Our dear friend Bill Collings, founder of Collings Guitars & Mandolins, passed away on July 14, 2017 after a long battle with cancer.
We’re working on a tribute for Bill in the next issue of the Journal (and if you have any great Bill stories, we’d love to hear them). We also decided to share this talk he gave at the first Fretboard Summit in 2015. During this session, Bill was interviewed by Mark Stutman (Folkway Music). It was a lively, unfiltered chat full of laughs. We also fielded questions from the audience, talked about Waterloos and more.
RIP Bill. We’re going to miss our chats with you. –Jason
Twenty years ago, Lluís Gómez heard Banjo Paris Session, an album featuring the playing of Jean-Marie Redon and Bill Keith. It completely changed this Spanish musician's life. Gómez would go on to obsess over the five-string banjo, eventually tracking down lessons with Keith, Tony Trischka and Pete Wernick. These days, Gómez is considered the “Spanish King of the Five-String Banjo.” He’s a prolific performer, educator and music promoter, bringing a distinctly American music to new audiences in Europe. On this episode, he tells us about the state of banjo in Spain today, his excellent new record Dotze contes, the instruments that he loves and much more.
We are now shipping the Fretboard Journal #39. Use the coupon code PODCAST when you check out at fretboardjournal.com and get $5 off your order.
Lluís' site: http://www.lluisgomez.com/index-en.html
Today we’re talking to Jas Obrecht, acclaimed music journalist and editor. Jas is the author of the recently published anthology, Talking Guitar: Conversations with Musicians Who Shaped Twentieth-Century American Music. The book is filled interviews Jas conducted with music icons such as Nick Lucas, Ry Cooder, “Pops” Staples, Ry Cooder and Jerry Garcia. He tells us a bit about how it came about, what these amazing interviews were like, his days working at Guitar Player and much more.
The Fretboard Journal’s 39th issue is now mailing. Use the coupon code PODCAST when you check out and you’ll save $5 off any subscription, just for being a FJ Podcast listener.
This episode is sponsored by Retrofret Vintage Guitars.
Talking Guitar: Conversations with Musicians Who Shaped Twentieth-Century American Music by Jas Obrecht (Amazon link)
Thirty years ago, luthier Dana Bourgeois (Bourgeois Guitars) and performer/vintage guitar dealer Eric Schoenberg teamed up to create a guitar that was at once both very traditional and very forward-thinking, the Schoenberg Soloist. The Soloist was Eric’s dream fingerstyle instrument – a traditionally-built Martin OM-style guitar built with a wider neck and a cutaway built into the body. On today’s podcast, we talk about the making of the Soloist and hear about the limited run of Soloist 30th Anniversary guitars that they’ve created. We also discover why Eric loves Martin necks from 1930; the tonal differences he hears between 12 and 14-fret guitars; and much more.
On this week’s Fretboard Journal Podcast, we talk to luthier Nate Wood, out of Springfield, Oregon. Nate regaled us with guitarmaking tales at last month’s La Conner Guitar Festival so we quickly hatched a plan to bring him on the show. Before launching his own guitar and guitar repair business (Stahman Guitars), Nate went to school at Roberto Venn and then honed his chops working for Ryan Thorell. His own inventive guitars are inspired by some of the funkier American guitar designs of the ‘50s and ‘60s. Nate is also a big fan of using reclaimed woods and eco-friendly materials.
This episode is brought to you by Retrofret Vintage Guitars.
The music of singer-songwriter Vikesh Kapoor has always defied logic. Here’s a 20-something artist—born in small town Pennsylvania to immigrants from India—who seems more inspired by Pete Seeger, John Jacob Niles and Woody Guthrie that any popular music from the last few decades. On today’s podcast, we talk to Kapoor about his upbringing, his influences and his favorite guitars.
Kapoor has a new single out, entitled “Down by the River.” “It was one of the first songs that I wrote and I never had it recorded in a way that I liked,” he says. Kapoor wrote it while inspired by Seeger’s “Dink’s Song” in essentially a day, right before his 23rd birthday.
We also talk about guitars, including the ‘70s Gibson J-50 Deluxe that Kapoor found in a local shop, almost by fate. It served as the primary songwriting instrument behind The Ballad of Willy Robbins [Kapoor’s 2013 album] and "Down by the River."
