Harmonic Convergence

VIDEO: Steve Sjuggerud coaxes fingerstyle harmonics from the neck pickup of Birdseye Pisces™ guitar then shares first impressions. Steve flew in last weekend for two excellent days together exploring the new tremolo and discussing next steps.

Live @ Triumph Brewing Company

IMAGE: Full-length live album is in the works. Read on…
VIDEO: Rehearsal on December 6, 2022. Chris Buono fretless guitar & music. Cody McCorry bass. Anibal Rojas sax. Faye Fadem drums. Fretless guitar and Orchid bass built by Rick Toone.

Coastal air off the Atlantic seeps in under Sandy Hook, slyly flirting with Navesink River dampness, the extended New York metro tang of NJ Turnpike combustion and chemical refineries. Onshore, offshore. Giants to the north, Eagles to the south. Manhattan commuters. Money.

Chris Buono will flit through this mist, reaching up with (funk you) Jersey Attitude™ to grab Big Apple brass and polish it against shore prog rhythms. Triumph Brewing Company, Red Bank, New Jersey is our venue, as he prepares to take onstage residency for the next several months.

Risk is real…

He’s coming in cold, struggling—rehabilitating—excruciating left arm pain via pinched nerves in his spine. This band is total raw bar, two hours of rehearsal and digital chord charts as guidance through an improv jazz wilderness marshland.

Chris debuting two new guitars I built for him: his custom multiscale fretless “Fragile” and “Green Monster” who is also holding my tremolo. Cody McCorry is playing another build so fresh the finish is still drying: “Orchid” bass. New and unfamiliar instruments for both of these masterful players. And a chance to capture their sounds live, in the wild.

We are in this together. Tonight is opening night.

With the recording, I am seeking to capture the village vanguard intimacy of Bill Evans. Snapshot this moment. Band banter. Audience chatter, barstools and glasses. 1961 turns 2022. Killick Hinds beautifully brings his touch to the mixing and mastering. Deeply grateful we had this opportunity to work together.

Credits:

Chris Buono — music & guitar
Anibal Rojas — synth sax
Cody McCorry — bass
Faye Fadem — drums

Killick Hinds — mixing & mastering
Rick Toone — recording & production

“If I died right now I would want you to show the world ‘Raining Caterpillars’ and say this what I truly sounded like when I was dialed in. For that I’m indebted to you both.” (Chris Buono)

VIDEO: (Audio only) live recording of “Raining Caterpillars” @ Triumph Brewing Company on December 8, 2022. Orchid bass and Green Monster guitar are the duet heard here.

Sea Monster

IMAGES: Swamp ash, quarter-sawn one piece AAA flame maple. Advantage™ neck profile. Polished stainless steel frets. Carbon fiber. Precision machined components from aircraft aluminum and stainless steel. DiMarzio noiseless pickups designed by Steve Blucher.
PHOTO: Sea Monster Pisces™ 6-string guitar.
VIDEO: Overview introduction of the new tremolo system.

Birdseye Pisces

VIDEO: Requiem for Jeff Beck. He was one of my first and deepest influences. Birdseye Pisces™ with the new tremolo through Fender Deluxe ’64 handwired reissue (SM57 > Logic).

“When I was a kid there was an eternal argument about whether Clapton, Hendrix or Page was the world’s greatest electric guitarist.

Hendrix won that over time.

World’s greatest electric guitarist’s electric guitarist? Might well go to Jeff Beck.” (Eric Weinstein)

VIDEO: Overview of the new tremolo system.
PHOTO: Pisces™ patented trem precision machined from aircraft aluminum and stainless steel (additional patents pending).
PHOTO: Advantage™ neck profile. Beautiful AAA birdseye maple neck. Alder body. Carbon fiber pickguard. DiMarzio™ noiseless single coils designed by Steve Blucher.
VIDEO: Steve Sjuggerud coaxes harmonics from the neck pickup of Birdseye Pisces™ guitar.

Blame It On My Youth

VIDEO: Berklee guitar instructor David Newsam plays an exceptional solo guitar arrangement of jazz standard “Blame It On My Youth” (1934). Recorded live on University of New Hampshire stage June 7, 2018. Cupid™ semi-hollowbody guitar.

Hi Rick,
I hope this email finds you well. I wanted to reach out (after way too long) and just mention that I really was moved by your recent blog post about Ede’s passing and your friendship. 
I discovered him when he was demoing one of your guitars and became an instant fan of his music. (I wish there was more!) When I reached out to him to tell him, he was gracious, friendly, and very complimentary of you and your instruments. 
I hope that you are doing well. I recently watched the videos that we filmed at UNH and always love hearing Cupid!
All the best,
David

So good to hear from David.

I’ve flown the flag at half-mast since Ede Wright’s passing, but if his spirit were to appear in my shop, his first words would be: “Look forward.”

