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The Fretboard Journal Guitar Podcast

The Fretboard Journal magazine's weekly podcast, where we interview legendary guitarists, luthiers, and much more.

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Podcast 224: Vintage Amp Repair with Skip Simmons

Amp repairman Skip Simmons calls it like he sees it. He joins us on this week's Fretboard Journal Podcast to talk about vintage guitar amp repair, why smaller wattage amps can be better for the average player,  and what bargains still exist in the world of amplification. We also talk Filmosound conversions, Alexander Dumble, repair horror stories and a lot more.  Going forward, Skip will be hosting a monthly podcast called the Truth About Vintage Amps for the Fretboard Journal where he will be fielding questions from you, our listeners. Send any and all amp questions and comments to fretboardjournal@gmail.com! Skip was featured in the FJ's 33rd issue.  This episode is sponsored by Retrofret Vintage Guitars, Lowden Guitars and Lee Valley.  http://skipsimmonsamps.com

1hr 4mins

7 Nov 2018

Rank #1

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Podcast 250: Steve Earle

Legendary singer-songwriter Steve Earle joins us this week for one of the best conversations we've had in years. Over the course of this nearly hour-long chat, Earle talks to us about meeting and working alongside his hero, Guy Clark, how sobriety changed his playing and his ever-growing guitar collection (135+ instruments as of this recording). Earle also discusses overcoming his fear of Telecasters, his love for the guitars of James Trussart, his favorite amps, gambling tips and more. Earle's Guy Clark tribute album, Guy, is out now. We can't recommend it enough. This week's podcast is sponsored by Mono Cases. Check out all their case and pedalboard offerings at monocreators.com. Don't forget to subscribe to the Fretboard Journal Podcast on iTunes and please leave us a review! 


14 May 2019

Rank #2

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Podcast 234: Luthier Eric Galletta

On this week's Fretboard Journal Podcast, we talk to Southern California builder Eric Galletta.  Eric has been building electric guitars for over 25 years and has worked alongside numerous guitarmaking legends, including Wayne Charvel (Charvel Guitars) and Bernie Rico (BC Rich). But the focus of much of our conversation is Eric's love for the guitars of Paul Bigsby.  Eric talks to us about his fateful encounter with R.C. Allen, the magic found in Bigsby-built guitars and about his own re-creations of these ultra-rare instruments. 

1hr 6mins

22 Jan 2019

Rank #3

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Podcast 227: Billy Strings

Guitarist Billy Strings joins us on this week’s Fretboard Journal Podcast to talk about one of the more interesting instruments we’ve learned about this year, an electric guitar that his grandfather built in prison (check out the hashtag #prisonguitar on Instagram to see pictures). Billy and Scale Model Guitars of Nashville have spent the last several months restoring the handmade instrument and it’s finally finished. We also learn about his Preston Thompson guitar, the D-28 he purchased from Bryan Sutton and why he lugs a Fender Deluxe Reverb to all of his acoustic shows.  At 22:32, we also get the heartwarming story of how Billy stumbled upon and recovered his father’s Martin D-93.  We’ll be featuring Billy and the Prison Guitar restoration in the Fretboard Journal soon with all-new pics. Subscribe today and we’ll make sure you get the issue.  Holiday shoppers: Remember that the Fretboard Journal makes for a great gift… we offer one, two and three-year gift subscriptions to our reader-supported magazine.  This episode is brought to you by our friends at Lowden Guitars, RetroFret Vintage Guitars and Lee Valley.


17 Nov 2018

Rank #4

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Podcast 254: Fred Greene and Tim Teel of Martin Guitars

This week, we travel all the way to Nazareth, Pennsylvania to interview Fred Greene (Vice President of Product Management at Martin Guitars) and Tim Teel (Martin's Director of Instrument Design). The decisions these two individuals make have a huge impact on Martin's current (and future) guitar offerings. We chat about the behind-the-scenes process of making new Martin models, how Martin prepares for big unveilings like the NAMM Show, the influence guitar forums have on their output, the guitar-building community in general and much more. This insightful chat is easily one of our favorite conversations about the guitar industry we've had to date.   This episode is brought to you by Carter Vintage, Martin Guitars and Gibson.  Order the new Fretboard Journal 44 by clicking here. 


25 Jun 2019

Rank #5

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Podcast: 232: Tommy Emmanuel and Jerry Douglas

Tommy Emmanuel and Jerry Douglas join us on this week's Fretboard Journal Podcast to talk about guitars, the art of collaboration and much more. 


4 Jan 2019

Rank #6

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Podcast 238: Andy Powers (Taylor Guitars)

Andy Powers of Taylor Guitars stops by the Fretboard Journal offices to talk about the new Taylor Grand Pacific series of guitars, his influences and a lot more! Plus, NAMM updates, a great deal on Fretboard Journal subscriptions and a few surprises. 


