Sunday, May 16, 2010

Giorgio Santisi takes a Jabba from Mayones


Many in the USA do not know about the very tasteful playing by Italian session bass player Giorgio Santisi. After finding him on the Mayones.com website as an endorser for their Jabba 5 string. We delved a bit deeper into this phenomenal bass players background.

Giorgio gave us the skinny on his Mayones Jabba, cooking, playing in a trio vs session work and…..cooking?

Don’t be surprised if you see giorgio cooking something up on foodnetwork.

CustomGuitarBoutique: Let’s start from the beginning how did you generate interest in the Bass?

Giorgio Santisi: I started to play guitar when I was 16, but I was not really interested in music, it was just for fun. After about two years, a dear friend of mine asked me to play the bass in his band. He lent me his bass and I really fell in love with this instrument and so after a few months I bought a Squier Jazz Bass.

CGB: How did your endorsement with Mayones come about?

Giorgio Santisi: I was at Musikmesse in Frankfurt in 2008 to endorse Tecamp amplifiers, and having a look around the stands, I saw this beautiful Mayones Jabba ready to be tested. I started to play it and I couldn’t stop anymore…everything was perfect. I met the italian distributor at Mayo booth and he asked me to endorse it and it was very easy for me to accept.

CGB: Tell us a Bit about the bass you play?, almost every pic or video of you we see is with you playing either a Jabba 4 or 5, is this the bass you endorse or are there others?

Giorgio Santisi: I own and play several instruments because I am often required to play some specific brands and models for my job in studio recordings or live gigs, but I endorse just Mayones. I play and endorse my Jabba because I feel it is my instrument, so I always consider it my first choice.

CGB: When did you finally realize you could earn a living Playing professionally?

Giorgio Santisi: I started to play just for fun, but as soon as someone decided to pay me for my playing, I realized that the best thing that you can do in your life is to have fun and to be payed for it.

CGB: How does playing as a hired gun for the likes of Pia Tuccitto, Federico Poggipollini, Rosanna Fratello, and Gianni Nazzaro compare to the session work that you do in your trio “GOS”?

Giorgio Santisi: They are two different worlds…when I play someone else’s music, I put my soul in my notes but I use the notes they need, when I play my music I use the notes I want :-)

CGB: Be honest! What part of the world do you prefer to play the most and why?

Giorgio Santisi: Playing outside Italy is always funny, it is a new experience every time. I can’t tell you what part I prefer, but I can tell you that I really should like to play soon in the States and in Japan

CGB: Besides Mayones, what is some of the other gear you are using these days?

Giorgio Santisi: I use and endorse Tecamp Amplifiers and Galli Strings. I also use a hand made 4 strings, a 5 strings Jazz Bass, a 5 string Music Man, a fretless Ibanez Musician, a Japan made Fender Precision and an acoustic Takamine TB10.

CGB: So we know you have the chops to hold your own playing just about anything on bass, what other style of bass playing would you like to pursue if any?

Giorgio Santisi: I am not really interested in playing the bass as a guitar…I see there are a lot of young guys that play wonderfully but they are more interested in making a lot of notes without worrying about their role of bass players. I like to see them playing and I really admire them, but I really would like to play like the great bass players in the 70’s.

CGB: What doesn’t the guitar and Bass world know about Giorgio Santisi, the Italian Bass virtuoso from Naples?

Giorgio Santisi: I don’t think to be a virtuoso on my instrument…but I know how to be a virtuoso in the kitchen. I started to cook when I was 18 and may be I will open a restaurant in my next life…or in this, who knows?

CGB: What can your American fans expect to see in 2010 from you?

Giorgio Santisi: I don’t start a new year thinking to what I will do with music, the only thing I try to do is making music every day.
There are some goals I want to reach, but we all know that it is very hard for musicians to reach them in a short time. Anyway I am really happy to have some fans in the States and I will try to be a better musician at the end of this year.

CGB: What advice would you give to up and coming Bass players that want a career in music?

Giorgio Santisi: Play for fun and because you love music, don’t start to play because you want to be professional musicians. If you play for passion and you play with your heart, someone one day will pay you for your playing and some of you will become professional.

CGB: In your opinion who is the most influential Guitar Player/Bass Player of all time?

Giorgio Santisi: Oh, this is easy….I think that no player has influenced the bass world as Jaco did! And he still does…

Customguitarboutique.com is the premier dealer for Mayones guitars and Basses, and the exclusive dealer for DL Cables.
Please contact us if you are interested in purchasing Mayones and DL cables.

See ya next week

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Kristoffer Gildenlöw talks to customguitarboutique.com about his Mayones

May Month continues with part II of customguitarboutique.com series of interviews with Mayones players.

