1.828.658.9795
Handmade & Vintage Instruments: Acoustic Guitars, Classical Guitars & Electric Guitars

EVENT CALENDAR

We host a number of events here at Dream Guitars. Just one of our many ways to give back to the community and share music with others who are passionate about it. We welcome you all to come join us at a House Concert, Guitar Clinic, Setup Saturdays and other events throughout the year. Come visit Dream Guitars and the wonderful Asheville area!

Steve Baughman and Robin Bullock in Concert!

Saturday, Aug 2nd @ 7 pm
Pre-Show Pot Luck @ 6 pm
Tickets $20, Reservations required

To RSVP for this event, call us at (828) 658-9795.

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About Steve and Robin

“I’ve known Robin and Steve for years now and every time I hear them play I am inspired. They both bring such passion and joy to playing the guitar that it is infectious! Technical prowess aside, they are extremely musical and bring a depth and beauty to Celtic music on guitar that is sure to please.” – Paul Heumiller

The magnificently rich sound of two acoustic guitars conjures up the ancient musical landscapes of Ireland, Scotland, Wales and Brittany in the hands of master Celtic guitarists STEVE BAUGHMAN and ROBIN BULLOCK. These two virtuosi together in concert, surrounded by guitars (and citterns and mandolins) and completely relaxed with their audience, form an irresistible onstage synergy. Traditional airs, jigs and reels blend with the timeless harp compositions of Ireland’s legendary bard Turlough O’Carolan, hypnotic Breton dances, rollicking Appalachian fiddle tunes and narrative ballads from both sides of the Atlantic, as two of North America’s leading Celtic guitarists join forces to create a uniquely beautiful sonic experience.

Steve and Robin met as instructors at the Swannanoa Gathering’s Guitar Week in 2000, sat down to share a few tunes informally, immediately realized that something very special was happening, and proceeded to capture that magic on their duo CD Celtic Guitar Summit. Honored by Acoustic Guitar Magazine with an “Editor’s Pick” as one of the top CDs of 2003, Celtic Guitar Summit “sheds new light on O’Carolan’s enchanting melodies and on the long history of Celtic music they inspired,” according to The Washington Post. Sing Out! hailed Celtic Guitar Summit as “a shimmering collection of haunting melodies, ringing tones and consummate musicianship,” while Dirty Linen warned that the CD was “guaranteed to lower your blood pressure. Other side effects may include uncontrollable smiling or blissful humming.”

STEVE BAUGHMAN is the author of the Mel Bay books Celtic Guitar Method, Celtic Fingerstyle Guitar Solos, An Open Tunings Christmas, and his latest, Frailing the Guitar. He has recorded three solo CDs, A Drop of the Pure, The Angels’ Portion and Old World Christmas, and appears with guitar legends Pierre Bensusan, Martin Simpson and El McMeen on the Rounder Records Celtic Fingerstyle Guitar CD/Video series The Blarney Pilgrim and Ramble to Cashel. In Bensusan’s words, “Steve’s technique is impeccable…transcended guitar music with heart and spirit.”

Three-time WAMMIE Award winner ROBIN BULLOCK is a prolific composer and virtuoso multi-instrumentalist on 6- and 12-string guitars, cittern, mandolin, piano and bass guitar. A founding member of the innovative acoustic world-music trio Helicon (winners of the Association for Independent Music’s prestigious INDIE Award), Robin has toured extensively throughout the U.S., Canada and Europe and appeared on over fifty CDs, including four critically acclaimed solo CDs, Green Fields, Midnight Howl, Between Earth and Sky and The Lightning Field. Classical Guitar Magazine calls Robin “A musician whose technical skill and stylistic expertise are second to none…a time-served folkie of the highest calibre,” while Guitar Player simply describes his work as “Breathtaking.”

For more information, please visit their website.

Reservations required for event, please call us at (828) 658-9795.

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Take the Avian Guitar Adventure

songbird-rosewood2-cut-spaceA few years ago, we began the search for great sounding but reasonably priced guitars to offer our many clients who were asking for such an animal.

As luck would have it at that same point in time, our luthiers Michael Baskin and Harry Fleishman were in the midst of designing guitars that would be built overseas as a new company called Avian. Today, these guitars are hand-made in a small factory only building Avian guitars. This is not a situation where a huge factory is pumping out 20 different brands. That is why the quality is so great and the tone so wonderful.

