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

A New Addition to the DG Line-up: EddieLee Brown

Click Here to See What We Have In-Stock from EddieLee Today

We are pleased to add EddieLee Brown to our line-up of builders here at Dream Guitars. Let’s get to know more about this great up and coming builder.

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EddieLee Brown’s first love is music.  He played guitar and bass in a traveling rock band in the 70’s.  More recently he has fallen in love with fingerstyle guitar playing.  “Whether playing electric or acoustic, for me, tone is everything. I have always worked hard to develop a great tone as a basis for playing any instrument,” states EddieLee.

EddieLee has also been a photographer, a Bonsai artist and landscaper, and studied drawing.  Each of these helped him develop a sense of design, proportion, and what is pleasing to the eye.  He practiced as a Doctor of Oriental Medicine helping heal people with acupuncture, massage, and herbal medicine.  This helped him develop a sensitivity of touch and understanding that one part of a system will affect other parts. EddieLee also has a master’s degree in electrical engineering with a strong background in physics and mechanical engineering.  He loves physics and determining, from a scientific view point, how things work. This helps him be able to predict how a system will behave when one part of it is changed.

New ELB Guitars OM1937M-D

Brown had a nice stable of electric guitars and basses from his band days in the 70’s and 80’s but in the 2000’s, he found himself playing his acoustic guitar most of the time.  When he decided to upgrade his old acoustic, he found the world of hand-built guitars.  “The first time they handed me one, I could not believe the difference, and it changed my world.  I bought a Goodall Rosewood/Red Wood, Grand Concert and fell in love with the guitar all over again.  After playing and hearing the great tone and feeling how responsive it was, I would just stare at the beauty of the wood, design and construction.  That is when I got the desire to start building,” quotes EddieLee.

EddieLee has now been building guitars for about 6 years, although 20140912_201757he had studied guitar design and preparing a few years before that.  He also spent time prior to starting his first guitar honing the woodworking skills he would need to produce great looking instruments.  The first instruments he built were Native American Flutes which are wooden flutes. EddieLee has been playing these for many years, and loved the instrument.  Their construction uses many of the same techniques and skills used in guitar building, so it seemed like a good “warm-up instrument” for him.  “They are so much fun to make and I love the feedback I get from people when they get them in their hands.  Guitar building followed soon after.  It is a real joy to turn a pile of wood into a beautiful instrument and then hear other players make beautiful music with them,” says EddieLee.

Mahogany back of a ELB Guitars OM1937M-D

In EddieLee’s building style, he works to combine elements from his past careers.  “I think there is real value in mixing together the old methods using touch, feeling, and tapping and meld into that the newer science to produce a very vibrant instrument with great tone”, quotes EddieLee.  Among others, he is currently using Chladni patterns, along with traditional methods, for sound board voicing.  He also uses techniques to produce spectrographics of the sound produced by tapping the guitar and its components during the build process.  This tool gives a visual and measurable representation of what he hears when tapping the guitar.  “Although it can never give me all the information that my ears can, it does allow me to see the frequencies of the main vibration patterns, allowing me to adjust them precisely.  I believe these and other science based ways of measuring and determining how the guitar is operating, lets me produce an instrument with better and more consistent tone.  And for me, tone has to be there” quotes EddieLee.

Outside of building guitars, EddieLee Brown is still a musician.  “I play mainly fingerstyle guitar but still love to get an electric now and then a fire up the old Mesa Boogie Mark IIC”, says EddieLee.

“EddieLee is one of the guys you meet and just know that he builds a great guitar. He came to lutherie later in life and brings all his vast experiences to a new form of expression, the acoustic guitar. I was so impressed with the tone of his instruments that I broke my own rule of waiting until a maker has built 20 or more guitars. EddieLee has some special design elements as well like internal mass elements to manipulate the character of tone. Very fresh and exciting” – Paul Heumiller

Click Here to See What We Have In-Stock from Eddie Today

Incoming Leonardo Buendia OM Build

Leo Buendia, one of Ervin Somogyi’s current apprentices and an amazing up and coming builder, is wrapping up his 3 year apprenticeship with Ervin and will be moving to his own shop on October 1st in Oakland CA. At the same time, Leo is building for us an amazing OM featuring beautiful straight grain Brazilian Rosewood and a German Spruce Top.

