Stevie Ray Vaughan playing his signature #1 Fender Stratocaster

Stevie Ray Vaughan playing his signature #1 Fender Stratocaster


One of my favorite guitars is my Stevie Ray Vaughan Relic #1 stratocaster.  The guitar has been painstakingly fashioned, detailed and restored to resemble and sound like Stevie’s famous vintage ’63 Strat in every respect. The guitar itself started with a ‘60’s style American strat body – 2pc Alderwith a nitro lacquer finish.  Vintage nail holes in correct locations were added along with dowel pins to replicate Fender tooling marks from the late 50’s/early 60’s.

The finish was removed and re-applied in correct layers and stages beginning with a yellowish base sealer coat to simulate the Fullerplast which can be seen on vintage strats; including painted neck pocket and eyelash bevel on output jack route along with drying nail hole. The neck is a Fender X Treme D profile neck with Jumbo tall and wide frets on a dark rosewood fingerboard.  Lacquer checking was stressed on the front and back of headstock.  The back of the neck in the main play areas has been worn smooth. 21 frets.  The guitar is strung with 11’s and has very comfortable low action.  The guitar has a gold neckplate etched with Stevies face and SRV underneath.

The tuners are repro Kluson Vintage style SRV signatures.  Gold Plated Lefty trem is from an Actual Fender SRV.  Trem has a heavy steel block that adds to the overall tone of the guitar.  Gold output jack cup. Screws are small Philips vintage style that have been reliced. Pickups are Fender Custom Shop Texas Specials.  Pots are 250 K CTS style pots. Fender 5 way Switch.  All Cloth covered wiring.


 The relicing work represents hours of sanding, painting, buffing, rubbing as well as coarse and fine body checking and paint chipping.

Staggered ageing techniques and chipping utilizing needles and razors were needed to achieve the realistic wear patterns. Flicks of yellow, red, amber and black were left behind in selected places to mimic the exact wear patterns on Stevie’s SRV.








My Yamaha Baby Grand


While not quite the tone or touch of a full Grand, my Baby Grand is a sweet set of ivories with great action and a full, rich sound.

I have heard that tuning stability issues were not uncommon in the GH1 model and that the tone quality was mediocre, but I have not experienced any of those issues and the piano has only produced a fine quality sound, usually found only in piano’s with longer strings.  The vibration has always been accurate and the touch extremely responsive.

In short, this is, and has been, a great piano – the tuning stability, finish and overall musical integrity have become more enhanced over the years I have been playing it.










Strat - Blackie - Clapton

This is an enormously multifaceted guitar and one of my favorites to record with. Clapton tends to outfit his Strats with many personal touches. This signature series guitar includes several such additions to create a massive array of tones to choose from.

As examples, the active mid-boost control has been added to the second tone knob which gives a solid humbucking warmth excellent for jazz or more acoustic-like strumming.

The middle tone knob features Fender’s patented TBX circuitry which lends another layer of tonal potential. The five-position pickup selector let’s you play every possible combination of tones and is excellently suited for blues, rock, reggae, country, and all the other genres.

In general, the guitar features a solid alder body, a maple soft “V” shape neck, ideally suited for blues solos and heavier chord playing, vintage style machine heads, a maple fingerboard, 3 Vintage Noiseless Strat Pickups (Neck, Middle, Bridge), Master Volume, Tone 1, Master TBX, Tone 2, Master Active Mid Boost (0-25db), “Blocked” American Vintage Tremolo, 5-way pickup switching, and chrome hardware.

In my opinion, this is one of the most ‘tonefully versatile’ instruments offered to any guitar player in today’s market.







My preferred acoustic-electric guitar is the ‘Taylor 214ce Grand Auditorium Acoustic-Electric Guitar’ in gloss finish:

The guitar is made of rosewood and spruce and was the first guitar shape designed from scratch by Bob Taylor. It was unveiled to commemorate the company’s 20th Anniversary in 1994.

Although the Taylor 214ce has the width and depth of a dreadnought, its narrower waist: (a) gives it the appearance of a smaller instrument, (b) adds treble “zing” across the guitar’s tonal spectrum, (c) sharpens the definition of individual notes, and (d) enables it to rest comfortably in my lap.

Because Taylor removes mass from the width of the GA’s braces, the guitar top moves faster, resulting in a snappy, semi-metallic but crystal clear, bell-like tone.  The guitar is designed to be a strong fingerpicking guitar that also can handle medium strumming, and is therefore exceptionally versatile.

The cutaway feature on this Taylor body makes reaching the upper-register frets extremely easy, giving you comfortable access up and down the entire ebony fret board.  It also features a solid Sitka spruce top, a top-quality wood, known for its balanced tone and clarity. Indian rosewood, another premiere wood, which is used to build the back and sides, produces rich, booming sound, with the perfect element of projection. The 25-1/2″ scale, 1-11/16″ nut width, and 15″ radius adds comfort for intricate movements up and down the fretboard.

