Dan Erlewine at the NAMM Show 2017

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Issue 279 February 09, 2017

This week we walk the NAMM Show with Dan Erlewine! Dan went to the huge Music Industry trade show in Anaheim and came back with his iPhone full of fun video!

In this Trade Secrets video:
  • Tips from the Fender booth
  • We ran into lots of StewMac customers
  • Sassafras smells like root beer? Who knew?!

Video Transcription

[on-screen text reads: Dan Erlewine - Guitar Repairman, Author]

Dan Erlewine: This week's Trade Secrets takes place in Anaheim, California at the big NAMM music trade show. That's where all the musical makers come together and they all decide what to sell next year. You might see my finger in a couple of pictures here because I was in a hurry.

Speaker 2: I just met my hero, Dan Erlewine, walking around the show.

Dan Erlewine: It's going to be great. I see guys like this and the guy that's holding the camera. Thanks.

Jesse Dean Designs

Steve Beaver: Hey, Dan Erlewine, Steve Beaver from Palmdale, Jesse Dean Designs. Appreciate everything you've ever done for the Luthier world, my man. A big fan. Well, it's NAMM. This is what we work for every year. We're all trying to get our product out there and our work shown.

Albert Lee: [on-screen text reads: Musician, Songwriter] Hey Dan, good to see you again buddy. Good to see you.

Fender product development

Steve Pepper: Hi, I'm Steve Pepper with Fender Product Development. We're at the 2017 NAMM Show with Dan Erlewine.

Dan Erlewine: [inaudible 00:00:48], Steve.

Steve Pepper: I get excited. My gosh.

Dan Erlewine: Have you ever heard of Stewart-MacDonald?

Steve Pepper: Scottish guy, right?

Dan Erlewine: Yeah. Exactly.

Steve Pepper: Makes some tools and things? So yes, StewMac. They have lots and lots and lots of my money and I continue almost every week to order something new. In fact, one of my most favorite things is I just recently got the nut cutting jig with the Feeler Gauges and stuff. I do nuts in about 20 minutes now, start to finish. It's great.

Dan Erlewine: I'll see you around the booth.

Steve Pepper: Absolutely.

Dan Erlewine: I just saw Mike Stevens over there.

Steve Pepper: Ooh, yes. He's here. We've got the new Founders collection.

Fender custom shop original builders

Mike Stevens: All right, Dan, here she is. One piece sassafras body. It looks like ash under this paint, and actually it's really hard to tell. If you've ever had it, it's a little tanner and it smells like root beer when you cut it.

Dan Erlewine: Yeah.

Mike Stevens: Hidden in the back, there's two cutaways. One for your leg when you're sitting down, one for your wrist, and all gold parts like a Mary Kaye. It was taken off a 10/56 pattern I built back in the early custom shop, a little wider and a little chunkier now. Lefthanded bridge pickup, In there was only one pickup. It's a taller bobbin with [inaudible 00:01:58] so a little open and more airy. Got a 0.005 on the front position that just makes the tone kind of go down a little bit. In the middle, it's wide open tone and volume, and back here the tone cuts off and you just have a volume, so it's got a little bit more jingle in there. It's my baby.

Dan Erlewine: Fred Stuart.

Fred Stuart: Hey.

Dan Erlewine: Here at the 30th anniversary of the custom shop. He's one of the originals. Fred's going to show us a guitar over here on the back side of the booth. Come with us.

Fred Stuart: Look at that. Guatemalan Rosewood. This is a little bit different, my own design. That's just alnico five, I sanded the dome shape on it. Buff it up really good and it looks like chrome.

Mike Stevens: It does.

Dan Erlewine: It's country.

Mike Stevens: It is.

Fred Stuart: This is purified ash. It's got all kinds of stuff in it, green and red and brown and lots of yellow. Lots of yellow. You know Dan, one of the most trickiest parts of this, 'cause I'm sure you can appreciate, how do you make those turns?

Mike Stevens: You're not going to tell?

Fred Stuart: I'll tell you.

