The Crazy Donkey | July 19, 2011

Ken, deftly threading rush hour traffic in his silver Prius. Sequence of aggressive moves in the Long Island afternoon sunlight, an environment where turn signals are a sign of weakness. He attended Hofstra. Which is what you need to survive here: local knowledge, local attitude.

Bart is in the passenger seat behind me. White knuckles in his sly humor, as a dozen tail lights flash simultaneously and Ken cuts right, working the shoulder.

I don’t look up.

Sketch™ 7-string guitar is on my lap, and setting intonation via the Peterson strobe tuner requires full attention. We are meeting Tosin in 20 minutes.

Side door, back stage. “Here for Tosin.”

Bouncer in faded black indicates across the club through the open door.

Second time meeting Tosin. Handshake. “Let’s see the guitar.”

He holds it cautiously, a dangerously unfamiliar machine. Everything is so different — except for strings, there is no frame of reference. And no time or place to play it now…sound checks are in progress for the evening performance. We step back outside onto the patio where it is quiet.

I take photos with the Nikon 35 mm DSLR. There are no smart phones yet. Every aspect has been coordinated via email.

He is not yet a rock star but soon will be. At this moment he is shy almost, absorbed in the instrument, intent. I am unsure if he wants to keep it. “It’s pretty radical.”

I stuff earplugs into my skull and we head inside. Tosin vanishes into the dressing rooms. Ken, Bart, and I look at each other. There is no protocol for this. Floating in a venue with time to wait too long. It’s a professional work space where we are not integral to the machinery.

Tosin reappears with Sketch. He is excited now and wants us to meet Evan Brewer, soloist. Evan will mesmerize and destroy the audience with his two-handed simultaneous tapping on dual basses later this evening. But for now, he is Leonard Nimoy in a flannel shirt, with human emotions overflowing any semblance of Vulcan control. Evan vibrates on a different plane, animated and intense, overflowing with ideas and wanting to speak bass to me.

Tosin graciously introduces Evan as his mentor, a kindred spirit who helped him develop two-handed harmonic tap technique. Tosin on eight string guitar. Evan on basses.

Things are getting interesting.

I can see they both are realizing connections I do not yet understand. Their world is music, and mine is tools. I have created a new type of tool…and already they are turning it into music.

Learn about the history of Sketch.

Toy Dreamer | Fabio Mittino

VIDEO: Fabio Mittino “Toy Dreamer” recorded and performed on Stealth™ acoustic electric 6-string guitar. CYFI pickups impart an unusual amplified tone. Excellent visuals throughout.

To Russia With Love

PHOTO: Wingspan™ 8-string guitar.

Hello, Rick!

I’m writing to you about the possibility of buying the Wingspan™ 8-String guitar. I’ve found out it is available for purchase on your website. As a person who has made the instrument you must know exactly its future owner, the one you can entrust your guitar. My newest musical project may help you learn more about me:

I care about ethnic music in modern arrangements, and your guitars combine in them all the essential elements – from esthetic till technical ones.

It’s going to be a great inspiration and happiness for me to play your instrument. I’m a great fan of your guitars. I remember how impressed I was by the guitar for Tosin Abasi – it’s something incredible.

I’ll be waiting for your reply.
With respect,

I love her music. Heavy and powerful, with touches of incredible lightness and speed. I am honored Kseniia is choosing to play this build.

Hi Rick!

Thank you very much! I got a guitar!

I am overwhelmed with emotions! Unfortunately my English is not good enough to convey all my happiness!

It was passed exclusively from hand to hand, only as hand luggage. It is hundreds of times better than I imagined! It exceeded all expectations. The instrument with incredible energy, inspirational and soulful. Amazingly packed with all the screwdrivers, extra strings, bolts. This is the most comfortable guitar I have ever held in my hands. Very comfortable and slim neck, amazing lock system. Its sound covers all the necessary ranges. The tree itself is excellent, beautiful texture and color.

Once again I want to thank you for this incredible communication experience and ease of cooperation. Thank you for entrusting your creation to me. I want to wish you new creative ideas, inspiration, grateful and happy owners.

Happy Kseniia

IMAGE: Instrumental shred metal from the pink universe. Released March 19, 2021. Music by ScaraSaton. Art by BORUNOV ART.

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.

PHOTOS: Advantage™ neck profile w/flame maple and tilt-back headstock. Stainless steel frets. Sperzel™ tuners. Custom Bare Knuckle™ pickups with 10-way switching. Swamp Ash with Blood Orange finish. Carbon fiber pickguard. Patented Intonation Cantilever™ solo bridges.

Journal and Remarks

“This book might interest you,” prefaced my visitor. “I’ve read your recent writings. This Journal and Remarks chronicles some related thoughts of my own. For historical context, at the time we sailed, the sun never set upon our empire.”

“182 years ago,” I noted. “You, more than any other human, at any point in time, shaped how we currently understand biological life. I am deeply honored to meet you, Sir.”

His handshake was warm and kindly. “Please call me Charles.”

“I’ve contemplated your observations for all of my educated life,” I continued. “May I combine your hypothesis — with recent fossil and forensic genetic research, contemporary explorations in the field of Psychology, and the teachings of Aristotle?”

  • Evolution selected for us to use our senses to perceive the world around us: physical objects, other living creatures, relationships. (stimulus)
  • Evolution also selected for us to have emotion, which is a near-instantaneous chemical survival mechanism triggering flight/fight/freeze/fuck reactions. (response)
  • Evolution also selected for logic, which is the introspective tool we use to determine if our internal perceptions match external conditions. (cognition)
  • If our internal perceptions match external conditions mostly consistently, then we learn to trust our own judgment. (meta-cognition)
  • Because, ultimately, each of us is a potential DNA replicator responsible for our own personal survival and decisions. This is the evolutionary purpose for autonomy.

“Precisely!” Darwin exclaimed. “There have been many instances in history when only a small cohort, or sometimes just a single individual, survived a mass extinction event and lived to contribute genes. Consensus is not analogous to safety, at any scale. Autonomy is an evolutionary failsafe.”

“Trust evolution. Trust your judgment.”

PHOTO: Original leather bound edition of The Voyage of the Beagle from Charles Darwin’s personal initial publication. Holding this book in my hands, knowing it had been touched by him, changed my life in a way I do not have words to describe…a sense of awe. (collection of a friend)