Ede’s death was a tragic and unnecessary side effect of the greater cultural-psychological illness that has swept through our society these last two years. Like every scorched earth event though, green shoots appear in the aftermath.

True friendships have grown stronger. Dead wood has burned away. Autumn leaves are peak color, birds calling these final moments of sunlit warmth. Blame my errors on my youth.

VIDEO: David Newsam performs his lovely original solo guitar composition “Maya The Bee” on Cupid ergonomic semi-hollow jazz guitar.

Green Monster

VIDEO: Chris Buono rocks sixty seconds of Green Monster. SM57 against the tweed of a ’64 Deluxe Reverb re-issue straight into Logic.
PHOTOS: Swamp ash, AAAA one-piece flame maple neck, carbon fiber, aircraft aluminum. Steve Blucher’s exceptional (noiseless) DiMarzio pickups.
VIDEO: Twenty minutes from the end of the night, wrapping up the second set after two hours onstage. cB3 is an amazing trio…the level of musicianship is worth the drive: Chris Buono, Ben Stivers, Tobias Ralph.

Chris saw me walking through the open glass doors of Triumph Brewing Company in Red Bank, New Jersey.

“Green Monster…? Let’s do it.”

Chris had only played Green Monster for a few minutes, a month prior. Keep in mind he did not know I was coming. Did not know I would bring the guitar. And he was unfamiliar with this latest prototype of my new Pisces™ trem design. (patented & multiple patents pending)

No time for a soundcheck. Gig started in ten minutes. Jedi Master test pilot mindset.

“Pisces™ trem is like no other. I am constantly discovering new whammy phrasing.” (Chris Buono)

VIDEO: Overview introduction of the new tremolo design.

Wingspan Reptile 8

PHOTOS: Wingspan™ 8-string guitar. Swamp ash. Patented Intonation Cantilever™ & Element™ component set. Custom Bare Knuckle pickups with 10-way switching.
VIDEO: Chris Buono plays Wingspan™ 8-string guitar. Two minutes of atmospheric improvisation through Fender Deluxe amp (Normal 2 channel with 12″ Jensen speaker) recorded via SM57 into Logic. Noble Bass DI blended in slightly to achieve stereo. Listen on studio monitors or good headphones to appreciate the clarity and depth.

Your work of art arrived at my doorstep this morning!

Although I’ve only had a few hours to get to know it, here are a few things I can say right away, in the order they came to me:

This is not a guitar, this is a sculpture, a work of art — visually it is stunning, and it felt right away comfortable to hold and play.

The neck is extremely comfortable — it is quite impressive how playing the low strings is much easier than with my other 8-strings.

I’ve never experienced such precision of the note attack and clean sustain — the best way I can describe them is piano- or bell-like, with excellent consistency between fretted and open strings.

Thank you so much for creating such a beautiful instrument!! (Jorge)

Kanashimi | Fabio Mittino

VIDEO: Fabio Mittino performs Kanashimi on Stealth™ 6-string guitar.

Dear Rick,

I would like to share with you my new composition from the album “Simple Music for Difficult People Vol.4”.

I think this song expresses both love and melancholy. For this reason, I titled it “Kanashimi”, which in Japanese usually means sadness. However, if Kanashimi is written 愛しみ instead of 哀しみ, it means love.

Everything is played in real time!

I’ll be touring the West Coast this July, but I’ll be on the East Coast this winter: I hope to be able to meet you again!

Love,
f

Listening

VIDEO: Gabriel Levi teaches his thumping right hand technique. Detailed tutorial with examples in the second half of the video, including some amazing maths. Gabriel begins with history of the technique, and how it has developed: crediting Evan Brewer and Tosin Abasi. We begin to realize music benefits with apprenticeship. Check out Gabriel’s new single “Disconnected” on Spotify featuring excellent guitar playing on his Spearfish.
IMAGE: Animals As Leaders new album Parrhesia. Tosin Abasi, Javier Reyes, and Matt Garstka are deep in John Coltrane headspace…eliciting “I didn’t know music could do that” response.

Joe Cirotti is another artist I have known for a long time, and one of my favorite guitarists. Watching him cut loose with a Strat and Marshall half stack fronting Only Living Boy a decade ago is an important memory. Currently Joe is leading his acoustic trio, conducting flat-picking magic on an old Martin. If you are a Radiohead fan…here is an absolutely gorgeous interpretation of Ok Computer.

VIDEO: Joe Cirotti Trio performs Radiohead’s Ok Computer via livestream November 14, 2021.

Polyphonic Guitar

VIDEO: Fabio Mittino explains polyphonic pickups then performs Toy Dreamer off his latest album (via livestream). Stealth™ radical ergonomic acoustic guitar. Lovely fingerstyle and ethereal sounds. Fabio has studied under Robert Fripp.