This episode of the Fretboard Journal Podcast is brought to you by Retrofret Vintage Guitars and Dying Breed Music. Kapoor’s new recording is available at all the usual digital music outlets and can also be purchased as a flexi-single from Mama Bird Recording Co.
As always, we hope you'll subscribe to the Fretboard Journal print edition. If you do, use the discount code PODCAST when you check out. And don't forget to leave us a review on iTunes. It takes a few seconds and helps expand our audience.
These week, we talk to acclaimed guitarmaker Mark Whitebook. In the 1970s, Whitebook had a cult following for his handmade guitars and a client list that included James Taylor, Carly Simon, Phil Keaggy and Clarence White. But in 1980, having built around 70 instruments total, Whitebook left the world of lutherie and pursued a career outside of the music industry.
Thirty five years later, Whitebook has returned to building instruments (he kept all of his original tools and equipment all of these years). During this two-hour long talk, we chat about his background, how he taught himself to build his first guitar (with help from Irving Sloane’s now legendary book on guitar construction), the Southern California guitar scene of the 1970s (including his time spent with David Russell Young and Chuck “The Duke of Pearl” Erikson) and how his dreadnought instruments stray from traditional Martin construction. We also learn just how hard it is to make a living building guitars. Whitebook is a near-mythical figure in the world of guitars; we hope you enjoy this exclusive chat.
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For our 150th episode of the Fretboard Journal Podcast, we turn the tables: Luthier Meagan Wells (guest on episode #134) interviews Fretboard Journal publisher / editor Jason Verlinde. We talk about the origins of the Fretboard Journal magazine, Jason’s love affair with the musical saw, his favorite guitars, some of our most memorable video and interview sessions and a lot more. We hope you enjoy this little peek into the making of the FJ and all of our projects.
This episode is sponsored by Retrofret Vintage Guitars.
Follow the Fretboard Journal via www.fretboardjournal.com. And, if you like our podcast, please leave us a review on iTunes. And don't forget to subscribe to the print edition! Use the discount code PODCAST and you'll get $5 off just for listening to our show.
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.
Subscribe to the Fretboard Journal Podcast on iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/fretboard-journal-podcast/id394447340?mt=2
“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.
Enjoying our podcast? Consider subscribing via iTunes and don’t forget to leave us a review.
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.
Subscribe to our magazine here.
Today we’re talking to the one-and-only Ben Harper. Ben tells us about a very special guitar he just received from luthier John Monteleone. It's the first lap steel guitar that Monteleone has ever made, a guitar that John has dubbed a Radio City Special Deluxe (see pictures and video at fretboardjournal.com).
In addition to talking about the origin of his Monteleone guitar, we talk to Ben about his new Reverb store, some recent recording projects (including a session with jazz player Bruce Bishop) and a lot more.
Ben Harper's Official Site: http://www.benharper.com
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Want to support our digital efforts even further? Click here to donate and support our ever-growing (and always free) podcast, video and digital content.
Lastly, this episode is sponsored by Retrofret, one of our favorite vintage instrument dealers in the country. Visit them online or at their Brooklyn showroom.
On today’s podcast, acclaimed luthiers Linda Manzer, David Wren and Tony Duggan-Smith gather around Manzer's kitchen table to talk to us about their new Group of Seven guitar project.
The Group of Seven consisted of Canadian landscape painters Lawren Harris, J.E.H. MacDonald, Arthur Lismer, Franklin Carmichael, Frank Johnston, F.H. Varley and A.Y. Jackson. These seven artist friends were prolific through the 1920s and early '30s and are now considered highly influential.
Manzer saw similarities between the bond these seven legendary artists had and the one she shares with fellow luthiers and friends who studied under Jean Larrivee, decades ago. She decided to pay homage by having seven guitars built. Each luthier would focus on a different Group of Seven member.
The luthiers participating include Manzer, Sergi de Jonge, Duggan-Smith, Wren, George Gray, Grit Laskin and Jean Larrivée. The luthiers also built an eighth guitar as a group to pay tribute to painter Tom Thomson.
The project launches May 6, 2017 at the McMichael Canadian Art Collection outside of Toronto and the guitars will be on display through October in a room right next to the art that inspired them.
Andy Powers is a force of nature. He’s a gifted musician, an avid surfer and, of course, a stellar guitarmaker. As Andy tells us on this week’s podcast, he’s always had the guitarmaking bug. In fact, he attempted to build his first instrument when he was still in elementary school and, when he was barely a teenager, he had enough of a guitar repair business brewing that he earned himself a letter from the IRS.
