z Gear Stories episode 37

Hey there Gear Stories lovers!  It’s that time again, and I have a Special Gear Stories this month!  Rather than focusing on a product, I am focusing on the men who make those products!  In the past few days, I have gotten to spend time with two legends in the music instrument industry…  Reinhold Bogner, and Paul Reed Smith, and the time with them was extremely entertaining and informative.


Of course, the rules are the same as always…  If you don’t want to get these e-mails, just let me know, but check it out first…  you may have a good time!


We are starting off as usual with the “Deconstructed Song” where I take a song that was recorded in my studio, and break down the constituent parts and go over what makes that recording special.  The nice thing about this time is that I am going to tell you how you can get some FREE STUFF, as well as show you  a few effects from Sound Toys that are extremely cool!


Here’s the link.  http://www.dreamrodeo.com/wordpress/y-song-notes-burma-ta-da-khupato


Also, a couple quickie bits of special news.  AVID is now offering a few special trade up deals.  First of all, for you high end studios out there, there is a console trade up into the ICON control system, so if you have a studio console worth as little as $5000, you can trade up to an ICON console for a lower price than they have EVER been available for… if you are a serious customer and are interested, check out this link and give me a call… This only goes through September, so let’s start the process right away!  http://www.sweetwater.com/store/search.php?s=ICON+exchange


Also, there are Pro Tools HD interface exchanges that can get you into the vastly upgraded brand new HD interfaces by trading in any of your older HD interfaces, or HD compatible third party HD interface systems such as the Apogee or Lynx.  Also there will be running an upgrade program for anyone who has already purchased Pro Tools 9, up to a Pro Tools HD Native system!  These are great deals, so call me for details!





Now, let’s get into the stories of my encounters with legends of our industry, starting with PAUL REED SMITH!


I have known Paul for four years now, and I know him as a slightly manic, wiry guy with short cropped white hair, and an active sense of humor!  He is truly a blast to be with.  One of the things that has struck me about him the most, however, is how much he cares for the people who play his guitars.  On several occasions, he has come to my desk and spoken to my customers directly on the phone about things that concern them regarding his guitars.  To him, it’s very personal… of course, every one of his guitars has his full name on it!


(I can imagine his mother, when he was very young, shouting out at him when he misbehaved… “Paul Reed Smith!”)


Today he showed me one of his acoustic guitars, the Tonare Grand.   http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/TonareE/


First, he pointed out that the guitar had strings on it that were almost three weeks old.  (In the kind of heat wave we are having here in the midwest right now, guitar strings can go dead in a day!)  He sat down and strummed a chord and then did something with the guitar that I have never heard before.


The strum of the chord he played literally filled the room… and it was a BIG room… We were in our performance theater.  It sounded so rich and full, it was amazing!  But then, he took his forearm and laid it down on the big resonating surface of the front of the guitar just south of the bridge.  Of course, this stopped the resonance of the guitar, but then he lifted his arm and the resonance (AND the volume) all came back!  He did this repeatedly, in rapid succession, and it sounded as if it were an electric guitar going through a tremolo.


Any other acoustic guitar, if you did that, the resonance would die and that would be that, but this guitar’s body acted like a speaker cabinet, and the top was (in his own words) “Just going crazy!”


He went on to explain that the reason he began making acoustic guitars was from an encounter with a friend who had an old acoustic guitar made in Spain in the late 1700’s by none other than Antonio Torres Jurado, credited for being the inventor of the modern acoustic guitar!


Paul said that when he heard that instrument plucked for the first time, his jaw dropped… It was the most perfect acoustic instrument of any kind that he had ever encountered.   He had to know its secrets, so he arranged to have the guitar run through a mammogram machine, and studied the results.


Most modern acoustic guitars are braced pretty heavily and have relatively thick wood on the top of the guitar to keep the pressure from the strings and the elements from cracking the top of the guitar.  These things are necessary to keep the instrument from falling apart, but it is always a compromise between structural integrity and the ability of the instrument to resonate and project its sound.


What Paul discovered from examining the Antonio Torres guitar was a style of bracing that allowed the top to be thinner without cracking, and allowed the entire body of the guitar to vibrate with the strings creating more depth and resonance and volume than ANY other acoustic guitar I have heard.


A growing number of famous professional players are beginning to play Paul Reed Smith acoustic guitars and are RAVING about them, but though they are famous among big time pro players, the marketplace for high end acoustic guitars has not yet embraced them… but judging from what I heard today, it is only a matter of time.


Here is a link to the PRS acoustic guitars that we carry… http://www.sweetwater.com/c599–PRS–Acoustic_Guitars


Call me and we will get one of these amazing instruments on it’s way to you!





Legend number two, Reinhold Bogner… Maker of the best sounding guitar amps I have ever heard!



I met Reinhold Bogner on Tuesday this week, and talk about an eccentric!  WOW!


First of all, his appearance… He looks like a tall skinny Walter Matthau, with Einstein’s (lack of a) haircut dyed jet black.  And his apparel was striking as well.  He wore a multicolored plaid shirt with blaze orange painter pants, bright turquoise argyle socks and sandals!


This just goes to show you that if you create a highly successful brand of anything, you can dress however you want, and just stick your tongue out at modern fashion sensibilities!  If i could roll out of bed in the morning and dress anyway I wanted, I would probably end up looking like a rodeo clown!


Reinhold was born in Germany, but when he started making amplifier, all his friends told him that he should move to LA, so he did and that is where his company flourished and to this day, he runs a small operation which makes all his amps right there in America!  About the only thing not made in America is Reinhold himself!


This was the first time I had met Reinhold, and also the first time that I had spent any  considerable amount of time with his amplifiers, which he had lined up, and was walking around with a Les Paul slung over his shoulder, plugging it in to this amp and that amp, manically showing various features of the different amps, jumping back and forth between them.


Personality-wise, he was in some ways very much like Paul Reed Smith, kind of hyperactive and yet laid back at the same time, with a crazy-funny sense of humor.  Also, Like Paul, he has a deep passion about the amps he creates.  He is fascinated by the different tones he can create.


I was struck first of all by the overall quality of the sound of each one of the amps he had there.  I could not pick a single one to write about, because each one was so good, and each one was so different.   It felt to me like he was trying (VERY SUCCESSFULLY) to create a line of amps that would serve the needs of every electric guitar player in the world!


There are a lot of knobs on his amplifiers, but none of them is there to fill up space… I was amazed by how well thought out his designs and the feature sets of each amp he showed me were.  He would plug in and say, “And you see, I put this here, so we could make this sound…” and then he would tweak a knob and some new and amazing tone would emanate LOUDLY from the amp.   (If there’s one thing I can say about Reinhold, it’s that he likes his amps LOUD!)


I heard sounds that were reminiscent of the bluesiest Fender amps, as well as the chunkiest Marshalls, and all points in between, but at the same time, there was a quality that was all it’s own…  Each one making me think “Wow” for a different reason.


One of my colleagues said it so well when after having a similar encounter with Reinhold, “Those are simply the best sounding ams I have ever heard.”


I would have to concur.


Take a look at Mr. Bogner’s full line here, http://www.sweetwater.com/store/manufacturer/Bogner


Then call me and we’ll get the one that is best for you on it’s why!


Thanks for reading!  Until next time, as always, I look forward to being of service.


Jon Gillespie, Sweetwater Sales Engineer


800 222 4700 x 1352

260 432 8176 x 1352 (outside the U.S.)

260 432 1758 FAX

[email protected]


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My own personal web site can be found here…  http://www.dreamrodeo.com/


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