The neck joint fits into a specially cut pocket in the body of the guitar. The frets are supported equally by the neck, creating a more stable playing surface, one that is, and remains, continually straight, from the bottom to the top of the neck. The mahogany neck is strong and provides added presence and clarity in the tone, and the ebony bridge and fretboard bring out lasting sustain.

Possibly what I like best about this guitar, and what sets it apart from other acoustic-electric standards, is the integrated electronics system, which lets you dial in and amplify the guitar quickly and effortlessly. The electronics include individualized bass, treble, and volume controls.  Add to this Taylor high end tuners (keeping the guitar precisely tuned) and chrome hardware and you have a guitar second to none. Easily the best guitar for the money on the acoustic-electric market.








The Casio WK3300 gives me everything I need in a portable keyboard, including internet data expansion capability. It is equipped with general MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) which means that the internal hardware (IN, OUT and THRU ports) and software specifications allow it to communicate with other electronic musical instruments and computers.

In addition to the standard features found in most mid range keyboards, some of the distinct extras include two dedicated and assignable modulation and pitch bend wheels, ideal for live performances, a built in floppy drive (as well as Smart Media Slot for data expansion), 76 touch sensitive keys on the note workstation keyboard, a large backlit LCD, 50 drawbar organ sounds with additional effects, Casio’s synthesizer function (for creating new sounds), 536 tones, 232 DSP Effects, 160 rhythms, 1/4 – inch line outs on rear panel.

It also has Casio’s tri element Z chip technology, sometimes called Casio ZPI Sound Source (to deliver the most realistic piano, organ, and synth sounds), a large internal memory for sound expansion, 10,000 note 6 track sequencer, and superior bass reflex speaker system. A great add-on is that the keyboard can be powered by AC or six D cell batteries (great for portability).







 The 2009 Fender Custom Classic Stratocaster:

Custom Shop Stratocaster

This guitar is an  absolute masterpiece created at Fender’s renowned Custom Shop and is described  by Fender as the Custom Shop’s version of an American Standard Strat with several unique upgrades.

The guitar has, what is termed, a ‘thin-skinned’ nitrocellulose lacquer – finished in Transparent Cobalt Blue, which compliments the incredibly heavily grained, select Ash body. The neck and fretboard are a gorgeous Flame Maple. The neck is a “C” shape ultra comfortable one with a 9.5″ Radius, medium jumbo frets and a polished satin Urethane neck finish.

The guitar contains modern classic single coil pickups including a ‘Hot Classic’ in the bridge with the Custom Steel Inductance Plate. These pickups are very responsive, very well balanced, and lively and produce an ear pleasing warm, round Strat tone with very little noise.

The custom also features a standard master volume and both Tone controls are ‘No-Load’ pots for un-colored, pure pickup tone when turned off. Hardware includes a deluxe 2-point synchronized tremolo with polished solid stainless steel saddles and block, Fender/Schaller Deluxe Staggered Cast/Sealed Tuning Machines with aged white plastic parts.






I play and record using a soprano ukulele from Lanikai’s LU series (model LU-21) – – one of its most popular and affordable ukuleles. It is extremely versatile offering a classic, sweet island sound. It is a great choice for first-time players or for acoustic multi-instrumentalists looking to expand their tonal palette.

The LU-21 uses nato wood for top, back and side construction and rosewood for its fret board. Reddish nato wood, also known as eastern mahogany, is often used in more affordable guitars and ukuleles and offers many of the same acoustic properties as mahogany.

The rolled out specs present a 14 inch scale length, a 1.375 inch width at the nut, Nato top, back and side construction, rosewood fret board construction, with a 12 fret neck, chrome/ivoroid geared machines and a white binding.

A brief history of the instrument for those interested:

The Ukulele is actually the descendant of a four-stringed musical instrument known as the ‘Machête’ or, less accurately, the Braguinha from the Portuguese island of Madeira. There are many theories about how the ukulele got its name.

The two most-circulated stories include one about an English army officer, Edward Purvis, who became quite adept at playing the machête. Since he was small and sprightly, as opposed to the markedly larger frames of the Hawaiians, he was nicknamed “Ukulele,” which in Hawaiian means “jumping flea” (also translated as “bouncing Flea” or “leaping flea”). A more literal theory likens the fingers of an accomplished player flying nimbly up and down the fretboard of the machête to the movement of “jumping fleas.”








M-audio midi keyboard



This is the keyboard that I use for recording, as opposed to live performances. The USB controller is equipped with an incredible and extremely responsive 49-key synth-action keyboard. It was designed, and works well, for every level of musician as the Keystation easily integrates into any computer music environment.   It is equipped with dual wheels, an expressive pitch bend wheel and an assignable modulation wheel to add vibrato and other effects. It also provides a sustain pedal input, octave shift buttons to extend the note range, assignable MIDI control / volume slider and single-button access to advanced functions.

