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The Fretboard Journal Guitar Podcast

Each week, the Fretboard Journal interviews some of our favorite musicians, instrument builders and historians.
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The Fretboard Journal Guitar Podcast
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Now displaying: 2019
Oct 14, 2019

In 1996, Jay Boone founded Emerald City Guitars out of a funky storefront in Seattle’s Pioneer Square neighborhood. These days, ECG may occupy the same address but it has evolved into one of the world’s great vintage guitar destinations, a place where Dumble amps, Blackguard Telecasters and ‘Bursts line the walls alongside more affordable electric and acoustic guitars and amps. On today’s Fretboard Journal Podcast, we talk to Jay about the growth of this family-run business; the sales trends he’s observed over the years; how a $400,000 'Burst gets sold; the vintage guitars he just can’t keep in-stock; plus a lot more. It’s a fascinating chat that covers a lot of ground: from vintage Gibson electrics to Martins, reverb.com and more.

This episode is sponsored by Retrofret Vintage Guitars and Mono Cases

Oct 4, 2019

Once again, we're bringing back one of our favorite subjects to the Fretboard Journal Podcast. Andy Powers should need little introduction to longtime FJ followers: In less than a decade, he's gone from being a solo luthier working out of his dad's garage to being the face of Taylor's guitar development to (as of a couple weeks ago) becoming a co-owner / partner in the company. During this week's conversation, we talk about all of the above, learn about Andy's work habits and hear about some of the daily decision-making that goes on behind-the-scenes at Taylor. 

Support the Fretboard Journal and our podcasts during our first-ever Subscription Drive: https://www.fretboardjournal.com/support

 This episode is sponsored by Retrofret Vintage Guitars.

Sep 23, 2019

Support the Fretboard Journal and our podcasts during our first-ever Subscription Drive: https://www.fretboardjournal.com/support

TJ Thompson is one of the most respected names in the world of vintage Martin guitars, a repairperson who can seemingly fix the impossible. Though he flies under the radar with no advertising and little publicity (aside from his occasional appearances in the Fretboard Journal), he has no shortage of work from collectors, high-end dealers and touring musicians. Occasionally, he even burns the midnight oil building Martin-inspired guitars under his own name. (As of this writing, he’s built 87 guitars from scratch.)  

TJ returns to the FJ podcast in a conversation that covers a lot of ground: his background (the '70s Martin D-35 with intonation issues that got him started in lutherie, his stints with Dana Bourgeois and Elderly Instruments); the inspiration that he finds from people and problem solving; and a few of the complicated guitar repairs he has recently tackled. Though there are plenty of guitar geek revelations, more than anything this is a chat about following your passion and finding mastery in your craft. Because of that, it’s one of our favorite episodes to date.  

Note: TJ also appeared in the Fretboard Journal #26 and has been on Fretboard Journal Podcast episodes 55, 97, 122 and 123.

Links: TJ's Pro Luthier Tools Shop 

The 1947 Martin D-18 with a crushed side referenced during this conversation: https://www.instagram.com/p/B1rVQQvHVvD/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

This episode is sponsored by Mono Cases and Retrofret Vintage Guitars.

Sep 17, 2019

Mark Stutman (Folkway Music) returns to the Fretboard Journal Podcast for a sprawling conversation that covers the magic (and variables) of '30s vintage Gibson flattop guitars, his advice for aspiring luthiers, the allure of old strings (and what new strings he likes for old Gibsons) and much more. Stutman is a true authority when it comes to old Gibson and Martin guitar repairs and his restoration insights ("the enemy of Good is often Better") are invaluable for vintage guitar collectors.

The Fretboard Journal has just launched its first ever subscription drive. If you haven’t joined us yet, now is a great time. We’ll be sharing all-new podcasts, videos and articles all month long: https://www.fretboardjournal.com/columns/support-the-fretboard-journal/

This episode is sponsored by Mono Cases and Retrofret Vintage Guitars.

Sep 10, 2019

This week, we have a lively chat with graphic designer extraordinaire Aaron Draplin. Though Aaron is best-known as a visual artist – everything from magazines to books to concert posters to a US postage stamp – music is at the core of his work and upbringing. During our call, Jason talks to him Aaron about his music influences, his love for design of all stripes, his trajectory as a guitarist and the music lessons he’s taking from fellow Portland resident Pete Krebs and much more.