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Click Above to Learn More about Avian Guitars from Paul

songbird-maple4-spaceMichael and Harry have personally trained this small, talented staff and the results are evident. We have sold many of these guitars to people here in the shop where quite frankly they sell themselves with just a few moments of play. But for those of you out in the Internet land, we want to offer you a risk-free way to try one for yourself.

Hence, we are proud to announce the Avian adventure!

For a limited time, try an Avian guitar for three days in your home. avian-skylark-rosewood1-spaceWe are so confident that you will agree with us that these guitars rival others that cost more than $5000, we’re willing to put our money where our mouth is. Call us today and we will ship you an Avian guitar at no charge. All we ask is that if you return it, you pay just the return shipping which is only $75. We will pick up the rest.

But that’s not all – We will also include a Dream Guitars Volume One CD and Tablature so you’ll have plenty of music to play on your new Avian guitar.

Select from any of our in-stock Avian guitar models including:

Ready for the Avian adventure? Call us today to take advantage of the above promotion.

Offer valid through 8/15/14 or while current inventory lasts

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My New Five String Nylon Fretless Banjo

IMG_1010-iClick Here to watch Robert Anderson play Paul’s Five String Nylon Fretless Banjo

Years ago when I was spending a lot of time with Martin Simpson, the great guitarist from IMG_1008-iEngland, he had a Turkish Cümbüş that he had converted to a five string nylon fretless banjo. I remember that the neck had a super glue rubbed finish that was pretty cool. Martin used this Cümbüş on his amazing album, “Cool and Unusual”. The aluminum bowl has an amazing strong percussive sound and the nylon strings give it smoothness that is just, well cool and unusual.

While traveling in Italy a few years ago for a guitar Festival in Sarzana, I came across a dealer of Turkish instruments tucked in the mountain side of Cinque Terre. I bought a Cümbüş there and carried it all the way home IMG_1013-ito the US knowing someday I would convert it like Martin had done.

Robert Anderson, a renowned banjo maker, moved to Weaverville North Carolina just miles away from my home. I showed Robert the instrument and he was excited about trying something new. He had never seen a Cümbüş before but was game for the project.

Robert is a true artist who loves to do carvings and extensive inlay work. This neck was fairly simple compared to many that he does.

I’m delighted with how it came out. The tone is amazing and it plays like a dream. This is a new instrument for me so I’ll be IMG_1014-iwoodshedding the next two years! Wish me luck!

Click Here to watch Robert Anderson play Paul’s Five String Nylon Fretless Banjo

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Robert Anderson and Paul Heumiller

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Dream Guitars is proud to announce the acquisition of Acoustic Pro Musician

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Dream Guitars is proud to announce the acquisition of Acoustic Pro Musician

Register with the new Acoustic Pro Musician today and receive $100 off any purchase off $800 or more. Offer valid through 7/15/14.

With the acquisition of Acoustic Pro Musician (www.acousticpromusician.com), Dream Guitars (www.dreamguitars.com) now has a dedicated web destination for quality instruments affordable to all players and staff tested gear.

Whether you need a stage instrument, are looking for a travel guitar or flight case, or you are new to the custom guitar world, Acoustic Pro Musician is your resource.

For the past 14 years, Acoustic Pro Musician (www.acousticpromusician.com) and its founder, Danny Brevard built a strong apm-logoreputation within the guitar community. Upon Danny’s decision to retire from the acoustic guitar business, he reached out to Paul Heumiller and a deal was struck for Dream Guitars to acquire Acoustic Pro Musician and continue building the Acoustic Pro Musician brand and reputation of offering quality instruments and gear in affordable price ranges for all musicians.

“As you know, music is my passion and serving others has always been a priority in my life.  As I have reached the age of 60, I’ve realized that there are things that I still want to do but I have to make some life changes to do them.  Dream Guitars is perhaps the finest shop in the world and known for tremendous expertise and helping players in an honorable fashion. Paul shares my vision and passion and I am confident you will all be delighted to work with Paul if you haven’t already.” – Danny Brevard

The team of 8 professionals at Dream Guitars, and now Acoustic Pro Musician, look forward to continuing to build two strong brands into the future, offering customers the full spectrum of quality acoustic instruments and gear available throughout the world.