Dan Erlewine: Oh.

Fred Stuart: It's real easy. You heat this stuff up, take a blade and you separate the outside. There's three components. There's a center and there's two fiber strips. So you bring it up to about here and then you separate them, and then same thing over here. And then you take one strip at a time and it bends with impunity. It all glues back together.

Dan Erlewine: Wow.

Parson Guitars

Randy Parson: Well, nice to meet you. Okay. Wonderland series, it's all the characters in the Wonderland. Let's look through the looking glass, see what we got here. It's going to be the first multilayered, three dimensional fingerboard, and then I've created these pockets within the inlay and you can look down into the neck and see the clock gears and the clock face and all these different levels and actually see through the side of the neck. So the frets are candy cane, bone and bloodwood. We'll round them and polish them up. 20,000 little pieces go into one neck. Takes about six months to do a neck.

Speaker 9: Do I need to model this? My name is J and I'm a luthier apprentice for Randy Parsons. This is the king inlay that we're working on. Early in production, it's not finished. This is something else.

Dan Erlewine: And you're an apprentice in the shop.

Speaker 9: Yes I am. And the shop manager too. I'm the other girl.

Speaker 10: Hey Dan, you're a big inspiration to me. The first book that I ever got was your revised edition of Guitar Repair. I read it front to back and I still have it and still use it today. I build and repair guitars and I also work in a violin shop, repairing orchestral strings. I moved to Colorado because I learned a lot about crack repairs, 'cause it's so dry.

Tim Ferguson: It's good to meet you, Dan.

Dan Erlewine: What an outfit.

Tim Ferguson: [on-screen text reads: Guitar Builder] Oh wow. You got to be prepared for these things. This is the most recent heirloom I've been working on, pirates ukulele. And I know that some of you guys have gotten to see the Pirates of the Caribbean movie, and in the true spirit of Jack Sparrow, where has the rum gone? Well, it went right back here, is where our rum went.

Speaker 12: Dan Erlewine!

Dan Erlewine: Hey.

Speaker 12: You're like the rockstar god of guitar repair. I didn't really care about rockstar musicians or anything but you yourself, you were the guy that I always wanted to be.

Rod Rozzelle: [on-screen text reads: Musician, Guitar Buider] 25 and a half inch scale length on the neck. Here's the jack to plug it in. It's got two resting positions. This is the one that you're going to use in the car, your driverless car, on the way to work in the passenger seat, playing through your Bluetooth, on the way to work practicing.

Roadhouse Pickups

Ken Calvet: Hi Dan, this is Ken with Roadhouse Pickups out of Portland, Oregon. Without guys like you, guys like me wouldn't be able to do what I do. I make pickups and I enjoy doing it and I'd like to do it more so I could spend more time with my family, be able to do things I enjoy and love, and things that inspire me to wake up every day.

Dan Erlewine: And what is your connection with the Supro?

Ken Calvet: So I revived the old Supro pickups and adapted them to a modern form factor to fit modern guitars. As I revived the pickups, they were reviving the guitars and we met up and Supro has just released a line of guitars.

Dan Erlewine: Thank you.

Ken Calvet: Hopefully I'm not cross eyed.

Ronnie North: [on-screen text reads: Musician, Songwriter] Dan, what's up man? How are you man?

Dan Erlewine: Good to see you.

Fender marketing and research

Ronnie North: I'm a fan of your work. Doing NAMM stuff. I'm playing, I played the kickoff with NAMM on Wednesday, going out, checking in with sponsors, I'm going to be doing some demos tomorrow. And I run into Albert here at the Fender room. He used to fix my guitars when I was a kid, when I used to break everything and anything. And he always brought them back to life and they all still work, I still have all of them. 135 guitars later, but I still got them.

Albert Garcia: And I used to be a kid.

Ronnie North: You used to be a kid. And he looks exactly the effing same, from like '82, '83. Like what the hell?

Dan Erlewine: I said the same thing when I saw him.

Ronnie North: Right? I'm like, what are you eating?

