The Warning | Second Spearfish

The Warning recently band purchased a second Spearfish™ 6-string guitar, the mighty Moby Dick. Daniela Villareal has put the guitar to immediate use, in the studio and live. The Warning will be touring the US once visa issues are squared away. PS: The answer is YES.

She LOVES it!

Dany always wants another of your guitars, if it where up to her she would have 10 by now!

In the studio and live, I am sending you pictures…

We arrived home last Wednesday at noon after a red eye flight and went directly to interviews and promotions of our 2 weekend shows (which went great both of them) then Sunday we received at our little studio fans that came from Brazil, Canada, Sweden, Germany, England and the USA, so now we are finally having some time to rest a little before we go to Colombia to the Rock al Parque Fest June 29.

I have a request for you, it would really mean the world to us if you can make a trip to watch them play live, I would really love to have you there, so you can watch them, hear them, be with us, know us better.

What do you say my friend? (Luis Villarreal, Manager)


2019 Spearfish | Vintage Sunburst Relic

This beautiful Spearfish appears throughout the Gift music video, providing clean and overdriven tones which add the atmospheric thunderstorm within the song story.

Swamp Ash solid body with light relic vintage nitro sunburst finish. Patent pending Element™ single billet aircraft aluminum neck. Patented Intonation Cantilever™ solo bridges, precision machined from solid stainless steel. Proprietary OEM DiMarzio pickups designed by Steve Blucher. 10-position pickup selection, featuring true single coil and humbucking tones.

Available for purchase. This guitar is extraordinary.


Gift | Music Video

There’s a local tavern with a long history. During the War for Independence it quartered Hessian troops, the commander of which — Count Carl von Donop — was infatuated with a “beautiful young widow” by the name of Betsy Ross (age 24).

Betsy, when she was not sewing flags for the Revolutionaries, applied her skills such that Count Dunop was “distracted” by her company on Christmas Eve, 1776.

She held him out of position that night, allowing George Washington’s significant victory a few miles north, in the Battle of Trenton. Von Donop’s desire to occupy her territory proved fatal to the British Empire’s ambitions to control the American Colonies.

Betsy entertained the Count at her place in Mount Holly, New Jersey, a few miles south of this very same tavern. Mount Holly is home to a fantastic start-up — Spellbound Brewing — which brings us full circle to Ken sitting beside me on a bar stool drinking Spellbound Porter as we talked politics, sports, and music.

Ken is almost done his doctoral dissertation in psychology, and despite off-hours, the psychologist’s lens is never really dormant. He turned to me, looking over the top of his spectacles: “Son,” he said, “when was the last time you actually played music?”

We’ve been friends since 7th grade.

“All work and no play makes Rick a dull boy,” he concluded.

“You have set yourself a huge first challenge, I’d say. An a-rhythmical lyric, with syntactical sense that spans multiple line ends, sung at the edges of your vocal range, against a rhythmic accompaniment where the melodic component is a textural combo of counterpoint, choppy guitar and an extended, almost freeform bass line. You know how to aim high, for certain.” (Gethyn)

“I like the minor second above the root in the melody on ‘mare’ and ‘feet’!” (Adam J. Wilson)

“Whoa. That’s a left turn!!! Hats off, Rick. That took a lot of guts. Is this gonna be a thing?” (Chris Buono)

“PISCES: You might feel yourself shying away from a situation, which is actually a good indicator that you should go forward instead. The only way to conquer fear is to let it dissipate through the action it was so afraid of.” (Holiday Mathis)

“Rick: Was not expecting this! Very different, love the vibe. Great recording…the tones of your guitars are so recognizable to my ears.” (Gabe Lopez)

“What’s amazing is how quickly you took this from concept to full realization. The tensions and resolutions and irresolutions (and ear resolutions!) really speak to the spirit of what we need as creative souls navigating our paths. Good to see you, too.” (Killick)

“So intense, it made me think of the writings of Emerson and Thoreau which always for me have a certain gravity and profound thoughtfulness about them, a timelessness.” (Will Pitt)

Goshawk | Jazz Guitar Today Magazine

Screen on my phone illuminated. Incoming call: Bob Bakert. Bob is editor of Jazz Guitar Today, based in Atlanta, GA. The magazine features jazz scene and instruments more traditional than avant-garde, so it was a pleasant surprise when they decided to do a feature on Goshawk™ 6-string guitar. Ede Wright and Bob Bakert had connected locally, and Bob fell in love with Goshawk’s design.

