Posts Tagged fingerstyle guitar

Bob ‘The Guitar Man’ Taylor

For the last decade I’ve been associated with C.F.Martin & Co., having the series of custom signature guitars that were described in my last blog post.

However, there was a period in the 1990’s when I was actively performing and recording with instruments from San Diego-based Taylor Guitars. I first visited their old factory in Santee in October of 1990 and ordered the small-bodied 812 Sitka/Indian concert cutaway guitar pictured here

At that time, they were making about 10 guitars a day. I was able to choose my own custom serial number. The side-located fingerboard position markers were, for a few years after, described as ‘Juber Dots’. The headstock sports a very cool inlay (by Larry Breedlove) based on the bird tattoo that my wife Hope has on her ankle.

This ‘Bird’ Taylor the lead guitar on this Al Stewart track that I produced and recorded in 1994:

Later, I ordered a Sitka/mahogany jumbo 12 string acoustic to use on recording sessions for a new TV show. ‘Home Improvement’ ran for 8 years and that Taylor 12 string became a signature voice in the musical stings and transitions of the show, featuring comedian Tim Allen as Tim ‘The Tool Man’ Taylor.

The guitar pictured on the cover of my ‘LJ’ album was a cedar top/mahogany body 20th Anniversary model that was customized with a cutaway and became a precursor to their ever-popular 514C model. Notwithstanding that photo, the album itself was mostly recorded with the ‘Bird’ guitar and introduced my playing to a global audience.

As well as performing, recording my own albums and being a studio guitarist, I was an active clinician for Taylor during that period.

On my regular trips to San Diego, I made regular visits to the factory in El Cajon and witnessed their rapid expansion, thanks to Bob Taylor’s re-imagining of the art and science of guitar manufacturing.

On March 18th, I’ll make my annual appearance  at Anthology in San Diego, which as well as being one of my favorite venues, has an interesting connection to Taylor. The menus sport covers made from guitar tone woods and the club features a display of the company’s instruments.

It’s impossible to consider the modern acoustic guitar without recognizing the influence of Bob ‘The Guitar Man’ Taylor. He continues to do remarkable work and his efforts toward sustainable wood resources are having an impact on the world of guitar manufacturing.



, , , , ,


Transcribing Beatles

How long does it take to ready a transcription folio for publication?

For my Beatle arrangements, at least a decade, if I include the time taken to cultivate a healthy relationship with the publishers….. A few tunes from my ‘LJ Plays The Beatles’ and ‘One Wing’ CDs made it into a Popular Songs fingerstyle folio I did a few years ago, which helped smooth the way for an all-Beatle book.

Ironically the ‘hit’ from that particular collection was not a Beatle tune, but my arrangement of the Lieber-Stoller-Ben E. King tune  ‘Stand By Me’, which was featured in a diamond commercial on TV.

A significant criteria in my tune selection for ‘LJ Plays The Beatles Vol. 2’, was that keeping the repertoire to Lennon-McCartney tunes would allow a folio to match the recording. Apparently, George’s tunes are governed by some different agreements and would complicate the issue.

The challenges of creating solo arrangements of these tunes are a subject for way more discussion than is appropriate to a brief blog post. Catch me at one of my clinics or extended workshops for some in-depth study – see my schedule.

I finished recording the CD in May of 2010. I had already prepared most of the arrangements in Sibelius, my preferred notation program. Then everything was revised to match the recordings, plus transcriptions were done of the more improvised tunes – with some help from Dr. Dave. The files were sent to my excellent editor Jeff at Hal Leonard Publishing, who did a total revision and emailed me pdfs of his pencil amendments to the print-outs. After I approved the changes, and added a few of my own, the music then went to the engraver to incorporate all the alterations into the original Sibelius files. That took us to into December.

Last week, appropriately enough while I was a guest on the ‘Beatles Tribute Cruise’, I received pdfs of the engraver’s proofs, with some pencil annotations. They were final enough for me to sit in my studio for 4 days and record brief lessons on all 15 tunes for the CD that accompanies the book. I made a few corrections as I read through the tunes, but my part of the process is essentially done. I’m expecting that the book will be out in May 2011.

So, in answer to my original question, essentially a year, excluding the arranging time prior to recording the album itself. That’s with the benefits of digital technology (and some well-sharpened red pencils). I can’t imagine doing it with woodblocks…….

, , , , , ,