This week former POS (...that is Pain of Salvation to you) bass virtuoso Kristoffer Gildenlöw get's in the hot seat to talk about his 11 years with POS, his band Dial, his gear, touring and influences.

This interview was a rare treat, it is not often that you find such and extraordinary talent coupled with humility.

Kris' has released a very exclusive limited edition of his latest album.

If you are interested in this sign up for Kris' newsletter at: kristoffergildenlow@yahoo.com


CustomGuitarBoutique: Let’s start from the beginning how did you generate interest in the Bass?


Kristoffer Gildenlöw: Very shallow actually... they look sooo good ;)

They really stand out in any booth at any music-fair.


CGB: How did your endorsement with Mayones come about?


Kristoffer Gildenlöw: I ran into them at the European Bass Day in 2004.

As I said, they really stood out and I couldn't help trying them out.

That's when it struck me how wonderful they play and how great they sound.


In a way it was love at first sight. But I already had some very good instruments and didn't actually need more basses.


But we just got along so good (Dawid and former Ar&R Piotr) and we kept contact. They were just getting out into the Western Europe and really interested in me and PoS.


Then one thing lead to another and pretty quickly I had ordered two 6-stringed Comodous basses with everything on 'em.


They were delivered to me in Essen (Germany) during the first leg of our European tour 2005 (this can be seen on the latest PoS DVD actually).


I've been so grateful for these instruments ever since and I'm privileged to be a part of the Mayones Family.


CGB: When did you finally realize you could earn a living Playing professionally?


Kristoffer Gildenlöw: Interesting question... I'm not. I never have been either.

Being musician within progressive music is very hard. It's a very small audience and may, many bands wanting their attention.


Even with Pain of Salvation, I had a regular job on the side and took time off whenever we needed to record or tour. Daniel is actually the only one who can make a living out of it, and that's not a fancy rock-star-life either. Still, after 20+ albums and DVD's, I'm still dreaming of being a full time musician.


I guess I could, but that would mean that I'd have to take every possible gig on my path, cover bands, wedding bands... I'm not selling myself short and only do what I want to do, that way I can still enjoy music and keep the quality high.


After 11 years in PoS and working my fingers down to the bone for everything we did, after a while, it's much more work than pleasure and that's a joy- and creativity killer in deed. I actually have more fun with music these days.


CGB: How has life changed since the days of Pain of Salvation in comparison to Dial?

Kristoffer Gildenlöw: The last year of PoS, DIAL already existed.


It was (and still is) a hobby band. I was living in Holland and the rest of the guys in Sweden.

My wife (also a bass payer and Mayones endorser) had just left her band and we were both looking for a musical out-put.

Together with a friend we started making music with a couple of guitars in our living room. After a while it got clear that it just didn't work out with the distance and I left PoS. It was then we started to put more time and effort into DIAL.


We thought we'd make a demo for our selves to show family and friends. One thing lead to another and it turned out to be a fully produced and mastered album with a record label and a worldwide release.


In PoS I was more in the background when it came to composing. Let's say that the way we composed music in PoS didn't actually fit my ways and I never really got it going.


After making Synchronized with DIAL, a completely new, creative music world opened up for me. Today I'm much more musical than I have ever been and I have so many ideas, songs and arrangements in my head that I just don't have time to work on it all.


I've also taken a step into session work and get several recording requests each year. This year, so far, I've agreed to record four albums for other bands and artists. Two are already recorded and I'm starting with the third one this week.


I've also started to record one of several solo-projects of mine. One by one I hope to work 'em out and do something with 'em.


CGB: Be honest! What part of the world do you prefer to play the most and why?


Kristoffer Gildenlöw: Each part of the world has their own pro's and con's.

I love traveling and cultures and to learn about other people and their ways.

The downside with playing (read touring) as that you have very little time left to actually go out and greet the locations you're at.

You wake up, get out of the touring bus, go into the venue and have a bread-and-jam breakfast together with some candy, you sound check, you warm up, you play, you cool down, you get back into the bus, you sleep and you wake up again the next day to do it all over again.

Most venues are outside the cities and centres so even if you do get some time to spare, you have nowhere to go. But.... I'd love to do it al over again. :)


CGB: Besides Mayones Guitars, what is some of the other gear you are using these days?


Kristoffer Gildenlöw: Of course I use Mayones guitars for live and recordings.

These guys really know what they're doing.


For DIAL I also use the Line 6 Variax and the Line 6 Pod XT to make it work live. There's no way I can change between electric and acoustic instruments four times per song, so this is a great solution. I have an old double bass and a school-cello that I've used for PoS, DIAL and lately on the Omnia recordings.


