September 2008

Shine

…One of the most calming and powerful actions you can do to intervene in a stormy world is to stand up and show your soul. Soul on deck shines like gold in dark times. The light of the soul throws sparks, can send up flares, builds signal fires … causes proper matters to catch fire. To display the lantern of soul in shadowy times like these — to be fierce and to show mercy toward others, both — are acts of immense bravery and greatest necessity. Struggling souls catch light from other souls who are fully lit and willing to show it. If you would help to calm the tumult, this is one of the strongest things you can do….

Clarissa Pinkola Estes ~ from “Letter To A Young Activist During Troubled Times”

Personal Inspiration

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Future Guitar Superstar

In my post of Sept 15 on Vicki Genfan’s “Guitar Superstar” win I observed that, as far as “being good for a girl”, Vicki has not only slipped through the proverbial glass ceiling like a ray of light but laser beamed her way through the male dominated bunker of the music industry with ultimate finesse.”

Since Vicki’s historic win, because of the sheer “Heart” she brought to this competition, I have often thought of the lyrics from a song by the Roches

“Her love is true music

And it radiates around”

Vicki’s personal win and obvious love for her music has been radiating around cyberspace and she has been sending me responses from female guitarists who on some level realize that a trail has been blazed for them. The one that stands out for me was a spontaneous response from an 11 year old young woman named “Kate”. Kate showed enormous heart and initiative in sending an original song to share her own recent win in a guitar contest and congratulate Vicki on hers via youtube.
Kate on Youtube
When Vicki asked her what her favorite guitar was, her response was “I really don’t know. I have a red Fender Electric that I picked out when I was little and started lessons. But I just picked it because red was my
favorite color then. I like it but it is very, very heavy. And I have a very inexpensive kid acoustic guitar that is pink :). Those are the only ones I have ever played. Kate”

At this writing, Kate does not even know yet, but Luna is SO going to send her the guitar of her choice to help her on her musical journey. At Luna, it is ultimately about HEART and Kate, like Vicki, has massive amounts of it.

Congratulations, Kate, on having what it takes to become a future Guitar Superstar! Keep it up and you cannot fail!

Love & Light from Luna

KATE’S “GUITAR SUPERSTAR” LYRICS

There’s a guitar contest today

First, a big star sings and plays,
Shares his life story, and then asks:
Who will play the guitar?

When it’s your turn to play,
At first you are nervous,
But then you get your groove on,
Your move on.

You think you did well,
But there’s no way to tell.
Then the guy starts to yell.

‘Cause you’re a guitar superstar,
And that’s just what you are.
A guitar superstar,
And that’s just what you are.

Although you are young,
Look how you’ve just sung.
Guess what? You’ve won!

‘Cause you’re a guitar superstar,
and that’s just what you are,
A guitar superstar,
And that’s just what you are,
And that’s just what you are,
And that’s just what you are!

(Copyright © K8 DS 2007. All rights reserved. No unauthorized use of this song or lyrics is permitted by any means without the authors permission. Lyrics by K8 DS.)

Flotsam & Jetsam

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Sacred Space

I would like to introduce the concept of sacred space because it is important to all of us.

“You must have a room or a certain hour of the day or so where you do not know what is in the morning paper. A place where you can simply experience and bring forth what you are and what you might be. At first you may think nothing is happening. But if you have a sacred space and take advantage of it and use it everyday, something will happen”. ~ Joseph Campbell

You may be asking yourself, “What does sacred space have to do with guitars?” and the answer to that is that it was in a dedicated sacred space that Luna was birthed. I will be sharing glimpses of that space as well as the story in future posts. The images of every day sacred space that I am including in this post were designed by my best friend, Sean Rush.

Sacred Space

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Henna Series – Original Impulse

The inspiration for the Henna Guitars came as a result of studying laser technology.
Looking at things from outside the industry has been a real advantage to me as I have looked at what has been done with curiosity rather than preconception.

I had seen laser used around the sound hole in very traditional ways, and at first focused solely on the quality of laser burn. I asked myself what it reminded me of, and after incubating the question for a while it came to me in an all-at-once moment. It had the quality of Henna body art.
My next question was….can I color outside the lines? Can I move the use of laser from around the sound hole and consider the entire guitar as a “torso” that I could use Henna ornamentation on?


I spent many hours on The Henna Page which is an invaluable resource on everything you would ever want to know about the subject. After asking questions of our acoustic factory about the feasibility of extending the laser design to the entire front, and possibly back and headstock of the guitar, I contacted Catherine Cartwright -Jones, a world renown Henna scholar, about doing a Henna design for Luna. I had tried my hand at it, but decided that authenticity and integrity was vital in pulling off the concept and therefore wanted a Henna artist that understood the flow and process involved in Henna design. Catherine was very gracious but informed me that she was in the middle of her thesis for her PhD in Henna and gave me Alex Morgan‘s contact information as someone who could possibly help me. The rest is history. In the past three years Alex, a Henna and graphic artist in the UK, has done an immaculate job of translating Henna design onto the Henna Paradise guitar, Henna Oasis guitar, Henna Paradise bass, Paz signature bass, and the Sol Henna electric guitar.

I will feature each guitar separately in future posts, but wanted to share the initial
impulse for the Henna series.

To see a Henna artist at work, click here.