From a playability and ease standpoint, the M-Audio ‘Plug and Play Convenience’ is set up as a single USB cable and offers a convenient two-way data connection, as well as delivering power from your computer and provides seamless integration instantly. Controller parameters are automatically mapped with current assignments shown on-screen, clearly labeled on a graphic image of your keyboard.

Other Basic Features include octave shift buttons to extend the note range, assignable MIDI control / volume slider, single-button access to advanced functions, sustain pedal jack (although the pedal itself is not included with the unit), USB powering, directional On/off switch. The unit is class-compliant with Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, and Mac OS X (I use a Mac). It comes with Ignite music creation software, seamless M-Audio keyboard integration and allows you to capture your ideas quickly and easily combine and arrange individual recordings with professional results. The memory bank includes Smart MIDI chord and phrase creators and more than 275 superior AIR instrument sounds.

All in all, a fantastic affordable keyboard for recording purposes.








One of my most affordable instruments is my nylon string guitar  – used mainly for classical instrumentals.

nylon guitar

This Cordoba C3M Iberia Series is a full-sized, handcrafted guitar. It is built with the traditional Spanish fan bracing, a solid Canadian cedar top and mahogany back and sides. The guitar also has white and black purfling with a white and black ABS top, a Nano neck and a natural satin finish.

The guitar features a hand inlaid wooden rosette, a rosewood fretboard, a black ABS binding and nickel tuning machines with pearl buttons with a light matte finish.







My 30-bracket, 5 string, Rogue B30 resonator banjo features a Nato wood resonator, mahogany neck, a rosewood bridge and a 22 fret rosewood fretboard.

A chrome-plated armrest makes playing comfortable, and the die-cast high ratio geared chrome tuners keeps tune easily and consistently. It also features a genuine Remo head.












The Brian May Signature Electric Guitar:


Brian May Signature GuitarThe Brian May Signature Electric Guitar features an acoustically chambered mahogany body, dual truss rod mahogany neck, and ebony fingerboard. The pickups are Tri-Sonics that Brian sealed in Araldite adhesive to prevent microphonic feedback which is inherent with metal covered pickups. These are controlled by the original Brian May switching system with individual on/off and phase switches, one volume and one tone pot.

The guitar mimics Brian’s original ‘Red Special’, an instrument that has achieved iconic status and a unique place in rock history, and was designed by Brian May himself.

The Brian May Special is an absolutely magnificent guitar, built with the highest quality, awesome playability and an astonishingly rich diversity of amazing killer tones. It is built to the exacting standards of one of the world’s greatest guitarists but, also, in keeping with Brian’s vision of a “guitar for the people”. It has an amazingly affordable price-tag that belies its superior appointments and performance.

A brief history:

One of the most eagerly anticipated instruments of the century, the original BMG replica was originally launched in the winter of 2001 to both industry and public acclaim. UK Guitarist magazine hailed it as “Best Guitar of The Year” and theater audiences around the globe thrilled to the guitar’s sound in performance in the Queen musical “We Will Rock You.”

After the initial launch, Brian, his long-standing guitar technician Pete Malandrone, and Barry Moorehouse of House Music made significant improvements upon the guitar’s overall construction as well as refining the bridge assembly, electronics, finishing and color choices. One of the finest artist-designed production guitars became even better.

The guitar specs show a mahogany body (with acoustic chamber), pinstripe binding, two-piece scratchplate, mahogany neck, 24″ scale (Depth: 22mm at 1st Fret – 24mm at 12th Fret), 24 fret Ebony fingerboard (Width: 45mm at 0 Fret – 57mm at 24th Fret), grover GH305 locking tuners, dual truss rod, graphite nut, new bridge, brass saddles, Brian May custom tremolo arm, 3 x Burns Tri-Sonic pickups (series wired), Master volume/tone controls, Original Brian May switching system with individual pickup in/out phase and individual pickup on/off.

The sound, feel, technical engineering and overall playability of this guitar are just unbelievable.







I play and record using the Rogue RM-100A mandolin. It is a well-built, traditional A-model that features clean workmanship throughout, projects a bright tone and has gorgeous finish. With an easy-to-play neck and adjustable bridge, the RM-100A is perfect for bluegrass or any other style of mandolin music. Finishing touches include chrome tuners and nickel-plated frets.

It features a maple neck, rosewood fingerboard, adjustable compensated rosewood bridge, 12th-fret neck joint, chrome tuning machines, nickel-plated frets, high-gloss finish and F holes.










This is the sax I used to teach myself because I read that it is an excellent choice for the student or beginning band member. Like with all Yamaha saxophones, the YAS-23 keys are not simply shaped and positioned according to mechanical necessity; the entire system is designed from the player’s perspective with emphasis on comfort, speed, and overall playability. The natural feel of the keys eliminates the need to adapt to an unnatural or uncomfortable key layout.

