Riverhorse Nakadate is an adventurer who has spent years as a journalist using nature and words to make sense of life, love, and his place in it. He is a musician and staff assignment writer for numerous surfing and fly-fishing magazines and has been published internationally more than two hundred times. He has also written and recorded the music for the world premiere of a major ballet and has studied and cranked up vintage amps and guitars for decades, touring in bands and playing shows and festivals along the way. In 2019 The Flyfish Journal created a documentary film about Riverhorse titled, “Love & Water,” which was supported by Patagonia. The film followed him throughout his beloved Texas coast and forest lakes, and he wrote both the music and narration for it. He recently starred in the 2021 Patagonia film “A Northern Light.” Riverhorse is a Patagonia Fly Fish Ambassador, native Texan, and is currently working on a film with the Sami Tribe fishing in the Arctic Circle of Lapland. His publications include such magazines as Surfing, Surfer, The Surfer’s Journal, The Flyfish Journal, American Angler, The ToneQuest Report (20+years) and many others. He has been interviewed and featured on national podcasts and radio shows and in magazines from Africa to Norway and on. He is known for traveling alone to the farthest outer fringes of nature and the earth to immerse himself in terrain, explore solitude, pen stories of the beauty of the path, and the amusing characters along the way.
Scott Ulrichs first picked up a guitar in 1982 and learned how to play with his high school buddies by making the rounds and taking turns playing Hendrix, Lifeson and Howe licks. This guitar, a cheap copy of a Tele Thinline had a loose-leaf paper shim under the bridge and became the inspiration that launched the journey. Scott joins the TQ family to help carry on David’s legacy and vision. He brings a compelling enthusiasm to the quest and shares a thoughtful voice within these pages that broaden the musical palate. He probes for answers that shed light on our collective pursuit of the magic that motivates us to play our best. Many believe that everything in the universe is made up of molecules that vibrate at different speeds. This includes trees, bodies of water, rocks, animals, thoughts, emotions, as well as guitars, amps, speakers, pickups, and the like. Playing guitar and creating music is a gift that gives rise to these vibrations often at enhanced volumes and for the receiver is often an encounter without interpretation. Where simplicity meets fanaticism, he chases those tonally enhanced frequencies which best reflect what we’re trying to convey and make us feel good. Scott has been a TQ tonefreak since 2002 and has an inherent grasp of the importance of reinforcing, informing, and in sharing the pursuit of perfect tone. For inspiration beyond the music, you’ll find him ski touring, mountain biking, One Wheeling and playing gigs around the beautiful town of Bozeman, Montana.
Mark resurrected the vaunted tweed Fender amps of the '50s when he launched Victoria Amplifier at a time when the only way you could play a tweed was to buy an old beater. Mark dramatically changed the landscape of “boutique” amps and he has been a great resource for us in our examination and discussion of “vintage” tone.
Nacho started making his Nachoguitars in 2009, setting out to create a worthy replica of the legendary Blackguard Telecaster. “Loving music and guitars the way I do, trying to figure out how to build a good functional guitar was a natural step for me. After thirty-plus years of playing, building, and collecting guitars, I’ve never lost one bit of excitement. It is a passion turned into an obsession. For the last eight years, I’ve been working on a new interactive book collection and APP called The Pinecaster. I believe it’s important for new generations to have access to vintage guitars and the knowledge of great musical instruments. The ToneQuest Report is such an invaluable source of information for all musicians and guitars lovers out there. I feel lucky and honored to be part of this community.”
Dick began his 42 year career at the C.F. Martin Company in 1976, and we recently interviewed him in the April 2020 issue of TQR on '70s Martin guitars. As head of Martin's Artist Relations Dick was instrumental in developing over one hundred and forty artist model Martin guitars in addition to writing six books on his experiences working at Martin. He remains an invaluable resource on acoustic guitar building.
Bakos Amp Works
Jeff is a very talented bass player, studio owner and engineer, and a deeply experienced amp tech whom we have relied on for the entire twenty years we have published TQR. His knowledge of new and vintage amps is exhaustive to say the least, and every vintage amp we have acquired for review has been serviced and expertly restored by Jeff.
