Nice, Pretty Acoustic Guitar

Nicely mutated and pretty f’ed up, that is.

Ordinarily, these Thomastik-Infeld Classic S strings sound more like nylon strings than steel ones.

But their cores ARE steel — which means you can play through a magnetic pickup and mutilate the tone with amps and effects. I’m playing through effects designed for Apple’s […]

Tribute to Leonard Cohen

I’m working on this version of Leonard Cohen’s “Suzanne” as part of album in progress: a collection of radically reinterpreted songs from 1967. I haven’t nailed down the final song list. (If you review the list of amazing songs from that year, you’ll understand why. And that link only cites the songs that charted, and […]

Magic Fairy Dust: The Veillette Avante Gryphon

I recently reviewed the gorgeous little Veillette Avante Gryphon for Premier Guitar and liked it so much that I bought one. This was my first opportunity to record it in my studio.

The Avante Gryphon is a relatively low-cost version of Woodstock luthier Joe Veillette’s Gryphon, an 18.5″-scale 12-string designed to be tuned a minor […]

Taylor 150e: An Affordable 12-String Acoustic

Taylor's 150e, an affordable 12-string.

I needed a 12-string acoustic in a hurry for a session, so I picked up a new Taylor 150e for under $700. It wasn’t a review model or anything — I just ordered one online, sight unseen and sound unheard.

This model has been generating much buzz as an affordable yet good-sounding 12-string. It’s […]

Strange, Strange Strings

No longer ridiculously expensive. Now they’re just very expensive.

I spent last week covering the Musikmesse musical instrument trade show in Frankfurt, Germany, for Premier Guitar. I had a blast, and Chris Kies and I posted details and pics of more than 70 new products. (Here’s the short list of our personal faves.) Kies […]

A Lo-Fi Acoustic Guitar Pickup

Part acoustic, part electric—but 100% bitchin’.

This post is inspired by in interview I just did with Mississippi Allstars guitarist Luther Dickinson, a cool dude and a deep player. I’m digging the band’s new album, World Boogie is Coming. (And for better or worse, that praise comes from someone who hates almost all modern […]

Tonefiend Book Week 2013
Wednesday: Repair and DIY

Monday: Theory and Technique Tuesday: Gear Wednesday: Repairs and DIY Thursday: Biography Friday: Fiction

Tonefiend Book Week is simple: I discuss a few titles I’ve found particularly enlightening, useful, or entertaining, and then you jump in and do the same. I’ve organized the days of this week by subject matter. Today’s topics are repair and […]

Tonefiend Book Week is Coming!

Next week at tonefiend we’ll be talking about our favorite guitar/music books. I’ll write about some of the titles I find especially useful, inspiring, or entertaining, and I hope you’ll chime in with some of your recommended reading.

Since there’s so much potential material here, I suggest we focus on a different book category […]

Acoustic Strings Search: Update

Holy crap! Now THAT’S a guitar string!

Man, it pays to curate a blog frequented by smart people!

I wrote last week about my experiment with silk-and-steel strings.

It’s the latest chapter in my ongoing search for the right acoustic strings. Most available options simply sound far too harsh and bright to my […]

Silk and Steel Strings Revisited

Silk and steel — bad-ass, or strictly for wusses?.

It’s been a long, long time since I’ve tried silk and steel strings.

I’ve always thought of them as a transitional set for students migrating from nylon to steel strings. At least that’s how my mom used to explain them to me back when […]