The first single from the Black Crowe’s new solo album was haphazardly written while messing around on his son’s beat-up Baby Taylor.

Mudhoney frontman Mark Arm once joked that egos don’t kill bands—babies do. But in the case of Rich Robinson, it was his 4-year-old son who inadvertently inspired the lead track from his upcoming third solo album, The Ceaseless Sight. “One Road Hill” haphazardly began on a Baby Taylor acoustic that’s seen its fair share of banging around from Robinson’s son—it had two strings missing when the song started taking shape!

Robinson picked up the abused guitar, twisted the four remaining strings to a random open tuning, and strummed out some chords that reminded him of an old Appalachian-style song. More Fleet Foxes than Black Crowes, “One Road Hill” rings out like a timeless mountain string-band ditty—complete with a lap dulcimer, stompy front-porch rhythms, high-lonesome vocal harmonies, and melodic piano.

Anyone familiar with the solo work of brother Chris Robinson knows he tends to dig into Deadhead-friendly jamming. Conversely, “One Road Hill” spotlights Rich’s penchant for crafted arrangements. And the reset of The Ceaseless Sight is robust with catchy melodies and an arching, pastoral feel that has more in common with Neil Young than Jerry Garcia.

A lot of you have been waiting for this penultimate step of our guitar aging project, so let’s do some damage!

Welcome back to Mod Garage. Today we’ll continue to work on our aging project, and some of you might be wondering why there was such a long break. The reason is simple: suboptimal timing from my side. The last part of this column was in the middle of autumn, and I wanted you to do the following steps outside (if possible) and not on the kitchen table. Wintertime is not the best time for such a challenge but now is a good starting point, so let’s go!

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See a sampling of picks used by famous guitarists over the years.

Marty Stuart

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Luthier Dave Helmer shows you how to cure buzzy strings, bad intonation, gnarly frets, high action, and other common troubles with off-the-shelf axes.

Guitars are the best. We love them. It’s fun to fall in love with a guitar at a store, buy it, and proudly bring it home. But we’ve all been there … where after a month that new guitar is just not playing as good as it was before. As guitar players, we know what feels good and what feels bad when it comes to playability. Maybe you have setup preferences that you like on all your guitars, or maybe you want to experiment with changes to your setup?

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