Bob is a music industry veteran who has worked in concert promotion, publishing and as a major label executive. He organizes and sponsors the great Guitar Town Festival each August in Copper Mountain, CO. Also a guitar enthusiast with his own collection of old guitars, Bob's industry contacts have been a boon to our coverage of the music industry and renowned guitar players.
Founder of Carr Amplifers, Steve is a brilliant amp designer and builder based in Pittsboro, NC. We first interviewed Steve in 2000 and have featured many subsequent interviews in which Steve has described the process of designing and building truly great and toneful amplifiers.
Erick is a long-time industry pro, senior technical advisor at Stewart-MacDonald, and he has been repairing guitars in his shop in Athens, OH for twenty five years. When we have questions about tools and accessories needed to upgrade the many used guitars we acquire for review, we consult Erick.
Larry was the guitar and amp tech and magician for Neil Young for decades, and he operates Vintage Instrument Rental in San Anselmo, CA, where he rents hundreds of vintage guitars and amplifiers for studio projects and tours. Larry is also a fine musician, proficient enough on guitar and pedal steel to have played with Neil on many tours. Larry's interviews with us are legendary. He pulls no punches.
Jol Dantzig Guitar Design
Jol is the founder of Hamer guitars, and now builds his own amazing Dantzig models. Jol originally developed what are now vintage Hamers guitars, and his new vision for Dantzig guitars builds on the rich tradition of Hamer and his are built both beautifully built and tuneful to the extreme.
Ronnie is a dear friend and an incredibly gifted blues guitarist with roots in the vaunted Roomful of Blues band. When it comes to tone, Ronnie has long set the gold standard with his traditional us of old Stratocasters and Super Reverb amps. Catch Ronnie and the Broadcasters on their latest album, “Beyond the Blue Door that debuted at Number 5 on the Billboard Blues Chart.
Dan has been working as an expert guitar repairman and builder since 1963 and operates Erlewine’s Guitar Shop in Athens, OH. He is the author of many books on guitar repair including, “Guitar Player Repair Guide,” “How to Make Your Electric Guitar Play Great,” and “Gibson's Fabulous Flattops.”
Larry is president and founder of Fishman Transducers which began in his garage shop in 1981. He holds more than thirty patents for transducer and musical instrument design, and Larry has been a frequent contributor to TQR with his honest and insightful interviews. When we delve into acoustic pickups and amplification, we call Larry.
Lindy designs and builds custom guitar pickups with his staff of expert winders in Richmond, VA. After well over 20 years Lindy can still be found winding pickups in his shop and his hands-on approach is unique in our industry— you can actually speak with him about your needs with a simple phone call. We speak with Lindy often when developing new pickup reviews.
Peter has been a friend and an invaluable resource for us for many years, always willing to discuss guitars, amps and guitar tone. Peter’s obsessive approach to creating magical and uplifting sounds with the guitar are legendary, and we have featured illuminating interviews with him over the years. His take on the sounds we make with electric and acoustic guitars is always keenly instructive, clearly communicated and utterly priceless.
Billy F Gibbons
“The Rev” has been with us nearly from the beginning and we can certainly agree that Mr. Gibbons knows a little sumthin' about tone. We’ve had the pleasure in spending time with Billy during his jaunts through Atlanta and he is without a doubt one of the most slick, toneful and influential guitarist in the history of the instrument, how, how, how, how…
Joe is a brilliant guitar repair and restoration authority working in Nashville with a 40 year career repairing and optimizing new and vintage guitars. He was instrumental in bringing the Plek machine to dominance in the U.S., and he is widely known for his Glaser B-bender. Joe also brought many guitars back to life after the great Nashville flood. He continues to be a key resource for us at TQR.
Since the late 1970s, Tom has been a popular guitarist and songwriter playing with a host of leading blues, rock and roll and R&B acts including Rick Derringer, Jon Butcher, Jack Sonni of Dire Straits, The Dirty Bones Band and The Easton Brothers. In addition to his guitar skills Tom is an avid songwriter as well as a music journalist.
