PHOTOS: Patented Intonation Cantilever™ machined solid stainless steel bridges. Custom OEM DiMarzio pickups designed by Steve Blucher. Highly polished stainless steel frets. Hipshot open gear locking tuners.
PHOTOS: Ultimate Shred Machine™ 8-string guitar. Carbon fiber. Mahogany. Salvaged local old growth figured walnut (below).
I drift through the forest on my runs, following deer paths, footfalls light on centuries of fallen leaves. Eastern deciduous woodlands: Oak, Ash, Maple, Hickory, Beech, Birch, Walnut, Cherry.
Trees, everywhere. White-tailed deer too...many faun triplets this year. I love being back east. It will always be home.
This slab of highly figured old growth walnut inspired me to build an eight string. Decades ago, the tree dropped a branch near this crotch, allowing rain, insects, and small animals to hollow then eventually split the trunk. The result is gorgeous grain permeating both sapwood and heartwood.
I sectioned the slab and formed the ergonomic wings. The central core Uni-Neck™ is even grained quarter-sawn figured claro walnut paired with mahogany. Stable and resonant. Sustain with tonal punch.
The lows on this instrument will rock you back on your heels.
What I hear is warm, woody, piano-like clarity across all five pickup positions, and up and down the neck. Step back the highs using the studio grade ToneStyler, and eloquent jazz tones emerge, absolutely perfect for complex chording or Joe Pass lead lines.
I believe this is an ideal guitar for the musician who is seeking high-fidelity wide-frequency balanced response for solo compositions.
It is one of my best builds.
It's been a totally crazy week and I'm working overnight as I write this, but I didn't want to leave too much time before giving you an update on USM 8. It should come as no surprise after your own experience and those of your amazing colleagues that she's a really great guitar.
I've played her a lot plugged and unplugged and in various positions, as you suggested. She's a really beautiful, comfortable, resonant and versatile instrument. I can balance her almost upright and completely comfortably on my right leg and almost pretend that she's designed for tapping. She can sit comfortably in a normal position and feel just like a jazz box. And the shape you chose for the neck is dead-on, though I don't know how you came to this particular conclusion! It took very little time to get used to the shape and it's now almost like second nature.
I had planned to make a conscious decision to try and expand my view of the guitar by playing USM 8 almost exclusively (and trying some other ideas re: amplification, effects, etc.) but there's nothing conscious about grabbing and playing her. I just gravitate to the experience. I'm afraid she'll get some angry glares from her six string siblings...although there's nothing like playing a regular guitar after some time on USM 8 — it changes your approach in a very liberating way.
Many, many thanks for your encouragement and for allowing me to follow your journey with her before she got to me. She's at work with me tonight and I'll be connecting her to my iPad no doubt or just letting her resonate on me as much as possible. (DR)
VIDEO: Chris Buono rips some funk in the middle pickup position (above).
Amazing guitar, and killer tune! The clarity of the tone is astonishing — from one end of the spectrum to the other, it just sounds fantastic. Bravo! (mcfunkpus9 via YouTube)
Literally the best sounding 8 string I've heard to date, in the hands of one of the best players too, great playing. (Owen via YouTube)
This guitar is completely awesome. (Chris Buono via txt)
PHOTOS: Advantage Neck Profile™ featuring titanium internal neck reinforcing structure combined with active truss rod control. Aircraft aluminum nut for clarity with low-end punch.