We're getting in the van and headed your way, East Coast!
Before we head out on tour we're playing a set at Wax 'n Facts at 2pm. Come out!
Name: Jenn Downs
City: Atlanta, GA
Instrument: Danelectro Bass
In 2005 I was playing in my very first rock and roll band (the one show with the all girl industrial band doesn’t count) on a surprisingly sturdy, fire engine red Squire 2 bass. It sounded great, but it was decidedly NOT COOL. This became a problem when I wanted to join my next band, The Cogburns, who played Telecasters, custom Fender basses, Firebirds and Flying Vs.
One night before the bassist I ended up replacing moved out to LA, he played this Danelectro Bass on stage and I fell in love immediately. I think I remember begging him to sell it to me, even though it had a cat sticker and I do not like cats. He’d bought it from The Cogburns’ guitarist and epic storyteller who said it came from some pimp or heroin dealer who was a bluesman in the 70s. Who knows where it came from really, but I think it’s actually a 90s issue. It only cost me $200, my cheapest piece of gear and my most loved. Even my Thunderbird takes a backseat to my Dano.
This bass has traveled with me all over the Southeast and one tour of England, it’s been my comfort in band breakups and my joy on stage, and it survived an on stage guitar tossing collision at (old) Lenny’s - note the two holes on the bottom right side are covered with Hello Kitty Bandaids.
Band: Superpill, The Downs
Name: Matt Moldover
City: San Francisco, CA
Instruments: The Mojo is a table-top controller I designed and built for playing and manipulating sounds on a computer. The Robocaster is a hybrid controller-guitar, custom built and co-designed by Visionary Instruments. It allows very flexible control of guitar tones, right from the face of the instrument.
I’m inspired by artists who don’t just create fresh sounds and styles, but who also push the limitations of their instruments. My search for new musical territory has led me to do the same. Phenomenal things are possible with well established digital instruments. We just need better ways to connect them to our analog bodies.
Sound Clip: Dearest One
Name: Jenna Shea Mobley
City: Atlanta, Georgia
Instrument: I don’t know much about it. Fiddle that we bought new sometime in the mid 90s… been playing it ever since. Even though, I shouldn’t be playing a student fiddle professionally haha I just LOVE it though.
The fiddle is traveled with me all across the country (New York, California, Oregon, Colorado, etc.) and all across the world (France, England, Ireland, New Zealand, Tanzania, Ghana, Rwanda, Kenya, Jamaica, Nicaragua, Ecuador, St. Croix).
I grew up on about 80 acres in an intentional community called Common Ground Community where I was always surrounded by old time music. Many of the members of the community played in a band called “Red Mountain White Trash” that toured around the contra dances across the country.
My daddy bought me the fiddle when I was first starting to play. He found with the help of one of my role models, Roger James, who played violin with the Alabama Symphony Orchestra.
I learned to play sitting around these jams around the campfire and going to contra dances. Now, I’m still playing that same fiddle with bands all over the southeast.
Name: JD Mackinder
City: Detroit, Michigan
Instrument: Fender copy P bass, created, designed, built and painted by Justin Brown of Dock Ellis Band, St Louis, MO
It’s important to me in that it was made by friend. This was the first show I’d played in two months, which is the longest I’d gone in over twenty years. I had recently quit my band and got the call from Justin’s wife Deanna to fill in for her band, Bubbahoney for the weekend. It seemed like a good time, so I left from Detroit, to St Louis, to play in Atlanta with my friends.
Band: Was supposed to be Bubbahoney, I think by the end of the weekend they had decided it was Detroit Red and the Filthy Dirties
Name: Justin Brown
City: Saint Louis, Missouri
Instrument: Pine body Telecaster style. Finished and assembled by myself.
I built this guitar over last part of 2012 and into early 2013. It has an enormous neck which feels great to me. The herringbone binding was a 90% success. It’s lightweight for long shows, and has a nice, mellow twang.
Band: The Dock Ellis Band, Jack Grelle & The Johnson Family
Name: Ben Trickey
City: Atlanta, GA
Instrument: Guild D-50 BG
This Guild is the first and only “fancy” guitar I ever bought. It has an LR Baggs pickup installed.
For years, I used cheaper guitars to record and play shows. There was the Fender I payed some guy $150 when I lived in western New York, which at the time was a lot of money for me. Then, I broke down and spent $250 on an electric acoustic Ibanez that was too thin and sounded horrible amplified. Then there was the Jasmine by Takamine my ex brother-in-law gave to me, I still have that one. All good guitars for what I needed them for.