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“I am extremely delighted that Danny has asked me to carry on his wonderful shop Acoustic Pro Musician. I have heard nothing but great things over the years and I have the utmost respect for Danny’s expertise and service. I will continue to operate Acoustic Pro Musician as it’s own entity, offering the same guitar lines and the great service everyone expects from Acoustic Pro and from Dream Guitars.” – Paul Heumiller

Register with the new Acoustic Pro Musician today and receive $100 off any purchase off $800 or more. Offer valid through 7/15/14.

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Clive, Clive, and More Clive!!

(Clive Carroll has toured with Tommy Emmanuel and Michael Manring, visit Clive’s site for more information.)

We had the absolute pleasure of having Clive Carroll at Dream Guitars for a house concert back in February…and we took full advantage of our time with him before the show!! Clive was gracious enough to perform some of his amazing tunes and provide a handful of lessons for our viewers.

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“I have the great fortune as the owner of Dream Guitars to often have the chance to be in the company of some of the world’s top guitarists. I am always amazed at the extremely high level of play they achieve and of course it’s because they put the hard work in on the techniques that often elude mere mortal guitarists. Well here’s a look at a few distinct techniques and riffs that are very doable for everyone, if you just take the time it takes and have fun with it. Challenge yourself to play something new today, something you’ll learn from one of the very best Clive Carrol.” – Paul Heumiller

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The grouping of videos include amazing performances of “Autumn Leaves” and “Black Moon” as well as four mini-lessons covering the Plectrum Technique, a great blues riff, a right hand exercise, and a lesson on thumb/finger independence.

Click here to view all six Clive Carroll videos.

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About Clive Carroll:

Soon after graduating from London’s prestigious Trinity College in 1998, Clive was given the opportunity to play at a gig with UK guitar maestro John Renbourn, who, on hearing him play, immediately suggested that Clive record an album. So one year later, Clive was working away in the studio, recording his first album ‘Sixth Sense’, which was greeted by press and audiences alike as something of a breath of fresh air in acoustic guitar circles. The album’s 2000 release didn’t go unnoticed by mentor and friend John Renbourn, either, because the pair spent the next two years on tour together in Europe and the United States.

In the meantime, Clive would occasionally return to playing classical repertoire, recording the ever popular ‘Canon’ by Pachelbel for BMG/RCA Victor in 2002. His next solo album, ‘The Red Guitar’ appeared in 2004 and this time it was guitar legend Tommy Emmanuel’s turn to invite Clive to tour with him. After a jaunt across Australia together, the pair continued to perform all over the world. The collaborations with John Renbourn continued, meanwhile, and 2005 saw them work together on the Sony Picture Classics film ‘Driving Lessons’ which starred Julie Waters and Harry Potter star Rupert Grint.

After years of travelling with guitar giants Renbourn and Emmanuel, it was time to go solo and so in 2006 Clive embarked on a series of tours under his own name, accepting an invitation to appear at the highly regarded International Guitar Night of America along the way. All the time, the buzz concerning this young virtuoso began to grow ever louder…

So, with barely time to draw breath in between working on side projects like tutoring at the Irish World Music Centre in Limerick, playing at events organised by the likes of film director Guy Ritchie and Michelin award-winning chef Jean-Christophe Novelli and travelling to the Middle East to play at the Strings Of Freedom concert for the Sultanate of Oman, work began on Clive’s third solo album, ‘Life In Colour’. The result is a roller-coaster ride of six string virtuosity that takes the listener from the dusty roads of ‘Mississippi Blues’ one minute to the wide epic open space of ‘Oregon’ the next.

One thing is for sure; ‘Life In Colour’ represents a milestone both in the career of a remarkable musician and the music world in general.

For more information, please visit his website.

 

 

 

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Intonation

By Nigel Forster – Luthier

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Instrument design involves shifting your attention. You shift it from subject to subject. Hopefully you remain on a topic long enough to think up an improvement or a refinement. You pick a topic, you examine, you contemplate, you experiment, you reflect, you move on.