Guitars and Caffeine

Chelsea Clark: Hey Dan.

Dan Erlewine: Hey Chelsea.

Chelsea Clark: Hey, come on over. I want you to meet a client of mine. This is Luke.

Luke: Hey, what's up man?

Dan Erlewine: Hi Luke.

Luke: How you doing? Nice to meet you.

Dan Erlewine: I'm good. Pleased to meet you.

Luke: Yeah, absolutely.

Dan Erlewine: You a player or a repairer?

Luke: I am. I play guitar and she does all my repairs and work for me.

Dan Erlewine: Is she doing a good job?

Luke: Doing a wonderful job.

Chelsea Clark: Excellent.

Luke: Yeah.

Sully Guitars

Jon "Sully" Sullivan: Hey Dan, I'm Sully from Sully Guitars and I want to say that I used to get the StewMac catalog when I was 14 years old. I had no idea what any of it meant, but it was kind of like a Victoria's Secret catalog. It was compelling. I didn't quite understand why, but I had to have it.

Ormsby Guitars

Perry Ormsby: My name's Perry from Ormsby Guitars in Australia. We build multi-scale instruments. We hand make everything in our Australian factory. This is an aged copper top, so it's actually copper and then we age it with chemicals and heat and cold and all sorts of stuff. And then we have a whole range of colors that we can do, as you can see in the back row there.

Jon "Sully" Sullivan: Let's go this way. This guitar with the pinstripes, you may recognize as having a Randy Rhoads motif because I'm a huge Randy Rhoads fan. And this guitar was painted and striped by the same man that painted Randy Rhoads' white Jackson V. He still works for Grover. And this one was something that I did as kind of a personal treat for myself and a connection to someone who influenced me.

It's very important to subscribe to the StewMac newsletter so you get videos. The topic might not be something that you're worried about at that particular time, there's always going to be something of value. Like the video that you did with Rodrigo about fitting tuners in the back using a Dremel tool, and Rodrigo had metal logo decals. And after I saw the video, I emailed Rodrigo and he was very nice to tell me where he got them from. So it's another example of StewMac bringing guitar builders together.

Ryan: Hey Dan, how's it going? I'm Ryan, I work for Gary Brawer in San Francisco.

Dan Erlewine: You're Gary's [inaudible 00:09:10]?

Ryan: Yeah, Gary's a great dude to work for. I also study with Bryan Galloup. From what I understand, you've kind of been their mentors through the years, so it's really great to meet you and just wanted to say thanks for everything.

Dan Erlewine: You're welcome.

Ryan: We watch the StewMac videos whenever they come out. We all gather around in the shop and it's a pleasure.

Dan Erlewine: Do you really?

Ryan: Yes sir.

Dan Erlewine: Are you serious?

Ryan: Every time there's new one. We even wait for Gary to come to gather round. Thanks, it's good to see you.

Dan Erlewine: Thanks.

Ryan: Happy NAMM.

Speaker 22: Hey Dan and everybody at StewMac. I want to thank you very much for the books that you've done. I do a lot of repairs, and thanks to you I do a lot of them right.

Fret King Guitars

Trev Wilkinson: I haven't seen you for years. Nine years, is it?

Dan Erlewine: Yes it has, nine years.

Trev Wilkinson: It is, it is. How you doing, mate? Lovely to see you. Dan this is my daughter, Kate.

Kate Wilkinson: Hi Dan.

Trev Wilkinson: I'm in the UK, as you know, and you're over here in America. So I need a fret file. I get on the internet, I tell Kate, "Okay, buy me this fret file." She punches all the numbers, does the credit card, I got it the next day. I'm in England and you're here. It's just phenomenal. You know, it's easier than driving down the road to the shop, and most shops don't stock them anyway. So you are the one stop shop, no question.

I do things for the guitar player. I've always maintained, when a guitar player is on stage, he's got too many things to think about to worry about hardware or anything like that. He just needs a piece that's going to work. When he does that ridiculous bend at the end of the solo and then he comes back for arpeggio, in his mind all the time, he's going, "Is this going to be in tune?"