Click here to watch Paul interview Leo Buendia at this year’s Memphis Acoustic Guitar Festival.

Following are the full specs and some images to go along with the current progress.

This one is currently available for purchase here at Dream Guitars – Please call the shop for more information 828-658-9795:

  • Soundboard, German Spruce
  • Back and sides, Quarter sawn, straight grain Brazilian RW
  • Cutaway, Florentine
  • 14th-fret to the body
  • Rosette, solid ring wood choice bordered in purfling
  • Bridge, hand carved Brazilian RW
  • Binding, Ebony with black/white purfling
  • End graft, triangular style that matches binding
  • Backstrip, matching with binding
  • Top braces, Sitka spruce
  • Back Braces, Mahogany
  • Neck, one piece Honduran mahogany
  • Headcap veneer, Brazilian RW
  • Back of Headcap veneer, Ebony
  • Tuning Machines, Gotoh 510 Series stealth in gold
  • Fingerboard, ebony with ebony binding and maple purfling
  • Fingerboard Radius, 20′′
  • Position markers, white dots
  • Case, Hoffee custom hardshell case
  • Scale Length, 25” for OM
  • Nut width, 1 3/4” Scalloped and compensated bone
  • Saddle string spacing, 2 1/4” Compensated Bone
  • Finish, nitrocellulose Lacquer

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Update: Guitar in Finishing Process 12/1/15

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Thomas Rodriguez Guitars 20th Anniversary Guitar at Dream Guitars

This 20th Anniversary Rodriguez Guitar is now available in the shop. Please click here for more details.

August 2015 marked the 20th anniversary of Thomas Rodriguez Guitars and his making of classical guitars. To commemorate this huge milestone, Thomas started on a very special 20th anniversary guitar. All materials on this anniversary guitar are very old and extremely rare which Thomas has been collecting through his years of building and saving for a very special occasion, such as this. Following is the list of materials included in this build:

Top – 40 year old Sitka spruce purchased from the estate of an old guitar maker. Thomas hand picked it from 30 sets that were bought for its tap tone, stiffness and fine grain

Back & sides, peg head and bridge – 1800’s Brazilian rosewood from an old table top

Fingerboard – 40 year old Gaboon ebony, hand picked for it’s beauty from a large selection of ebony fingerboards from the same collection of wood that the top came from

Neck – 1800’s Honduras mahogany, salvaged from an old 4 post bed – very dark in color and a singing tap tone

Brace wood – Hand-split Sitka spruce from the back supports of a 90 year old Cable piano

Linings – Quarter-sawn willow from a 1925 Cable piano, the preferred choice of violin makers, 90 years old, from the same piano as the brace wood

Nut & Saddle – Approximately 20,000 year old mastodon ivory

Rosette & bindings – Maple, Brazilian rosewood, mahogany from a 1860’s square piano and red birch from an 1890’s piano

Tie block on the bridge — Ivory from a piano key from the 1860’s square piano

Inlays on the wings of the bridge — Mother of pearl cut from an early 1900’s lamp pendant

Position marker on the fingerboard — Mother of pearl from an 1850’s Martin bridge pin Thomas had from a restoration he performed

“One need only look at the quality of this wood, all of it having a history of it’s own, to imagine the character of sound that will emanate from this guitar. Celebrating 20 years of building is no small feat. Few makers ever reach that milestone and to do so you have to have an extreme love of the craft and desire to put music in the world. That’s what Thomas Rodriquez and this guitar represent. We are simply delighted to be a part of this, this is why we do what we do here at Dream Guitars.” – Paul Heumiller, Owner

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1800’s Brazilian rosewood salvaged from an antique table top

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Detail of 40+ year old Sitka spruce top wood

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Quartersawn bridge blank cut from the same 1800’s table – underneath it is the trimmed off piece with the tax stamps still on it.

