Godin Multiac Performance Tip

Hi Dan,

This might be useful information to other guitarists. I have been using a Godin Multiac solid-body nylon string guitar with RMC pickups to do music for a play with a solid-state electric guitar amp. I noticed that the guitar was uncommonly quiet and free of any 60-cycle hum caused by the dimmer switches used with the stage lighting. I did not have to turn off the volume while I was not playing as it was just as quiet without touching the strings . Yesterday I used a Gibson ES-175 for the play, and it was a disaster with excessive noise through the hum-bucking pickups from the stage lighting. I could not switch guitars once the play started, and the sound quality compared to the Godin was awful. I am strictly using the Godin now for any situation where I am doing solo work and want absolutely no line noise interfering with the performance.

Bob Giesick

Semi Polished Classical Guitar String Review

Recently I’ve been experimenting with many different types of strings to find the right combination for my Ramirez 2CWE nylon string electric cutaway guitar. As a jazz player my technique on the nylon strings tends to produce squeaks on the wound basses.

Since discovering that Savarez offers semi-polished basses & D’Addario carries a recording set, I’ve spent several months working with different combinations & here’s what I’ve found.

Savarez Basses

Savarez Basses: Available in Sets of (3).

Pros: They feel & sound good.

They are only offered in normal tension so if you tend to “dig in” a bit & play more aggressively buzzing results.

Pricing: $35.00 for 3 strings, Ouch!

Durability: They wear out quickly. The basses start to fray in about half the time of a normal Savarez set. Changing nylon strings is an ordeal for me. It takes at least a week for the strings to settle in so I only get 3 weeks of quality playing time per Savarez set before they start to unravel.

D'Addario EJ51
D’Addario Pro-Arte’ EJ51 Recording Strings

I first learned about these strings from George Santos at D’Addario. I’ve been using D’Addario Chromes on my L-5 for some time with great results & George asked if I would try these out. I’m so glad that I did!

Pros: They sound good but a bit brighter than the Savarez. I prefer a warmer tone; a little EQ adjustment did the trick.

Pricing: About $18.00 for a full set.

Durability: I gig with my Ramirez several times a week in all sorts of environments. I put the EJ51 set on in March & am beginning to feel guilty that I haven’t changed them yet.
(7 months & counting!)

Tension: Hard tension, a real plus for me.

Savarez Carbon Trebles

Enter San Diego Luthier Len Laviolette. (Check out some earlier posts to see examples of Len’s great instruments) Lately, Len has been installing the Savarez Alliance 541J, 542J, & 543J Carbon trebles on all of his custom built instruments. He uses the traditional D’Addario basses exclusively. Len mentioned that the folks at D’Addario are also developing Carbon trebles that should be available soon.

When I installed the Carbon Trebles it transformed the feel of my Ramirez. I tried to look up the actual tension of the Savarez trebles on their website but it doesn’t appear to be listed. I’m guessing that it’s slightly higher than the stock D’Addario trebles.

I’ve always been challenged by a certain amount of looseness / buzzing with the Ramirez but it’s dialed in now. The carbon strings are a bit warmer in tone & smaller in diameter as well. I’m extremely pleased with the hybrid set.

In conclusion, try out the D’Addario Pro-Arte’ EJ51 Recording Strings. I’m sure you’ll be pleased. If pricing isn’t important & you don’t mind the hassle of changing strings frequently try the Savarez as well.

I’ll be using the D’Addario Recording Basses & the Savarez Carbon trebles on my Ramirez & loving life.

Blues Book: Big Mama Thorton

Here’s an interesting Biography by Michael Spörke. His new book “Big Mama Thornton. The Life and Music.”, the first biography about Big Mama Thornton, will shortly be available. It can be pre-ordered via the publisher (see the link below).



When Michael was researching his book he contacted me & we spoke about Big Mama Thorton. Back in the 70’s I played lots of R&B with Bib Joe Turner & Edddie “Cleanhead” Vinson. Big Mama would regularly stop by the session on Saturday afternoons at Cleanheads’ gig. Michael included some of our conversation in the book.

I’m looking forward to a good read!


Traveling abroad with guitars containing rare woods

Travel Abroad with Your Instrument May Require CITES Certification

The AFM and its longtime government relations partners met in late April with US Fish and Wildlife (USFW) administrators to discuss public promotion of government guidelines relating to the international transport of musical instruments containing parts of federally designated endangered species materials and/or rare woods such as ivory and rosewood. A proposal to streamline rules relating to travel in and out of countries visited by instrumentalists was approved by 178 nations at a March 13 meeting of the Convention on International Trade and Endangered Species (CITES).