Summit School of Guitar Building & Repair

Dan Erlewine: Hey Mike.

Mike Jarvis: Hey Dan, how's it going? Good to see you.

Dan Erlewine: Yeah, good to see you.

Mike Jarvis: How are you? It's been a little while.

Dan Erlewine: How's that school going?

Mike Jarvis: It's doing great. We're with the students down here. We're just going around showing them how the industry works, and it's always lovely to run into you.

GNG Guitars

Giulio Negrini: I'm Giulio. Giulio from GNG Guitars. Nice to meet you. This is the guitar I brought here and all was built with a StewMac tools. Here, there is a koi fish inlay.

Dan Erlewine: How long have you been building?

Giulio Negrini: 11 years.

Dan Erlewine: Where?

Giulio Negrini: I come from Switzerland. I'm Italian but I come from Switzerland.

Dan Erlewine: There's one of the good things, that says, "Sold." Pick one up and let's turn it around and get some real pretty shots.

Giulio Negrini: Yeah.

Dan Erlewine: Tell me a bit about these frets.

Giulio Negrini: These frets are called True Temperament system. It's a Swedish patent, and you got the perfect pitch all over the fretboard in every note's position. So there is the correction mainly in the G strings, which is the bad guy.

Dan Erlewine: Those must be hard to put in.

Giulio Negrini: Yeah, they are.

Dan Erlewine: CNC?

Giulio Negrini: Yeah. Actually, they send you the frets aside and the fretboard that is already slot. But then we have to put the inlay and the radios and put them inside, yeah. Actually, the fret crowning is quite intense.

Dan Erlewine: I can't believe the colors of this, it's beautiful. What are the stains?

Giulio Negrini: Since from the beginning, I always used the StewMac stains, ColorTone, and they're amazing to use. It's a really... I can mix it with any lacquer I want and I can get any finish I want. That's wonderful.

Dan Erlewine: They're all ColorTone stains?

Giulio Negrini: All ColorTone stains.

Asher Guitars and Lap Steels

Dan Erlewine: Hi Bill.

Bill Asher: Hey Dan, how you doing?

Dan Erlewine: Long time no see.

Bill Asher: I know, it's been... Well, maybe since the last NAMM show, but it feels like a long time.

Dan Erlewine: You're cooking, man.

Bill Asher: I know, we're building a lot of guitars and lap steels, and I've been a StewMac customer for over 25 years now. And the new program that you have going with the Luthrie pricing and the free shipping for people like us that do volume was something I was looking forward to for a long time. I'm really happy you've done something like that. It really helps me on my build cost, and keep supporting Stewart-MacDonald. I love... Waverlys, I use on so many of my high-end electric builds. They're the best tuners. I've got some here on a couple of my... I have a 35 year anniversary model because I've been at the bench that long now, and I got the ivoroid Waverlys on that. Got my favorite Snakewood Waverly buttons on my Master Series T-Deluxe model.

Dan Erlewine: It's gorgeous.

Bill Asher: Yeah. So anyway, thanks. Love all the products, dude. It's the best.

Dan Erlewine: Thank you.

Bill Asher: Thank you.

Everybody recognizes Dan at the NAMM show

Jay: Hey Dan, my name is Jay. I'm from Belgium, and I use a lot of the StewMac tools. I'm a guitar builder. They're awesome. Thanks man.

Speaker 29: Hey, are you Dan?

Speaker 30: Are you Dan?

Speaker 31: Hey Dan.

Speaker 32: Hi Dan.

Speaker 33: Hi Dan.

Speaker 34: Dan.

Speaker 35: Hey Dan.

Speaker 36: Hi Dan.

Speaker 37: Hey Dan.

Speaker 38: Hey Dan.

Speaker 39: Dan Erlewine.

Speaker 12: Dan Erlewine!

Speaker 40: Peace, love and Stew-MacDonald and Dan Erlewine. From the best, since I can remember.



Dan Erlewine

Guitar Repairman and Builder

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