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"Artfield"

Ibanez used the best hand-picked woods, finest materials and supporting technology available in the guitar industry to build the Artfields.  This is the Ibanez Artfield model AFD40BG-Z and was built between 1988 and 1990.  The craftsmanship is exceptional, it sports a beautiful Bubinga body, a 5 ply Wenge(Maple?)-Bubinga neck, HQ-tremolo, Magnum locking machine heads and USA built SH/IBZ Pickups.  The neck has 30 non-jumbo frets and has a feel that's reminiscent of a Gibson Les Paul however has a much thinner profile which ends up feeling very natural and fast.  The first thing that surprised me about the guitar was the size of the body, rather small, however the overall balance of the instrument is excellent. Additionally, the tonal characteristics of the guitar are bright with good bottom having consistent energy and clarity across the fret board.  I've read that there were only around 100 of these guitars built but I have nothing to substantiate this statistic.    I will say I have only seen one for sale and spoken with only three other individuals who have one of these beauties... They are just not available.  It is completely a mystery why such a well designed guitar was not successful! Note: If anyone has one for sale, drop me a line! Let's talk I might be interested in purchasing it!

"Coffee"

Steinberger GM4T, 1989, double bound maple cutaway body with 24 fret composite neck, phenolic fret board, active electronics (EMGs) with TransTrem Vibrato.  As I understand it the M Series was designed by Steinberger, Mike Rutherford of Genesis and guitar maker Roger Giffin.  The Steinbergers are really, I believe, some of the best guitars built, particularly some of the older ones.  They are versatile, have excellent intonation and retain their tuning even after a dive bomb!  Coffee is my second Steinberger after Blue and is much more feisty as well as being one of my studio pack.  I have used her for lead and rhythm voices on quite a number of songs on my album spider dance, most notably the songs, rimshot, blues lament, spider dance, lullaby, greenhouse blues, and Wendy's song.  

Credits: Spider Dance - Rimshot, Blues Lament, Spider Dance, Lullaby, Greenhouse Blues, Wendy's Song 

Credits: In The Machine - Swing Shift, Action Figures & Metallic Salad

 

"Blue"

Steinberger GM7T, 1995, sculpted maple cutaway body with 24 fret composite neck, phenolic fret board, active electronics (EMGs) with TransTrem Vibrato.   Blue was my first Steinberger and really made me a believer.  Blue is an amazing guitar, that can sound like a screaming meanie on a hot summer night to a beautiful song bird on a calm balmy autumn evening.  Blue is one of my studio pack and is used quite often on a number of tracks.  On my album spider dance Blue was used on the tracks, hammered, blues lament, spider dance, greenhouse blues, and carbon based.

Credits: Spider Dance - Blues Lament, Hammered, Spider Dance, Greenhouse Blues, Carbon Based

"Honey"

This custom made Steinberger was made for those times when passive electronics and wood are the answer.  As I'm a lover of the double ball string system on the Steinbergers, and more often time then not find myself using only the bridge pickup, this lady fits the bill.  Honey has a quilted maple top on a beautiful Honduras mahogany (old wood!!!) body, with a 24 fret composite neck and phenolic fret board.

Credits: In The Machine - Rare Earth & Dragonfly

"Anise"

 

Steinberger S Standard, poplar body with a bolt-on composite neck and a 24 fret phenolic fret board with active electronics.  As I understand this is the only Steinberger guitar built with a head stock.  In speaking with Ed Roman, he told me that these where originally called "Scepters",  It would appear they are quite rare, I've only seen two others for sale, one on Ebay and one at Ed's web site.  Anise... screams!  This guitar was built for metal, it is that plain and simple.  If this thing was a weapon it would be a Klingon Batlik.  I've used her in the studio a few time and really like her... her neck is really quite fantastic and extremely fast... faster then me... she has been used on a couple of track on my album spider dance.

