Robben Ford Purple House
Guitar Connoisseur|Guitar Connoisseur Kevin Eubanks Spring 2019

In The World Of Blues Guitar, There Are A Million Great Players Yet Few Standout Head And Shoulders Above The Rest Like Robben Ford. Robben Was One Of The Very First And Most Influential Players For Me Personally Since I Was A Young Boy. We Both Grew Up In The Same Rural Area In Northern California’s Coastal Mountains Just Above San Fransisco. He’s A Hometown Hero To Many That Live Here.

He Has Given Back To Our Community Greatly Over The Years With Free Local Performances And Even Did An “artist In Residence” Stint At Our Local Junior College (Mendocino College) For A Semester Years Ago. His Brothers Are All Fantastic Musicians As Well And They All Played Together On And Off For Decades As The Ford Brother’s Blues Band. The Amount Of Natural Musical Talent That Runs In The Blood Of The Ford Family Is Astounding To Me. This Assignment Was Finally My Opportunity To Pick The Man’s Brain One On One About His Guitars, Amps, And Pedals. Robben Recently Relocated To Nashville Tn And Is Looking Forward To Spending More Time In The Studio And Less Time On The Road. His Latest Album, Purple House, Was Recorded Much Differently Than His Previous Efforts And You’ll Find Some Very Interesting Information About How He Found The Right Guitars And Amps For This Record Inside This Interview.

I Think Many Of You Will Be Very Surprised To Learn That His Telecaster And Dumble Ods Are Nowhere To Be Found On Purple House! This Was A Shock To Me And I Think That It’s A Great Lesson We Can All Learn From The Maestro: Remain Flexible And Always Experiment Even If You Have A $150,000 Holy Grail Dumble Ods That You Need To Put On The Shelf Because It’s Not Working For You!

Mark Grant

GC: How’s it going? How are you?!

RF: Fine thanks.

GC: Excellent, I’m giving you a call from Upper Lake, California actually. We’ve grown up in the same neck of the woods.

RF: Yeah, I saw that 707 area code. I was surprised.

GC: That’s cool! I’ve known of you and The Ford Brothers Blues Band since I was a young boy and it’s exciting to talk to you. Thanks for the opportunity.

RF: Sure, my pleasure.

GC: Can we talk about guitars?

RF: Sure.

GC: You’ve been known to mainly play your Telecaster for quite a while now. How did the Tele become your main axe?

RF: Well, actually, I play a variety of guitars. Umm, the Telecaster has been really important to me and umm somehow that instrument has been the most reliable, versatile instrument that I have. I play Les Pauls, I also umm spent a couple of years playing an Epiphone Riviera as my main instrument and the Tele was kind of a secondary instrument. The choice of guitar always has to do with whatever the music is that I’m playing. That would mean whatever music I’m writing. I never know exactly what that’s gonna be when I start writing. The writing usually occurs because I have an album to do. My newest record, Purple House, there is no Telecaster on that record at all. Perhaps oddly enough the main instrument is a ’64 SG. Which all of the guitar solos were played on a ’64 SG and a great deal of the electric rhythm on my part was done on a Les Paul Jr., a ’59 Les Paul Jr. So the record for me is pretty much Gibson all the way. A little bit of Les Paul on it. Again the SG and the Les Paul Jr. were the main instruments on Purple House.

GC: What amp were you using for that session?

RF: Yeah, we did a lot of sessions. The rhythm tracks, for the most part, were done using an early 60’s Pro Reverb, Fender Pro Reverb. And the solos were done I think entirely through a Vibrolux. Fender Vibrolux Reverb. This would be referred to as I think, a Custom. It’s a reissue of a Vibrolux Reverb Amplifier. 2x10” speakers. Fender reissued that amplifier for a couple of years and called it a Custom. And I bought it brand new for the record as I was struggling to get the kind of blend with the guitar that I wanted on this particular record using the Dumble Overdrive Special which is the amplifier that I’ve used for, you know, 35 years.

GC: I was surprised to hear you did not use it on the record. What kind of issues were you running into with the balance?