I spent quite some part of 2009 studying, understanding and working on intonation. Its one of those “bottomless” subjects. Its a huge subject. To some extent it’s one of those doors you open only to wish you’d left it shut.

You realize that intonation is all one big compromise, that no matter what you do, choices have to be made which by improving something means making something else worse. You learn that even the ideals:Just intonation, Meantone and Equal temperaments are all compromises.

You also realize that you don’t have to actually understand intonation very well to make, play or enjoy guitars. Then you also realize that very few guitar makers or players understand it either.

You also make the discover that the type of instruments you make has an effect on how critical your instrument should be intonated. That in turn helps you see why so few makers either understand the subject or even want to understand the subject.

But what (if you’re a maker like me) do you do when you have a customer who is obsessed with intonation?

You either decide to learn about intonation or you ignore the customer.

Ive a friend and customer called Ian. He’s obsessed with intonation. It drives him nuts. In turn he drives me nuts. This had to stop. So, I decided to look into the issue a little deeper than I had in the past.

Ian now wanted the guitar to be as close to Equal temperament as possible as in the current crop of bands he played with he had to play in a lot of different and sometimes just plain odd keys. I mean, who plays in F#?

Ian does.

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Here is a brief rundown of my learning

“Perfect” intonation is impossible to achieve.

The luthier (and the customer) must be willing to accept some degree of approximation.

“But my old (insert the name of a guitar you’ve played/owned) plays perfectly in tune all up and down the neck”

I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but…

it doesn’t,
it didn’t,
and it never will.

It’s not possible,
it never has been
and never will be.

What is possible are a couple of things: the instrument may have lacked the power and clarity that show up the many intonation errors which are inherent in all guitars. This is very common with guitars that follow the traditional American steel string design. (Think Martin.) Then there are our ears and our discernment of tuning which varies greatly. Some folk are blessed/cursed with perfect pitch. Such people really struggle with guitars. All guitars. Some folk can’t hear when its out of tune. They’re the lucky ones.

The ideal for many would be to have a guitar that plays in just temperament or just intonation (JI).

This is when chords sound in tune with themselves; the intervals are in tune with the bass string overtones and is what many players try to achieve by tuning the guitar to a chord. This is because it sounds nice. It sounds correct. But as soon as we change to a different chord shape on a guitar that has an equal temperament fretboard we expose the fact that the nice-sounding intervals are at the expense of others. The only way the JI can be sustained is for the player to tune the guitar so one chord (like an open E chord) “sings”, use only  that one chord shape and slide it up and down the neck.
The next best thing to JI is “meantone” temperament.

This is where some chords and keys are close to JI, but at the expense of other chords and keys which will be far worse. The groups of keys that work in the meantone scales I’ve come across are don’t work all the keys we want to use. Eg: E, A, C, G, F. And the corresponding minors.

Many luthiers have tried before.

Over the last few hundred years makers have tried all sorts to achieve JI or meantone scales:removable frets, semi frets, guitars with multiple and removable fretboards, more than 12 tones per octave and, more recently, wiggly frets. But still the results, even if executed well will give us a compromised result: some keys will be good but only at the expense of others.

So what do we do?

So if we are to play in more than one key a different compromise is required. The equal-tempered scale used today is in fact one of several options available (I discovered an online library of over 3,500 different temperaments!) but it is probably the only scale of any use if we expect to play reasonably in tune in several keys. This particular division of tones is now generally accepted, even though the only intervals that are in tune are the octaves; all other notes are actually sharp or flat of just temperament). The fifths are pretty close to JI but the thirds are all noticeably sharp (by around 14 cents) so this universally accepted compromise has flaws even if executed with precision.

Thanks to the nature of the guitar there are more obstacles to overcome – the act of fretting causes a string to stretch. In stretching, the pitch is raised by different amounts according to the distance the string has to travel, and how much further it is stretched once fretted. Add to this a rather complicated problem called inharmonicity, which relates to the inherent stiffness of steel strings. This stiffness means the higher overtones of the note sound sharper than the fundamental of the note being played. This is especially true of lower notes.

Further complications can be caused by string inconsistencies and/or the appropriateness of the string gauges used. Excessive neck relief, built in to allow for the vibration of the strings, can also compromise intonation. Its not easy. There is a lot to be said for making “warm” sounding guitars, as they mask so many of these issues. No wonder they’re so popular.

