Guitars of Boise Song Talk

We asked guests of Boise Song Talk to tell us a little bit about their guitars.

Here’s what Ned Evett, Andy Byron, Rebecca Scott, Tony Grange, Jack Loyd Gish, Patricia Folkner, Ryan Wissinger, Annika Klein, Lee Penn Sky, Sam Merrick and James Coberly Smith had to say.

James Coberly Smith | 1930’s era Gibson L-00/0 and 1965 Martin D12-20


James tells us…

About 1974 I played a friend’s small body Martin guitar and loved it. That same year, I headed from Wisconsin to Los Angeles in my maroon VW Squareback, carrying the reel to reel tapes I hoped would transform my life. Along the way, I stopped in Rapid City, South Dakota and entered a spectacular pawn shop…it was huge and there were guitars everywhere. Eventually I noticed a small body acoustic way up on a shelf. I asked to see it and, with assistance of a ladder, they brought it down to me. It was dusty. I played it. I liked it quite a bit. I asked, “How much?” They said “$100”. I said “I’ll give you $90”. They said “No”.

I left and drove on to L.A.. But the guitar stayed in my mind. On my way back to Wisconsin from L.A., I had planned to take the southern route via Route 66. But I decided to go back the same route thru Rapid City because, by now, I was consumed with the thought that I’d passed up a great small body Gibson guitar and I was dreading the thought that it may be gone when I got there. Got to Rapid City, walked into the pawn shop, looked up to my left and there it was. “Can I see that guitar?” I asked. They brought it down for me. “How much?” I asked. “$100” they said. “Does it have a case?” I asked. “No”. “OK, I’ll take it”. I wrapped it securely in a blanket, placed it carefully into the back of my Squareback, drove home to Madison, Wisconsin and I have been playing that guitar ever since.

It’s a Gibson L-00 or possibly an L-0…approximately mid 1930’s. I have been playing the livin’ heck out of it for decades but I am quite convinced it will outlive me. I know the guitar well. I have a Sunrise pickup in the sound hole.

PS I was only 22 in 1974…$100 was a lot of money to me back then, so please don’t judge me too harshly on hesitating to spring the C-note (at first).

My other BST guitar (though not played in Season 3):

Martin 12 String

Martin D12-20, 1965. I bought it from a private party in Madison, Wisconsin in 1973 for $250. I have a Sunrise pickup in the sound hole. I was very inspired by Leo Kottke’s Armadillo album at the time. I saw him perform at University of Oshkosh and I believe he was playing a Martin 12 string thru a Fender Deluxe Reverb amp onstage (that’s what I think)…and using a tapered metal slide on his little finger. So, I got a Martin 12 string, a tapered metal slide for my little finger and got after it. For quite a while, all I wrote were 12 string instrumentals back then. After being away from those pieces for years, I went back to them and recorded The Great 12 String Adventure in 1996, an album of solo instrumentals. I am still pleased with that album. Interestingly, Kottke finger picks for the most part and I ended up flat picking. Years later, I am glad that I was influenced by Leo, but took it another direction by using a flat pick for the most part (I finger pick some as well).

Ned Evett | “Golden Gate” and “The Globro”

Golden GateThe Globro

Ned Evett tells us…

The acoustic is named ‘Golden Gate’. It is the world’s first glass fingerboard guitar, converted in 1995. It is a 1963 Harmony, with a K&K pickup.

The resonator is ‘The Globro’, a 2002 Galveston with a highlander pickup.”

Hear Ned playing these guitars in his Boise Song Talk interview.

Andy Byron | 1980 Martin D-41


Andy tells us…

1980 Martin D-41…I’m the original owner bought direct from Martin. I had John Carruthers in LA put his “seismic sensor” invented style pick-up in it over 30 years ago and it still works. I have always loved the feel of the guitar to me and especially the thinness of the neck. Of course, the guitar has a very sweet, clean and bright sound…not many overtones or bottom heaviness at all. I’ve always loved the high end tones and of course I LOVE THE LOOKS of this beauty with its gorgeous Martin trademarked inlay.”

Hear this guitar in Andy Byron’s Boise Song Talk interview.

Rebecca Scott | Taylor 314ce

Rebecca Scott

Rebecca tells us…

It’s a Taylor 314ce. When I first moved to Boise, I discovered “Old Boise Guitar Co.” on Main St. I spent hours there “testing” guitars, tho the person who worked there (and later became my best friend), Ron, noticed that I always picked up the same guitar to “test”. Eventually a friend bought me the guitar as a present (recommended by Ron, who knew exactly which one I would want). The guitar that appeared on the show is my SECOND Taylor 314ce. I PLUM WORE OUT my first one. I’m sure there will eventually be a third….

Technology? Expression System (made by Fishman). I absolutely LOVE the sound. In addition to that obvious statement, I adore the size. Perfect fit for a smaller person.

How long have I had it? Hard question to answer, but the long and the short of it is since 1996 (ish)?!”

Hear this guitar in Rebecca Scott’s Boise Song Talk interview.

Tony Grange


Tony tells us…

My guitar is an Ibanez, and I have absolutely no idea as to the model or its year of creation. It was given to me about 4-5 years ago by a singing/songwriting friend who had convinced me to go to some open-mic nights, and who apparently grew tired of me having to borrow his. At the time, it had no pickups/amp system, and he gave it only on the condition that I make it plug-in-able. So it’s now Fishman-ized, and I’ve learned how to tell a sound guy “I just need a DI …” and almost seem like I have a clue as to what I’m doing. I’m getting to the point where I’m starting to think about getting a new one, but this one got me playing, singing, and writing, so it’s got a lot of sentimental value. I’ll withhold my friend’s name, as it’s probably best that the listening public not know who to blame.”