The YAS23 features a gold brass lacquer body, neck and bell with very durable key work, optimum intonation and smooth key action. It also features durable power forged keys, an adjustable thumb rest, front F auxiliary key and smooth action tapered pivot keys.







Les Paul - Autographed


The Les Paul Standard has always been the cornerstone of the Gibson USA lineup. In 1958, Gibson updated the Les Paul again. The new model retained most of the specifications of the 1957 Goldtop, including PAF humbucker pickups, maple top, tune-o-matic bridge with a stop tailpiece or Bigsby vibrato tailpiece. The most significant change in the new models was the finish. The Goldtop color used since 1952 was replaced by the Sunburst finish already being used on Gibson’s archtop acoustic and hollow electric guitars, such as the J-45 model. To differentiate from the earlier Goldtop model, the new Les Paul was referred to as The Les Paul Standard. Original production of the standards lasted from 1958 to 1960. Only 1,700 of these early models were made and have subsequently become highly collectible.

Original production ended when, in 1961, Gibson redesigned the Les Paul to feature a “double cutaway” body, which has subsequently become the Gibson SG. Due to high demand, Gibson resumed production of Les Paul Standards in 1968. Today, the Gibson Les Paul Standard has BurstBucker pickups on the Vintage Original Spec models and Burstbucker Pro on the lower end models bearing the ‘Standard’ name.  In the 80s Gibson also sold a limited number of Les Pauls carrying Kahler tremolos.

Zj 2 playing for Les Paul 1



My Les Paul Standard was not only played by me for Les Paul when I was 14  but also by Les Paul for me the same evening.





ZLes Paul with j 2 2



He told me he thought I was very talented and have  great potential and wished me luck in my music carear.










Strat - Highway One


The highway One is configured with a Modern “C”- shape neck 9-1/2″ maple or rosewood fingerboard with jumbo frets. The maple neck and body has a satin urethane finish, ’70s-style large headstock with a black logo, standard sealed/cast tuners, Alder body with a satin nitrocellulose lacquer. The neck has that renowned Fender fit and finish that makes it comfortable to play for hours and easy to get around the fingerboard at the highest frets. My is a satin finish cherry red model which appears to shine as it reflects the stage lights.

The guitar has the Fender Hot Single-Coil Strat Bridge, Middle and Neck pickups with Alnico 3 magnets. The middle position pickup is reverse-wound/reverse-polarity. 5-way selector switch paired with Fender’s Greasebucket Tone Circuit (which rolls off the highs without adding bass) with controls for Master Volume, Tone 1 for the neck pickup, and Tone 2 for the bridge pickup. Vintage-Style Synchronized tremolo bridge, 3-ply parchment plastic pickguard and parchment plastic control knobs complete the package.

Basically, in short, the Highway One models are hot-rodded versions of a ’70s-style Strat with jumbo frets, a rounder tone and higher gain, as well as a thin-coated nitrocellulose body which really allows the tone of the wood to come out.






Lucille - BB KingThis guitar is the ultimate refinement of B.B. King’s original ES-345.

It is one of the smoothest, sweetest blues guitars that one can own. The guitar features a laminated maple top for total sustain, a solid maple center block, special laminated maple neck and Richlite fingerboard. The stereo/mono jacks require no special cords, and the TP-6 tailpiece allows for precise tuning. It has the name “Lucille” scripted in mother-of-pearl on the headstock and gold-plated hardware.








flag guitar


My American flag electric guitar is shaped like the U.S.A. and painted with the colors of the American flag. The guitar was designed by Glen Burton and is made with an Asian mahogany body, matte finish, rosewood fingerboard, dual BG humbuckers, 1 volume control, 1 tone control, tremolo with adjustable bridge and individual adjustable saddles.  I mainly use it when playing slide, american rock and country.






Strat - AquaThis Fender Standard Stratocaster Electric Guitar is the same design as the American made strats and offers the legendary Fender tone with classic styling for those on a budget. I purchased this when I was 13 and on a very low budget and played it until I was able to purchase the more expensive models. My model is a striking blue agave and has an alder body that’s contoured to be comfortable during long sessions, whether you’re standing or sitting. Its maple neck is very comfortable with the traditional modern C shape.

The Strat comes with the same list of standard features as the American models including the traditional alder body, to produce the classic Strat tone, three standard single-coil pickups with ceramic magnets, synchronized tremolo with high-mass bridge block, tinted neck, shielded body cavities, medium/jumbo frets, parchment pickguard, die-cast tuners and ’70s-style headstock logo.




XAPHOON:   The Maui Xaphoon




The Maui Xaphoon (pronounced “za-foon”) is the original “Pocket Sax” often spoken about, and toyed with in a developmental stage, as early as the 1950’s, in the form of plastic recorders.  It’s sound falls somewhere between a saxophone and a clarinet – a much richer sound than it’s size would suggest.  The Xaphoon is capable of all the subtle shadings and vibrant power of a saxophone.

