Killick HINDS & Adam Wilson

PHOTO: Killick Hinds & Adam Wilson — so good to see these friends in person. Thank you both for wonderful conversation and music…let’s do it again soon!

Have a listen to the recording above.

That’s the unedited raw audio, exactly how it sounded to us in my studio, as Killick and Adam played live. Think of it like a documentary. No EQ or compression. FM9 + Noble DI > Logic = as heard through NS-10s.

Duet guitars are Wingspan 6 and my personal Strat equipped with a prototype RICK TOONE ’67 tremolo.

The playing is extraordinary. Completely unrehearsed live improvisation for five and a half minutes, exchanging guitars halfway through the session, giving each a turn with both instruments. The performance is so compelling, as they listen and respond to one another.

I asked Killick if he would be willing to master the recording. What he created using the “documentary” mix above is quite fascinating…mastering as a creative act:

A gathering of friends under sunny skies. We hit record and talked and laughed and marveled. Adam and I got to try on new guitars and new timbres like tailored crystalline cloth. From undifferentiated exploration these precious snippets fell into the grand cosmic lap, a glimpse into insight and telepathic conversation on the subtlest of levels. A very inspiring and elucidating day! (Killick Hinds)

VIDEO: Killick Hinds coaxes out harmonics not found in the textbook.

Perfect indulgence for a guitarist: spending an afternoon with Rick Toone and Killick Hinds, doing nothing but talking about and playing guitars. Highlight for me was getting to play “Wingspan” — three things stood out about the instrument: (1) the unparalleled harmonic richness of the instrument (meaning natural harmonics can be played in places on the neck that only produce dead thunks on most other instruments…plus the strength of the upper partials when plucking strings is equally remarkable), (2) the immense timbral palette afforded by the electronics, and (3) the incredible ergonomic design, particularly the balance of the guitar. Having played many of Rick’s guitars, and being lucky enough to own a couple of them, I see the elements that he’s been refining for years finding their culmination in this machine. Devoid of any hyperbole, Wingspan is the finest guitar I have played. (Adam Wilson)

PHOTO: Adam Wilson with Wingspan 6 guitar.

Review: Spearfish Guitar

VIDEO: Dr. Andre Fludd reviews the 2024 NAMM Spearfish guitar that was on display at the Bare Knuckle Pickups booth in January of this year. Appreciate the shout out to Gabriel Levi too…
VIDEO: Dr. Fludd performs “Where Or When” on Spearfish. Lovely, lovely playing.

Andre did a superb job not only explaining all the unique features of the guitar but also walking through the tones in a way that allows the listener to really digest what they’re hearing.

The note separation between bass and treble strings really stands out. It’s almost like hearing two individual guitars. 

Polymath’s mid-range delivery is very much the foundation of the tone coupled with lots of dynamic headroom (no real surprise with Polymaths being the signature set of Nolly Getgood who’s one of my closest friends and arguably one of the best mix engineers in the world right now). 

Dialing in the mid-range response was key to the design of Polymath and something we worked very hard on so that tonally they would sit perfectly in the mid-field, which in turn allows for extension in the bass and the highs to retain attack without sounding sharp or lacking in weight. This all comes across extremely well in the video presentation by Andre.

For sheer all round tonal flexibility and also suitability to Spearfish’s unique design features, the Polymath really is an excellent set. Throw in the further versatility of the 10-way switch and there’s virtually no limit to the tones you can create. (Tim Mills, Bare Knuckle Pickups)

Cat Head Mask

VIDEO: Who is inside the mysterious Cat Head Mask? How does he see to play?! Does he even need to? What is reality anymore…is your glowing screen speaking truth? Alice, we are no longer in Kansas.


VIDEO: Longstanding friends share a moment onstage. Gabriel Levi sits in with Chris Buono and his cB3 trio. Live at Triumph Brewing Company, Redbank, NJ (11.30.2023). Both lads are playing RICK TOONE ’67 guitars as the fretless awaits her moment backstage.

This week exactly marks one full year of Chris Buono’s residency at Triumph Brewing Company, Redbank, NJ. I am really enjoying watching his metamorphosis up close in real time.

December 6, 2022, we headed into rehearsal together, Chris to focus his band, and me to document the start of something new and potentially great. Nervous tension and excitement in the practice space as Chris prepared to return to live performance after an extended hiatus.

December 8, 2022 was the first Triumph performance.

Fast forward one year. Chris accepted a bi-weekly residency at Triumph Brewing Company, alternating his two lineups plus a rotation of guests. He looks fully at home onstage, and the bands are completely dialed in. He has a massive trove of archived live recordings from the experience.

November 30, 2023 — the plan to fly Gabriel Levi in for a day of video shooting in my studio. He was arriving from ATL to get pre-flighted on the new RICK TOONE ’67 as he steps into tremolo. Unbeknownst to me, the two of them were conspiring.

Recording the Magnets & Wire documentary/album together in November, 2019 sparked a group friendship continuing today and growing deeper over time. Last week was the first in four years Chris and Gabriel met again in person. Their conspiracy succeeded.

Listening on my laptop now, a week later, watching cardinals and blue jays at the feeder outside in the season’s first snow flurries, I’m grateful for the recording of my two friends sharing moments on stage together. Gabriel has become a serious student of the Blues during the last six months, and it shows. His already exceptional touch on the guitar is growing into a new depth of expressive musical emotion. Chris continues his role as master musician and now mentor, as he graciously shared the stage, pivoting his cB3 trio into a supporting role.

More, please.

VIDEO: Minimalist recording — AT4050 mics XY stage center plus iPhone video. Chris channels Jeff Beck while Ben works the B3 as Faye keeps time.

On Green Dolphin St. (Improv)

VIDEO: Chris Buono plays through the changes On Green Dolphin Street written by Bronislaw Kaper (1947). White Pearl Skele™ 6-string guitar featuring Pisces™ trem. Signal chain is straight into Fender ’64 Deluxe reissue captured via SM57 and AEA ribbon. White Pearl Skele™ has such lovely clarity combined with sweetness and warmth. Incredible dynamics.