Instrument Inspiration

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Life Force

“There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is nor how valuable nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open”……Martha Graham

Personal Inspiration

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Guitar Superstar 2008

“Guitar Superstar” is a yearly competition hosted by the Guitar Player magazine in which 10 finalists compete for the title of Guitar Superstar for the year. The competition started in 2005 and 2008 is the first year that a woman has ever made it to the final competition which was held on Sept 13th at the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco, California. That extraordinary female player is Vicki Genfan, and I am honored to say that she is both a Luna artist and, more importantly, a friend. Vicki not only attended the competition, but gave a “take it to the hoop, slam dunk” performance that won her the title of the 2008 Guitar Superstar.

Vicki with her Luna Trinity

Vicki with her Luna Trinity

The judges were guitar heavy-hitters Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, Brendon Small, Elliott Easton and George Lynch with Andy Summers as host.
Here are some of the comments that stood out for me:

Steve Vai: One of the things that we respond to the most when we hear somebody play, or do anything, is the confidence. When you have confidence, that’s what attracts people, but you have to have the goods too….and you’ve got both! Take note, because this is important….you came on, you knew what you were going to do, you attacked the situation and you weren’t going to take any prisoners….Maybe you should run for vice president.”

Elliott Easton: “You’ve done the work….maybe you were too good. That’s my only complaint….maybe you were too good. Sorry.” (?????????)

George Lynch: “At the risk of sounding sexist….I didn’t know girls could play guitar” to which he added,….”like that…like that….I added like that.”

Knowing Vicki for the past three years and watching her play…. what is really beautiful, beyond her proficiency and her technical “attack”, is the heart that she brings to her music. When Vicki plays, she literally disappears. I’ve seen her do it on stage and on my back porch and it is pure vicarious bliss to witness.

Vicki Genfan, "disappeared" on my back porch with her Luna Muse 12

Vicki Genfan, "disappeared" on my back porch

As far as “being good for a girl”, Vicki has not only slipped through the proverbial glass ceiling like a ray of light, but laser beamed her way through the male dominated bunker of the music industry with ultimate finesse.

You can watch her performance and the judges responses here.

Congratulations Vicki! I am so happy that you are on the planet and that I have the good fortune to know you!!!!!!!!!

Shine On Superstar!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Flotsam & Jetsam

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Sustainable Woods

I’ve been researching sustainable woods recently and will be writing more in future posts, but I wanted to share a few words about bamboo. Bamboo is rapidly renewable, restoring itself for use in just 5 years and requires far less energy to harvest and produce than most “lumber” products. Bamboo also has an incredible range of product….flooring, cabinetry, textiles, furniture and, yes….guitars. Its production and by products yield healthy, salvageable materials that continue to be used in new ways.

I have had the pleasure of watching a stand of bamboo grow in my back garden. The first picture is the size it was three years ago. The rest are what has resulted from the original plant!

Sustainability

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Heartfire


“Wherever you stand, be the Soul of that place!” ……Rumi

Personal Inspiration

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Phoenix Guitar

The Phoenix Guitar was one of the first inlaid models that I designed for Luna.
Objects can become precious, beyond their material value, when we express ourselves through them. By the intent and energy that we put into them they take on life and, as in the Butterfly Effect, that energy continues to ripple outward into the world.

Because of my 25 year career in stained glass outside the music industry, I was able to ask fresh design questions that pushed the envelope when coming up with initial concepts for Luna. I basically viewed the guitar as another canvas. I had always seen inlay at the sound hole and wondered if the entire soundboard could be utilized. I was happy to learn that it, indeed, could….and the result was the Fauna Phoenix in abalone inlaid on a black gloss soundboard, and the Luna “Artist Series” Phoenix in Rosewood inlaid on a Sitka Spruce soundboard. But my primary intent was to infuse the instruments with meaning through the use of images, symbols, talismans, tokens, metaphors, and archetypes that would be personally significant to players.

I chose the Phoenix as inspiration because it is such a universal symbol for the human spirit’s resiliency and unwavering impulse towards renewal. Various renditions of the Phoenix myth exist cross culturally, but in classical mythology it is a unique bird that lived for five or six centuries in the Arabian desert, after this time burning itself on a funeral pyre and rising from the ashes with renewed youth to live through another cycle. There are probably not many of us on the planet that have not felt that they were literally rising from the ashes of personal dissolution due to grief, illness, heartbreak or any other form it may take.

Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor
I am choosing to feature Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor with this instrument as I think you will agree that she is a modern day Phoenix incarnate. Jill is a neuroanatomist who suffered a massive stroke on the left side of her brain in 1996. “She observed her own mind completely deteriorate to the point that she could not walk, talk, read, write, or recall any of her life, all within the space of four brief hours. In her book My Stroke of Insight , Taylor shares her unique perspective on the brain and its capacity for recovery, and the sense of omniscient understanding she gained from this unusual and inspiring voyage out of the abyss of a wounded brain.” (from her book)

Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor sometimes uses her Fauna Phoenix when speaking on behalf of the Harvard Brain Bank

Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor sometimes uses her Fauna Phoenix when speaking on behalf of the Harvard Brain Bank

I urge you to take 15 minutes of your time to watch her video on Tedtalks. It will forever change the way you look at the preciousness of life. She also did a 4 part sequence on Oprah’s “Soul Series” and was voted one of the most influential people on the planet by Time Magazine for 2008.


Instrument Inspiration

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