All right. Good morning, welcome to Fret
Buzz The Podcast. My name is Joe McMurray
and I’m Aaron Sefchick and today we have
a very special guest. A guy who lives in
Virginia Beach near where I am. Mr.
Dustin Furlow is an incredible
fingerstyle guitarist. Welcome Dustin.
Thanks for the warm welcome and pleasure
be talking to you guys this morning. Yeah
we’re to have you.
I’ve been particularly interested in
finger style guitar recently.
It’s struck a chord with me and it’s
fun. Yeah, I got to come see you about a
a month ago and
I’ve been excited. I’ve been playing a
lot more finger style so I’m glad to
have you on to dig into your style and
your approach and all the things.
I think I remember you doing Angelina
from Tommy Emmanuel.
Yeah, I posted that on Instagram a while
back. Yeah it’s a good tune nationality
to it yeah he he’s a great Tommy
Emmanuel I mean he’s a great place to
start I guess but he’s a great
songwriter he was gonna say it’s gonna
be impossible to do this podcast without
bringing up him probably Andy McKee
Michael Denton right right
yeah and they’re fairly recent there
they’re like within the past 10-15 years
yeah definitely and Tommy he’s been
touring a conversation with a couple
people he’s been touring almost his
whole life because I am late for three
years and you know he’s in his 50s now
and he’s still doing it like it’s like
breathing he’s like yeah he’s he’s a
beast he’s been doing it for a long time
but I just saw a recent video of his
it’s just like holy cow this man is just
on fire yeah it’s like breathing for him
you know yeah it really is yeah he’s got
kind of a for me it’s the combination of
his songwriting abilities his actual
technical abilities on the guitar and
his stage presence like you just make
him a very very he’s a pleasure to watch
and listen to you yeah definitely yep
yeah man I’ve actually met him I met him
a long time ago the birch mirror like
four years ago and this was back when it
was easy to meet him now he’s he’s got
big enough following that I think he
actually might even have to pay to do a
meet-and-greet now but um really nice
guy I gave him a CD I wrote him a tune
called the traveller and I want him to
hear he was like well if you don’t hear
from me then how did he say he was like
he’s like I’ll let you know if it sucks
so if you don’t hear from me that’s a
good thing or something like seemed I
didn’t hear from him then yeah yeah what
else
seems like so that he’d say yeah he’s
very quick-witted yeah for sure he’s
he’s on a different frequency than most
human beings yeah yeah well I’m a really
nice guy and his concerts always worth
checking out every now and then every
couple of years I always try and make a
point to see where the standard should
be you know weird one yeah yeah yeah I
felt like for me Tommy Emmanuel is a I
mean it was kind of maybe not the best
place to start but you know a lot of
them even when you look at like his
finger style courses on with true
and there’s a lot of stuff out there the
stuff that he starts with has that kind
of old-timey feel he’s not the kind of
like open C and G cords
yeah which is fine but it’s not like the
stuff that gets me as excited is hearing
something like Angelina or Mombasa yeah
got all these cool tunes so I kind of I
just had to learn Angelina and it was it
kind of kicked my butt for a while and I
mean it’s very uh it’s it’s pretty ahead
of the beat sometimes really cool
actually you know um sort of a side note
about three weeks ago I was recording
with Kim person who is basically the
lady that recorded most of his well
known albums she was really nice lady in
New York town who owns a studio called
Simran studio and she’s recorded Steven
Bennett who’s sort of the Godfather of
the harp guitar and she recorded all of
his albums and all of Tommy’s early
albums in fact Steven introduced her to
Tommy when he first came here to the
states and Tommy was like Steven I want
your sound and he’s like alright you
shall have it you know and she was
awesome work with point I’m gonna make
is that I was asking her I was like you
know recording fingerstyle guitar is
very much a raw thing like you really
it’s really like hit the record button
and go and so I was asking her you know
how do you know the pros go about doing
it you know do they just keep playing
until they mess up and then they say
okay I’m gonna punch in here I’m going
to do this I’m gonna do that I’m gonna
record this section I’m gonna record
that section but apparently what Tommy
would do is she’s she was like honestly
his timing is just it’s sickening
because he’s he did drums too he always
likes to say he’s equal part drummer and
guitarist and she was basically just
like I barely ever had to punch him and
introduce any sort of editing he would
come in
Bam Bam Bam like in fact his album the
endless road was reported like in one
night in a hotel or something like that
Wow
but anyway yeah it’s just interesting
you know she was saying you know
his he when he starts something he is
the band he was you know he’s he’s there
he’s on there’s no falling off track you
know yeah he’s very honed into what he
wants in his vision yeah exactly it’s
it’s kind of like how um only thing I
could probably compare it to is how a
lot of builders are artists artists when
they’re in their zone or what was it got
no flow no yeah probably like that for
him you know there’s there’s it
everything else was tuned out except the
hands in the instrument you know so I
guess there’s still in terms in there on
the recording side there’s probably some
things they must try different
microphones and have him use different
guitars and in different rooms there’s
still a lot of things that you could
probably yeah do multiple takes oh yeah
yeah
Kim is mentioned they’ve done all sorts
of mic setups he’s always wanted to do
the the ay-e-e-ah ramp signal and I
think maybe they did a couple of times
but she always wanted to do just
strictly mic and that’s really what she
does I don’t think that I mean I’ve
never heard any recordings that are
straight acoustic like straight mic that
sound as good as Kim’s recordings I
think she really is like at the top of
the solo fingerstyle recording a shelf
but I mean it’s like if you listen to
any of Stephen Bennett or Tommy’s
records you’ll put some headphones on
it’s almost like you’re in the guitar
it’s just so pleasing you know you hear
all the resonance and she has the like
the right amount of compression all
right everything I mean she’s just a pro
you know playing simple yeah well you’ve
been you recorded your you’ve been
recording it what master sound studios
so yeah oh yeah okay and so you’re gonna
put out a new album and he said that’s
all instrumental yeah um the first two
that I did were at Rob’s the first one
was full production with multi
instruments and sort of a
singer-songwriter contemporary folk
record with a couple finger style things
on it but the second one I did was
strictly solo acoustic just
in front of a couple nights microphones
and this third one I’m doing is
instrumental completely it’s ten tracks
of my own originals and I wanted to do
it right so me and Ken dug in and did
that got that knocked out three weeks
ago yes awesome
what are you looking to release that I’m
I’m thinking March I was hoping for
January but logistically speaking I
