Category Archives: parts
Justin Johnson’s Brand New FULL 6-STRING GUITAR LESSON SERIES has just been released for INSTANT DIGITAL DOWNLOAD! Available as individual downloads, or
Save $20 on the Full Set!
Whether you are a total beginner, or just want to brush up on the foundational techniques of fingerpicking, this course has got you covered. Justin Johnson breaks down the key elements that help you improve your fingerpicking quickly using a combination of song walkthroughs, warm-up exercises, detailed explanations, and in-screen tablature. This video course is designed to save you years of fingerpicking practice.
“Intermediate Fingerpicking” picks up right where “Fingerpicking Foundations” course leaves off. This video course will take you through a series of carefully composed song walkthroughs, designed to introduce you to increasingly more challenging and intricate fingerpicking techniques. If you have learned the basics, then “Intermediate Fingerpicking” will take your playing to the next level.
Slide Guitar Foundations
If you want to fast-track your slide guitar progress, the best way to do it is to master the foundational techniques from the ground up. In this course, Justin Johnson teaches everything from anchoring, muting, and vibrato techniques, to age-old secrets to developing a bluesy and soulful touch with the guitar slide. This course is perfect for total beginners, as well as experienced players who want to strengthen their foundational knowledge and weed out bad habits.
Intermediate Slide Guitar
This course is designed to flesh out and tighten up your slide guitar technique, taking you from intermediate into advanced level playing. You’ll learn Open Tunings, Delta Blues techniques, percussive techniques, advanced muting, anchoring, and much more. If you are familiar with basic slide guitar, but ready to take your playing to the next level, then dig into “Intermediate Slide Guitar.”
Hill Country Blues
Get back to your roots, and dig into the heart of blues guitar. In Justin Johnson’s “Hill Country Blues” video course, you’ll learn everything from creating a “whole band sound” on guitar, to proven strategies and techniques for improvising your own guitar solos. Justin uses in-depth song walkthroughs to teach you the inflections, riffs, and thought-process to master Hill Country Blues guitar.
One-Minute Riffs: Volume 1
“One-Minute Riffs: Volume 1” is a collection of musical lessons by Justin Johnson that will teach you a wealth of essential guitar techniques without you even knowing it! Each of the 30 riffs in this lesson series is so easy that you can learn it in one minute. However, you will also get valuable instruction on how to master these riffs, and then take them to the next level by applying them musically to your own style, arrangements, and performances.
Guitar Slides come in a multitude of different shapes, textures, materials, weights, and sizes… and all of those factors affect the sound, playability, and versatility of the slide. Just like painters who use a combination of different brushes to create the details and textures of a painting, it’s important to learn about what distinguishes different guitar slides from one another, in order to make and informed decision next time you pick up the guitar.
I worked closely with Jim Dunlop to design and manufacture my Justin Johnson Signature Guitar Slide with an eye towards creating the best combination of tone, sustain, and feel that we could squeeze into one slide… but no single option beats having an arsenal of gear to choose from, so that you can select the perfect fit for each musical context.
I recently received several packages from around the world with some exciting, new, and innovative design concepts… along with some classic and re-imagined designs. Check out the following LIVE STREAM video and hang out with me while we get to know these slides and what makes them special.
Some materials are just dying to be made into musical instruments, and ever since I first saw those whiskey-soaked oak barrels at the Jack Daniel’s Distillery in Lynchburg, Tennessee, I’ve always wondered what that wood would sound like if it could be plugged in and cranked up! Luckily, I’m not alone, because master guitar builder and instructor, Derek Lenard (better know as Big D Guitars) did exactly that! He took that old used barrel top, paired it with some reclaimed Tennessee barn wood, aged hardware, and some killer pickups.. and created a masterpiece!
Check out the videos below, where you see and hear this baby in action, then watch and listen as Big D walks you through every step of the build process. Don’t forget to subscribe to Big D’s Youtube Channel to check out what he’s building next.
Thanks for keeping the Roots alive! Click “FOLLOW” on the right-hand side of this page to stay up-to-date with new lessons and articles.