15 Feb 2019

Rank #7

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Podcast 231: Kenneth Pattengale of the Milk Carton Kids

Kenneth Pattengale (Milk Carton Kids) joins us on this week’s Fretboard Journal Podcast to talk about his new Martin Kenneth Pattengale Special guitar (available exclusively at Gruhn Guitars). This guitar has quite a backstory: Kenneth set out to make the ultimate American-made guitar for musicians on a budget, an homage to his '50s 0-15. After many twists and turns (and literally years of prototypes), Martin and Kenneth were able to design a unique guitar with a stained torrefied Adirondack spruce top, mahogany back and sides and dovetail neck joint for less than $2200. We also chat about Kenneth’s growing collection of vintage Martins, including his '55 0-15 and his shadetop 1932 0-17, music production and more. This episode is sponsored by Retrofret, Lee Valley and Lowden Guitars. 

1hr 18mins

20 Dec 2018

Rank #8

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Podcast 218: Tyler Grant

National Flatpicking Champion and Grant Farm founder Tyler Grant joins us on the Fretboard Journal Podcast this week. We chat about the fascinating world of flatpicking guitar competitions and the strategies Tyler employed to win them, the formation of Grant Farm and his new duo record with Robin Kessinger, Kanawha County Flatpicking.  This episode is sponsored by Retrofret Vintage Guitars. 


25 Sep 2018

Rank #9

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Podcast 265: TJ Thompson Returns

Support the Fretboard Journal and our podcasts during our first-ever Subscription Drive: https://www.fretboardjournal.com/support TJ Thompson is one of the most respected names in the world of vintage Martin guitars, a repairperson who can seemingly fix the impossible. Though he flies under the radar with no advertising and little publicity (aside from his occasional appearances in the Fretboard Journal), he has no shortage of work from collectors, high-end dealers and touring musicians. Occasionally, he even burns the midnight oil building Martin-inspired guitars under his own name. (As of this writing, he’s built 87 guitars from scratch.)   TJ returns to the FJ podcast in a conversation that covers a lot of ground: his background (the '70s Martin D-35 with intonation issues that got him started in lutherie, his stints with Dana Bourgeois and Elderly Instruments); the inspiration that he finds from people and problem solving; and a few of the complicated guitar repairs he has recently tackled. Though there are plenty of guitar geek revelations, more than anything this is a chat about following your passion and finding mastery in your craft. Because of that, it’s one of our favorite episodes to date.   Note: TJ also appeared in the Fretboard Journal #26 and has been on Fretboard Journal Podcast episodes 55, 97, 122 and 123. Links: TJ's Pro Luthier Tools Shop The 1947 Martin D-18 with a crushed side referenced during this conversation: https://www.instagram.com/p/B1rVQQvHVvD/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link This episode is sponsored by Mono Cases and Retrofret Vintage Guitars.

1hr 26mins

23 Sep 2019

Rank #10

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Podcast 277: Jim Campilongo

This week, we're sharing an epic conversation with one of our favorite musicians, guitar great Jim Campilongo. Jim shares stories about growing up in San Francisco, his early guitar lessons, his ever-growing LP obsession and some of the fateful encounters that helped shape his point-of-view as an instrumentalist. We then discuss his move from San Francisco to New York; his new, Sundazed Best of compilation; his ongoing collaborations with luthier Chihoe Hahn (Hahn's Model C tele-style guitar); plus a lot more. This episode is sponsored by Retrofret Vintage Guitars and Mono Cases. Support the Fretboard Journal Podcast by getting a digital subscription to the Fretboard Journal magazine for just $30 a year. You’ll get our new issue (#45) immediately on the house and get four more issues. Click here to join us.

1hr 39mins

10 Feb 2020

Rank #11

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Podcast 269: Erick Coleman (Toneschaser)

Erick Coleman is known to thousands online simply as "tonechaser." But Erick’s story goes way beyond his social media posts: Coleman is an experienced luthier, a still-touring musician and the Senior Technical Advisor for Stewart-MacDonald, where he constantly develops and tests new tools for the company. On this week's Fretboard Journal Podcast, we talk to Coleman about his beginnings working on instruments, how he balances his work week and how he’s amassed a rather huge guitar and amp collection. We also talk about common mistakes people make on their first guitar builds, plus a lot more.   Links: Erick’s social feeds: Instagram / Facebook Erick's band: The D-Rays Stewart-MacDonald: https://www.stewmac.com

1hr 7mins

4 Nov 2019

Rank #12

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Podcast 268: Skytop Guitars

The instruments that luthier Eric Weigeshoff (Skytop Guitars) crafts are striking. For starters, his acoustic guitars don’t even have a traditional top soundhole. On this week’s podcast, we talk to Eric about how his guitar designs have evolved over the years, the challenges of being a solo luthier, his love for side soundports and some of the offbeat tonewoods he's employed. Follow Eric and Skytop here.