I use Maruszczyk amps and very cool Taurus Effect Pedals.

In my composing and recording I also use several other instruments, like acoustic guitars, electrical piano, a mandolin, a piccolo bass and even a Midi drum-kit.


CGB: So we know you have the chops to hold your own doing everything from Guitars, basses, keyboards Vocals and a few other instruments, what other instruments do you wish to pursue if any?


Kristoffer Gildenlöw: Mayones are coming with a new guitar that I'm very interested in - Legend. Looks like a mix between a les Paul, a Telecaster and a PRS. It sounds great with single coils through a nice tube amp.


I was talking to Ned Steinberger at the Frankfurt Messe as I'm very interested in going electric with my cello and double bass. That would save me lots of problems in transportation and feedback on stage.


I also had a talk with Laboga and I'll probably go for a small Tube combo for recordings.

G-lab also make a great Wah-wah pedal that just sound so amazing on bass. This one is pretty high on my list at the moment.


Other than that, I'd love to have a nice Ampeg 8x10" cab with a classic head. I've always sounded the best with Ampeg and I've always used it with PoS. I sold my stack though when I quit the band, as I couldn't bring it with me down to Holland.


One day I hope I'll be able to regain that wonderful tube-sound.


CGB: What doesn’t the guitar and Bass world know about Kristoffer Gildenlöw, the Swedish Bass virtuoso?


Kristoffer Gildenlöw: Much I guess. I'm pretty much incognito and very down to earth. As I said, I have a regular job, normal day-to-day things to do, like grocery, bringing my daughter to school, cleaning the car, getting rid of weed in the back yard.. :)


I don't see my self as a rock star, because I'm simply not, and I don't see my self as a bass virtuoso. Actually, I'm not that good of a bass player ;)


CGB: What can your American fans expect to see in 2010 from you?


Kristoffer Gildenlöw: Well, I hope you'll be able to hear my playing on several releases this year.


Ruud Jolie (solo album from Within Temptation guitarist and Mayones player), Ian Parry's Concortium (his fifth and final Consortium album) , Omnia (pagan/Irish folk-rock music), Arcan's Origin (progressive Metal Concept album from Samuel Arkan - also Mayones player) and Niels Vejlyt (Danish guitar virtuoso).


I've started to record my first (solo) album, which contains a minimum of bass. Very soft, and relaxed songs. Fredrik Hermansson (PoS) will join me on piano and keyboards and Ruud Jolie (WT) on guitars.


We'll probably start the recordings of the debut album of Shadow Theory. A new project of Devon Graves (Psychotic Waltz, DeadSoul Tribe), released through InsideOut Music.

Not quite sure of the time-line there, if we'll be able to release it this year, otherwise it'll come out next year.


CGB: What advice would you give to up and coming guitar players that want a career in music?


Kristoffer Gildenlöw: Enjoy your selves. It's hard, hard work and it can be very frustrating. It's not like it used to be, when you score a record deal and become a famous, rich rock-star over night.


Only a small part can actually make a living out of it and an even smaller part will make it good. Knowing and accepting this will save you lots of frustration but don't ever loose faith or give up. Music is a way of expression, a way to live, you can't stop expressing your self or stop living.


The keyword to success is: connection.


It doesn't mater if you're the best guitar-player (or any other instrument) if you're stuck in your bedroom rehearsing your fingers to the bones. Socialize and meet people. It's all about whom you know and how you approach your self and other people around you.


That will open up many doors. Being a good musician always comes second (but then again... that's when you have to live up to your reputation, so make sure you don't pat your self too much on the back.)


A bad reputation is very hard to get rid off.


CGB: In your opinion, who is the most influential Guitar Player/Bass Player of all time?


Kristoffer Gildenlöw: I guess I have to be very standard in this answer.

I know what has inspired me all these years but in general, the most influential guitar players must be Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Mark Knopfler, Brian May and David Gilmour.


I think, that if you made a poll with every musician in the world, these names would be the top. The same goes for bass players: Jaco Pastorius, John Entwistle Marcus Miller, Stanley Clark, Bootsy Collins...


I take my inspiration from many different places. Mostly I "steal" techniques from top players (no matter what instrument) and then try to make it into something I can use for my own.

Nature and life it self is then filling my head with music, rhythms and melodies.


Customguitarboutique.com is the premier dealer for Mayones guitars and Basses, and the exclusive dealer for DL Cables.


Please contact us if you are interested in purchasing Mayones and DL cables.

We would also like to thank Mark van Eijk for the super cool pic.

See ya next week

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Anders Blakkheim Nyström talks about his Mayones Gothic

Welcome to "May Month", that is, "Mayones" month. This month customguitarboutique.com wanted to do something different with our blog for our customers, (those who have purchased a mayones and those planning on it) so we decided to track down as many Mayones Players as possible, the result, the first of a 5 part series.

