Tuesday, March 10, 2009

I rock Maple

I'm doing a lot of guitar peddling at the moment. I'm keen to get the guitar sound right for ZaraMeow, the new duo I'm involved with, and am therefore in the process of trying different things (including rock organ & ukulele actually). My Cole Clark Angel - which I bought primarily for the BEDuo - is currently in repair at Cole Clark in Melbourne, about to sit or having sat at the operating table today. Even Brad Clark, the owner of the company, called me about the guitar when he discovered I was nonplussed with the service at the shop from which I bought the instrument. We chatted for half-an-hour. I liked him, he was articulate and passionate and almost zealous in his striving for customer satisfaction and his quest to make great guitars. All the time I was pinching myself that I was talking to 'Brad Clark', the owner of Cole Clark who are making their name felt throughout the guitar-making world. I was talkin' down the line to a legend!

I'm hoping the guitar can be remedied sufficiently. Basically the tuning is stuffed down the lower end on the top three strings, particularly the B-string. I can't operate with crappy tunings, I get jarred and moody and crabby. If a guitar can't hold its tuning, ie, you play an E-chord and it sounds fine but then play a D-chord and it sounds like your ears have haemorrhaged, then it's deemed unplayable in my opinion. Tomorrow I find out what the verdict is. I hope all is well with the instrument, the Cole Clark Angel truly is an 'angel' of a guitar. Sounds of sweetness embodied in Australian tonewood despite the fractureness of the some of the tuning.

I may sell a guitar, perhaps my Maton CW80. I've bought and sold guitars before, sometimes trade-ins, sometimes private deals, and usually I do well with it. So with all of this going on today I purchased a Maton EST65c at HALF-PRICE!!! I discovered a store in Adelaide online that have the guitar listed on their red-hot specials page, and the reason they're selling it so low is because it's been sitting on the shelf for over 5 years. I can understand this. The EST65C is not the greatest guitar when played acoustically (although it's damned nice..). No, it just happens to be the sweetest & godliest sounding guitar when plugged in. You see, it's a thinline acoustic guitar that's made of high-grade solid Spruce top and solid North American Rock Maple (or Sugar Maple) back and sides and neck, unusually so for Maton in that it utilises no local woods at all. It sounds like the maple leaf would sound itself, crystalline, treacly, translucent and shimmery. I know this because I actually owned one but sold it to a friend who loved it so much and the neck was a bit too wide for me anyway. If the guitar is not up-to-standard, and I doubt this will be the case, I could actually sell it at a profit. I will pay an extra $50 for a decent service and I'll be owning an awesome guitar at half-price.

This guitar features a standard natural gloss which means it will be very blond throughout wheras the guitar I once owned and sold featured a sunburst gloss.
The things we do. What an indulgent git I am. I miss Rock Maple you see - Maple is my wood, American maple that is. Australian Maple in the form of Queensland Maple, which is more of a Mahogany-type wood, I do enjoy but American Maple just has that cool-climate shimmery quality that sends me away. I've done my best gigs with Rock Maple. I look forward to having rock maple again and I can't wait to hear what it sounds like with ZaraMeow. I have maple leaf jewellery that I bought in the town of Bright in Victoria that is boulevarded with Maple & Plane trees that I shall adorn the guitar with.

(I hope to God that Bright didn't burn down in the bushfires...the point is many pretty towns and farms and houses burnt down and people lost their lives so the whole thing is one enormous, crying tragedy).

And I will sell and/or offload guitars yes I will. Or just give 'em away. I'd love to buy guitars for all my friends, I don't care if I'm broke doing that, I just love acoustic guitars so much. And I want my good friends to own nice guitars. There's a blue Ovation I would just love to give away to someone..... ;)


A.M. said...

It is good to know that you rock the Rock Maple and thit it rocks you too!!! =)

I wish I could pop on over and play all your guitars. What fun that would be.

Cheers, dear Ross. I hope the tuning problemo with the one guitar can be fixed!

A.M. said...


tresordinaire said...

Congrats on the new AXE!

I am also glad to see that you have hooked up with Sara. She has played at Open Mic Collaroy and I loved her work immensely!

Please say HI from me and you are both welcome anytime you are up this way.

Rock out!


The Knitting Songbird said...

Wish you could play with me on the next songs I plan to record, namely, "Blackbird" and "Who knows where the time goes".

Aw, c'mon Ross, get on the next plane for a mate!


Take care and have fun jammin', post some vids or mp3s!

ross b said...

Thank you for your comments all.

Anne-Marie you're welcome for a jam anytime! Rock Maple, or Sugar Maple as it's often called, sounds like what maple syrup or the maple tree would sound like - very Canadian or North-East USA in flavour and tone, crystalline & treacly...I love it!

Simon thank you for the message and it's great to hear from you! I'd love to play up at Collaroy or anywhere else you have gigs but can you offer us a 40 or 45 minute spot? We're doing a lot of 20 minute gigs locally but are really aiming for the longer sets. We wear costumes and hats and are bawdy and burlesque! :)

Oh, Mary I must confess I'm not too motivated to travel at the moment...even during my LSL I don't think I'll be leaving the country...if I did it'll be destination Montreal or Vancouver but it's likely I'll be visiting Melbourne and Tassie, even Canberra. I want to write a book and I wish to meld within the freezing green in the alps south of Canberra.

Cheerio for now all! Ross

Anonymous said...

Hi Ross, I enjoyed reading your piece on the guitar workshop. It sounds like a lovely place and it's good that they are using local woods -- but to the best of my knowledge Rock Maple usually is found in eastern Canada and the US.

One of the most staggering aspects of necks is whether the piece of wood is slab-sawn (parallel passes of the saw blade for maximize yield) or quarter sawn (log is quartered before further cuts are made).

One of my fender-style guitars -- an actual Fender -- has a quarter sawn neck that seems harder and stiffer perhaps more resonant than any other I've used. It may also be made from Rock Maple, but I think the grain orientation really helps.

On the topic of the McGarrigles, Anna was on the radio recently, Q-CBC Radio with Jian Ghomeshi. I think they have it on podcast (to keep up with Aussie Broadcasting Corp.) I'll try to find you the link.

All is well over here. Having an Easter Monday, and over here spring has nearly sprung. Hope all is well, take care.


redgrevillea said...

Hi Terry,

Good to hear from you! The website in question is www.maton.com.au. It's true that the particular model of acoustic guitar I discuss - the EST65C - utilises none of the indigenous woods that Maton prize themselves on. I do like American Rock Maple, it's very clear-sounding and shimmery, like an acoustic Rickenbacker. Nevertheless the local woods themselves are terrific, including Queensland Maple and Bunya, and coming on to the delicious sounding Blackwood and the very expensive Satin Box.

I think most of the woods Maton uses are quarter-sawn but this is not the case with the Rock Maple models. I don't know why.

Here we're sinking down into mild, rainy autumn, which is nice..

Best wishes, Ross


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