretty amazing instruments in my hands, including some that have gotten away. (I’m sure we all have a few of those stories). The good news is that I’ve ended up with several vintage pieces that are life purchases--they aren’t just old, they’re great. Let me tell you about three of the best shopping days I’ve ever had.

loaned me one of his Teles--a mutant with a crazy pickup in the neck that looked like a P-90 with rectangular pole pieces that sounded huge. During the first break, David took me shopping. We went to a couple of his favorite, off the beaten path places, and over the course of that day, I ended up with a ’63 Strat--3 tone sunburst/rosewood neck ($125), a ’59 Tele--Big Daddy Roth green 1. The first took place while I was doing metal-flake finish/rosewood neck ($75), my first major gig--the Late for the Sky tour and to top it off, a ’58 Fender Champ ($75). with Jackson Browne and Bonnie Raitt in Those were the days, huh? I got the Champ 1974. I had just joined Bonnie’s band, and because that’s what Lindley was using for a the two guitars I had at the time were a preamp to get that killer lap steel sound that crummy, early ‘70s Tele, and a really nice was so fresh to my ears back then. mid ‘60s Gibson ES-175D that I’d just found 2. After a little less than a year of touring in a pawnshop for $200. The Tele had the with those two guitars, and comparing them laminated maple fretboard, and the threaded to others I liked, I set my eyes on an old 3 pc. bridge saddles that broke strings. It maple neck Strat. It was a ’54, serial# 0533. was very sharp and bright, and didn’t have It was a factory refinish (the guy who had it a whole lot of feel. The beautiful cherry wanted it to look like Hendrix’s, so he made burst Gibson was a better instrument, so it white on white). I actually didn’t have the I took it to LA to start the tour, but knew $400 he wanted, being the financial and pretty soon in that it wasn’t the right tool for administrative wizard that I was at 23, so I the job. I needed single coils. David Lindley sold the ’63 to a friend for $250, and got the


’54. It is, to this day, one of the best I’ve ever played--harmonically and structurally--it just sings. It seems to adjust your body chemistry if you just strum a chord without it plugged in. It is still one of my main workhorses. 3. The guy who owned the shop I got it from called me a couple of weeks later and said he remembered me saying I was looking for a good Tele, too. One had just come into the store, and he said he’d hold it for me. It was a ’55 that someone had finished red, but you could see that it had cool grain in the wood. As it turns out, it was a one-piece body. I had wanted a ’52 blackguard--you know, the holy grail/Roy Buchanan thing, but this one felt great, so I bought it for $300. A friend was borrowing my green one, and I called and asked if he’d give me $250 for it, and he did, so it was all working out. The next step--I was trying it out through a ‘59/’60 tweed 4X10 Bassman, and the sound was killing me--I had to have it, so I dug a little deeper, and went home that day with them both. I spent a $1000 there, and ended up with a ’54 Strat, a ’55 Tele and a

’59 Bassman...not bad. Over the years with all the use, things have needed to be done to them. In the beginning, the Tele had threaded bridge saddles that the folks at Westwood music in LA talked me into replacing with a new Schecter bridge with 6 saddles. None of us knew we were collecting back then, we just wanted them to work, and it’s worked very well. Eventually, Seymour Duncan rewound the front pickup when it went microphonic, and it may be the best sounding pickup I have. It has been my go to sound over the years down here in Muscle Shoals--the first one I send an engineer. It makes getting my sound about a thirty second process. Also, both had some neck work and refretting done by Kenny Marshall in Norfolk, VA. He’s great. The Strat, as well as the aforementioned neck work, got a set of Schaler tuning pegs when the old Klusons started dying, and Seymour rewound the original magnets, and made it RWRP. The bridge pickup was overwound, and a little dark, so just a couple of years ago, a friend and luthier, David Crawford in Durham, NC, rewound it more vintage, and it seems to have made everything more balanced and consistent. For one other story, my Strat was stolen once. Someone broke into my van in my driveway after I’d gotten home late from a session. I was tired, went to bed, got up in the morning to unload, and it wasn’t there. I called the police and every music/pawn shop within 65 miles. One of the guys I called had it in his hands earlier that day, but he said the guy who had it was scary, and outran the cops who came to the store. It was gone for two months, and I assumed it was lost forever. I played at a Sunday night church service, and a lady came up to me and said, “I heard you got your guitar stolen, and I’m going to pray you get it back.” I patronized her faithlessly, but got

in my car and said out loud how much I’d love that guitar back. First thing the next morning, a detective called, and said, “Good news, Mr. McFarlane, we found your guitar.” I couldn’t believe my ears. It was in a pawnshop in Indianapolis, and to make a long story short, I paid the pawn ticket--$125---and got it back the next day. I’m a thankful man, knowing it’s mine to play...and meant to be played and not just locked away. Oh, and by the way, the Champ sounds incredible, too. This story doesn’t include the ’60 white SG Les Paul with the 3 gold pickups that I got for $150 with a Gibson Falcon amp when I was 13. The guitar was stolen my first year in college...just another one that got away.