As an adult, Powers had a bustling business building archtops, guitars, ukuleles and mandolins and doing restorations out of his Oceanside, California workshop when he decided to switch gears and become a full-time Taylor employee. At Taylor, Powers has tirelessly worked on new lines and improvements, including the Grand Orchestra model, revamping the 600 and 800 series lines of guitars, the new Academy series of instruments and the GS Mini-e Bass. During our chat, we talk about these models, the recruitment offer he received from Bob Taylor, the state of affairs when it comes to Taylor sourcing wood, his R&D process and much more.
This episode of the Fretboard Journal Podcast is brought to you by Retrofret Vintage Guitars in Brooklyn, New York.
On today’s podcast, we talk to Foo Fighters guitarist Chris Shiflett. Chris tells us about growing up in Santa Barbara; starting out on guitar; his early love for metal; how he landed the Foo Fighters gig; why he started playing Telecasters; and the making of his new solo country album, ‘West Coast Town.’ Chris also talks to us about his weekly podcast, ‘Walking the Floor,’ where he’s interviewed a wide array of artists including Marty Stuart, Bob Mould, Lucinda Williams, Buddy Miller and others.
Watch our video with Chris playing "Goodnight Little Rock" from the new album here.
For a limited time, use the coupon code PODCAST and save $5 off any Fretboard Journal subscription or order.
Tune in next week when we interview Andy Powers of Taylor Guitars. And don't forget to leave us a review on iTunes.
On this week’s podcast, we talk to Ethan Gruska (Belle Brigade) about his 2017 solo album, Slowmotionary. As Gruska tells it, he innocently recorded a handful of songs thinking they would serve as a sort of business card to remind musician pals that he could do session work for them. Little did he know he'd eventually synch up with producer Tony Berg, record an entire album steeped in ‘60s and ‘70s singer-songwriter sounds and end up releasing it on Sire records. Gruska talks to us about working with Berg on the project, Blake Mills (who plays guitar on the album's second track) and what it was like to co-write a song for John Legend ("Right by You" on Legend’s Darkness and Light). Though Gruska says “the guitar is a series of happy accidents for me,” he’s a stellar player. Watch our video with him playing “Reoccurring Dream” on fretboardjournal.com.
This episode of the Fretboard Journal Podcast is sponsored by Retrofret Guitars. Visit their website or Instagram and tell them the FJ sent you! http://retrofret.com
This week, we have a fun talk with Doug Kauer of Kauer Guitars, Titan Guitars and DRS racks. Doug tells us about how his family’s cabinetry business gave him the experience he needed to build instruments, why he utilizes CNC machines in his production facility and the unique business model behind the Titan line (an American-made electric guitar starting at $1300 with plenty of customization options).
This episode is brought to you by Dying Breed Music. Dying Breed has an amazing selection of Golden Era Martins, Gibsons and other instruments available: http://www.dyingbreedguitars.com
Another highlight from the 2016 Fretboard Summit: Rick Turner, Jack Casady (Jefferson Airplane, Hot Tuna) and Dan Schwarz have a candid talk about the evolution of instrument amplification and tone from the 1960s to today. Casady talks about his desire for higher fidelity bass sounds, even as rock concert sound systems got bigger and bigger, and the electronic experimentation that ensued. Schwarz talks about the fateful day in 1973 when he walked into the Alembic guitar factory. Meanwhile, Rick Turner discusses the back-and-forth collaborations that happen between luthiers and their clients. It's a deep (two hours long) talk that covers a lot of ground...
This episode of the Fretboard Journal Podcast is sponsored by Dying Breed Music.
Subscribe to the Fretboard Journal print magazine here.
Banjo virtuoso Noam Pikelny joins us on this week's Fretboard Journal Podcast to talk about his new (and excellent) solo album 'Universal Favorite', some of the instruments in his growing collection (including his 1930 Gibson Granada, his 1941 Gibson TB-7, his 1953 Martin D-28 and his 1953 Fender Telecaster) and a lot more.