JACK DANIEL’S WHISKEY BARREL | SOLO SLIDE GUITAR SOLO
LIVE UNBOXING OF THE JACK DANIEL’S BARREL GUITAR
HOW TO BUILD A WHISKEY BARREL GUITAR: PART 1
HOW TO BUILD A WHISKEY BARREL GUITAR: PART 2
HOW TO BUILD A WHISKEY BARREL GUITAR: PART 3
HOW TO BUILD A WHISKEY BARREL GUITAR: PART 4
HOW TO BUILD A WHISKEY BARREL GUITAR: PART 5
The vocal timbre and mournful wail of the slide guitar has become inseparable from the concept of Blues Guitar. However, in order to master the classic Blues guitar styles associated with the finger slide, you must first familiarize yourself with the different tunings that are key to those styles. Below is a list of my favorite, and most used, tunings for Blues Slide Guitar. With each tuning I’ve included a video, demonstrating how that tuning can be used to create a stylistic mood, which differs with each tuning. Remember, the more tunings you become familiar with, the more versatile you will be as a musician.
OPEN D & OPEN E TUNING
Open E: (E-B-E-G#-B-E) – tuned to E major chord
Open D: (D-A-D-F#-A-D) – tuned to D major chord
These two tunings are basically the same tuning… the only difference is that Open D is tuned one whole step lower than Open E. The tighter string tension of Open E makes it easier to play with low action, but the lower pitch of Open D produces more low-end body, and can give you a swampier vibe. That swampy vibe is all over this following video clip, which is is Open D tuning…
OPEN G & OPEN A TUNING
Open G: (D-G-D-G-B-D) – tuned to G major chord
Open A: (E-A-E-A-C#-E) – tuned to A major chord
These two tunings are also, in essence, the same tuning. The difference is that Open G is tuned a whole step lower than Open A. Delta blues guitarists like Robert Johnson made this tuning style famous. The sound of this tuning is great for solo guitar Blues playing, and allows the player to construct elaborate bass lines, since the root note is on the 5th string, as opposed to the 6th (bass) string, thereby allowing the player two bass strings for the thumb to play bass lines and 4 strings for the fingers to pluck melody notes.
Listen to how the bass lines play an important role in this following video, which is in Open G tuning…
Standard Tuning: (E-A-D-G-B-E) – not tuned to a chord
Standard Tuning is the most widely-used and standardized tuning for conventional 6-string guitar playing. It’s great for fretted (non-slide) playing because it makes many chord shapes and scale patterns comfortable for the fingers to reach. While it presents certain challenges for slide guitarists, Standard Tuning is actually a very versatile tuning for slide playing, offering many convenient chord fragments, both major and minor, up and down the fretboard. The key to understanding how to play slide guitar in Standard Tuning comes with learning how to mute the unnecessary strings, to prevent them from sounding. I have created an entire instructional DVD for playing in Standard Tuning, which you can check out.. just CLICK HERE for more info. The following video is an example of slide guitar in Standard Tuning…
OPEN Dm & Em TUNING
Open Dm (D-A-D-F-A-D) – tuned to D minor chord
Open Em (E-B-E-G-B-E) – tuned to E minor chord
While these tunings are not very well-known historically, they are some of my personal favorite, and most-used, slide guitar tunings. They are particularly great for playing in minor keys, but also work very well for Blues styles, even if the underlying harmonies are major. Again, these two tunings are essentially the same tuning, but Open Em is tuned one whole step higher than Open Dm. The following video shows how this tuning can be used in both fretted and slide styles. The acoustic rhythm guitar is tuned to Open Dm, and the 6-string lap steel is also tuned to Open Dm…
Thanks for keeping the Roots alive! Click “FOLLOW” on the right-hand side of this page to stay up-to-date with new lessons and articles.
While following my own passion for Roots Music and homemade Roots instruments around the world, I often run into other builders, players, and enthusiasts who are committed to offering their time and talents to expanding the limits of the Roots Music Revival and the Folk Art traditions that encircle it. During my last Australian tour, I met Mark Wilmot, a talented luthier and pioneer in the global Roots Instrument scene. Wilmot epitomizes the concept that the right combination of humility, talent, honesty, and community-minded work will resonate with a market of artists, crafters, and music lovers. What began as a hobby of building instruments at home for friends grew quickly into a full-time job, and gave rise to three separate companies.. MRWS Instruments, which offers an extensive array of guitar parts and accessories in support of the burgeoning global community of Roots Instrument builders, as well as sister companies Raven Box Guitars and Mortal Coil Pickups. Here’s what Mark has to say about how he got started and how he turned his love of music and woodworking into a business that serves as an oasis for those seeking quality parts, beautiful guitars, and some of the coolest looking electric guitar pickups available.
