Guitar Gavel Podcast with Robert Randall - Making Art, Creating Joy
In this podcast I have the pleasure of hosting a conversation with artist and guitar maker Robert Randall XI, yes the eleventh. He is a fantastic guy, super passionate and articulate, and his stories and lessons make for a great show. If you are a fan of "the process" and how unique artistry intersects guitar, then you don't want to miss this episode.
Robert's guitar journey began at age 10 when he started taking lessons and ended with his parents selling his guitar a couple of years later. Fortunately Robert was reintroduced to the guitar (and various other instruments at age 14.
He's been tinkering, building, and playing ever since. Generally speaking, Robert's instruments are non-traditional shapes and deploy as much artistry as functionality. Yes, there is his use of locally reclaimed woods for the neck and body, plus a signature feature of trying to include some bits of blue pine, but the artistry goes well beyond the use of local resources.
And that is what our conversation boils down to, Robert tries to convey an art history perspective through his instruments in addition to it being a tool. It's the story Robert manifests into his guitars, a reflection of the process from that journey, and the beauty in the final artwork.
Each instrument has a piece of Robert's personality and you can totally feel it in the podcast. To learn more about Robert's instruments or inquire about purchasing one you can find Robert's work on his website and social channels:
The audio is available on all major podcast platforms.
Guitar Gavel “Gear” Of The Week with Will Ray - Epiphone Les Paul SL
Will is fond of these inexpensive Epiphone's. Much like original Gibson Melody Makers, the stock pickups leave a lot to be desired, but are easy to change.
He likes them well enough to keep a few extras on hand... you know, for experimenting. 3:28- Let's see what she can do.
What did those F-holes do to you?
They are painted on.
To a 23-year-old Paul Gilbert the faux f-holes were a way to differentiate himself from Steve Vai’s JEM.
In fact, a 1995 Ibanez catalog description goes as far to read, “Paul’s patented F-hole emblem”.
I don’t know about that, but it’s certainly different. A love/hate affair.
Paul became an Ibanez endorsed artist in 1989 and they launched his first signature model that year, the PGM-100 with painted f-holes. That was the same year Mr. Big dropped their self-titled album.
The PGM is based on the RG body style that debuted a couple of years earlier alongside Vai's JEM 777, so it’s fair game that Paul needed to separate himself from the pack.
The first few years of this model were only available in Europe and Japan. Ibanez did not release it in the U.S. until 1991. By then it was on the third iteration, the PGM-300.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder of course.
Ibanez has generally cataloged some variation/anniversary versions of this guitar ever since. And Paul has gone on to have two other Ibanez signature models in a long-lived relationship with the brand.
1991 PGM-300 Specs: Basswood body, Maple “Wizard” neck, Lo-Pro Edge tremolo, DiMarzio pickups, Master volume, 5-way switch