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

MORE STORIES FROM GUITAR CONNOISSEURView All

Unvailing Randy Angella

Randy Angella Of Concord California Is A Self-taught Luthier Who Has Been Crafting Classical Guitars Since 1975. He Is Known To Make Some Of The Very Finest Sounding Classical Guitars Available Today. Randy Has Built Instruments For Many Of The World’s Top Classical Guitar Players. His Studies Are Deep Reaching Into Areas Not Necessarily Specific To The Guitar. Randy’s Designs Go Against The Grain Of The Strict Orthodox Rules That So Many Classical Builders Adhere To. Here Are Some Thoughts He Shared With Me During Our Conversations. “thickness Of The Timbers In Many Guitars Are Very Thin And Lightly Formed. The Operating Theory Being The Law Of Conservation Of Energy. A Given Mass Acted On By A Known Quantity Of Energy, Will Be Accelerated Faster As The Mass Decreases. Inversely, Acceleration Decreases As The Mass Increases. Guitar Makers Reason, Therefore, That To Produce Maximum Volume, Lightly Built Instruments Will Provide The Maximum Sound. You Can Build A Guitar Thinly And Light And It Will Have Some Very Loud Notes. The Problem Is That A Guitar Built With Only That Concept In Mind Will Have Great Volume But May Not Have Great Tone. They Are Different Ideas. I Know A Man That Can Yell So Loud You Can Hear Him From 200 Yards Out. But He Can’t Sing. To Build A Guitar That Sings You Have To Go Deeper Into How It Makes Music And What Is Musical Sound, Then Match Them” Randy Explained. So How Does The Man Go About Doing This? Let’s Find Out...

10+ mins read
Guitar Connoisseur
Guitar Connoisseur Kevin Eubanks Spring 2019

Robben Ford Purple House

In The World Of Blues Guitar, There Are A Million Great Players Yet Few Standout Head And Shoulders Above The Rest Like Robben Ford. Robben Was One Of The Very First And Most Influential Players For Me Personally Since I Was A Young Boy. We Both Grew Up In The Same Rural Area In Northern California’s Coastal Mountains Just Above San Fransisco. He’s A Hometown Hero To Many That Live Here.He Has Given Back To Our Community Greatly Over The Years With Free Local Performances And Even Did An “artist In Residence” Stint At Our Local Junior College (Mendocino College) For A Semester Years Ago. His Brothers Are All Fantastic Musicians As Well And They All Played Together On And Off For Decades As The Ford Brother’s Blues Band. The Amount Of Natural Musical Talent That Runs In The Blood Of The Ford Family Is Astounding To Me. This Assignment Was Finally My Opportunity To Pick The Man’s Brain One On One About His Guitars, Amps, And Pedals. Robben Recently Relocated To Nashville Tn And Is Looking Forward To Spending More Time In The Studio And Less Time On The Road. His Latest Album, Purple House, Was Recorded Much Differently Than His Previous Efforts And You’ll Find Some Very Interesting Information About How He Found The Right Guitars And Amps For This Record Inside This Interview.I Think Many Of You Will Be Very Surprised To Learn That His Telecaster And Dumble Ods Are Nowhere To Be Found On Purple House! This Was A Shock To Me And I Think That It’s A Great Lesson We Can All Learn From The Maestro: Remain Flexible And Always Experiment Even If You Have A $150,000 Holy Grail Dumble Ods That You Need To Put On The Shelf Because It’s Not Working For You!