The Fretboard Journal has just launched its first ever subscription drive. If you haven’t joined us yet, now is a great time. We’ll be sharing all-new podcasts, videos and articles all month long: https://www.fretboardjournal.com/columns/support-the-fretboard-journal/

This episode is sponsored by Roberto-Venn and Retrofret Vintage Guitars.

Aug 31, 2019

Singer-songwriter Joan Shelley talks to us about the making of Like the River Loves the Sea, her excellent 2019 full-length album. Shelley talks to us about the album's unlikely recording location (Iceland), her Collings guitar, her writing process and much more. 

Like what we're up to? Please support us by joining the Fretboard Journal via a print or discounted digital subscription

This episode is sponsored by Mono Cases.

Aug 21, 2019

Brent Mason is one of the most prolific and successful session guitarists of all time. He joins us on this week's Fretboard Journal Podcast to talk about the life of a Nashville session musician, his guitars of choice, what he brings to the studio and much more. It's a fascinating chat about one of the lesser-known aspects of the music industry. 

Subscribe to the Fretboard Journal magazine via this link

This episode is sponsored by Roberto-Venn, Gibson, Martin and Carter Vintage Guitars

Aug 9, 2019

Richard Walter, curator for Phoenix, Arizona’s amazing Musical Instrument Museum, joins us on this week’s Fretboard Journal Podcast. We talk about his background, his role at the museum and, most importantly, about MIM’s current exhibit, The Electric Guitar: Inventing an American Icon. The exhibit, which closes on September 15, 2019, gathers a wide array of historic and legendary instruments, including Speedy West’s Bigsby (profiled in a recent Fretboard Journal) and guitars from Alvino Rey, Bo Diddley and Les Paul.

This episode is sponsored by Mono Cases with special thanks to FJ presenting sponsors Carter Vintage, Martin Guitars and Gibson.  

Want to support the show? Get a discounted one-year digital subscription to our magazine for just $30

Aug 2, 2019

Most guitarists have seen a StringBender installed on a Telecaster at some point. But on an acoustic? That’s a pretty wild concept. On this week’s podcast, we talk to two of the finest flatpicking guitarists around - Trey Hensley & Chris Luquette – about the StringBenders that will soon be installed as an upgrade option on Preston Thompson Guitars. These two Thompson artists talk about the feel of a StringBender-equipped dreadnought, describe how it changes their playing and much more. Midway through the call, we patch in the one-and-only Gene Parsons, the device's storied inventor. He tells us how the StringBender was developed (thanks to Clarence White's inspiration) and even lets us know about a rather historic Martin D-18 that now has a StringBender installed in it.

Want to know more? Check out our video with Try and Chris here:

https://youtu.be/0SYOSsy4p20

Get a digital subscription to the Fretboard Journal magazine here:

https://shop.fretboardjournal.com/collections/downloads/products/fretboard-journal-digital-subscription-offer 

This episode is sponsored by Roberto-Venn, Gibson, Carter Vintage and Martin guitars. 

Jul 26, 2019

“Keep an open mind about [wood]. We’re not going to have these resources forever, especially if we’re not careful about them.” –Jayne Henderson

Jayne Henderson (EJ Henderson Guitars) joins us on this week’s podcast to talk about learning the craft of lutherie from her dad, Wayne Henderson. We also hear about her custom inlay work (and the thought process that goes into it); her affinity for sustainable woods (including oak); building a guitar for Doc Watson; ukuleles and much more.

Mentioned on the podcast: The Luthiers Apprentice blog, the Hampton Brothers cut Red spruce; John Arnold’s oak guitar

This episode is sponsored by Mono Cases with special thanks to FJ presenting sponsors Carter Vintage, Martin Guitars and Gibson.  

Want to support the show? Get a discounted one-year digital subscription to our magazine for just $30

Jul 17, 2019

On this week’s Fretboard Journal Podcast, we sit down with Gibson CMO Cesar Gueikian. Cesar’s story is fascinating: Long before he began working for the legendary guitar company, he was a successful business person and self-professed Gibson fanatic. These days, he gets to combine his finance background with his love for all-things-Gibson and has been a big part of the new Gibson leadership. During the course of our candid chat, he walks us through the challenges Gibson faces, tells us about some of the new models he’s most excited for and much more.

