I am a huge fan of guitars from Bill Chapin, Saul Koll, Tom Ribbecke, Tim Reede, Shelley Park, and James Einolf. I have a Beard resonator guitar that rules, plus an old Bakelite Rickenbacker lap steel that is beyond cool. And of course you really can’t go wrong with a great Les Paul when you need to bring the thump.
Incidentally, knowing Bill Chapin also made it possible for me to get to know Tim Volpicella and Jeff “Hawkeye” Sanders, without whom the music wouldn’t be nearly as good – they both play Chapins too. And Dale Hymes has a pretty spiffy Chapin bass, now that I think upon it. And the guitar lessons I took from Bill changed my playing for the better by, roughly, tons.
Pedal-wise, there have been dozens, but top of the list are the Tim and Timmy pedals from Paul Cochrane, and Bjorn Juhl’s Pink-Purple Fuzz. I love the Strymon Deco pedal and the Catalinbread Adineko and Dirty Little Secret, and have come to depend heavily on the Electro-Harmonix B9, C9, and Key9 – wonderful keyboard emulators for us non-keyboard playing guitarists. Joe Gore’s Gross distortion pedal is ripping a hole in the space-time continuum, but hey, that’s the risk you take, right?
For amps, Bill Krinard is a mad genius. Jim Kelley is no slouch either, come to think of it.
At the Legendary Third Bedroom Studios, my favorite recording gear comes from Shadow Hills Industries – Peter Reardon is an artist in circuitry. Mics from Cloud, Ear Trumpet Labs, and various others. Converters from Apogee. Monitors by Focal. Recording software is Presonus Studio One.
Geekage, Links, & Tangents
These are some people, places and things that have won the highly-coveted TFugs Seal of Approval. You might check ’em out at your leisure.
Okay, let’s start with Tempus Fugitives on BandCamp. It’d be silly not to.
How about some of the guitar makers I like? Okay, there’s Saul Koll. I’ve got a couple of his wacko jazz boxes. And then there’s Tom Ribbecke, whose Testadura is a masterpiece that I am very lucky to possess. Shelley Park makes amazing gypsy jazz guitars in Vancouver BC. Mine sounds amazing for slide, aside from its obvious virtues. Tim Reede – I met him at a guitar show and fell in love with the prototype for his Librada acoustic-electric. I pestered him until he sold it to me. Yay!
Susy Boyd is a purveyor of fine Americana music with a voice that can cause either goosebumps, blunt force trauma, or both. I happen to know that she has an album coming out soon called “American Unrest” that I would urge everyone to hear. The fact that I produced and recorded it really doesn’t influence my recommendation at all.
Lynea Diaz-Hagen has a voice like silk dipped in honey and sprinkled with gold dust. She is a playwrite, vocalist, artist, just about every other damn thing possible. Just a stunning and lovely vocalist and human.
Jason Loughlin is a guitarist based out of Brooklyn. I knew him at first as the Twang God at NGW, but hell, he can play anything. His TrueFire guitar courses are state-of-the-art. I strongly encourage you to keep him on your radar – I think the lad is going places. Glad I could give him his start in the biz.
Tim Volpicella is a national treasure as a jazz guitarist, as well as being a treasured friend and former bandmate. He’s impossible to classify, other than by just calling him a musician’s musician. If you are in the Seattle area, look out for opportunities to hear him.
Terry Carleton is a ridiculously talented musician (even though he’s a drummer) and a great producer, arranger, and recording dude in San Jose. He also writes for Guitar Player magazine. His studio is Bones and Knives, and it’s a wonderful environment for creativity – I’m more relaxed putting down tracks in his studio than I am in my own, and that’s saying something pretty significant. If you’re near San Jose and want to make a record, strongly consider letting Terry do the heavy lifting – he will bring out your best.
Rob Gillette is an old friend, mentor, boss (dotted line…), bandmate in the Fabulous Jammies, and co-conspirator. His new album is called “Topic Ends” and you need to hear it. Just trust me on this one, ‘k? – you do.
Bret Boyer taught at every session of Old-Guy-Guitar-Camp (erm, National Guitar Workshop) I attended. After NGW closed, I asked Bret to let me buy a week of song-doctorin’, and it was just a wonderful experience. Bret’s a terrific songwriter, guitarist, singer, and person, and he makes me miss NGW even more than I would have otherwise. The songs on these albums are better for my having worked with Bret, and he is not to blame when I didn’t take his advice.
Josh Smith is a great buddy, and, incidentally, an awe-inspiring guitarist who has played with some great people. Why his last couple of records didn’t take home Grammies is impossible to fathom. Keep an eye out for him – you will enjoy his music. Fun fact: his kid Riley is the kid on the Scorpion TV show.
Chloe Feoranzo has played reed instruments with everyone, but is maybe best known for her recent gig with Pokey Lafarge. A lovely, lovely player.
Joe Gore is a music journalist, pedal designer and maker, and, incidentally, a monster guitar player who never plays what you expect him to. He’s worked with Tom Waits, PJ Harvey, and Tracy Chapman, among many others. I am beyond grateful that he was willing to play a solo on my tune.