Killick Hinds & Henry Kaiser

VIDEO: Killick Hinds & Henry Kaiser live video improvisation duet. Killick is playing his multiscale fretless 8-string guitar.

KILLICK HINDS: I ran the fretless eight string to the Schroeder DB7 with a volume pedal (that I seldom used). I also subtly added sustain with a Gamechanger Plus pedal and Collision Devices’ Black Hole Symmetry in its effects loop. The main signal was split before these pedals, with one half going to a volume pedal and then activating Plogue’s Chipsounds via Jam Origin’s MIDI Guitar 2 in the computer. The Schertler piezo on Demi’s headstock ran into an Elite Acoustics StompMix mixer (which contributed occasional delay) into a Henriksen The Bud amp.

It was good working with Henry on this…our sensibilities match extraordinarily well. Playing with the video felt the closest to playing a concert since March.

I’ll add it was recorded with my cellphone against a makeshift green screen made of a picnic tarp and an old clothing rack. The assembly is not quite big enough for the task, so framing was a little tricky, but it worked out very well.

I’m really pleased to share this (as I know Henry is) and am very grateful he suggested the project. I thank Cuneiform Records for their continued support of new and exciting music. And most importantly, thanks to everyone for watching and listening.

RICK TOONE: Cool! He has software that works with green screen?

KILLICK HINDS: Yes, I think Final Cut Pro. I have iMovie and that works with it as well. This was my very first green screen experience.

RICK TOONE: Quite awesome. So you were in Athens and he was…?

KILLICK HINDS: Yes, I was in Athens and he was in California.

RICK TOONE: Could you hear each other during recording?

KILLICK HINDS: I played to the movie first. Then Henry played to my audio and the movie.

Shou Sugi Ban 8-String

PHOTOS: Pure, raw, organic. Carbon fiber, stainless steel, aircraft aluminum. Currently available for purchase.

“Rick, I’m just going to come out and say it: this guitar is incredible. It’s the most impressive electric guitar I’ve played to this point in my career. This guitar has a beautiful tenor saxophone sound to it, low and mid registers have some magic that is unique to this instrument, an uncommon clarity in that range. And it’s crazy…but it also feels like my left hand is more relaxed, efficient, and stronger feeling after playing this guitar for a week.” (Ede Wright)

PHOTO: Bare Knuckle Nailbomb™ pickups.
PHOTO: Swamp Ash treated in traditional Japanese method.

Raven | 7-String ER

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.

Speechless, Rick!!

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)

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Testing, testing…

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.

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PHOTO: Rick Toone, Steve Sjuggerud, Mike Dawes.
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PHOTO: Steve works through pickup coil combinations on Goshawk™ 6-string.
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PHOTO: Rick Toone original prototype 6-string (2012). Signatures of those who have played or helped develop this guitar. Note early patent pending tuner.
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PHOTO: Rick & Steve, mid-testing.
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PHOTO: Steve looks on as Mike explores Blueshift™ 7-string ER. Antares 6-string in foreground. Photographer Adam King works the angle.
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PHOTO: Our location…overlooking a tidal marsh, Florida coastline.