 

Credits: Spider Dance - Wendy's Song, Hammered

 

"China"

Catalyst NXT: Everything about this guitar screams technology! From the not so traditional shape to the use of composite materials. The guitar is a ceramic composite material called SoundCompound and very similar to wood, but does not have moisture gaps that can result in dead spots that reduce resonance and sustain.  This is a really nice instrument and has better sustain than any machine in my collection, this guitar can really hold a note... With all this high tech there are two problems that really do hurt the guitar, first the whammy bar has some design problems, it's just not really well placed in relation to the bar's height against the body resulting in it being very difficult to use as it sits too far out from the body.  I also noticed on several occasion that the guitar needed to be tuned after the whammy was used... very frustrating.  The second thing that bugs me about the design is the placement of the volume control which has been placed directly under the bridge pickup, so if you're like me and swing hard when playing, you can hit the volume knob and bam you turn the volume all the way up or partially down.  Despite these problems, the guitar still really rocks, plays great and has truly phenomenal sustain. 

Credits: In The Machine - Critical Mass, Shedding My Skin & Metallic Salad

 

"Bench Mark"

 

D'Agostino Bench Mark... I love this guitar!  Pat D'Agostino (ex-Gibson/Maestro effects) opened up his own guitar company in 1975.  In 1977 he introduced this Italian-built series of guitars.  These guitars are really high in quality and although I don't know the number produced they are rather rare.  The guitar is the top of the line in the series and has a laminated through body neck, mahogany body, ebony fingerboard with beautiful fret work and mother of pearl inlays.  This guitar is one of my studio pack and gets used often.

 

Credits: In The Machine - Shedding My Skin & Mise En Scenes

 

"Ghostrider"

 

Ibanez Ghostrider GR520 is a great guitar with a bound mahogany body and carved maple top, 22 fret bound rosewood fingerboard with abalone/pearl split back inlays.  The guitar easily entered my studio pack and is used quite often.  The thick mahogany body and maple top add both a warmth and sustain that provide tonal qualities that are really impressive.  I love the overall feel of the guitar and the depth of its tone, specifically in lead passages when a full body sustain of melody is demanded.  These guitars are still available and can be purchased rather cheaply, very good guitar for the money.  I've played the GR320 and it has a very similar feel about it and it's a nice guitar, but it just does not have the overall versatility of its big brother.  

 

Credits: In The Machine - In The Machine

"LS-1"

 

Charvel LS-1 has a carved mahogany body and a mahogany neck, 22 fret bound rosewood fingerboard with pearl dot inlays with string-through body tailpiece.  Well I really like the guitar and it it is a really nice playing instrument... that being said it has a very specific property that limits its use for me... sustain, it kind of lacks it.  I use it when the passage requires a rather quick drop-off.  

 

Credits: In The Machine - Metallic Salad, Mise En Scenes

"Ruby"

Washburn EC36, This is one of the Japanese Superstrats called the "Stephens Extended Cutaway." This 1988 model has a total of 36 frets with a single humbucker pickup and a Floyd Rose.  This guitar is a beauty... through-body neck with absolutely magnificent fret work.  This is really a rare guitar and I really love how it plays and sounds.  I'm currently playing Ruby quite a bit, and doing some studio work with her, she is one of my studio pack.  Any of you out there who have any of these guitars for sale drop me a line, let's talk...

Credits: In The Machine - In The Machine & Action Figures

"Magnum"

Washburn EC29, This is like the EC36 except that it has a total of 29 frets with a humbucker and single coil supported by a Floyd Rose.  This guitar, just like Ruby is a beautiful guitar.  As with her big sister... through-body neck with absolutely magnificent fret work.  I've seen a number of these for sale, however not that often.  I really love how it plays and sounds and with the single coil, it is a tad more flexible.  Magnum has contributed to a number of tracks on my last album spider dance, in particular the tracks spider dance and  cadillac mountain.

Credits: Spider Dance - Cadillac Mountain

"Strat"

 

This my 84 Blonde Fender Stratocaster, killer tone, neck and vibe!  I really dig the guitar and I'm really playing this one quite a bit these days... she is sitting in the chair next to Coffee and is without a doubt in the studio pack.  I've played a lot of strats and this is the one where all the parts came together right.  I purchased it with the idea of using it on a song that required a really good cutting tone to punch through a really heavy background mix.  Well this girl does just that, as well as being kick to play.   