I could never get it in my head that I was good enough at guitar to warrant anything pricey. In fact, I still feel guilty knowing no crazy claw-hammer speed-of-sound play-off doesn’t happen on my Guild. It’s a good guitar, though. It’s dreadnaught style. About a year and a half after I bought it, I woke up with a hangover and it had been slightly smashed. Not all-the-way smashed, but slightly smashed.
The person I brought the guitar to do repairs had it a long time. Longer than he said it would take, because he said he was giving me a deal. I really didn’t want the deal, I wanted my guitar fixed right, but he insisted on needing more time. I finally had to go pay the man for the full repairs and grab the guitar before he was finished. See, I had to go on tour and go into the studio and I wanted this guitar, not the Jasmine, not the Ibanez, not the Fender, but this Guild to record and play on.
The guitar has cracks all along the edges, filled somewhat with superglue, the pegs are brand new. There’s a crack on the front of the guitar I have to watch, because if it spreads, I could be looking at some bad splintering.
I love this guitar. It has a good mid-range I don’t hear in cheaper guitars. It now has a bit of character, like that guy you know with a scar on his face, or a slight limp no one ever mentions or inquires about.
Band name: Ben Trickey
Name: Kim Ware
City: Atlanta, GA
Instrument: Ludwig / WFL snare drum
I’m not sure I’ve ever experienced a love at first sight feeling quite like the one I experienced the first time I saw my Ludwig drum set. It was at Music Loft in Wilmington, NC, in the mid-nineties. I was not necessarily looking for a new kit, but couldn’t resist what seemed to be a good price on a gorgeous, sparkle-green, vintage set. I am not a gear head by any stretch of the imagination. But here’s what I do know about this particular drum. It’s older than the rest of the kit, because it has the WFL badge. I was told that meant it’s mid 60s, but I suspect it may be even older, according to this page http://www.vintagedrumguide.com/ludwig_badges.html. I was also told the kit used to belong to Melissa Etheridge (no idea if that’s true). It is not the original finish, but I don’t mind, as it’s gorgeous. It’s also hands down the best-sounding snare I’ve ever played live. I play it with an Evans zero-ring because I like more snare, less ring, and a product called an Active Snare on the bottom, which I’ve used for years, something my old drummer friend Michael Wilson turned me on to (they sound fantastic, highly recommended). The result is crisp but deep, much like a marching snare drum. I don’t play drums much anymore, but I like to think my guitar playing is percussive, no doubt influenced by my years of drumming. This is my favorite drum, ever.
Band: the Good Graces
Name: Nicolette Emanuelle
City: Atlanta, GA
I started playing Cello when I was 9, and when my parents got me a piano when I was 13 I fell in love. My piano was my love affair, it’s all I wanted to play - I never took lessons on it like I did the cello, but it spoke to me and we would talk for hours and hours. It was my voice for a long time and I always considered my cello to be more like my iron lung. I got work because of the cello, I was invited to play in bands, record, and tour because of my cello. I resented the hell out of my cello and would joking call it my old “ball and chain.” A few years ago my voice changed and I found that my piano and I didn’t talk like we used to. I had gone through a divorce, moved to the other side of the country and has to start all over again with nothing but my clothes and my instruments. I had to rebuild myself and found that in doing so I turned to my cello which has always been there for me. I had to work to learn to love and appreciate my cello, I started really listening and really trying to build a sound unique to me, my voice. And now I am in love, but not a fiery love that will fade or burn out, a long lasting love that took work and discipline, one I know I can count on. My piano and I are still great friends and lovers, but the feeling is very bittersweet. My cello is my husband and I now know with great confidence that we will be together until death.