don’t want to rush anything right
there’s a guy in the UK who’s done a lot
of the graphics designs for a lot of the
candy rat and fret monkey artists which
are those two record labels are sort of
at the forefront of solo acoustic music
modern finger style whatever right and
um this guy’s booked out he’s sort of
he’s really in demand and so it’s kind
of a matter of I don’t want to rush him
you know never Russian artists basically
so right well I just want to take my
time with it I’ll probably release a
single though of one of the songs the
album is gonna be called wood escapes
mm-hmm really really looking forward to
just because it’s something I’ve always
wanted to do is something purely
instrumental you know yeah how long have
you been riding these teens um let me
see uh actually had the list right here
so a lot of them aren’t even three years
old most of them three years old um I’ve
been dabbling in solo acoustic music
since I was 17 or so so like 2010 or
2011 I first heard any mckee around that
time and that really changed what I
thought was possible you know I think it
changed for a lot of people honestly yes
yes he came around that whole percussive
and tapping and that really never
existed on a popular front before and I
came out yeah he definitely changed the
landscape mm-hmm
it also came about at a time when I feel
like YouTube was gaining popularity and
he was able to put out that like driftin
yeah it was just went viral yeah yep and
I still come back to those videos
they’re a really big source of
inspiration for me the first one I saw
was him playing the harp guitar and yeah
that just you know blew my mind changed
a lot of things for me and so I’ve been
playing that style I’ve learned a lot of
full songs from him
Tommy Manuel you know a couple other of
the greats and in the process of
learning their tunes and learning how
they choose melodies and chord structure
and voicings and accents and you know
stuff like that it took me a long time
before I even decided okay I’m ready to
write my own stuff that I’m gonna be
proud to stand behind you know as I
wrote a lot of things that just sounded
like noise for a while so you know it’s
it’s fun to actually know that what I’m
putting out now I’m probably not gonna
really change or be finicky about I’m
just gonna keep playing them the way
they are and if they evolve on stage
than they do if not they don’t you know
um but yeah seeing meaning a key at that
point I’d been playing electric a lot
and in fact I was that that winter had
broke my arm had but I found out that
like if I laid back I could play you
know okay
I’m gonna cast but I could lay back and
play acoustic guitar and I was like okay
this is chill and I basically just
played that kind of music for years and
years and then I decided to start
singing and gigging you know around the
AIRC I did start singing I mean every
other that hasn’t heard Dustin he’s got
an incredible voice you know what you
could just run a band with your voice
and it’s really kind of you um my voice
has changed a lot in fact I can look
back at videos from three or four years
ago and my voice is completely different
and I don’t know if that was because
early on I sort of molded my voice
around who I was influenced by like John
Mayer or Dave Matthews or Jack Johnson
or whoever the big pop acoustic guys
were at the time you know
I’m but now I think my voice is really
my own as of the last two years I listen
to recordings that hasn’t changed at all
I’m kind of just finally settled so but
initially when I did first start singing
around that time that I saw those anemic
kita videos and wanted to do the solo
acoustic thing full-on my voice is very
froggy kinda like it is I’m still
recovering from last night yeah I’ll
have to I’ve never heard any of that so
it’s hard to imagine exactly
for a time line when did is when did you
first start getting into music or guitar
or and how did that progress into
because you said you started with
electric yeah yeah I was 11 and my
brother gave me his Ibanez okay my dad
was really paramount in getting music
good music in front of me my dad was
really into blues
I had Stevie Ray Vaughan and Carlos
Santana playing in my household like my
whole childhood okay that’s kind of
deeply embedded as well you know I’ve
never really turned my cheek from
electric or where my roots are like
right but I’ve nowadays I just I feel
like I as a soloist I can achieve more
with just one acoustic guitar but so I
played from like 11 until 16 was purely
electric and then around 16 I just
didn’t play at all because I was
skateboarding a lot and being at being
stupid you know that’s that you broke
your arm yeah yeah well see it actually
ended up being a good thing yeah
skateboarding is an expensive hobby I
mean potentially anything is expensive
hobby – okay buying thousand-dollar
guitars and all its equipment and
microphones and amps
actually yeah you make a good point but
at the time yeah I was blowing whole
paychecks on just wheels and yeah
trucks and stuff from my skateboards but
anyway yeah so I broke my arm and I was
like okay this is if something if I
broke a wrist or if I broke you know or
hyper-extended a finger okay now I can’t
play guitar so that’s two I was like now
I’m just not gonna skate
well I skate for enjoyment now but not
anything crazy um so you know after that
I got an acoustic guitar for Christmas
around that time was like 17 or 18 and
um I met a guy who was a photographer a
local photographer and he was like yeah
come to this open mic and you know
there’s just it’s funny it’s like the
navigation that happens from going to
your first open mic to getting full time
to hopefully touring which is my goal
it’s it’s just funny the way it works
it’s it’s a constant up and up and up as
long as you’re focused on constantly
improving and building connections with
other people networking right it’s it’s
a long ladder so since 18 I’m 25 now I’m
still navigating yeah yeah so that’s
pretty much that story in a nutshell I
don’t want to go on too long about that
comes from all guitar too you know
yeah so um yeah that’s that’s that so
one thing that I’ve been really
interested in and I even saw you do like
when I came to see you play is your
arrangements of some things like you did
girl from ipanema yeah and did you it’s
totally cool if you didn’t but did you
come up with that arrangement yourself
I’m actually proud to say that I did
yeah that’s what bewilders me still at
this point like I have not figured out
how to like I can do when I play that
song I play it in a very like a jazz
solo style kind of way so I’m I’m kind
of strumming through the chords and
hybrid picking but it doesn’t have that
like driving bass line with it mm-hmm
yeah for that tune I use a thumb pick I
used to use a thumb pick pretty much
everything now but I have jello kerlick
nails and or something
things I use the nail depending on the
tone that I want and then for other
things
it’s the thumb pick sort of Tommy manual
JEDEC and style for that tune I was
actually playing with a flautist and a
harpist our heart player I didn’t know
harpist is the correct term they’re what
we sound like a new but I think we’re
they were playing oh and a piano player
Karlsson and yeah they’re they’re all
playing this it’s like what is that that
sounds so familiar
you know just the melody you know I’m
