Perfect spring day in early May when Roopam Garg flew in to take ownership of his new Wingspan™ 8-string guitar. He’s been a good friend ever since Camping With Animals As Leaders (2013) when we met for the first time. That amazing experience with Tosin, Javier, and Evan Brewer first introduced Ken Kinter and me to Roopam and Gabriel Levi…friendships which have shaped all of our trajectories over this past decade.
His visit was also a first opportunity to establish new connections. I had a hunch Roopam and Chris Buono would generate musical sparks.
Wingspan sounds INCREDIBLE. I am currently still exploring all facets of this instrument. I have only scratched the surface so far. I am finding this instrument to be transformative of my perception and relationship with guitar. I see it as a symphonic tool of strings: strings representing the universe. (Roopam Garg)
Bespoke for Victor in Chicago. Swamp Ash, carbon fiber. Element™ single billet aircraft aluminum neck. Patented Intonation Cantilever™ bridges precision machined from stainless steel, bearing bronze. DiMarzio™ exclusive pickups with 10-way switching.
I absolutely love what you did with the body shape. It has its own character vis-a-vis the Fathom™ and others.
Nailed the finish, too. Just like the majesty of a raven’s feathers in sunlight! How’d you manage it?
You’ve outdone yourself with the Raven. I have a multitude of things I could say, but, pending a more detailed report, I’ll just say that the instrument excels on every level.
What’s most impressed me in these early stages is the playability. It feels even more comfortable to play than the Spearfish — that same Element™ feel, but perhaps just the right amount more tightness in the bends and vibratos. Just perfect. And the extended-range functionality is just insane in the best way.
I like to play any new guitar un-amped for a fair bit to get acquainted with the feel, the sound of the pick contact, and the natural resonance of the guitar, and the Raven impresses in all respects. In particular, the setup is fantastic — low to the deck, but not to the detriment of the satisfying, almost springlike attack.
On a different note, I’ve really enjoyed seeing the subtle changes in the finish under different lighting. I’ve also found myself staring at the guitar a lot: even if it weren’t an absolute sound machine, it’d function just fine as a standalone marvel of design!
Stay tuned for a more detailed update later, but in the meantime: thank you. This instrument is a joy. (Victor, Chicago)
It is such a joy to get time with great friends, especially involving music. When Steve Sjuggerud invited me to visit him in Florida this past week, it was an immediate yes.
The occasion was a live performance featuring Steve, Dan Ostrowski (drums), and acoustic guitarist Mike Dawes. Mike was visiting from UK, enroute to tour dates of his own. Also, we would be filming video…of the live performance, plus interviews.
More on that soon.
The next several days were just Mike, Steve, and me hanging out and testing guitars. Steve owns a stunning collection of original iconic vintage gear, lovingly curated, in perfect playing condition: Trainwreck, 1969 100-watt Marshall, Fender 1959 Strat. Plus some of the best new gear: Gil Yaron 1959 Les Paul replica, 1964 Fender Tweed replica, Blug amplifier system.
Essential benchmark guitar tone references.
Against them, we would be comparing two Goshawk™ 6-string prototype guitars I’d just completed.
What you might not know, what you might not expect, Mike Dawes — although known for his acoustic skills — is actually one of the best electric guitarists I’ve ever heard. His playing is fluid, melodic, effortless. Metal, shred…
Mike and Steve ripping together through Iron Maiden’s “The Trooper” at concert volume still has me grinning ear to ear, a few days and a few thousand miles later.