Call Us


Best Content of All Time

  • Practicing, Sincerity, Awareness, and Passion!

    Read the full story here

    imagePracticing, Sincerity, Awareness, and Passion!

    Greetings folks! Today, I would like to talk about two important, yet, often overlooked aspects of music: awareness and intent. These two terms are rather vague, indeed, but encompass many aspects of music, and I would like to focus on what I believe to be the most important ones. Many people contact me asking for advice on what they should be practicing; I strongly feel that understanding these issues will inevitably help you determine what you should be working on, as a musician.

    Read the full story here

    Charles MeadowsNoneBucoBluesBop HarrypickitjohnVeedonFleeceJazzaferrilacrossehotclubPetrovMarkAand 2 others.
  • Django, Baro, and Gangsters

    The following is from a letter sent to me in 1998 or so by a guitarist who has played music professionally in Paris since 1959, when he was hired by Matelot Ferret. He was drafted to fight in the Algerian war; the following occurred shortly after his release from duty, around 1962. Translation, mistakes and italics are mine.

    Matelot – Salut, fiston (sonny), it’s good to see you are back, but you’re looking a bit fatigued.
    Jean-Marie – It was the trip, I wasn’t able to sleep on the train last night.
    M –Where were you coming from?
    J-M – I was at l’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue at my parents house.
    M - Are you out of the army now?
    JM – Yes, that’s finished. I’ve been out nearly a month.
    M – Where are you staying?
    JM – At my usual place, the little hotel in the rue Germaine Pilon. You remember the place?
    M – Sure. With the nice looking girl there who liked you so much…
    JM – Right, that’s the place. She told me that I’d grown old.
    M – No, not exactly – but with your little beard, you’re not the same, either. You’ve changed. I’d say you’ve aged some.
    JM – Maybe that’s true, but not everyone says so!
    M – So tell me, fiston, couldn’t your friend Gino (Bordin, the well-known Hawaiian guitarist) rent you your old room, in rue Audran, I believe?
    JM – Right. I saw Gino this morning. He has promised me that the current tenant will be gone in a couple of weeks.
    M – How’s Gino doing?
    JM – He’s doing fine. We had lunch together, his wife Margot made spaghetti. His old friend Fredo Gardoni was there too.
    M – Impossible! You couldn’t have seen Fredo Gardoni, my brothers and I worked with him all the time, I guess it was way back in 1936 or so.
    JM – Yeah, that’s a long time, and I didn’t know that. I’ll tell you, I have never before seen such a fat man, he’s really enormous. You should have seen how much he ate! I’ll tell you, he really stuffed himself, incredible, I’ve never seen the like!
    M – He didn’t play his accordeon?
    JM – He did. Gino wanted me to accompany him, and he played a valse on his little accordeon. At the end of the piece he was completely out of breath, he wasn’t able to play any more after that. I liked his playing because he had a surprising tempo, a little bit slow, a fine mise en place. His phrasing was very good, supple and flowing. I didn’t exactly know this style, it was interesting for me, but it was hard for him.
    M - Did you find any work yet?
    JM – No, not at the moment. Of course I’m just back in town, I need to renew my contacts.
    M – You know, fiston, I can’t take you back. Since you left, I found another guitarist. Of course I must keep him on. But – I believe my brother Baro is looking for someone, I’m just not sure what for.
    JM – I understand quite well that you can’t take me back, Matelot, and of course I’m not here to ask for that. I wanted to see you again, and I’m happy…
    But I do need a job. You know everybody in town, maybe you can help me? Alors – when can we go to see Baro?
    M - Listen up, fiston… If you like, tonight at half past midnight, we'll meet at his bar-tabac near the porte de Ternes. It’s a little boite on the corner. You’ll see soon enough what he’s got in mind.

    The little bar formerly called Judex (an ironic name - Judex was a mysterious crime fighter in popular novels) was now called La Guitare. Matelot left after he introduced me to his brother. The two of us were sitting face-to-face alone in the bar. Baro gazed a me for a few moments – finally breaking the silence:

    Baro – Look here Barbu – I’ve no need of a guitarist. I need a barman, and I pay very well. Because, this is a bar for “friends”. You get my meaning?
    JM – Yes I think so.
    B – My “friends” will leave you good tips. Interested?
    JM – Monsieur Baro, I’ve never tended bar before – I don’t know anything about it.
    B –Barbu - I didn’t ask you that. I asked - are you interested?
    JM - Yes … Of course… I am just out of the army and I must earn a living. Why not! If you will show me what I must do. When do I start?
    B – You have started already Barbu, tiens. Get your uniform, which you will find in the little room beside the door, then you may take your place behind the bar.

    While I was putting on the white vest, which curiously fit me perfectly, I was reflecting that the events that had brought me to this place were a little disconcerting. After all I had lived through in Algeria, now I found myself as a barman in a little bar with this fantastic character as my new boss.

