The works of master luthiers on display at the 2010 Montreal Guitar Show
The best guitar makers in the world can walk down the street unnoticed. In some cases, they are unknown even to the faithful who play their instruments. Heck, the word “luthier” isn’t even in most dictionaries. This is fitting, actually. Most luthiers are happy to fly under the radar and quietly work on their craft. Avoiding the spotlight seems to be part of the job description. You might have a different opinion, however, after taking a stroll across the Montreal Guitar Show floor.
The MGS is like an all-star game for luthiers. More than 130 of the best guitar makers in the world were at the fourth iteration of the event showing off their stuff, sharing their design philosophies, and soaking up a high level of appreciation from A-list artists, fellow gear makers, and fans of stringed instruments. Some of the luthiers’ reputations preceded them. Some were relative newcomers whose innovative work got them an invitation to exhibit.
For attendees in the market for a handcrafted instrument as well as those just curious to see and hear some cool stuff, the MGS was the proverbial candy store for wide-eyed, eager kids. More than 60 mini concerts took place, pairing notable musicians with guitars right off the show floor. There were workshops. There were lectures. Oh, and the world-famous Montreal Jazz Festival was going on right outside the door.
It’s impossible to crystallize the event in a few magazine pages, but here’s a taste of what we encountered this year.
The Papaléocada by Jean-Yves Alquier (alquier-guitar.com) is a lap steel made of a stainless steel exoskeleton and 115 pieces of grain-matched curly maple. The matching KT66-driven amp was made by Christophe Jégou (guitares.jegou.free.fr/web).
LEFT: Michael McCarthy specializes in acoustic archtops that he builds using a CNC machine to carve self-bracing tops. mccarthystringedinstruments.com
RIGHT: Prairiewood Guitars’ Midwesterner (left) features a butternut body, while the Hardtop (right) has an Eastern maple body. prairiewoodguitars.com
LEFT: Ken Bonfield demonstrates Alan Carruth’s latest creation, a harp guitar with a separate soundboard for the bass strings. Carruth built it as part of a competition in which luthiers create instruments from materials that cost less than $100. alcarruthluthier.com
RIGHT: Tom Ribbecke’s fan-fret Halfling is so-named because it combines a bass side that’s flat like a steel-string acoustic with a treble side that’s carved like an archtop. ribbecke.com
The Cherry Seven guitars by (left to right): Randy Muth (rsmuthguitars.com), Joseph Hart (hartguitars.ca), Jeremy Anderson (legatolutherie.com), Marc Saumier (archtop, saumierguitars.com), Alan Carruth (alcarruthlithier.com), Marc Saumier (classical), and Joshua House (houseguitars.com).
In 2009, Marc Saumier, a Canadian luthier who builds guitars exclusively from woods he cuts in nearby forests in the Eastern Townships of Quebec, had a bold idea: invite a group of luthiers to each build an instrument using wood from the same trees. In addition to Saumier, five other luthiers took part in the project—Randy Muth, Joshua House, Alan Carruth, Jeremy Anderson, and Joseph Hart. These six builders created seven instruments (Saumier contributed two) from red spruce, black cherry, and Eastern hop hornbean that Saumier sawed himself and provided to his fellow builders. Because each guitar features a cherrywood back and sides, the endeavor quickly became known as the Cherry Seven Project.
Exhibited as a collection at this year’s show, the seven guitars attracted a lot of attention for their sonic appeal and visual beauty. Though the woods used in these acoustics came from the same logs, each guitar emerged from its respective workshop with a unique look and sound, proving it’s a luthier’s hands—not the materials he uses—that ultimately determines an instrument’s character.
With his Cherry Seven Project, Saumier wanted to prove a point. “I make my instruments entirely from local woods, including cherry, maple, butternut, red spruce, hornbean, poplar, basswood, blue beech, Eastern hemlock, Eastern white cedar, willow, and apple,” he said. “Though our native hardwoods are not as dense as some of the more exotic woods from the rain forests or Africa, it is certainly possible to make master-grade instruments from local materials.”
LEFT: C.P. Thornton’s HTL model honors the classic Fender Strat but features a 4.5-degree neck angle meant to make the 25"-scale guitar immediately comfortable for players used to a Les Paul. cpthorntonguitars.com
RIGHT: Edward Klein has developed a reputation for bringing head-turning designs to Montreal every year. This year he brought two guitars with metal sides that were bolted to the top and back. edwardkleinguitars.com
LEFT: Michael Potvin’s Mercury GT features a black-walnut body with a maple top, while the Ranchero Grande Thinline has a flamed, spalted maple top and back with a mahogany core. potvinguitars.com
MIDDLE: This custom archtop by Claudio Pagelli reflects his philosophy that “Jazz is not symmetrical.” pagelli.com
RIGHT: Kenji Sugita guitars are known for their small neck joints and elegant touches. sugitakenji.com
LEFT: Dimitri M. Tenev custom archtops feature a 25.5" scale length and Florentine or Venetian cutaways. dmtguitars.com
MIDDLE: These jazz guitars were built by Sigmund Johannessen, a senior luthier and instructor at the Summit School for Guitar Building and Repair. summitguitars.com
RIGHT: Dean Campbell made this UK-1 for Dave “Fuze” Fiuczynski of the Screaming Headless Torsos and the Jack DeJohnette Group. campbellamerican.com
Dutch guitarist Teye, who is known for his flamenco playing and his work with Joe Ely, incorporates classical and flamenco guitar construction techniques into his striking A-, S-, and T-Series lines of guitars. teye-guitars.com
Michael Greenfield’s guitars are all unique and handcrafted to the tastes and playing styles of his clients. He makes about 15 instruments a year. The harp guitar in the center was delivered to Andy McKee during the show. greenfieldguitars.com
Kick off the holiday season by shopping for the guitar player in your life at Guitar Center! Now through December 24th 2022, save on exclusive instruments, accessories, apparel, and more with hundreds of items at their lowest prices of the year.
