Buddy Merrill and his music

The extraordinary musical talent of Buddy Merrill has made him one of the most influential arranger/composer musicians of his generation.

He has helped to make electric and acoustical guitars a desirable commodity to anyone with musical aspirations. People have marveled at his effective use of multiple guitar overdubs to create complex instrumental guitar tapestries that painted pictures in their minds. Millions worldwide have listened to and loved the music of Buddy Merrill for over four decades.

His story is a slice of Americana. He was born Leslie Merrill Behunin Jr. on July 16, 1936 in Torrey, Utah. His family began calling him Buddy at an early age and the nickname stayed with him. The oldest of four children, he grew up surrounded by music. His father played guitar and sang, and nearly all of his relatives played musical instruments, but nothing else so intrigued him as a child than the steel guitar. Long before he was big enough to hold one on his own, he would strum away on his father’s guitar by placing it on his lap. When he was eight years old, he got his first guitar, which he played like a lap steel. In 1947, he was given a new six-string lap steel guitar and a small amplifier. Once in awhile, he would pick up his little acoustic guitar, but his first love was the steel. At the age of eleven, Buddy and his father made television history when they appeared live on the local television station KDYL in Salt Lake City as country artists. At that time, Buddy was already playing steel guitar in his father’s band – The Fremont River Rangers. A year later, Buddy was given his first electric six-string guitar and his interest in the instrument increased through junior high school.In 1951, musician and orchestra leader Lawrence Welk began hosting a dance every Friday night at the Aragon Ballroom in Santa Monica, California. After many years, and several radio programs across the country, Welk had developed a large and faithful following. The Friday night dance was broadcast live over local TV station, KTLA. Welk and his orchestra also hosted additional off-camera dances every week at the Aragon. At that time, his dances and music were geared to the “older” crowd. In the summer of 1952, Buddy and his family moved to the Los Angeles suburb of Gardena. He was already a proficient guitar player when he started tenth grade and his ability at the steel guitar was even greater. When his father was not able to practice with him, Buddy discovered that he could use the family’s small reel- to-reel tape recorder instead. He could record himself playing rhythm guitar to a song. When he played back the tape, he could practice the lead or any other part, by playing along with it. He soon realized that this was essentially the same technique that Les Paul had been using in recording studios since 1948. During Buddy’s last year of high school (1954-1955), Lawrence Welk sponsored the All-American Music Competition Talent Contest. The winner would receive a new Webcor two-speed tape recorder, a $500 U.S. Savings Bond, and a guest spot at the Aragon Ballroom. A neighbor of Buddy’s family strongly encouraged him to submit one of his home recordings. Buddy was indifferent but his mother submitted two recordings for him – “Mr. Sandman” and “In A Little Spanish Town”. When Buddy found out the recordings had been sent in, he felt that there was no chance he would win. He felt that the recordings were “flawed”, and that the wow and flutter of these primitive recordings would not impress Lawrence Welk. A few weeks later, Buddy learned that he had won Welk’s talent contest. Lawrence Welk himself telephoned his congratulations and invited Buddy and his parents to come to the orchestra’s next rehearsal at the Aragon Ballroom. After Buddy’s guest spot on the show, the fan mail and teenage interest was so phenomenal, that Buddy was offered a full-time position with the band. By this time, ABC had picked up the Lawrence Welk Show and the show went coast to coast on July 2, 1955. Following his graduation in 1955, Buddy started working with the orchestra full-time.
In the summer of 1959, he received his draft notice from the Army. Welk assured him that he could have his job back when he finished his service duty. After basic training, Buddy went to West Point where he spent the remainder of his service time playing guitar and arranging music for the two Academy dance bands. When he returned from the Army in February 1962 Buddy returned to the Lawrence Welk Band. In 1963, Buddy bought a home in Baldwin Hills, a satellite community of Los Angeles, that was close to the ABC studios as well as the Hollywood Palladium, where Welk had moved in 1961, following his orchestra’s long run at the Aragon. At his home, Buddy set-up a one room recording studio using two tape machines, different guitars, and tape-generated effects to perfect the “sound on sound” recording technique. With the introduction of Scotch low noise tape, the quality of Buddy’s recordings was much improved, and he began to build a vast and impressive personal library of recordings. In November of 1963, at his father’s bidding, Buddy began making copies of his library so that his family could listen to all of his music. Then, on December 14th, 1963, the Baldwin Hills Dam failed and in one afternoon Buddy lost his house and all of his life’s music along with the equipment he used to create it. The only tapes of his early music that survived where the limited copies he had made for his dad. With insurance money and a financial settlement from the City of Los Angeles, he built another home at the same location. He designed a special room for his home studio and bought two new Ampex 300 tape machines. Now, his home recordings would greatly benefit from the studio quality machines.