It is basically a chromatic,  single reed woodwind instrument with a straight cylindrical tube/cylindrical bore and a very slightly flared bell.  The xaphoon plays a fully chromatic scale somewhat beyond two octaves, and overblows at the 12th, like a clarinet.  The range of the xaphoon is comparable to the chalumeau, a European keyless single-reed instrument that was the ancestor of the clarinet.  Therefore the Xaphoon can be used to play written chalumeau music, as well as music in any other style associated with the saxophone or clarinet.

Due to its abbreviated length and large finger-hole size, the pitch of individual notes can be raised and lowered easily, making the xaphoon equally well-suited to play Turkish, Middle Eastern, and other musical scales outside the American and European tradition.


A brief history:

The first xaphoon, made out of bamboo in 1972, was a spontaneous effort by Brian Wittman, a Hawaiian saxophonist and multi-instrumentalist, to create an instrument for a young child who liked the sound of the saxophone.   Wittman was impressed by the sound of the simple instrument and by the demand as people saw it, and decided to patent his design and start to manufacture and sell it.

The xaphoon has been made commercially available by Brian Wittman since 1975; he manufactures approximately 1500 bamboo instruments per year by hand at his home on the island of Maui, Hawaii, using local bamboo selected from the forests of the eastern end of the island.

While the popularity of the xaphoon has led to frequent use of the word “xaphoon” to denote any type of small single-reed keyless woodwind instrument, the name remains a registered trade name and only those instruments produced by Brian Wittman (Maui Xaphoon), and licensees Indiana Plastics (Xaphoon Pocket Sax), and Sans Luthier (Xaphoon de Catalunya) are legally allowed to be called xaphoons.






Pan Flute

A brief history:

The pan flute, traditionally made from the renewable bamboo crop, is one of the core instruments played in the Andes for hundreds of years. The flute or pan pipe (also known as Panflute, Panpipes, Antara, Siringa, Zamponia or Syrinx) is an ancient musical instrument that consists of 10 or more pipes in increasing lengths bound together as one wind instrument. It is played vertically but blown horizontally across the open inner edges of the pipes. The air blown through the instrument creates a series of pulses that generate sound waves within the tubes. Each pipe is tuned to a different note enabling the production of a wide range of sound. It is the most popular musical instrument of most of the cultures that developed in South America, especially in the regions that today include Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Bolivia and part of Chile. It is also a common instrument used by the diverse indigenous tribes of the Amazon forest.








Epiphone Double Neck


This guitar, with a Gibson SG-style double neck, is very similar to the one played by Jimmy Page and John McLaughlin. Over the years, the guitar took on mythical status and very quickly became impossible to find.

That is until Epiphone brought it back. This G-1275 Custom SG Double Neck has the classic setup, including fast-playing 6- and 12-string SlimTaper D- profile necks with rosewood fingerboards and classy pearloid parallelogram inlays. The guitar has toneful Alnico Classic and Classic Plus pickups with flexible switching, giving the player access to a vast arsenal of classic tones.






Gretsch - E - G5120

This special edition Gretsch G5120 is extremely stylish, featuring redesigned Gretsch Dual-Coil humbucking pickups which create that classic Gretsch sound. The pickups are wired to a master tone, master volume, neck pickup volume, bridge pickup volume and a 3-position pickup toggle for maximum control. The single-cutaway body is crafted of laminated maple and is a full hollowbody with no center block. The laminated maple neck has a rosewood fingerboard and 22 medium jumbo frets.

Other features include G-Arrow knobs, Bigsby® B60 vibrato tailpiece, knurled strap knobs, adjustable bridge and chrome-plated die-cast tuners.








Yamaha PSR-E343


I use this extremely versatile Yamaha PSR-E343 portable arranger keyboard when entertaining in small venues like hospital family rooms or solariums , nursing homes or small charity functions. It is fully loaded with exceptional tools and packed with amazing instrument sounds. It provides you with everything you need to just sit down and start playing a wide variety of musical genres.

This basic model (and that is all you will need for these purposes) includes 550 incredible instrument sounds, covering pianos, including grand piano, organs, strings, brass, synths, and much more. There is an extensive style library and infinitely flexible virtual backing band fills. There is also a AUX line input and melody suppressor so you can perform the lead part in your favorite songs stored on MP3 players.

A ‘USB TO HOST’ connectivity function makes interfacing with personal computers and Apple iPad/iPhone/iPod touch extremely easy. For more seasoned music makers, it can also be used as a MIDI controller for computers and high performance sound sources for XG-lite music software applications.

Built-in speakers with an Ultra-Wide Stereo DSP button (the reason I bought it) creates greater separation and a more spacious sound. Yamaha also offers iOS/Apple music apps for iPhone/iPad and iPod Touch that extend and enhance the music-making experience. (Note that all connections to iOS devices require the optional i-UX1 USB MIDI interface cable which is not included).