As USFW representatives move to update the application process for this certificate, the AFM is reaching out to all musicians and working to open gateways that will provide detailed information about how to effectively navigate the certificate application process. These mandatory federal requirements have long been in place. Many AFM members may be aware of this pretravel registration requirement. However, the policy is not widely known. In cooperation with the USFW, the AFM, the Recording Academy, the International Society of Violin and Bow Makers, the National Association of Music Merchants, and the League of American Orchestras are working hard to get information out to professional musicians. All musicians are advised to register affected instruments. Approval can take up to 45 days. Musicians are encouraged to initiate the application process long before travel commences. It is important to strive for compliance as US customs and foreign border entry officials in each of the 178 parties to the CITES Treaty may have different entry requirements.

As we move forward, USFW will begin an aggressive outreach program that will offer additional advice and tools to help musicians navigate what can be a complicated application process. Please feel free to contact the AFM Office of Government Relations for additional information. We will bring you updates from USFW as they become available.

Article Courtesy of International Musician 6/13 issue

D’Addario Chromes & Half Rounds Review

Recently I had the good fortune to meet Jim D’Addario at one of my performances in the Palm Springs area.

Jim was kind enough to put me in contact with George Santos, Product Specialist at D’Addario who provided me several samples of D’Addario string products.  So far I’ve tested & shared two of the products that we decided on with several students.

D'Addario ECG25 Chromes Light Electric Guitar Strings  

I first started using the Chromes back in the 90’s.  At that time  I played my Gibson ES-175 exclusively & opted for the Jazz Light set. EGC24. (.011 – .050) I customized that set by replacing the 1st & 2nd strings with a heavier .012 & .016 respectively on the 175 as I  prefer the thicker sound. I have a heavier touch so the .011 & .015 were a bit light for that guitar.

These days I’m playing a Gibson Wes L-5 model,  so the 12-52 Light Gauge set as packaged did the trick.

Back in the day, I had experienced issues with the wound G but happy to report no problems now.  Overall I’m pleased with the results & after speaking with several of my students who tested them as well, we unanimously rate the Chromes at 5 stars!   They have a great feel & precise thick tone. If you haven’t already tried them you will be glad you did!



I had tried the Half Rounds in the past on my 175 but gravitated to the Chromes.

After I started playing the Wes-Mo L-5 (single Humbucker),  I picked up a vintage 335 for R&B, Blues Gigs, & the occasional dance gig.

When I play the 335,  I’ll often slip into BB King mode & the The Half Rounds really do the trick! BTW: I did change out the 1st & 2nd strings to a .011 & .015 respectively to make life a bit easier.

The Half Rounds really ring out with a clear bell tone that doesn’t sacrifice the round sound I prefer. When you select the 2 pickup mode the 335 really cuts through in a R&B horn band. (Using  a Fender 65′ Twin Re-Issue)  As with the chromes, nothing but praise from the students that tested demo sets.

Bottom Line: For an all around string go with the Half Rounds but if you plan on mainstream Jazz or have a dedicated axe for Jazz you will likely prefer the Chromes.



Skylark Course Comments!

Hi Dan,  So far so good, just have to set aside some time to really dig into this, but I like the videos a lot and it helps to see it in different keys.

Thanks again for putting this piece up – a wonderful tune and great jazz guitar learning experience.  I’ll let you know if or when I run into any roadblocks.

Robert,  Santa Monica, CA

Hi Dan,  I really love your Skylark course.  I am now learning jazz guitar for 2 years, starting with the girl of Ipanema in 2011, April 17th !!  My guitar playing made a wonderful progress since then – with lots of fun. I certainly will keep on going.


Peter,  Germany

Why not test drive one of the SixStringJazz classes today & see for yourself?

Jesse Van Ruller

Here’s a great video featuring the trio of  brilliant Dutch Guitarist Jesse Van Ruller.

Great sense of rhythm & dazzling technical facility. Reminds me of my friend the late great Billy Rogers!

Johnny “Hammond” Smith Project

My old Boss & Pal Johnny “Hammond” Smith is still cookin’!

Johnny’s widow Cheryl Smith is in the process of releasing some of Johnny’s music that hadn’t been previously released.

Cheryl has organized a Kickstarter project. It’s a great way to support a worthwhile cause & get some groovin’ Johnny Hammond sounds!

Check it out here!