Here's where we get to thank some of our friends, plug some of our favorite companies, and gush shamelessly, hoping for some price breaks or pretty scraps of wood.

None of my new poverty enhanced existence would be possible without my mentor Al Carruth. The guy is a luthier's luthier but really lousy at promoting himself — so I'll do it here. If it has strings (and sometimes if it doesn't), Al can build it. Al's instruments always sound wonderful because he has done the work to find out why. Add to that a great aesthetic sense, a sure hand, and a really perverse sense of humor and you have my friend Al.

My friend Aaron Green makes exquisite classical and flamenco guitars. I lust after his wood collection. His French polish finishes are the best I have seen. Even if you are a dedicated steel string player, you need to check out the gorgeous instruments displayed on his site.

 Julius Borges is not only one of the most perfection-driven madmen I know, he also makes a damn good guitar or two or three. He is also the driving force behind the Newport Guitar Festival in which I was honored to be included. Unfortunately, Julius had to sell the show to a Florida operator. He needed to get back to exclusively making guitars.

 Pete Woodman
is a fellow reso maker and repairman who has the tough luck to live and work on the Isle of Man situated between England and Ireland. Among other things, the Isle of Man is famous for tailless cats and killer TT motorcycle races. Pete was the first to test my carbon fiber biscuit bridges on a couple of upgrades. His success encouraged me to offer them as a separate item. Thanks Pete!

Music Instruction

Guitar Player World - a free resource and database of guitar
lessons to help you improve your skills.

My long-suffering guitar teacher needs mention here. Larry Unger is my favorite test engineer. His whole life is music. Larry doesn't care what an instrument looks like. When he says my guitars sound great, I know I have succeeded.

Larry Unger is a great player, composer, and teacher. Larry and Eden MacAdam-Somer form the kernel of the band Notorious. Those of you who are contra dancers probably know them already. Larry is a prolific writer and Eden plays just about any style of violin/viola music in a manner that is conducive to the word "WOW."

Guitarists of Note

leaf Keith Knight is one of the most versatile guitarists I have met. He made three of my guitars, all different, shine at the 2006 Newport Guitar Festival — without even playing them much before my mini-concert. You can hear more at his Bear Claw Music site. This guy deserves to be famous.

leaf Antoine “Hotdog” Payen is a Frenchman who has mastered an American art form— on a 12-string guitar, no less. This guy plays rags like he was born to them. A real must listen.

 Paul Rishell is the real deal. One of the best slide and blues fingerstyle guitarists I know of. He's also a very kind fellow. When I was perfecting my first 12-string reso, I brought it along to a charity gig Paul was doing in Havard Square. Paul didn't know me from Adam, yet took time between sets to give me some pointers on where I could improve my guitar. I've made every improvement except for one — Paul doesn't particularly care for 12-strings.

 I met Kinloch Nelson at the 2004 Newport Guitar Festival. I had never heard of him before that and it's a shame that he doesn't have the fame that goes with his absolute mastery of the instrument. He is one of the most versatile and accomplished guitarists I have heard. Between mini-concerts Kinloch made the rounds of the booths. When he played my guitars I finally got to hear what they should sound like.

Shiny things you need to have

If you are in the market for a really high quality custom glass or glass/metal composite guitar slide, check out Ian McWee's Diamond Bottlenecks. These are not your usual blister pack wonders. They are hand made beauties from a small company in the British West Midlands, the center of England's glass making industry. Ian takes the personal part of customer service very seriously.

I could never master using finger picks until I tried Guptill Music ProPik Finger-Tone® picks. They leave the whole pad of your finger exposed so you can actually feel the strings. It's a great transition from flesh to metal. For the thumb, I prefer their Good Grips metal and plastic combo.

Lutherie Organizations

The Catgut Acoustical Society is the foremost organization in the world for the study of stringed instrument acoustics. The site has many articles from their semi-annual Journal and links to other relevant sites.

The Guild of American Luthiers (GAL) was formed over twenty years ago to promote the sharing of knowledge among instrument makers. They publish a quarterly magazine, American Lutherie, and hold triennial conventions. The web site has much useful information, links to schools and suppliers, and a page of luthier jokes.

The Association of Stringed Instrument Artisans (ASIA) began ten years ago to promote professionalism among stringed instrument builders. They publish Guitarmaker, a quarterly magazine, and hold Symposia where members can attend workshops and show instruments to the public.

The Musical Instrument Makers Forum presents ongoing discussions about everything under the sun that pertains to instrument making. It's a great place to go for quick answers to those knotty questions and civil discussions about almost anything instrument related.

My Feeble Attempt

 The recording I hope you hear when you navigate to my home page (you need a Flash-enabled browser) was made at Bristol Studios in Boston, MA. Yes, that's me playing and croaking Brownsville Blues by Sleepy John Estes. It's more or less a version I “borrowed” from Charlie Musselwhite. The opus was recorded with two AKG 414 stereo mics (one for the guitar and one for voice), funneled through the preamps in a Yamaha 01V sound board, and engineered with MOTU's Digital Performer 3.0 on a Mac (of course). Digital Performer was used for EQ/compression and slight reverb). The kindly and patient recording engineer was Roger Sherman. If you don't have Flash installed, here's an MP3 link that will take longer to download.

Forbidden Fruit Designs

   My design tendencies occasionally spill over into other media: Web sites, furniture, carvings, and home remodeling. Please check out Forbidden Fruit Designs to view some of my woodworking projects and send me an email if you are interested in advertising your particular talent on the Web.

   Some sites currently in production:

Harvard Medieval Studies Vintage Classical Guitars This is my latest design. Aaron Green presents you with some luscious vintage classical guitars that he has reconditioned or acquired for resale. If you are a classical guitar fancier you must visit this site.

 Aaron Green, Luthier — superb classical and Flamenco guitar maker.

 Alan Carruth, Luthier — maker of anything with strings and a wonderful teacher of lutherie.

 Speaking Like A Pro — presentation skills training facilitated by Simpson Associates.

Just Because I Can

OK, I know this site has nothing to do with guitars, but I admire John Rooney's aesthetic. It combines the best of two worlds: cars and gardening.

  This site was created on a dual 2 X 2.66GHz dual core Intel Xeon Power Macintosh® powered by OS X 10.5 (Leopard). The software used in this opus was: Adobe Dreamweaver® CS3, Adobe Fireworks® CS5, Adobe Flash® CS5, and Adobe Photoshop® CS5. Some animals were harmed, but they will eventually get over it.

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