    B – OK, Barbu. That’s good. You look superb in the vest, I’d say that it fits like it was tailored for you… Listen up, Barbu – I’m going to explain something important to you. When I ask you for a petite Chivas, you must serve it to me in a large glass, this one here, and then fill to this level , just so. Here, you do it now.
    JM – Here, how’s this?
    B – That’s perfect, I knew you weren’t stupid. You understand everything.
    JM – So far, so good. This isn’t too difficult.
    B – You’re right, of course… Barbu, pay attention here. When I am with the “cousins”, I might ask you for my special – listen well here! You will pour me a Chivas from this special bottle, under the bar on the shelf to the right. And after you pour for me put it back immediately. This bottle is for me only. Do not ever serve another person from it! This bottle is water tinted with tea – do you clearly understand all this, Barbu?
    LM – Sure, I get this part, but as for the rest, I don’t know any thing…
    B – We’re not busy, I’ll go and see what’s going on… Ah – one last thing before I forget. If one day, we should receive a “visit” from the flics, you will return to your place behind the bar as quickly as possible, and you will stay there. You with me here, Barbu?
    JM – Yeah…
    B – And try to get out of here under some pretext, don’t tell those poulagas anything. OK, go prepare me a p’tit Chivas and something for yourself, too. It’s my round this time. I think the clients will be arriving soon…

    He rubbed his hands together with satisfaction. Baro was a guy who'd had some trouble with the law and had passed some time “in the cupboard” as he put it. I had quickly understood some important things – first, to keep in my place in any and all circumstances and, especially, to never meddle in his affairs.

    Over the next several months, I poured many “special” Chivas, and opened many bottles of Champagne for Baro and his friends. These “Messieurs”, with their big American cars, their signet rings and chain bracelets of solid gold, their way of dressing, which usually included a not-too-concealed pistol, seemed like characters from the movie “Les Tontons Flingeurers”. That’s to say, their exaggerated dialogues and behavior had a sort of comic side. Baro, on the other hand, was a hell of a guitarist and musician who recorded over 80 sides with the HCQ beside Django. He was also a specialist composer of jazz waltzes like Patte de Velours, Panique, etc, that were played by the greatest accordeonists of the day.

    Between 1935 and 1940, Baro recorded at Django’s side, something like 90 titles. You don’t spend five years beside such a giant as Django without it leaving some indelible trace on you! For me Baro was a superb guitarist with this strong link to the long ago time of Django.

    (Worth noting is that at this time, the "long-ago time of Django" was less than 10 years past)
    The American tune “Georgia on My Mind” as sung by Ray Charles was popular at the time. One night when it was just the two of us in the bar, Baro asked me to play something for him. After he had listened for a bit, with obvious pleasure at hearing the “modern” chords I was using on the old standard (Jean-Marie has a completely unique and advanced way of voicing and using chords), he said to me that “in my time we didn’t play it that way”. He took my guitar, and had me watch and listen to the way that on 15 October 1936, with Django and the Quintette of the Hot Club of France, he played this same tune with an American singer named Freddy Taylor. After the demonstration, this conversation followed:

    Baro – You see, Barbu, that which we played, it’s not the same as you play it today.
    JM – That’s quite true, Baro, but in reality, the chords you just played for me aren’t the same ones you used in the old days either.
    B – How’s that, Barbu? What do you mean by that? How can you think that you know how I played or didn’t play them? You’re full of it, Barbu…
    JM - No, no – I’m not crazy. Of course I wasn’t there, I wasn’t even born in 1936, but the fact is, you are mistaken about the chords and I can prove it to you.
    B – Ah, he’s a smart one… OK, smart guy, show me what I played – go on – prove it to me, I’m listening…

    I played for him some passages from “Georgia…” with the chords he had forgotten, and which, thanks to the records that I possessed, I had been able to learn exactly as played. Baro was helpless… After a few moments of deep meditiation, he recognized his errors and laughed:

    B - “Non, non, non, Barbu”… I’m not wrong… I’ve forgotten… It’s different…

    He found it quite amazing that I was able, just from listening to an old disc, to “see” how they had played in the old days. I tried to explain to him that it really was not that big of a job, that any modern professional guitarist worthy of the title would find this in every way an ordinary skill. But he simply couldn’t understand how I’d done it. He was totally overwhelmed by the whole business.

    Thanks to these exceptional moments, where we spoke, or where we played together – he occasionally asked me to accompany him, though only when we were alone in the bar – a strong friendship and a real musical respect grew between us. Our musical sessions always ended in a bizarre fashion. Inevitably, he would fail to finish the tune we were playing, then this unknowable character would rise in one motion from his chair, lean his guitar against the wall, rub his hands together quickly in obvious contentment, then he’d say:

    “Allez, Barbu – back to your place behind the bar and set me up a small Chivas. I think the clients will be arriving soon. We’re going to break the bank tonight.”

    I always opened the bar at 1030 PM and usually left around 4 in the morning, though Baro sometimes kept the place open a little later. I was there for many soirees when the gitanes came with their guitars, to play some and compare themselves to the man many of them considered their spiritual master. But Baro always played the same way, the same tunes, and these sessions inevitably ended in some sort of musical cacophony. The implacable Baro would quickly put things to order, and would then ask me to put a disc by Django on the player, thus reminding all in this little world of true reality.

    And here are a couple of quotes from a later interview (from an unreleased film), around 2008:

    FAM - C’est très difficile de definir Baro sans faire d’allusion à ses activités professionnelles, et ce que je ne peux pas faire.

    It's quite difficult to define Baro without discussing this aspect of his life, and that I cannot do.

    JM - C'est possible. Mais vous savez moi j’ai jamais fait de gangsterisme ni avec Monsieur Baro, ni avec Monsieur Montagne. Je, je… sur ce plan là je peux rien vous dire.

    It's possible, but you know I was never involved in this "gangster" business with either Baro or Montagne. So on this subject I can tell you nothing

    Note that there was no reason whatsoever for either of these men to remain silent on the subject, but neither would say anything "on the record".

