I have played many guitars over the last 30 plus years, and have been fortunate to have some really amazing instruments. My first real guitar was a Santa Cruz Guitar Company Koa Dreadnought. I played it for 10 years and its gorgeous combination of deep bass and bright treble thrilled my ear in concert and on recordings. There is a wonderful photo of this instrument on my CD Celtic Crossing.
As I moved to more finger style playing, I wanted a smaller body for comfort and found that in a guitar by Jeff Traugott, another instrument that I played on for almost 10 years. Jeff’s Model R had the most complex and multi-dimensional sound of any guitar I had played before. Photo on the cover of my CD The Road Home.
I then returned to SCGC for a Brazilian Rosewood OM, and then a Brazilian Rosewood OMG, both gorgeous instruments and thanks to Richard Hoover and the folks at SCGC for supporting me with these fine instruments.
With so many amazing guitar makers in the world and particularly in California, I was fortunate to meet Mike Baranik. I had been teaching at the Puget Sound Guitar Workshop, and one of my students, Steve Osborn, was kind enough to let me play his Baranik. I fell in love with it. A few months later I met the maker himself, played for him in his shop in Paso Robles. His depth of knowledge of guitar design and construction was impressive, and the instruments he had for me to try were unique. So he and I designed the guitar I have now: a Brazilian Rosewood Custom Meridian (pictured above). I love the sound, and the playability, and the fan fret, and the sound ports, and the adjustable neck, and, well, it just feels right to my ear and in my hands.
A deep thanks and true appreciation to all the guitar makers that I have known and who have given me the gift of wonderful instruments!