Prairiewood the Sequel, Wild West Guitars, & Hope for Joplin
This post is because so many of you have so kindly asked what happened to the guitar I loved so much. Well, it is no more. It’s now the same piece of wood for the body and the same pickups, and a whole new guitar.
I was a little bit excited when it came in last week…
Because in October, this happened:
Now I play my gear fairly hard, and fairly often. So not only did it need a fret job, replaced electronics, and a new finish, but now…obviously…an entire new neck. So I contacted Robert Dixon, builder of tone, and he recommended a guitar tech in Southern California, a guy named Mark at Wild West Guitars in Riverside. I said I didn’t trust anyone with the guitar but he himself, so I sent it back. He warned me that he was in the middle of a bunch of custom builds and that it could take a very long time, but I still sent it back. And now finally, it has returned. Pretty much a brand new guitar. Here’s some before and after shots.
And Prairiewood the Sequel:
(You can already see where I put a few minor scratches on it…I think from one my shirt buttons. Basically, I don’t deserve a guitar this nice. I need like, a plastic guitar, that sounds like it’s made of wood because I’m such a child. But…I even told Rob…it’s just going to get worse and worse, as I’m a player and not a collector. He says he’d actually prefer that. Still…I should probably grow up a bit. So much less fun though! hehe)
The most beautiful thing is that he refinished it with a color that reacts more with the flame maple and brings out the grain more. Looks more rustic and natural. And we decided to do no binding on the neck, and go with maple dot inlays instead of mother-of-pearl trapezoids. And the ‘Prairiewood’ decal is tastefully hidden in the headstock, and can only really be seen in certain light angles. Which I think is pretty cool. Basically, we decided on a more understated beauty this time, and I absolutely love it. Fits me better. Electronically, same Wolfetone Dr. V pickups, but new pots and switch. And we got rid of the old OOP split coil button pot for just a straight push/pull split coil pot on the tone knob, for the back pickup. Which makes for a great pseudo-Tele sound on the middle position. And Brazilian Rosewood fretboard. Yes, I know it’s an endangered wood, but my tone is more important than the environment? I should probably come up with a better defense.
Oh ya…and it has a neck that’s in one piece now, too. haha One piece Honduran mahogany without any splintered wood. Because, and you’d think this, but I now know firsthand. Splintered wood is not the greatest-sounding of woods.
So anyway, I’ve been playing my little Godin SD for a while now, and never bought another guitar because I knew the Prairiewood would return at some moment. And I’d actually been playing it for so long, that I was beginning to question the merit of more expensive guitars. Thought I might sell the Prairiewood when it came back and buy, I don’t know…like food or something. But one strum at a Friday night worship service, and all was lost. Clarity, punch, sustain…it was beautiful. It’s actually punchier than before. I can’t believe the ‘upfrontness’ of the tone. I now have to reset all my pedals to more subtle settings, because the Prairiewood is bringing out so many sonic nuances that all my effects sound way clearer.
I’ll post some videos and hopefully some new songs recorded with it soon, but life has been way too busy for my liking as of late. And I really want to try to do this guitar justice. So for now, some pics. If you’re looking for amazingly crafted guitars, check out Robert Dixon. The sound great, have beautiful woodwork, and the guy’s the real deal, too; I won’t tell you how much this repair cost me, but for basically rebuilding the entire guitar, the price wasn’t near as high as it should have been. So, if you get a chance, check out his work at:
Amazing work, especially compared to what you’d get at some of the bigger companies, and much more affordable than what you’d get with some of the boutique builders.
Here’s some more of my new, improved love:
When I got the guitar back, I wanted a tech to check out the wiring, as it was buzzing. Well, he didn’t take care of the buzzing…because it’s the power in my apartment. No buzzing anywhere else. Basically, I now have to do all my recording when no one’s running their air conditioning. I’ve got to get a house. But that takes money. As does gear. So……apartment. But in the process, I saw this guy’s work on guitars and how he checked mine, and he’s amazing. Rob from Prairiewood actually suggested him. His name’s Mark, and he’s at:
I have been searching for a good local guitar tech and luthier for a long time, and this guy looks like he may just be the one. So, for those of you in the Southern California area, please, please check him out. Great guy.
And lastly, not sure where to put this, but I do want to make sure Naal, one of the blog readers here, gets some support for the ‘Hope for Joplin’ compilation he as put together to benefit the hurting people of Joplin. He’s incredible for doing this. It’s free, and then you can donate however much you want. Donations go to The Red Cross. There’s some great music on it, and as this site is supposed to be about playing guitar, hehe, here’s my contribution and a couple facts about it in order to maybe be of some interest in your own recording.
Through Broken Clouds, studio version. This is the version on the album. It’s basically the live looped track below. However, in this one, I overdubbed some of the lines that were in the loop, and recorded them separately. This is so that I could separate them and pan left and right. Stereo is an amazing tool when recording. Creates space. Also, it’s shorter, because you don’t want to tire your audience. Even 7 minutes is pushing it. The original take is longer, because it takes longer to create the loop and build it on top of itself. Cool for musicians, but no so cool for the casual listener waiting for it to take off. So here’s the studio version:
And the live version. This is the actual loop that is the centered main track on the finished song above. Just with no parts redubbed and panned. And this is basically all Brig, Blue Sky, and Timeline, out of the Matchless, no effects in post:
I will make this song as well as ‘Lullabye for the Lost’, which was on the Hope for Japan compilation, available for free on their own project pretty soon here. But for now, this song is only available on Naal’s compilation for Joplin. So, if you feel so led, check out the album compilation here:
And donate however much or little you like, to Joplin. Thanks, Naal! And hopefully those two versions can also give a bit of useful info in recording regarding the use of stereo and things like that. I’m no expert by any means, but I’ve been having fun with it.
Probably the last song for a while recorded with the Godin. It has served me faithfully, the little guy. But from here on out, expect more songs with probably the Prairiewood. Yippee. (I just yelled that.) One chord strummed with this guitar, and it instantly made selling all those pedals to pay for the repair, completely worth it.
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- Twelve Things I Believe about Worship Music
- The Future of Christian Music is That Band I Listened to in Junior High While Playing Wolfenstein
- Worship, Come Thou Fount, & Ambient Pad Tutorial
- Worship Leading Choose Your Own Ending (Part 8)
- When God Says…Something Else
- A Guitarist’s Answers to Life’s Questions
- The Return of the Bullet Post