Purple Goshawk is beautiful. It’s somehow both more than I expected yet exactly what I had in mind. I’ve just taken it on the inaugural run by playing “Meridian” by Intervals and this instrument is an extension of me…playability, sustain, vibrancy of tone, as well as the aesthetic…I am at a loss for words. It’s alive.
When I was very young, 8/9 maybe, I had a book featuring a history of guitars. It had everything, from the first modern Italian guitars, to PRS, and even Ibanez and Klein harp guitars. I read it until the binding crumbled, then I taped it together and kept on reading. I knew at that age that an ultimate goal of mine would be to become the best player I could be, and to work with the best builder. Well, now 31 years old, I’ve achieved just that…at least the builder part, we never stop growing as a player.
Thank you for this build. There is a connection people like us have to our tools that not many on the outside can easily grasp, and I know my words would be lost on many. This instrument is an ultimate channel for my creative passion, and I appreciate the time and effort you poured into this Goshawk to make it perfectly for me. (Bryan Capriglione)
Blood Orange Goshawk
Thinking about EVH.
It’s been a year.
I’ve listened to his playing many nights in recent months. The sense of joy in his playing.
Goshawk | Bare Knuckle SSB
This lovely (killer) Goshawk™ 6-string is flying south today to spend a month with Bob Bakert and the crew at Jazz Guitar Today magazine. They will be doing an in-depth review for a future article.
Had a great conversation with Bob on the phone yesterday. He’s got an honesty I always find refreshing, not unlike Hunter S. Thompson. Some Gonzo going on there.
Amazing how sometimes one discussion can clarify our thinking. I’m inspired…and inspired to get this guitar into his hands.
Guitar Tone vs. Sound
Last week me peeps dug down a txt thread rabbit-hole regarding the difference between guitar TONE vs. guitar SOUND. I had enough coffee in my circulatory system to posit a position guitar videos demonstrating sounds are useless for evaluating what an instrument actually sounds like.
The blowback was pretty intense.
I am happy to report however, that because I have a website — and can type using all ten fingers (instead of texting with thumbs) — some slight speed and bandwidth advantages accrue to me outlining the dissemination of my philosophical perspective.
So here it is:
TONE is the acoustic character of a guitar when played un-amplified, or played through a basic signal chain: clean (or overdriven amp) or direct. TONE is the acoustic responsiveness your ear uses to discern the differences between guitars, or types of guitars.
SOUND is the finalized combination of a guitar plus a signal chain when heard in the context of a song. SOUND is TONE plus the addition of effects, compression, EQ, mixing.
I like guitar videos where I can hear the TONE of the guitar. Once that baseline is established, it becomes easier to determine which guitar a player would choose for the gig or session. You have a clear idea of your basic building block which will affect all other results downstream in the music.
My fingers are raw after running through some of the paces amplified last night. I only went through the 5 positions on the humbucker side. It sounds so HUGE!!
I locked in a sick Wes Montgomery 335 tone using the tone knob and position 2 on the selector with the volume knob dialed back slightly. The versatility, clarity and dynamics are unlike anything I’ve ever experienced.
I found myself daydreaming for a few minutes not feeling this instrument either on my body or in my left hand. I literally woke up noodling and did not feel this instrument on me at all. Totally invisible, but not at all missing in any way, as it has just the exact amount of chunk to still be felt.
The neck feels absolutely perfect. The frets… Oh My… How did you get them SO SMOOTH?!?!? If I could translate the design specs of the perfect neck for me, this one is better! Its also the most gorgeous natural wood grain… Perfect!
Words cannot describe how striking this neck is to my eyes. It is so beyond birdseye which until today was my favorite look on a neck. This is just so many levels higher. The pictures and demo video did not at all capture how insanely patterned and beautiful this neck is.
I can’t call the Goshawk ‘American Girl’ a guitar at this point. You probably hear this all the time – its flawless!
I appreciate you Rick, I really do. Thank you.
‘American Beauty’ Goshawk™ is inspired by the classic Strat/Tele/Les Paul tones of the 1950’s. Lindy Fralin hand winds pickups using all of the original methods and materials in Richmond, Virginia. I wanted to bring his aesthetic into Goshawk™ to create a one guitar which allows you to leave your vintage closet queens home. Combined with 10-way switching and truly useful tone control, everything is at your fingertips. In a professional studio or stage setting where you desire that American sound, this is the guitar you will reach for night after night.
Even grained, light weight, and resonant — when I find Swamp Ash this lovely — it begs to be paired with highly figured roasted Flame Maple, with a minimalist organic clear finish. Expect snap, resonance, plus the exceptional string clarity and sustain characteristic to my builds.