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Detail of the hand split Sitka spruce brace wood from a 1925 Cable piano.

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Split Sitka spruce brace wood from a 1925 Cable piano.

Here is the neck blank for the 20th anniversary guitar, it’s cut from a bed post from an 1800’s bed that was found in the attic of a friends 200 year old farmhouse. there were 2 beds, the one I got was too damaged for restoration so he gave it to me for the wood. you can see the post turning on the heel block...

Here is the neck blank for the 20th anniversary guitar which was cut from a bed post from an 1800’s bed that was found in the attic of a friend’s 200 year old farmhouse.

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The headstock on the left is the old wood which you can see the rich color from over a 100 years of oxidation. The neck on the right is Honduras mahogany from the 1960’s, for comparison.

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1800’s Honduras mahogany neck heel from an old bed – you can still see the edges of the turned legs before being trimmed away.

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Headstock with 1800’s mahogany and Brazilian rosewood.

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Decorative trim wood for the 20th anniversary guitar was taken from this Rand square piano, dating between 1820’s to 1860’s.

All the veneer for rosette and binding, rosewood, mahogany and maple from the Rand piano and red birch from the 1890’s piano.

All the veneer for rosette and binding, rosewood, mahogany and maple from the Rand piano and red birch from the 1890’s piano.

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Amount of wood that it took to create the bindings.

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Detail of the complete binding.

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Rosette made up of wood cut down while Torres, inventor of the modern classical guitar, was still alive.

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Detail, Brazilian rosewood, maple, mahogany and red birch. Thomas opted to use the natural color of the wood rather than color dyed veneer. The rosette is 35 layers thick, hand scraped to be an exact thickness.

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Mother of pearl lamp pendant used for inlays on the bridge wings.

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The bridge is cut from the same 1800’s table as the rest of the guitar.  It is perfectly quarter sawn, super fine even grain and has oxidized to a rich, almost black color.

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Detail of the mother of pearl dot.

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Ivory tie block is from a piano key off of the 1800’s square piano.

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Finished bridge

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The guitar coming together

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Detail on back of guitar

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Top and back

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Bracing for the guitar, asymmetrical lattice bracing. Thomas engineered his guitar from the ground up over his 20 years of building, He’s very proud to be making his own guitar and not just another Hauser or Torres copy.

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All of the brace wood is Sitka spruce from the 1925 piano, hand split for the straightest possible grain.

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Willow linings, cut from the 1925 Cable piano. Willow is the top choice for linings in high end violins. The neck heel is painted to keep moisture from traveling through the end grain, a common cause of humps in the finger board where the neck meets the body.

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Big pile of spaghetti that will become the binding for the guitar.

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Completed binding

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label

The 45 Style

Martin began making the 45 Style way back in 1904. The main feature of this trim style is abalone inlay along the top, back, sides, around edge of fingerboard, around the soundhole, neck heel, and tail wedge. Over the years the 45 models have been coveted by Martin fans the world over.

Today, many modern makers still emulate the famed 45 trim package. We happened to have a few in the shop recently and thought it would be fun to show you the wonderful variety of guitars that can be found with this popular adornment. A picture is worth a thousand words so here are a few shots of our three in-stock beauties: a 1991 Martin D-45, a 2008 Wayne Henderson D-45 and a 2014 Huss & Dalton Custom TD-R.

As you can see in the pictures below, while they all have abalone borders in the same places, the color and quality of the Abalone varies quite a bit. Like all building materials there are ‘grades’ of abalone shell. Nowadays builders also vary the width of the trim to add their individuality to a time tested inlay pattern.

Most players agree that the 45 style trim is quite beautiful and we sure are glad that it continues to thrive at Martin and in the hands of the many fine custom Luthiers in our world today.

Click on any of the images below for larger view.