sure you probably remember the first
time you heard it the same way I
remember the first time I heard autumn
leaves when I was a kid those kind of
melodies you’re it’s so familiar because
it’s just so good even if even if it’s
the first time you’ve heard it so I
asked for the chord chart and I just
straightaway
arranged I do it in F mom and I adjusted
original yeah yeah I want to say it
works pretty well for guitar um Adam
Rafferty who’s a pretty well known
acoustic guy he says yeah he’s really
smooth so you probably know he does a
lot of jazz and bebop Motown stuff but
he does an arrangement where he just
Capo’s at the first and plays it in E
which is pretty interesting but yeah I
do it an F and I consulted Larry for a
couple things because I know Larry Larry
Bird Wald who is on the show he as you
know he’s a really pretty great jazz
player unlike yourself and him and his
band little doors the jazz trio they
they do that tune as well and I was like
you know just asking him about a couple
things but yeah that arrangements it’s
it’s pretty cool it’s on YouTube if you
ever wanted to look at it again but so
how did you approach this so you’ve got
you know it’s an F and then it’s a 2/5 G
minor to C 7 back to F like how do you
are you just trying to get the base
notes are you fretting the whole chords
and just kind of you know using some
sort of finger picking pattern to play
submit pretty notes between your melody
notes
well I’ve I’ve truthfully never I’ve
only heard like maybe two or three
guitars do
I referenced a couple people’s versions
like like I said Adam Rafferty’s um I
would dare to say that my version is
probably unique in that the baselines
aren’t really it’s hard to explain I use
my thumb for a lot of the base to which
probably helps in reaching the chord
voicings and the melodies but use
wrapping your thumb over the top yeah
for the F and the F sharp and sometimes
the G but um I don’t know that the way
that I do the base lines or the bossa
nova esque groove is really you know
what people would say is correct
quote-unquote but it works it’s it’s fun
for me because I can still do a slap on
the the two and the four
um but uh I don’t always do it in the
first position I’ll go up to C voicing
up at the well I don’t know if it’s at
the tenth fret maybe or the eighth fret
to get that F there yeah yeah yeah the F
so I’ll do it I’ll do that for the first
pass or the bridge I go back to first
position which the bridge is just
wonderfully I love that song it’s so
good um that took me a while to get the
hang of it especially the you know that
kind of threw me for a loop the first
time a couple times I heard I had to
listen to Frank Sinatra sing it a bunch
of times just to be like okay am i
playing the right thing there cuz yeah
anyway yeah Frank is a great resource
for ya getting like a simp a fairly
simple straight version of the melodies
of lots of these old jazz tunes right I
mean you can look on you can look in the
real book is good reference although
it’s not always 100% but um Frank is one
of my go-to and I think lots of people’s
go-to guys like I just need to hear
Frank play it and then I can listen to
the other jazz players cuz they they put
all these you know fancy they they
improvise on the melody and ya end up
the timing and stuff so yeah Frank does
a great job it’s simple when you’re
especially in your first level learning
it
right yeah then expand from there mm-hmm
wha I’m gonna have to I’m gonna have to
watch your your YouTube video closely
and figure that out it was yeah it’s
just in studio so it it’s not live or
anything to where you can watch my left
hand the whole time if you needed to but
it’s it’s a yeah it’s a fun tune to get
into the fingers you know even if it’s
just a heck of it yeah I get really
enjoy I enjoy that tune but I really
have a good time
improvising over that you know fun it’s
the fun chord progression to play over
yeah especially the intro yeah yeah I
mean I I love the whole thing but it’s
just a it’s a classic sometimes you get
I’ve got to be careful where I play that
cuz sometimes I feel like people can you
know if it’s at a bar like it more of a
meet your drinking kind of bar yeah kind
of like let’s get a lot of people who’ve
heard it in so many elevators that they
actually think it’s just elevator music
yeah yeah they ignore the fact that you
know the history of it and yeah you know
played it last night mm-hmm
craft house for their big event and had
people dancing and one nice oh that’s
great
yeah it’s like I said it’s it’s it’s a
tune where even if people don’t know the
name they probably know the melody and
even if they don’t know the melody they
assume they’ve heard it because it’s
just so good you know anyway yeah so
that kind of jazzy stuff I do a couple
tunes like that um don’t know why from
Norah Jones is another one it’s not
really jet jazz influence you know you
have seen you do that you’ve it’s a
great arrangement you’ve got a thank to
you yeah I borrowed from a couple people
for that I just do it in a you know
there are some voicings I really like
the key of a you know getting on the
subjective favorite keys and keys that
work well for finger style guitar and
standard tuning a is one of my favourite
wants to work around obviously G or a
monitor and a I’ve written or not open a
but just open voicings with a major
worked really well for my original
arrangements at least you know I think
what
something that I’ve kind of gravitated
towards in the past couple years that
has helped me I use a lot of cross
string melodies so I’ll use open strings
blended with fretted notes and let them
ring out sort of like a piano or a harp
and those that those kind of sounds are
really inspiring to me in fact and I a
lot of that too
my guitar player and good friend Matt
Thomas he plays harp guitar extremely
well if you haven’t heard him he’s got a
bunch of viral videos on YouTube um but
he’s a great finger style six string
players well and he’s taught me a lot of
those open string licks and rolls like
Chet Atkins style stuff and you know so
that that kind of thing has worked
really well for the key of a obviously
II would work two and G you work hard
enough you can find a lot of other
things too but also play a lot in dadgad
nowadays and open D know those are
really well known for having those
drones it sounds so great but uh do you
feel when you’re playing in dadgad
especially do you feel like you have the
freedom you’ve learned Dada Dada if to
me it feels like I’m learning Spanish
like it’s like completely any different
oh absolutely
all my landmarks are completely thrown
off and while I memorized a few
arrangements in Dada Dada I feel like
I’m I can’t stray from the arrangements
because I just don’t have my hearing
straight yeah Oh take a string tunes is
tuned down to Fred’s this one’s not this
it’s just yeah and a really tricky thing
is you know between your your G and your
B string well your junior a string all
of a sudden it’s not it’s a different
it’s two frets and you have an open note
or you have a drone note instead of you
know having your open on the fourth fret
but the cool thing to always keep in
mind is that your D and your G are still
the same those can be or your reference
point from voicings and stuff dad dad’s
really cool because you can switch
between a major and a minor just like
