Bob Taylor talks about Ebony and sustainable wood

This video just came out and I believe this is one of the most important topics in music. He is speaking mostly about ebony, but it is all about sustainability. You can see that he cares so much about wood. I greatly respect Bob Taylor. This isn’t just a topic for music and guitars but for conservation in general.

Chuck Levin’s Washington Music Center

Since I opened up on guitar stores I have to talk about my favorite guitar store of all. Chuck Levin’s in Wheaton, Maryland. Chuck Levin’s has been around forever, and by forever I mean the 1950’s. I have gotten most of my big purchases from Chuck’s. My tele, my taylor and the amp I used to have the Peavy Bandit 112. If you read my blog you know how much I love my telecaster and I like to use my Taylor as a default picture.

Not only do I love supporting local music locations, but I also grew up a few miles away in Maryland and they have the lowest prices. I have seen them under cut craigslist. I don’t have to any comparison shopping. Also their employees have always been nice, which is not the norm. When the Johnny Marr Jaguar came out I wanted to play it immediately, and one day I ended up at Chuck Levins and they actually opened up a new case for me to try out. It was amazing. Also very knowledgeable, these guys have been in business for decades and are always willing to talk about guitars. They also have an extensive PRS section because of that special MD connection.

They also deal with other instruments besides guitar, bass and drums. So if you are in the market for a violin or cello, or maybe a trumpet you can pick one up along with the guitar you are most likely buying. I tried to get into violin, but it was not my destiny.

Here is the link and if you are ever in Wheaton, Maryland stop by. I don’t think they know who I am though.

A few items I have gotten there

Telecaster with black pick guard

Telecaster with black pick guard

Taylor against a blue Wall

Taylor DN3

Hello Music and Indaba Music

This is a quick one.

For all of you song writers out there there is a recording competition going on through Hello Music and Indaba music. For those who don’t know Hello Music is a discount seller like They sell a few music items every day like guitars, processors, pedals, amps, basses and services. Unfortunately no banjos which I happen to be in the market for right now. They started sometime last year and so far I have been following them, but I have yet to buy anything. They do repeat, especially Orange amps, Les Paul studios and american standard strats. Inbada music is like where you can sell or disperse your music around the internet. right now there is a contest to win $2,000 worth of recording gear for writing original songs. I know I’ll be entering. I have a couple new songs up my sleeve, and I am still a total stranger to home recording. Good Luck.

Here are the links

Also I am looking for a new banjo so if anyone has any suggestions or good sites to buy from I am all ears. Musician’s friend and guitar center are not that good selection wise, but I have been looking at I had to step up from my Epiphone because it was too unbalanced and I like to play clawhammer.


Music Wood and Sustainability

Taylor against a blue Wall

Taylor DN3- This is my guitar, it is not made from Bamboo.

I love guitars, obviously, but I am also into conservation. I have been seeing a lot recently about wood conservation and most of it from guitar makers. This comes from an industry that in realy consumes a very small percentage of the world’s lumber. Consider how much lumber goes into building one house versus one guitar. Even if the wood used for guitars is much better and is hardwood, rather than soft wood. Or consider how much paper is used in a day, all of that comes from wood pulp. Maybe a good reason to go out and buy an iPad.Music Wood is a Greenpeace based organization that has joined with Fender, Gibson, Yamaha, Martin and Taylor guitars to help advocate conservation of wood. This means that the guitars are build with sustainable woods purchased from reliable dealers. I am totally in favour of this and maybe this will help change the government’s mind about taking rosewood from Gibson. I really like supporting companies that practice sustainability and really by being careful they are helping themselves in the long run. When I first saw this list I was very proud to see almost all of my instruments came from companies who were on the Music Wood list. Now if only Schecter could buy sustainable woods.

The site is good, it has a lot of articles on differences that are being made in the music industry. One feature I thought was cool is the interactive map that shows which woods come from and which woods are used on which parts of the guitar. They *are also working on a documentary, which will be out in 2012*. I think it sends out a good message. I usually am a Sierra Club and Conservation International man, but this definitely makes me like Greenpeace more. Now if only they could stop asking me for my credit card number on the street.

On the other hand I have been seeing more sustainable resource guitars and instruments. I saw a bamboo guitar and there are a lot more carbon fiber guitars coming out now. I haven’t played any bamboo ones but I have played a RainSong carbon fiber. I like it, it sounds pretty good and it is not sensitive to changes in temperature and humidity. I still like my Taylor but if I lived in Arizona i would consider it. However, I’m not ready to give up on wood.

Here are some links
Music Wood
Bamboo Guitars – Who knows?     Also bamboo is a rapidly growing grass

* I edited this thanks to Josh G. He pointed out the documentary is not out yet. So don’t fret if you thought you had missed it.


My Music Update on MySpace


Today I posted another 4 songs on Myspace. They are Stranded, The Wandering Biker, General Store and Illusions. These are all done by just me on a Zoom h1 recorder so the mixing is as I sing and play  it. I tried to work on doing a multi-track version of Heist! but I am having some sound issues. Hopefully, I can fix it and put some more instruments down and maybe have a lead guitar in there too. I’ll keep you posted.

My Page is . I put my name as the rockridge railroad rider, because I like alliteration and I’m not sure if I want my name all over the internet, yet. All of the songs there I wrote except for one. Desolation Row, where they sell post cards of the hanging.

Anyway I hope you enjoy them and I probably have another 15 songs in the process. MySpace has a data max so I can only put down 9 songs at a time because it adds up to 50 MB. One day I’ll get my music out there.

Against the Blue Wall – Taylor DN3e

I love electric guitars, but some times plugging that amp is so time consuming, those heavy patch chords and pedals. It can take minutes to set everything up. Then there is the tuning.

So with my acoustic guitars I just have to open up that case and then I can start tuning right away. It took me a long time to find this guitar. Four months of travelling up to Wheaton, MD and the longest escalator in the world. I played Martins, Guilds and Eastmans. I played some Gibsons and if they weren’t out of my range I may have gotten one, but the guitar that stole my heart a Taylor. My only real criteria was a solid top and solid sides and back, and make sure you don’t mind going over your initial price. I thought $600 to $1000, but I wasn’t impressed until I played a Taylor, more specifically that DN3e.

The guitar is a loud dreadnought and clear. It has all the highs I want but if you are looking for a warm low sounding guitar I would probably go for a Martin. What really sold me on the Taylor was the neck, its the part of the guitar Taylor has poured so much time and research into and its worth it.  It it fast and smooth and I love a maple fret board but this black ebony is beautiful. I know this is at the lower end of the Taylor series but I think it is a work of art. I think also for its price it is worth it. Street price is $1400 with electronic system.

I got the internal pickups/pre-amp system and its worth it too. I haven’t used it to play live but it makes life a little bit easier when you want to record.

Taylor against a blue Wall

Taylor DN3 against a blue Wall

Some more close up shots

DN3e Bridge

DN3e Bridge

Pick up system

Pick up system

Pick up system

Just three dials Volume,  Bass and Treble. No build in tuner but by now you’ve learned how to do it by ear, you musical bastard.

Headstock Shot

Taylor Headstock

Taylor Headstock

The tuners are amazing they will keep this guitar in tune for months and they have a nifty shine to them.