LaPatrie Classical Cutaway
the assistance of Fred at Godin Guitars, I acquired this
cedar / mahogany nylon-string for my first guitar/flute duo performance.
is the case with anything coming from the Godin family of
instruments, this is a great guitar and is one of the
most comfortable classical-style guitars I have ever used. Action is low yet still responsive - it's become my primary acoustic.
While it has a Godin piezo pickup/preamp it also works extremely well when mic'd, which I've been doing more often for live dates.
The armrest was highly recommended by Mary Faith of John Pearse Strings. I like it.
I am constantly experimenting with classical strings - I'm currently using hard-tension Galli Carbonio strings with a Thomastik or Savarez flatwound steel 3rd string.
Bensusan refers to his Lowden as "The Old Lady"
and I completely understand his reference -- in my
estimation, this is the standard by which all acoustic
guitars should be judged. Mine is an Irish guitar, #920,
signed by George himself.
My guitar is the mini-jumbo model with a cedar top and
mahogany back and sides that practically plays itself. It
is absolutely perfect in the studio with a balanced voice
across the entire sound spectrum. In addition, I
updated the pickups for live performances with an EMG
split piezo and preamp setup combined with an EMG ACS
magnetic pickup. The live sound, without a mic, has been
described as "piano-like" and is balanced and
I've only replaced the bridge saddles - tuners and
frets are original and there is no structural work done to the guitar. The clear pickguard was installed by
Jack Romano. I use John Pearse #510L silk & bronze
strings which give me the perfect feel and tension for
Hagstrom V1N / Viking (mid-1970s)
This is one of the
original mid-70s models from the period when Hagstrom was making
world-class instruments , which is the same time my Swede was made (see
below). This guitar is made from solid birch and is a hollow-bodied
instrument -- there is no sound block running through it. It's
essentially a thin archtop guitar and, amazingly, has a great deal of
acoustic sound. I rescued this from a church bazaar sale where it would
have gone out for $75 due to missing strings, a moth-eaten case and a
This has become my go-to
guitar with my trio -- the response is so immediate and so lively it's
hard to leave it behind when I'm going out the door. It's strung with
Pearse #2600 Jazz Light Strings.
FYI: I've had many
questions about the newer line of Hagstroms whenever someone sees me
with this one. They are altogether very different instruments, decent
economical guitars, but not of this caliber.
A fretless 11-string guitar with modified classical
strings and one of the most unique sounds I have ever
heard or produced.
The instrument is a hybrid of sorts, a cross between a
Godin classical guitar and an oud, a fretless 11-string
middle eastern instrument.
Initially, it's a bit intimidating and requires real
concentration to play in tune (and not slide into every
note). Once I got the hang of it, I started playing it on
everything. The one drawback -- you can't do chords with
more than 3 voices. Barre chords are totally impractical.
I did update the tuners to the barreled Godin
versions. I used the original Godin/D'Addario strings
(which created more finger noise than I liked) until another glissentar-ist recommended
Pearse/Thomastik wound classical strings. Great feel, sound and intonation and ball-ends(!). I
use two sets, of course, and end up with extra low E strings.
This is an original Hagstrom -- I purchased it new in 1975 after
playing Larry Coryell's and have used for literally every
electric performance and recording project since then.
During the 1970s and 80s, the company was producing
truly world-class instruments that were compared with the
Gibsons and Fenders of that time.
It has had several modifications during the years: I
removed the pickguard after the first couple of months as
it got in the way and kept causing me to break high E
strings. Due to wear & tear I replaced the pickup rings, volume and tone
knobs and tuners (now Shallers). I also had Jack Romano modify the tune-a-matic style
bridge to allow better intonation on the low strings.
While I've used just about every gauge and type of string
over the years, these days I string it with John Pearse
#2600 Jazz lights.
This was from the Zanaras Music
inventory. It was the 'always a bridesmaid' guitar -- each time someone
picked it up expecting to see only Steinberger scrawled across
the body. Of course, the black Cort immediately dashed most hopes
of a budget-priced treasure. All I can say is they should have played
played this with the Group and, much to my surprise, it sounds like my
other guitars. I did expect a Fender Strat-like quality due to the
single coil pickups, but EMG pickups make a big difference. It's strung with LaBella double-ball-end strings .010 / .046.
This is my favorite guitar for
jam sessions, both jazz and blues, because it's so easy to carry. (Note:
I had one incident where someone assumed I had a rifle in the compact
gig bag and not a guitar -- I had to open the bag to assure him of my
LAB Series amps
(1979 thru 1980s)
No account of my equipment history is
complete without a photo of the
amps. These are (in my humble opinion) the best amps, transistor
or tube, I have ever played through. They get a tube sound, a tube feel
and never run out of horsepower (which I know from the old days). On the
bottom right is my original L5 (2X12, 100W), delivered to me in the
shipping crate way back when; next to it is one of the last L5s made; on
top is the amazing L3 (1X12, 60W) which was almost killed by FedEx but
resuscitated by me with the assistance of Lowes and the Gorilla Glue
the other end of the signal chain....
My acoustic setup includes a
tube preamp (currently an ART) and an Alesis Microverb. If
needed, I may use an old Pearl parametric EQ pedal to
tweak out problems. I usually do my own mix through a
Behringer MX602A mixer and supply my own feed to the
sound board. With the Lowden I do my own mix with the two
pickups depending on the room and can also control my mic
level and sound as well.
With the electric guitar, I use a very simple pedalboard with an Arion Tubulator (a very good tube screamer clone), a Tech 21 Roto Choir,an old
Boss DD2 delay, a Boss RV2 reverb pedal and a Boss RV60 volume pedal. Lately, I've included my venerable MuTron Octave Divider to occasionally
thicken up single lines. This is the latest incarnation of my pedalboard
(which since my
days has gotten lean, clean and modular and capable of fitting into a
For the history buffs......
I have used a broad range of
effects and setups throughout the years. In my fusion
days I had a massive pedalboard built with the following effects:
MuTron III, MuTron Phasor II, MuTron Octave Divider, Boss
CE1, Boss OD, MXR Distortion+, Boss Flanger, Boss DD2,
Boss Reverb, Boss Hall-effect wah, Boss Hall-effect
Volume. In addition, I used all of
the Dan Armstrong plug-in effects. Of course, I always
kept my silver EBow on hand.
a while, this setup was used in tandem with a Roland GR300
guitar synth, a Leslie combo amp and two Lab L5 amps. I
began pairing things down as the fusion heydays (and my happy-go-lucky attitude) gave out.
The abbreviated setup I used during the second
New Light included the Boss OD, CE1, DD2,
flanger and volume pedal, the MuTron Octave Divider and a
vintage Big Muff. I was also down to using one Lab L5.
was also a brief period when I employed an '80s
Stratocaster, mostly as a backup instrument.