Miller ably composes her way through a spectrum of styles, including traditional-sounding jazz, peaceful folk, and quirky blues.

Jane Miller
Three Sides to a Story
Pink Bubble Records

Berklee Associate Professor and former PG columnist Jane Miller has gone solo for Three Sides to a Story. With a mix of originals, standards, and pop classics, it is, as Miller says, a snapshot of where she is with her guitars now, and it’s a flattering one.

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From his days being mentored by legendary luthiers Jimmy D’Aquisto and Mario Maccaferri to the unsurpassed honor of having his instruments displayed at New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, Monteleone has proven himself one of the most gifted and original archtop builders in the world.

Monteleone’s Grand Artist guitars are inspired by his mandolin-making years and feature an elegant scroll on the bass-side bout. Photos by Vincent Ricardel

Taking a stellar instrument in your hands can be a bit overwhelming— especially when it’s a masterfully built piece of high-functioning art. For starters, you don’t want to ding it, drop it, scratch it, or do anything that might cause its owner pain or expense. Secondly, and possibly even more powerfully, you might not feel worthy of such an instrument.

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Walden''s G700ce Grand Auditorium from their Natura line is comfortable, playable, attractive, and stage-ready with B-Band electronics, all for about $650.

Walden has been one of the real stars of the affordable acoustic market for quite some time, consistently producing well-built, high-quality, great-sounding guitars for less than a grand—and often much less. Like many guitar makers that offer great stuff that’s accessibly priced, Walden builds their axes overseas. But Walden is not a sloppy outsourcing operation. They emphasize a hands-on ethic and like to know where their materials are coming from—getting woods from PEFC certified sources and using a small staff of seven trained luthiers. The payoff has traditionally been guitars that rival, and often better, a lot of guitars in the same price class. The G700ce Grand Auditorium, from the company’s Natura line, is no different. It manages to be comfortable, playable, attractive, and stage-ready with B-Band electronics, all for about $650. It’s a great deal for gigging players who need to get the most out of their budget.

More Than the Sum of its Parts
Walden guitars always seem to look good, and elegant understatement seems to be the rule with the Walden design gurus. The G700ce doesn’t deviate from that formula. It’s beautifully proportioned, with a Grand Auditorium body that’s roughly the size of a 000 but slightly more voluptuous and deeper. The top is solid Sitka spruce, and the back is solid Indian rosewood. Only the sides, which arguably have the least impact on tone, are laminate, while the neck is solid mahogany, and fretboard and bridge are Indian rosewood. It’s not an entirely austere guitar—the body is bound with white plastic, and an abalone rosette and reddish faux-tortoise pickguard add a tasteful measure of flash and adornment.

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We take a look at three summertime instructional releases that are sure to inspire you to pick up that guitar and do a little pickin’.

Winter can be a time for woodshedding, but summer heat and humidity can make a person want to hibernate, too, and if you’re gonna hide from the heat, you’re gonna need DVDs. Here are a couple new summer releases that are sure to teach, inspire, and make you want to pick up that guitar and do a little pickin’.

A Lesson with Steve Earle: Guitars, Songs and Picking Techniques
There’s no songwriter cooler than Steve Earle—gritty, honest, angry, snarky, and smart; he’s also prolific, gifted, and troubled, but mostly he’s a hell of a writer, and a darn fine picker, too. In a conversation format, Happy Traum does a great job asking questions and prompting Earle to teach picking techniques and talk about songwriting in this two-hour DVD lesson.

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