Left to Right: 2014 Huss & Dalton Custom TD-R, 2008 Wayne Henderson D-45, 1991 Martin D-45

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The first two from the left below – The Henderson (Center Below) and the Huss & Dalton (Left) are Brazilian Rosewood. The last one on the right is the Indian Rosewood Martin. You can see how much variance there is in Brazilian, many colors, figure patterns, etc.

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The Henderson(Center Below) below features quality Abalone with a variety of hues in it, blue, gold and white.

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Nice quality Paua Abalone here on the Huss & Dalton below. Lots of Blue in this shell.

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A key element of the 45 Style trim is that the Abalone is featured on the top, back & Sides. Pretty fancy!

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Dream Guitars adds Ben Wilborn to its Array of Fine Builders

wilborn-logoBen Wilborn is one of the builders that we have recently added to the array of fine builders that we represent at Dream Guitars. We receive numerous requests from builders, new and established, to be part of Dream Guitars. It’s very humbling to be the ones that they wish to represent their work. In the case of Wilborn guitars, we invited him to send us an example of his work because tone is the first thing we always look for in a new luthier’s instruments. It only took about 20 seconds to figured out that Ben knows how to get tone out of his instruments. We were also smitten with the fit, finish and overall design of his guitars – very elegant, leaning towards traditional but definitely having his own style…and so began our association with Ben.

We at Dream Guitars are known for commissioning unique custom instruments for clientele as well and we were excited to see al-wilsomething even more artistic from Ben. As a result, Paul Heumiller, owner of Dream Guitars and Ben went to work to decide on specs for a custom Wilborn parlor guitar. “I love to work with builders on custom instruments. Having seen thousands of guitars helps me develop an intuition for both stylistic and practical features on the guitar. At the same time I love to leave room for a builder to express himself. So Ben and I collaborated on a number of design elements in this parlor guitar, but then I left him to do the rest. I can’t wait to see the final instrument as I know it will be both beautiful and expressive aesthetically and musically.” – Paul Heumiller.

This incoming Parlor will feature Brazilian Rosewood and Vintage Sitka Spruce cut in the 1960s, Leapordwood Bindings, Brazilian Rosewood Fretboard and Bridge and a short scale, 12 Fret Neck. Yummy!

Click here to see our in-stock Ben Wilborn Guitars

Contact us to reserve this incoming Wilborn guitar or to inquire about the many custom builds we have in process at any given time. Capture your Dream Guitar.

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Custom Wilborn Parlor in Construction

When Collectors Sell Guitars

One of the services that Dream Guitars offers is representation for entire or partial collections. We are very fortunate to have many of

1957 Gibson J-200 from a recently acquired private collection

1957 Gibson J-200 from a recently acquired private collection

the world’s top instrument collectors as our clients and at different times, and for various reasons, they may choose to sell some or all of their treasures. When they do, they call on us.

“The largest collection we’ve represented thus far was 65 classical guitars. Among them were many of the famous Spanish makers, a number of vintage pieces, and some very unique and rare instruments as well.” – Paul Heumiller, owner of Dream Guitars.

Often a collection has a general theme, like this collection of classical guitars, or perhaps vintage Gibson instruments, prewar Martin guitars, or a variety of independent modern luthiers. “Recently, we have been getting in a large collection of vintage Martin and Gibson instruments from a client that we have worked with for more than 10 years. It gives us a very rare opportunity to offer our client base some pieces that you never see in one shop at one time. It is very exciting for me and my team to get to see, play and offer these historic musical gems.” – Paul Heumiller.

Click here to read a collector’s testimonial for Dream Guitars

We also have a number of clients who have included Dream Guitars in their estate planning. They give explicit instructions to their family members to contact us upon their passing so that we can assist with properly selling and handling the instruments they worked so hard to collect. “It is very humbling to have a client call you and ask you to assist his family. It has been extremely rewarding over the years to assist surviving family members to get through one of the hardest times of their lives. We get to ensure that they are treated fairly and properly compensated in a way that our client would have wanted. We take great pride in assisting folks in this way.” – Paul Heumiller.