Check out www.MRWSinstruments.com
Q: What first inspired you to start building guitars?
A: You know what? I’m going to have to be honest about this: I haven’t a clue. At the very least, I don’t remember the catalyst. I do remember my first build, though: a paint can diddley-bow. And the only reason I built that was because I hadn’t built one. In general, I’ve always enjoyed building whatever I can build. From the first time that I picked up a guitar at thirteen years old, I knew I’d eventually build one. So I guess what inspired me to keep making them was the immediate interest from others to make them one as well.
Q: What defines your style of instrument building?
A: I love wood. Yeah, that’s right, you heard me. There are some amazingly beautiful timbers in Australia and I love to showcase them in my builds. All of my necks are between three and seven laminations and of at least two timber species. I also put a lot of emphasis on the shape of my heels.
Timber plays an integral role in guitar building, not only in sound but also in general aesthetics. I’m very specific about how things sound. I spend a lot of time on setting up my instruments to make sure I get the action and intonation as close to perfect as possible.
Q: Your instruments seem to be designed from a player’s point of view. Do you have a background in musical performance?
A: I was in a few bands when I was younger. I was never a professional, but I understood how the instrument I was playing worked and I knew from the first time I built a fretted 3 string guitar that the intonation was going to be an issue. The action was never a problem, but in my first few creations, I just couldn’t get the intonation right. So it was the bridge that was letting me down. To combat this problem I developed a multi-piece timber bridge that allowed me to move each section to get the right compensation for each string. This only worked for me up to a point as I tend to be heavy handed when I hit the strings, which gave the bridge a tendency to move. Then I had some electric guitar bridges manufactured for 3 and 4 string instruments. I do believe there are others who now stock this as well.
Q: What inspired you to make the leap from building guitars, to distributing parts and kits?
A: Australia is a long way away from anything. Depending on what and how you purchase parts from overseas, shipping can be exorbitant. I knew there were other builders in my part of the world, and if I was having this shipping dilemma, they were as well. This is the reason I chose to start MRWS. This way I could keep the prices on parts and shipping affordable. The first few items I stocked were kits, machine heads, and various guitar electronics. The kits were a natural progression from selling parts. There’s nothing better than having all the parts you’re after available in one place without going on a treasure hunt.
Q: I find that the guitar parts you sell through MRWS Instruments are affordable, but not “cheap” in quality. What process of quality control do you go through before offering your parts for sale?
A: I sample all of the parts that I stock before they’re available on my site, and I rigorously test them. If they don’t make the cut, I don’t order them. Simple.
Q: By distributing parts around the world to luthiers, you must see trends come and go. Where do you see the guitar building market going?
A: When I started MRWS, I was met with a fair amount of resistance from some already in the industry. Was this because the industry was too small, maybe only a trend itself? Luckily, no. It has grown quite a lot since I began. Certainly the needs of builders change, whether they are building cigar box guitars or 3, 4 or 6 string solid bodies, resonators, kalimbas or amplifiers. I do my best to add products as I see the industry evolve, as well as my own needs as a builder. I always try to keep the core parts for beginners as well as the more seasoned CBG builders. Regardless of where the market wanders, I hope to always be a part of it.
Q: You offer some amazing hand-wound custom pickups through your brand, “Mortal Coil.” Tell me a little bit about how this brand came to be, and what you offer through your line of pickups.
A: Like I stated before, I love making stuff. I made a conscious effort to build an entire guitar from scratch. This included the electronics. Unfortunately I don’t have the foundry to turn ore into metal, but I can make some of the components from already manufactured parts. I also have a lot of timber off-cuts and I tend to horde the nicer species. There’s only so much room in a person’s workshop, so I used the smaller of these off-cuts to make the bobbins for the pickups. After winding a few for myself and finding that they were successful in making the sound I was after, I thought I’d make a few more and offer them to the public to see what happened. I’m glad I did. I’m only offering single coil pups at the moment, but I am developing both humbuckers and low-profile pickups.
And the brand name? Mortal Coil just sounds cool.
Q: What advice would you give to luthiers who are just starting out building their own stringed instruments?
A: Make it your own. Take time to evolve your techniques. Don’t rush. Focus on the sound, not the look. It should be an instrument first and art second. There’s nothing worse than spending time and money on the finished look of a guitar, only to end up with an unplayable wall hanging. Keep your first build. It will be a reminder. Both good and bad.
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