A lot of people ask me why I play the cello, I think they expect some sentimental reason, or want to hear that ever since I was a baby I loved the instrument. The fact of the matter is when I was little I was an overachiever. I always entered the science fair, always joined the book club, or whatever else the teachers offered me that I though I could impress them with. So when I was 9 they said, “You can sign up for orchestra this year, but if you want to be in band you’ll have to wait until next year.” Well I had to join orchestra then, I wasn’t going to wait a year! Then it was, “You can pick either the violin, viola or cello, if you want to play bass you’ll have to wait until next year.” Well, I had to have the biggest instrument, because that meant it was the most impressive, so I picked the cello. The teacher insisted that my hands were too small for cello and that my parents wouldn’t get me one- so I has to prove her wrong on both counts. We didn’t have much growing up, but my mom was always very supportive when I gravitated toward something so she went down to the music store and rented me a cello. Later we bought one off an ad from the paper (the one I play today), it had belonged to the woman’s daughter who used to play, but didn’t any more. It was in an attic for years so it melted the varnish and gave it a unique texture. Later the end-pin got bent when I threw it at someone, missed them and hit the carpet. It’s been through a lot, but it’s always been there for me.
Band: Nicolette Emanuelle
Sound clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=scpXBhNsqdI
Location: Atlanta, GA
Instrument: 1979 Gibson SG - customized by private luthier
It’s the first guitar I ever purchased, the guitar I write most of my songs on, and the guitar i have used for most of the 2000+ shows I’ve played.
Being my first, it has become the standard for what I like a guitar to feel and sound like - from the neck shape, to the frets, pickups and balance. It also has a little piece of every show locked away inside and has tremendous value to me on that level.
1979 - purchased new by eager 14 year old who emptied bank account for purchase.
1979-1983: The Amerimen (Punk, New Wave & Rockabilly) & Subdubtion (Reggea, Ska, Punk). Played 100+ shows and recorded 70+ songs.
1984: Got to Berklee and discovered ‘79 was a bad year for Gibson - the neck was falling off the guitar and had to be refitted. Added Khaler Tremolo and custom finish to make it a boutique instrument.
1984-1986: Session musician in NJ and Boston playing in bands and on records.
1988: Started rock band Crab Daddy - play 25+ shows and an eponymous EP.
1989: Landlord burns down house while roommates and I are watching a movie - guitar in living room. Headstock and finish are singed, then watered down by Fire Dept.
1990-1992 - Crab Daddy becomes local fav band in Boston. Notable shows include Bill’s Bar & Lounge the night it burned while Crab Daddy was performing - literally on stage. Again, guitar hosed down by Fire Dept. 100 plus shows.
1992-1996: Crab Daddy signs with Ace of Hearts Records, moves to Athens GA and tours US extensively. This guitar was my main guitar during this period and we played 150-200+ shows a year, playing with Paul Westerberg, The Drovers, Charlitans UK, and others. Shows included pizza joints for gas money and a slice to sold out Cabaret Metro with roadies and green rooms, local rock starts like Jimmy Chamberlain and Liz Fair. During one of these tours my guitar fell face down out of a guitar stand and the top ‘horn’ of the SG fell off - bad glue from Gibson.
1996-1999: started Atlanta band Trampoline. During load out one day it was knocked out of a loading bay and fell straight down on the headstock, bounced an inch, and fell face down again. A small piece of the headstock (matching the body) fell off. I have both pieces, by the way.
2000-2004: joined band Shamgod. wrote and recorded dozens of gigs, played around 100 gigs and made 2 CDs.
2004-present: stared band Brain Box. Played SxSW and every major club in Atlanta and Athens. Also started The Goldest, Turn Down Service, Main Street Exiles (Rolling Stones Tribute), and Convoy (Country & Southern Rock tribute), joined Tag Team, joined Band. James Band, and have filled in as a session player for numerous bands, recording sessions and musical enterprises.
I have used this guitar continuously since I bought it. It is the standard I judge other guitars against. I have written over 500 songs on this guitar, and recorded 300 of them - about 100 have been released on 9 records. It is a work horse that won’t quit, even as it loses pieces off of it. It sounds amazing, plays like a dream and is one of the best guitars I’ve ever held in my hands.
Bands: Brain Box, The Goldest, Tag Team, Convoy, Band. James Band
Website: http://www.BrainBox1.com (Facebook pages for all bands, too)
Sound Clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oti55nyaR9w
Bands: Victory Hands, Big Ragoo, The Ether Family Presents…, Situation Communist, The Aloha State and a few other ongoing studio projects.
Instrument: Electrical Guitar Company custom designed all-aluminum bass modeled after the 1959 Non-Reverse Gibson Thunderbird. Named HOG (Hammer Of God).
