On this week’s podcast, we talk to luthier Dana Bourgeois about a truly special one-off guitar he recently built to benefit Tony Rice. This is Dana’s first (and likely last) attempt at an enlarged soundhole D-28-style guitar, just like the famous Martin belonging to Rice and, formerly, Clarence White. Dana’s creation is a truly special instrument, with a Bourgeois Aged Tone top, Brazilian rosewood back and sides, a bound fretboard sans position markers and more. Dana will be holding a two week-long auction from his site starting December 1, 2014.
Michael Bashkin’s life took a unlikely turn when the former New Jersey resident enrolled as an Art major at the University of Montana. “Living in Western Montana, I quickly discovered the outdoors and developed a strong interest in natural resources and forest management,” Bashkin says in this 40-minute podcast interview. “I [then] switched my major to Forestry.”
Bashkin would go on to spend several years in laboratories and in the woods, researching trees and forest ecology. “It was during my master’s program that I got bitten by the guitar bug,” he says. “At some point, my thinking about the trees did shift.” Since 1998, he’s been bulding instruments full-time in Fort Collins, Colorado.
Back in November of 2013, trend analyst, author and musician Eric Garland decided to post an entry to his blog entitled “Guitar Center and the End of Big Box Retail.” He described how GC’s corporate bond had been downgraded to junk status and how, in his view, it signaled “the end of a terrible model” of retailing. Garland never expected the post to go viral but within a couple of weeks it was shared by thousands of guitarists and musicians, GC customers, industry insiders and music lovers (his most recent updates can be found here).
For our 76th podcast, we head north to Lynnwood, Washington to visit with Sinasoid Stage & Studio. Sinasoid's Andy Kim and Jonathan Suhr are two musicians who have created a whole new way to purchase guitar cables with their Custom Shop Cable Builder. The recently-launched site allows customers to select from several different guitar cable offerings, pick an exact cable length and choose from a variety of input and output plugs. Sinasoid then makes the cable for you in-house and ships it to your door. As if that wasn’t enough, they're guaranteeing each cable for life.
When Portland, Oregon computer programmer Philip Graham decided that his singer-songwriter daughter needed a better microphone, he didn’t just turn to the latest pro audio catalog. Instead, Graham decided to do some research and build her one from scratch. Two years and a ton of R&D later, Ear Trumpet Labs was born and Graham found himself with a new day job, hand-assembling microphones for professional and amateur musicians.
Though Graham’s microphones are visually distinctive and look almost steampunk with their copper tubing, plumbing flanges and unique designs, each is made with function in mind. Onstage, acclaimed acoustic artists such as the Milk Carton Kids, Tom Brosseau and Della Mae have all embraced Ear Trumpet microphones.
Noam Pikelny and Stuart Duncan are arguably two of the greatest players to ever pick up their respective instruments. Pikelny is, day in and day out, pushing the boundaries of the five-string banjo both on his solo records and with the Punch Brothers. Meanwhile, Duncan is the world-renowned fiddler who has played on innumerable country records and even with Yo-Yo Ma (The Goat Rodeo Sessions).
When he was 25, musician Chris Funk left the Midwest for Portland, Oregon. Why? “I knew John Fahey lived in Oregon, and that was a big draw for me. And I knew Bill Frisell lived here [in Seattle]. They’re two of my idols.” As he tells us in this podcast, shortly after relocating to Oregon, he’d meet Colin Meloy and, soon thereafter, become a core member of the Decemberists. In 2007, Funk and the Decemberists’ Nate Query, Jenny Conlee and John Moen decided to form their own bluegrass-inspired offshoot band, Black Prairie. Black Prairie recently released their third studio record, Fortune (Sugar Hill).
For our 72nd podcast, we chat with Southern California singer-songwriter Tom Brosseau. Brosseau is no stranger to the magazine, he appeared in our third issue. On this week’s podcast, he talks about the Largo music scene he calls home; his Martin 000-18; the story behind the Punch Brothers covering his tune “How to Grow a Woman From the Ground” and more. He also describes the making of his 2014 album Grass Punks, which was produced by Sean Watkins.
We also have a great video of Brosseau performing “I Love to Play Guitar” at our offices on our site here.
Nashville flatpicker David Grier is no stranger to our magazine, he was the cover story of our 16th issue. In this hour-long interview, part of our new Fretboard Journal Live video series, the acoustic guitarists talks about his unique background (his dad played banjo for Bill Monroe), some of the fateful encounters he had with Clarence White as a boy and how he’s developed the phenomenal technique he has today.
Grier’s playing, as always, is otherworldly. He plays a few tunes in this podcast, including “King Wilkie’s Run” and “Red Haired Boy.” Grier is playing a guitar built for him by Bellingham, Washington builder Dake Traphagen.
Podcast duration: 1:05.