But what if we want to make great sounding guitars?

The long and short of it is the maker must change how they intonate. Learning to do so is a lengthy process involving measuring and adjusting the value of every note fretted and then calculating the position of both the saddle and the zero fret according to the string gauges used and tuning employed.

Complicated.

It involves a combination of a compensated saddle, something we are all pretty familiar with, and a compensated “wiggly” zero fret or nut.

The amount of compensation depends on the scale and the preference of string type and tunings to be employed. It is a laborious process but worthwhile.

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I’ve managed it, and so have a few other luthiers. Does it really make a difference?

Well, that depends, it gies back to what was said earlier about the type of instrument we make and the players discernment, but yes, it does make a difference, and it is the only way to achieve equal temperament (itself a compromise) on clear and powerful sounding guitars.

So what are the benefits?

  • You get to play equally out of tune in every key!
  • You stop noticing intonation.
  • You can forget about it, and remain with your music.

And that, as far as intonation and guitars goes, is about as good as it can get….

About the writer

Nigel Forster began guitar making in 1988 as an apprentice to well regarded English luthier Stefan Sobell. He worked for Sobell 1988-1990 and 1992-2003. He opened his own workshop in late 2004 making acoustic guitars, mandolin, cittern and celtic bouzouki and a revolutionary new design of archtop jazz guitars.

www.nkforsterguitars.com

For his acoustic guitars, and Celtic family instruments, Dream Guitars are Nigel’s exclusive USA dealers.

As well as making instruments, Nigel now spends part of each year away from the bench, on retreat, traveling, writing and volunteering. As a result the number of instruments he makes is now reduced compared to previous years.

Getting on the waiting list isn’t as easy as it used to be…

His first print book, a book about instrument design and a collaboration with photographer Dave Best is available:

http://www.ypdbooks.com/photography/366-between-the-ideal-and-the-possible-YPD00333.html

Standard Amazon shipping rates apply and appear at the end of the checkout process.

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Dream Guitars Volume II: Guitars of Distinction – Kickstarter

Let’s Make Great Music Together!!!

204As a result of your requests, we have embarked on the creation of the music CD Dream Guitars Volume Two: Guitars of Distinction – Featuring Grammy winner Al Petteway playing instruments by a select few of Dream Guitars favorite luthiers.

Help us make this project a reality by contributing to our Kickstarter campaign.

Pledge rewards start at as little as $25 and include signed CDs, tab books, behind the scenes tours, even private house concerts and dinners with Al Petteway and Paul Heumiller!!

This will be the sequel to Dream Guitars Vol. 1 The Golden Age of Lutherie by Al Petteway. The inaugural CD was a compilation of original music recorded by Al on a limited edition of guitars, named the ‘Dream Series’, designed and crafted by eleven of our favorite luthiers solely for Dream Guitars.

Great guitars are part of the reason for the second CD, the other major part is Grammy Award winner, Al Petteway. Those of you who are familiar with the site, know Al as the guy who plays everything from sweet acoustic fingerstyle guitar to down home banjo & mandolin to electric lead with attitude. He’s also a wonderful composer who wrote all the ’56 second wonders’ on our site. Those sound clips that everyone wants TAB for.

“Dream Guitars Volume Two: Guitars of Distinction” will feature additionally amazing original compositions by Al Petteway played on some of the most incredible instruments on the planet.  The project will also include a book of sheet music and tablature making it a wonderful learning tool for Fingerstyle guitar players.

Support this project by contributing to our Kickstarter campaign today.

 

Sincerely,

 

Paul Heumiller

Dream Guitars

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Sneak Peek: Guitars Not Yet on the Website (updated 7/16/14)

 

Bookmark this page for frequent updates. (Please scroll down for additional guitars.)

