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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: April, 2022
Apr 27, 2022

A bonus episode of sorts: Jason describes what he has brewing for the 2022 Fretboard Summit, taking place Aug. 25-27, 2022 at Chicago's legendary Old Town School of Folk Music.

This unique in-person event will feature many former FJ Podcast guests and magazine subjects, live podcast tapings, hands-on displays, a game show, an array of great musicians (The Milk Carton Kids and Molly Tuttle are two of our featured artists), plus  a 50-exhibitor handmade guitar show. We hope to see you there. 

All-access tickets: https://www.oldtownschool.org/fretboardsummit/

 

Apr 18, 2022

Paul Bigsby is one of the most important figures in the world of electric guitar development. Of course, everyone knows about his namesake (and still enduring) vibrato design. But the ultra-rare creations he made before the vibrato took off - innovative lap steels, pedal steels, electrics, and neck conversions - are the stuff of legend. These instruments, primarily built for country stars in the '40s and '50s, helped usher in  and influence the modern electric guitar.

New York City's Retrofret Vintage Guitars recently posted what might be the last Spanish-necked guitar that Bigsby ever built. Previously undocumented, this guitar was finished on September 15, 1958 for a Midwest studio owner named Larry (whose name is still engraved in the pickguard). At the time, Larry's guitar order cost around $400.

Today's asking price? $750,000.

On this week's Fretboard Journal Podcast, we talk to the always-lively Steve Uhrik and Peter Kohman from Retrofret about it. We hear about how this guitar ended up at their store, Bigsby's incredible legacy as a guitar designer (and why it's so hard to copy one even today), the evolution of early electric guitar design, Bigsby's strained relationship with Leo Fender (and Semie Moseley), the skinny "hot rod" neck that Bigsby specialized in, and the time Merle Haggard bought Lefty Frizzell's Gibson J-200 from Retrofret (and the gamble with Haggard they politely declined).

We also hear about Retrofret's recent video shoot with Bill Frisell on this Bigsby guitar and what Bill thought of it. Watch the video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gOZ9eBrFZz0

This is an entertaining chat about both an extremely collectible instrument and the rich history of the electric guitar. We hope you enjoy it.

This episode is sponsored by Peghead Nation (use the promo code FRETBOARD and get your first month free or $20 off any annual subscription); Retrofret Vintage Guitars; Izotope (use the discount code FRET10 to save 10% off your Izotope purchase); and Calton Cases.

Subscribe to the Fretboard Journal magazine here and support all that we do, including our growing family of podcasts. Click here.

Apr 9, 2022
Last October, The Fretboard Journal's Ryan Richter (and ace producer/engineer Sean O'Brien) attended a screening of Somewhere You Feel Free, the documentary examining the recording of Tom Petty's seminal album Wildflowers. Ryan recalls: "After it ended and as we were making our way through the lobby, I noticed a woman graciously accepting thanks and congratulations out in front of the theater. Sean motioned to her, indicating that we'd be breaking stride to take our place in line. 'Have you met Alison yet? I've been meaning to introduce you two. Her father invented this wild synth that she's making a documentary about.' Sean went on to say that she also the handled all the archival footage and helped produce the film we'd just seen. Needless to say, I was intrigued." 
 
After a quick introduction, Alison and Ryan decided they'd find time to talk on mic about her father's creation, for which she's been acting as a steward, reinvigorator, forensic investigator, evangelizer, and documentarian for the last several years. The device, called The Resynator, was not only way before its time in terms of sonic character, but also in its marriage of emerging technologies in the realm of musical instruments. Her father, Don Tavel, (a musician and inventor) passed away when Alison was just ten weeks old, leaving her to not only learn about him though the memories of others, but also to reconnect with those involved in the development of The Resynator (including Mu-Tron inventor Mike Beigel) to refine and more fully realize an instrument that lost it's maker so many years ago. 
 
We hope you enjoy this conversation between Alison Tavel and Ryan Richter. 
 
Alison's completed Kickstarter campaign: 
 
 
 
This episode is sponsored by Peghead Nation (use the promo code FRETBOARD and get your first month free or $20 off any annual subscription); Retrofret Vintage Guitars; Izotope (use the discount code FRET10 to save 10% off your Izotope purchase); and BED|STÜ shoes (save 20% off with the code FRETXBS for a limited time).

Subscribe to the Fretboard Journal magazine here and support all that we do, including our growing family of podcasts. Click here.
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