that you know I haven’t I’m not gonna
say them really fluent in it to where I
can improvise in it you know but I’ve
learned a couple of
cross string scales and stuff like that
it’s really cool to go to minor five as
well if you’re in the key of D which is
really nice that just works really well
I learned when the first dad guide Tunes
I learned was cashmere from Led Zeppelin
yeah dad dad originally right yeah and
so from there I’ve written I think at
least eight dad dad tunes now that I’m
pretty proud of all of which are kind of
all like I think four or five of them
are are in the key of D and then I do
modulate a couple times but there’s some
other nice things you can also play in
the key a and like I said G minor E
minor actually works pretty well too a
nice just sus chords out of that but
yeah I wouldn’t say I’m Pierre Ben Susan
he’s he’s like the king of dad dad I
mean he if you watch him play it’s just
it’s surreal no parabens Susan yeah I
think he said I’ve heard of him but I I
think did a podcast with Adam Rafferty
mm-hmm but I haven’t listened to that
episode yeah I think I think he’s French
and I want to say that in France they
probably crucify me for the way I
pronounce his last night I can’t
remember how it’s really pronounced on
it oh yeah it’s really there’s there’s a
silenced consonant in there somewhere I
can’t remember what it is but anyway
yeah he’s a good reference point if you
wanted to learn anything in DADGAD
he’s got a couple little small lessons
that are actually you know they’re quick
lessons but they’re really helpful as
well as Tony McManus he’s he’s not
Celtic I got to count two guitarists I
got to meet him two months ago a really
cool guy technique is just flawless
there’s there’s some guitar players that
are you know even though they they
toured full-time or they’re really
highly regarded they’re still not what I
would call tight like tight tight mm-hmm
and this is one of
players you know he’s you can tell he’s
got some classical background where his
posture his relaxation in his right hand
he’s just he’s flawless so he’s a really
good reference for learning dad got to
knee as well and he’s such a great I
mean he’s an authority in the world of
Celtic finger style guitar right he’s
pretty much yeah he is the Celtic guitar
yeah I did a true fire course of his and
I really enjoyed his his play cuz I have
a I don’t think it has anything to do
with my family background and being
MacMurray but I just the sound of Celtic
music is appealing to me and I’m not
exactly sure how to explain it but I
just like the I feel I like it so I I
took his course and he does some really
cool stuff he does a lot of these uh
rolling triplets I’m better than but it
I he does get some cool finger style
techniques that I’d never even seen
before I’ve actually I’ve never seen a
guitarist that does the down up down up
down with the thumb so well like the
triplets you’re just talking about yeah
sort of give that jig or that you know
rolling Celtic feel you know watch a
watches thumbnail I’m like how are you
doing that dude in a practice that had
to have gone into that you know because
it’s just one string it’s just like
diggity and it sounds like that too it’s
almost like he mutes it to where it’s
not it’s it’s just a it’s a thing in the
background you know versus a major part
of the song but it’s like such a hard
freakin thing to do
yeah he actually does in the course he
does some with these three fingers with
his index middle and ring fingers okay
bummed to get him he just rolls those
three on the on the screen oh yeah yeah
so it’s it’s hard to do I’ve got a
couple tunes were of his that from that
course that I play I like live I just I
just do two eighth notes I can it throws
me off have to try to do the triplet it
I end up like watching it half the time
now do you use our artificial nails at
all yeah be right down I’m just and
maybe that’s part of my problem I’m just
using the flesh on the tips might think
yes yeah it helped it helps immensely he
gets um he does the same things mean he
has gel acrylic his are a bit shorter
than mine surprisingly um but uh yeah so
he has a very classical technique but if
you wash his right hand in any song that
he does it’s just so fluid you know um
he’s got a great tone to he knows how to
pull certain parts of the song I’ll
watch where he places his right hand
that’s also a really important thing for
finger style is if you’re playing
something really busy or Chucky you
never want to play closer to the sound
hole like a classical player would do
okay
I don’t want to be closer to the bridge
and sort of drive that energy to the top
it just it makes things a little bit
easier I know for me if I’m doing a
Tommy manual or Merle Travis style song
but thumb pick I would never go play
with my right hand over the sound hole
it’s always closer to the bridge so you
get a tighter attack right yeah but Tony
he’ll be he’ll be all over the place I
mean he does something slower and he
wants to milk the melody he’ll move his
hand closer to the sound hole and at
that point you’re getting less of a
tight string sound and more of a warm
blooming you know and it takes years
decades to get that sort of translation
if you’re in so well joints and on an
acoustic when you’re not able to just
switch pickups it’s it’s that much more
important to that’s another cool thing
about Tony is that for his live shows I
like a lot of finger style players like
Tommy and Andy McKee Don Ross he
actually I think he has a knk Trinity
installed in his guitar but a microphone
yeah it’s a microphone and under saddle
transducer pickup combination but I
think for the most part in his live
shows he just mics his guitars and he
just puts his right foot up on a
footstool like a classical player would
and he doesn’t move so the microphone
doesn’t you know get out of focus or
whatever but he’s a very surgically
accurate guitar player it’s really
inspiring to watch if you’re
into that style of music you know the
Tony McManus he’s a great one and uh so
regarding the nails we actually had a
classical guitarist on a few weeks ago
his name is Nick Lee so if you’re
interested in classical guitar any of
our listeners out there check out that
episode no but we he he was really funny
about his nails yeah we had this story
about breaking a nail the night night
before gig and do you so you were
actually you go to a nail salon to get
these gel acrylic nails put on yes and I
first started doing that about four
years ago when I met Matt Thomas that
was my first time meeting a really
really good guitar player sorry a really
good acoustic guitar player in this
genre contemporary modern finger style
guitar and when I met him I was like
yeah we’ve been you know you and your
style of music or whatever I’ve been
playing fingerstyle guitar myself too
and he just looked at me and they looked
down in my hand he said where’s your
nails so I went and got some put on it’s
like 9 bucks well actually no it’s 12
and then every time you get a Phil it’s
9 bucks at least it the place I didn’t
go to the same place um but it’s really
worth it and the reason I say that it’s
worth it is because I know that a lot of
classical players do prefer the natural
nail and that would make sense because
the strings are classical or a bit
warmer in character so you can get away