This episode is brought to you by Mono CasesRoberto-VennCarter Vintage, Martin Guitars and Gibson.  

Order the new Fretboard Journal 44 by clicking here

 

Jul 3, 2019

On this week's FJ Podcast, we talk to Paul Heumiller, founder of Dream Guitars. Dream Guitars is a highly-curated, online store featuring contemporary high-end, luthier-built acoustic guitars. At any time, they typically have over 100 new and pre-owned instruments from makers such as Wayne Henderson, James Olson, Leo Buendia and Jordan McConnell. 

During this chat, Paul tells us about the current market for these  instruments, explains what he thinks separates a great acoustic builder from the rest and much more. 

This episode is brought to you by Mono CasesRoberto-VennCarter Vintage, Martin Guitars and Gibson.  

Order the new Fretboard Journal 44 by clicking here

 

Jun 28, 2019

A bonus episode this week! The Fretboard Journal's Ryan Richter talks to dobro, lap steel and pedal steel composer and instrumentalist Mike Grigoni. 

Ryan says, "In 2001, I had the good fortune of meeting Mike Grigoni on a Bainbridge Island beach. 'You gotta know this guy...' was the party line that day, and it was right on the money. Before departing Seattle, Mike and I collaborated on music, and though it never bore much tangible fruit, it was wildly informative for me. Mike's ample skill as a leader, accompanist, and composer was an invigorating force that's as much of an inspiration now as it was then. (When working on my own music, I often employ the 'what would Mike do here" postulate.') 

Mike's musical journey has taken him from traditional Bluegrass to Ambient music, a swing that could be a mirror reaction to his shift in academic focus from Ethnomusicology to Ethnography, a subject on which he's currently writing his dissertation in Durham, North Carolina. 

 
Grigoni's current release Mount Carmel is out now on Taylor Dupree's 12K label. 
 
 
Jun 25, 2019

This week, we travel all the way to Nazareth, Pennsylvania to interview Fred Greene (Vice President of Product Management at Martin Guitars) and Tim Teel (Martin's Director of Instrument Design). The decisions these two individuals make have a huge impact on Martin's current (and future) guitar offerings. We chat about the behind-the-scenes process of making new Martin models, how Martin prepares for big unveilings like the NAMM Show, the influence guitar forums have on their output, the guitar-building community in general and much more.

This insightful chat is easily one of our favorite conversations about the guitar industry we've had to date.  

This episode is brought to you by Carter Vintage, Martin Guitars and Gibson

Order the new Fretboard Journal 44 by clicking here

Jun 18, 2019

Bassist extraordinaire Tal Wilkenfeld joins us on the Fretboard Journal Podcast to talk about coming to the US to pursue music, opening for the Who and about the making of her new album, Love Remains. We also talk about her gear of choice, including her rather unique baritone guitar (built in part by Jackson Browne). 

This episode is sponsored by Mono Cases.

Like what we're up to? Consider subscribing to the paper or digital edition of the Fretboard Journal

Jun 5, 2019

Portland, Oregon-based singer-songwriter Jacob Miller joins on this week's Fretboard Journal Podcast. We talk about gear (including the lucky horse trading he did to get his cherished '40s Epiphone archtop), his debut album ('This New Home') and much more. 

This episode is sponsored by Mono Cases

http://www.jacobmillermusic.net

 

May 20, 2019

Mandolin great Andy Statman joins us on this week's Fretboard Journal Podcast to talk about his new album, 'Monroe Bus,' taking lessons from David Grisman, the influence of Bill Monroe, finding tone and much more. 

Portions of this interview can be found on the Fretboard Journal's online piece on Statman here: https://www.fretboardjournal.com/features/interview-andy-statman-on-monroe-bus/

But Andy was so insightful during that conversation that we decided to run the whole talk as a podcast. We hope you enjoy it.

This episode is sponsored by Mono.  