"Les Paul - Recording"

 

Gibson Les Paul Recording built between 1974 and 1975 with a whammy bar on that appears to be factory installed.  I purchased this guitar in 2001 as I had one of these years ago as a struggling guitarist.  Well the one thing I had forgotten about these guitars is their weight... I mean this lady is heavy, if they did a contest of the world heaviest guitars this would without be a contender.  The low impedance pickups are really unforgiving but when used in concert with a valve for direct injection, they offer a sterling clear tone. I have a couple of ideas in which this lady will play a role.

 

"RGX"

 

Yamaha RGX, this is one of the early Taiwan Yamaha guitars built in the late 1980's and based on the ever popular superstrat style.  This guitar has a number of really nice appointments such as mahogany body with sculpted maple bound top, 24 fret bound ebony fingerboard, humbucker in the bridge position followed by two single coils.  The whammy is a licensed style Floyd Rose that is a bit on the "cheapish" side, but still works fine... I will admit I'm not a big fan of the Floyd Rose.  It's a nice guitar, has a really nice neck (attached) and is rather flexible instrument.  

"Deepblue"

 

Washburn BT-10, one of Washburn Maverick Series, mahogany body, maple neck with 22 fret rosewood board and a Floyd Rose.  Deepblue is a great guitar with rich mahogany warm tones and a kick to play.  I've used Deepblue in the studio on a couple of occasions and she has both great tonal qualities for rhythm and lead.  She has been used on a number of rhythm tracks on my album spider dance most notably on wendy's song.

 

Credits: Spider Dance - Wendy's Song

"Dakota"

Rickenbacker 650D Dakota, one of Rickenbacker's 650 Series, walnut body and through body 24 fret maple neck.  Dakota is a great guitar, enjoyable to play, light and really good looking.  The use of walnut with the maple neck really gives a rich full body tone that is really consistent.  I really wish that Rickenbacker would develop a line of guitars like Dakota with a stabilized Wilkinson tremolo... think that would really cool.  I've used Dakota in the studio quite a number of times and on my last album spider dance she even got a track named after her...  I don't think there are any flats in the song, it's just a title.

Credits: Spider Dance - Dakota Flats

"Ricky"

Rickenbacker 220 Hamburg, double cutaway maple body with bolt on 24 fret neck sporting 2 humbuckers.  I've modified this guitar a bit however by adding a Washburn Wonder Bar Vibrato.  I only have one problem with this guitar however, it is so heavy that after playing her for a couple hours my shoulder lists to one side.  Ricky has a really nice consistent rich tone and I use it for rhythm.

Credits: Spider Dance - Dakota Flats

"Brian May - Guild"

Brian May Signature Guitar.  I purchased this guitar in 1994 as Brian May has influenced me musically, in particular his playing in the early days of Queen.  His guitar orchestrations and unique use of tone has, I believe, influenced guitar playing quite a bit. What can I say about this guitar, it is simply a masterpiece... Having never had the opportunity to personally see Brian's guitar, I have read that this version is as close as you can get. That being said, Brian has done what a lot of us can only wish for - to build a true piece of art the way we want and bond with it... becoming an extension of our own voice.  A truly unique and perhaps one of the best electric guitars ever built. 

"Zed"

Custom guitar called a Zippenbacker, with a maple body, quilted maple top and bolt on maple neck.  I purchased Zed online based on looks... She looks good and has a really nice neck.  I put a Washburn Wonder Bar Vibrato on her, and this has helped her to some degree, next is the electronics.  I hope that after the electronics I can move on to the body, the neck join was not a very professional job, but I think it can be fixed.

 

"Pedulla"

MVP Series.  Back in 1975 Michael Vincent Pedulla was making acoustics and some electrics, eventually moving on to his now famous Basses...I don't think they make guitars anymore.  These guitars are a bit rare, well built and bit heavy (slab body).  Playing a Pedulla MVP is a bit like a Les Paul but a bit brighter in sound, supported by active electronics.  

