September 2006 (Issue No. 165)

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Issue Highlights

Merle Haggard on on his 2006 album, Chicago Wind. Pierre Bensusan on musical storytelling. Electrify your acoustic guitar. Six songs to play including "Come and Go with Me." Blues lesson with Orville Johnson. Gear reviews for the Hofner HA-JC03 Jumbo, Fender Acoustasonic Ultralight amp, and National Reso-Phonic 14-Fret Style O. How to play wedding gigs. Moonstone Guitars.

Merle Haggard

Merle Haggard



Featured Songs

Me and Bobby McGee - Janis Joplin

Come and Go with Me - Traditional, arr. by David Hodge

Mama Tried - Merle Haggard

Nefertari - Pierre Bensusan

Bourrée #1 - Johann Sebastian Bach

If You Could Read My Mind - Gordon Lightfoot

In This Issue

With more than five decades of singing under his belt and thousands of miles of hard road behind him, Merle Haggard is still writing songs with a vengeance. On his latest album, Chicago Wind, he turns his unblinking eye toward his favorite themes, including love of family, freedom, and country—plus his anger about the war. By Kenny Berkowitz.

French-Algerian fingerstylist Pierre Bensusan has achieved renown as a guitar virtuoso, but he's not interested in accolades; he's too busy giving voice to his imagination and discovering the instrument's boudless mysteries. Here he shares his insights on rhythm, musical storytelling, and much more. By Doug Young.

With more acoustic-amplification products than ever before, determining which signal path will best suit your needs can be a real brain-twister. Here we explain how to understand differences between the various types of pickup systems, as well as the role of other important components—such as preamps, DIs, amplifiers, and digital processors—so you can make an educated choice that helps you sound your best. By Teja Gerken.


Me and Bobby McGee. Words and music by Kris Kristofferson and Fred Foster.

A Private Lesson with Orville Johnson. The popular roots multi-instrumentalist shows how to dampen the strings by alternating fretting-hand fingers, and shares advice on accompanying vocalists and creating second guitar parts. By Scott Nygaard.

Hofner HA-JC03 Jumbo. An affordable, distinguished acoustic-electric with deep, lovely bass, complex mids and highs, and exceptionally realistic plugged-in tones. By Shawn Hammond.
Fender Acoustasonic Ultralight Amp. The legendary guitar gurus take their unique acoustic-amp line in a new direction with a brilliant, boutique-style setup that pumps out both gorgeous guitar tones and lovely vocals. By Michael Millham.
National Reso-Phonic 14-fret Style O. Sustaining treble, midrange spunk, and exemplary craftsmanship converge in a metal-bodied resonator with extra finger room. By Pete Madsen.



Jesse Harris. After writing Norah Jones' breakthrough hit and having his songs recorded by Willie Nelson, Pat Metheny, Emmylou Harris, Madeleine Peyroux, and others, the New York singer/guitarist gets back into his natural groove. By Bill Milkowski.

Vashti Bunyan. When she released her debut album, Just Another Diamond Day, in 1970, it sank like a stone. Three decades later it was a cult classic, and a new generation of freak-folk apostles convinced the English singer-songwriter to return from what she assumed was her lifelong exile from music. By Derk Richardson.

Harmonize Your Bass Lines. Combining bass lines with harmonies based on intervals of thirds is a splendid—and surprisingly easy—way to add some spice to your playing. By David Hodge.

Two Tops, Six Strings. In a quest for increased volume, luthiers are turning to high-tech materials for their guitars. In the case of double-top construction, that means an innovation hidden from view. By Michael John Simmons.

How to Play Wedding Gigs. Whether you're considering playing a wedding as a source of income or as a favor for a friend or family member, it helps to think about a range of considerations unique to this kind of gig. Here are a few tips to help you contribute music to someone's special day. By Patrick Francis.

Reader's Rig
Dario Saraceno powers his diverse solo and band repertoires with a 1986 Alvarez-Yairi dreadnought and a Godin Acousticaster 6.

Moonstone Guitars. A veteran of California lutherie, Steve Helgeson has been building acoustic and electric guitars since the early 1970s. Although he once ran a small factory, he now focuses on making his Moonstone guitars one at a time—and creating his best work ever. By Simone Solondz.

Achtung, Y'all! German guitarist and writer Heinz Rebellius has been fascinated with American folk and rock music since he was a teenager. Now he also collects American guitars, which he plays in tribute to one of his wife's emigrant relatives. By Michael John Simmons.

Brandi Shearer and the Robin Nolan Trio, Rendezvous at the Nightery. By Dave McCarty.
Jeffrey Foucault, Ghost Repeater. By Judith Edelman.
Thomas Leeb, Upside Down. By Teja Gerken.
New From the Vaults. 
Peter Mulvey, The Knuckleball Suite. By Celine Keating.
The Mammals, Departures. By Scott Nygaard.

Smooth Moves. When you play songs written for other instruments, does your guitar sound clunky? Even out your melodic lines by using slurs, position shifts, and open strings. By Scott Nygaard.

If You Could Read My Mind. Words and music by Gordon Lightfoot.

1920s Michael Iucci Harp Guitar. By Tony Marcus.

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