For all of may we will publish a new interview per week, on the final week we will publish two interviews of our mayones players...Yes the 5th interview is a bonus which will give us insight to Mayones guitars and basses.

Anders Blakkheim Nyström has covered alot of ground over the past two decades. A founding member of the swedish band Katatonia, anders has remained busy with other project like Bloodbath.

Other notable projects include: Diabolical Masquerade and betwitched.

Anders took some time to talk to us about where the inspiration for the Mayones Gothic Regius and Setius Series started, touring, influences and much more...you'll see.


CustomGuitarBoutique: Let’s start from the beginning how did you generate interest in the guitar?


Anders Blakkheim Nyström: That would take us back to the 80's when I was in this russian balalajka school orchestra. It actually helped me learn alternate speed picking playing that three string instrument! I also ended up playing my own melodies and tried to copy song segments I liked by ear on that little thing, but the significant change of entering the world of guitars and heavy metal dawned when I not long after got a Gibson Les Paul clone guitar called "Fresher" for birthday along with a 30 watt amplifier called "Gorilla"! I remember it had a sticker on it which said "it will knock your socks off!" ha-ha! Back then it was Judas Priest's duo Downing and Tipton with all their harmonic leads that set my love for guitar tone, licks and melodies.The Gibson Flying-V's set ablaze on the cover of Accept's 'Restless and Wild' was THE image that made me even want to pick up a guitar and become a guitar player. I think the tone that Hoffman had was extremely modern for it's time. What a sustain, and such a brutal tone for heavy metal that early. His melodic guitar leads were spiced with the perfect amount of delay and reverb, he had such a great core in his tone and I even ended up emailing him many many many years later and to my surprise I even got a reply with a full explanation on what he used and how he achieved it, how cool is that? Later on I took a lot of inspiration from Fields of The Nephilim in how they incorporated their ping pong delays and blending in half clean/dirty sounds which was very refreshing for us as a metal band, but i guess it was Greg Mackintosh from Paradise Lost that really made the biggest impression on me when they released their 'Gothic' album, that's a guy that had his trademark tone in his fingers. His tone and vibrato totally stood out and made the leads weep.


CGB: How did your endorsement with Mayones Guitars come about?


Anders Blakkheim Nyström: Our current tour manager tipped them off about me and it didn't take long until they got in touch with me directly for an introduction of their brand. At that time, I was already looking over a couple of other endorsement offers, so they really stepped into the picture in the last second. They were unknown to me at that time and didn't have many international players, but that has changed dramatically. I see lots of respected musicians playing Mayones guitars and basses these days. We've been working together for five years now and I have not the slightest desire to work with another brand. I'm staying mayo!


CGB: As I understand Mayones was inspired to put out the Gothic Series Regius and Setius Models because of you. Can you elaborate a bit on this?


Anders Blakkheim Nyström: Yeah, you could say this was the main reason of convincing me to collaborate with them and what won me over. I think there's a lot of great guitar brands out there, but I kept telling myself why play a standard model that has nothing that really connects it with your identity or a guitar that simply thousands of other players already own and all look and plays the same, when you can have a customised model that reflects your personaliy, characteristics and preferences into every detail of a top notch handcrafted guitar. So, I simply told them this is what i wanted and always was looking for in a guitar and they said they'd be delighted to bring this line into their production with my signature as the inspiration behind it. I'm currenty using four of these models now for live and studio use. My latest guitar is a little bit different in the finish and coincidentally matches the color theme of our new album. black, grey with deep dark bleeding red veins throughout. It has to be seen!


CGB: When did you finally realize you could earn a living Playing professionally?


Anders Blakkheim Nyström: I don't know if I've ever realized that! It's just a sacrifice you have to make somewhere down the road to keep up with this business and lifestyle it involves. You will go through many years being broke and have to get used to it because it's necessary if you wanna be able to step up the ladder. Everyone starts out at the bottom but not all go reach for the sky with a long term vision, they just don't have the patience and endurance for it. It's a sacrifice. Most bands became really big through the "overnight sensation" syndrome, but just as they rose from nothingness - they crash into oblivion when the limelight fades out. We've now been doing this for, well next year it's gonna be 20 years! So we've built Katatonia really slowly and steadily and unlike many other artists we are yet to reach our peak and not desperately chasing the glory days of past times. I think our fanbase has grown with us and stayed very loyal. At the moment, we're playing so much live that you end up spending more of your life on the road than back home, so it's all about keeping the wheels in motion and roll with the good times while it lasts. I still feel like an happy amateur rather than a playing professional though.


