Podcast 336: Tod Nelson


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Tod Nelson was one of the first ten employees at Amazon. He started out packing books and, by the late 1990s, served as “punk rock editor” during the launch of that site’s music store. After five years of working for the quickly growing company, he left and started a family on California’s Central Coast. He’d eventually serve as the first executive director of Cal Poly’s Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship.

Beyond his work life, Tod has been a lifelong guitarist and guitar collector with a passion for all-things-Gibson. He’s also a survivor: In recent years, he’s had not one but two lung transplants.

Tod’s love for music and musical instruments has helped carry him through his recovery, culminating in his most recent project: A Song A Day for Acoustic Guitar. He’s teaching himself one new song a day for the entire year… and he’s looking for suggestions on what tracks he should attempt next (his current repertoire is available as a Spotify playlist here). Feel free to shoot me suggestions for Tod via podcast@fretboardjournal.com.

I’ve known Tod for over 20 years, but until this conversation, I had no idea just how important the guitar was to him or his recovery. I hope you enjoy this chat. It’s unlike any other we’ve done to date. I hope you enjoy it.

The Fretboard Journal’s 48th issue is now available. Click here to read up on it and start your subscription.

Don’t forget, we now host an entire family of podcasts, about everything from lutherie to home recording: Luthier on Luthier; The Truth About Vintage Amps; The Truth About Recording & Mixing;Acoustic Voices; and Sweep the Floor.

This episode is sponsored by Mono Cases, Folkway Music and Retrofret Vintage Guitars.

Extra thanks to Calton Cases and Martin Guitars for sponsoring all that we do.