Minnesota’s Tom Nechville may very well be the closest thing the banjo world has to Leo Fender. For the last 30 years, he’s innovated the five-string banjo with revolutionary products like the Heli-Mount, the Cyclotronic Tone Ring and the Flux Capacitor. On this week’s podcast, we talk to Nechville about his inventions, his banjos (acoustic and electric) and some of the challenges of building forward-thinking products for a market that largely leans towards the traditional. Even if you’re not a banjo player, you’ll enjoy hearing about how Nechville found his calling in the world of fretted instruments and some of the R&D that he goes through with his instruments.
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This episode is sponsored by Retrofret Vintage Guitars, which has its own fair share of banjos, along with guitars, basses, mandolins and more.
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“I’ve always been into the older, cheaper Sears’ catalog-type guitars,” Nic Delisle of Island Instruments explains on this week’s podcast. That influence is clearly apparent when one looks at Island’s unique guitar lineup; you can see familiar Silvertone, Kay and Stratotone shapes but with refined hardware, ergonomics and pickups. During our talk, Delisle walks us through his numerous electric guitar models, explains his love for reclaimed materials (he recently made a guitar using reclaimed floorboards from the Boston Symphony Hall) and more. We also talk about the La Conner Guitar Festival, which took place May 12-14, 2017 in La Conner, Washington.
Want to become a professional luthier or repair person? Are you already a working in the field but want to up your game? If so, you’ll love this week’s podcast episode. We’re talking to luthier Bryan Galloup about his annual Northwoods Seminar, a four-day retreat where you can learn the finer points of guitarmaking and repair from some of the biggest names in the business, including Bob Taylor, Richard Hoover, Dan Erlewine, Andy Powers and others. This year’s event takes place August 21-24, 2017 and includes music performances by Bill Kirchen and Redd Volkaert. On the show, we also talk to Galloup about his Galloup School of Guitar Building and Repair, his own guitar creations, the unique presentation he gave at our Fretboard Summit and more.
Galloup is one of many luthiers who will be on-hand at this year’s La Conner Guitar Festival, which takes place this weekend (May 12-14) in La Conner, Washington. The Fretboard Journal is proudly sponsoring this event. We hope to see you there.
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Northwoods Seminar Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/events/409974032696325/
The first time Matt Hampton sought out to harvest Red spruce for guitar tops, he, quite simply, "searched Google Earth for dark patches on top of tall mountains." Matt and his brother Nate are now continuing the legacy started by Ted Davis and John Arnold and making a full-time living hunting down Adirondack red spruce for luthiers and larger-scale guitar manufacturers.
Matt describes the process and how one tree can yield up to 500 tops, their unlikely start in the world of guitarmaking, their relationship with John Arnold and more. He also busts a few myths about spruce. We also hear about the brothers’ quest to find quality domestic back and side tonewoods. It’s a fascinating story, they sound almost like the American Pickers of trees.
Watch the Brothers harvest a Red spruce tree here on YouTube.
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