with having a thinner attack it kind of
rounds it out and it’s probably a lot
more articulate um I’ve never even tried
to grow out my natural nail and
strengthen it with like the supplements
or whatever the keratin wherever it’s
called because and my gigs if I’m
strumming or if I’m doing forward rolls
or triplets of any sort anything
percussive the tension of a steel string
it just it’s just gonna rip your nail no
matter how strong naturally it is so
right me getting these put on every
three or four weeks
worth it because I know they’ll last you
know so mix-a-lot so I have not gone
that route the I mean I’m started to get
pretty good calluses on my my right hand
yeah
writing arm I am i picking fingers not
as not as thick as my fretting fingers
in my left hand he I asked the same
question to Nick but he because he only
uses his nails for the most part yeah I
guess it’s a combination of the flesh
and the nail but yeah classical guitar
he doesn’t have this problem but what
happens to me is they’ll get the the
calluses will actually build up and then
they’ll start to fall off and then I get
this piece that will actually catch this
string there’s like this terrible day
where I’m like nothing feels right and
then I end up like people like trying to
scratch it down and then I have it’s
like I’m back at the beginning after
like I lost my callus and now I got a
yeah well here’s a build back up oh gosh
I’ve never even heard that well here’s a
funny thing to things somebody had told
me I can’t remember who actually might
just been met um he told me that Tommy
Emmanuel when he would take a shower you
wear gloves okay but preserved his
calluses and you know a lot of Tommy
doesn’t use artificial nails you never
has with that sort of touring schedule
you literally probably have to pay
somebody they like come along and be
your nail lady or something right no
guide requirement of your sound tech you
also have to take the class of nails
yep so but you know Tommy’s tone is just
so fat and punchy and there’s another
guy that I mean Laurence Juber that same
thing he doesn’t use artificial nails
either it’s just from playing so long
his right hand has really nice calluses
to that just give him a really beefy
tone me I could never do that just
because I wash my hands like several
times a day and you know I could I’ve
never considered that you know they
would catch and make the string attack
sound bad because
a lot of a lot of guys that have the
artificial nails will tell you if you
don’t carry around a nail buffer you’re
you’re hit you know it’s it’s a recipe
for disaster because if you get so much
as like a little a little sharp yeah if
you get a little burr it especially if
it’s in your ring finger that would just
suck because that’s sort of your melody
finger I keep it I keep like three nail
files on me
usually when getting decreasing grit to
where it’s basically like by the time I
get to the last one it’s perfectly
smooth it’s like glass and the trebles
would be nice and fat and sweet but you
don’t I mean usually after a three or
four hour gig my nails were kind of
being a you know yeah there won’t
be in really great condition because
I’ve played the hell out of him on earth
right that’s the other thing I was going
to say oh I would I would caution though
if anybody wanted to invest in the
artificial nails if you’ve been finger
picking and gotten fairly decent with
just the flesh and you’ve gotten a
callus to be more moderate or you don’t
even really need callus per say it just
helps but if you’ve practiced and gotten
good just with the regular flesh sugar
your finger if you get nails and then
you’re like oh my god these are amazing
which I was the first one I got and I
was like these are the bee’s knees um if
you take them off and then want to go
back to playing with blush it’s like
starting over because your muscle memory
is completely different like completely
different and that’s what happened to me
the first time I took him off and I was
like I was like okay I’ll just get him
put on whenever before I have a show or
something it was like starting over
because when you play with your finger
with your just the flesh of your fingers
you’re sort of used to plucking and
feeling the string before the initial
attack I guess and when you have your
nail it’s so quick and it’s just a
different your knuckles I feel like on
your right hand just get used to the
placement in the muscle memory you know
if that makes sense yeah I don’t like
starting over so
just you know you should be prepared for
that if if you do get the nails and you
really like them you kind of have to
commit to them unless you want to start
over from scratch it’s a scary thing but
it’s true that’s what having me I feel
like my wife is not I’m not gonna be
into this idea but I do it so I have
dishwashing gloves you have this like
they look like cleaning gloves that the
cleaning lady’s your cleaning people use
but yeah like I I don’t mind doing
dishes but I don’t have gloves like for
family like Thanksgiving I brought my
gloves down because I’m like I want to
help I can do like you know 30 minutes
of dishes because it will like on my
fretting hand it makes me oh my that’s
all it’s yeah it’s like a great four
dollar investment I’m gonna find another
route of having to wear something in the
shower though that’s all no and you
gotta wash your hands eventually yeah
yeah for sure just I think maybe soaking
them for that long even if it’s more
than like a minute I guess freaks out
some guitar players you know there’s
another Gareth so I think I had heard
did the same thing
who’s that he’s a really great guitar
player to sort of in the same vein as
Tommy Manuel with the thumb pick and the
genican is Jerry Reed style stuff was
his name again
Oh Gareth Pierson Gareth the piece of
the game pretty sure that he the same
thing I mean that might not be the case
now that’s just what I heard through the
grapevine its finest that phone so you
know we’re working our way through all
these aspects of fingerstyle guitar I
guess my next big question for you and
I’m sure lots of people are interested
in is about your actual guitars you know
you are Oh
a lair of a guitar guy right and you’ve
got wells the other you’ve got another
very nice guitar
yeah Larry Bay is the company that I’ve
been endorsed by for about two years now
okay they’re far and away the best
factory built guitars that I’ve ever
played I played you know I add Martin’s
for a while
like plenty of Gibson’s and Taylor’s and
you
those are the big three obviously um
late ah Khomeini’s you name it um I’ve
always been somebody who’s really
particular about their gear it’s just
it’s a funny thing a side note when I
was skateboarding I was really into shoe
design just because you know they put a
lot of tech into how the shoe performs
with the skateboard habit you know the
comfort factor what it does for the
functionalities purpose like slim versus
bulky or whatever so I’ve always been
into like the technical side of things
so naturally the same way with guitars
Lerrivee John later baked himself he’s
from Canada
he started building guitars in 70s he
sort of got put on the map by I believe
it was Bruce cobourg Coburn really
popular Canadian folk artists he was
playing his guitars and John had this
idea to basically turn the flat top
acoustic guitar world on its head by
