Godin LaPatrie Cutaway

This is the guitar that has been my go-to instrument for pretty much all of my solo work for close to eight years. I originally acquired it from Godin has an interim instrument -- I needed a classical-style guitar for a duo project with flutist Katherine Barbato and called to order a Multiac. The company was about to go on its Summer break and all of the Multiac classical models had been shipped to retailers around the world -- the warehouse was empty. I needed the guitar in less than two weeks, so it was suggested I get the LaPatrie right away and order the Multiac in a few weeks. That was almost eight years ago and I haven't ordered the Multiac. This guitar has served me very well, traveling everywhere and delivering the playability, reliability and sound I've needed. It was the only guitar I played on my recent solo release Balance. Except for the John Pearse armrest the guitar is entirely stock.

I use John Pearse #1209 high-tension classical strings.

1975 Hagstrom Swede

My first serious electric guitar, purchased new and unpacked from its box by me. Larry Coryell let me play his backstage after a concert and I just loved it. Larry's was a natural finish model and I thought it looked far better than either the cherry or the black finish -- the store didn't stock the natural finish so I had to order mine .

It's not exactly stock. The tuners were replaced some years ago with Shallers. The control knobs were replaced with Gibson-style knobs. The original pickup rings fractured and were replaced. Everything else, including the pickups is original. And I removed the pickguard -- it got in the way and made me break too many E strings.

This guitar has been my go-to instrument since '75. It's been featured on all of my session work, from romantic ballads to funk to hard rock and, of course, jazz and fusion.

I use John Pearse #2600 electric strings, jazz light gauge (.011").

Mid-70s Hagstrom Viking

I acquired this interesting instrument second-hand from a gentleman who had bought it from a neighbor years before with the hopes his son would learn to play. It didn't happen, so he noodled around with it and eventually stashed it into its case and under the bed. After years of incorrect strings (half were acoustic bronze) the neck was warped and the guitar needed a good cleaning. But everything was original! Jack Romano straightened the neck with no problem and informed me that the guitar was made of solid wood(!)

It is a loud guitar acoustically, due to the solid top and back and the fact it doesn't have a full center block. It's very lively and responsive and very comfortable to play. The only modification has been my removal of the pickguard - my right hand nails click against it while I play and can be heard while I perform. 

 I use John Pearse #2600 electric strings, jazz light gauge (.011").

Godin Glissentar

What is essentially a cross between a Godin Multiac classical-style guitar and a Middle-Eastern oud, the glissentar is a guitar with 11 strings in pairs or courses with no frets (like the oud) but with a full guitar scale and standard tuning (with a single low E). I first encountered the glissentar when I worked with guitarist Richard Leo Johnson. He had just obtained his and let me try it. The concept made sense to me (!) and even though I couldn't play anything on it I wanted one. Richard graciously connected me with the folks at Godin (which resulted in my still-standing endorsement) and within about a week I had a fretless guitar. At first, it took determined practice just to play a scale in tune. After about two months I recorded with it on my Dayside album and began playing it live with my jazz group. The video of my performing John Coltrane's Mr. PC  with the glissentar was viewed by none other than Eric Johnson, who brought that to my attention when we first met.

Aside from a tension bar added behind the nut, the guitar is stock. I use two sets of Pearse-Thomastik classical strings which are all wound strings with steel cores and ball ends.

1988 Lowden S27FC

A real treasure, I bought this guitar in 1989 from someone who was 'thinning the herd' and decided to sell this and keep the guitars whose brands started with the letter 'G'. His choice, of course, but my benefit.  This is an older-style Lowden with a slim neck and fingerboard, termed a 'mini-jumbo' model with a cedar top and mahogany back and sides. It is entirely hand-built from solid woods, as are all of George Lowden's guitars. This has been my primary acoustic guitar for a great deal of my career and has, quite honestly, never come up short in any playing situation.

The guitar works magnificently with microphones. However, for the many live situations I couldn't always count on first-rate sound systems (or any systems at all, in some venues). I had the under-saddle Highlander-style braided piezo installed shortly after I acquired it. The EMG ACS soundhole pickup came later. In both cases, I opted to not drill a large opening in the guitar, but installed two separate output jacks, using discrete preamp jacks. Depending on the sound I need, I can use either pickup  (often the EMG by itself) or both (mixing the sounds as best suits the venue).

I use John Pearse Silk & Bronze or 80/20 Bronze strings with a .011" high E.