EGC guitars are designed by a guy named Kevin Burkett with the same approach the Travis Bean guitars and basses, which is typically an aluminum neck through the body of the guitar. I love the way Travis Beans sound. They were used by many of my favorite bands like Wire, Television, Silkworm, etc. And then I always loved Mike Watt’s blue Gibson non-reverse Thunderbird II bass, but they are very rare and ridiculously expensive now. So, I basically asked Kevin to help me jumble all those things together. He’s meticulous. I think he went through three body builds before he got the proportions where he was happy.
Sound clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kZpqAXnSiBU
1950’s Martin alto saxophone
I’ve been playing tenor saxophone since 1983, but the alto really piqued my interest when I first heard John Zorn’s Naked City in ‘92. I bought this sax on a whim at a used music store in Columbus, OH in 1997 with a tax refund check. I didn’t have the funds to pick out the “perfect” horn at the time, but it was in good condition (still is) and has definitely become a part of me. I have no real idea about the history of this particular sax, other than the part that I’ve put into it. It’s traveled with me from Columbus to Chicago and back to Atlanta, and I’ve played it in every band I’ve been in since I’ve owned it. I also play drums, guitar and some electronic production stuff, but this saxophone is the instrument I feel I have the most connection with musically and expressively. It’s the only instrument I can improvise on.
Band name: suicidelane
Instrument: Elektron Machinedrum UW
The Machinedrum is a digital drum machine with 2.5MB of sample memory. Ot can do all the conventional drum machine stuff but so much more. The sample memory is instantly accessible and the inputs can be recorded/played back without stopping the unit. The Machinedrum is very open ended and almost modular in its approach. E.g. single cycle waves can be sampled and played back in a chromatic fashion. Fast retriggering can add harmonics to the sounds which in turn can be tamed by its filter. More mangling can be done by introducing sample rate reduction. If there is such a thing as an expressive drum machine, the MD would be it. All sound settings can be locked per sequenced step.
I have wanted an MD since when they first came out but due to their fairly high price I was unable to afford one. Finally in late 2012 one was procured, and it will stay with me for a long time, much like a good guitar.
I use the MD in conjunction with an analog synthesizer/sequencer from the same manufacturer - digital coldness meets analog wooliness. The stand are custom built by companyofquail to fit both machines.
In the sound example, 3 sampled blips from a modular analog oscillator were sequenced, played back and parameter locked.
Fender American Deluxe Telecaster
Band: Silent & Listen.
Just the one that “feels right.” Got it when it was about ten years old and it looked like it had never been played. So, I’ve spent the last five helping it catch up on lost time.
Once played a silly gig our drummer booked at a teen club in Henry County. The kids were all jacked up on soda and candy and one miscreant from the crowd threw a condom toward the stage which draped perfectly over the neck while I was tuning. After verifying that it was unused, I flipped it off and we started our set.
Starting on April 19th we're coming to your down, we're gonna... well, you know. Check out the shows page for more info!
Hey all, I've been working on a new photography project called, That One Guitar. It features some of my favorite photographers and one of their favorite pieces of gear. We do a quick a and dirty photoshoot and I chop it up and share it with the would. Easy! It's really been cool hanging with all these folks, even for just a few minutes and it's been great fun to shoot all these amazing instruments. OK, time to catch everyone up! I'm going to start posting them here on a regular basis and you can follow along in real time over at http://thatoneguitar.tumblr.com.
If you'd like to participate I'd love to have you. Get in touch at: email@example.com
3/4 size classical guitar made by Montana Guitars
When my daughter was born (12 years ago) I would play my guitar for her and she would fall asleep. I would keep on playing until she woke up again and we would start the process over. The songs I wrote during this time were some of my first. Later on I bought her this child sized classical guitar which she dabbled with but she took a liking to the clarinet and is playing that in her school’s band. Of course her guitar is around the house and I pick it up and pluck out tunes when the mood strikes. I am now the proud father of a baby boy and the tradition of playing music for the baby continues. My son loves the guitar and the songs I sing to him. If he doesn’t like it he will let me know and I will change the tune till it pleases him.
Songwriting is a very personal exercise and my family means a lot to me so they work there way into my songs. My 8 year old step-son has taken a liking to bluegrass music and just bought a Jimmy Martin CD while he was in Nashville with his Grand Parents. The Montana guitar is special because it belongs to my daughter and has been a part of many songwriting sessions with her and my sons! Maybe one day my daughter will take the guitar and write a song but until then ill keep putting it to good use and keep it in tune.