Fretboard Journal 40: What’s Inside


The Fretboard Journal #40 is a little something more than the usual portraits of our favorite builders and players and histories of rare and unusual instruments. Looming large in issue 40 is our tribute to the legendary Bill Collings, who passed away shortly before we went to press. We enlisted the community–musicians and builders, customers and peers–to share their stories, celebrating his life with memories of his tremendous spirit, his strength and his humor.

In this issue we also take a look at the astounding work of the guitarists Bryan Sutton (on the cover), Grant Gordy and Steve Gunn as well as the creative, affirmative whimsy of artist-cum-luthier Fred Carlson; Tony Marcus and Eric Schoenberg share their somewhat obsessive appreciation of the singular Epiphone Recording Model guitars; Karl Catteeuw and Rufus Yells help us sort out the confounding history of Gibson ukuleles; and, of course, much, much more.

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The passing of Bill Collings affected many, deeply. We reached out to those who knew him–including musicians, coworkers, fans and fellow builders–and asked to share their reminiscences for this tribute to a man who stands as an icon in the industry and inspiration for us all.


We love finding the stories that blur lines, stories that extend the notion of Art past the borders of our fretted corner of the world. Nothing embodies this notion more than the story of Howard Rains, whose craft and passion is expressed as much in watercolor portraits as in music.


Grant Gordy’s been on our radar long enough that it’s easy to forget he’s still a young musician coming into his own. Contributor Steve Yarbrough talks to Grant about the curious path to discovery that brought him this far.


There are a lot of builders striving to recapture the magic of guitars from the so-called Golden Era. Pre-war Guitars is taking the pursuit a bit more to heart than most, working hard to recreate both the sound and the look of those special instruments from the 1930s. Publisher Jason Verlinde reached out to luthiers Wes Lambe and Ben Maschal for this story on their unusual endeavors.


Our cover story is an (arguably) overdue portrait of one of our favorite guitarists, the unassuming but supremely talented Bryan Sutton. David McCarty spoke to Bryan about his diverse body of work as a sideman, songwriter and bandleader and much more.

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