    It has been suggested for a long time that Montagne took over Baro's "affairs" when he died.

    Baro's "activities" began as black-marketing during the war, continued on with fencing stolen goods, and then he became a powerful "maquereau" or pimp. Apparently in France, prostitution is legal but procuring is not - is that correct?

    Because of the easy money and the unlimited supply of naive performers to take advantage of, crime and popular culture/popular music have always been joined at the hip. From Storyville/New Orleans through the bebop era, through payola in the 50s, Las Vegas in the days of the Rat Pack, and Hollywood from the very beginning, organized and other crime was always there to help out. In the late 60s you had the LA/Laurel Canyon scene where all manner of psychopaths, predators, drug dealers and the porn industry freely mingled with the many rock musicians who lived there, and Hell's Angels were always part of the Bay Area rock/drug scene. The list of rockers who were fleeced by their managers is a long one... I'm sure it's the same everywhere. And today, popular music (and popular culture in general) glorifies crime and criminals more than ever before, so there are probably still many criminals in that world.

    But Baro was unique; nowhere else in modern popular music/popular culture do we find a genuine crime boss with the kind of rare talent that Baro had. I have listened to "Swing Valses..." hundreds of times since I bought the CD in 1993, and really it's just impossible to tell where these tunes came from. It's weird, spooky and unique music - some kind of strange jazz modernism, full of odd dissonances and harmonies. It's not the music of a mild personality, it's the original music of a strong and forceful character - "here's what I have to say - take it or leave it." It isn't the music that we call "gypsy jazz" nowadays, and I suppose that many people don't like it for that reason. But it is part of the family tree and is important for that reason. But since no one else seems capable of playing these compositions, they'll probably remain obscurities... I always wondered if Charles Delauney's connection to the world of cubism and modern art was part of the reason he was willing to take a chance on music this bizarre.

    I have more notes from other interviews, I will have to see if I can find them. Baro had some connection to the famous partisan/bank robber Pierrot le Fou, I will see if I can find those notes. I also have a photograph of Sarrane Ferret with the notorious crime lord Jo Attia, will try to scan it somehow.

    I have a fascinating recording from a session at "La Lanterne" later in time, but it's too big to post here. Suggestions on how to post it where all can hear?
    Teddy DupontBucopickitjohnMichaelHorowitzAl WatskyWim GlennFrank WekenmannSvanis1337NoneJazzaferriand 1 other.
  • First "Petite Bouche" ever

    Been working on a writeup for the site, about the genesis of the GJ guitar, but realistically, I'll never finish it ;-) because this lengthy beast covers only a few superficial features and it's already... "impolitely long and wandering" haha... So I'll just post what I have here, in this thread as it seems apropos. If it's interesting to anyone, I'm happy. If it causes anyone angst... well, these are just my observations, make of them what you will. If you enjoy them, I'm thrilled. If not... my apologies.

    With those caveats in place, here's a loosely collected set of thoughts and observations as relates to the development of some features of what we now call GJ guitars:

    When I started building these guitars, the only information I could find was that they were supposedly “Inspired by Neopolitan mandolins.” But really, I don't understand why that comparison is made. Pliages seem to be the only thing that Neopolitan Mandolins & Selmers have in common, and it was a feature particular to Selmers as most of the Italian and French GJ guitars had no pliages. But even if the pliage is used as a basis for comparison, the pliages of folded-top mandolins are very different than those found on Selmer guitars. The pliages of Selmers are more similar (though not identical) to those found on some Baroque instruments. If you widen the comparison beyond the Selmer guitar, there are other similarities between GJ & Baroque instruments. The diagonal deuxieme barre of many of the early Italian GJ guitars (but not Selmers) seems inspired by the asymmetrical designs of the French & Italian romantic guitars including Fabricatore, Lacote etal., but if you go back and look at the pre-Romantic guitars, you can see that as early as 1680, Stradivari used diagonal deuxieme barres in Baroque guitars (an example is in the Ashmolean museum). I haven't gone back farther than that, as my interest in the development of the GJ guitar is primarily functional, begins with the creation of the modern guitar, and is admittedly Euro-centric. Although there were guitars as early as the 13th century and in other parts of the world, they didn't bear much resemblance to what we think of as a GJ guitar. I draw the line at ~1650 which is approximately when Voboam began building and Stradivari was 5 or 6 years old.

