Rank #1: 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!
Rank #2: Podcast 196: Eric Johnson
On today’s podcast, we talk to guitar god Eric Johnson! We chat about using meditation to live in the present, Eric's new Fender signature model thinline Stratocaster, his new pedal board, re-creating the Ah Via Musicom album today and much more.
Rank #3: 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 email@example.com!
Skip was featured in the FJ's 33rd issue.
This episode is sponsored by Retrofret Vintage Guitars, Lowden Guitars and Lee Valley.
Rank #4: Podcast 179: Filmmaker Drew Roller of Acoustic Uprising
On this week’s podcast, we talk to filmmaker Drew Roller, the mastermind behind the new documentary ‘Acoustic Uprising.’ Roller tells us how, thanks to YouTube, he discovered the new guard of fingerstyle guitarists such as Andy McKee and Jon Gomm; what it was like to attend Thomas Leeb’s Austria Guitar Boot Camp; the enduring influence of Michael Hedges; and much more. He also recommends a handful of contemporary fingerstyle guitarists we all should check out.
This episode is brought to you by Retrofret Vintage Guitars.
https://www.acousticuprisingfilm.com (now available for purchase/download)
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Rank #5: Podcast 176: Bob Taylor of Taylor Guitars
Few guitarmakers travel the globe as much as Bob Taylor of Taylor Guitars. On any given day, he may be at Taylor’s massive El Cajon factory, at his ebony mill in Cameroon, on Hawaii replanting koa trees or offroading in Baja. On this week’s podcast, we catch with Bob (who was thankfully at home in California) to get his thoughts on CITES and the state of the guitar industry as a whole. We also hear about a guitar he recently built entirely by hand, learn about the impact that Andy Powers continues to have on Taylor’s product offerings and much more.
Rank #6: 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.
Rank #7: Podcast 166: Billy Strings and an IBMA World of Bluegrass Preview
This week’s podcast is a bluegrass double-header. First, we talk to the one-and-only Billy Strings. He’s about to release his first solo album, Turmoil & Tinfoil and we talk about the making of the record, his guitars of choice (he recently switched from his Noble dreadnought to guitars made by Preston Thompson) and a lot more. Over on fretboardjournal.com, you can hear a stream of “Pyramid Country” from the new album right now.
Next up, we talk to the IBMA’s Paul Schiminger about the organization’s mission, it’s annual World of Bluegrass festival (happening later this month) and the future of bluegrass.
This episode is sponsored by Retrofret and Dying Breed Music. Check out their offerings and tell them the Fretboard Journal sent you.
Next week, we talk to fingerstyle guitar legend Michael Gulezian!
This week’s podcast is a bluegrass double-header: First, we talk to the one-and-only Billy Strings. He’s about to release his first solo album, Turmoil & Tinfoil and we talk about the making of the record, his guitars of choice (he recently switched from his Noble dreadnought to guitars made by Preston Thompson) and a lot more. Over on fretboardjournal.com, you can hear a stream of “Pyramid Country” from the new album right now.
Next up, we talk to the IBMA’s Paul Schiminger about the organization’s mission, its annual World of Bluegrass festival (happening later this month) and the future of bluegrass.
Next week, we talk to fingerstyle guitar legend Michael Gulezian!
Use the coupon code PODCAST when you subscribe to the Fretboard Journal print magazine and you'll save an extra $5. Click here.
Rank #8: 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.
Order the new Fretboard Journal 44 by clicking here.
Rank #9: Podcast 209: Bruce VanWart of Collings Guitars
This week, we talk to one of the unsung heroes in the world of boutique guitars, Bruce VanWart of Collings Guitars. Bruce is the first official Collings employee and the one person who has touched nearly every instrument the company has produced since the late ’80s (almost 30,000 instruments). He reflects upon working alongside Bill Collings during the company’s earliest days, talks about his process evaluating wood for the company’s instruments and describes the 2018 re-launch of the Collings C-100. The C-100 was the brainchild of Bill Collings, a guitar with a dreadnought-sized lower bout with a skinnier upper bout and waist. Around 20 original C-100s were made in the mid-‘90s. They were reintroduced at the 2018 NAMM Show.
