Friday, January 20, 2006

GuitArt - The Guitar Calendar - "Thunder"

This is the other half of the “Thunder and Lightning” twins team. "Lightning" appears below - scroll down a way). Thunder refers to the low, power tones I get out of it. But also it has a beautiful, emotional crying tone that sounds very organic. You can definitely hear the exotic tonewood in this guitar more than any other I've tried. Normally, you hear the wood more in a fretless because there is no metal fret - the strings is pressed against the wood of the fingerboard directly. In this guitar, it is a rosewood fingerboard bonded directly to a one-piece neck-through body, so that the vibration passes unhindered through the the entire neck and body. It feels as if the whole guitar "breathes". That is the best way I can explain it. I have had and played many other guitars and I've never felt anything quite like this before. It touches your soul to hear it.

Like the matching Eagle Supreme guitar, this is carefully crafted from solid (not veneer) Hawaiian Koa, which is no longer available in blocks, so it is not possible to build a new one like this anymore. It is masterfully rendered into probably the most beautiful design for a bass I've seen. Only the original Alembic basses from the same period are as attractive to me.

This is also handmade by Bernardo Richo in California. It is called a B.C. Rich Fretless Eagle Bass. Yes, although it doesn't look like it in the photo, this one is actually a fretless bass.
It originally had just the straight, unmarked fretboard, which was hard to know where to put your fingers. So I used a tuner and made marks up the edge on both sides, then took an ultrafine saw and made a very thin cut where frets would be, then filled it in with wood filler and then sanded it smooth. Now there are lines where the frets should be, but it still plays smooth and achingly beautiful. I use this a lot. I bought it probably around 1979 or so.
If there were a fire in the house, and I had to grab just a few things and run, this would have to be one of them. It's irreplaceable.


At 1/20/2006 8:22 AM, Blogger TwistedNoggin said...

That is one beautiful bass. So you play fretless? That's a little harder, but it sure sounds great (especially for jazz).

Happy plucking, Jaco

At 1/20/2006 6:09 PM, Blogger Val Serrie said...

The fretless is a little more challenge, true - but the sound is incomparable. It's almost a completely different instrument. More like a cello in some ways. The sliding glissendos, rolling a finger into a note, subtle effects of touch. It's a very sensual instrument to play.

Nice poetry and drawings on your site, by the way. Good job.



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