A Visit to Larry Cragg's Shop and Other Musings

I was in Marin County doing my usual teaching rounds when my friend Linsday called me to tell me he was dropping his new Collings D2H off with legendary guitar tech and repair man Larry Cragg. For years I've held Cragg in very high esteem not just because of his clientele, but also from the stories I've heard about the quality of his work. 

My Collings CJ had a buzz at the seventh fret for some time and since Lindsay was going to be there I decided to drop by and check out his brand new axe. I also saw it as a sign that I should get Cragg's opinion on whether I'd need a full fret job or if a set up would suffice. We immediately hit it off as we all are Collings fans. 

I walked into his workshop and my jaw nearly hit the floor looking at photos of rock gods and progenitors of modern music hanging everywhere Classic amps, soldering irons, cables and parts were everywhere! There was a rack full of guitars and cases strewn on one wall. Needless to say, I felt immediately at home. In the corner by the door was a painting of a Carlos Santa record cover that Santana had given to Cragg as a gift. He explained that Santana has been his client for over 40 years, even longer than Neil Young! The man is a veteran guitar tech and had some great stories to tell. In spite of being friends with many of the worlds rock icons, he was so unassuming and warm that looking at him you wouldn't know he was a legend among guitar aficionados.

I got a call back from him yesterday saying my CJ was done and we made an appointment for me to pick it up. I have to say, I feel like a kid on Christmas morning. He straightened the neck, got my frets milled and "woke up" the top, a specialty of his. I have no doubt my trusted friend, the guitar, will sound better than ever and I will report soon with a sound file to share her newly opened up sound.

In other news, I've been working on some new songs including the attached rough mix of a tune I wrote with my friend Denis Loiseau. Jack Hines was nice enough to play bass on the track and I was playing mandolin, guitar and vocals. Let me know what you think of this new tune. 

I've also been gigging like crazy and I'm proud to see the seeds I planted in 2006 when making the transition from being a professional photographer and photojournalist to a working musician are taking hold. I'm inspired by the musicians I'm getting to work with and they make me better with each gig I do. One of the things I love about music is that there is always something to learn, someplace new to go and new territory to cover. 

Keep your eyes open for a second podcast coming soon. My first podcast got great feedback and I look forward to getting out my second "Live From the Kitchen Table" podcast. Enjoy your upcoming July 4th weekend and look for more blogs, videos, podcasts and songs!

Post Script:

I picked up my guitar yesterday and the neck is beautifully straight and it plays better than it ever has! Thank you Larry Cragg.


 

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