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More Than Just a Guitar Shop

Click here to check out our latest artist performances and lessons!!

Since the day I started Dream Guitars I’ve always wanted it to be more than just a guitar shop selling instruments. The sense of community and the shared love of music is one of the reasons that I got into this business and it’s what keeps it so enjoyable for me year after year. All of the wonderful instruments that we sell are for one purpose which is to make music which in turn makes the world a better place. I truly believe that. To that end we have always offered inspiration in the form of our Listening Studio, concerts, performance videos and lesson videos on dreamguitars.com.

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Many clients are surprised when they realize how many lessons we have actually produced over the years. We have over 40 free lessons on our website and YouTube Channel today by such artists as Al Petteway, Steve James, Vicki Genfan, Clive Carroll, Konarak Reddy, Danny Ellis, Doug Young and Paul Asbell. In addition we have performance videos by these players and other friends who come by the shop, including Cliff Eberhardt, Loren & Mark, Jordan McConnell (The Duhks), Steve Baughman and Robin Bullock.

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All of these can be found on our popular YouTube Channel and we also have a direct link to our Lessons Page on our main menu under Resources.

Have you visited our Listening Studio? Over the years, we at Dream Guitars have been recording each of our in-stock instruments, many by the one and only Al Petteway. As a result, we were able to compile all of these recordings into a database that now allows you to listen to thousands of individual guitar recordings while comparing and analyzing tone woods, builders, models, wood types, and more.

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We have also produced a complete book of Sheet Music and TAB for the Dream Guitars Vol. I: The Golden Age of Lutherie CD by Al Petteway.

In addition, we are very excited to have just finished up Dream Guitars Vol. II: Hand Picked by Al Petteway as well. Volume II not only includes Music and Tab but will also include a Video lesson of absolutely every track available on our site in the coming months.

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Hot News: Robin Bullock has also recently moved back to the Asheville Area and will begin to produce a regular lesson series for us as well!! Stay tuned for more on this.

So take advantage of the Listening Studio as well as all the Lessons, Blog Articles, Interviews and all we create for you. You can find them on our YouTube Channel, Facebook Page and of course dreamguitars.com. Most importantly keep making music!!! The world needs it!

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:

mirabella archtop

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

Muth guitars

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

julian gaffney and boys

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:

manzer unfinished

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

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.

 

 

 

Let Al Petteway teach you how to play “Tennessee Mountain Rag,” featured on the “Dream Guitars, Vol. 1” CD and in the book of tab

A while back, guitar great Al Petteway sat in front of the camera at our showroom in Weaverville, North Carolina, just outside of Asheville, and gave us all a lesson on how to play his own composition, “Tennessee Mountain Rag,” which is included on the “Dream Guitars, Volume 1, The Golden Age of Luthiers” CD and tablature book.

For the lesson, Al plays a Tippin Al Petteway Signature Model with Brazilian Rosewood and Moon Spruce, built by one of the great luthiers in the United States, Bill Tippin of Tippin Guitars.

“In this style of music, everything is out there to be had,” Al explains when discussing his writing method for this song, which taps into many other tunes and progressions in the genre, and the way he puts it all together to make it his own. This is songwriting, folks.

Al also details his chords as well as a cool “chicken picking” technique that he uses for a neat walk-down. He also details optional rhythm choices, which he points out are reminiscent of the style of Chet Atkins. He also shows you a neat lick he learned from listening to Atkins.

You can watch the video here on our Dream Guitars YouTube channel. The “Dream Guitars, Vol. 1” CD and complete book of tablature is available in our online store. All of this and more is available in the online shopping cart.

You should also visit his website at www.alandamy.com to learn more about Al Petteway, his wife, Amy.

Take Care of Your Dream Guitar… Get Yourself a Dream Guitar Case!

The pleasure of owning your very own Dream guitar — Tippin, Traugott, Martin, Laskin, McConnell or any other instrument from our collection or from one of your lucky finds — can only be ensured with proper care and maintenance… and that starts with the right case. Get into one today!

Dream Guitars has a solid collection of outstanding guitar cases from trusted brands including Main Stage, Hoffee and others.

How about a little primer on exactly which guitar cases we have to offer, shall we?

First off are the magical Main Stage cases, which are comparable to Calton Cases, another popular brand. In fact, Main Stage was founded by two former employees of Calton and these guys remain true to the quality and care that helped make Calton a big name. Now they’re doing it on their own and the Main Stage brand has earned an excellent reputation for superbly made, professional grade hard-shell fiberglass touring cases for stringed instruments. Each case is handmade for your exact instrument, featuring custom fit, color and finish.

