BIT 32 – September 1, 2009
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Wow, it’s been a while… Over that past several months Dad & I have been on the road touring across the United States from Illinois to Texas, California to Florida, Georgia to Alabama, South Carolina to New York and last week in the Baltimore Maryland/DC area! I’ve been playing in a series of private seminars while being the sound tech at the same time. It’s been a very busy time, but I’ve met so many wonderful people!
After the 1st Seminar in Chicago, we went to La Porte Indiana to visit a friend of our’s Paul Wegner. And then took a day to go to Battle Creek Michigan and visited with my friend Buddy Houghtaling, his dental office is only a couple of streets away from the GHS Headquarters, so we stopped in to visit with all our friends there also. I took advantage of that visit and picked up a fresh supply of GHS Strings.
From there we headed down to Fort Wayne Indiana to go to the www.SweetWater.com headquarters were they were celebrating their 30th anniversary as a company! They had an old Volkswagen there which is similar to the one that the owner, Chuck Surack started out with as a “mobile recording studio” with some old (then new) recording equipment in the back.
I had a blast (again) playing some awesome guitars, and checking out some cool gear such as a new Taylor Doyle Dykes Signature Model (Brown Sugar) with the Short Scale neck. It was sooo nice to play that guitar. Buttery smooth action, and great tone.
I also played a Taylor Leo Kottke Signature Model 12 string. It was my first time to “test drive” this model, and it is a really nice twelver with a DEEP bass tone! My favorite from this visit was the Taylor T3 with Bigsby Vibrato Tailpiece. That is one COOL guitar, and the Quilted Maple Top was superb! The tone is everything you’d expect from something that Chet might have played from one of his records (but with amazing playability), and the tone controls were nicely designed with the push/pull feature.
While I was playing through some of these guitars on display I met Micheal Clair A.k.a. Bear. It turned out that he heard me playing and hung around and introduced himself to me.
He was very encouraging and we both shared stories along with a few licks, he plays a mean guitar himself. He wrote a nice tribute to Chet Atkins here. It was really neat hearing his first hand stories about Chet, and many others in Nashville. We even jammed for a couple of songs before he took us for a tour of the now finished “Sweetwater Campus” (The last time I was there, all of that was still being built!
That was really great to see, and he introduced us to some of the other people there… one of whom is Mr. Abraham Wechter, Yes his name is behind the Wechter Guitars brand!
I had a great time talking guitars with this very kind and knowledgeable man… and playing some cool prototypes too! It was very interesting to see the inner workings on some of those instruments.
After we picked up our gear, we headed back to La Porte, Indiana and hung out with Paul. It was nice to see him again. After that we caught our flight to Dallas for the next seminars in Dallas & LA. After LA Dad & I went to Costa Rica to spend a week with Mom before returning to handle the Orlando seminar.
While in Orlando our friend Paul (not the same as the one in Indiana) called with news that the Station Manager for TBN in Orlando (at The Holy Land Experience) was interested in my music & testimony for airing on ENLACE (TBN’s Spanish Satellite Network), and it worked out that the day after the Seminar Paul picked us up at the hotel and took us to the Holy Land for taping.
That was such an amazing time, and it was really cool how as I finished playing the last few notes of a song, outside in front of The Scriptorium, the skies literally opened up with rain… but we managed to scramble all the gear and cameras under cover before it really started to rain hard, we got a good take. God’s hand was on that for sure!
From there we went up to Atlanta to be with some friends and then headed over to Dothan, Alabama for another seminar. That was nice because after the Seminar we were invited to spend the day at one of the hosts homes where he has his own Fishing Pond, Dock & Dock House. I spent pretty much the whole day fishing (and catching too;-). That was a nice change of pace for us that day.
Then after a Seminar in Columbia, South Carolina. We were, through a mutual friend, invited to spend the weekend at a Log Cabin in North Florida. It was such an inspiring time… It was a real old fashioned hand built Log Cabin in front of a River.
Our host, Mr. Dickson Lester who plays guitar and I stayed up till after 2 AM swapping stories & songs! He is the Leader of the Mars Hill Porch Pickers Band. They play Bluegrass, Gospel & Ballads. Around 2 AM we finally went to bed but it felt like we were only jamming for a few hours. Time flies when you’re having fun!
He is also involved in aiding an Orphanage in Kenya, Africa. It was really awesome what God is doing through them to positively impact Kenya for Christ!
We are now getting ready to go to another Seminar. Busy times, but we should be back home in Costa Rica in the next couple of months! I’ll try and get something posted a bit quicker next time! Ya’ll take care and keep pickin’.
Till next time,