Bob was calling to tell me the article had just been published.

He’s an interesting person, athletic, fit, intelligent, actively playing (and pursuing) all things guitar since the late 1960’s. Our conversation drifted — as it quickly does — into music tangents. He was still aglow from a recent compliment where a well-respected industry insider told Bob he is an excellent musician. What was especially interesting was the follow-up comment: “Musician, not guitar player. Those are two different things.”

Many of us who play tend to bring a set of patterns (musical or thought) to the guitar, then attempt to fit those into the current context, possibly contextually appropriate. Approaching guitar as a musician, instead of as a player, happens when we lead with our ear instead of our skill set.

This is something I have noticed as well, and mentioned recently in the video interview with Mike Dawes. The difference seems based on the ability to listen. Really listen.

Mind still, and present in the moment, as Buddha would say.

IMAGE: Goshawk™ 6-string electric is featured in   May 2019 issue of   Jazz Guitar Today Magazine  .

IMAGE: Goshawk™ 6-string electric is featured in May 2019 issue of Jazz Guitar Today Magazine.

Goshawk | Dawes Goes Electric

Cradling a cup of coffee in my left hand, I sat at the kitchen counter as Steve Sjuggerud scrambled eggs. The lure of frying bacon would soon wake Mike Dawes, sleeping off a six hour time zone difference.

Steve was also simmering baked beans.

“Are beans a Southern breakfast specialty?” I asked. “I’ve had grits and gravy before…”

“Actually, they’re for Mike,” Steve replied. “I think the English like beans with breakfast.”

Photographer Adam King arrived, along with his cousin. “What’s with the beans?”

“They’re for Mike.”

Hoodie-draped Mike appeared, long pale arm extended. Grim Reaper seeks caffeine. “Why does everyone always make me beans at breakfast…?”

So, Mike’s Goshawk™ 6-string electric is nicknamed: Beanst.

Beast + Beans

PHOTO: Mike Dawes with his Goshawk™ 6-string electric guitar. (Photo: Adam King)

PHOTO: Mike Dawes with his Goshawk™ 6-string electric guitar. (Photo: Adam King)

PHOTO: Future stadium tours and Marshall stacks loom. Acoustic guitar virtuoso Mike Dawes has been corrupted by the lure of distortion and pinch harmonics… (Photo: Adam King)

PHOTO: Future stadium tours and Marshall stacks loom. Acoustic guitar virtuoso Mike Dawes has been corrupted by the lure of distortion and pinch harmonics… (Photo: Adam King)

NYSE | Steve Sjuggerud

The Yellow Cab Prius slotted itself into an imaginary third lane. Horns are a tool to open opportunities, and my taxi driver was clearing our path to Wall Street. Touching 60 mph down the next block, tires chirping as we came to a dead stop mid-intersection, inches from the box truck bumper in front of us.

“Unexpected,” he muttered.

Yesterday, Steve Sjuggerud rang the closing bell for the NYSE (New York Stock Exchange). He was also keynote speaker, presenting his film: New Money. I love Steve, and it was exciting to support him in his new venture, so lower Manhattan was the setting for our meeting this time.

Seven visible layers of security then an elevator ride, we stepped onto the trading floor.

Power is not a sufficient word, but is the precise word. Immersive powered electronic environment, labyrinthine, purposeful. On these screens, fortunes are made (and lost) in less than an instant. Capital from investors and central banks are injected into this abstract Darwinian metaphor, traded so fast that — even at the speed of light — proximity to the exchange matters, influencing real estate prices as companies compete to locate hardware closer to the NYSE.

The pulse of human ambition, the collective physical and intellectual labor of billions of people, flow through this space in fractional seconds.

Up in the balcony, Steve banged the iconic gavel and spontaneous cheers erupted around me as the trading day came to an end (Tuesday, April 16, 2019 @ 4 PM EST). Asia then Europe will carry things forward overnight then into tomorrow.