    The characteristic GJ guitar body shape – and this is just my conjecture – probably came from Friederich Schenk (b.~1800). Schenk inspired Mozzani and Mozzani inspired Maccaferri. Friederich Schenk made huge beautiful harp guitars with big fat bottoms and 'points' reminiscent of harps that seem to have been there to help hold the instrument on the lap, because harp guitars were heavy and were held with the neck pointing up at a rather extreme angle. Did Schenk originate the idea of the points? Maybe. Or perhaps he got the idea from decorative points on lutes made hundreds of years before. But whether Schenk originated these 'points' or not, here is where my conjecture about the origin of the GJ guitar shape comes in. I can tell you from experience that it is a huge pain in the backside to make good guitar molds, and it is known that Maccaferri followed Mozzani and that Mozzani made harp guitars in the style of Schenk. So my guess is that Maccaferri probably used some of Mozzani's molds when he was prototyping his guitars. If you look at the sides of a Schenk harp guitar, you can see that if you bend the area near the heel a little on a hot iron, you will wind up with a bottom-heavy guitar and a pointed cutout. The similarity in shape to a Selmer seems too coincidental to not be related. I've prototyped too many guitars to have any illusions about how it's done. You use the molds that you have, and you modify them or build freehand when necessary, because building a full set of molds for every experiment would be insane. Other builders, like Ramirez, were inspired by this aesthetic, and used it more-or-less exactly as Schenk did, but I'm guessing that Maccaferri used Mozzani's molds and modified the sides with a hot iron to achieve a smaller body with a defined cutout which allowed access to frets past the body joint. Perhaps he liked the unique aesthetic and built the first Selmer Maccaferri molds accordingly. Now... it's certainly possible that other builders, either known or obscure, played a role in the development. I am no historian - just a guy trying to put myself in the mind of the people who originated this style of instrument by making their influences my influences, and by so doing, to build with greater authenticity. But occam's razor in mind, my money is on Schenk-Mozzani-Maccaferri. Or at least, I think it's likely that Maccaferri played some part in it, whether it was a solo, combined, or concurrent invention.

    The thing about history, is that when it's being made, it's just everyday life… sometimes boring, sometimes exciting... but just, life. Life isn't history until someone cleans it up and finds a common path through which a lot of data points can be fit, trims some details, elaborates on others, and creates a compelling narrative that fits a linear timeline within the context of other events. But in reality, invention is dirty, redundant, uncertain, and often stumbles backward and sideways as much as it does forward until something happens that is considered significant enough to point at as a seminal event or form. In Jazz Manouche, one important seminal point is the overlap of two events: 1.) Django Reinhardt going to a Stephane Grappely (later Grapelli) concert and inviting him to jam, and 2.) Mario Maccaferri convincing a young Django to play his guitars. Therefore, regardless of how and when the GJ guitar style was originated, it tends to be viewed through a window that looks backward and forward from the confluence of Django-Stephane-Mario in the early 1930's.

    Anyway, here are three pictures for you.

    1.) A picture of a ~1830 Schenk guitar at the Musical Instrument Museum in Berlin, showing the fat bottom and pointed feature.
    2.) Mario Maccaferri playing on a Mozzani harp guitar showing how those points were used to settle the guitar on the player's lap. Note the body shape and size and cutout is modified from the Schenk, and is closer in size and shape to a Selmer-Maccaferri. For more information, visit www.harpguitars.net
    3.) A picture of two guitars, both made in molds created from measurements of the body of an unmodified 500-series Selmer. Note the fat bottom and Schenk-like cutout. These guitars were made ~2012 (Mac) and ~2014 (Petit).

    ~200 years from Schenk forward to today
    ~200 years from Schenk back to Baroque
    ~80 years ago that Django met Stephane & Mario prototyped what would become the Selmer Maccaferri

    kevingcoxBucojonpowlsteven_eirenomadgtrMichaelHorowitzBill Da Costa WilliamsDaveyc
  • Rest Stroke "relax" - how? And a few other questions

    Today I spend some time at a sinti camp in the south of the Netherlands. We were with three - Paulus Schäfer, Brad Brose and me - jamming a bunch of tunes. It was a really awesome jam with great solos from everyone involved. The key thing I noticed is that everyone played super soft but swinging rhythm. Really, soft rhythm playing is the key to relaxed lead players and confident solos.

    If you're in a situation with (too) loud rhythm players I think it's worth it to say something about it.
    altonAmundLauritzenBucoChiefbigeasyJazzaferriBill Da Costa WilliamsMichaelHorowitz
  • Django's guitar setup

    May, 1946. Extract from an article by Sam Adams who was at the recordings the String Quintet made in London in 1946. "The strings were of extremely light gauge and when I played a few chords I was amazed at the lowness of the action". - Pretty conclusive I think.

    From an article by Allan Hodgkiss who borrowed Django's guitar for a radio broadcast when Django was taken ill in the UK. "Django's guitar was extremely responsive (I could easily raise the fifth and sixth strings a quarter of a tone with finger pressure alone)".
  • News about Jimmy Rosenberg

    I found an article about Jimmy Rosenberg in a local Dutch newspaper. I translated it because it sheds some light on Jimmy’s situation. Let me know when you have trouble understanding the translation.

    Jimmy Rosenberg on stage and then to the rehab clinic: It is my last chance

    Guitar virtuoso Jimmy Rosenberg (Asten, 1980) was a world star but became addicted and entangled in his own life. He has hardly been seen in public in the last ten years. Soon he will be a grandfather for the second time. Because he can only see his grandchildren when he is clean, he retreats to a closed clinic. But he also wants to shine on the guitar one more time. "Why do they only care about you when you're famous?"

    If you do not know Jimmy Rosenberg's story yet, you should check out the famous documentary 'The father, the son & the talent' from Eindhoven-based Jeroen Berkvens from 2006: a gypsy jazz guitarist from De Peel (area in the Netherlands where Jimmy is from) causes furor from a young age. The world's best jazz guitarist gets an American contract and plays on the highest world stage. But 'the new Django Reinhardt' quickly gets into trouble.

    Where is Jimmy? How is he doing? It has been buzzing with rumors for a long time. After 2007 he hardly performed, hardly showed up. He lived in Neerkant, among his brothers, in Eindhoven and Gemert, but stayed mainly in clinics and crisis shelter locations, lately in Helmond. To finally get rid of his addictions - currently methadone and medicines - he wants to get himself locked up this week in a closed rehab clinic.

