I come from a musical family. My grandfather played Honkytonk Piano. Both my father and mother played piano. My fatherís brother was a recorded concert pianist. Iíve played clarinet, saxophone, piano and guitars since I was 10. It seemed like something I was always doing. Starting with the guitar and hanging out at the top of the stairs with my little guitar and trying to recreate the sounds my fatherís little group of four were playing. Then marching band in high school where I started with a clarinet and ended up with a baritone saxophone because I was the only one who could carry it. In the pep band, I played alto sax.
In the last two years of high school and the first two years of college, I played keyboards in two different bands doing some original music, but mostly covers of the groups at that time of the late 60s and early 70s. On the side, I was learning ragtime. (Not exactly Led Zeppelin, but it amazed me) Scott Joplin, Tom Turpin and the like had written such incredible syncopation that I was learning a whole new way to play. Piano was always the instrument in my family. Itís a wonder I virtually stopped playing it and now play only the guitar.
Iíve had two guitars made to my own specifications. One was an acoustic guitar by a luthier named Dave Bertoncini. He made ďThe AspenĒ. I named it after the grove of Aspen trees that surround the cabin my father built when I was very young. Itís a beautiful guitar (maybe the pic you took of it here) with a beautiful sound. Iím mostly a fingerstyle guitarist, so the neck is a little wider. I also love Hawaiian slack key guitar and ďThe AspenĒ is perfect for that sound.
The second guitar that was custom made for me was a Fender Stratocaster from the Fender Custom shop here in California. (maybe a photo of the Strat here) I had built a relationship with the custom shop over the years and been invited to a number of festivals and the like. There was an episode of television I directed where the lead actor played a Fender guitar and he and I were both offered a chance to have a custom shop guitar built. I chose the wood, the lightest piece of swamp ash I could find. I was particular about the fret size and the type of pick-ups, but it was George Amicay who did the inlay work on the neck. Doves instead of dots, two doves pulling to ďCĒs apart and for the first time ever, the name Fender in the headstock in abalone. Itís an exquisite guitar.
I now play for my own entertainment and my own meditation. Iíve tried a lot of styles. Lap steel, Tri-cone metal, baritone electric and even some bass guitar, but I always come back to a good old wooden acoustic and fingerstyle.