CGB: Be honest! What part of the world do you prefer to play the most and why?


Anders Blakkheim Nyström: It's different. Up north around the Scandinavian territory we always get a fantastic reception in Finland. Mexico was an unbelievable place to play. Greek, Turkey is always fantastic! Italy and Spain have been good. Russia has been nice! A few city's in America have been some of our best as well, so I can't say I prefer one over the other, it depends on the cirumstances. I'm more concerned about where we're having our "day off's" rather then were we play because staying in anywhere in Greece is definitely nicer than hanging around a bus parking place in Germany.


CGB: Besides Mayones Guitars, what is some of the other gear you are using these days?


Anders Blakkheim Nyström: I'm using TC Electronic's effect pedals such as the G-system and the Nova pedal while in the studio and when writing. On the live side, I've been using the Boss GT-3 and GT-10 multi-effect pedals for many many years. Amplification wise, I'm playing on both the Mr.Hector and Alligator amps and cab models from Laboga, a great manufacturer out of Poland. I use a couple of stomboxes from Guyatone. I also use a pedal called Morpheus Droptune from XP Audio on every gig. It's a really neat polyphonic pedal that lets you alter your tuning by a footswitch instead of having an extra spare guitars with you, or saves all the hassle it would take to re-tune a guitar manually. I also have a Audio Technica wireless system and a Sennheiser in-ear monitor system. All my instrument, power and speaker cables are from DL cables, another company based out of Poland and the strings I use are custom gagues from the well known quality brand Rotosound. That's pretty much about it!


CGB: So we know you have the chops to hold your own with the heavy weights of metal of the world, what other style of guitar playing would you like to pursue in the future if any?


Anders Blakkheim Nyström: I could surely get more experienced improving other styles such as blues, jazz and also more finger picking singer-songwriter acoustic work. Never been much of a shredder either, but there's never really been much room for that in my career. If Katatonia would have started out 1981 instead of 1991 things would probably have sounded different and not to mention looked different ha-ha!


CGB: What doesn’t the guitar world know about Anders Blakkheim Nyström, the Swedish guitar virtuoso?


Anders Blakkheim Nyström: Well, I guess I more or less made myself infamous for the expression "beeroverhead" which more or less would result in me pouring beers over my head where ever we'd go and play. It's been a while now tho... and it's not good at all for the guitars! i noticed some of the hardware had rusted pretty bad...but who ever said rock n roll was housetrained!


CGB: What can your American fans expect to see in 2010 from Katatonia?


Anders Blakkheim Nyström: We have a full headline tour coming up in autumn and I can also promise plenty of more frequent visits from there on.


CGB: What advice would you give to up and coming guitar players that want a career in music?


Anders Blakkheim Nyström: Listen with your ears and play from your heart! Don't rush and skip the basics only to become a "youtube shredder" in no time, let everything have it's due course. I think there are thousand of shredders out there, but a lot less equally good songwriters, so take the time to learn to use the guitar as a tool for your talent in songwriting as well. Shredding is impressive, but can easily sound soulless if you don't also know the basics of playing with emotion and soul - you gotta have "the blues"! The most simple lead melody done from the heart will outshine all same old boring ripping scales. Jam and have fun finding your own tone and sound, seek your style and specialize deeper when you have found it. You know when you have!


CGB: In your opinion who is the most influential Guitar Player of all time?


Anders Blakkheim Nyström: I should now be contradictive to my advices above and say Yngwie J Malmsteen!


Customguitarboutique.com is the premier dealer for Mayones guitars and Basses, and the exclusive dealer for DL Cables.


Please contact us if you are interested in purchasing Mayones and DL cables.

See ya next week

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Rock N Roll Relics interview with customguitarboutique.com

Billy Rowe of Rock n Roll Relics is not your most traditional Luthier. For starters he is quite an accomplished musician.

A founding member of the 80's band Rock band JETBOY, (who have since reunited with a new release out March 2nd), have done countless worldwide and US tours and sold over 300,000 records. He also had a run with his 90's band American Heartbreak on a more punk rock level.

Billy still manages to output some of the most gorgeous Relic and period pieces that are to die for.

That being said Billy was kind enough to answer our 10 Luthier Questions.


CGB: Let’s start from the beginning how did you generate interest in the guitar?
Billy: My Introduction to guitar was seeing Ace Frehley of KISS with his Tabacco burst Les Paul slung down low !! from that day on It was all about Guitars and Rock N' Roll.

CGB: What inspired you to become a luthier?
Billy: I was always Into working with with hands since I was a kid from car model kits to tinkering on my guitars. In high school I built my first electric solid body guitar. Through the years I put together guitars which lead to me having a business building Relics.

