Category Archives: Instruments

Chuck berry and the Gibson ES 350 guitar

$_57Most of the photographs you see of Chuck Berry, he has a Gibson ES 335 model guitar slung over his shoulder, while doing his famous “duck walk” dance.   However one of my favorite photos of Mr. Berry was one that graced the cover of Smithsonian Magazine.  In that photo Chuck strikes his famous pose with a beautiful flamed maple topped Gibson ES 350T.   The ES 350  was put into production by Gibson in the late ’40s through the mid ’50s.  Essentially a modified earlier version ES 300.  Continue reading Chuck berry and the Gibson ES 350 guitar

Joe Cleary and Campanella Stringed Instruments

CampanellaStrings_PhotosByAdamFrehm-0458Campanella Stringed Instruments

I recently took a trip to Burlington, Vermont to enlist the services of the talented and well established luthier, Joseph Cleary.  I had some issues with my current mandolin that I perform with, so I made a date to consult with him on how to deal with the issues.

I had met Joe previously when he came to the Addition Studio to track some violin on Steve Light’s recording project, “Banjo and Friends.”  I was impressed with the tracks Joe contributed to the album, as well as the violin that he built and used on the session.

Continue reading Joe Cleary and Campanella Stringed Instruments

Yanuziello Electric Mandolin


Yanuziello electric mandolin

I was fortunate to purchase one of these beautiful, handmade, electric mandolins from the maker, fairly early on in his career. The great thing about the purchase was that there was a personal collaboration between myself and Joe Yanuziello which made the experience something more memorable than just buying off the rack. The other thing that struck me as different was that it was a totally handcrafted instrument, including the metal bridge and saddle hardware!  The use of an old DeArmond pickup also intrigued me. Continue reading Yanuziello Electric Mandolin

Lebeda Mandolins Craftsmanship from the Czech Republic

lebeda mandolinLebeda mandolins are a great example of craftsmanship from the Czech Republic.

Having played quite a few mandolins through the years, I realize that we are now living in a golden era for the availability of well- made, handcrafted mandolins and guitars.  Since the fall of the “Wall” and the “Curtain,” one area of the world, the Czech Republic,  has had greater access to the Western market. The result?  Continue reading Lebeda Mandolins Craftsmanship from the Czech Republic

Fender Precision Bass on a Budget

image-0 I picked up a used Fender Precision bass from a small on-line music shop a while back and was downright floored with the build and quality of this instrument from south of the border.  I shelled out two hundred and twenty five dollars for a handsome, black finished, like new bass, complete with padded gig cover.  It was delivered to me,  via the UPS man, from a frustrated young man who gave up learning the instrument. Continue reading Fender Precision Bass on a Budget

Martin D28 Guitar Non adjustable truss rod dilemma- Part Two

118668-179fc998db725556aa9ce1d9966d7a82So how does the truss rod help combat the stress of steel strings and a not so perfect Mother Nature?  The steel rod inserted inside the neck stiffens the neck and helps to keep the neck from bowing forward with relief.  Here’s the rub between the two. The non-adjustable rod can only help the neck by stiffing it to a certain point. It is designed to compensate for string tension but since there are so many variables with string gauge alone, it isn’t always successful.  It also cannot be tweaked to compensate for less than ideal humidity levels that will affect the neck relief besides the string tension alone…… Continue reading Martin D28 Guitar Non adjustable truss rod dilemma- Part Two