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.
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)
“Hey!” I asked, “Would you guys be interested in recording an album? I have an idea in mind.”
A flood of yesses flowed in before I had a chance to explain…
I had developed independent friendships with each of them as individuals, but most had never met one another in person, just basic awareness as fellow artists via my website. All of them have been loyal long-time supporters of my craft. I knew this mix of personalities would be synergistic and supportive.
Even working professional musicians find it difficult to gain enough time and space to be able to record an album. The pressures of touring, teaching, writing, and performing are intense. And so many of my clients are passionate amateurs — in the purest sense — they make a living unrelated to music, yet dedicate their free time to playing. Many are highly skilled but have no outlet to record.
I want to change that.
To keep our focus tight and set logistically achievable goals, we established several criteria. Each participant will be featured on at least one song. Choose someone(s) to collaborate with or perform solo if you wish. Most importantly, recordings will be first or second take…looking to capture spontaneous magic.
Steve Sjuggerud contributed his time and resources with incredible generosity. He hosted us at his location Sugar Pointe, surprised everyone with custom t-shirts and a coastal waters sunset cruise, plus brought in supremely talented photographer Adam King (check out those photos!) and drummer Dan Ostrowski to add depth to our mix. Thank you, Steve. Thank you also to Steve’s wife Kassy, and his business partners Chris & Kelly Manus.
Killick Hinds generously contributed his audio recording and production skills, first in tandem with me on location, then in his studio mixing and mastering. His deft touch transformed the raw audio into a coherent whole — a difficult task because each song was an entirely different arrangement of room, mics, musicians.
I gratefully thank Chris Buono, Todd Haug, Ken Kinter, Gabriel Levi, and Ede Wright for flying or driving to Florida to contribute their beautiful art.
PS: This album is dedicated to SB. You have inspired many more lives than you could ever know.
The Yellow Cab Prius slotted itself into an imaginary third lane. Horns are a tool to open opportunities, and my taxi driver was clearing our path to Wall Street. Touching 60 mph down the next block, tires chirping as we came to a dead stop mid-intersection, inches from the box truck bumper in front of us.
“Unexpected,” he muttered.
Yesterday, Steve Sjuggerud rang the closing bell for the NYSE (New York Stock Exchange). He was also keynote speaker, presenting his film: New Money. I love Steve, and it was exciting to support him in his new venture, so lower Manhattan was the setting for our meeting this time.
Seven visible layers of security then an elevator ride, we stepped onto the trading floor.
Power is not a sufficient word, but is the precise word. Immersive powered electronic environment, labyrinthine, purposeful. On these screens, fortunes are made (and lost) in less than an instant. Capital from investors and central banks are injected into this abstract Darwinian metaphor, traded so fast that — even at the speed of light — proximity to the exchange matters, influencing real estate prices as companies compete to locate hardware closer to the NYSE.
The pulse of human ambition, the collective physical and intellectual labor of billions of people, flow through this space in fractional seconds.
Up in the balcony, Steve banged the iconic gavel and spontaneous cheers erupted around me as the trading day came to an end (Tuesday, April 16, 2019 @ 4 PM EST). Asia then Europe will carry things forward overnight then into tomorrow.
“Money flows to where it’s treated well.” (Steve Sjuggerud)
Later, at the reception, I balanced a small plate of exquisite medium rare porterhouse as Steve shared his initial impressions of the treble bleed capacitor on the wiring harness I’d sent him for testing. A few blocks away, Steve Blucher’s ears were no doubt tingling. Yes, talking guitars, Jack Ma and Warren Buffet looking on.
Just for a moment my concentration broke. An emotion, unfamiliar, a realization…an appreciation…as two worlds clicked together and I felt the course of this incredible journey in lutherie.
PS: Kind thank you to Steve Sjuggerud and his family (and staff).
It is such a joy to get time with great friends, especially involving music. When Steve Sjuggerud invited me to visit him in Florida this past week, it was an immediate yes.
The occasion was a live performance featuring Steve, Dan Ostrowski (drums), and acoustic guitarist Mike Dawes. Mike was visiting from UK, enroute to tour dates of his own. Also, we would be filming video…of the live performance, plus interviews.
More on that soon.
The next several days were just Mike, Steve, and me hanging out and testing guitars. Steve owns a stunning collection of original iconic vintage gear, lovingly curated, in perfect playing condition: Trainwreck, 1969 100-watt Marshall, Fender 1959 Strat. Plus some of the best new gear: Gil Yaron 1959 Les Paul replica, 1964 Fender Tweed replica, Blug amplifier system.
Essential benchmark guitar tone references.
Against them, we would be comparing two Goshawk™ 6-string prototype guitars I’d just completed.
What you might not know, what you might not expect, Mike Dawes — although known for his acoustic skills — is actually one of the best electric guitarists I’ve ever heard. His playing is fluid, melodic, effortless. Metal, shred…
Mike and Steve ripping together through Iron Maiden’s “The Trooper” at concert volume still has me grinning ear to ear, a few days and a few thousand miles later.