Get Noam's tour dates and order 'Universal Favorite' here:
This episode is sponsored by Dying Breed Music:
Subscribe to the Fretboard Journal Podcast via iTunes:
Relic’d guitars are nothing new in the world of electric instruments, but they’re relatively unheard of when it comes to acoustics. Pre-War Guitars – the duo of Wes Lambe and Ben Maschal – hopes to change that. The pair of veteran luthiers are creating guitars that tap into the vintage sound and feel of Martins and Gibsons of the 1930s and ‘40s with hide glue, ultra-thin finishes and torrefied top woods. But they’re also adding scratches, dents and play wear to each of their new guitars (they offer a variety of distress levels based on a customer's preference). On this week’s podcast, you can hear about how this company came together, how they're constructing these instruments and why sometimes a little wear can result in a better sounding guitar.
This week’s episode is sponsored by Dying Breed Music. Check out their Gbase page here: https://www.gbase.com/stores/dying-breed-music
Don't forget to subscribe to us via iTunes and please leave us a review if you can. Our 38th issue of the Fretboard Journal is now mailing... with features on Daniel Lanois, Leo Kottke, the first "Loar" mandolin and a lot more.
If you love a good story, you’ll want to tune into this week’s podcast with luthier Wyatt Wilkie. Though he comes from a musical family, Wilkie is a completely self-taught instrument maker. He built his very first instrument, a mandocello, while working in New Mexico as a gravedigger. He then moved to a small town in Wales where he honed his craft and eventually found himself in Georgia apprenticing for archtop guitar icon Bob Benedetto. Wilkie is now nestled in the Comox Valley on British Columbia’s Vancouver Island, where he divides his time today between mandolins and archtop guitars. Nearly all of his work is exquisite and custom… and no two guitars are alike.
This week’s episode is sponsored by Dying Breed Music: https://www.gbase.com/stores/dying-breed-music
On today’s Fretboard Journal Podcast, we talk to Jason and Pharis Romero of J. Romero Banjo Co. From the tiny town of Horsefly, British Columbia, the Romeros craft some of the most coveted new fretted instruments being made. They currently have a five year waitlist and, as they describe it, even getting on the waitlist is a bit of a challenge. The duo are also exceptional musicians and won the 2016 Juno Award for Best Traditional Album of the Year.
In June 2016, a fire swept through the Romeros entire shop, destroying many of their new instruments as well as some of the prized vintage possessions. During our conversation, we talk to them about the fire, the help they received from the music community and how their rebuild process is going. We also chat about some of their latest banjo creations and innovations.
https://www.fretboardjournal.com/video/fretboard-films-trip-romero-banjos/ (our film on the Romeros original shop)
Subscribe to the Journal here: https://shop.fretboardjournal.com/collections/all/products/fretboard-journal-subscription-no-auto-renew (use the coupon code PODCAST and save an additional $5 off your order)
On this week’s podcast, we talk to luthier Maegen Wells. After years of working alongside famed archtop guitar and bass builder Tom Ribbecke, Maegen is now building her own guitar and mandolin creations out of her Forestville, California workshop.
Wells has devoted nearly her entire adult life to learning the craft of lutherie and woodworking. Straight out of high school, she enrolled in Bryan Galloup’s Galloup School of Guitar Building and Professional Guitar Repair. She then went on to work at the Reverend Guitars warehouse and served as an apprentice to both Andrew White and Ribbecke.
Don’t forget to subscribe to the Fretboard Journal Podcast via iTunes and, if you can, leave us a review on iTunes to help us with our search rankings: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/fretboard-journal-podcast/id394447340?mt=2
The Fretboard Journal’s latest issue, #38, is now mailing worldwide. Subscribe via fretboardjournal.com and we’ll start you off with this edition.
This episode is brought to you via sponsor TR Crandall. Check out their amazing inventory of vintage archtops, electrics and flattop acoustic guitars. And tell them the Fretboard Journal sent you: http://trcrandall.com
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CLYZL2xae8A (StewMac video featuring Maegen Wells creating a tortoloid pickguard for a Gibson archtop)
On today's podcast, we talk to William Seeders Mosheim, the owner of Seeders Instruments. Seeders is an open-back banjo builder who has found success combining old world designs with new world craftsmanship. The Vermont-based luthier honed his woodworking craft at his father's furniture business but now has a multi-year wait list for his banjos. His custom creations can incorporate any number of tone ring styles, wood options and levels of ornamentation.
This episode is sponsored once again by TR Crandall. If you're visiting their store or website, don't forget to tell them that the Fretboard Journal sent you.
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