Fretboard Journal 6: What’s Inside

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Thirty years ago, the David Grisman Quintet unleashed its groundbreaking debut recording. Instrumental music has never been the same since. Matt Sircely interviews the original Quintet lineup of Grisman, Darol Anger, Todd Philips, Tony Rice and Mike Marshall on the days leading up to the band’s formation, their instruments and their early sessions jamming together. Surprising, never-before-scene photographs from the DGQ’s archives are featured throughout this oral history.



Zachary Vex is the mastermind behind such offbeat (and highly sought after) effects pedals as the Fuzz Factory, the Lo-Fi Loop Junky and the Jonny Octave. In Dave Hunter’s interview with Vex, the gear tinkerer explains the inspiration for these wild stomp boxes and some of the thought that goes into wiring his hand-painted creations. Photographs by Tony Nelson take us behind-the-scenes to the Z.Vex workshops in Minnesota.



For thirty years, studio guitarist and bassist Bill Pitman graced some of the biggest pop and rock recordings of all time. He played on Sinatra’s “Strangers in the Night,” the Byrds’ “Mr. Tambourine Man,” on every Phil Spector Hollywood recording session and on some of the Beach Boys biggest hits. Remember the ukulele on “Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head?” That’s him, too. Jim Carlton interviews Pitman about the countless sessions he did, the economics of being a studio player and the musicians he admires most.



In 1989, a fateful day at a record store turned then-punk rocker Pete Ross onto the banjo. Today, Ross creates some of the most authentic, highest quality 19th-century style banjos available anywhere. Bob Carlin interviews the builder about the copious amounts of research that goes into each of his creations, while photos by Cynthia Connolly show off some of these amazing instruments.



At a recent B.B. King concert, FJ associate editor Marc Greilsamer went backstage and was graced by a rare, lengthy interview with the guitar legend. The scope of their interview is vast—from King’s early days as the Beale Street Blues Boy to the endless stream of sold-out gigs he’s playing today. Acclaimed rock photographer Jay Blakesberg takes all-new photographs of King, and of Lucille.