1978 TELECASTER

 

 

My good friend Dave Garrison bought my 1978 telecaster for me in 1995. I asked him to find me a nice “workingman’s tele”, not to worry about the cosmetics, but should play and sound great, and that’s what he brought back. It’s got a slightly sweeter and darker tone than most teles but can get that Albert Collins “bite” when the situation requires. I use it mostly for Blues and some fusion things. You can hear it on the Bali Lounge tune “Apa” in an un-characteristic Santana kind of sound. Apparently the transparent red finish wasn’t a standard color in ’78 but it looks great with the black pickguard. Everything’s original except the pots, which may be responsible for the darker sound.

 

 

1980 Ibanez “George Benson” GB 10

 

 

This is actually my second GB. I bought the first one in Anchorage AK in 1981, and played it every day until it was stolen from my house in Singapore in ’93. That hurt. It took me months to locate another one, but my brother Ron finally found one in Baltimore and had it shipped out to me in Asia. It’s the same year and model as the first one, but I’ll always miss that guitar. If anyone gets a line on it let me know! This guitar is a real workhorse, temperature and humidity rarely affect the setup and it stands up to the abuse of years of 6 nights a week playing. Sadly, the equatorial humidity has taken its toll on the binding and plating, and the original pickguard disintegrated about 10 years back. I made this one out of some scrap Plexiglas and changed to the Benedetto pickup. Actually the original pickup was warm and smooth, but this one has a bit more definition in complex chord work. It’s on all the tracks of “The Liminal Man” except “Skylark”.

 

 

George Haynes 7-String

   

 

George Haynes of El Sobrante, California, made this guitar for me. Our friend Paul Smith, a great Bassist from San Francisco, introduced me to George. It’s an unusual shape for a Classical Guitar, but the extended neck meets the body at the 12th fret and the width at the nut and string spacing is like a traditional Spanish guitar. The guitar isn’t loud acousticly but has a very even response. George designed it around the RMC pickup system. The innovative double stop bridge works very well and the somewhat thick top gives a very mellow amplified tone. George simply wired the 6th and 7th string pickups together, which works fine even in triggering the GR-9. I’ve ABed the guitar with numerous Godins and feel this design sounds more open, resonant and warm. The original headstock had a rosewood facing, but the headstock was broken off in a bandstand accident and I was forced to repair it myself. I re-faced it with a thick piece of Ebony to help reinforce the joint. You can hear it on “For Gil” and many of the other tunes on the Bali Lounge CD (see the Music page). It’s also seen in the MTV of “Something’s Wrong”.

 

 

Maestro EJ-2

 

 

This jumbo acoustic comes from my friends at Maestro Guitars here in Singapore, and was set up and tweaked by my friend and go-to guy Kai Chin. When I need repairs done here in Singapore, he’s the man. He also installed a B-Band under bridge transducer. I play it on the original tune “For Those Who Have Gone” featured on their recent compilation CD. Check them out at their website: www.maestroguitars.com
(You’ll see me in their roster of Players). The tune is under Miscellanous Tracks on the Music page.

 

 

The Smitty

    

 

This is my favorite classical guitar of the many I’ve owned, and it’s a very special instrument, not only because it was hand made by my brother Ron for me, but because of the amazing sound.

This guitarra blanca is deeply traditional in design and construction. Ron has studied guitar building, rosette construction and French polish with maestro Eugene Clark, and, while this instrument is a product of the Master’s student, it reflects the heritage of the classical guitar through Eugene’s decades of experience in guitar building and his scrutiny of the great Spanish builders works during repair and restoration.

For the dedicated listener, this guitar’s sound is recognizable as from a family of instruments; it’s has a voice that is rich in overtones in the bass with clear bell-tones in the treble. While not a quiet guitar, it has the ability to be heard in the back of the room by quality of sound, not volume.

The shape of the guitar is directly from Santo Hernandez, one of the greatest Spanish builders. The rosette is an original design by Ron, built in traditional fashion from hand-cut and hand-dyed veneers, assembled in traditional style. The simple, abbreviated headstock shape is a Smitty standard. Intentionally, there is no other inlay.

The soundboard is Sitka Spruce from Alaska, selected for specific properties of tension and resonance. Bracing is tight grain spruce. The neck is Spanish Cedar, wonderfully light and resonant. The back and sides are figured European Maple with Indian Rosewood binding and hand-dyed purflings. The fingerboard and bridge are ebony. Finish is hand applied shellac by the technique of traditional French polish using toning with colored shellac.