Carvin HF2 "Fat Lady"


Serial# 74700

The "Fat Lady" is a wonderful product of the Carvin factory in San Diego. She's a Holdsworth "fatboy" model, which means a hollow body - you can tap it and hear a hollow "bok" sound.

You get to specify your options when you order from Carvin, and I had a very clear idea in mind for this guitar:

  • Flamed maple 1/8" top
  • Ruby stain, gloss finish
  • matched headstock
  • Birdseye maple fretboard
  • No inlays on fretboard, side dots only
  • Clear satin finish on neck
  • Black chrome hardware
  • 2 coil taps
  • Engraved truss rod cover: "Fat Lady"

Even though I'd specified gloss on the body and clear satin finish on the neck, they managed to do it. I relocated the strap post from the back of the neck joint to the top "horn". I think it hangs better this way. Others disagree.

Hear the fat lady sing:

This little multitracked demo shows off some of the sounds I can get from this guitar, using the Line6 POD 2.0 and Digitech GSP21 effect units. The timing is a little wonky in places.

Here's another piece featuring the Fat Lady: Greener Pastures:

This solo composition is going for the warm jazz tone but the HF2 doesn't quite want to go there. I'm perfectly happy to go where it wants to, however.

Update: In recent years I installed a Graphtec GHOST piezo bridge in this guitar. Details available on the Carvin Forum: Haunting the Fat Lady.

Yamaha APX10

Serial# 80407210

For a long time this has been my "knock-around" guitar. It didn't take the trip across the Pacific too well and for a number of years it hang on my wall as a decoration.

Recently I decided to experiment and turn it into a fretless nylon string guitar. I documented that process here.

I've strung it with Tomastik-Infield KR116 strings, and it is a lot of fun to play.

Here's a little idea I started working out over the next few days:

Two takes, rhythm panned left and lead panned right. The GSP21 does the reverb, and the Line 6 POD 2.0 adds a little grit, gain, and delay to the lead.

Ibanez 540s


Serial# F017776

My main guitar is an Ibanez 540s. This is the original slim sculpted body version in Black Cherry, with Floyd-Rose trem. I bought it in 1988 I think. A friend of mine - a bass player no less - said that one should never let the quality of your instruments hold you back. I sold him the guitar that until then I had been playing (if I recall correctly it was one that I had basically built out of spare parts) and went shopping. It has a seriously good neck.

It still has the original F2 and C2 pickups and frankly I think they get better with age.