Check out this video of Jerry playing a vintage Martin Style 2-27 Parlor guitar that was built in 1859!
That’s right, this guitar is 157 years old! It looks brand new and it plays and sounds fantastic. Jerry ran it through a bunch of different styles: classical to blues to rock to tapping. Yes, he even dared to tap on this guitar and the guitar said, “Yeah, I can handle that!”
Just a bit about the guitar:
Very early Martin build – they began in 1833 and this style of guitar was only about 15 years old in 1859
Early example of X- bracing which radically changed how guitars were built
The back is Brazilian rosewood laminated over spruce
The neck has a clearly pronounced V shape
All binding and tuners are elephant ivory – because plastic was not invented until the 1930s (modern form)
Now a bit of what was going on in history around 1859:
Lincoln was not yet elected President (1860)
The American Civil War was still 5 years away (1861)
Telegraph was main form of communication
Recorded music did not exist – 1877 Edison
Only 33 states in the union
Stephen Foster was most popular pop song writer
Lightbulb not invented until 1879
Packaged toilet paper was invented in 1857
Thanks to Alex Kosak for recording the audio and video on his mobile studio.
Thanks to Deb Huke for setting up the guitar and asking me to play it.
Here is a video tour of the building process on the new korina Explorer that was custom made for Jerry by luthier William Raynaud of WR Guitars in Pasadena, CA.
This new guitar is made from solid korina (African Limba) and features a black ebony fingerboard, gold hardware, and hand-made pickups by Arcane-Inc. WIlliam Raynaud is a master builder and his skill as a craftsman is evident in every aspect of this wonderful instrument.
The guitar was originally slated to be tuned to Open E, but rumor has it that Jerry was so impressed by the feel, the playability, and the sound of this guitar that he opted to retune between Open E and Open A. Currently, this guitar is being used as the sole instrument on all Blues Contraption gigs.
The soundtrack to the video contains excerpt from two original compositions by Jerry. The tracks were recorded by Chad Helmond and Joe Kreuzer at McNally Smith College of Music in Saint Paul, MN. Mixing, effects, and additional recording was done by Alex Kosak.
Thanks to the musicians who helped on this recording: Terry Burns (acoustic bass), Drew Stinson (electric bass), Dave Hanzel (drums).
The WR Guitars Explorer was recorded through a Savage Audio Macht 6 amp for rhythm and the solos were recorded through a ’62 Fender tweed Champ and a Savage Audio Schatten 19 (the Schatten was running into a 1 X 12 cab with a single Celestion Alnico Gold speaker.
No pedals were used in the recording of this guitar, just the amps turned up!
Here is the first recording by Jerry Kosak and Blues Contraption. “Fallin’ Rain” is an original composition featuring slide guitar, bass, and cajon.
It was time for a new family portrait of the guitars. While the group was gathered, it seemed appropriate to make a video and detail each instrument. Oh, if you do watch the whole thing, I misspoke about the Heritage Golden Eagle. I said that the sides and back are made of mahogany, while in fact, they are maple.
The National Park Service asked Jerry to create music for a short video detailing the National Park Service’s “Rails and Trails Program.” Jerry called on his friend Freddy Fresh to help him with the music. If you ever wondered if a guitar could sound like a steam engine, then check out this video.
These days, many folks are playing guitars that appear to have a lot of “playing wear.” Here is perhaps the most well-known beat up guitar, that of the late Irish guitarist Rory Gallagher. This guitar features so much authentic playing wear that the finish was essentially gone. If you ever saw Rory Gallagher perform, then you understand that every ounce of this wear is genuine.