We’ve compiled this year’s best deals in the 2022 Holiday Gift Guide presented by Guitar Center.
Looking for a compact, “noiseless” way to plug in and play guitar? Check out the brand-new Gibson Digital Amp, available only in the Gibson App.
The new Gibson App simplifies the learning process and brings guitar playing to life for the current and next generation of guitarists in a modern, comprehensive, and intuitive way. The Gibson App is the place to take your guitar playing to the next level. New to the Gibson App is the Gibson Digital Amp, the ultimate starting amplifier for beginners and a flexible amp on-the-go for intermediate players and pros to get their sound anywhere. The Gibson Digital Amp is an accessible amplifier for both acoustic and electric guitars, and is currently available for Apple/iOS users--an Android version will debut next year.
Use the Gibson Digital Amp’s jamming guide to get started and transform your sound with built-in effects and pedals, jam to backing tracks, or use it in lessons and songs. The Gibson Digital Amp only requires your phone, and wired headphones for the best playing experience, no cables are needed. The amp features 3 acoustic mic presets, 4 electric amp presets, and 6 effects pedals.
The Gibson Digital Amp is the ultimate starting amplifier for beginners and a flexible amp on-the-go for intermediates and pros.
The Gibson App uses a unique two-way, interactive platform to teach guitar students how to do everything from playing their first note to shredding loads of songs. The Gibson App features interactive lessons with thousands of lessons and songs. Learn the songs step-by-step with video tutorials from superstar artists and pro guitarists in the “Gibson App Guide.” The Gibson App also includes the new Digital Amp, a built-in tuner, a metronome, Gibson TV, and new songs are added every week. New Gibson App Guides are added regularly and include Tommy “Spaceman” Thayer’s favorite iconic KISS guitar solos, Richie Faulkner’s (Judas Priest) “Guide to Metal,” Jared James Nichols’ “Guide to Blues,” CELISSE’s “Guide to Songwriting,” and more.
The Gibson App uses “audio augmented reality” to provide dynamic feedback to students as they learn and play. As you pluck a note or strum a chord, the Gibson App listens to your guitar and gives you real-time feedback on your playing. It also gives students a more contextual learning experience: Instead of learning chords and scales in a vacuum, you’re able to practice on a scrolling tablature that lets you hear how you sound with the backing of a virtual band. That means you can load up “Hurt” by Johnny Cash, “Brown Eyed Girl” by Van Morrison, “American Girl" by Tom Petty, “Nothing Else Matters” by Metallica, “Where is My Mind" by Pixies, “Country Roads” by John Denver, “I Hate Myself For Loving You" by Joan Jett, “Heaven” by Kane Brown, “Shape Of You” by Ed Sheeran, “Killer Queen” by Queen,“ Sweet Child O’ Mine,” by Guns ‘N Roses, “Run to the Hills” by Iron Maiden, “Roxanne” by The Police, and “Don’t Stop Believin’” by Journey, “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and “The Man Who Sold the World” by Nirvana, “Are You Gonna Go My Way” by Lenny Kravitz, and “Don't Look Back In Anger” by Oasis and hundreds more songs in a wide range of genres, to see how your play matches up with such seminal tracks.
As you’re playing, the Gibson App gives you feedback on timing and tone, ensuring that students are getting active input on how their play is developing. The Gibson App appeals to players of all levels, it’s not just for beginners looking to learn a few chords; the app can assist seasoned guitarists who are working their way through difficult riffs, want to learn their favorite songs, or polish their advanced techniques.
Players can also challenge themselves by speeding up or slowing the tabs. Like having a full-time guitar teacher, the Gibson App keeps track of all your progress and adjusts lesson plans accordingly. The Gibson App released a “backing track mode” which supports both lesson and song playback without headphones, so users can self-select what works best for their current environment. And that’s not all: the Gibson App also packs in a fully-featured digital tuner for guitar first-timers, there’s even a detailed lesson on how to tune your instrument, a multi-function metronome, players can connect to free one-on-one consultations with Gibson’s Virtual Guitar Tech team, and to direct links to the Gibson, Epiphone, and Kramer online stores for easy shopping for guitars, gear, apparel, and accessories.
