Daniela Villareal | David Bendeth

Daniela Villarreal Rick Toone
PHOTO: Daniela Villarreal and Rick Toone in the rehearsal space, September 19, 2020.

Rudy Joffroy met me in the hallway of the rehearsal studio and together we walked into the practice space. Long hair, flashing eyes, even a mask couldn’t hide Daniela’s excitement. She is pure energy, ready to ROCK.

I’m not sure if the guitar case even touched the floor before she had her new Spearfish™ 22-fret plugged into the Marshall.

A few months ago, when Luis Villerreal texted to say The Warning had been signed to Lava Records and would be recording in New Jersey, we made plans to meet. I suggested to him it would be good for Daniela to have one of the new Spearfish™ 22-fret guitars for recording, as well as touring once that is possible again.

The Spearfish™ now weighs in at a very comfortable 7 lbs. Perfectly balanced, entirely new neck ergonomic geometry. Killer machine.

I chose Bare Knuckle Nailbomb™ pickups for this guitar…a radically different tone from her DiMarzio-equipped bleached bone Spearfish™ 24-fret. The Nailbombs have a really raw, organic, dynamic bite that is tremendously responsive in the hands of a skilled player.

Together in the studio the two guitars will track massively, with complementary voicings.

The Warning chose British producer David Bendeth for this third studio album. David is a guitar player himself, and brings a wealth of experience recording guitar. This should be a powerful artistic pairing. Expect trend-setting rock guitar sounds.

IMAGE: Daniela Villarreal with her Spearfish™ 22-fret into the Marshall.

Ekaterina Gorbacheva

Spearfish Headstock
Spearfish Guitar
Rick Toone
PHOTOS: Spearfish™ 6-string guitar headstock machined from single billet aircraft grade aluminum. Patents pending. Hipshot locking tuners. (all images Ekaterina Gorbacheva)

I met Kate (Ekaterina) via Instagram and the excellent work she did filming Misha Mansoor playing his Reptile Spearfish™ 6-string guitar. I love the moods she is able to capture with her photography…levels beyond documentary.

“This is a very interesting path you’ve had, but I see all of it as being highly intellectual and more introverted and I absolutely relate to and admire your choices. On a side note your creations are beautiful and do have a touch of an intellectual to them.” (Ekaterina Gorbacheva)

Ekaterina Gorbacheva
IMAGE: www.ekaterinagorbacheva.com

A Portrait of the Artist

IMAGE: Eight string fretless multi-scale guitar portrait of Killick Hinds. Swamp Ash, carbon fiber, aircraft aluminum.

This was a new experience for me. I’ve never done a portrait of another human being using guitar as mixed media. Why not, though?

Killick Hinds and I have been friends for almost a decade. One of the first things he sent when we met was his autobiography of sorts, perhaps a proto-biography. As I read, I thought: “Here is an honest soul.”

Many thoughts and visits exchanged since then, and my love for him as a person only continues to grow. For those of you who are new…within fifteen minutes of meeting Killick in person I stopped noticing his skin is a mosaic of artwork. Again, over time, I appreciate his commitment to his singular path as an artist.

VIDEO: Killick Hinds and Rick Toone on Blood Mountain after recording “Magnets & Wires” album/documentary in November, 2019. Friends!

In building this guitar for Killick, I wanted to generate a glimpse of him in tangible, material form. We discussed the technical attributes extensively, however the aesthetics were left entirely to me and delivered to him as a total surprise.

I do believe it works.

It’s not even a guitar…it’s something totally new. The resonances/overtones are unfamiliar to my sensibilities. Bowing with the Pickaso yields entirely new textures & audible rhythms in addition to the fundamental/overtones. It’s instantly rewarding and challenging. This instrument is a perfect ergonomic fit and is truly the electric guitar’s metamorphosis. It’s a surreal time to welcome beauty and homework into the world. Thank you completely! (Killick Hinds)

IMAGE: Listen to “Shifting In Reverse”
IMAGE: Listen to “Seagreengrass Walk”
IMAGE: Listen to “Lake Nonlinear”

Killick | Alfred University

Killick Hinds performs live with Walrus 6-string guitar at Alfred University on February 24, 2020. Many of his unusual and innovative techniques are on display: playing behind fretting hand, neck contact mic, external friction devices, string damping, combined with foot-controlled software and organic tube amplification via his custom Schroeder.

This was part of a Sound Design seminar on February 24th, 2020 at Alfred University in Alfred, upstate NY. I also have video of my performance with the Ergo bowed instrument and all the class discussion as well. For some reason the video soundtrack features a non-stop hip-hop drum loop instead of what transpired. (This is inexplicable, although I’m going to sample the loop for a new piece.) I had my field recorder running and that’s what you hear on the Walrus section. The Ergo speaker was too close to the field recorder so that sound isn’t usable, and the class discussion is nearly inaudible at times. The good ones always get away!

It was a delight presenting my craft and artist practice experiences with the students and instructors…I learn a ton through such interactions. With the Walrus I was running the humbucker output and a contact mic each through volume pedals and then directly into the computer to occasionally add some 8-bit sounds via MIDI Guitar 2. The guitar sounds and chipsounds were summed to mono and broadcast through amp and speaker. At the beginning I’m using my fretted and fretless wedges—based on Hans Reichel’s dax—and then at the end I’m indeed using a full sized stripper pole. (Killick Hinds)

www.chrisbuono.com

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.

chris buono
IMAGE: Newly revised: www.chrisbuono.com
toone ensemble
IMAGE: Magnets & Wire album is featured on his discography. Love these guys!

