The Pick-Fondle-Grin Lu`au
September 9, 2006

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Things got crazy and we missed our usual spring date for the every other year picking party. But as I always say, it's better to be lucky than good, and we were definitely lucky in our scheduling this year. We had a wonderful turnout of builders and players, uncountable devastatingly fine guitars, and topped it all of with visiting musicians from Maui and hula dancers.

I fell down even worse than usual on pictures, but fortunately there were other cameras in attendance. Be sure to visit Acoustic Player Magazine for a thread about the party. Included in the thread are links to Brandt Williams Flickr page with several great shots and also Dave Hilyard's numerous great shots. The captions for Dave's pics are included in the APM discussion thread. **Update** Special thanks to Skip Johnson, Brandt Williams, and David Hilyard for providing supplemental photos.

Some new luthiers joined us this year in addition to our old friends.

This is Tony Yamamoto, a retired engineer and budding builder. This guitar had a sweet stringy voice that I just loved.


Steve Cyr started off building mainly electrics, but he's branched out to acoustics as well.

You can catch his massive 12 string in the later shots.


Lance McCollum, here on the left with Bart Ghormley, is one of the veterans of these parties.

He was well represented this year between the collection he brought with him and the guitars carried in by his customer/fans.


Kathy Wingert is another buddy we love to have join us. She usually is in competition for the longest haul to get here, driving up from the L.A. area with a van full of beautiful guitars.

She's a big fan of music and instruments and loves to check out the other builders's work. She's also a heckuva picker and singer. Svea Norton is getting ready to bust out on her new Greven, can't you tell?


John How made a big impression at the last Healdsburg Guitar Festival, so we were glad he was able to drive down from Cool, CA, with a couple of his guitars.

I think this is Bart Ghormley's new Claxton getting the look-over from John.


Here's Howard Klepper, a Berkeley builder who has made quite a splash with his innovative designs.

Watch for his very distinctive instrument in some other pics.


John Mello is sure fun to have at our parties. He is another luthier with a very personal style and he builds some seriously lovely instruments.

The volume and projection of his rather delicate looking instruments always catch me by surprise, even though I've been trying them for several years now.


Alan Perlman, on the right, works in San Francisco, building classical and steel string guitars, as well as some quite unusual instruments.

He's also a top flight restorer and repairman, and gets to work on some outrageous instruments in those jobs. He's also a knockout classical player. Here Skip Johnson, maybe Brian Kolner's head, and Dawn Johnson are getting some insight from Alan.


Bruce Sexauer, in the center, builds in Petaluma, and crafts both very traditional and very innovative instruments, sometimes in the same box!

For instance, the one on his lap is a lovely little size 0 parlorish instrument like so many from the early 1900s, except that his has Novax style multiple scales, or fanned frets as they're often called. Bruce is a committed player, there's always a song circle going when he's around. Dave Hilyard and Jayne Schabel join him for some picking.

Do yourself a favor and click on the links to these luthiers's web sites. It's easy to think they're just ordinary pickers and grinners until you see the work they are doing. We're talking about some of the top builders in the country, so you'll see amazing and beautiful instruments at every turn if you pay them a (virtual) visit.

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