May 14, 2019

Legendary singer-songwriter Steve Earle joins us this week for one of the best conversations we've had in years. Over the course of this nearly hour-long chat, Earle talks to us about meeting and working alongside his hero, Guy Clark, how sobriety changed his playing and his ever-growing guitar collection (135+ instruments as of this recording). Earle also discusses overcoming his fear of Telecasters, his love for the guitars of James Trussart, his favorite amps, gambling tips and more.

Earle's Guy Clark tribute album, Guy, is out now. We can't recommend it enough.

This week's podcast is sponsored by Mono Cases. Check out all their case and pedalboard offerings at monocreators.com.

Don't forget to subscribe to the Fretboard Journal Podcast on iTunes and please leave us a review! 

May 7, 2019

Acclaimed luthier David Eichelbaum joins us on this week's Fretboard Journal Podcast to talk about his restoration and repair work, guitarmaking and a lot more. Eichelbaum is based in Ojai, California and on any given day may find himself working on a pre-war Martin or a '59 Burst. He also talks to us about his own builds - historically-accurate Fender re-creations and his acoustic guitars - and what has to be one of the most unique car hobbies around. All told, it's a fun chat with a long-time friend of the Journal. 

Apr 29, 2019

Seattle's Greg Ruby lives and breathes jazz guitar. When he's not gigging with various ensembles, this former member of Pearl Django is a busy composer and music educator. Ruby's latest project is one of his most ambitious, Oscar Alemán: Play Along Songbook, Volume One. On this week's podcast, Ruby walks us through the unbelievable life of Alemán (a peer of Django Reinhardt's with an equally made-for-Hollywood back story). We also talk about Greg's early introduction to gypsy jazz and hear about the mammoth task he had in assembling this collection of tab/notation (the first dedicated to Alemán's music). 

http://gregrubymusic.com
https://www.fretboardjournal.com

 

 

Apr 22, 2019

Damien Jurado joins us on this week's Fretboard Journal Podcast to talk about the making of 'In the Shape of a Storm,' his incredible new solo acoustic album.

During our chat, Jurado talks about the inspiration he received from a no-name nylon-stringed guitar; walks us through the album's sparse production (just two microphones; recorded in just a couple of hours); explains why he moved from the Pacific Northwest; and speaks candidly about his relationship with the late, great Richard Swift. Plus a lot more... 

 

 

 

Apr 15, 2019

The always delightful Sam Amidon joins us on the Fretboard Journal Podcast to talk about music, the joys of touring by bus and much more. We also chat about growing up in a folk music-filled household, Amidon's take on the Harry Smith's The Anthology of American Folk Music and get the the story behind his cherished Martin OM-15.  

Check the Fretboard Journal site for our new video with Amidon performing "Juma Mountain." 

Apr 3, 2019

By popular demand, Folkway Music's Mark Stutman returns to give us even more behind-the-scenes tales of vintage guitar repair. We talk about Gibson acoustics and what it would take for new Gibsons to capture the coveted tone of their '30s and '40s predecessors. We also chat about the art of neck resets (Mark is featured in a feature on resets in the FJ #44, out soon) and much more. A must-listen if you love vintage acoustic guitars. 

https://www.folkwaymusic.com

 

Mar 29, 2019

Fingerstyle guitarist Kinloch Nelson joins us on this week’s FJ Podcast to talk about Partly on Time: Recordings 1968-1970, his new (and highly recommended) anthology on Tompkins Square. The backstory on these demo and previously unreleased recordings is simply incredible. Kinloch sheds light on the making of these long-lost recordings, his guitars of choice and the ill-fated session he was supposed to do with John Phillips of The Mamas and the Papas, plus a lot more... 

Into high end acoustic guitars? If so, you should know about the Artisan Guitar Show, taking place April 12-14 in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.   

https://artisanguitarshow.com

http://www.tompkinssquare.com

 

Mar 26, 2019

Guitarist Mike Baggetta stops by the Fretboard Journal to talk about the making of his incredible new album 'Wall of Flowers,' which features in the incredible rhythm section of Mike Watt on bass and Jim Keltner on drums. Baggetta describes the incredible influence Watt's music had on his playing over the years, talks to us about his gear of choice (including his Saul Koll-built guitars and Fryette amps) and much more. 

https://mikebaggetta.bandcamp.com/album/wall-of-flowers

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