CGB: When did you finally realize you could earn a living building guitars?
Billy: I restored an old 1966 Telecaster and decided to build a clone version for myself which I ended up selling. After surfing the Internet I saw there was a growing love for beat up relic guitars so I started Rock N' Roll Relics and It's been growing more for me each year.

CGB:
Since day one of becoming a luthier, after all the experience through the years what is the fundamental thing you still do today that you did in the beginning?
Billy: I'd say a little bit of everything still, from emailing customers to building the guitars and taking photos of them. The one thing I don't do now Is my website.

CGB: What is your luthier or guitar building horror story?
Billy: Hmmm, luckily nothing to be, maybe over aging some parts ?? but that happens when your doing more than one thing at a time.

CGB: How different are things today as far as luthery and the industry goes from when you first started building, any significant changes?
Billy: Not to much ? there's definitely more of a want for what I do out there now which means more people trying to build good looking relics.

CGB: Have you ever had to deal with a customer who knew for sure they wanted a guitar from you, and then when you asked them what they were looking for, had the slightest clue about why they wanted one of your guitars?
Billy: Never really experienced this, they pretty much know exactly what they want, or leave it up to me from seeing my work.

CGB: Do you have any favorite woods as far as sound and ease of use? For example I know cocobolo is very dense and can be a challenge to carve by hand.
Billy: Well, since my main thing Is Tele and Strat clones It's mainly Ash and Alder I work with.

CGB: What would you say to up and coming builders who are just starting out?
Billy: Pay attention to detail, It goes a long ways.

CGB: In your opinion who is the most influential Luthier?
Billy: I don't really have a favorite or a main Influence when It comes to this, I think those who are good at what they do stand their own ground, I'v seen work by many great builders and I salute them all.


Rock n Roll Relics guitars may be purchased via: customguitarboutique.com Come pay us a visit.

Customguitarboutique.com
is currently awaiting the arrival of a period piece to be sold exclusively via Customguitarboutique.com. If you are in the NYC Area and would like to test drive it please contact us to schedule an appointment.

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Sunday, December 13, 2009

Marco Sfogli talks to custom guitar boutique about his Rash

This month we are changing things up a bit. We pursued Marco Sfogli who is one of Rash Guitars artists and see if he would take the time to talk to us about his Guitar.

Marco was very generous with his time and gladly agreed to talk about live performance, gear and his Signature MT Monster by Rash.

Italian Virtuoso Marco Sfogli has proven that he is a force to be reckoned with in the Guitar World.

Marco is most known for his guitar work on the James Labrie Album Elements of Persuasion and has shared the stage with the likes of Jordan Rudess and Alex Argento just to name a few; and his Album "There's Hope" takes us through a very diverse repertoire of Marco's extraordinary technique and songwriting abilities.

CGB: Let’s start from the beginning how did you generate interest in the guitar
Marco Sfogli: I always had guitars around here, my parents are both musicians. My father in particular is a classical guitarist and that eventually influenced me on choosing the main instrument. Before that I switched a lot of instruments, I was an undecided!!! Percussions first, drums next and even keyboards for a short amount of time. I wasn't forced to play tho, they've been always supportive letting me to decide whether becoming a professional musician or not.


CGB: How did your endorsement with Rash Guitars come about?
Marco Sfogli: It happened soon after the Elements of Persuasion tour, back in 2005. I was a Music Man guy, played the whole record and the following tour with Petrucci guitars and felt it was the right time to have something different, something more personal.

I contacted several other companies, some of them very big in the biz but didn't get any reply so I came across a sort of video footage of a showcase held in Italy and there were these beautiful guitars at some point. Dropped an email to Ruggero at Rash and he was kind enough to send me a prototype which was awesome. It just felt mine from the first time, the quality of the neck and the body shape, everything was just perfect. With some tweakings we came out with the signature model which is exactly what I'm using right now since.


CGB: Tell us a little bit about your signature guitar with rash that we don’t already know
Marco Sfogli: Hmmm, probably that it sound better than any other guitar I've owned and tried so far? Hahaha, there's not much to know than what is known already, we experimented a lot with different pickups, different bridges and so on and in the end it sound great anyway. Also the standard version is superlight which is very good if you have to play every night and he mount stainless frets which are very very hard to wear.


CGB: When did you finally realize you could earn a living Playing professionally?
Marco Sfogli: Soon after I finished the high school. I knew I was ready and tried to get some notoriety in my area playing gigs with cover bands and with my parent’s band at the same time, doing some sessions for recording studios and of course private lessons. Once I got the spot on Alex Argento's "EGO" I felt I was ready.


