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My Own Private Santa Cruz

May 13th, 2006

After twenty-two years I finally procured a great guitar. Sure I’m about due for a new car but who cares. I’m not getting any younger and the opportunity presented itself so I jumped on it.

The latest addition to the household is an ’04 Santa Cruz Tony Rice model and to say it’s dead mint would not be an exaggeration. I was pretty happy with my ’86 Yairi DY75 until my brother bought an ’03 Santa Cruz H13 and left it at my house for me to “break in” a bit. Since that day sometime last fall the Yairi has only made its way out of the case once and that was only so I could take some pictures of it to post in the for sale ad on Craigslist. Madison’s Craigslist is a little slow so I still have it. I’ve been toying with the idea of keeping the Yairi on as a “camping guitar” but in reality I don’t camp that much and would probably take the Tony anyway. So keep an eye on Madison’s Craigslist if you’re in the market for a nice Japanese Dread.

By the pictures you can see this Tony Rice looks like most. I’m especially fond of the blank headstock and fingerboard with nothing on it but that little squiggly logo at the 12th fret. I’ve wanted one of these guitars for over a decade but was briefly sidetracked from the urge concerned that everybody else plays them and not wanting to be a sheep I figured I would get something different. As you can see I got over that brief foolishness.

I started investigating guitars more closely a few months back and decided I wanted a traditional style guitar which quickly narrowed my search down to five builders; Martin, Santa Cruz, Collings, Bourgeois and Huss & Dalton. After playing many guitars I started assembling a list of specs I really wanted. This may sound strange but I’m a stickler for a volute (dart) and decided, unless I found a screaming deal on a D18 Golden Era, I couldn’t live without this seemingly insignificant accoutrement. The next item on the list was a dovetail joint which, much to my dismay, quickly widdled my list of five makers down to two. Martin or Santa Cruz were my only options if I wanted to avoid a mortise and tenon neck joint which essentially is a bolt-on neck. I’m not saying this is an inferior design in any way but the purest in me just couldn’t come to terms with having a bolt in my $3000 guitar’s neck block. Again let me assure you I’ve played some pretty happening Collings, Bourgeois and one Huss & Dalton that was the loudest guitar I have played to date. I imagine there were a few people that turned their noses up to the concept of a truss rod so perhaps some day I will own a guitar with a bolt in the neck and the neck block. The other features I was hoping to get were neck binding, a zig-zag backstipe and a chunkier neck. The H13 I’ve been playing has a 1 3/4 neck that feels perfect so I’ve kind of gotten used to that.
To sum it all up the Tony has all of the features I wanted except for the neck width. Oh well I can certainly live with 1 11/16ths.

Quinoa: The Perfect Food

April 27th, 2006

As of today I officially have a new favorite food. It’s called Quinoa and it’s a bit difficult to describe. As you can see the flowering plant looks a bit like a cross-pollination of corn and the chronic. Sort of a cross between a seed and a grain that to me has a “corn-ish” taste. Described by many to be a super-food or dare I say the perfect food because of it’s nutritional content.

Regardless of what it is or what’s in it I highly recommend it if you’re burnt out on rice, bulgar, corn or oats.

Ray Boys Rain Down On Nashville

April 1st, 2006

Neil & Chase are N.V.T.S. = Nuts!

“It’s 106 miles to Chicago. We’ve got a full tank of gas and half a pack of cigarettes. It’s dark and we’re wearing sunglasses. Hit it”.

Another Weekend at Beelzebub’s Lake

April 1st, 2006

Today I made it up to “Balanced Rock” on the east bluff and continued on to the west bluff all the way around the lake. It was supposed to be sunny but the clouds never broke. That’s all fine by me since it keeps the fair-weather hikers at bay as well as the deer ticks.

I caught a halfway decent photo of a Turkey Vulture which reminded me of Sweeps. I tried to get him to go with me today but couldn’t get him off the couch so I left him there to watch reruns of “The Shield” and chow down quarts of Ben & Jerry’s.

Maybe next time.

Read the rest of this entry »

Six Degrees of Jerry Garcia?

March 27th, 2006

Now I know we’re all familiar with the game “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon” but it turns out this formula works in the musical world as well. It’s no secret that I’m a fan of Jerry and because of that I don’t recall exactly how I stumbled across the Grateful Dead Family Discography website but its there that I found a thin thread that links me to Jerry; It goes something like this:

Jerry played in the band “Old & In The Way” with Peter Rowan.
Peter Rowan played Mandola on the “Farmer Not So John” album “Receiver”.
I too played on the “Receiver” album, pedal steel as I recall but this listing gives me credit for playing pedal and lap steel. Considering the fact that I’ve never owned a lap steel I’m pretty sure I only played pedal steel. The lap steel they’re talking about would have most certainly been played by Richard McLaurin.

So technically I guess I’m less than six degrees from Jerry. Depending on how you count it seems closer to three and a half.

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