Fretboard Journal 8: What’s Inside


Issue 8 of the Fretboard Journal brings readers stories on some of the finest players in all of fretted instrument-dom, starting with a cover story on the inimitable John Scofield, carrying through features on legends Norman Blake and Roger McGuinn. Additional highlights include profiles of fretted instrument icon George Gruhn, luthier Manuel Delgado and subject of the documentary Desperate Man Blues, archivist Joe Bussard, and much more…

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Although he’s best known as the sideman who graced Bob Dylan’s Nashville Skyline, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band’s Will the Circle Be Unbroken and the O, Brother Where Art Thou? soundtrack, guitarists in the know worship Norman Blake for his solo performances. Phil Campbell talks to Norman and Nancy Blake about their collaborations and their world class instrument quiver. Campbell also interviews songwriter Jerry Faires, the author of the “D-18 Song” that Blake popularized. Shutterbug Thomas Petillo gets up close photographs of the Blakes and their priceless collection of instruments.


When most players think of George Gruhn, they picture his monumental guitar store in Nashville and the writings he’s penned for various guitar publications. What they may not know is that George Gruhn has had a hand in designing numerous instruments as well. Michael Simmons visits Gruhn at his store in Nashville and gets the inside scoop on Gruhn’s impact as a guitar designer. From hiring and helping future lutherie stars (Kim Walker, Stephen Gilchrist) to designing guitars for Guild, Tacoma and Barrington, the music world owes a lot to Gruhn.


Nashville-based luthier Manuel Delgado may only be 35 years old, but his family is steeped in guitar making. In fact, his grandfather and great uncle opened their first guitar shop in Mexico in 1928. Writer Craig Havighurst talks to Delgado about guitars, the traditional Mexican instruments he continues to build (for, among others, the members of Los Lobos) and his family’s famed guitar shop in East Los Angeles.


Before becoming a rock & roll icon, Roger McGuinn was a folk musician. And, post-Byrds, he went right back to being a folk musician. In this candid interview, Jim Carlton talks to McGuinn about the rock legend’s earliest (and latest) projects. McGuinn discusses his playing with the Limeliters and the Chad Mitchell Trio, his recent Folk Den project and his new Martin signature model guitar.


With his trusty 1981 Ibanez AS-200, John Scofield has broken down the boundaries of what it means to be a jazz guitarist. Fusion, rock, funk, swing and soul jazz all seep into his playing; it’s no wonder that he’s played alongside everyone from Miles Davis to Medeski, Martin and Wood. At a recent Seattle gig, associate editor Marc Greilsamer interviewed Scofield about his gear, his many influences and jazz in its many forms. Great photos of the Ibanez and Scofield’s effects pedals abound in this lengthy feature.