Why did you build your own guitar?
A couple of reasons.
First, it seemed like both a fascinating challenge and the chance to really own the instrument I play on. Since I have a pretty good wood shop, and a fair bit of knowledge about woodwork and musical instruments, it seemed like a natural direction to go.
Second, due to my style of playing, the ability to modify the guitar
as I built it (I prefer a very flat fretboard and very light bracing, for example) was a big plus.
And third: I can't afford to buy a really nice guitar.
What tunings do you use?
Too many to name, really. Some of my favorites:
My guitar always lives one full step down from standard tuning. So when I say the tuning is DADGAD the guitar really sounds CGCFGC. I also use the capo liberally.
Are there any tabs or standard notation versions of your music available?
Not at the moment, but there's been quite a lot of demand. I write very physically, which means I don't think in terms of tab or standard notation. The idea of doing the transcriptions myself basically just gives me a headache. If you want to see my songs transcribed, I can only suggest that you approach someplace like stropes.com and request it. With enough demand, they might just put something out. Alternately, if anyone has the gumption to take on the task, let me know and I'd be happy to work with you on it.
Will you be touring any time soon?
I sure hope so. The problem is that I'm not in a mood to slog around a bunch of coffee houses for free while the espresso machines go shfrrriiisshhh during those rare but important subtle moments in my playing. When I'm in the position to reasonably be able to fill small theater-type venues where I can play my best (and more importantly, you can hear without disturbance) then I'll be all over the place supporting my CDs, and get the chance to meet you guys.
House concerts are also a great setting for me to present myself. If
you're interested in setting one up, let me know and we'll see what happens.
Why do you tune pianos? Aren't you content with the riches and fame you've achieved as a musician?
Ha hahaha hahahahahahaha!
Hey, two kids, a mortgage and the expense of producing commercial-quality CDs...well, somewhere in there a guy's got to make a living. Plus I truly love the craft of tuning and rebuilding pianos. It's very...loamy. (I love that word, and rarely get to use it.) I don't think I'll ever completely stop doing it, even if the fame and riches actually do come my way.
What does your wife think of all this craziness?
Let me tell you a story about that: At the end of my first CD release party, I was doing all the thank yous to the people that help out. I ended by thanking my wife for all her support. She shouted back from the audience that 'tolerance' might be a better word.
We have a "don't ask, don't tell" policy when it comes to these projects...particularly when it comes to expense receipts!
Got a question not answered here? Contact John.