Learn Guitar With The Gibson App
The Gibson App is more than a pocket-sized guitar teacher, it’s loaded with an archive of exclusive content and original programming from its premium and accessible award-winning online network, Gibson TV, featuring music icons telling their best guitar stories, with more episodes and installments added regularly. Users can watch Black Sabbath’s Tony Iommi share insights and tales from his decades-long career on the series “Icons,” dive into Joe Bonamassa’s assortment of legendary Les Paul guitars on “The Collection,” or see how Gibson’s iconic instruments are made in their Nashville factory from body to binding on “The Process.” There’s even a series called “The Scene” that focuses on backstage stories from hallowed music venues from coast to coast like The Troubadour and Grand Ole Opry.
The Gibson App free version features a few lessons a day; the premium version of the Gibson App offers full access and a 14-day free trial, then costs $19.99/£16.49 monthly or $119.99/£98.99 yearly.
For more information, please visit gibson.com.
This pickup captures the clear, bell-like single-coil chime of a classic P-90 when played clean and retains the tight mids and articulate low-end vintage growl and smooth sustain saturation when pushed into overdrive.
Belltone Guitars, as part of their Custom-Select System curated offering of pickups, has partnered McNelly pickups to create a one-of-a-kind retro-vibe P-90 pickup in the standard Filtertron size format. This pickup captures the clear, bell-like single-coil chime of a classic P-90 when played clean and retains the tight mids and articulate low-end vintage growl, and smooth sustain saturation when pushed into overdrive.
The McNelly P-90 Foil-Coil comes housed in a ‘raw’ nickel outer casing with a dull nickel foil face with metal mount screw gromets to complete the ‘new-vintage’ aesthetic, making it a perfect choice for your signature Belltone custom build. Available exclusively through Belltone Guitars.
Check out the Custom-Select System belltoneguitars.com to preview the McNelly P-90 Foil-Trons and all our standard and selectable components available to create your own signature Belltone. Then visit the Dream Lab on our website and select either model B-Classic ONE with its top binding or B-Classic TWO with its arm and body contours select your body color from our wide range of offerings, select your neck profile of either standard ‘C’ or thicker ’59 Round Back and either Maple or Rosewood fingerboard followed by your tuners, pickguard, and strings. Finally, review our curated custom-designed, and unique pickup selection to locate the McNelly P-90 Foil-Trons to complete your signature build.
Builds start at just over $2,300.00 with a custom case and shipping included.
For more information, please visit belltoneguitars.com.
McNelly P 90 Foil Tron video Sep27
Belltone P-90 Foil-Tron Pickup
DiMarzio, Inc. announces the Relentless P (DP299), the Relentless J Bridge (DP301), Relentless J Neck (DP300), and the Relentless J Pair (DP302) for 4 string basses.
DiMarzio, Inc. announces the release of the Relentless P (DP299), the Relentless J Bridge (DP301), Relentless J Neck (DP300), and the Relentless J Pair (DP302) for 4 string basses. The new Relentless P and Relentless J series pickups feature the Relentless cover designed in collaboration with Billy Sheehan.
As with the Relentless pickups, we removed all the hard edges from the standard P Bass and standard J Basspickups, and added an arch to the top of the pickups to bring the sensing coils and pole pieces closer to the strings. These improvements increase the dynamic range and make active circuitry unnecessary.
The Relentless P and Relentless J pickups incorporate Neodymium magnets and produce 70 percent more output than traditional passive pickups, and they’re dead quiet due to the incorporation of metal covers and foil-shielded cables. To dial in (or fine-tune) the individual string output, the Relentless P and Relentless J include eight adjustable pole pieces. These pickups also have a broad magnetic field so you can even bend notes without volume dropout.
DiMarzio’s extra shielding makes the Relentless P and Relentless J better for both recording and stage performances. We’ve mounted them onto robust .09375” thick circuit board base plates to eliminate the annoying protruding mounting screws — ultimately creating a more comfortable and consistent foundation to rest your fingers on.
The new Relentless P steps beyond the traditional P-Bass sound and can only be described as massive. It has more of everything: more volume, beefier lows, a growling midrange, and crispy highs with better individual string definition.
The Relentless J incorporates a new invention, (patent pending) parallelogram-shaped coils, offering an expanded mid-range punch, snappy highs, precise lows, and a new dimension to the sound of the Relentless series pickups.
Relentless P and Relentless J pickups will breathe new life into any bass, increase playability, and work well for any style of music from Motown to metal.
DiMarzio’s Relentless P, Relentless J Bridge, Relentless J Neck, and Relentless J pair are made in the U.S.A. and may now be ordered for immediate delivery.
Suggested List Price for the Relentless P is $169.00 (MAP $119.99).
Suggested List Price for the Relentless J Bridge and Relentless J neck is $155.00 (MAP $109.99).
Suggested List Price for the Relentless J Pair is $296.00 (MAP 209.99).
For more information, please visit our website at dimarzio.com.