It was a tremendous honor envisioning the remarkable True Blue signature guitar with Tad.
I had some fairly specific ideas of how I wanted it to sound – of course already knowing how beautiful every one of Tad’s guitars sound. In short, they are balanced, tonally multi-dimensional, and stay in tune perfectly in all areas of the fretboard. These attributes are all especially important to me being primarily a fingerstyle jazz guitarist.
We chose to really highlight the tonal properties of red maple for the back, sides, neck, and binding in tandem with a beautiful red spruce top. Tad paid tribute to the majestic tone wood with a tri-colored maple leaf inlay at the 12th fret. We also chose Honduras rosewood for the fretboard and other appointments because of its sonic and striking visual character.
Tad suggested and I agreed on a dual source pickup system that incorporates a hand wound Kent Armstrong P90 pickup mounted on the fingerrest in tandem with K&K Pure Mini soundboard transducers, allowing for multiple blending combinations of electric and acoustic amplification.
Tad and I both strongly believe that an instrument should be physically comfortable, enjoyable to play, and incorporate ergonomic principles whenever possible. To that end, the True Blue features unique arm and rib contours, allowing for superior comfort and flexibility in practice and performance.
Knowing Tad’s expertise in finishing and aesthetic taste in color, I requested a lapis lazuli finish. The finished color is nothing short of breathtaking, simultaneously paying respect to and enhancing the natural beauty of the wood grain and also creating a bold visual statement.
Finally, I asked Tad to add a headstock inlay that celebrates the Rocky Mountains. He did so beautifully by creating a stunning abalone and mother of pearl inlay depicting a crescent moon and cloud over the iconic Flatirons of Boulder.
The guitar arrived late last night safe. I was with a large group of musician guests, so unboxing was a lot of oohs and aaahs. The Yogis and Buddhists were tripping on the Lapis and lotus.
Just putting some time into exploring the instrument… Firstly the visuals and details are perfection. The binding is stunning, as is the depth of the blue. So many details that just elevate this instrument to a masterpiece.
The acoustic voice is all I was hoping for – depth and clarity with great projection, and the side port just puts you inside the sound – so grateful you suggested. Also multi scale playability and comfort combined with punchy basses and warmer trebles – amazing.
Neck dimensions are very comfortable – wide enough and fast – another reason I’m glad I followed your dimensions advice.
The acoustic voice is addictive. Just finding all the magical places on the neck – lots of bloom and sustain. Loving the guitar, still learning its qualities.. Light touch delivers what I was hoping for – a full sound that responds to dynamics.
I can hear a heavier hand expanding its ceiling every day. The Bass is very focused and clear, so I know its voice has great potential as it ages.
I played some pieces with a friend, and I could hear the inner voices of chords – that was quite a joy, even in simple percussive jams. Scale lengths fabulous, no buzzing with a heavy hand, and warm trebles.
Visually I’m still tripping – perfect blue and fade. Comfort and body contact is a blessing. The maple binding looks like calcified stone and is so smooth, sitting or standing.
You went to such excellence in creating the perfect instrument for my needs – I’m unable to thank you enough Tad. May you be blessed and rewarded for this alchemy and innovative mind.
For now all I can say is you have been knowledgable, kind , and very innovative in this passion. I have had so many instruments in the last 45 years – this is the Emperor.
Much love and gratitude to you and yours Tad.