Additional features include the Yamaha Education Suite built-in lessons that let starting users teach themselves to play. In addition to AUX line input, the keyboard has touch sensitive keys for expressive, piano-style playing and a more powerful speaker system for a fuller sound as previously described.










This classic 1976 Fender Telecaster is known for its ability to produce both bright, rich, cutting tones (the typical telecaster twang) and/or mellow, warm, and bluesy tones, depending on whether the the “bridge” pickup or “neck” pickup is selected.

The bridge pickup has more windings than the neck pickup, producing higher output, which compensates for a lower amplitude of vibration of the strings at bridge position.

At the same time, a capacitor between the slider of the volume control and the output allows treble sounds to bleed through while damping mid and lower ranges. A slanted bridge pickup enhances the guitar’s treble tone.

An important historical note: The solid body allows the guitar to deliver a clean amplified version of the strings’ tone. This was a massive improvement over previous electric guitar designs, whose hollow bodies made them prone to unwanted feedback. These design elements allowed musicians to emulate steel guitar sounds, making it particularly useful in country music. These characteristics make the Telecaster a versatile guitar, usable for many styles of music including country, blues, rock, and jazz.






Gibson 335


The Gibson ES-335 is the world’s first commercial thinline archtop semi-acoustic electric guitar. Released by Gibson as part of its ES (Electric Spanish) series in 1958, it is actually neither hollow nor solid; instead, a solid maple wood block runs through the center of its body. The side “wings” are hollow, and the top has two violin-style f-holes over the hollow chambers.

It could be argued that Gibson’s ES-335 has been utilized by, and has catered to, more diverse musicians than any other Gibson to date. Upon its introduction in 1958, jazz and blues giants quickly snatched up this first-ever Gibson semi-hollowbody guitar, seeking out its spectacular round and mellow tones. Soon after, rock stars discovered its versatility and solid performance and the real bite the ES-335 packs. The guitar features duo Classic humbucking pick-ups.






Since I was teaching myself, I focused primarily on purchasing a good quality instrument with distinctive design at a good value to meet my specific finances. What I learned when researching the instrument was that just because a violin is affordable and positioned toward beginning students on a limited budget, it doesn’t mean that quality and tone need to be sacrificed. While affordable, this violin is nonetheless constructed using high quality tonewoods, selected for their sound qualities and relative visual beauty.violin

Each instrument adheres to traditional design and construction specifications since the carving is done one instrument at a time. As a result, the violin performs consistently and to an extremely high standard. The violin displays a warm translucent brown finish, which is carefully applied making the instrument appear to be of a much higher quality than the reasonable price cannotes. The fingerboard and fittings are individually selected to make playing and tunability more accurate. They assure that the violin has that traditional look and performs flawlessly — surpassing all other competitive products at this price point.






Possibly the most affordable of all my guitars, the Carlo Robelli MD6610 Acoustic guitar is a full size dreadnought possessing an exceptionally rich presence and tone.

Carlo Rabelli

The back and sides are made from Agathis, a wood known for it’s deep resonation qualities. It has a spruce top and Rosewood fingerboard and bridge. The tuners are chrome covered and have a smooth, quality feel to them. The guitar has a beautiful brown burst  finish and has a tremendous look. It is perfect as a first guitar or an addition to your existing collection.












I use a set of 7 10-hole diatonic harmonicas w/ black plastic cover-plates (keys of C, D, E, F, G, A, Bb). A great value. Exceptionally light, decent playing plastic-combed harps perfect for beginners.














This Meridian Birch Shell Pack features 100% 6-ply birch shells that measure in at 7.2mm and produce clear, pronounced tone with ultimate versatility. This Meridian Birch Series employs the same lightweight and ergonomic isolated tom mounting system for maximum resonance and sustain that is used in the more expensive Mapex models. The result is astounding projection and cutting attack for a reasonable price. Birch is loved by many of the world’s top pros due to it’s almost naturally EQ’d sound. It’s warm with a sharp, biting attack that makes it perfect for both live and studio situations. These drums also feature Mapex’s signature bearing edge, the SONIClear. This proprietary edge allows the head to sit flush on the drum; making it easier to tune while improving the drum’s response, fundamental pitch, and natural resonance.

Additionally, the unique Mapex off-the-shell design and single-point-of-contact lugs distribute tension evenly across the shell for even better resonance and sustain. The finish is a stunning, lustrous sparkle.

My configuration consists of a 16″ x 20″ Bass Drum, a 6.5″ x 14″ Snare Drum, a 7″ x 10″ Tom, a 8″ x 12″ Tom and a 12″ x 14″ Floor Tom. Additionally, I have multiple mounted Sabian and Zildjian cymbals.






