Saturday was a busy day at the Hard Rock, as the crowds came in for the weekend, and the guitar show ratcheted into high gear. I spent the day trying to look at nooks and crannies that I might have overlooked the first day, starting with the Hard Rock itself. Rock may be mostly about electric guitars, at least as evidenced by the guitars on the wall, but today I noticed this nice tribute to Hank Williams on the way in, featuring an "acoustic", even if it was made of bronze:
It was a big jump from the simplicity of the Hank Williams exhibit to Linda Manzer’s Medusa guitar, inside the acoustic hall. Later in the day I saw this guitar being packed up – requiring a enormous case that looked like you’d need a few people to carry. Better have roadies if you want to buy this one! A few extra fingers wouldn't hurt, either.
Manzer also had one of her Metheny models on display:
Tim McKnight was showing his “Spar Guitar”, whose top was built from the spar of a ship that sank off the coast of Oregon. Tim’s wife, Mary has written a book about the Spar guitar, and the guitar is being auctioned off at the festival, with proceeds to go to the McKnight’s charitable efforts.
The McKnight table also featured 2 Sonic Sitka guitars. The Sonic Sitka project is an effort to measure the long term changes that occur in guitars over time, with a wide variety of guitars built from the wood from a single tree. There are many Sonic Sitka guitars at the show, in all shapes and sizes, and each has a plaque that represents the project, tho frankly, you don’t need the plaques to identify the guitars. The wood is highly bear-clawed, and once you see it, you can spot the guitars all over the hall. Tim Mcknight is the only builder so far to build a double-top guitar using the Sonic Sitka, with both tops from the same material. The unusual guitar stand is something Tim made from a Christmas Tree stand. It not only holds the guitar securely, it rotates, controlled by a remote control:
Pedersen guitars was showing one of the more stunning looking Sonic Sitka guitars, complete with a remarkable detailed “Adam and Eve” inlay, strong bearclaw combined with a slight sunburst effect and bevels and unique details everywhere. It played and sounded fabulous.
Brunner guitars makes a travel guitar that fits in a backpack thanks to a removable neck, as demonstrated here:
Brunner also makes a variety of interesting instruments, including this Phil Keaggy signature baritone 12 string.
This Brunner 8 string looks like a great choice if you’d done all you can do with only 6 strings:
I’ve forgotten which table was sporting this nicely constructed hygrometer, but it was a good reminder that we are in Florida!
If you thought that Hank Williams guitar looked like heavy metal, it wasn’t the only one. These copper bnody guitars, by Doc Copper Acoustic Guitars could actually be played:
It usually seems like all the unusual designs are by steel string builders, but some classical makers don’t want to be left out. This Steve Ramos classical would certain turn some heads:
And here’s a reminder that the guitar is just one member of the stringed instrument family. Faruk Turunz was showing a collection of ouds:
Harp guitars were everywhere, in all shapes and sizes. Here’s something I haven't seen before, a lap steel harp guitar from Mermer guitars
Mermer also makes a non-lap harp guitar, and provided a nice setup with headphones for demoing its plugged-in sound:
If you’ve been interested in a harp guitar, but are hesitant to spring for the usually hefty price tag, you’re in luck. A new model, the Holloway, is modeled after a early 1900’s Dyer, but made in China. Price is yet to be determined, but apparently is expected to be well below $2000. While I'm not a harp connoisseur, I thought it played and sounded very good. Hmm...
Tho Marshall’s young, he’s not new to luthiery. He told me he did his first refret job at age 4! He also does restoration, including this 1832 Torres:
There was a lot of inlay on display, from over-the-top to beautifully subtle and elegant, but there was very little that could confused with this example from ES Acoustics. This is also a Sonic Sitka guitar:
The skeleton apparently lost a few body parts along the way, dropping them down the neck:
I was looking at the inlay on this guitar and almost didn’t notice how the neck was attached. An external bolt mechanism not only allows the action to be fine tuned easily, but allows the guitar to support multiple scales lengths, simply by slipping on a new neck.
Of course, people weren’t just looking at the guitars, and impromptu performances by amateurs and pros alike continued throughout the day. Here, Paul Asbell takes a guitar for a test drive:
Mary Flower and Roy Bookbinder were checking out the Brunner guitars. Roy appears to have lost control of his neck!
Muriel Anderson playing with Tierra Negra drew quite a crowd with some fiery playing in front of Linda Manzer’s booth.
That’s a small taste of today, more to see and do tomorrow!