We order all of our Main Stage cases with Thinsulate thermal padding and granite finish. Custom Order prices may vary.

Another of our most popular cases is from Hoffee…. you won’t be disappointed.

“We are very proud to offer Hoffee Carbon Fiber cases,” our own Paul Heumiller is proud to tell you. “They are light, super strong and worthy of holding your Dream Guitar.”

Hoffee cases are priced right and the strong, lightweight, carbon fiber cases are custom Made in the USA. Hoffee is proud of its state-of-the-art mission, from the materials to the process itself.  The carbon fiber shells are stronger and lighter than other wooden, ABS (plastic) or fiberglass cases.

Dream Guitars offers custom sizing and an array of colors, allowing 4-6 weeks for delivery. Check out our store — where we also have cases from Cedar Creek, Colorado and Ameritage for sale — and contact us for details. If you’re in the area, stop by the shop in Weaverville, NC, just outside of Asheville, and explore.

Slide Master Steve James Talks About His Musical Life
in a Dream Guitars YouTube Exclusive

As you may have noticed, bottleneck slide guitar great Steve James spent quite a bit of time at Dream Guitars in our Weaverville, NC, studios back in May, when he came in for a house concert here.

He took time out of his schedule to demo several National Resophonic guitars and perform the classic song, “Guitar Rag,” widely regarded as the first slide guitar song ever recorded (1923).

He also sat down in front of the camera to talk about his life in music; click here to check it out on our YouTube channel. Steve recalls his first records (a collection of Lead Belly 78 RPMs he got the age of 4), his first guitar (a 1963 Gibson J-50) and his early days in New York City studying under such greats as Freddie Lewis and Stan McGee. He also points out the importance of the lessons he learned listening to the unique techniques of Blind Willie Johnson and the alternate tunings of Muddy Waters and Bukka White, some of the unsung heroes of the bottleneck slide blues.

He wraps things up talking about American blues music, calling it “our great export… this is what we offer to the world. People love our music and love to listen to it.”

This video is brought to you by Dream Guitars, proud to be a National Resophonic dealer… and a good friend of Steve James! Contact us today to get your very own National steel! Visit www.stevejames.com for more about Steve!

The One About the Time When Tony McManus
and Dream Guitars Made an Award-Winning Album

In many ways, Dream Guitars is not just about buying and selling amazing stringed instruments. Sometimes, we help make music. In fact, we feel that the Tony McManus album, “The Maker’s Mark: The Dream Guitars Sessions,” may have been our finest moment.

Here’s how it all went down…

A few years ago, Dream Guitars’ top dog Paul Heumiller was at the Swannanoa Gathering, which included a week of playing, meeting other musicians and generally having a blast with amazing music in the background. There, Paul met the Celtic steel-string legend and the two hit it off in a big way. As the week drew to a close, Paul made Tony an offer he couldn’t refuse.

“Next time you make an album,” Paul said, “let me know and I’ll bring a bunch of [Dream] guitars.”

Tony called a few months later, and Paul quickly found himself loading up the car with 19 guitars before driving out from Weaverville, NC, to Nashville, Tenn., and the famed Compass Records recording studio, where all of the Outlaws music was recorded, a studio that had welcomed Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson and Hank Williams.

“What a great vibe,” Paul explained.

For a week, Paul prepped guitars and Tony made music with several guitars, including a Greenfield, a Wingert, and a Matsuda, among others, which he selected not only because of the sound but that Tony believed that each luthier’s guitar was the right instrument for a specific song and its character.

The result of this magical week was Tony’s album, “The Maker’s Mark: The Dream Guitars Sessions.” You can find the album in our Dream Guitars shop by clicking here. “Maker’s Mark” is also available on Amazon. Paul feels strongly that this is “one of the finest solo guitar records ever” because of Tony’s expert selection process.

Each unique musical piece brings tonal variety. For the final track, “Valse de Belugas,” or “Waltz of the Belugas,” Tony used all 19 guitars and added a beautiful, 12-string Veillette Gryphon.

For the record, Acoustic Guitar Magazine has said this about Tony and his music: “Few guitarists can present Celtic music with the gusto and nuance they possess when played on fiddles or bagpipes. Tony McManus is one of those few.”

The album won the Canadian Folk Music Award in the solo instrumental category that year, and we at Dream Guitars remain as proud now as we were then.

Tony has also just released his latest recording entitled “Mysterious Boundaries.” You can check it out by visiting Tony’s website.

Dream Guitars’ Paul Heumiller Talks About McConnell Guitars…
and Plays His Custom McConnell, Too!

