VIDEO: Chris Buono performs his arrangement of Ruby, My Dear.
Chris has two original 1964 Fender Deluxe amps in his studio. The Tolex has been removed, pine cabinets beat to hell, knobs worn by fifty plus years of continuous use. No reverb, no mid tone. Just basic workhorse clean tone machines.
After our many visits together this year, I began to notice a pattern.
Each time I show up with a newly completed guitar, the first thing he does is flick on one of the Fenders. We plug in the instrument, and an hour passes. A quick ten minute drop-off becomes tone exploration and animated conversation, usually as the people in our lives are waiting: "Oh, shit! I've got to..."
I also began to notice all the other amps and equipment are waiting as well. They sit idly, lights dark, as we get lost in the sound. And every time I say: "Chris...those amps sound SO GOOD!"
After the last video, I mentioned: "I get the whole modeling thing. Makes total sense. But I'm just not feeling the sound. For our next video, let's mic the amps!"
"I dig," he said. "Let's do it."
So here we are with the most basic of recording setups. Two Sure SM57s right up against the speaker. No compression, no EQ. Straight into the DAW. Strymon Big Sky provides a bit of room ambience.
Thelonius Monk composed "Ruby, My Dear" in 1947. The angular mathematical dissonance of Monk's chord formations resonate through his piano. When Chris sent me a practice video of his arrangement progress, I was captivated by how cleanly the piece translated to Redwood/Figured Cherry Spearfish™ 6-string guitar. He explains the technicalities well in the video.
IMHO Rick Toone with the Spearfish is redefining where the cutting edge is. Excellent arrangement and tones Chris. (Ede Wright via YouTube)
It has taken a few weeks for my musical ear to adapt to Monk's composition. Appreciation grows with each listen. I love how Chris brings his own musicality to the piece, making it now fully a work for guitar.
Had a chance to hang with Ede Wright today and test the Redwood Spearfish. The new headstock design is so nice to look at and examine. A breeze to tune up, too.
There is something really special about these necks. I played some dense chords all the way up to the 24th fret and the guitar refused to go out of tune. Chords are piano-like in terms of intonation accuracy. Each note in a chord stands out and is independent. No clutter or miscommunication. The clarity is pretty remarkable.
Single notes were full of character and sustain. The wide dynamic range allows me to sing through these instruments. Everything from a whisper to yell. Exactly what I want to hear comes out. It seriously feels like singing. Bending is effortless.
Redwood Spearfish has a clear and detailed voice. The Redwood had this sweet mid range and clarity while still maintaining a massive low end...it sparkled! Redwood has more chime and bite. I'd say it's more focused in the frequency range that suits my preference and playing, so I was VERY pleased with the feel and tone. It was undeniably hard put that thing down. AWESOME work, Rick. (Gabe Lopez via txt)
VIDEO: Original 1947 recording off Solo Monk.