Fabio Mittino | Live

Fabio Mittino emailed me from Milan, Italy. He will be performing live on his S2 guitar this afternoon at 2 PM. Fabio is astutely utilizing Eventbrite technology to broadcast live to the world from his home, despite quarantine. See you there…

HOW IT WORKS: RSVP by selecting REGISTER. You will receive an email with a link for the concert. Tune in at the concert time. The artist will provide you information to support them through an online donation via a service like PayPal or Venmo. Donations for house concerts typically range from $10-20, more for ensembles.There is NO PAYWALL.

In this challenging time we’re all going through, we are working to connect people in isolation, support working musicians, but also be sensitive that many people are taking a huge financial hit. This may not be a good time for you to contribute. We still invite you to join us. We’re all in this together.

Fabio Mittino started his musical journey at the age of 13 with classical guitar. Robert Fripp’s Guitar Craft expanded those horizons and led to various bands, session work and collaborations with Bert Lams of California Guitar Trio. Precision with delicacy marks his style, Fabio moves effortlessly between acoustic and electric guitars and sensitive to powerful approach to his instruments. He plays original music on electric guitar with his own solo project, “Simple Music For Difficult People” and with Bert Lams of California Guitar Trio, playing the music of Gurdjieff/De Hartmann arranged for guitars.

fabio mittino
IMAGE: Eventbrite live concert featuring Fabio Mittino. Sunday, March 29, 2020 @ 2 PM EDT.

Harp Guitar

Windows open, cool early spring air offsetting the warmth of sunlight on the building. Trees just beginning to bud, Robins and Red Wing Blackbirds in lively song all around us. My dog, Lena, content to lie in the grass and wait for our run.

I set up the Apple laptop, Apogee converter on my workbench. Direct into Logic, with one channel each for guitar and sub-bass. Capture the sound of this instrument as accurately as possible.

All twelve strings tuned: EGABCD sub-bass, EADGBE guitar.

Pause. What will I play?

I slowly breathed. Let the thoughts fade, emotions replacing them. I asked myself: “What are you feeling?”

“Waiting.”

All of humanity feels what’s coming. Storms just beyond the horizon. There is a weight to this moment. If ever there was a time to take out Skynet and eradicate the fucking filters, this would be now. While we can still connect as a species, person to person, beyond the systems of corporate and government power. Communicate necessary truths peer-to-peer across geographic and political borders.

I picked up my guitar pick and clicked record.

“This thing looks incredible.” (Tosin Abasi)

“Gorgeous all around! I just listened on the big speakers. The lows are excellent. Those basses sound beautiful!” (Killick Hinds)

“Hope it won’t offend you to say the first thing I noticed was the excellence of your photography. Might have been a different career path in another life. What to say about the guitar? It’s another of your creations that could easily be displayed in a museum. More practically, I’d love to hear a player with a classical background try it. Wonder what some of the teachers at Berklee would make of it?” (Steve Blucher)

Wow Rick…I feel like I have just glimpsed decades into the future! This must be the ‘poly-metal alloy’ construction…I enjoyed your commentary too, very poignant. (Alasdair Bryce)

harp guitar
PHOTO: Compact, ergonomic, headless. Perfectly balanced and weighing only 10.5 lbs. despite full 34” sub-bass. Sarah Connor’s weapon of choice.
stainless steel and aircraft aluminum sub-bass
PHOTO: Stainless steel and aircraft aluminum sub-bass.
double neck guitar
PHOTO: Mahogany solid body. Carbon fiber. Patented Intonation Cantilever™ bridges, Positional Constant String Pitch Control System™ bass bridge. Element™ 6-string guitar neck precision machined from single billet aircraft aluminum.
rick toone
PHOTO: Proprietary DiMarzio™ pickups.

Fine Art

Hi Rick,

Your Goshawk™ guitar and Anthology™ case against a piece of furniture of 1774 (Jean-Francois Leleu). The piece of furniture is really unique in this world…as is your guitar. The drawing is a self-portrait from Frank Auerbach, he is one of the best living artists from the London school (a good friend of Francis Bacon and Lucian Freud).

I started again to play acoustic for a couple of days, difficult to re-adapt. My (French) guitar teacher played your guitar, he went crazy! Your guitar is Fantastic, more than I ever could expect.

A thousand thanks for all this.

Adam (Paris, France)

goshawk guitar

Fabio Mittino | (Video)

Fabio Mittino continues his journey into the mechanized miniature steampunk world of Simple Music for Difficult People. His S2 6-string guitar is configured to achieve a specific range of tones via Q-Tuner pickups and alternate tunings combined with his signature precision picking technique.

NAMM 2020 | Free-Way Switch (Booth 2726 Hall E)

This year I have teamed with Alasdair Bryce, inventor of the Free-Way™ Switch (NSF Controls), for NAMM 2020. Steve Sjuggerud has invented an add-on to the Free-Way™ which will completely revolutionize the sound and performance of pickup coil splits.

I will not explain Steve’s invention at this time. He and Alasdair will be at NAMM in person to demonstrate this important new technology. Go experience.

NAMM Show: Booth 2726 Hall E

Little Angle Wing 8-string guitar.

Hi Rick, I wanted mention that your 8-string fan-fret guitar will be the pride of the Free-Way booth and we are hugely appreciative to be hosting it at NAMM!! That guitar is a fusion of worlds ideas and materials – an absolute masterclass. (Alasdair Bryce)

Little Angle Wing 8-string guitar.