Author Archives: R.J. Klimpert

Lyon and Healy


So what is it? Its original black-finished spruce top is simply ladder-braced from within, but its back and sides feature Brazilian rosewood with dramatic bookmatched figure. Its unbound 18-fret fingerboard –also of rosewood – sports only a few small, round dots for position makers, yet intricate multicolored wood purfling graces much of the rest of […]

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Gibson ES-5 Switchmaster


In 1949, Gibson did something nifty, introducing the ES-5. The number 5 had special significance for Gibson, dating back to the Lloyd-Loar-inspired master Models of 1924. Each of these – guitar, mandolin, mandocello, and mandola – bore that numerical designation. And, when a deluxe and pricey electric made its debut, what better name than “Electric […]

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Tom Walsh and John King

The Martin Ukulele: The Little Instrument That Helped Create a Guitar Giant

C.F. Martin’s ukuleles have long been the standard by which all others were judged. Though bookcases brim with books about Martin guitars, the merest mention of the company’s extraordinary ukes has been largely absent – or at best treated as comic relief. The recent surge in (more…)

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Jake Shimabukuro

Ukulele, Van Halen-Style!

Photos: Kaz Tanabe, courtesy Hitchhike Records. “Hey, have you seen that guy? You know… that guy! Have you seen him yet? He’s amazing!” That’s the question bouncing around the country ever since a video clip of “that guy” – Jake Shimabukuro – performing an (more…)

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