Vintage Amp Restoration
Gregg is an authority on amp and speaker cabinets of all types and eras, and if you need a cabinet built, repaired or restored, Gregg is it. We have had several new 'aged' cabs made for vintage Fender amps by Greg and his work is just incredibly fine, right down to the subtle aging he creates. He is a very talented and experienced bass player.
John Jorgenson is an immensely talented musician and very successful guitarist in an amazing array of musical styles. John is renowned for his guitar work with the Desert Rose Band, the Hellecasters and his work with the John Jorgenson Quintet and his exploration of Gypsy Jazz. John is also proficient on mandolin, bouzouki, mandocello, Dobro, pedal steel, piano, upright bass, clarinet, bassoon, and saxophone. His collaborations include such stars as Earl Scruggs, Bonnie Raitt, Elton John, Luciano Pavarotti and Bob Dylan, among others.
Robert Keeley Electronics
Founder of Keeley Effects, Robert likes to say, he is all about helping guitarists find the tones they have been hearing in their head for years and never found. Robert's pedals are simply yet elegantly made and inspiring, and they encompass nearly every sound you could possibly wish to create with an electric guitar.
A fine, fine guitarist, composer and producer, Gordon is best known for having co-written Eric Clapton's recording of “Change the World” for which he won a Grammy. Gordon also won a Grammy for his epic collaboration with Peter Frampton on the “Fingerprints” album. Gordon continues to be one of our most valued friends, advisors, and a frequent contributor to TQR.
KCA NOS Tubes
Mike specializes in offering new and new old stock (NOS) tubes for vintage and new guitar amplifiers. His prices are always reasonable and you can depend on the quality of his tubes. There is no better way to optimize the tone of your amplifiers than by installing premium new or NOS tubes.
The King of Slydeco. Sonny is another longtime friend and a brilliant guitarist with a slippery, greasy style of slide guitar that is simply the most unique and toneful in the long history of the guitar. His guitar work can be heard on hundreds of recordings from artists ranging from John Mayall to John Hiatt. Eric Clapton says, “Sonny Landreth is probably the most underestimated musician on the planet, and also probably one of the most advanced.” A frequent contributor, we can always depend on Sonny to holler back from Breaux Bridge, LA.
Albert is a veteran guitarist of great repute, having played in the legendary bands Head, Hands and Feet, and Emmylou Harris' Hot Band, and with Eric Clapton, Ricky Skaggs, and Rodney Crowell. In 2002 Albert received a Grammy award for Best Country Instrumental Performance for “Foggy Mountain Breakdown.” Among Tele-styled players, Albert has no equal.
A brilliant guitarist with a unique fingerpicking style and a wily knack for dropping and raising pitch with his tuners on the fly, Adrian’s interviews with us have been nothing less than fascinating and supremely thought provoking. How he does what he does on the guitar is often mystifying he is exceptionally creative and inventive, and his many albums are not to be missed.
The Guitar Bar
James Mastro began his career during the height of the ‘70s New York punk scene at age seventeen playing at CBGBs, Max Kansas City and with Television’s Richard Lloyd. In the ‘80s Mastro honed his guitar songwriting skills while playing with the Bongos and contributed to launching the music scene at the legendary rock club Maxwell’s. He formed the Health & Happiness Show in the early ‘90s and was recognized as one of America’s best songwriters. Since 2001, James has performed with Mott the Hoople’s Ian Hunter and joined their 2019 reunion tour. He has played and recorded with Patti Smith, John Cale, the Jayhawks, Phoebe Snow, Butch Hancock, and Garland Jeffries. He owns Guitar Bar shops in Hoboken and Jersey City and has been helping musicians in the quest for tone for 25 years.
