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.
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)
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)
I played Birdseye Pisces for a good 3 hours last night — and what can I say — you’ve knocked it out of the park.
I am pretty sensitive to the tactile feedback on my picking hand while I pick the strings, and this guitar is absolutely spot on where I like it – a good ‘bouncy’ sensation as I pick, notes ring out for days and have a nice ‘bloom’ to them, palm mutes also have that nice percussive sound and feel, and overall the strings feel rubbery/velvety when my plectrum makes contact with them as opposed to feeling metallic/harsh as with some other guitars I’ve had.
Some other key points —
The guitar is comfortable and light.
The figuring on the neck is insane! Pics don’t do it justice! Same thing goes with the paint job — the textured look is very inviting indeed.
The new trem — where to start…from a pure aesthetic point of view, it’s pretty small and compact and not overbearing to look at like say Evertune. The surface finish of the components looks really good — love the black anodized look of the hardware. Trem arm is very light and minimal. I was not an industrial design major but have a few friends who were and I can appreciate that a lot of thought went into the design of each component. I am engineer by profession and love when I see a product where every design choice has a great ‘why’ for its existence (as we often say at my workplace…best part is no part). I am sure that over the months I will discover more nuggets of great design choices.
Now for the sound and playability — the trem is like butter. Zero effort needed, no tuning issues. It’s a perfect mechanical whammy! I also love how out of the way it is when I remove the trem — it basically feels like a fixed bridge, I can rest my palm on it without it moving on me unexpectedly which is awesome and unlike Floyd Rose bridges for example.
Moving on to the neck — very comfortable. The advantage profile is very discrete while playing — completely out of the way for the most part, yet is present when you really need it (while playing some lead lines or weird chords for example). I’ll likely adjust my playing style a bit to optimize more for the neck profile and really reap the ergonomic benefits. This will happen naturally as my body adjusts itself to this guitar after playing the other guitars I own.
The sound — incredible, punchy, quiet, and most importantly all pickup positions sound great. This is truly magnificent, because with my other guitars either the bridge or the neck sounds good with a certain amplifier setting, never both. Your description previously was spot on – single coil and thickened single coil tones, definitely not a humbucker, but so far it feels like the best of both worlds. I feel like over the next month or so I’ll have a better sense of the sound of this guitar as I play it through different amps.
I usually reserve judgment on any new guitar for at least a month as I believe there is an adjustment period for my body to get used to the changes, but i couldn’t resist given how immediately this guitar opened up to me. I am sure that in a month’s time I’ll have more nuanced findings and I’ll share those thoughts with you.
TLDR: I absolutely love this guitar, it truly feels like a purpose built machine, and I catch myself feeling like I want to grow old with it — I want it take on some natural wear patterns and be played a lot. I’d like to look back many years from now and view this guitar like how people relish a great original 60s strat today. Most importantly — I want to compose some nice music with this beast, and I’m looking forward to what it brings out of me over the next few weeks, months and years! (Tejasvin)