“Money flows to where it’s treated well.” (Steve Sjuggerud)

Later, at the reception, I balanced a small plate of exquisite medium rare porterhouse as Steve shared his initial impressions of the treble bleed capacitor on the wiring harness I’d sent him for testing. A few blocks away, Steve Blucher’s ears were no doubt tingling. Yes, talking guitars, Jack Ma and Warren Buffet looking on.

Just for a moment my concentration broke. An emotion, unfamiliar, a realization…an appreciation…as two worlds clicked together and I felt the course of this incredible journey in lutherie.

PS: Kind thank you to Steve Sjuggerud and his family (and staff).

PHOTO: Rick Toone @ NYSE.

PHOTO: Rick Toone @ NYSE.

PHOTO: CNBC Closing Bell market recap live broadcast. April 16, 2019.

PHOTO: CNBC Closing Bell market recap live broadcast. April 16, 2019.

PHOTO: Jack Ma (Alibaba) dominates the wall of financial leaders. Warren Buffet (Berkshire Hathaway) lower right.

PHOTO: Jack Ma (Alibaba) dominates the wall of financial leaders. Warren Buffet (Berkshire Hathaway) lower right.

PANORAMA: Floor of NYSE moments after Steve Sjuggerud rang the closing bell.

PANORAMA: Floor of NYSE moments after Steve Sjuggerud rang the closing bell.

PHOTO: Commemorative NYSE coin given to visitors.

PHOTO: Commemorative NYSE coin given to visitors.

Spearfish | Moby Dick


PHOTOS: Scrimshaw is the art of engraving the bone or tooth of a powerful animal. Spearfish™ 6-string guitar drives Yngwie Malmsteen’s original 1969 Marshall.


PHOTOS: Perhaps no mammal will ever (can ever) be as powerful as Herman Melville’s great white whale, Moby Dick. Nature, embodied. All that is untamed. You can recite the litany, but still it will not end with simply facts: patent pending Element™ aircraft aluminum neck, stainless steel Intonation Cantilever™ patented bridges, exclusive DiMarzio™ pickups, carbon fiber, resonant swamp ash.


Video | Goshawk | Geoff Waldron

My friend Geoff Waldron is an excellent songwriter. When I asked him to put Goshawk™ 6-string through her paces — Nashville style — Geoff composed two absolutely gorgeous pieces of music. Some people just have the ear…check out his playing.

Holy Moly!!

What an instrument! The box had no dents or damage and the guitar arrived safe and sound without a scratch. Still perfectly in tune and ready to play!

The guitar flat out feels like a beautiful woman... like touching the skin of a supermodel when I touch your guitar. The most amazing neck... I can’t even believe it.

You have a fine eye for detail... I should be so lucky to be working with such an accomplished artist such as yourself.

Truly an awe inspiring work of fine craftsmanship.

Truly makes my guitar collection seem like haphazardly constructed hunks of wood and metal. (Geoff Waldron)

Live | Arto Artinian, Killick Hinds & Adam J. Wilson

VIDEO: Live at the 2019 NYC Electroacoustic Improvisation Summit at New York City College of Technology. Both guitars are fretless (multiscale). Adam J. Wilson on Spearfish™ 6-string. Killick Hinds on Walrus 6-string. Arto Artinian is playing a Haken Continuum surface.

Prior to this live performance, the trio recorded Body Systems studio album.

Besides the three of us, we're improvising with some software I wrote, an algorithmic agent I've taken to calling "Skronkbot." Skronkbot is always listening and always playing; when I press pedals on my pedalboard, I'm turning Skronkbot's output on and off and directing it to use different synths and samplers. (Adam J. Wilson)

One of the ways I approach playing with Adam & Arto is to activate densities wrapped in a web of harmonic infinity...something like lungs filling to steady the next exhalation. There’s an unceasing propulsive quality from the sum of three people (plus robot!) inserting pantonal panrhythmic melodicisms with consummate attention towards making the group soup a good eat. This is a truly a fretless trio: fret less and listen more. It's always a pleasure to work with these beautiful souls and adept technological marvels who too have their own say. (Killick)

Video | Goshawk | Ede Wright

VIDEO: Ede Wright at an intimate moment with Goshawk™ 6-string in natural finish. The guitar fits him so well…watch with the sound off and you can really see how he gets lost in the music.