Our own Paul Heumiller recently sat down in front of the cameras to talk about one of Dream Guitars’ favorite builders, Jordan McConnell of McConnell Guitars (and the Grammy-award winning band, The Duhks) for a video interview.  You see, Paul is not only has a savvy eye when it comes to great luthiers and their instruments, but also sees things from the mindset of a player. In fact, he’s a proud owner of a McConnell and shares his feelings about that fine, custom made instrument with the viewer. Paul makes clear the guitar’s ability to bring out the music and sound he feels inside, a rare trait for any custom instrument.

McConnell builds rich-sounding and versatile instruments in both steel string and classical models at his shop in Winnipeg, Canada, on the fringes of the Canadian Prairies. McConnell became enamored with the construction of guitars at a young age and has studied with famed Spanish luthier, Jose Romanillos, gaining a valuable education in the work, the craftsmanship.

Among his customers: Tim Sparks, an award-winning fingerpicking player, jazz greats Larry Roy and Harley Card, Seth Avett of the Avett Brothers and Irish player John Doyle.

So, Paul sat down in our Weaverville, NC, studio, to talk about this fine luthier, who works with his father on the construction of the guitars. As a builder, Jordan McConnell has become a hot name and his work is in demand. While we do not have currently any in stock, Dream Guitars is accepting orders for his custom builds. Paul will personally work with you to ensure you get what your music deserves. Contact us to discuss the possibilities.

Considering a McConnell now? You may also want to check out this video of Jordan McConnell at the Dream Guitars headquarters a few years ago, offering an exclusive performance. We also have several other video samples of various McConnell guitars on our YouTube channel as well as the Listening Studio on our home page.

Special thanks to Dan Crapsi and Ginny Temple, who visited our shop and filmed this interview for their blog, thegoodguitar.com.

Singer-songwriter Danny Ellis sits down with his student,
Paul Heumiller, to talk music, songwriting and teaching

Singer-songwriter Danny Ellis has had an interesting life to say the least. After growing up in an orphanage in Ireland in the 1950s, Danny found music and it saved his life. He began his professional career as a trombone player with “The Boyne Valley Stompers,” a Dixieland band touring Ireland. From there, Danny expanded his horizons, his singing and playing and started a diverse musical career that has taken him all over the world as a trombonist, keyboardist and guitarist as well as a professional songwriter.

Flash forward to today and Danny is opening for for many musicians, including the great Bonnie Raitt for her recent show at the North Charleston Performing Arts Center. Bonnie is a great fan of Danny and his music and personally invited him to fill the opening slot.

Danny now maintains a studio in Asheville, NC, just down the road a spell from our Dream Guitars headquarters in Weaverville. We have built a solid professional relationship with Danny and he granted us some of his time to record a lengthy video interview with our own Paul Heumiller to talk about singing, songwriting, musicianship and his latest role as a teacher, which he conducts out of his studio in person as well as on Skype. In fact, Paul himself has spent plenty of time learning from Danny, studying the finer points of singing and songwriting. Paul considers Danny a mentor and a friend as well as a teacher. You can get more information about Danny’s teaching career and how to become a student by visiting his website and checking out his lessons page (www.dannyellismusic.com/musiclessons.cfm).

We have two videos on our YouTube Dream Guitars channel, one the full-length interview (22:28) and a short highlight reel of the same (5:31). Check them both out, then take a trip to Danny’s site, where you can read about his history, his discography, find links to his Facebook and YouTube pages as well as learn more about his teaching methods and how to contact him for lessons.

Bottleneck slide master Steve James teaches you ‘Guitar Rag’

When Steve James spent time with us at Dream Guitars just before his rocking house concert performance at our Weaverville, NC, offices, not only did he demo several amazing National Resophonic guitars, he also taught us all a lesson in bottleneck slide playing the legendary “Guitar Rag.”

Your moment of musical history for today: Sylvester Weaver’s “Guitar Rag” is recognized as the first recording of slide guitar. That was way back in 1923, though Steve’s classic style is more than simply reminiscent of the period.

Now you can learn a thing or two from James himself right here at our YouTube channel, study the master’s moves and styles. There is an awful lot of information here and you’ll be able to apply what you learn as you progress as a player. Steve takes the time to demonstrate basic hand placement, string contact, touch, pick technique, vibrato, chords and more as he teaches the viewer how to play like a pro.

Steve James is world-renowned as an expert slide guitar master, not only touring and recording his own material and but acting as a sideman for such legends as Bo Diddley, Kinky Friedman, Buddy Guy and John Hammond. For more information and cool stuff, visit Steve’s homepage… after you learn how to play “Guitar Rag” his way — arguably the best way!

 
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