Norman Blake, Steve Kaufman, Doc Watson, Mark Cosgrove, Robin Kessinger, Robert Shafer, lots of others
Favorite Flatpicking Tunes
Whiskey Before Breakfast, Saint Annes Reel, Beaumont Rag, Alabama Jubilee, too many to list
Collings, Proulx, McKnight, NGC, Gallagher, Lucas, Dudenbostel, others too.
Tell us more about yourself (place a Bio here if you wish)
My best friend in high school played guitar, but didn't remember lyrics. I would try to play along with him on one of his guitars, and would prompt him with the lyrics.
I got my first guitar while stationed in Japan in the mid sixties. It was a Ventura - I didn't have the money or the knowledge to buy a Martin at the PX. I never got past changing chords. The Ventura stayed in Japan when I returned to the US of A.
Finally, after a long time without a guitar, I got a Gibson SJN "Country Western". A good guitar, but I still didn't get past the difficulty of changing chords on time. At the time, I was a novice amateur radio operator, and failed the 13 wpm test for morse code by one letter. A good indicator of my poor hand-brain coordination.
I had the Gibson for a while, and have since traded it for Martins, Gallaghers, Taylors, Collings and others (not necessarily in that order). My guitar has always been better than my playing deserves. Finally, I gave it up. I recently sold my last "name-brand" guitar. Never fear, I have two that I recently built, and I have 4 that were built by a luthier friend of mine, so I'm guitar satisfied. No GAS here.
I finally gave up on actually playing the guitar, but came up with an off-the-wall thought. Since I can't pick, why not organize an effort to raise funds and provide scholarships to Steve Kaufman's Acoustic Kamps to give aothers a fighting chance to learn. I had seen Steve win three times at Winfield, but didn't meet him until 1999, when he came to Northern Virginia to conduct a workshop. I talked with him about it, and then cogitated util February of 2001 when I found a D-18 that a friend of mine had bought new in 1974 and had put in the closet because he also bought a Sigma about that same time that he liked better. It needed some work (I had pickguard curled, top crack near pickguard, neck set) . I made him an offer for it, and raffled it off (as is) to raise funds for a scholarship. Gil Robins won the raffle, and when he came up on stage at Maryville to get the guitar, he handed it back to me, and said "I've got enought Martins - fix it up and raffle it off again next year" That's when Dreadnoughts Unlimited took off. Marty Lanham was one of the kamp doctors, and he volunteered to fix it. He did a great job, and we raffled it off again in 2002. I was on Mario Proulx's build list and he built the guitar we raffled off in 2003. Then it was back to CF martin for a brand new D-18 in 2004. In 2005, Heinz Mader donated a D-35 that we raffled off. In 2006, Dana Bourgeois built a sunburst slope-shouldered dreadnought for us, and in 2007, Don Gallagher built a Doc Watson Signature model that we raffled off. This year, Seth Naugler has built a Brazilian Rosewood/Adirondack Spruce dreadnought that we will be drawing for at kamp in June.
We've raised funds since 2001 by raffling guitars, selling guitar-related items that have been donated, and accepting donations of cash. We've managed to award full or partial scholarships to about 30 students, ranging in age from 10 to 59 or so.
Hey, Harry! I'm as pleased as punch with the Martin 000-15s that I won! Buy those tickets folks! Great cause... great guitars. I'm eyeballing that Naugler. Got my tickets already. Can lightning strike the same place twice??? We'll see very soon. See you at Kamp, Harry.
"Ralph, I learned more from your videos in two hours last night than i have learned in the past 6 months!! Thanks so much for your very excellent efforts. All fabulous stuff, especially the cross-picking. Sie Sind Hollandisch. Sprechen Sie…"
"Have owned D28VR, (80's) D35, (70's ) 0015 (early 2000's) and recently bought DR Centennial, marking first century of Dreadnaught production. Has Martin VTS artificially aged top and braces. Greatest sound I have ever heard! I…"
"Fabulous, Louis. Pee Wee King's brother, Gene, Used to run a rare record shop in Louisville some 40 years ago. Johnnie Cash's daughter cut an album entitled "King's Record Store" Magnificent job on a great tune for…"