bracing the steel string guitar like a
classical so there’s a little bit
heavier bracing than your average Martin
scalped bracing what that does is it
tamed the bass and lets the mid-range
and the trebles be a little fatter so
for me
you can still flat pick and strum the
heck out of them but when you finger
pick a layer of a it’s you’ll notice the
balance is a lot different than a Taylor
or Martin it’s just full across the
spectrum and I also like that their
standard fretboard radius is closer to a
class 4 it’s a little bit flatter so
it’s not sort of doesn’t have a hump in
it like a Gibson or a Martin alright
right so for me later Bay’s have been
really nice I I bought and sold probably
like between six and ten before I
decided ok should just get custom my
custom one is it’s an Italian screw
stopped Madagascar rosewood l body which
is their signature model that put them
on the map it’s basically a dreadnought
class wolf hybrid so that’s cool it’s a
really cool guitar it sounds great
plugged in like ice
because it’s balanced it’s not overly
booming like a say like a bluegrass
Martin dread or ditching Jay 45 it’s
different it doesn’t sound traditional
like what you would hear Bob Dylan
playing so it’s not what I’d recommend
for somebody who’s in America on our
country it’s more of a modern loan and I
guess if I had to compare two cars
Martin was a Mustang that Gibson was a
Chevy layer of a would probably be like
I don’t know get Tesla so they had like
maybe like an Audi or something okay
okay I mean that’s probably a poor
comparison because they’re British but
you go what I’m saying it’s just
different flavors it’s more modern it’s
more for the player and I don’t know now
Larry Bay in his shop in the 70s and 80s
before he went full scale and shifted
from hand-built to you know small shop
factory stuff he he influenced a lot of
Canadian luthiers and really in my
opinion the best guitar builders in the
world are from Canada most of them and a
lot of luthiers will agree with that in
fact I went to the Woodstock guitar show
in New York about two months ago and a
lot of the best and highlighted luthiers
are from Canada and a lot of them are
actually influenced by John Larrivee and
in fact a couple the ones that you know
dual guitars that are above the $10,000
range were actually apprentices to John
Mayer bass so his influence he’s sort of
like the Martin of Canada if you will
and the people that apprenticed with an
hour the most sought-after loop years
some of the most sought-after with years
in the world and among those is on Marc
Bennett Oh Marc Bennett Oh built his
first guitars almost like Larrabee
copies another cool thing that whatever
they was doing at that time was they
chose to start doing wood bindings
instead of like what is that stuff avoid
you know the plastic or whatever that
Martin would use they did all wood
bindings they do like a little mosaic or
is that like a classical so that guitars
just had a really unique look to them
and Mark Bennett chose sort of
building in that style he eventually
evolved and started doing his own things
and I’ve been working with him for about
two years now and his guitars for me are
the best I’ve played especially for
their price point today they’re their
solo luthier built instruments they’re
actually built in his basement at his
house in Ontario and he’s kind of he’s
like he has a really nice balance of
old-world craftsmanship and modern a lot
of builders now that are charging the
10,000 range they’re strictly modern
they don’t do everything by machinery or
well most most by machinery and you know
laser saws and stuff like that Marc will
actually process all of his own wood
like he’ll harvest the wood they’ll
split split the billets he’ll do
everything himself they basically make
everything except like the team the
season and the fret wire it’s pretty
it’s pretty cool he has a shop tour on
YouTube if you’re typing Beneteau
guitars be e and e te au so he spells
nin he’s a really cool like 10 minute
video of his shop and a couple of really
nice guitars that are just hanging out
there but yeah he’s a fantastic booth
here he’s really a nice guy to do so I I
have a Martin aura
it’s an own Siara see it there you’ve
had it for a while I got it back when I
was working in a real job and had the
money to buy those sorts of things I’ve
decided decided that I don’t think
that’s the guitar for me so I’ve gotten
very interested in in these other
guitars and so these the Larrivee’s howl
and you don’t have to tell us much yours
specifically was but what’s the
entry-level price point are kind of the
range of prices on a layer of a and a
Beneteau guitar yeah that’s that’s
another great thing about Larrivee is their
prices are really reasonable for a while
their factory was only in Vancouver in
Canada now I think they were doing their
set and finished guitars in Canada and
then they’re doing all their high ends
in California that anything that needed
the high gloss or whatever it was and
rosewood basically is the past couple
years has been at or to import across
borders because of society’s laws you
know regulating making sure that you
know vulnerable woods and trees tree
species aren’t over harvested so
rosewood has always been a thing because
not so much in the wide spectrum for
music musical makers don’t really put a
dent in it it’s really the furniture
market that has screwed over but as a
result guitar builders have a headache
you know rosewood or certain woods
across were Solaire they moved most
everything to California and because of
that their rate has gone down quite a
bit they have a couple different series
they have the oh three the oh five and
the oh nine and then the ten so
basically the oh three is all satin that
the point though is that they’re all
solid woods there’s never lamb and it’s
used they’re not they’re kind of in
between a small shop and a large-scale
factory like Martin so if you’ve heard
of like callings or loud and goes that’s
a small shop operation really
high-quality lots of quality control as
a result usually a higher price then you
have Martin which obviously is like you
know it’s a factory like a full-blown
factory so layer bass sits in between
that um they’re run by a family in fact
Donny larvae John where their son was
the guy worked with for the custom model
Matt also has a custom model from larvae
as well he like like their guitars a lot
he got his own but anyway the point is
the oh three series usually is between
like 800 and 1300 okay really crazy in
the grand spectrum because a lot of
Martin’s that are Martin’s fully solid
wood and I really hope Chris Martin
isn’t listening to this they’re they’re
full wood models you know and for people
listening this that don’t know usually
the more solid one is you
is the more resonant guitarist playing
simple it’s just physics their first
like full wood model I think starts
between like 14 or yeah 1400 and up so
on that being said Larry Bay’s you know
they don’t use any laminates for any of
their woods their neck profile is
something I forgot to highlight on their
standard neck profile is really nice
it’s a sort of medium see not as thin as
a tailor not as bulky as Martin I found
it really comfortable I love gigging
with it so so that’s sort of where
layer-based sets they’re really fair
priced now mine