    But before that, he wanted to be on the podium one more time. That was last Sunday (December 2nd, 2018) in pop stage Volt in Sittard. ,,I hope they have arranged it well backstage," says 38-year-old Jimmy, on his way to the changing room. "Dear darling," warns his 'manager' Maria van de Water, "Do not expect too much of it, it is not like before." On the way to the wings Jimmy sees a crate of Chocomel (a Dutch brand of chocolate milk served in bottles), which he wants to take with him. "Darling", Maria says again, "we do not do that anymore."

    40.000 for half an hour

    He used to get milk on stage as a child, Jimmy says, when he plops down on the couch in the changing room. "That was the white motor" (a slogan from a 1980’s Dutch commercial). But now I have a new addiction, chocolate milk! Put that on top of your story”. Jimmy Rosenberg has not lost his sense of humor. He did lose a lot of other things though. Without being asked a question, he summarizes some highlights from his former career: "I had a US contract with Sony. 168 pages! I got 40,000 for half an hour! Cash, because I did not even have a bank account. Carlos Santana, Marvin Gaye, Eric Clapton, Paco de Lucía, Tomatito: they were all fans. Michael Jackson called me the rising morning star. Paparazzi were after me." He has many stories to tell: for example about the time he was with B.B. King on podium: "I said to him: why do you play only those few minor chords. Play jazz, that's a lot nicer." Or when he bought a brand new car worth hundreds of thousands back in Brabant "I did not even have a driver's license, and it didn’t take long before I crashed it." "It was a bottomless pit," says Jimmy, "everything I earned I spend immediately." He has been living in a well for years now, he says, a very deep black one.

    Where did it go wrong? "Drugs, yes man. I was stuffed with nerve tablets from a very early age. I did not want to play anymore, then my father broke my guitar. I became an entirely different man, lonely, excluded."
    His Sinti family grew up in Southeast Brabant. But he has never really lived anywhere, he says. "I lived on the plane, I grew up in hotels. You know, I did not have a nice childhood, I have never been a child. Once I was home with my father, I had a stone in my stomach. I still have to get all kinds of things from him."

    A good childhood. That is what he would have wanted to give his own children. He tried, but he didn't succeed. Heroin, speed, cocaine, xtc; he once put all of it on his daughter's table. "I grabbed the hair trimmer and said: if you ever use this, your hair will come off."
    Last year, fate struck and his son died. He was only sixteen years old. "Never touched a cigarette or a joint. He suddenly got a blister on his leg and died. Man, such a beautiful boy, the girls were crazy about him. I could not stand with him then. Not even at the funeral." His gravestone (in the Molenstraat cemetery in Helmond - red) does not have the name Rosenberg, but rather that of his stepfather's. "That hurts horribly, you know."


    Jimmy then went deeper into the hole. "You wretched man” constantly shouted a voice in my ear. I tried to hang myself, I did not hesitate. But when I kicked the stool, I panicked. My youngest brother saved me then. The death of my boy absorbed my whole life. I was so angry with God. Why him, and not me? I have had 32 overdoses. Should have been dead long ago."

    "No, it really does not work out very well," he sighs. But now it has been enough. That's why he lets himself be locked up. As soon as a spot is available, he is gone. The main reason: as long as he is not clean, he is not allowed to see his two grandchildren, the children of his 25 (!) Year old daughter, living in Cranendonck. And soon he will be a grandfather for the second time. "This is worth everything to me. And I don't want scenes. It is my last chance. "

    He not only doesn't get to see his own grandchildren (two boys), also his so-called 'friends' from before. Even his own family doesn’t look him up anymore. "A plastic smile, that's what you can get. Nobody wants to have anything to do with you. As if I have a contagious disease. Why do people only look at you when you're famous? "


    Yet there are still people who care about Jimmy. Like the folk singer Stanley Hazes, who could not be here today, but who presented himself as a personal companion and visits him almost daily in the shelter: "Very intensive."
    Maria van de Water and her husband Ad from The Helmond artist agency Hollandia Media Groep. Van de Water: "Jimmy wants it very much. And if he is clean, we really want to continue with him. We also hope for a production: Jimmy on the guitar, and Stanley singing. But of course, it will never be like it was. He only wants to play just for the pleasure of it anyway. "

    Jimmy confirms this: "Money doesn't matter to me anymore, yes, you need it for food and drink, nothing more." What are his days like? "I study a lot, and if I play now, it will go on for three nights and three days. Improvising. My guitar is still my wife. I have studied a lot to get this far. I wanted to be as good as Biréli Lagrène and my cousin Stochelo. That did happen."

    When he is back, he wants to teach children and perform again. "Then I write history. All the big ones die from an overdose. Not me. Then I become the king of jazz again. Then you are going to do promotion for me, that I come to TMF (music television station in The Netherlands) and Boulevard (a tv-show), or whatever it is called. But it will certainly not go without a struggle," he acknowledges.
    "I have a lot of support from my faith, I am an evangelist. Do not let me become Job, I always thought. I also came up above everyone else, you know, talked to kings and presidents, but also lost everything. "


    Although he does not even have his own guitar anymore, there is always the music. A twinkle appears in his eyes. "Music still fills me with joy. I am no longer in shape, I have unbearable back pain, my heart is not working properly. But when I play, I have no problems at all. And that all those people are still coming for you and applauding, like today, that is still the greatest miracle. "
    In the Volt concert hall in Sittard, the excitement is now increasing among the crowds. Could the guitar hero of yesteryear still be able to do it? Would he come anyway? Jimmy came, and he still could. The musical fire in him is still burning. Lightning fast virtuoso runs bring the hall in an hour of rapture. Although the guitarist seems to be absorbed in his own world, somewhere far away in the crevices of his mind. But occasionally he wakes up from his intoxication for a moment, and with eyes he looks in the hall, beaming. At the front are people with tears in their eyes. It is so beautiful, so special. "How is it possible?", A visitor sighs afterward. "Such an incredible talent, so many years thrown away. Such a shame."