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Recent shipment of private collection to Dream Guitars

For our clients, this large influx of of incredible instruments is educational, exciting and downright fun. We get so many calls and questions when we get in a collection of related instruments. Simply by reading about 20 similar guitars in one grouping, our clients can learn something completely new about the world they love.  For instance a client who has never owned a vintage guitar can have a chance to read about many in one visit to our website. Conversely, a steel string player might get a chance to learn who the best nylon makers in the world might be.

“Offering large collections is pure joy. You can’t imagine how ‘kid-like’ we all get in the shop when 20 boxes arrive. It’s like Christmas for weeks.” – Paul Heumiller.

If you have a small or large guitar collection and are in need of help finding a home for some of your pieces, we would be honored to serve you and we will always do so with the upmost respect and gratitude.

Contact us today to discuss your collection 828-658-9795.

Click here to read a collector’s testimonial for Dream Guitars

Woodstock Invitational Guitar Festival 2014

Written by Paul Heumiller, Dream Guitars

Click on any of the images throughout the article for a larger view

For those who have never been to the Woodstock Invitational Guitar Festival, it is something quite special. Seventy or so of the top Luthiers in the world are invited by Baker Rorick to come to the small town in the Hudson Valley for a weekend of pure joy for guitarists. This is a small show and it’s overcrowded, but that’s a good thing. It ensures that the show will stay of the highest quality. Baker has no plans to grow the show or move it to a larger location and I think that will keep it very special. It’s already host to more guitars than you can possibly see properly in two days.

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For me this year’s show was extra special. It had a real feeling of brotherhood. Perhaps the last few years, very hard years in the guitar business by anyone’s account, have bonded us all. Many builders (and shop owners) have barely survived, others have been forced to go back to a ‘real job’, but most continue to hold onto the passion that drives them to build the finest instruments that we’ve ever seen. Immediately upon arrival I received hugs and handshakes from my friends, the builders who whittle wood to make music. Making the show even more memorable is the fact that Scott Bresnick, the man behind the machine that is Dream Guitars, met me at the show as well. Scott quietly does vast amounts of promotion for us and has been my sounding board since I started DG in New Jersey. So this year is, as I said, was just extra special.

Now for the good stuff, the guitars. Woodstock is like the buffet at the Grove Park Inn in Asheville. More food than you can possibly eat, but you’re sure as hell going to try.

As someone who has played thousands of guitars and all of them the finest in the world, I’m struck with the amazing quality of the voices of the instruments here at the show. A large number of the guitars are nothing short of mesmerizing and inspiring. I don’t say that lightly as I am admittedly quite spoiled hanging out at Dream Guitars all day. At a show like this it’s hard to go 10 feet without running into someone else you know and stopping and saying “hi” and catching up. It makes the going slow but well worth while.

I started at the stage where my good friends John Buscarino, Chris & Jeremy Jenkins, Michael Bashkin and Bill Tippin all had their instruments displayed. John had his Autumn Leaves 35th anniversary guitar, complete with an amazing carved tree on the back of the instrument.

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Stage left was Keystone guitars from Japan, one of the newest builders to join the Dream Guitars family. Keisuke Nishi built a wonderful modified dreadnought for the show which I promptly snatched up for our clients.

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Down on the main floor were a number of builders including:

•    Cris Mirabella
•    Joe Veillette
•    John Osthoff
•    Bruce Petros
•    Kent Everett
•    Julian Gaffney
•    David Berkowitz
•    Bernie Lehman
•    Randy Muth – another builder we invited to join DG at this event
•    Ken Parker
•    Jason Kostal – indeed Jason Kostal’s guitars are the highest form of artistry
•    Pellerin
•    Tim Reede and Raymond Kraut, both joining the DG Family as well
•    Ryan Thorell
•    Paul Beard
•    Linda Manzer
•    Michael Baranik
•    And many more.

