I’m happy to say that I’m moving forward again with the hand crafting of my next guitars. Earlier today I was adding binding to the Macassar ebony fretboards and very much look forward to getting the necks on. Somewhat akin to boatbuilding, when you get the last plank on, and realize that now it will float! But crafting guitars involves many steps, perhaps thousands, and many hours of sanding. To paraphrase a line from the beautiful movie Like Water for Chocolate- I make my guitars with “much love.” I’ll be bringing them to the Northeast Guitar Expo in May, upcoming at a new location, (more on that later…) and although they won’t yet be complete, they’ll still turn some heads!
The top row two on either side feature tops from the same flitch of vintage and rare East Indian Rosewood. These two will be sisters- one with grain concave, and one with grain convex, both filled with mood and mystery. The top center has a highly figured and bookmatched top of Japanese Tamo wood and goes positively golden when I’ve doused it with Naptha to approximate the look of the wood with a finish.
I’m going to save the full description of the bottom three for another post, but will say that they are of a series looking at counterculture literature from back in the day!
In these few days before our trip to Macon, the realization that I wouldn’t be able to play my Eat a Peach Tribute Guitar anytime I felt like it anymore started sinking in. Last minute invites went out for a farewell jam. Fred Aberle of Auburn and Tom Levesque of Freedom, two of my favorite musicmaking friends, joined me in Burnham for a living room jam session with Fred on guitar and and Tom on a dulcimer he crafted. Fred and I are wholly and completely different in style. He’s a theorist and amazing technician- fully owning the fretboard, and delivering very unique voicing through his intriguing hybrid use of guitar and synthesizer hardware. Me? I’m more of a melodic bendy note boy… but over the years we’ve always quickly found our groove together. And Tom is someone who gets the notion of song as journey. My favorite musical memory of him is when, armed with a big 12 string, he got an audience to beautifully harmonize with him on Bill Staines’ ‘River’ at the old Montville Grange during one of the coolest impromptu music gatherings I’ve ever experienced.
Through the night, we passed around instruments like drinking buddies pass around bottles. This affected the music we played tremendously. After, we had a nice talk about individual instruments, and sound settings in the case of Fred’s setup, pushing you to play in the style that they (the instruments) prefer. We are versatile players, and were in a mood to go with the flow. We traveled in a bunch of different directions from slow and spacy to ragtime honkytonk to blistering funk. We also gave a respectful nod to the Allman Brothers and came through with Midnight Rider and Sweet Melissa. Singing an ABB tune always makes me fully aware of how incredibly gifted Gregg was.
Now our thoughts turn to being organized packers for this epic road trip. What will we forget???
It’s less than week before our Burnham, ME to Macon, GA road trip, and there are still plenty of items on the to-do list. Today I’m in my shop, preparing the list of names so that I can assemble the dedication plaque which will also hold the guitar. As you may know from reading the story of my Eat a Peach Tribute Guitar, I’ve collected the names of my Indiegogo campaign contributors for a plaque to be installed with the guitar at the Big House Museum. I couldn’t be more grateful to these folks – family, new friends, friends near and dear, friends from way back, plus fans and lovers of the Allman Brothers Band who supported me with donations and words of encouragement – not to mention soulful jam sessions, quality baked goods, dark roast coffee, Maine craft beer and a whole lot of other shared good will that kept me on track and believing I could do this. I had the names of campaign contributors laser-engraved (thank you Yankee Trophy of Benton, ME) onto book matched sheets of beautiful curly maple veneer, and now I’m trimming those sheets down to size for placement on the plaque. I’ll provide some detail pictures once I get the plaque assembled so if you’re a contributor you can find your name. Huge thanks and stay tuned…