    December 8, 2018 Eindhovens Dagblad
    Dieter van den Bergh 08-12-18, 14:00 Laatste update: 15:20
    Bucogeese_comvanmalmsteenadriant-birdsteffoBonesJoseSpaakenChris Martinand 3 others.
  • Guitars without trussrods

    ** EDIT** Haha... I wrote this (below) before seeing that you posted, Ben. It's interesting to see what I thought a few years back and now. I started building at a time that may have been the apex of the use of the "crap rod" and was just horrified at them. Over the years I played a few old Strats & (real) Loars and thought: "Damn, I like these necks." which led me to study them and talk with a friend who is a machinist to understand alloys & tempering & metal joinery etc. It's fascinating stuff but in the end I love woodworking and so only took away the concepts of metalworking necessary to make good trussrods. Thanks for the trip down memory lane ;-)


    Here are a few things to consider when it comes to trussrods

    1.) Trussrods are not for stability.
    Neck stability comes from the type of wood, the cut of the wood, the quality of the wood, the stability of the wood, the size of the neck, the load on the neck, and the care/abuse of the guitar. Putting a trussrod in a neck that isn’t stable, won’t make it stable. It will, however, make the neck more resistant to abuse from heat and heavy strings, which is probably where the misconception of using trussrods for stability came from. Stability is more about hygroscopy than strength. Strength is mostly about mass and the compression strength of the wood, and long term stability / durability / resistance to damage is a function of the ability of the neck to deal with sources of abuse from heavy strings, high heat, rapid temperature changes & etc. Aliphatic and vinyl-acetate resins start to soften at around 160f and even protein glues can be damaged by this level of heat. Dried hide glue is very heat resistant on its own, but in a wood joint, at high temperatures, moisture comes out of the wood surrounding the hide-glue joint, and that moisture+heat can degrade a healthy protein glue joint. particularly in humid areas. Well, some types & modifications of protein glues, and some synthetic *-acrylate resins can hold up in heat and humidity, but are seldom used because irreversible is synonymous with unrepairable. The moral to the story, is don’t leave your guitar in your car on a sunny day, and don’t leave your guitar in direct sunlight, either outside or inside. They soak up more heat from sun than you’d ever believe possible.

    Regarding neck wood stability. There is a reason that some woods are more commonly used as neck wood. Generally, the woods used for necks fit along a sliding scale of strength and stability and demonstrate a good combination of characteristics. Some commonly used neck woods are low density but have low overall shrinkage and a low ratio of radial-to-axle shrinkage, such as Spanish cedar, so they are light and not exactly strong, but very stable and appropriate for nylon/gut instruments. Some common neck woods are medium density and have moderate shrinkage and moderate radial-to-tangential shrinkage from humidity, such as Mahogany and Walnut, hence their use as general purpose neck woods. Finally, some woods have high density but higher overall shrinkage and radial-to-tangential shrinkage such as hard maple and rosewood, hence their use in bass guitars etc. Also, some woods tend to hold and express tension more or less due to their cellular makeup and where/how they’re grown. Spanish Cedar tends to be very stable. Cut 10 necks and use them all. But maple, on the other hand, runs the gamut from stable to unbelievably - jaw droppingly - comically - infuriatingly unstable. Mahogany (real mahogany) tends to be stable if cut well and Walnut is similar.

    2.) Trussrods are not adjustments
    This “trussrods are for adjusting playability” misconception is the corollary to the misconception that truss rods create stability. The thing is, setup geometry is a fairly static thing. If you want a guitar to play a certain way, that means a certain profile of clearance of the strings over frets that will give you a perceived string tension while you’re playing, so that your fretting and note bending are comfortable to you, and your notes ring cleanly - provided you fret and play with good technique. Truss rods are not there to allow the user to change the amount of relief or action, but rather to resist string tension to maintain the desired amount of relief put into the whole neck, not just the part affected by the trussrod, and hence maintain the setup and intonation which are adjusted through the nut, frets, bridge & tailpiece. Heavier strings might require more truss rod tension to maintain that desired setup profile. Moving to a drier or more humid climate might necessitate an adjustment of the trussrod because dry or humid wood may offer a different inherent amount of resistance to string tension, but the goal is always to use the trussrod as part of a system for resisting string tension to maintain a stable setup geometry. Loosening a truss rod to increase action will put too much relief in the neck which will change intonation and probably create a hump at the body join or a rise/drop at the other end of the fretboard depending on the design of the guitar. Also, even a moderate change in relief will change the downforce on the soundboard on a Selmer style guitar. Archtops - not so much - because their neck angle is so huge that the change is proportionately less. Think of how you put downforce on your soundboard using the strings. The downforce on the soundboard comes from strings at a tension across three points… the zero fret, the bridge top, and the tailpiece base. Raise the bridge and you increase the downforce. Raise either the tailpiece or the zero fret and you decrease it. The effect of twiddling a truss rod isn’t always disastrous, but it changes more than people realize, and it can affect the sound, playability & longevity of the instrument, which is why it’s better to make action & intonation adjustments at the nut & bridge than with the trussrod

