David Byrne’s 6-string counterpart discusses the tonal, aesthetic, and production particulars influencing her gear for Byrne's HBO and American Utopia Broadway shows.

Another NAMM-sparked friendship, another guitar.... This time Swan ran into the jovial Doug Kauer while wandering the halls of the Anaheim Convention Center. The two hit it off (one of her mottos is: “if you can hang with someone, you can work with someone”), and she needed to fill a void in her guitarsenal with something cooking with P-90s. She ended up landing this Kauer Starliner Express with Wolfetone MeanP90s.


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The emotional wallop of the acoustic guitar sometimes flies under the radar. Even if you mostly play electric, here are some things to consider about unplugging.

I have a love-hate relationship with acoustic guitars. My infatuation with the 6-string really blasted off with the Ventures. That’s the sound I wanted, and the way to get it was powered by electricity. Before I’d even held a guitar, I knew I wanted a Mosrite, which I was sure was made of fiberglass like the surfboards the Beach Boys, Surfaris, and the Challengers rode in their off time. Bristling with space-age switchgear and chrome-plated hardware, those solidbody hotrod guitars were the fighter jets of my musical dreams. I didn’t even know what those old-timey round-hole guitars were called. As the singing cowboys Roy Rogers and Gene Autrey strummed off into the sunset, the pace of technology pushed the look and sound of the electric guitar (and bass) into the limelight and into my heart. Imagine my disappointment when I had to begin my guitar tutelage on a rented Gibson “student” acoustic. At least it sort of looked like the ones the Beatles occasionally played. Even so, I couldn’t wait to trade it in.

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