9 mins read
Guitar Connoisseur
Guitar Connoisseur Kevin Eubanks Spring 2019

Michael Schreiner: Modern Day 19th-Century Luthier

I Once Had A Sick Guitar. Not Just Any Guitar, Mind You. This One Is Truly Special. My Instrument Was Made By The French Builder, René Lacôte, In 1823. Paul Pleijsier In The Netherlands, A Classical And Electric Guitar Player, Also A Researcher Of 19th-century Guitars, Tells Me That Although There Is A Substantial Number In Existence, He Has Cataloged And Documented Only 84 Of These Instruments.By The Early 1800s, Paris Had Become A Center Of Instrument Making And Many Of The Ateliers Churning Out This Newly Popular Instrument Modeled Their Construction After The Instrument’s Coming From Lacôte’s Shop. Of All The Great Instrument Makers Living In Paris At That Time, It Was René Lacôte Who Was Dubbed The “stradivarius Of The Guitar”. He Was A Student And Apprentice To The Famous Pons Family Of Instrument Makers. Joseph Pons, Born In 1776 And Son Of Cesar Pons, Was Commissioned By The Wife Of Napoléon, Empress Marie Louise, To Make A Guitar For Her Favorite Court Musician, Mauro Giuliani.The Many Lacôte Guitars Remaining Today Are All Different, A Fact That Reveals The Master’s Constant Quest To Improve Performance And Playability, Through Developments In Manufacturing Technique, Innovative Features, And Rare Materials.I Found My René Lacôte At A Dealer In Rochester Ny. I Tried About A 6 Or 8 Other 19th Century Guitars, Many Without Labels, And Even A Panormo. You Might Call Panormo The London Rival Of Lacote. The Lacôte Was Not In The Greatest Shape, The Victim Of Numerous Dismal Repairs, And Sporting A Poorly Matched Spruce Patch Under The Bridge. This Was The Result Of A Repair Needed After One Of The Owners Tried To Use Steel Strings On An Instrument That Was Made To Be Played With Gut Strings. The Tension Of The Steel Strings Pulled Off Not Only The Bridge But Most Of The Wood From The Soundboard Below It. It Wasn’t Pretty.

10+ mins read
Guitar Connoisseur
Guitar Connoisseur Kevin Eubanks Spring 2019

Kevin Eubanks: From East To West

“Music Is Like A Back Stage Pass To Everything”Understanding, Timing And Audiences, And Comedy And Music, Kevin Eubanks Reveals How Truth Is A Pathless Land In The Pursuit Of An Ever Unfolding Career, As A Multi-Dimensional Guitar Player.

8 mins read
Guitar Connoisseur
Guitar Connoisseur Kevin Eubanks Spring 2019

Gem Picks: Made In The USA

Gem Picks Was Founded In 2016 In Providence, Rhode Island By Guitarist And Bassist Nick Pagano As A Manufacturer Of Gem-shaped Guitar Picks. After Completing A Lengthy Run Of Live Performances The Year Prior, Pagano Began Looking For A Diamond-shaped Guitar Pick With The Hope To Use Something Novel-looking And Different From The Ordinarylooking Plectrums Commonly Found Throughout The Industry. After An Extensive Search, Which Led To The Discovery That No Such Pick Existed, Pagano Immediately Began Designing And Manufacturing The First-ever Diamond-shaped Guitar Pick. Once Obtaining All Necessary Intellectual Property Rights, Gem Picks Was Officially Launched To The Public In January 2017. Using Social Media, Primarily Instagram, As Their Main Promotional Platform, Gem Picks Continues To Grow And Reach Players All Throughout The World. Since Its Launch, Gem Picks Have Made Their Way To Customers In Every Country (That Can Receive Mail) As Well As All 50 U.s. States. With Four Distinct Gem-themed Models, Gem Picks Heads Into The Future With Plans To Develop More Products Containing One Simple Goal: To Help You, The Player, “express Yourself In Richer Ways’.

6 mins read
Guitar Connoisseur
Guitar Connoisseur Kevin Eubanks Spring 2019

Gildas Dasviken Absolute Luthier

Coming From A Long Line Of Engineers, He Has Been Working In The Corporate World, And He Has Had A Strong Interest In Building And Customizing Instruments. “dasviken” Comes From The French Dialect “breton” From Brittany (Brittany). Gildas Found It On An Antique Wedding Ring That Read “a Tao Feal Das Viken” (Yours For Eternity). His Books Are Inspired By Classics From The Past And Inspiring For Generations To Come Dasviken Also Builds Pedals And Cabinets, All Of Which Abide By One Of My Favorite Quote Of His “Can You Tell Me About The Acoustic And Sonic Quality Of Plastics? No? Me Neither.”

10+ mins read
Guitar Connoisseur
Guitar Connoisseur Kevin Eubanks Spring 2019

Gales Force Warning: Here He Comes...