A veritable cornucopia of fine guitars. Some that have remained etched in my memory are:

Cris Mirabella’s arch top in black with maple accents:

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Randy Muth’s guitars all have an amazing and unique voice:

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Julian Gaffney, currently apprenticing with Ervin Somogyi, built a stunning guitar that I played for some time and truly enjoyed:

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There’s always a big amount of laughter as well, like when Tom Ribbecke decided to probe Kent Everett’s new Petite Model guitar:

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But this is just one room at the show. I stepped out the door and into the stage/bar area where there is constantly amazing music being played. All day long there are demo concerts and feature concerts and talks by prominent builders such as Bill Collings, Tom Ribbecke, Michael Gurian, Ken Parker, John Monteleone and Roger Sadowski.

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Ear candy everywhere. A short walk across the drive and you enter the secondary room which houses a lot of tonewoods, Luthery tools and a fine display of guitars including multiple Grit Laskin guitars featuring Grit’s fabulous inlay work and two rare Steve Klein Electrics from the Jeff Doctorow collection (see photo below). Jeff is a good friend and fellow Jersey Boy.

John Slobod and his Circa guitars were also here in this room and he and I got a chance to sneak to a back office for some serious tasting. He had two small body guitars with him and each a cannon in its own right. He does things with Maple that are amazing, a lush full voice that’s even prettier than the insanely figured set of wood he actually traveled to Germany for. A few friends joined us as well so I got to hear the guitars from out front and in the driver’s seat and they are masterful.

Another great thing about shows like Woodstock is that it gives me the chance to touch base with Luthiers about what they’re seeing in the business in general. Most everyone has felt an uptick in 2014 with sales increasing. That coincides with what we have seen in the shop as well. Particularly high-end guitar sales have greatly increased in 2014. From where we sit, 2015 looks to be a great year for guitar makers and of course that means for guitar players. With instruments like this being crafted by great people with passion, we should all have plenty of inspiration to make our music for the world.

Below are a list of makers whose guitars we brought back from the show. Contact us here at Dream Guitars for more information:

•    Randy S. Muth
•    Keystone Guitars
•    David MacCubbin
•    Raymond Kraut
•    John Osthoff
•    Bernie Lehmann
•    Kevin Pederson
•    Tim Reede

Following are a few of the cool & unusual sights from the show as well:

Pellerin Harp Guitar:

Pellerin Harp

Jeff Doctorow’s Steve Klein Guitars:

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Lehmann Tiger Maple Bridge:

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Manzer Unfinished Guitar:

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For more information on the Woodstock Invitational Guitar Festival, please visit their official website.

Wayne Henderson Guitar Video Roundup

We here at Dream Guitars are thrilled to have multiple Wayne Henderson guitars in-stock at the moment! We are taking full advantage of this and recorded another one of our guitar roundup video collages of Al jamming away on all three of these amazing guitars. Hear and see three of Wayne Henderson’s guitars side-by-side, played by one of the best acoustic guitar players on the planet, Grammy Award winner Al Petteway!

Wayne Henderson and his guitars need little introduction these days. Having built for an army of the best players in the world, both in the southeast where we live and for big names like Eric Clapton, his guitars are now legendary. But why? Tone, that’s why. No maker reaches the highest levels without killer tone.

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Click here to watch the video!

The three Henderson guitars featured in this collage are a:

•    1996 Henderson D-18 Mahogany/Spruce – This D-18 style Mahogany Dread was the prize for the 1996 Wayne Henderson Guitar Competition and it has been put to good use since. The well-played spruce top is giving it’s all now, and it is extremely loud and clear as a bell.

•    2010 Henderson D-18 Mahogany/Adirondack (Red)(Sorry folks this one is already sold!!) This Henderson D-18 in Red Spruce and Mahogany is how a pre war style guitar should be done, and is a perfect example of why Henderson guitars are so sought after. This thing is a flatpicking cannon, it would be hard to find a better suited flatpicking guitar. When you pick this guitar up you instantly realize why Wayne is so well regarded in the guitar world.

