PHOTOS: Chris Buono & Charlie Hunter get (re)acquainted with V.1.0 production prototype guitar. It was really cool to watch Charlie adapt to the tuning system...the first few times he wanted to alter tuning, he reached for the headstock.
We came together seeking suggestions for guitar design improvement, but almost five hours of incredible playing ensued. Within the first fifteen minutes, Charlie Hunter absolutely schooled us in roots Americana blues/jazz fingerpicking.
I've never seen anything so complex seem so effortless on guitar before. Notes poured out of the instrument as his fingers barely moved.
The revised body shape is smaller, lighter, and more compact. Most importantly it improves the (already excellent) balance of the instrument, and relocates the strap attachment point away from the neck joint for improved access to the neck heel area. Chris Buono got to see some of his guitar design suggestions in tangible form for the first time...
The sign of a well established relationship is how easily you can pick up where you last left the conversation no matter how much time goes by. I have this connection to Rick's guitars and always look forward to 'meeting' the new additions.
The next step prototype V.2.0 is a welcome upgrade from V.1.0. Don't get me wrong — the guitar that sports our John Hancocks is an incredible axe. The new body shape simply suits me even better and the work Rick did on the neck's shoulder profile and fret fanning angles are substantial differences for the better.
It's also great to see my longtime partner in crime, Steve Blucher (DiMarzio), take such an active role in this endeavor. His outlook and experience is not easily matched in this realm so you have to take notice when a guy like that gets behind anything.
Myself and my two fellow testers were sporting ear-to-ear grins as we put V.1.0 through its paces while dissecting V.2.0. Exciting times!
— Chris Buono
PHOTOS: Fractal Audio System Axe-Fx II through a full range Atomic Reactor 50/50 and FR Passive Cabinets in stereo provides contrast to a tweaked '64 Fender Deluxe. The emulation settings of the Fractal are stunning, side-by-side.
Let me intimate with you guitar design critique is hard work. Joyless, thankless hours of note-taking seriousness. You can't even pay people to endure the torment.
Hunter: I SUCK on 6 string. I need a week of practice before it'll make sense again...
Buono: HA! Says the guy who melted the place after a bagel and olive oil ;)
Masi: Charlie...you totally didn't suck on the 6 string. Don't be silly.
Toone: Yeah...I'm not so sure about that one. Watching the video again last night, it seemed to me Charlie knows his way around a 6-string better than he admits...I'm still mentally processing the guitar lesson with roots/blues Americana in the first fifteen minutes of hanging out. Wow. I'd say the day overall was the best guitar playing learning experience I've ever had...
Buono: Yea. It hurt. You're all aliens.
PHOTOS: Down to business. Charlie jams acoustically as Chris inspects (above). Tom & Chris share observations about design versions. Tom Monda wishing for strings (below). All photos Masi.
Tom Monda has to be one of the most versatile guitarists I've encountered. Tap, classical, jazz, shred — he deftly flits from style to style. Tom lights it up with Thank You Scientist (think: Beatles-meets-AAL-meets-Zappa).
Rick is diligently taking every issue that our instruments have, the various problems inherent in guitar designs of the past fifty plus years, and is slowly but surely eliminating them. His foreward thinking attitude and incredible attention to detail is something to behold. These instruments are game changers!
— Tom Monda
Thank You Scientist