Read any of my other pieces on GC and you’ll know that I usually open with some sort of elaborate description of the artist I’m writing about – and often end up struggling to reduce their essence into a paragraph or two.

10+ mins read
Guitar Connoisseur
Guitar Connoisseur John 5 Spring 2018

Chelsea Williams: From Street Musician to Studio Recording Artist

Digging in her heels and staying true to her artistic vision: Chelsea Williams bounces back with Boomerang.

7 mins read
Guitar Connoisseur
Guitar Connoisseur John 5 Spring 2018

Antonio Rey: Two Sides Of Me

Flamenco is one of the most beautiful and challenging forms of music. For your standard run of the mill flamenco guitarist, there are no amps, no pedals, no special effects. Your tone is the end result of fingernail, flesh, and angle of attack on the string. 

9 mins read
Guitar Connoisseur
Guitar Connoisseur John 5 Spring 2018

Knaggs Guitars: HONGA

Joe Knaggs is an industry powerhouse with twenty years at PRS under his belt and now a decade of his own signature brand. He approaches his work with the eye of an artist and the mind of an engineer. The Honga is the newest addition to the Knaggs line, blending classic and innovative styling with superb tone and response.

8 mins read
Guitar Connoisseur
Guitar Connoisseur John 5 Spring 2018
RELATED STORIES

$1,400 STIMULUS CHECKS HELPED MARCH RETAIL SALES SOAR 9.8%

Newly vaccinated and armed with $1,400 stimulus checks, Americans went on a spending spree last month, buying new clothes and going out to eat again.

2 mins read
Techlife News
Techlife News #494

BIG-BUSINESS PUSHBACK AGAINST VOTING MEASURES GAINS MOMENTUM

Big business has ratcheted up its objections to proposals that would make it harder to vote, with several hundred companies and executives signing a new statement opposing “any discriminatory legislation.”

4 mins read
Techlife News
Techlife News #494

THE DISABLED HOPE THEIR OSCAR MOMENT CAN BECOME A MOVEMENT

Right down to its production design, the Oscars have not always felt like the most welcoming place for the disabled.

5 mins read
Techlife News
Techlife News #494

A $1.2 BILLION LOSS FOR DELTA, BUT RECOVERY IS ON THE RADAR

Delta Air Lines lost $1.2 billion in the first quarter, more than expected, but executives said Thursday that the airline could be profitable by late summer if the budding recovery in air travel continues.

3 mins read
Techlife News
Techlife News #494

USERS COULD SOON HIDE ‘LIKE' COUNTS ON INSTAGRAM, FACEBOOK

The tiny red hearts that appear under Instagram photos of kids, kittens and sandwiches can be a source of stress for many users, an insidious way of measuring self-worth and popularity.

1 min read
Techlife News
Techlife News #494

DRIVERS WANTED: RECORD DEMAND AT UBER AS VACCINATIONS RISE

Uber is offering sign-up bonuses and other incentives for drivers as it faces record demand for rides and meal delivery.

2 mins read
Techlife News
Techlife News #494

US RECOMMENDS ‘PAUSE' FOR J&J SHOTS IN BLOW TO VACCINE DRIVE

The U.S. recommended a “pause” in use of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine to investigate reports of rare but potentially dangerous blood clots, setting off a chain reaction worldwide and dealing a setback to the global vaccination campaign.

5 mins read
Techlife News
Techlife News #494

COINBASE SOARS IN MARKET DEBUT, VALUED NEAR $86 BILLION

Coinbase made a rousing debut on Wall Street Wednesday, with shares of the digital currency exchange rising as high as $429, briefly giving it a market value over $100 billion.

3 mins read
Techlife News
Techlife News #494

GOOGLE EARTH ADDS TIME LAPSE VIDEO TO DEPICT CLIMATE CHANGE

The Google Earth app is adding a new video feature that draws upon nearly four decades of satellite imagery to vividly illustrate how climate change has affected glaciers, beaches, forests and other places around the world.

2 mins read
Techlife News
Techlife News #494

The Food Fight in Fake Meat

Beyond Meat was an early leader. But rival Impossible Foods and others want to eat its lunch

6 mins read
Bloomberg Businessweek
April 19, 2021