The Gibson A3 mandolin. I was talking to our bass player last night at the gig and he mentioned picking up a mandolin to fool with. This antique was my first real mando of any quality and it has survived a very long time. This model was made back in the heyday of mandolin orchestras, when everyone had a mandolin laying around the parlor next to the piano. They were built well, with good materials and fine, if not utilitarian, type craftsmanship. Continue reading 1920 Gibson A3 Orville’s bread and butter
Most 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
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.
So what’s with vintage guitars?
What seems to be the driving force behind the vintage guitar market? If you know the answer, drop me a line because it has always been confusing to me. If there was ever an overused, abused, and deceptive adjective when it comes to guitars, it’s the word vintage. Why? Continue reading What’s with vintage guitars?
Gibson Les Paul Special Double Cutaway P90
This tried and true all mahogany classic is a brilliant example of simplicity. A slab of mahogany for the body with a baseball bat of the same material attached to it at the 22nd fret. Add some aged P90 single coil pickups and what do you get?
Heritage Guitar. Many already know the history of this relatively small production guitar shop . I stumbled upon it in the late 80’s when I noticed their affordable guitars popping up on the Internet. When I did a little research, I was surprised to learn of its guitar pedigree. What was so interesting? Continue reading heritage guitar Inc. Kalamazoo
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
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
So 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