Thank You | Goshawk "Purple Haze"

Andrew shares his impressions a few days after “Purple Haze” Goshawk™ 6-string guitar arrived…


You knocked it out of the park with the Goshawk.

Purple Haze arrived in perfect condition, and the pictures did not do it justice, not even close. While the appearance is amazing, the fit and ergonomics are truly unmatched. I can’t believe how light it is, and how its contours allow it to easily meld with your body.

I probably played it close to 10 hours this weekend, and I haven’t even scratched the surface of what it can do. The tones are amazing, and it plays incredibly with all of my amps. It is truly an instrument that inspires one to play.

Before it arrived, I thought the Goshawk was going to be an evolution of the Spearfish, but this is a different beast altogether. Thank you for going the extra the mile with your craft/art and creating instruments that help get the music in my head come to life.

If you can’t tell, I couldn’t be happier.

Very truly yours,


Thank You | Spearfish

Bill took delivery of his sunburst Spearfish™ 6-string guitar this week…

I love this guitar! It may not be good for me, though — I was going to work out last night but picked up the guitar to just play for a few minutes, and before I knew it the gym was closed. And I picked it up this morning, just for a minute, and now I’m two hours late for work (fortunately I’m self-employed).

I was a bit apprehensive buying another guitar sight unseen, but trusted that this time would be different. Wow! Spearfish™ is stunning! And the most comfortable guitar I’ve ever played…sitting down it just melts into my body, absolutely perfectly contoured. I love the deep carve on the arm rest, and the neck carve makes the upper frets a breeze to access.

I wasn’t sure if I would be comfortable with the thinness of the Element™ neck, but it was love at first touch. And the fan-frets are the most comfortable ones I have encountered, just right. It took almost no time to get used to. Playability is off the charts, virtually effortless.

And the tone! I played it clean for a while, and was actually a bit taken aback when I switched to an overdriven sound…the first note just leapt out, with such clarity and sustain. Truly spectacular!

I have been using the neck humbucker most of all (has always been my favorite position), and then the bridge, Strat, and Tele positions, as those seemed most familiar before I knew exactly what I was dealing with. I have used the tone knob quite a bit, as I have played everything from straight ahead jazz to rock and blues. I love how expressive the guitar is, and the action is absolutely perfect…it almost plays itself.

My wife commented how great the guitar sounds, and she has never done that with any of the other guitars I’ve owned. I have loved my (other brand) headless model, and figured it was about as good as it gets, but Spearfish™ is in a different league.

A million thanks for the guitar, it is perfect! I sincerely appreciate the attention to detail that is so obvious in every aspect of the guitar. Feel free to use me for a reference should anyone want a recommendation. All the best —


Testing, testing...

It is such a joy to get time with dear friends, especially involving music. When Steve Sjuggerud invited me to visit him in Florida this past week, it was an immediate yes.

The occasion was a live performance featuring Steve, Dan Ostrowski (drums), and acoustic guitarist Mike Dawes. Mike was visiting from UK, enroute to tour dates of his own. Also, we would be filming video…of the live performance, plus interviews.

More on that soon.

The next several days were just Mike, Steve, and me hanging out and testing guitars. Steve owns a stunning collection of original iconic vintage gear, lovingly curated, in perfect playing condition: Trainwreck, 1969 100-watt Marshall, Fender 1959 Strat. Plus some of the best new gear: Gil Yaron 1959 Les Paul replica, 1964 Fender Tweed replica, Blug amplifier system.

Essential benchmark guitar tone references.

Against them, we would be comparing two Goshawk™ 6-string prototype guitars I’d just completed.

What you might not know, what you might not expect, Mike Dawes — although known for his acoustic skills — is actually one of the best electric guitarists I’ve ever heard. His playing is fluid, melodic, effortless. Metal, shred…

Mike and Steve ripping together through Iron Maiden’s “The Trooper” at concert volume still has me grinning ear to ear, a few days and a few thousand miles later.