Goshawk™ is hand built, luthier’s art. Details throughout: Hipshot locking tuners, luthier’s joint tilt-back headstock, bone nut, mother of pearl inlays, polished Dunlap stainless frets, custom neck mount plate, carbon fiber pickguard. Patented Intonation Cantilever™ solo bridges precision machined from stainless steel. Trademarked Advantage™ neck profile for hours of ergonomic comfort. Unrestricted upper fret access. Perfect curves and lines blend with your body as you play. (Rick Toone)
I love this video of Chris Buono improv-looping through the pickup selections on ‘American Girl’ Goshawk™ 6-string guitar. We used the simplest signal chain: Noble DI > Strymon Iridium (Deluxe) > Logic. His playing is superb and his switch selections shine through.
Odin | Goshawk
A quiet knock but with weight, on the wood door of my shop. Deep evening, winter’s blue black and the hush of deep snows.
“Come in,” I said.
Cloaked figure stepped through, gracefully, balanced muscle and power. Greying hair. Two half-wolf dogs slipped in behind him, circling the room, settling at attention, tails to the hearth.
He looked at me appraisingly through one clear eye, the other covered by a patch. Snowflakes rising as steam from his woolen mantle. I nodded.
“Please make yourself comfortable. Mead?”
“Yes, thanks.” he replied.
He studied my tools, the layout of my workspace, builds in progress. “You have a certain mastery,” he said. “I value the precision in your work.” He continued: “Skill and trust are the coin of my realm.”
I recognized him as a leader of men.
“I have…an adventure ahead.” His eye glinted with mirth.
I intimated thoughtfully, almost as an aside: “Perhaps related to the follies of Lear.”
He smiled, then his features hardened. “Many suffer from the foolishness of the few. This world does not abide weakness.”
“Return again in Spring, the first month of green grasses. Your build will be ready.”
We stood, both wolf-dogs bounding out the door into the night. He clasped my forearm strongly, then strode forth beneath breathtaking stars, diamonds in darkness. High above the western horizon, Mars shining red.
King Lear | Goshawk
The crown was too heavy for the old man’s head. Lear resented the weight, the headache, exhaustion of it all, blue eyes bloodshot, his frail neck strained, wisps of white hair trembling.
He wanted to be done, yet the lust for power dominates long after physical appetites erode. Once experienced, desire to command and be obeyed is not easily relinquished.
Lear felt a certain responsibility, as well. He believed, as all fools do, his will should dictate distribution of wealth amongst men. So thus cleverly, he devised to bestow a kingdom’s treasures between his children — decided in proportion by the earnestness of their public professions of love for his magnanimity.
From each, according to their avarice, to each according to their guile.
I wanted to reflect emotions of Shakespeare’s King Lear at this moment of descent into madness. His armor and clothing cast off in a tremendous storm, freezing, covered in mud, raving to the heavens how he had been betrayed…when all along the destruction was of his own making.
Swamp ash, roasted flame maple, bone, carbon fiber. Layers of finish depth, patina of antiquity, raw metal of medieval armor. Driven by gleaming precision machined patented Intonation Cantilever™ stainless steel bridges, polished stainless steel frets, and the most versatile but subtle electronics I’ve yet installed.
Measured in terms of tonal sophistication, my builds will be judged as separated into pre-Lear vs. post-Lear epochs.
Ede Wright | Goshawk Blues
Last night, Ede sent me the link to this video. I’ve probably listened a dozen times and still not caught all of his grace notes and sly references (Steely Dan, Yngwie Malmsteen) in this blues riff. I don’t know if people fully appreciate how truly great of a player he is.
“Thanks, Rick. The clean tone of this amp with the Red Guitar is the best I’ve heard. Goshawk really blends with the (Glaswerks Zingaro) in a beautiful way. It’s a bit of a departure from what you may be used to hearing me play, but I’m trying to show more of my range in these videos. Doesn’t hurt that Goshawk has more range than I do.” (Ede Wright)
Mike Dawes | Nik Mystery
Mike Dawes has an electric side that needs to be unleashed. You may think of him as Michael Hedges’ legacy…but that comparison stops when the amps begin to glow.
Nik Mystery is a side project (meaning an official detour from his official acoustic guitar career) into guitar/synth/pop/rock power trio-ness with Jukka Backlund and Spencer Sotelo (of Periphery).
Their latest song is: The Internet (available on Bandcamp). Mike plays his Goshawk™ nicknamed “Beanst” on the guitar tracks. Check out his shred solo…
Chris Buono is a good personal friend as well as one of my best test pilots. For the last decade he has fearlessly played anything I’ve built — often sight unseen…and before a live audience. The only exception I can think of is the Harp Guitar (but we are also in the midst of a pandemic).
With the possible exception of Steve Sjuggerud, Chris has certainly played the greatest range of instruments I’ve built, which makes him uniquely qualified to make comparisons and discuss preferences. If you ever want an objective opinion about my work from a working professional…contact Chris.
I’ve never (ever) asked any of my artists to be exclusive to the guitars I’ve gifted or sold them. I believe in free markets and free association. If an instrument is a good match, it will naturally become an honest favorite. Chris owns a Goshawk™ which seems to appear on a high percentage of his work since it arrived to him.
A good sign.
Chris is a master teacher. Hit him up to take your playing to next level.