•    2010/11 Henderson D-28 Brazilian/Adirondack (Red) – This D-28 in Red Spruce and Brazilian Rosewood is the bluegrassers dream, it has all the power to punch through an instrument heavy jam session, or take on the softer side and it fingerpicks beautifully. The voicing Wayne achieves, as always, is lovely. It is warm and has a great boom chuck.

Click here to watch the video!

Did you know that on top of being a master luthier, Wayne is also a heck of a player? Henderson’s top-notch finger-picking is a source of great pleasure and pride to his friends, family, and neighbors in Grayson County, Virginia. His guitar playing has also been enjoyed at Carnegie Hall, in three national tours of “Masters of the Steel-String Guitar”, and in seven nations in Asia.

This Henderson guitar roundup video collage is not the only one of its kind. We have also done collage videos of Ervin Somogyi, Kim Walker, and vintage Martin guitars. You can also view more of our videos on our Youtube channel by clicking here.

Three Decades of the Somogyi Sound!

“The guitar itself has always been my best teacher.  She has always revealed herself to me bit by bit, taking her own sweet time.  I’ve been the student.” – Ervin Somogyi

We are extremely fortunate to have three Somogyi Guitars in-stock at the moment so we decided to record all three for another special video which we have named, “Three Decades of the Somogyi Sound!”

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Click here or on the video image above to watch “Three Decades of the Somogyi Sound!”

“Ervin Somogyi has long been one of my favorite builders. He was one of the original luthiers 80-somogyi-mod-dto create the open modern voicing that we now all think of when we hear fingerstyle guitar recordings. In the 1970s and 80s when artist like Alex De Grassi first started to record fingerstyle guitar, they went to Ervin Somogyi and asked him for guitars with more open voicing that would be more appropriate to make recordings with. The factory guitars of the day were simply not expressive enough for solo guitar pieces. To this day Ervin is considered one of the masters of guitar voicing and he has taught his ideas and techniques to many of today’s top luthiers the world over.” – Paul Heumiller

Here at Dream Guitars we have been a dealer for Ervin Somogyi for many years and he is constantly a favorite for our clientele. It is a sheer delight to have three of his guitars in the shop right now, each from another decade.

We simply could not resist recording them side-by-side to share with the world. Somogyi’s voice is one that all lovers of guitar should know and understand. It has so influenced modern guitar perhaps more so than any other single builder.

We asked Ervin Somogyi himself for a few thoughts on how his building has evolved over the last few decades and here’s what he had to say:

“Lately, some guitars of mine from the eighties and nineties have come on the market, and some of them have come to my shop for visits, checkups, or for a tweak or repair . . . or because the original owner was no longer playing guitar and wanted to see if I knew anyone who would want to buy their baby.  And so on.

I have been pleasantly surprised in every instance by how well they’ve held up.  Yes, they’ve had signs of wear and tear — if not in small scratches and such, then most notably in the look of the lacquered finish.  Lacquer has the capacity to separate from its underlayment, over time; and these guitars show small spots of lacquer separation/bubbling from the wood underneath.  This is not in the least bit serious; it’s cosmetic and easily fixable; a guitar simply looks not-brand-new in this regard.

Happily, not one of the guitars that I’ve seen or heard about, from this period, has been mistreated: they seem to be structurally sound.  And I’ve been pleasantly reminded of how far back I was using certain elements of decoration, or arrangements of bracing, that now seem to me like the most intelligent way to carry out this work.” – Ervin Somogyi

 

Click here to view our in-stock Ervin Somogyi guitars.

An Amazing Incoming Mountain Song Baritone Guitar

UPDATE: Paul’s personal baritone guitar built by Ken Jones and Mountain Song Guitars has been completed and added to the Dream Guitars website!! Sorry folks, this particular one is not for sale but you can order your own Mountain Song baritone through Dream Guitars! Click here for more info on Paul’s baritone and Mountain Song or click on one of the images below to watch Al and Paul jamming away on this beauty!