    3.) There are many kinds of trussrods, and a lot of them do nothing but introduce problems.
    There are three primary mechanisms used in truss rods. There are compression/expansion rods, which compress or stretch neck wood to introduce a counter-tension to the strings. There are bending rods, such as the old Fender trussrods & late 1920’s Lloyd Loar rods, which are installed curved and straighten when tightened, because the shortest line is the straight line between points. There are self-resisting truss rods. These consist of two rods or a rod & a bar or channel that are held in a certain position by the relative tension of the two. These self-resisting rods are by far the most common today because they can, if they’re stout enough, and if they’re installed perfectly, and if the wood around them doesn’t shrink or expand thus loosening them over time, they *can* increase the stability of an unstable neck in the short term. However, they also can rattle over time as the wood expands and contracts around them over the years, and they are often a LOT heavier (heaviest I’ve seen was nearly 200 grams, vs. about 60-80 grams for a good traditional rod.

    So the answer is: “It depends”. When I use trussrods, I make them, so I know the steel is top quality, the design is proper, the weight is low & the installation is proper. I use traditional rods that are a combination compression/bending much like Lloyd Loar used in the late 20’s and Leo Fender used in the early 50’s. They’re a PITA to install right, but they’re light & they lock in with the neck - they have a lot of throw and are low tension so they achieve a lot of throw and don’t over-compress & damage the neck. If done that way, there’s no difference in the acoustic performance of a good adjustable truss neck (Prewar Loar/Pre-CBS Fender) and a good fixed-truss neck (Selmer / prewar Martin) because they're essentially the same thing - a light strong reinforcement locked into and working with the neck wood as part of the neck system. But if the trussrod is a heavy rattly POS glued into an oversized channel with gooey sealer to keep it from rattling, well... all bets are off. I don't know of any good GJ builders who use crap rods though. It fairly small & harcore community of builders, like the player community, come to think of it ;-)
    Michael BauerAmir_GBill Da Costa WilliamsJonadrianAppelbluetrainBuco
  • French virtuosos - how they became this way?

    haha thanks but i wouldn't say that i play well. I started about 16 years ago if i'm not mistaken (I was still a late teenager then so, I don't know how late that is haha).

    Like I said I wouldn't quite say that I play well. I definitely do know quite a lot but for years now I haven't had the time to really practice hard like say Gonzalo Bergara did ( I think we started around the same time). I think I can say that I can definitely survive if I had to jam with guys like Bireli, Stochelo, Angelo (which I actually have hahaha). I can definitely play rhythm guitar though :-)

    Gonzalo and I obviously went in different paths. He's pursuing the artist life really hard, and it's awesome. The full-time professional touring musician life is just too brutal for me and I really like producing the videos that I do and I've been doing more and more of that for the past 6-8 years. It takes up all my time. The only way you can really get good is to practice a few hours every single day. My super busy schedule doesn't really allow that anymore. I still improve in some ways because I have quite good ears, and I learn extremely quickly but nothing beats practicing hard!

    However, when I first started out, I was obsessed with only one thing. A friend of mine at that time said that non-Gypsies would never be able to play like Gypsies. That statement totally shocked me, and it become a huge obsession of mine to understand the "Gypsy" sound. I definitely worked really hard at trying to understand that and if I may dare say so, I succeeded.

    Just a few days ago, my roommate and I were playing a game. He played random music for me, and I had to guess if the musicians were Gypsies or not. I pretty much guessed everything right.

    Now to be clear.. Sounding like a Gypsy does not mean sounding better or worse. It's more like French people can hear the difference between different French accents, or how Americans can tell someone is from Boston or from southern USA, etc... IT has absolutely zero baring on the quality of music.

    Sebastien Giniaux does not sound like a Gypsy, he sounds like himself. That's an even better thing! Same thing with Gonzalo. Adrien sounds like himself too... Actually if he restrained himself from playing all his weird stuff, he actually could sound like a Gypsy.

    Joscho Stephan told me a great story about how when he started out, he wanted to do the same, he wanted to sound like Stochelo and those guys. When he released his record, people praised him for not sounding like that, when in his mind, that was the goal haha.. Joscho sounds like Joscho.

    But anyway, that was really the thing I wanted the most back then, so I worked to get it by befriending Gypsies , and one thing led to another ... So that's all I can say about it. That hasn't been an obsession of mine for a long time so I wouldn't even want to try to sound like a Gypsy, I just really try to be myself, but that intense period of "cracking the code" has definitely had some permanent effects on me.

    Nowadays, I don't know if we can really call this music Gypsy Jazz, there are so many sub-genres, and a whole new generation of players from about 2007 or so showed up from around the world. Many great players who have had little contact with Gypsies. Even if one has contact with Gypsies , it doesn't mean they'll get the sound either. 99% of these players don't sound like Gypsies, and I find that reallly cool and original ... what I find less original is the obsession trying to copy players like adrien, sebastien, etc... Furthermore, there are many Gypsy sounds; when I was playing that game with my roommate, I was telling him, that guy sounds Dutch, this guy sounds German, east of France, I nailed it every time. My mother has lived in Quebec for over 40 years, she still doesn't have a Quebecois French accent, and she doesn't have a Canadian English accent either.