TO BE (A LUTHIER), OR NOT TO BE (A LAWYER) by Gabriel J. Hernandez Deciding on a college major is a life-defining moment. Personally (some 30 years ago), I didn’t have a clue what my major was going to be until I walked by the open front door of the campus newspaper’s office. Hung on it was a piece of paper that read, “Wanted: Sports Reporter.” From that point on my choices were pretty clear: continue trying to figure out the Pythagorean Theorem and how it was going to fit into my life, while also seeking the right words and moment to tell my parents I’d just dropped Calculus … for the third time; or write about sports. It wasn’t even close. I loved sports. Plus, I liked to read, I enjoyed my English classes, and at the time I was keeping a journal (of sorts) so I knew how to construct a basic sentence. And – of course – I assumed (incorrectly) that being a sports writer would allow me FREE access to sporting events. So, into the campus newspaper office I walked with sign in tow and applied for the job. It wasn’t much of an interview: Editor (I can’t remember his name): “Can you write?” Me: “Yes.” Editor: “Can you cover the baseball game this afternoon?” Me: “Sure.” Editor: “Ok … you’re hired.” And just like that, my journey to a degree in Journalism began rather unceremoniously … a journey that still continues to this day, on a course that still involves (to some extent) my training as a writer, investigator, etc., etc., etc. But then there are people like Elizabeth Jayne Henderson, who currently resides in Asheville, N.C. She had it all planned out. Raised to be conscious of environmental issues, she didn’t think twice about pursuing a Master’s Degree in Environmental Law and Policy from Vermont Law School in South Royalton, which she earned in 2009. She then sharpened her passion for all things environmental by working for an Ashevillebased nonprofit, before heading back to Vermont for a brief stint in government work with the United States Forest Service’s Eastern Region office in Rutland.

his extraordinary instrumentmaking skills. “I went to my dad and asked him to make me a guitar or two so I could sell them to help pay off my school loans,” Henderson said. “He told me he’d definitely help me out, but that I’d have to build them myself.”

In a nutshell, Henderson’s future was set … written in stone … signed, sealed, and delivered (you get the point). “The degree I earned is very similar to having a law degree,” Henderson said recently from her home in Asheville. “It deals with environmental law and working as an environmental advocate, which is more like working alongside lawyers as opposed to actually being a lawyer. But what mattered most to me was that the focus was on the environment and making it better. My ultimate goal was to work in some capacity within the Federal Government and help to better the environment.” To that end, Henderson vigorously pursued a handful of positions within the Federal government, including several with the Environmental Protection Agency. Her dreams, however, were somewhat stymied by the weak economies of 2010 and 2011, and the resulting Federal Government cutbacks – some of which eliminated positions she had applied for at the EPA. In 2011, faced with the possibility of not landing a Federal job – though still “very thankfully” employed by the small environmental nonprofit in Asheville – Henderson began to worry about her looming student loan payments. And that’s when she turned to her dad for help. Her dad – by the way – happens to be none other than worldrenowned luthier, guitar player, and guitar festival organizer, Wayne Henderson, of Rugby, VA. If you don’t know who Wayne Henderson is, all you have to know is that he’s played guitar all over the world (including Carnegie Hall), and built mandolins and guitars for the likes of Eric Clapton, Tommy Emmanuel, and the late Doc Watson (among many, many others). He’s even been awarded a National Heritage Fellowship by the White House (1995) in recognition of


At first, the idea appealed to Henderson because it meant she’d be spending time with her dad. Her parents, you see, divorced when she was very young, so growing up Henderson would spend only weekends with her dad … competing for time with her father with all the visiting guests from around the world that would come to play and buy the elder Henderson’s instruments. “I wasn’t necessarily driven by the need to make a guitar,” Henderson said. “Hanging out with him was very important to me, and it’s the main reason I started doing this. Now, I’ve come to find out that I’m pretty good at making guitars. Working with my hands comes very naturally to me, and that’s why I started making more guitars.” So, today – and for the last three years – Henderson is now the sole proprietor of EJ Henderson Guitars and Ukuleles in Asheville, NC. There, she makes a handful of completely handcrafted instruments using some of most unique combination of woods of any luthier in the country. Of course, it also doesn’t hurt that she does so under the guidance and watchful eye of her famous father. But don’t be fooled … Henderson has made it a point to carve out her own niche, and has fast become one of the most talked about instrument makers in the business. “I really want my guitars, and how I build them, to stand out on their own merits and not behind the accomplishments of my dad and what he’s doing,” Henderson said. “Don’t get me wrong, he does check things out for me from time to time, but I do all the work.” Henderson continued, “I really like experimenting with different types of woods. I like to find woods that no one else is using, so I’ve made guitars and ukuleles out of woods like white ash, sassafras, red and white oak, and of course maple and walnut. I also really love using Hawaiian Koa, and I kinda wish I could go there one day and see and find it

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for myself.” Don’t we all? Many of the tops for Henderson’s guitars are constructed from Carpathian Spruce, which she says, “…has a very uniform and beautiful grain, and some very tight grains because it comes from very cold climates. I also love using it because it’s a very sustainable wood, which means there’s lots of it. My dad has been using it for a while as well.” So, Henderson does – in fact – use her environmental background when building instruments, just not in the way she envisioned it. In just three short years she’s almost completely paid off her school loans, plus managed to get her guitars into some pretty famous hands, including the late Doc Wat-

son, Vince Gill, Zac Brown (he’s on her waiting list), and a few others. She’s also amassed a waiting list approaching the two-year mark. What other luthier/guitar makers do you know that just started out and have a two-year waiting list for their guitars?

it’s a lot easier to do things the way she does it. And it makes sense. She’s very good at what she does and I’m very proud of her.”

But in the eyes of her father (and many others) Henderson’s most important accomplishments and innovations to date involve the new level of creativity and unconventional vision she’s brought to some of the industry’s most time-tested and centuriesold traditions.

For more information on Jayne Henderson and her instruments, visit her web site at You can also visit her father’s web site at

“I don’t have to show her much anymore because she understands wood vibrations better than most other people I know,” the elder Henderson said. “She’s come up with some very innovative ways to properly tune a top, and make and form the bracings. She’s learned to make adjustments to the tops until they’re all in near-perfect tune, so all of her tops sound very consistent. I used to do all of this stuff by ear, but I’m getting older now and


Judging by the names on her nearly two-year waiting list, apparently others are, too!

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


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