 

Bashkin Placencia OM   2004

Indian Rosewood and Sitka Spruce

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Merrill 00-18  2013

Mahogany and Adirondack Spruce

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Running Dog Mini Jumbo  2012

Koa and Italian Spruce

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Wolverton Plantilla “Memorias de Otoño”  2008

Madagascar Rosewood and European Spruce

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Franklin Jumbo  2003

Indian Rosewood and Engelmann Spruce

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Running Dog Ought-3  2005

African Bubinga and Adirondack Spruce

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Buscarino Cabaret  2014  (Sold)

Indian Rosewood and Carpathian Spruce

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Tippin Crescendo Custom Fan Fret  2014  (Sold)

Brazilian Rosewood and Moonspruce

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Randy Wood Custom 0000 Cutaway  1994

Koa and Adirondack Spruce

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Trinity (Jim Holler) Bent Top & Player Response  2007

Indian Rosewood and Western Red Cedar

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Blanchard Sugar Pine  2006

Brazilian Rosewood and Carpathian Spruce

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Matsuda M1  2008

Brazilian Rosewood and Alpine Spruce

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Fay OM  2011

Brazilian Rosewood and Adirondack Spruce

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Greenfield G1

Brazilian Rosewood and Alpine Spruce

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Bresnan OM

Brazilian Rosewood and Adirondack Spruce

P1500209

 

Carnal Nylon Nuage  2014

California Cypress and German Spruce

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Echizen R1  2014

Madagascar Rosewood and Bearclaw European Spruce

P1500147

Schwartz Oracle OSJ  2013

Palo Escrito Rosewood and Italian Alpine Moonspruce

P1500052

 

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Dream Guitars Q&A with Konarak Reddy

We had the luxury of having Indian guitarist Konarak Reddy visit the shop recently, perform and also record a video lesson all available here.

Konarak is an amazing player with a unique style of play. We have asked Konarak a few questions about his history and playing style – following are his responses:

How long have you been playing Fingerstyle?

I have been playing fingerstyle off and on for about 40 years. But I started concentrating solely on fingerstyle about 15 years ago when I performed at Peter Finger’s “Open Strings Festival” in Osnabruck, Germany. Around the age of 13, I first began playing the guitar and it was an acoustic steel string guitar (nylon string guitars were not available in India back then) and I started out by studying western classical guitar from the “Carcassi Classical Guitar Method” book.

What styles are you blending together? Is it Indian classical music or folk music?

I blend styles that range from western classical, jazz, rock, Brazilian, North and South Indian classical and from my experiences of life.

As a child growing up here in India in the 50’s I lived with plurality and multi-culturalism. Every morning I heard the Muslim Mulla’s call echoing from the neighborhood mosque as well as the traditional Subrabhatham, a Sankrit chant sung by the famous M.S.Subbalakshmi playing on temple speakers. We had the Andrew sisters on Radio Ceylon and the western classical music of Beethoven, Chopin, Bach and Tchaikovsky on 33 and 78rpm records at home. We had the churches and the choirs. We had concerts of the great South and North Indian musicians of our time and we also listened to Jimi Hendrix, The Grateful Dead, The Who, Ten Years After, Miles Davis whose LP’s we would exchange amongst us friends.

Where did you learn western music skills?

Well, I studied western classical guitar in India and took exams from Trinity and Royal College of Music, London which are held in India annually. After that, I toured India extensively with my rock band. In ’76, I went to Berklee to study jazz and in ’89 to Musicians Institute, Hollywood. I lived in Los Angeles for 6 years, teaching and playing. Finally, I returned to India in 1993 to focus on my music.

What musicians / artists were influences on you along the way?

Lalgudi Jayram, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Bismillah Khan, Ali Akbar Khan, Carl Jung, Jimi Hendrix, Andre Segovia, Flute Mahalingam, The TibetanBook of the Dead, Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin…

What else would you like our readership to know about you?

I am very fortunate to be born in India a few years after Indian Independence and that too to parents from a mixed marriage, both of whom were artists. The whole world was open to me. I was not confined by tradition, language or thought.

The Freedom Movement was initially led by minds who were fluent in English, aware of world affairs and not afraid to break with tradition. Later, Mahatma Gandhi took this movement to the masses.

So today, when foreign artists and musicians come to India with folded hands, taking their shoes off, dressed in Indian clothes and try to learn from our traditional systems, they do what most hesitant guests do in a new country. They get mesmerized by the brilliance of the traditional systems. The logic, the mathematics, the return to the sum (one), the Raga system, konakol etc. Fusing, trying to mix and match western harmony and Indian melody and rhythm.