my particular vaso nine series and
that’s the series I’ve always liked most
those start around I mean you can get
them used between like thirteen hundred
and two grand mines approximate worth is
about 3,500 I think because of the wood
used but um there’s a you know they cut
me a deal because the endorsement mat
has a ten series the tenth the
difference between the 9 and the 10
series is just the amount of shell inlay
that goes into it and the quality of the
woods so 10 series is sort of like
Martin’s 42 or 45 series with all the
abalone throughout you know and they use
better woods but the 9 series has been
good for me because it’s gloss and
that’s what a lot on stage and you know
it just it’s gonna hold up better over
time now been a total his base price
hasn’t right now I think is
5500 and it goes up with tone woods and
bevels and stuff but he there’s a lot
factored into his price his wait time is
about 8 to 12 months but for his for his
guitars I played it I played at least he
doesn’t really really nice guitars at
Woodstock that were about twice the
price of his and they didn’t sound like
that like they sounded about as good as
his maybe a little better because
they’re just maybe slightly better and
more renowned luthiers but point is that
for what the price that he asks it’s
it’s extremely fair for the
craftsmanship and
he’s been building also for almost 40
years too so that’s something to take
into account there’s a lot of younger
luthiers that are budding nice guitars
but you don’t really know if their
guitars are gonna hold up structurally
like you do from a master like Marc or
John layer bass so glad to taking the
account – he’s reputable in fact I first
heard of banjo guitars from John Ross
who is one of the guys that influenced
ending the key and so many other artists
in fact on Ross’s the the guy at the
forefront of the candyrat records label
so he’s applying Beneteau’s for a long
time as well I’ve heard of him
yeah really bluesy yeah he’s very um
wait yeah I have seen a video of him
play at some point
yeah lots of jazz influence with this
stuff it’s really cool to see him live a
couple months ago and really cool really
funny guy um but he does a lot of crazy
jazz voicings I think you’d probably
really dig his music it’s pretty
interesting I’ve never heard anybody
else that sounds like him so long yeah
he’s a great player and the tone that he
pulls out of his
Beneteau is pretty pretty fantastic as
well they’re they’re great guitars in
that you can play them really gently
like a Loudon or a small body guitar and
they respond well but then if you hit
him really hard they sound just as good
so a lot of times that’s not the case
sometimes you get a guitar that is one
or the other better I noticed a lot of
the Taylor’s sound really good finger
picked and then when you strum them hard
they yes I like the way they break up
when they they’re fairly strident yeah
and I’ve never been a Taylor fan for
that reason their lack of versatility um
I love playing the feeling of playing a
Taylor it’s very easy on the fingers
yeah I will say that so Bob Taylor if
you’re listening I do like the neck
profile guitar so yeah I went to uh I
tried out a bunch of guitar center and
out of what they had a guitar Center the
Taylor’s were my favorite for the finger
style kind of stuff yeah they’re very
they’re not booming so it sounds nice
and shiny
yeah but it definitely for like
I was trying to play like you know
flatpicking stuff it wasn’t my my
favorite for that yeah yeah different
different guitars for different styles
me and a hundred percent of like I said
being a sort of a gear nut my whole life
I’ve always liked to reach for different
guitars even if their guitars that I
know I’m not necessarily gonna like and
just being like okay what what kind of
what does this guitar do well yeah what
is this guitar meant for and if it’s a
really great guitar can do a lot of
things really well in my experience on
now this is gonna sound like a lair of a
commercial but larvae and Beneteau’s
have been good for a variety of styles
they can handle flat thinking they can
handle dadgad tuning stuff they can
handle jazz blues a hard strong you know
just it’s it’s a really great feeling
having an instrument that responds to
where you want to take it you know yeah
when you’re a gigging musician it’s
incredibly important to be able to be
onstage and not have to you know switch
instruments every few songs yeah and
that’s why I use the es-335 because of
its versatility it’s not necessarily the
best jazz tone and it’s not necessarily
the best you know twangy country tone or
something but it’s it sounds really good
for like have anything yeah
so it’s in terms of versatility it’s my
my number one choice like that or
another semi-hollow
kind of guitar so I understand the need
for versatility yeah yeah so you’re
running from your guitar are you running
into a preamp yeah let’s talk about you
under your PA yeah pickups are super
super super important you are doing
tenor style music in a live setting the
reason I say this is I went through
again going back to the gear thing I
went through so many different kinds of
pickups and I’m not going to bash any
brands like I’ve done previously about
guitars I won’t say that knk turned the
Trinity has worked very very well for me
I first heard India McKee and Don Ross
were using that and they’re fairly
percussive contemporary finger style
guitar players and so the idea behind
these pickups theater can case town in
Oregon basically his main pickup is a
can caper that’s the fun foundation of
the sound it’s three little sensors that
go under the bridge there’s no drilling
involved they pick up the resonance of
the guitar first and foremost a lot of
under saddle piezo they sort of pick up
the string energy and in that they can
sometimes sound quacky or they can sound
a little too brash because they’re
picking up what’s underneath a piece of
bone now magnetics they suffer from
sounding a little plasticky because of
where they’re sat in the sound hole
they’re sat at that place like I said
where if you’re playing really hard or
fast like you don’t want to be picking
there because the sound is just too
mid-range Ian Warren magnetic is
normally going to sound like that
and Kay had this idea to blend their
pure mini which is the under saddle
transducers with a microphone mic
friends just a little silver bullet you
point that the strings are really to
point anywhere from underneath yeah it’s
a wire that it’s flexible you can kind
of point it wherever you want I tend to
point it at the treble strings and so
you have two sources at that point um
you only have one it’s only one cable
use a TRS stereo cable and that is sent
to the third part of the Trinity which
is the preamp now the preamp allows you
to mix the signals separately so for me
what I’ve done is I pretty much take all
the base and the mids out of the
microphone the reason I do that is to
avoid feedback people sometimes will get
the Trinity and be like oh this pickup
sucks like no you just don’t really know
how
EQ it properly so the preamp is just
this little box it’s sort of meant to be
you know you set it and forget it it’s a
little screwdriver in there it has a
little plate that goes over it can
adjust the gain of the microphone or the
pickup for the pickup I scooped out a