CGB: Be honest! What part of the world do you prefer to play the most and why?
Marco Sfogli: Most US players find Europe or Japan being their favorite places to perform. I think because this sort of "magic" that an US name brings with it. For an European guy I think it's quite different, I didn't get the same response in Europe like I had in the US, probably 'cause I'm European, I don't know but it's the exact opposite. Never been in Japan though, but would love to play there so in the end the best place I've played so far is the States. The reaction I got there was absolutely amazing and totally unexpected! Too bad it were just three shows.


CGB: I noticed on your website you are selling some of your gear, are you upgrading to some new gear?, what’s in the new marco guitar setup these days?
Marco Sfogli: Sold some stuff that didn't really used anymore. Some rack gears for example, I had a Triaxis since the James LaBrie tour and I felt it was time to change. These days I'm using a mix of real tube amps, mostly a Mesa Boogie Lonestar and Studio Preamp for leads and cleans and this unit called Axe FX from Fractal Audio for all the rhythms and weird effects. I think I found my holy grail in terms of tone!

CGB: So we know you have the chops to hold your own with the Petrucci’s and Gilbert’s of the world, what other style of guitar playing would you like to pursue in the future if any?
Marco Sfogli: I actually like the way I play right now. Even if I've been labeled as a Petrucci clone since the beginning, and that's a hard label to deal with, I think I have my own voice on the instrument. Of course there's still a lot of ground to work on but I feel comfortable now technically and melodically speaking, I would like to be able to write better songs.


CGB: What doesn’t the guitar world know about Marco Sfogli, the Italian guitar virtuoso?
Marco Sfogli: That I play also typical folk instruments like Mandolin, Mandocello and Mandola for example. Or maybe that I'm about to become a father...that I'm lazy almost like the Dude from Big Lebowsky and that I still play Playstation 3 in my spare time. And this is just the tip of the ice, there are so many things that people don't know about me.

CGB: What can your American fans expect to see in 2010 from you?
A load of things, I got involved in so many projects recently but can't say more. Probably even a new solo record when I'll be able to find the time.

CGB: What advice would you give to up and coming guitar players that want a career in music?
Marco Sfogli: The advice I can give to up and coming guitar players is to listen as much music as possible, don't stick to one genre and keep an open mind. If you want to be a pro you gotta be well trained to any musical situation!

CGB: In your opinion who is the most influential Guitar Player of all time?
Marco Sfogli: Both Jimi Hendrix and Eddie Van Halen had the same impact on the guitar scene back in the day. So I guess these two, with all the respect for the rest!

Rash guitars may be purchased via: customguitarboutique.com Come pay us a visit.

Customguitarboutique.com currently has one of Rash' guitars to help our customers decide if they would like to purchase one. If you are in the NYC Area and would like to test drive it please contact us to schedule an appointment.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Davide Garbujo Chats with Custom Guitar Boutique

Italian Artisan Davide Garbujo has it all. Excellent work ethic, flawless woodworking technique, his own proprietary pickups and the largest guitar building workshop in all of Italy.

Yet with all of his great accomplishments he is the nicest, most modest Luthier we've come into contact with.

At a recent viewing of his guitars in NYC, Jazz sensation Mike Moreno said: ...wow, I wish I had a guitar like this when I was playing with Joshua Redman, I can't believe how effortlessly the sound comes out of these pickups without even trying.

NYC Jazz Composer/Vocalist Guitarist
Joe Giglio told me: It's really nice to play in the upper registers, your hand fits right in....btw, can I buy some of davide's pickups? These things are Warm as.....(I"m sure you know what he meant.)

There is so much happening for 2010, Davide will unveil a few new project's he's working on that will surely blow us all away, the fuse we currently have can go from, archtop like Jazz tones, to stratty like round tones, to hot rodded shred tones. We are so happy to be working with davide and are greatful he took the time to chat with us.



CGB: Let’s start from the beginning how did you generate interest in the guitar?

Davide: I started playing the piano as a child. I made it into the conservatory and then after 10 years I moved on to keyboards.

Like all teenagers I was a rebel. I absolutely wanted to be a rockstar. One day making room in the garage to play with some friends, I found an old electric guitar that had only 3 strings; I had never played a guitar up to that moment so three strings was plenty for me..

I remained literally bewitched by that Instrument, that’s how it all started.


CGB: What inspired you to become a luthier?

Davide: As a child I saw my father and my grandfather work with wood, this was always and still is a fascinating thing for me.


After a few years of studying the guitar I began to buy guitars of every type, even if my dream was a LP and a strat that naturally I could not afford. I started experimenting with guitars of every type, until one day decided that it was the moment to build the guitar of my dreams with my hands.