Hear this guitar in the Boise Song Talk interview.

Jack Loyd Gish | 1983 Ovation Collectors Series Thinline


Jack tells us…

It’s a 1983 collectors series Ovation thinline, plays great. I went to it because of my hearing loss, my 1971 Martin D-35 was so loud that I had to strain to sing over it and I always had a hard time amplifying it. I’m considering going back to it with the electronics that are available now.”

Hear this guitar in the Boise Song Talk interview.

Patricia Folkner | 2007 Santa Cruz Vintage Southerner (VS)


Patricia tells us…

My guitar is a 2007 Santa Cruz Vintage Southerner (VS). It is a slope-shoulder dreadnaught with a jumbo depth and a short scale.

In 2007 I went into Old Boise Guitar with the intent of buying a Santa Cruz OM (small-body guitar), but walked out with this lovely instrument instead. I am mostly a fingerstyle guitarist, and although this guitar has the appearance of a big box bluegrass guitar, it’s really not very loud. Mahogany sides & back with a spruce top and the short scale make it a fingerpicker’s dream.

I equipped it with a “Pure Mini” pickup from K&K Sound (a 3-head bridgeplate transducer). I run this through an external LR Baggs (Para Acoustic DI) preamp, and into my PA. I get many compliments on a nice amplified acoustic tone.”

You can hear this guitar in the Boise Song Talk interview.

Ryan Wissinger – 2007 Martin 000-15s

Martin 000-15S

Ryan tells us…

Twelve frets to the body, all mahogany. Fishman Aura system installed by Belke.

Purchased new at Old Boise Guitar. Should have never sold that damn guitar. Chris Guiteresz has it now. The thing played and sounded like butter.”

You can hear this guitar in the Boise Song Talk interview.

Annika Klein – Big Baby Taylor

Annika Klein and Big Baby Taylor

Annika tells us…

Taylor Guitars “Big Baby Taylor”. I got my guitar for my 12th birthday used from eBay. I named my guitar Trevor and I have had him for 5 years now. Trevor has an electric pick up system so that he can be plugged into an amp. I love everything about my guitar, specifically size and sound.”

You can hear this guitar in the Boise Song Talk interview.

Lee Penn Sky | 2003 Taylor 714ce

Lee Penn Sky

Lee tells us…

It is a 2003 Taylor 714ce. I had always picked up Taylor guitars and strummed them whenever I was thinking “wow when I get good enough…” or “When I am rich enough…” In January of 2001 I was hit by a car and was lifeflighted to Idaho Fall where I underwent reconstructive surgery on my leg. I spent the next few years driving back and forth to my surgeon for checkups and subsequent surgeries. Each time I was in Idaho Falls I would stop into Chesbo Music because they had a huge selection of Taylor guitars. In 2003 Taylor switched over to their own proprietary pickup system from the old Fishman system. Chesbro had a lot of Taylors with the old pickups and put them all on sale. Accidentally they had marked one of the new models down as well. My grandmother had just passed and left me a little money so…right time, right place, right pocket full of cash, right guitar… Thanks Gram Flo I hope I make you proud.

It has their proprietary Expression system in it (actually they upgraded it to their 2nd generation system as a courtesy to me when I sent it into them for some repair work). It has both a magnetic pickup hidden under the end of the fret board and a soundboard sensor. The Taylor guitar necks are made to be easily removed and they have a series of varying shims that allow the tech to precisely readjust it in a matter of minutes. All the pieces of their guitars are cut by a computer controlled mill so there is very little differences from piece to piece, i.e. all necks will be similar, all soundboards, all sides…so all their guitars sound great…that is if you like the sound of a Taylor guitar… My particular Model, the 714 has a Western Red Cedar top and an East Indian Rosewood back. The cedar is softer then spruce so it gives a guitar a warmer aged sound from its first strum. Cedar guitars are louder at lower volumes because of the more flexible soundboard however they distort a little when pushed hard, kind of like a tube amp distorts when pushed. They are great finger style guitars. Rosewood gives a guitar more bass and shimmery highs. It adds a lot of overtones to the guitars sound.

My guitar is great for my solo stuff. It is warm and rich. It has great overtones which fills the space of a solo performer. I have learned how to use the overdriven quality when I strum hard which add a certain element rather than detracts. When I play with a band, all those extra overtones can sometimes encroach into other instruments sonic space. When I am playing as a duo in a fully acoustic setting (no microphones) then the sheer volume of my Taylor guitar can sometimes overwhelm my partner’s guitar and voice.

Sam Merrick – 1966 EKO Rocket 12

1966 EKO Rocket 12

Sam tells us…

I know you appreciate the 12 string guitar. You might not know it from the last few years, but I am very bullish on the 12 string. For about a decade (in my band Juan Fangio) I didn’t play anything but 12 strings. My electric work-horse was this 1966 EKO Rocket 12, which was created to be a gimmicky (cheap?) guitar but just happens to be a good guitar. D’Armond P/U, great ‘60’s looks, stays in tune. I am its first owner, I bought it in 1986! It was photographed for Guitar Player magazine for Tesco Del Rey’s (Rare Birds) column.
The story of its 20 years until I bought it is documented in that TDR column, and is pretty interesting.”

You can hear Sam and Catherine Merrick in the Boise Song Talk interview.


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