Day: August 15, 2009

Meet my new friend Martin.

It’s surprisingly lightweight. It’s pretty. It’s one of the most comfortable guitars I’ve ever played (the setup work they do at Folkway is second to none). It doesn’t sound too bad either. Hooray for early birthday presents, I say.

I apologize for the awkward framing and cutting off the top of my own head, but filming myself while sitting in a beanbag chair is uncharted territory for me. The real eye candy is the guitar anyway. I can already tell it’s going to record ridiculously well.

To go into a bit more detail than I did in the video — I bought it back in March as a fixer-upper. I always wanted a Martin guitar, but I didn’t want to spend ten thousand bucks on one. Here was an opportunity to have a 1945 Martin restored for a fair bit less money than you’d expect to spend on a guitar of this vintage. The only caveat was that I would have to wait a while, and what I would be getting in terms of tone and playability was a mystery because there was no way to try it out first. I didn’t have any problem with that.

Who knew it would be finished the day before my birthday? Talk about poetic timing.

Mark did an insane amount of work on this guitar. When I first saw it in March, the neck wasn’t even attached to the body, and the original frets were in bad shape. He set the neck, added a new bridge and bridge pin, made new frets, added a new bone nut and saddle, added new tuners and end pins, re-glued some braces and refurbished/repaired some damage…and damned if that old hunk of wood doesn’t sound pretty special now. The little mic in the Flip camera doesn’t do it justice.

The work he did is seamless. It’s difficult to believe the guitar ever wasn’t assembled in one piece. I almost don’t believe it myself. He even put it in an open tuning before it got to me, knowing standard tuning doesn’t often do much to get me excited with the way I play. I’m used to giving people guitars in odd tunings and getting them back in standard. So you can imagine my surprise there. Some people really do think before they tune! Who knew? Since filming the little video clip, I’ve tuned the guitar down another half-step to D-flat, and it sounds even more ridiculously earthy and good.

Now I find myself playing bluesy things all over again, so I guess some sort of sequel to CHICKEN ANGEL WOMAN will eventually force its way into the world whether I like it or not. Maybe I’ll call it THE DUCK DEMON MAN WITH AN ASHTRAY. The cover art would be epic.

There’s another new musical friend (a complete surprise), but I’ll save that one for another video. I gotta say…getting older doesn’t hurt quite as much when you’ve got new wooden friends to play with.

P.S. The new album is now available at Phog. Tom took a picture of me making a creepy face and holding it up like a confused parent coming down from a questionable pineapple juice high. Some tasty Caribbean cream soda was consumed. Luckily I wasn’t driving.