Here's a video featuring Bob Minner playing one of the first Collings C-100s made in 2018: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u3d7izbaBZE
This episode is sponsored by Dying Breed Music, where there is an ever-growing inventory of vintage Martin and Gibson flattop guitars from the golden era.
Rank #10: Podcast 175: Lindy Fralin
Back in the 1980s, Lindy Fralin didn’t set out to be one of the world’s most-trusted pickup winders, he just wanted to earn a living as a guitarist. With a tight budget, he’d buy cheap guitars and fix them up for himself or do minor repair work for friends. Eventually, though, the pickups took over. Today, Fralin has seven employees, a growing product line of guitar and bass products and a bustling pickup repair shop. On this week’s podcast, we talk to Lindy about his early days, some of his latest creations, the intricacies of pickup winding and much more.
This week’s podcast is sponsored by Retrofret Vintage Guitars, who happen to have a brand new website. Check it out!
Rank #11: Podcast 210: Reverb.com's Dan Orkin
This week, we talk to Reverb.com's Dan Orkin. Dan recounts the company's early days, its explosive growth, some current marketplace trends when it come to guitars (including what's hot right now and what isn't) and a lot more.
If you like the FJ Podcast, we hope you'll leave us a review on Apple Podcasts, iTunes or wherever you stream it.
Use the coupon code PODCAST when you check out at fretboardjournal.com and save an additional $5 off any order.
Rank #12: 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.
Rank #13: 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.
Rank #14: Podcast 208: Cory Wong (Vulfpeck, Fearless Flyers)
Cory Wong is a force of nature: The thirty-something guitarist performs in Vulfpeck, the Fearless Flyers and on innumerable sessions. On this week’s podcast, we talk to Cory about the Minneapolis music scene (including his interactions over the years with Prince), why he loves clean amps and green screens, his impressive right-hand technique, Blake Mills and more.
Cory’s second album, The Optimist, is available for pre-order with all sorts of cool perks: https://www.corywongmusic.com
Rank #15: Podcast 189: David Grisman and Del McCoury
On this week's podcast, we catch up with longtime friends and music collaborators David Grisman and Del McCoury at Wintergrass 2018. We talk about the early days of bluegrass festivals, some of the larger-than-life personalities they worked alongside (including Bill Keith, Jerry Garcia and Mac Wiseman), Grisman's amazing work at Acoustic Disc, McCoury's DelFest and much more.
The new Fretboard Journal #41 is out now, featuring David Rawlings, Jason Isbell, Red Diamond Mandolins and much more. Order it at fretboardjournal.com and use the coupon code PODCAST to save $5.
Rank #16: 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.
Rank #17: Podcast 242: Remembering Dick Dale
On this week's Fretboard Journal Podcast, we celebrate the larger-than-life personality and music of Dick Dale, who passed away at the age of 81.
We begin by talking to Matt Warshaw, surf historian and the author of the Encyclopedia of Surfing. Then we talk to frequent FJ contributor Jim Washburn about the time he spent with Dick Dale over the years. Lastly, we talk to John Page of John Page Guitars, who worked with Dick during his time at the Fender Custom Shop.
Rank #18: Podcast 241: Tim O'Brien
Tim O'Brien (Hot Rize) joins us on this week's podcast to talk about his excellent new, self-titled Tim O'Brien Band album, out March 15, 2019. The album is features an array of covers, new tunes and even a co-write with Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys. We also discuss his guitar of choice (a 1937 Martin 00-18), his lengthy relationship with Mike Kemnitzer (Nugget Mandolins), how he balances his busy session work schedule and a lot more.
Rank #19: 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.
Rank #20: Podcast 211: Tom Ellis
Austin-based Tom Ellis is one of the world's most respected mandolin makers. On this week's podcast, we talk to him about how he got his start building instruments, the fateful day he showed Ricky Skaggs his second-ever mandolin and about the inlay work he does at Precision Pearl, Inc. today. We also chat about how Tom shared his shop with Bill Collings in the early '80s, talk about torrefied wood, discuss the merits of using CNCs in a high-end build and a lot more.