1hr 8mins

24 Oct 2019

Rank #13

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Podcast 229: Mark Stutman of Folkway Music

This week, we’re joined by Folkway Music founder Mark Stutman. Over the years, Stutman has earned accolades from guitar collectors around the world as one of the finest vintage acoustic repairmen around, especially when it comes to Gibson guitars from the '30s and '40s. But he didn't start out wanting to fix 70 year old guitars: He originally wanted to build instruments just for left-handed players.   During our podcast, we also discuss what it takes to run an independent guitar store in 2018 (and beyond), the mentors he’s found along the way, the unique quirks found only in Golden Era-Gibson guitars and some of his favorite instruments that have crossed his bench.  This episode is sponsored by Retrofret Vintage Guitars, Lowden Guitars and Lee Valley Tools. Want to sponsor the Fretboard Journal Podcast? Drop us a line at fretboardjournal@gmail.com. 

1hr 32mins

7 Dec 2018

Rank #14

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Podcast 273: Robert Keeley

"It wasn't like I was looking to make pedals my career, at all… it was just, 'I bet I can sell one to buy parts for this other one.'" –Robert Keeley, on his early work On this week’s podcast, we talk to Robert Keeley of Keeley Electronics. When it comes to the world of effects pedals, Keeley is, quite simply, a legend. During our conversation, he recounts his early days flipping hi-fi gear he'd find at estate sales; explains why he never became an amp builder; outlines the importance of a great education for all of his employees; and walks us through the lifecycle of a pedal currently in development (the ECCOS delay/looper). Whether you know Keeley for his old Tube Screamer mods or for his more recent, digital signal processing effects, you're bound to learn something during this hour-long chat. This episode is sponsored by Retrofret Vintage Guitars and Mono Cases.

1hr 10mins

14 Dec 2019

Rank #15

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Podcast 261: Brent Mason

Brent Mason is one of the most prolific and successful session guitarists of all time. He joins us on this week's Fretboard Journal Podcast to talk about the life of a Nashville session musician, his guitars of choice, what he brings to the studio and much more. It's a fascinating chat about one of the lesser-known aspects of the music industry.  Subscribe to the Fretboard Journal magazine via this link.  This episode is sponsored by Roberto-Venn, Gibson, Martin and Carter Vintage Guitars. 


21 Aug 2019

Rank #16

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Podcast 217: John Pizzarelli

Jazz icon John Pizzarelli joins us to talk about Nat King Cole, his dad (Bucky Pizzarelli), his Radio Deluxe show and much more! This episode is sponsored by Lee Valley Tools and Retrofret Vintage Guitars. Subscribe to the Fretboard Journal magazine here: https://shop.fretboardjournal.com/collections/all/products/fretboard-journal-subscription-no-auto-renew


20 Sep 2018

Rank #17

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Podcast 247: Damien Jurado

Damien Jurado joins us on this week's Fretboard Journal Podcast to talk about the making of 'In the Shape of a Storm,' his incredible new solo acoustic album. During our chat, Jurado talks about the inspiration he received from a no-name nylon-stringed guitar; walks us through the album's sparse production (just two microphones; recorded in just a couple of hours); explains why he moved from the Pacific Northwest; and speaks candidly about his relationship with the late, great Richard Swift. Plus a lot more... 


22 Apr 2019

Rank #18

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Podcast 245: Mark Stutman (Folkway Music) Returns

By popular demand, Folkway Music's Mark Stutman returns to give us even more behind-the-scenes tales of vintage guitar repair. We talk about Gibson acoustics and what it would take for new Gibsons to capture the coveted tone of their '30s and '40s predecessors. We also chat about the art of neck resets (Mark is featured in a feature on resets in the FJ #44, out soon) and much more. A must-listen if you love vintage acoustic guitars.  https://www.folkwaymusic.com


3 Apr 2019

Rank #19

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Podcast 251: Andy Statman

Mandolin great Andy Statman joins us on this week's Fretboard Journal Podcast to talk about his new album, 'Monroe Bus,' taking lessons from David Grisman, the influence of Bill Monroe, finding tone and much more.  Portions of this interview can be found on the Fretboard Journal's online piece on Statman here: https://www.fretboardjournal.com/features/interview-andy-statman-on-monroe-bus/ But Andy was so insightful during that conversation that we decided to run the whole talk as a podcast. We hope you enjoy it. This episode is sponsored by Mono.  

1hr 5mins

20 May 2019

Rank #20