I’ve been mentioning here and on the Facebook posts about this being a year full of custom orders. Some of you have had off-the-menu requests and mostly I’ve been saying “Yeah, why not? There’s so much custom work on the books it looks like that kind of year!” Some years are mostly sticking to the basics, hangin’ with the menu, keeping it simple and straightforward. There’s a beauty to that too, but that might be next year. It’s certainly not this one! What a blast I’m having. To show you what I’m talking about, here are four instruments hanging right next to each other in final assembly… literally just the next four happening here.
Custom guitar. Yes, the shop turns out a very small number of Birdsong branded guitars a year. Our roots are in the early 6-string builds that began the path and the company, and my own beginnings are as a guitar player. This is a custom order with a one-off mahogany & ebony body and two DiMarzio humbuckers. This one will first sing next week after a long journey from the plank.
Hy5 #082. From our line of short scale 5-string basses, here’s one with more of a “J” pickup location from our Corto2 bass, black hardware, and a really cool spalted maple top & headstock. We don’t do a whole lot of tops, so when we do we like it to be something you don’t see every day. This bass is actually AVAILABLE in inventory, and I could have it ready over the weekend to go out Monday. If you don’t follow the Birdsong Guitars Facebook page, you missed out on a HUGE sale price offer on it, but if it’s yours call and we’ll talk.
Talisman. For T.D. Towers of the band Edensong, a signature ancient looking mystical piece called the Talisman. By the time you’re reading this the bass will be on its journey to prog-rock Valhalla with him (VERY likely to be seen again!) and the model will have been slipped into the menu on the BIRDSONG page. It’s not “THE” new model for 2017 – that’s coming on July 4th. This just sorta happened along the way, like life and love and… well, like Birdsong! See what a creative year it is? This absolutely hits the Wal / Tool thing and a bunch more subtle but vintage rockin’ tones. That neck pickup where it sits in our 31” scale? To die for. Stay tuned…
Special order Sadhana. Given artistic freedom on this one, it took some time and leaned way more elegant than my initial thoughts. It came to be in layers as it came to me in stages – “OK, now that it’s THIS, what is best as a next feature?” Sadhana #064 has a 9-piece body of walnut, maple & wenge shaped with a large roundover to the edge and a hand carved scroll on the upper horn. There is nothing substantial that’s black on the instrument – a very different touch when done because there’s usually a pickup or plate on any of them you see that are – so it’s only earth tones of browns and maple trimmed out with cream & gold. Much like in playing where a perfectly placed space can carry more weight than any note, in instrument cosmetics leaving out something that’s usually seen can be striking. This could be one of my favorites so far.
This doesn’t even get into the 2/3rds built Ric-infused Sadhana I’m still searching for specific parts for, the doubleneck that’ll be in sanding as soon as I finish carving the scroll horn, or the two – not one but TWO – full-on, no-expense-spared, wild Artist basses I’m in the wood gathering stage of. Or the rest! So you pretty much know where I’ll be this year! I hope wherever the muse leads you is as fulfilling, challenging, and soul-stirring as it feels in the little workshop in the woods right now. I thank my clients for the patience to be waiting for a wilder custom build (or to be back in line behind them) while they become.
As an aside, it was great that Journey made it into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, and this – this is how you approach another whose fate set your destiny. Arnel, current Journey singer without whom that band would have died because even the Steve Perry of the 1990s couldn’t hit those notes live anymore – and Steve Perry, long gone from the band, long gone from the public eye, both class acts. But this is how you approach a past that became your future; a seat you earned but that was inherited; one whose three-pointers made the team you jumped into to continue. No matter how great, hard working, or successful a person is… you'll owe somebody this. Peace be with both of them and their Journeys.
Listening to: John Coltrane Coltrane Plays The Blues; Mississippi Fred McDowell You Gotta Move; a live early Pat Benatar show – what a band; Doug Raney Back in New York. That’s just got to be one of the best jazz guitar tones and albums ever.
Have a safe & happy Easter.
“Happy Easter Ben!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”