PHOTO: Rick Toone, Steve Sjuggerud, Mike Dawes.

PHOTO: Rick Toone, Steve Sjuggerud, Mike Dawes.

PHOTO: Steve works through pickup coil combinations on   Goshawk™   6-string.

PHOTO: Steve works through pickup coil combinations on Goshawk™ 6-string.

PHOTO: Rick Toone original prototype 6-string (2012). Signatures of those who have played or helped develop this guitar. Note early patent pending tuner.

PHOTO: Rick Toone original prototype 6-string (2012). Signatures of those who have played or helped develop this guitar. Note early patent pending tuner.

PHOTO: Rick & Steve, mid-testing.

PHOTO: Rick & Steve, mid-testing.

PHOTO: Steve looks on as Mike explores   Blueshift™   7-string ER.   Antares   6-string in foreground. Photographer Adam King works the angle.

PHOTO: Steve looks on as Mike explores Blueshift™ 7-string ER. Antares 6-string in foreground. Photographer Adam King works the angle.

PHOTO: Our location…overlooking a tidal marsh, Florida coastline.

PHOTO: Our location…overlooking a tidal marsh, Florida coastline.

Video | Goshawk | Annie Grunwald

Annie Grunwald composed a short piece of music to demo some of the sounds of “Purple Haze” Goshawk™ 6-string guitar. I absolutely love her playing on this. Just over a minute long, she weaves an evocative sojourn.


Every year I grow increasingly grateful for the wonderful people around me. Life — and this journey into Art — is truly made possible by these connections.

Profound gratitude to all of my clients; it is a gift to build for you.

Thank you.

Steve Blucher: this…sound. For showing me the way. Eric Corpus.

Steve Sjuggerud: excellence in nuance.

Ede Wright: Hall of Fame test pilot.

Valeria Karaseva: focus. And knowing when to take me to the wilderness.

Bill Pegg. Ken Kinter. David Newsam. Killick (of course). Scott Baker.

Three exceptional clients: Jim Jannard’s USM Red, Adam Wilson’s Fretless Spearfish, & Dr. Dominic’s Cupid.

Gethyn. Masi. Tricia. Gary Culver. Inseparable companions on the trek to Mordor.

Dad, for showing me the true meaning of courage and persistence. Mom, for walking beside him no matter how steep the mountain. Love you both so much.

And those we will miss: George Nishimura, Hank Rudderow, Patricia Hurley.

Video | Goshawk | Steve Sjuggerud

Steve Sjuggerud just filmed a live demo video explaining tones and features of Goshawk™ 6-string guitar.

A lot of thought and effort was invested into creating truly useable controls. You’ll understand as you watch the video. Steve is playing Goshawk™ direct into a Trainwreck replica. There are no pedals or channel switching.

He coaxes an astonishing range of textures from the guitar using just the onboard controls.

Grateful thanks to Steve Sjuggerud and Steve Blucher.

Modern Archtop

Sourced a piece of solid cherry two inches thick by fifteen inches wide. It was an old tree, with evenly spaced growth rings — moderately spaced — indicating decades of consistent growth and reliable access to sunlight + water.

A good life for a tree.

I’m extending the Modern Archtop™ design philosophy. Eliminating the Positional Constant String Pitch Control System™ in favor of the Intonation Cantilever™ solo tuner-bridges. Significant savings in mass, which allows me to play with the body structure.

I fully free the soundboard by floating it above a carbon fiber Torso Touch™ back — dampening is eliminated.

String-to-string response across the bass/treble spectrum is absolutely stunning. One of my best guitars in terms of dynamics and touch sensitivity.

I’m admittedly a little in love with this instrument right now.


Named for the raptor which populates broad latitudes across North America and Eurasia. (With thanks to Gethyn)

Goshawk™ six string guitar features:

• Swamp ash solid body (specify finish option)

• Torrefied figured flame maple neck

• Advantage™ neck profile

• Hipshot locking tuners

• Stainless steel frets

• 25.5” scale length

• Exclusive DiMarzio™ pickups

• 5-way hum-canceling w/volume & tone

• Carbon fiber pickguard

• Intonation Cantilever™ patented bridges precision machined from solid stainless steel