Credits: In The Machine - Dragonfly

"Cus"

Kapa Continental built locally in Hyattsville, MD, in 1966, by Kope Veneman.  Cus is a really big guitar, with a bit of age and a really nice neck.  She has a good raunchy retro sound.  I have not gotten into the studio with her yet. 

"Starfield"

This Ibanez/Hoshino made Starfield guitar was made in the early 90's and has two single coils and humbucker in the bridge position.  It is an attractive instrument, however I've really not spent any time with her.  So I'll let you know about her when I do...

 

"Cortney"

This is a custom Cort, by the individual who designed some of the guitars that Prince played in the late 80's early 90's.  It is an attractive guitar, has nice tone and is fun to play.  My lady purchased this for my Birthday a couple of years ago...  I remember coming home and she was laid out on the bed with a card and some candy!  Nice gift!!!!  

Credits: Spider Dance - Dakota Flats

"Jacky"

Hohner's "The Jack" guitar has a double cutaway maple body, a through body neck, with a Steinberger vibrato and passive EMG's both humbuckers and a single coil.  I just recently acquired this guitar and have not had much time with her, however, with a bit of customization she has potential.  All in all an interesting guitar.

"Old Faithful"

Bozo, made by Bozo Padunavic from Yugoslavia, considered one of the top 25 luthiers in the world .  I have been told he is in his 70s, living in Florida, and still making guitars.  I purchased this acoustic in London in 1979 at a music shop in Soho.  When I sat down to play it, I knew instantly I had to have it!  Really can't remember what I paid for her, but I do remember that it was more cash than I had at the time, and as I remember the exchange rate was quite high... It took quite a bit of talking to walk away with it...  The tonal spectrum of this guitar is rather impressive its bottom is rich and full and the top rings with sustain, all of which is rather even and well integrated.   I have plans to do an album that is completely based in acoustic instruments in the future.

"Washburn Prototype"

This classical electric prototype was handcrafted by Washburn Japan, and is just 1 of 24 made.  It has a solid mahogany body back and neck with a solid spruce top. It has active electronics, gold plated hardware and pearl buttons.  The workmanship of this guitar is really impressive.  It is a versatile guitar and has a great feel about it.  This guitar was used on my album "In The Machine" on two songs Critical Mass and Shedding My Skin.

Credits: In The Machine - Critical Mass, Shedding My Skin

"Big Red"

Weston headless bass with a neck through body design and sports both active and passive electronics.  This is really a versatile bass providing the ability to mix signal paths for the active and passive with some rather interesting results.  I have used in a number of times, nothing recorded as yet. 

 

"Bunker"

These basses were built in very small numbers in Washington State and are rather rare.  A rather interesting bass guitar, completely constructed out of maple, both body and neck supported.  It sports two humbuckers pickups that have coil tapping switches.  The bass has a really bright sound and very reminiscent of the Rickenbacker, but with a bit more punch. 

Credits: In The Machine - Dragonfly

"Yeller"

Cort Artisan A6 Bass Series, with a double cutaway select maple body, through-body wenge/maple laminated neck.  Two MightyMite soapbar pickups with active electronics.   This is a really nice bass and I've used her on most of the tracks on my album spider dance.  Yeller has great bottom and top tonal characteristics with the ability to deliver consistently in the studio.   This is a big instrument and when I'm doing bass in the studio, it really takes a bit getting used to her.

Credits: Spider Dance - All bass tracks

"Sitar"

Well this is a long story, however I'll save it for another time.   I was visiting a friend in India, and we went to the old section of New Delhi... does that make it Old Delhi?  Well we found this really cool music shop and I proceeded to buy this beautiful old instrument call a Venar, which is one of the most ancient stringed instruments of India.  Well basically the airline destroyed it attempting to get it back to the U.S.  So I asked my bud to bring one back with him the next time he was able to get to the U.S., however he was unable to find a Venar like the one that had been destroyed. 

I hope to get in the studio in the not to distant future to record a completely acoustic CD, have some really cool ideas for this lady!!!


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