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COMPLETED MOUNTAIN SONG BARITONE

bari-comp

ORIGINAL BLOG DURING THE BUILD

Ken Jones is up to it again – this time this guitar is going right to our own Paul Heumiller. Ken is building Paul a very special IMG_5447-2Baritone featuring Padauk, Carolina Red Spruce and fanned-fret neck. The scale lengths range from 28.5″ on the bass side to 27.25″ on the treble. The body is slightly smaller than Jumbo proportions with a 16.5″ lower bout and 20.5″ body length, and a 4.75″ body depth at the tail, tapering to 4″ at the heel. Ken also offers the same body shape in a full-Jumbo size of 17″ LB and 21″ body length, with a 5″ body depth at the tail and 4.25″ depth at the heel. Top bracing is also Carolina Red Spruce.

“I knew for certain that I wanted the body to be Padauk Wood. The finest baritones I have ever played were made from Padauk. It has an amazing clarity that really helps the bass notes maintain separation when they’re tuned down to A or B. In recent years I have been primarily playing Fanned Fretted instruments and knew that I wanted that element as well. I play in many alternate tunings and it is key for me to have the bass strings longer than the treble strings. It insures that my bass notes will be strong and never floppy, while at the same time the trebles maintain a pleasant tension and sweet tone. Ken had a chance to get some wonderful local Carolina spruce tops from legendary luthier John Arnold so he suggested we use that for the top as it is wonderfully stiff and has incredible tap tone,” says Paul Heumiller.

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Other details include ebony headplate, fingerboard, and bindings, armrest bevel and ribrest bevel and a one-piece, carbon fiber reinforced Honduran Mahogany neck with double-acting truss rod.

Paul first played a Baritone guitar at Martin Simpson’s home in England many years ago. That very first moment he felt a wave of inspiration that has led him to continue to play in alternate tunings and on Baritones ever since. Paul states, “The most wonderful thing about the Baritone guitar is that you play exactly the same piece that you would in standard pitch but everything changes. The low register, rumbling bass and sweet, lucid trebles alter the mood and inspire the soul.”

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“I started to play the guitar for the sole purpose of writing songs. While I can do a lot of things on guitar, I consider myself primarily a  singer-songwriter. So whether an instrumental piece or accompaniment, my Baritone guitar offers me a voice that takes me into another world, another head space and invites me to write something I would likely never find at standard pitch,” says Paul Heumiller.

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Paul continues, “When I decided to invite Ken Jones of Mountain Song guitars to build me a Baritone instrument we had long conversations about the many Baritones that I have been able to play in the shop over the years. I am in the very fortunate position of getting to play the finest guitars ever made every day of my life. I have played many Baritones by Lance McCollum, Bill Tippin, David Berkowitz, Steve Klein, Ralph Bown and so many other of the finest makers in the world. So having the chance to collaborate with Ken was like dropping a three-year-old in the middle of a candy store with a credit card!!”

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“It’s been really enjoyable and informative collaborating with Paul on the various design elements, from the scale-length spread, to tonewoods, to the neck shape/profile. That was particularly interesting, since we were able to look closely at some of Paul’s favorite neck shapes, and come up with a hybrid that perfectly suits his needs. It’s essentially a D-shape with a slight V carved into the bass-side. We decided to keep the adornment to a minimum, with side dots only, and just a small inlay on the fingerboard at the twelfth fret. Being a large-bodied guitar, we agreed that an arm bevel was in order, as well as a super-comfortable ribrest bevel,” says Ken Jones.

IMG_5386-2“Paul has played more of the world’s finest guitars than just about anyone out there, and it’s been a pleasure and honor to learn from his insights what makes a truly great guitar,” Ken continues.

Great news! There are two more Baritones underway from Ken and Mountain Song Guitars – one in Quilted Maple and another in Cuban Mahogany. Ken is shooting to have these completed by the end of this year. These two will have similar features however it is still early enough for customizations.

Call today 828-658-9795 to reserve and customize your own Mountain Song Baritone Guitar!!

 
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