Jimbo holds down the spot for us emanating from the Mississippi Delta, and Clarksdale to be specific, the original site of the Crossroads. Nobody throws down quite like Jimbo, and his eclectic assortment of old guitars used on his records is fascinating and low-fi... His interviews with us has have been quite epic, and as a proprietor and producer at Delta Recording Service, Jimbo is an expert at getting greasy tones of the Delta down on recordings.
The Kentucky Headhunters
Greg is a great, hard rockin' guitarist and a member of the equally outstanding Kentucky Headhunters. A frequent contributor to TQR, Greg is undoubtedly a tone freak with over 50 years of experience cranking out the mighty fine note. He also owns a killer '58 Les Paul that he actually takes out on the road.
Lee Roy Parnell
Lee Roy Parnell literally cut his teeth on the blues in his hometown of Stephenville, Texas, and he spent years playing clubs and bars throughout Lone Star state. Lee Roy is a dear friend introduced to us by his long time sidekick James Pennebaker, a truly great guitar player and singer, and a hopeless tone freak with many Top Ten hits and Grammy Award nominations.
Grammy winning multi-Instrumentalist and active music industry veteran, James has been a key cog in the ToneQuest wheel since the very beginning. Supremely proficient on guitar, fiddle and pedal steel, James is also a tone head and his knowledge of old vintage gear is abundant, since he's played just about everything you could name over his 50 year career that began with Delbert McClinton in Ft. Worth. When we need answers, we call James.
Mike Pierra is a wizard at building exceptional guitar effects and he is a long-standing member of our advisory board who has done much to educate us and our readers on the key to building great effects. His reputation as “Analogman” speaks for itself.
Eminence Speaker Corporation
In 1966, Bob Gault founded what was to become the world’s largest loudspeaker manufacturing company. Chris Rose has been at Eminence for twenty three years and since 2009 serves as president and an avid guitar player with a great appreciation for the tradition first established by Bob Gault.
Building his signature guitars in Finland, Juha is a masterful builder of supremely designed and assembled works of art. Simply put, he has no equal, and our very detailed interviews with him have been inspiring and informative.
Todd Sharp Amplifiers
Nashville Amp Service
Todd is one of the greatest guitar players we know, and he also happens to build some of the best sounding guitar amplifiers on the planet as well as operating Nashville Amplifier Service. With us from the beginning, Todd is a frequent contributor to TQR, he has taught us much about the mystery of what makes an amp sound great, and he backs it up with a long career having played the guitar with Hall and Oates, Rod Stewart, and Delbert McClinton.
Fender Musical Instruments Corporation
A 40 year veteran of Gibson Musical Instruments and now famous for the “Tim Shaw” vintage Gibson humbuckers he created, Tim knows just about everything you could possibly fathom about building guitars. He has been an invaluable resource for us for nearly twenty years.
Randall C. Smith
Designer and President
Mesa Boogie, Ltd.
Mesa Boogie... as founder of these great amps, Randall made history after working at Prune Music in the '70s fixing and modifying amplifiers for the rock legends of the day. Randall remains very much hands-on and our interviews have been fascinating and supremely informative.
Guitarist and bank leader with Sheryl Crow, Peter has played on a host of hits, and he is an unapologetic gear hound and tone freak. Peter is a truly great rocker with magical tones, an enthusiastic amp collector, and he has always been willing and able to share his secrets with us.
Among all the great guitar players from Texas, count Buddy as one of the greatest of all time. Backing John Mayall for years, Buddy has store us up on many an occasion and his playing is simply mystifying and magical. He is very much into tone, how to get it on stage and he succeeds.
Mike began his career at the Roberto-Venn School of Luthiery, followed by a stint at Sho-Bud while repairing and restoring vintage guitars. He joined Gibson in 1984 working closely with Earl Scruggs and Chet Atkins, while managing Chet's product line. He then moved from Custom Shop Manager for Artist Relations, Acoustic Product Manager for Epiphone, the Gibson acoustic team in Bozeman, Montana, and then spent eight years in Memphis where he managed the recreation of Gibson's ES models from the '50s and '60s. Mike just retired in December 2020 and remains an invaluable resource for us at TQR.