Yamaha FG-180

This guitar is a Red Label Japanese manufactured Nippon Gakki Yamaha FG-180 from 1970. It is the oldest guitar in my collection. The guitar plays and feels great and has an unbelievably soft tone. The late ’60s/early ’70s Yamahas are fantastic guitars for their price, although hard to come by today. The Martin-styled neck is very comfortable and the metal tuners are solid.











SRVStevie Ray Vaughan collaborated with Fender to produce a signature Stratocaster guitar shortly before he died in 1990. The signature SRV is made for Texas Blues – Stevie style, but of course can be used for all blues and rock, – with the same features as Stevie’s number one Strat. Unique features include a solid alder body and an early ’60s oval neck profile, pau ferro fingerboard with jumbo frets, three Fender Texas Special single-coil pickups, gold-plated hardware, a reversed left-hand vintage synchronized tremolo and a special SRV engraved pickguard.








This American Standard Stratocaster (a look alike for one of Jimi Hendrix’s famous Strats) has a traditional Strat solid alder body with urethane finish, 22 medium jumbo frets, the classic distinct Strat tone, popular modern C-shaped neck with gloss American maple fingerboard, two-point trem, extra smooth satin back (see below), 3 full-sounding Fender custom shop fat ’50s pickups, and a delta-tone no-load circuit (which includes a high output bridge pickup and a special no-load tone control for middle and bridge pickups for more midrange and better output).

Strat - Hendrix CopyMore specific add-ons are hand-rolled fingerboard edges on the fretboard, staggered tuners, improved bridge (with bent steel saddles and copper infused high-mass Strat bridge block [steel with copper – 100% metal] for increased mass, improved tone, increased resonance and sustain), tinted neck, high polished satin neck back – for smoother playability, and a thin-finish undercoat (also a feature that lets the body breathe and improves resonance) and aged plastic parts (for the relic look).








model # WVEB 833

Mcartny Bass

This traditional violin style bass was manufactured utilizing authentic details inspired by the original Paul McCartney flamed tiger top Hofner bass with chambered maple body (back and sides).  It features a maple trus-rod adjustable set neck with a 22 fret dot inlay rosewood fingerboard and has a mini humbucker bridge and neck pickups. The neck is very thin and easy to play.

The controls consist of high quality electronics with a dual volume assembly containing bass, mid and treble switches. In addition, the bass features die-cast tuners and solid chrome hardware.  The bass is the traditional 31″ scale length, has front and back body binding and is very light weight, but still possesses a full body resonant bass sound.








Fender Twin reverb

This amp has seen action in every imaginable venue and remains indispensable to this day for any rock/blues artist. The amp performs admirably for rock, blues, jazz, country or anything else for that matter with a clean electric sound but is also perfect to use with all add-on sound effects.

This powerful 85-watt (at 4 ohms) reissue ’65 Twin Reverb features four 6L6 ‘Groove Tubes’ output tubes, four 12AX7 preamp tubes, two 12AT7 preamp tubes, two 12” 8-ohm Jensen C-12K speakers, dual channels (normal and vibrato), Fender reverb, Fender vibrato, two-button reverb and vibrato on-off footswitch, tilt-back legs, black textured vinyl covering and a silver grille cloth.

I stole this classic from my father.






Fender hot rod deville

When Fender introduced this amp in 1996, it was touted by the company with the statement that the ‘the world’s most popular tube amps just got better’. Today, the Fender Hot Rod series amplifiers are found on virtually every stage in the world and are used by guitarists from every genre.

Hot Rod amps deliver unmistakable Fender tone and are the perfect platform for musicians to craft their own signature sound. This series of amps are affordable, reliable and loud (in fact unbelievably loud). My Hot Rod DeVille 410 III is a 60-watt combo with a classic 4×10” speaker configuration (borrowed from the legendary Super Reverb and ’59 Bassman amps), the low-end headroom characteristic of 6L6 tubes, a versatile all-12AX7 tube preamp, and an effects loop.

It produces amazing clean and overdriven tones and amazing Fender spring reverb. The 8-ohm extension speaker output lets you add a cabinet for additional stage coverage, if needed. Additional Hot Rod DeVille 410 III features include an easier-to-read black control panel with front-reading text, new badge, streamlined footswitch, and graduated volume and treble pot tapers.










The Hartke VX2510 combo features two 10-inch VX paper cone drivers and a 1-inch horn-loaded, high frequency titanium compression driver, in a tuned ported, ¾-inch plywood cabinet.

The HA2500 amp series supplies 250 Watts of power with built in variable compression, 10-band graphic EQ, tube and solid-state pre-amps and variable high and low contour controls.

Heavy-duty castors and rugged side handles make for easy transport from the studio to gigs and everywhere in between, even though the unit is a very heavy piece of equipment. The VX2510 is an ideal combo for a variety of playing styles, thanks to the extended frequency response and tight projection of the 10-inch VX drivers.