I began to harshly work using the tools of my father and the wood tables that I had found thrown on the side of the garage. Since that moment I developed an interest in guitar making, and all the famous luthiers.


One day fate put me in touch with a famous Italian luthier. I began to study and practice in a school laboratory with hopes to open mine.


CGB: When did you finally realize you could earn a living building guitars?

Davide: I decided to risk everything and try to earn my living doing this full time, it’s very beautiful to immerse yourself in what you love . In the beginning it is indeed hard, but now i'm here!

CGB: Since day one of becoming a luthier, after all the experience through the years what is the fundamental thing you still do today that you did in the beginning?

Davide: A lot of things have changed since the beginning. I mainly worked in a garage doing repairs for friends and acquaintances, then the voice of reason finally arrived pushing me to get organized and open my own workshop.

I don't work with numerical control machinery, mine is a completely manual job and to build a guitar introduces a different list of problems, in Italy they say that the art of an artisan is that to know him to get by and to always find a solution to the problems.

Today I can count on a woodshop that is organized in an efficient way that allows me to work in a clean and orderly fashion which gives me an advantage for a “high quality product”.


CGB: What is your luthier or guitar building horror story?

Davide: In July I participated as an exhibitor in the Montreal guitar show. I sent the guitars well in advance, to have the certainty that they would have arrived with punctuality.

Me and Igor (Mazzone); the guitarist that shows my guitars, had arrived in Canada but in the hotel they told us that they had not seen any guitar...

I look for the consignment through the website of the company of consignments but the guitars were still in Paris and there were only two days to the beginning of the show.

At the moment I became frozen with anxiety and then panic overcomes me! Naturally i spend the following night without closing eyes thinking to a possible solution. The following morning the organizers of the Show contacted me and they tell me that the guitars are found in customs but they don't know if and when they will be released...what an anguish!

In the afternoon, I was contacted a few times by a customs agent who told me that he will deliver the guitars himself.

The following morning we went to the venue; all the other luthiers had already prepared their instruments and the show was about to open to the public, and I still don't have the guitars.

At exactly a quarter before the beginning it sprouts from the void Fernando, a boy of the customs that tells me with the smile: "...are you Garbujo? Perhaps these are your guitars!"

The only thing that I have been able to say : ".... I love you!"


CGB: How different are things today as far as luthery and the industry goes from when you first started building, any significant changes?

Davide: I believe that the industry and the luthery cannot be compared. The numbers of the industry are gigantic, a luthier is an artist, is able to a relatively low number of instruments, to advantage of the quality', surely.

Today's industry offers products of Asian mass production with advantageous prices, giving the opportunity to everybody to have an instrument.

For the one who looks for something unique and personalized, a instrument without time, created completely by hand in small numbers, an instrument to be collected and hardly built with the best materials the luthier will be' always the figure of reference.

A guitar of luthery is like a painting, a piece of art to jealously preserve and to taste with the soul, as a glass of good wine of year is tasted!


CGB: Have you ever had to deal with a customer who knew for sure they wanted a guitar from you, and then when you asked them what they were looking for, had the slightest clue about why they wanted one of your guitars? How did you deal with it?

Davide: Over that for the finishes, details, design and the aesthetics my clients love the dynamics of my sound, the warmth, the expression.

I try to create a personal sound, that doesn't imitate other guitars, but how tipsy of proper light.

I always succeed in understanding what a client wants, for me clients are special and I absolutely have to satisfy them.

When a client orders a guitar from me they know they will receive exactly the guitar they had in mind when they initially walked into my shop. This is the reputation I have acquired after years of working closely with my customers.


CGB: Do you have any favorite woods as far as sound and ease of use? For example I know cocobolo is very dense and can be a challenge to carve by hand.

Davide: I primarily use mahogany and ash for the bodies and maple for top and necks.

the maple quilted is the wood that I prefer for my tops, expect to see the range in 2010, it will be very rich.


CGB: What would you say to up and coming builders who are just starting out?

Davide: My suggestion would be to get a good teacher to learn from immediately so you can make things in the correct way.

Experimenting alone is a waist of a lot of precious time and money, if there is someone that makes you see the things in the correct way you’ll learn allot beforehand!


CGB: In your opinion who is the most influential Luthier?

Davide: There are so many the luthiers that I esteem, a name doesn't come particularly to mind but If I had to recommend someone from Europe, I would say without a doubt Frank Hartung and Nik Huber and my teacher, Mr.Frudua.

Garbujo guitars may be purchased via: customguitarboutique.com Come pay us a visit.

Customguitarboutique.com currently has one of Davide's Fuse guitars to help our customers decide if they would like to purchase one. If you are in the NYC Area and would like to test drive it please contact us to schedule an appointment.