    The easiest Gypsy style for me to imitate is the Dutch style. If you listen to Thomas Baggerman, that's very clear.

    This is getting a bit off topic so I'll stop here..

    I will say one thing related to this topic though. I think Paris (not France, but specifically Paris) is a great place to learn Gypsy Jazz (however one chooses to define it), because there's live music all the time with all the best players. Paris is a place where even non-pros could be pros in other countries. It's the capital of French jazz music after all. I've seen lots of players move to Paris for the better. Brad Brose is one dude for instance. He was always a good player, but since moving there, I noticed a significant improvement. There are others I've met in other countries whom I felt had little hope because they were not really practicing hard in those countries. But when they moved to Paris they suddenly improved. My theory is because people in Paris can be quite direct and competitive. They're brutally honest people whether you like it or not. It's typical French culture (don't believe me? go to guitarejazzmanouche.com and read the forums, it can brutal over there), and it's the kind of place where if you don't adapt, you have very little chance, it's a major epiphany for many people. To give another example , I also noticed a huge difference in playing when Gonzalo first went to live in Paris almost 10 years ago. His playing changed considerably. It's all great!

    Anyway, even though I speak fluent French, Paris never appealed to me for personal reasons... and my reasons for playing music are now my own and very different from what they were 10 years ago...

    Charles MeadowsBucoJazzaferrigypsystuffNoneBarkonatorScoredogDaveycBill Da Costa Williams
  • "Aha!" moments studying gypsy jazz

    Had another "aha!" moment the other day, when looking at the chord harmonisation of melodic minor scales. There's a neat trick that was shown to me by a friend who plays cavaquinho that I thought I should share here.

    I assume everyone knows how to harmonise the major scale, and that the chords you get in key of C are CΔ, D-7, E-7, FΔ, G7, A-7, Bø. If you harmonise melodic minor you will get some kinda weird chords, C-Δ, D-7, Eb+Δ, F-7, G7, Aø, Bø. If anyone doesn't know how to do that, let me know and I can explain.

    So here's the thing, if you make the scale into an octatonic scale by adding in one more note, namely throwing in #5 between the 5 and 6 scale degrees, then some fun stuff happens! Melodic minor is just like the major scale with a flattened 3rd. So if we chuck in that additional note between 5 and 6, for the scale itself the notes are: C D Eb F G G# A B

    Now the 1-chord is no longer the wacky and "spooky" C-Δ, instead it's a plain old C-6 which is a much more typical sound in gypsy jazz. But more interestingly, you see a nice symmetry when you re-harmonise the chords off this scale!

    1, 3, 5, 7 chords are all just inversions of the I chord
    2, 4, 6, 8 chords are all just inversions of the V chord (actually all the same dim7 chord)

    You can make some nice sounds and find substitutions you might not have otherwise noticed this way. For example, try playing with these chord voicings in sequence:

    [xx2000] E-
    [xx1212] D#°
    [xx2003] E-
    [xx4545] F#°
    [xx5657] E-6
    [xx7878] A°
    [xx9989] E-6
    [x x 10 11 10 11] C°
    [x x 9 12 12 12] E-

    We're really just alternating between I and V, that is between E- and B7 here, but when you play the chords in sequence you can clearly hear the melodic minor scale pop out because I've put the scale in the melody note of each chord [plus that "extra" C note in the Adim chord at 6th scale degree, due to using an octatonic version of E melodic minor].

    Since nothing here was really specific to melodic minor, it actually works for the major scale too! You get I V I V I V I V alternating between the four inversions of the tonic (also a 6th chord) with the 4 "copies" of the dim7 chord inbetween. Here is an example in C major:

    [x3201x] C
    [x2313x] B°
    [x3555x] C
    [x5646x] D°
    [8x798x] C6
    [x8979x] F°
    [8 x 10 9 10 x] C6
    [x 11 12 10 12 x] G#°
    [x 10 10 12 13 x] C

    Of course you can throw in the usual colourations to any of the C chords (6th, M7th, nat 9th) without screwing up the sound.

    It's cool in comping sometimes to walk up and down between I and V, you can hear Django do this a bit in "vendredi 13" for example, and in the B section of "clouds". It's also a neat effect in soloing to keep in mind alternating between I and V all the time when playing arpeggios. Question and answer, stable and unstable, tension and release and all that. Hope this helps someone!
    BarkonatorLango-DjangoMattHenryCharles MeadowsBucotobolekDaveyc
  • soundslice

    They seem to have shelved the community side of the site, or at least intentionally made it hidden/hard to find, which is a bummer for those who put many hours work into tabbing on youtube videos.

    But you can still access the routes if you guess the urls, here is the completed list:

    Stuff you've tabbed:

    How to search a tab, maybe you have to be a geek to figure this out but you can append a query argument on the search route, like /search/?q=<your string here>, for example the first search result here is my mumbo jumbo tab:
    https://www.soundslice.com/search/?q=mumbo jumbo
    (why every other search result is about minecraft, I have no answer for that... :)

    I'm really looking forward to see the community part of the site make a comeback later, Adrian has been working on a new editor and I'm sure it's gonna kick butt!!
    BucoScoredogjonpowlHugh HuffakerterrassierJosechikypickitjohnMattHenry
Kryptronic Internet Software Solutions