Road Trip...

Hello all... I just returned from my two-day trip to some holy lands... Nazareth, PA and Bethlehem, PA. My brother took me to a hotel/Casino and on a VIP tour of the Martin Guitar Factory. What an amazing thing to see.... (not the factory, I'm talking about me losing at slot machines!). Lol but really.. my first guitar factory tour was by accident while I was moving to California. I stayed in Memphis and I saw the big Gibson brick building off in the distance... I tried so hard to pay attention to the convo I was having and I finally said, "Hold that thought..." and literally ran to see if it was the Gibson I had known from catalogues. The rest is history. I fell in LOVE. I feel like guitars, in a way, have the same feeling like locking eyes with someone and something special happens....or maybe picking up a guitar and strumming a chord... it's like the first conversation you have with it. It can be this breakthrough moment when your heart decides unequivocally that "this is the one for me." The matching puzzle piece to the musical part of ones soul. I've had that moment with my Les Paul Supreme... (and a human with equal beauty). Needless to say, I've followed up that trip with the Fender guitar factory in Corona, CA twice since moving to LA (and bought one Fender Telecaster as a gift). You can imagine my "fear" of visiting the C.F. Martin Guitar Co. given my ability to spend money and the current trend haha. I was good... I only bought an epic mug and keychain! But the seeds have been planted...

The facility has an old fashion, turn of the century, middle-Americans who take pride in what they build quality to it. That seemed to be sorely lacking at Fender but definitely present at Gibson, Memphis (where semi-hollow, arch-top, and acoustic guitars are made. Electrics in Nashville... my next trip south when I finally record at Sun Studios I will be checking out that tour. It was flooded when I was going through there). The luthiers and craftsmen today were all smiles and very willing to stop and take a minute or 45 minutes to talk about sanding, book-matching wood grains, and pulling down samples of the rarest tone woods on earth. My brother and I could have talked to the guy in the custom shop for nearly 48 days straight without break I think. I have seen CNC machinery at factories before but for me, it's all about the details in everything that's still done by hand in 2016... the same as it were in 1830s when Martin got into guitar making. This post is in dedication to the talented women and men- they look like ordinary, old people and maybe they think their job isn't glamorous but my gosh... To Jim and I, they're superstars and we treated them like it. Totally in awe. My brother and I have often discussed our own guitar making in the future. We have learned so much about tone-woods and the very specific conditions of drying and humidity in which they must be stored, cured, worked, and finished... but part of me wants to only use reclaimed wood or buy tag sale/estate sale cheap furniture and make guitars. Come to think of it- that can be for our entry level and student guitars. Something cheap, stylish, well-made, unique, and for every one sold, we plant a tree so we have recycled the wood and made the air and world a better place. For the higher-end tone, we will have to get into the good-stuff and make limited runs. But we both enjoy wood working and are absolutely obsessed with guitars and music, so this is something to look forward to when we retire early and have money to burn (or should I say carve!) One can pray...

The VIP tour was literally just him and I. We ate a great dinner at the Emeril restaurant at the casino, and tried two chains we have never tried... White Castle!.... and Joe's Crab Shack. So Michael and Jimmy went to White Castle and we Ate At Joe's lol.... my stomach is still recovering. It may be in knots for other reasons... but like wood grain, knots are no place for my stomach, either. I'm doing my best to stay busy..

First thing when I came home is come up to the studio, where I am writing this now. Maybe it was the religious nature of the towns we visited, or the malls in which mucho shopping was done, or the general crisp mid-30s air and clear sky... but something felt enough like Christmas to make me come up here, Dunkin coffee in hand, and plug in to play a Christmas song that came to me at the end of last year ("Angel on My Tree"). Well..... gonna play some more and I'll leave you with some photos of the tour. Not much work getting done today I don't think. My body and mind need to rest, or at least go dream where possibilities are limitless and Fusc-Capacitors can take me any time I want. Goodnight ya'll. Peace and White Castle Burger grease.

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                                                    Michael

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