Stepping into Paul Reed Smith’s office, my eyes immediately were drawn to the framed photos on the wall nearest the door. There were shots of Smith with Carlos Santana and the legendary Ted McCarty, past president of Gibson Guitars. To the right stood a small troop of electric guitars without pups and a PRS acoustic nearby. It wasn’t the pristine office one might expect to find in the corporate headquarters of an internationally known senior executive, but one of a working man. The pickup-less electric guitars appeared to be projects in mid-shift, waiting for Paul and his PRS team to rummage through their collective mind and come up with new ideas or solutions to creative challenges. Smith appears to be a restless man, who’s never quite satisfied and always has something cookin’.
Summer’s here, NAMM is just around the corner and ready to stage the newest music gear and other products at the Nashville, Tennessee convention center from July 21 to July 23, 2011. This year, attendance is expected to reach over 12,000 visitors to the NAMM event, which will serve as a key focus for music merchants from around the world.
“Austin City Limits” has lovingly embraced every style of music and likewise opened its arms to an array of legends and stylists; the great Ray Charles, Willie Nelson, Roy Orbison, Alison Krauss, and so many more. It has earned a world-class, legendary reputation for showcasing, above all, a monumental who’s who of guitar greats. The program has introduced and showcased a dazzling constellation of stars whose measure has more than placed them as glittering fixtures among the firmament. From rising unknowns receiving their first due and exposure to seasoned veterans, from international stars to influential mentors, the show has meant a lot to a great deal of artists, and they don’t hesitate to say so.
It’s a bright Spring day, the sun shining, as Lickona, a genuine, affable, and now, a longtime native Texan, chats with me from his true home, his office at PBS affiliate KLRU in Austin, Texas, home to “Austin City Limits”. Lickona begins with how “Austin City Limits” all came about. Its inception was the brainchild of its original creator, Bill Arhos. Arhos was already the Program Manager for the local PBS affiliate.
With the decline of Gibson and Fender over the years, two things have happened to the guitar industry, there has been a dramatic rise in more affordable, foreign-made guitars, and the private, small luthier market has also grown in leaps and bounds. There is something about working one-on-one with a master maker that turns a normal guitar into a piece of treasured art. Jazz guitar virtuoso Jack Grassel recently teamed up with luthier Dan Smocke to build Jack’s perfect guitar, and the resulting instrument is absolutely first rate.
Music industry reps, up and coming bands and legendary rock stars are all set to descend on Toronto for the 29th annual Canadian Music Week held from March 9th to the 13th, 2011. Besides featuring 800 bands as well as tons of workshops and panels geared towards performers, songwriters and industry reps, there will also be appearances by three of the biggest names in the business, Sammy Hagar, Nikki Sixx and Melissa Etheridge.
There are many artists and guitar makers who have revolutionized the instrument over the years. Building on the past and adding new innovations to push the instrument into the future, often with striking and long-lasting results.
As guitarists, we’re all about tone. Whether we play country, rock, blues, jazz or metal, there’s something about finding just the right tone that can keep us glued to our guitars and amps for hours, trying to get that perfect combination that makes our ears tingle.
The Martin Guitar Company chose Bursch among the very first guitarists outside of the U.S. to be recognized with their own Martin Signature guitar. He is the first guitarist from Germany to be so honored.
With the economy taking a nosedive a few years back, it seems that two new paradigms have emerged in the guitar manufacturing sector. The first is that big companies such as Gibson and Fender lowered the prices of their products during the downturn, making their instruments more accessible to the average person, which many people took advantage of. But, there was also another more unexpected byproduct of the recession. People began looking for high-quality instruments that would give them the best bang for their buck.