little bit of the mids because it’s just
a warm sounding pickup scoop out some of
the meds loose the trebles a bit for
clarity and then after that set where
like I’ll start with my mixer flat and
get an idea how how can I get the pickup
to sound its best with just the preamp
um you know a controlled setting no
feedback you know nice and articulate
across the board no dead notes after
that’s finished I can send it to a board
add reverb do whatever I need to do
maybe take out some mids if the room is
still booming or do whatever but once
you get a feel for how to mix it
properly you won’t really run into any
feedback issues I use a feedback Buster
occasionally the little rubber disc that
goes in the sound hole and yeah so
that’s that’s pretty much what I do for
a majority of my gigs all my guitars
have the kink hid and it have been
endorsed by them for a while and really
just love their pickups there’s some
other brands out there like pick up the
world and probably a couple other I
can’t think of that are doing the same
general thing but Ken Kay’s just been
really reliable for me Larry is a dealer
for them as well music go around um I’ve
sent a lot of people his way they’re
like oh my god what do you have in your
guitar it sounds really great
um so without that an actual mic like if
you just have you know the what comes in
a acoustic electric Taylor or Martin
from the store yeah you’re gonna have
just like under settled pickups right
yeah pretty much so your percussion
isn’t going to resonate it’s not gonna
come through as much right yeah no not
at all and really the pure mini on its
own anemic ii he does he used to use the
trinity he doesn’t anymore
I talked to him last time I saw him and
he just uses the KNK pyramidion notches
out some meds with his preamp he doesn’t
have the microphone but the cool thing
about the preamp is that it picks up
percussion as well it’s a body transducer
it’s a body soundboard transducer
so if you tap on the bridge you get a
nice thump to the swab you can if you
even do triplet accents with your left
hand on the fretboard like a ticket dick
you know sort of like that you can hear
the left hand it’s it’s incredible you
do any sort of percussion on the sides
like if you smack the side near the end
pin which he does on a couple of his
tunes you can hear that loud and clear
it sounds thick and woody it’s just it’s
really nice you add microphone and now
you have all the brilliance of the
trebles and you get the sound if it’s
eq’d correctly and the sound guy knows
what he’s doing and the PA isn’t
it’ll sound like you’re in the guitar
it’s wonderful and a lot of people are
doing the Kincaid Trinity in combination
with the magnetic 4 affects the magnetic
on that K and K makes is sort of a
different magnetic than most like like I
something I’m gonna try not to name
other brands but they’re magnetic is
also passive like the king KP or mini
and it takes up a lot of the natural
elements as well for some people it’s it
takes getting used to because it like I
said I use under saddles for a while and
they’re so hot like you know they’re so
sensitive at first that you get used to
that responsiveness with a K and K it’s
like it’s just like playing the guitar
so you kind of have to dig in its I
don’t recommend it for people that play
in front of a band because you’re gonna
feel like you have to beat your guitar
up to cut through the mix that’s not to
say you can’t pregame it properly and
still have it stand in front of the band
but if you’re just strumming open chords
like you know right that point it
doesn’t matter too much what you have in
your guitar as long as it’s mixed well
from the board but for the Trinity it
sounds extremely natural as long as you
EQ it correctly take out some of the
mids so it doesn’t sound a little overly
warm you know but I’ve really enjoyed
the sound I’ve gotten through it
especially when I have a sub
you have a sub involved it really brings
out the the mass of the guitar like
people are like oh my god guitar sense
so like full and just punchy and it’s
because the transducers under the bridge
are picking up every bit of energy that
I’m putting into it with my hands so I
know you told me not to talk with my hands
sorry it’s okay
how much does that cost us that a
hand que Trinity and so the pure mini is
I know it’s always been like 99 bucks
Wow and then getting it installed how
much is that yeah
generally the I don’t want to quote
Larry’s prices because it might change
over time but it’s usually between like
thirty and sixty bucks to have a pickup
put in so overall this isn’t a huge
investment compared to the cost of a
guitar no no and it’s it’s a really good
investment if you you know sort of value
the quality of the natural sound like I
said if you’re just playing with a band
and you’re playing in really noisy
places like any under-saddle Piezo will
do or a magnetic a lot of bluegrass guys
like magnetics because they don’t worry
about feedback and they they you just
want to cut through the mix they don’t
care if it sounds to stick but for solo
acoustic and listening rooms the Trinity
just sounds really
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it’s the word true thicket Ark is what
school is they call it a peer I think a
natural pure mini or something like that
is the official name of the product but
so you know I told you I have it like
three or four of my guitars if I bring
two guitars for instance to like a house
show or AB listening room of some sort
you’ll know when I switch guitars even
if they’re mixed in eq’d pretty
similarly because the pickup itself is
actually picking up the natural
characteristics of each guitar like for
instance one of my Beneteau is Alpine
spruce and walnut and then my layer of a
is Alpine spruce and rosewood if you
listen to me play either of them one
after the other you’ll be like oh wow
the rosewood one is really shimmering it
sounds like a layer of a you listen
event oh oh
that sounds it’s got walnut back inside
it sounds more MIDI and more woody
sounding you know like less of a
shimmery ethereal guitar like the lair
bass so you can tell you know you can
actually appreciate your guitar through
the PA which if you put a magnetic or a
under saddle piezof your guitar it’s
just gonna sound like a plugged in
guitar it’s not gonna sound it’s
unfortunate but it Rob’s all the natural
qualities of your instrument that you
spend that kind of money on so it’s nice
that there’s a pickup that actually it
will be like oh yeah here’s the guitar
it’s hard to put it in any other way but
I think that’s the reason a lot of
really well-known luthiers like for
instance Michael Greenfield and a lot of
the guys that dream guitars they
recommend the pure mini and those sort
of instruments yeah I can talk about
this for a really long time so and that
is where we’re gonna end part one of
today’s episode join us next week for
part two as we continue the conversation
with Dustin Furlow thank you guys once
again for listening to fret buzz the
podcast we really do appreciate it if
you like what you hear head on over to
iTunes and give us a review
yeah stop on by fret buzz the podcast
comm check it out and let us know what
you think and we’ll see you guys next
Thursday for part two with Dustin
furlough on fret buzz the podcast
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