Spider III-Line 6

The Line 6 Spider II 30 Guitar Combo Amplifier is the ultimate affordable light weight effects electronic amp. It is a 30 watt solid state guitar amplifier with comprehensive built-in Amp and effects modeling. This is a good amp for a guitarist in a band playing smaller venues, and also makes a good practice amp as well.

Spider III provides the user with detailed amp models based on some of the greatest guitar sounds ever created along with the clean model.

The basic features of the amp are 4 Essential Amp Models, 6 Effects (2 simultaneous) including phaser, Chorus/Flanger, Tremolo, Sweep Echo, Tape Echo, and Reverb, 4 User-programmable channels, CD/MP3 jack, headphone/Direct Out for practice or recording, custom Celestion 12-inch speaker, 30 Watt amp Model

Internal Amp Models:

The Clean Amp Model gets crisp, amazing clean tones, great warm jazz tones, and all the high-end shimmer you need with a generous amount of bottom end. The Crunch Amp Model, which is based on a 68 Marshall Plexi 100 watt amp, with a few added extras is more a combination of a Variac and the jumped input channels and creates that infamous brown sound. The Metal Amp Model is based on the Mesa/Boogie Dual Rectifier. You can use this Amp Model to get a tight and punchy, high gain Metal sound. The Insane model is what Spider calls it’s “dialed in for shredding” version based on the Mesa/Boogie Dual Rectifier red channel. It combines the intensity and impact of Metal Red, but delivers more midrange and treble bite for that bone-crushing, brain piercing insane grind. Another ‘combo effect’ available with the ‘Smart Control FX’ feature, an exclusive Line 6 component that automatically dials in different effect parameters, is the capability of using multiple effects at the same time.








Peavey Rage 158

The Peavey MAX 158 is a compact bass amp that features Peavey’s exclusive TransTube circuitry. The MAX 158 also has a selectable vintage gain control that allows you to change the tone from modern sounding to vintage. It is comprised of a 20 watt power amp with a Peavey 8″ speaker which makes the MAX 158 the perfect small, portable practice amp. The amp also has a headphone output, MP3 input, built-in tuner, and low and high EQ controls.













Audio technica AT2020 mic

This microphone is my favorite. It delivers stellar A-T performance, gives classic Audio-Technica sound quality at an incredibly low price.

It allows you to capture the subtleties and nuances of vocals and acoustic guitars, and also record heavy blasting electric guitar amplifier cabinets — all with one mic. It is perfect for any recording situation where ease of use is a must, but quality is essential. It is the ultimate mic for home (and studio for that matter) projects and was specifically designed to fit comfortably in your audio mix and your budget. I always look for cost savings when I can since outfitting a home studio for recording can become quite expensive. It is the perfect “first” or, because of its versatility, “only” microphone, if you can only have one.

Basic features include a low-mass diaphragm, custom-engineered low-mass diaphragm for extended frequency response and superior transient response, side-address studio condenser with USB digital output (Windows and Mac compatible – it works perfectly with my Mac), crystal-clear, natural sound for podcasting, home studio recording, field recording, and voiceover use, cardioid polar pattern (to reduce pickup of sounds from the sides and rear), improving isolation of desired sound source, and low self-noise, perfectly suited for sophisticated digital recording equipment.

The mic also has a USB cable and storage pouch, fixed-charge back plate, and permanently polarized condenser. All in all, a fantastic microphone.







Focusrite Scarlett 6i6 audio interface Upon recommendation from the audio tech at my local music store, I purchased the Focusrite Scarlett 6i6 6 In/6 Out USB 2.0 Audio Interface With Two Focusrite Mic Preamps and I am extremely happy with it.

The unit has 6 in/6 out audio interface that directly connects to your PC, Mac or iPad via USB 2.0. (iPad needs a separate Apple Connection Kit which does not come with the interphase). It has two award-winning Focusrite microphone preamplifiers, which deliver superb quality recordings from microphones and instruments, straight into your computer or iPad. The interphase is housed in a very durable anodized aluminum unibody chassis and is solid enough to withstand the impact sustained by the general mobility of the unit. There is a large main monitor control knob as well as two dedicated gain knobs for each mic input, each with two color ‘gain halos’ which light up green to indicate that sound is detected, and red if the level is too high (a very use-full feature). Both mic inputs can be switched between instrument, line and microphone, and a pad can be switched-in to cope with high-level inputs.

It is perfect for recording artists, producers and bands as it features two Focusrite mic preamps and a stereo line input for recording vocals, guitar and a stage piano simultaneously. It has four balanced outputs, which enable you to connect up to two sets of stereo monitors, and use the S/PDIF I/O for connecting digital sources. There are also two built-in headphone outputs with separate volume controls so multiple recording artists or producers can listen to the mixes simultaneously to decide on and get the best take. The inputs and outputs feature precision 24 bit A-D, D-A conversion at up to 96KHz in order to get the most accurate signal possible into and out of your computer. The Scarlett Plug-in Suite is also included, supplying EQ, compression and reverb to professionalize your mixes.