Steinbeck S Model guitar for sale. Details on my Available Now page
Steinbeck S Model guitar for sale. Details on my Available Now page
Darrell Scott is a truly outstanding singer, songwriter and guitarist. His songs have been covered by internationally known names, his singing is immensely varied and completely riveting, and his guitar playing is out of this world.
Due to play a one off concert for the Southern Fried festival in Perth, he asked to borrow a guitar so as to avoid the hassle of bringing his from the US for a single gig.
I took him my latest development Martin Simpson S model, a slightly slimmer bodied version of his standard MS, with a German spruce soundboard and African Blackwood back and sides. It was fitted with a Highlander pickup, and he also had a microphone in front. Combined with Darrell’s playing the sound was phenomenal.
After the first couple of songs, complete with dazzling guitar breaks, he paused, looked at the audience and said ‘Does the guitar sound good?’ There was a huge roar of ‘YES!’
‘That’s because it was made by Stefan Sobell’ he said. A great compliment.
It was a great concert, given a wonderful reception by the audience.
On stage at the Perth Southern Fried Festival with the MSS guitar
During the concert Darrell several times re-tuned between standard and dropped D tunings. He said ‘Another thing about Stefan Sobell guitars, you just tune them and play, you hardly have to tune them again.’
As well as playing so quietly that the audience almost hold their breath, he also likes to ‘dig in’ as he puts it, putting more energy into the guitar in a couple of minutes than most guitarists would in an hour. It says something else about his playing that after over an hour of this, the guitar is completely unmarked.
Having now been thoroughly road tested, this guitar will shortly be for sale and will appear on my ‘available now’ page.
Darrell with his MS in 2010
Mark Knopfler didn’t want a pickup in his MS Model when he collected it from me a couple of years ago. He planned to use it in the studio and for song writing, and wouldn’t even let me fit a tail strap button.
More recently he asked me to fit a pickup so he could play it live. So I took a tool kit to his amazing state of the art studio in Chiswick and fitted a Highlander pickup there.
Mark was seriously impressed with the combination of the MS Model and Highlander, was very happy with the amplified sound. He told me he planned to use it in live concerts, so I also fitted a strap button to the guitar heel.
I haven’t driven in London for several years; I knew driving there would be slow but found the traffic congestion shocking beyond my expectations. My sympathy to all who have to live with it.
PS How time flies, it is in fact not a couple of years, it’s five years since Mark came to collect his MS!
Mark in his studio with his MS. Sorry about the poor phone photo.
Brian Potts brought his octave mandolin back to me after it had suffered from extreme damp. When I asked him how, he was evasive, eventually saying the OM had been involved in a canoeing incident while on holiday with his son.
Despite my pressing him, he declined to say more. From the state of the instrument I concluded he had either overturned the canoe or used the OM as a paddle.
Right, let’s have a look.
Wow, just look at the damage!
You did this? It’s vandalism!
The middle back brace has come away on both sides, the tail block is now separated from the back, and the sides, complete with binding, have pulled away from the back where it tapers towards the neck. The binding has come away from the back at the tail.
The fact that the label ink has run indicates there was plenty of water sloshing around inside.
Fortunately, the soundboard appears to be undamaged.
Brian has been a customer and friend for many years. Suitably penitent, he took us for a meal later, calming troubled waters with glasses of red wine.
A few weeks after talking about a new combination pickup system with Martin Simpson, I fitted it to two guitars. These were a Steinbeck model and my new Steinbeck S.
After comparing the two, I sent the Steinbeck S for Martin to evaluate. Here is the email he sent me:
Hello, I just did 3 gigs with the guitar and it’s a massive success, audiences, sound men and particularly me!!!! I raised the action with a quarter turn on the truss rod and it’s just a joy.
Martin will keep it and use it on gigs from now on. He plans to sell one of his existing Sobells to make room for it, this should be on my ‘available now’ page in the near future.
Martin with prototype Steinbeck S prior to pickup installation
Martin playing my latest Steinbeck model, Ben looking unimpressed
Martin Simpson came to stay this week. He and I went on a walk alongside Devilswater, not far from my workshop. We admired the wobbly stone gateposts below Embley, and I took him to my favourite place in the world, a stretch of Devilswater further upstream. The weather, which looked grey and drab from indoors, was magical outside.
Martin loves birds, animals and plants. He pointed out many items of interest I never usually notice on my walks.
Stone gate posts
In the evening Martin played four recent guitars, and we picked one, the Steinbeck, to develop a combined Macyntire Feather / Highlander pickup system.
Steinbeck S (Slimline) guitar
German spruce New World guitar
Bearclaw Sitka New World guitar
It’s not often I have three different model guitars in my shop at one time, but at the moment I have a New World, a Steinbeck, and a Model 2 D guitar. Here they are, photographed in and from the same position, showing their relative sizes.
New World model , figured German spruce and African Blackwood.
Malaysian Blackwood Steinbeck model, figured Sitka spruce and Malaysian Blackwood.
D guitar (on Model 2 body), figured Sitka spruce and Malaysian Blackwood.
Michael Andersen sent this photo of his damaged mandolin. He pointed out it’s the second time, the first time was for similar damage on the other side.
The repair was not unlike the repair I made to Eamon Doorley’s guitar-bouzouki (News, 18 February 2016), though less complicated. It needed just one very small patch, as shown below below.
When I suggested he should try not to damage this mandolin further, he assured me that next time he went for beer, the mandolin would be in its case. Problem solved.
Yesterday Stuart Murray and his wife Jill came to collect Stuart’s mandolin. Before even looking at it, he took sheets from an envelope to show me. They were the brochure sheets I’d sent him in 1986, including the price list. Which showed the price of a small bodied mandolin with spruce top to be £472 including VAT. It had taken Stuart only 30 years to make up his mind.
By which time prices were a little higher.
Here are some of the brochure sheets.
Here are Stuart, Stuart with mandolin maker, and detail of brochure sheet showing mandolin maker 31 plus years ago.
Photo Jill Murray
Neck fitted and ready for truss rod and fingerboard.