Roger Siminoff has always been a tinkerer. At 21, he designed and built a prototype offset press for his family’s printing business. When the music bug hit, Siminoff began building instruments, including banjos, pedal steels and, eventually, mandolins. Today, he is considered one of the foremost authorities on mandolin and banjo construction as well as the physics of musical instruments. He teaches classes and clinics, supplies many makers with banjo and mandolin parts and sells mandolin and mandola kits. He also has a deep history in publishing, both with his own book projects (both music and boat-related) and for his work with Pickin’ and Frets magazine. On today’s podcast, Siminoff talks about all of that as well as his latest project, Straight Up Strings. Straight Up Strings are strings Siminoff designed specifically for mandolins and banjos with traditional bridges. Roger tells us what makes these strings unique and the many years of R&D that went into their creation. In addition to chatting with Siminoff, we also hear about the just-announced Fretboard Summit from Fretboard Journal publisher Jason Verlinde. The event takes places November 6-8, 2015 and will be a unique weekend for guitar fanatics, filled with some of the magazine’s favorite artists, luthiers and speakers. http://siminoff.net https://www.fretboardjournal.com/summit
As one of the founding members of the Fireballs, George Tomsco is a true rock & roll pioneer. In the late ‘50s and ‘60s, his guitar playing was ubiquitous on the radio waves with hits as “Torquay,” “Bulldog,” “Sugar Shack” and “Quite a Party.”
Tomsco is the subject of a comprehensive, 18-page interview in the Fretboard Journal #28, where he talks about the sessions the Fireballs did at Norm Petty’s studios, his gear and his influences. On this week’s podcast, we ask Tomsco a bit more about those early sessions, how the classic surf instrumental “Torquay” got its name and how he stumbled upon the Fender Jazzmaster. We also hear about what Tomsco is up to these days and the future of the Fireballs. Also on the podcast: Fretboard Journal updates and much more.
Seattle artists David Lasky and Frank M. Young have produced one of the most impressive graphic novels of 2012, a 200-page tome following the history of the Carter Family entitled Don't Forget This Song. On this week’s podcast, the Fretboard Journal's Michael Simmons talks to the duo about the book and the years of work that went into it.
A teenage John Greven built his first instrument, a 5-string banjo, in 1962. Over the last fifty years, he has built over 2,000 instruments and become one of the world’s most in-demand luthiers. On this week’s podcast, we talk to Greven about his unique career trajectory, including his invaluable time working for George Gruhn in Nashville; how he's able to create so many instruments a year; and why so many of his guitars end up in Japan. Greven also talks about some of the magical moments he had with vintage Martin and Gibson guitars during his stint in Nashville. Greven now resides in Portland, Oregon. He is currently at work on his 2,200th instrument, a 000-sized guitar with Brazilian rosewood back and sides.
On this week's podcast, we talk to Stan Jay, founder of Staten Island’s Mandolin Brothers. Jay is considered one of the foremost experts on vintage instruments, but, as he tells us this week, it all started in 1971 with a bag of banjo parts he was able to flip for a tidy profit. As his now bustling store celebrates its fortieth anniversary, we ask him about buying trends in vintage instruments, the guitars he actually plays when he's gigging and the magic behind those legendary Mandolin Brothers instrument descriptions. Intro music from Bill Evans' album, In Good Company.