But for people like me who grew up in an Indian environment speaking English and equally comfortable with Jimi Hendrix and Ravi Shanker from an early age, well versed with all the influences of post colonial India, mixing styles and genres was a natural process of assimilation. We own it and can practice it with easy irreverence.

I would love readers to contact me on Facebook, share their comments and also to view my music links:

https://www.facebook.com/konarak.reddy?ref=tn_tnmn
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2DMYe5YHq6U
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ORbnRUHZN18
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h6kO6SBmCPY

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What is a Crossover Guitar?

A cross over is a common name for a nylon string guitar with dimensions and features closer to a steel string guitar. For hundreds of years the classical guitar has remained almost unchanged – no cutaway and a wide neck. But as nylon string guitars become more popular with a wider variety of players in varying styles of music, they are demanding change. A cutaway allows access to the higher frets. A slimmer nut width and neck girth makes left-hand play easier and wide stretches less daunting.

Many players are simply ready for an instrument that’s easier to play and allows them to create their music with less of a fight. Many modern builders are responding to this call. Here at Dream Guitars we offer instruments from Alejandro Cervantes, John Buscarino, Steve Fischer, Brian Applegate, Daniel Stark, Paul McGill and others who are embracing and welcoming this change.

The primary features that identify a crossover are very obvious. Typically the nut width is around 48 mm or 1 7/8 inches. “We see nylon crossover Guitars with as narrow a nut as 1 3/4″ up to perhaps 1 15/16″ nut. 1 7/8ths (48mm) seems to be the most popular. Given that nylon strings are physically wider, a nut width greater than 1 3/4″ seems to help players play more cleanly and be able to fit the fingers into complex chord shapes. Also nylon strings do vibrate in a much wider arc so the string spacing all the way up the fingerboard must allow for that. All of these dimensions work so depending on the player’s needs we can find them the appropriate feel.” – Paul Heumiller, Dream Guitars

The other key feature is the cutaway. A cutaway allows a player to more easily reach up to the 15th fret and beyond for pieces that go into the higher register. Paul adds, “I think the classical guitar world has resisted using the cutaway in an attempt to get all of the possible volume out of the instrument. Making a nylon string instrument loud and strong is quite a challenge since there is very little string energy to begin with. But in our experience, a cutaway has a very minor effect on the sound of an instrument. If you think about it, the upper portion of a guitar’s top toward the neck joint does not move very much. You have the entire neck heel inside that area and it is glued directly to the top and back. In addition the fingerboard is glued down to the face and there is a big popsicle brace inside above the sound hole. All of that severely restricts the soundboard in the upper area of the body. We think players are simply no longer wanting to sacrifice playability for whatever minor tonal difference there might be.”

Above we have 2 incoming Buscarino Cabarets – One is Indian Rosewood with a double spruce top. The other is highly figured maple with a double top of cedar and Spruce. Click here to inquire.

Pickup systems are also common on crossover guitars. Modern pickups are so natural sounding that players are much more excepting of amplifying in that way. This gives players the ability to use nylon string on stage much more easily and just enjoy amplification at home where you can add a little bit of reverb to create a wonderful spacious ambience.

As for voicing, crossover guitars are often exactly the same as classical guitars. Traditional fan bracing is employed by many builders so that the voice is indeed a classical guitar. Other builders are employing new design ideas such as double tops and lattice bracing. But that is true also of classical guitars today so it is not truly a difference any longer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Click the Image Above to Watch Al Petteway Play a New Cervantes Crossover

Paul Heumiller adds, “what we are seeing is that the nylon string instrument has become extremely popular with Fingerstyle players in the styles of Jazz, Brazilian, Samba, Folk and other steel string players who are aging  or simply prefer the easier play of a nylon string guitar. Another big segment are steel string players who simply want another voice for certain pieces. Players like Eric Clapton have shown that nylon string guitar is not just for classical anymore. It’s a very exciting development – one that I think will continue to grow in popularity. It is so much fun to play nylon string and explore the Tonal pallet that you can create.”

Each of the Guitars mentioned here has a video performance on our website, click the links above to hear what crossover Guitars might offer you’re playing. Call us today to add one to your arsenal.

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