Over the next several months, Buddy created nearly two dozen master-quality home recordings stylishly arranged in layers of sound and texture. In 1974, after 19 years, Buddy resigned from the Lawrence Welk Orchestra to devote all of his time recording new music.
In 1976, Buddy received an Academy of Country Music nomination for Best Rhythm Guitar Performance. His last collection of new material was “Classics in Rhythm” in 1983. Buddy continued to play in clubs as a solo artist and with other musicians across the country until 1988 when he retired from the road. Buddy decided to release his work on compact disc.
That effort resulted in the release of “World of Guitars” in 1994, a compilation of several earlier albums.
In 1998 “Guitars Express” was released, which consisted of all original music never before released on vinyl.
Another compilation CD was released in 2001 titled “Classic Guitars”.
In 2003, a box containing reel-to-reel tapes of his earlier music was “rediscovered”. These tapes were the copies Buddy had made for his father in 1963 before the flood. Much of this early music has been restored and has been released on CD, titled “Buddy Merrill-The Early Sound”. This music was recorded between 1954-1964, and is his early experimental work of sound on sound recording.


We don't sell : we just recommend the best guitars and accessories:



I bought the cheapest guitar I could find with a Bigsby B50 on it so I could have something to test fit my tuning stabilizer on. This Alden guitar popped up on Ebay and I got it for $149.99 direct from China. I have no ides what model they call this or even how one could produce and build a guitar for $150. The pickups were, however, aweful. I replaced them with some Rio Grande Blues / Low Bar P90's that are pretty darn decent. I added the tuning stabilizer to the Bigsby to reduce the string break angle over the bridge, which also REALLY softens the feel of the Biggs. I had laying around an old Fender locking nut with fine tuners, so I slapped that on too. Egnater Rebel 30 makes a difference too! Check this out and judge (the sound, not necessarily the playing) for yourself.

ARIA GUITARS: 100 SERIES ELECTRO CUTAWAY

100 SERIES ELECTRO CUTAWAY

100 Series Electro Cutaway Available

Following the successful launch of 100 series, electro cutaway version is now avaialble with 101 (OM) and 111 (Dreadnought).
Both feature a beautiful florentine cutaway, vintage style open gear tuners. Fishman Isys preamp employed for a superior amplified boost for recording and live performance.
101 is available in MTN (Matte Natural), MTTS (Matte Tabacco Sunburst), MTCS (Matte Cherry Sunburst), MTBK (Matte Black). 111 is available in MTN and MTTS.
These are expected to be available in Mid-May.

DELTA PLAYER RANGE MORE TO COME!

Delta Player Range

To respond favorable feedback, we are expecting replenishing stock of Delta Player Range.

Dedicated to the delta blues era, The Aria Delta Player range brings you genuine vintage feel at an affordable price.
Uncompromised craftsmanship generates pure solid tone and outstanding playability. The new ‘MUBR’ Muddy Brown finish completes the Vintage Vibe.
available in the following, Dreadnought OM and Parlour.
Order Now.

SINSONIDO

ARIA SINSONIDO

Aria’s Sinsonido Series of travel guitars are truly an example of excellence in design. They can be played through headphones (Supplied) or through your amplifier. The body frame makes for comfortable playing while seated, or can be removed for playing while standing with strap. Licensed original P.U. generates pure acoustic sound.
AS105 series with added effect functions is also available.
ORDER NOW!

RETRO CLASSICS

DM-01

Aria DM guitars are back with a modern twist. Stunning vintage tones are generated by twin P-90 style pickups allied to a passive tone / volume circuit. Tuning stability is enhanced by a tune-o-matic bridge while the floating tremolo system allows sweet shimmering vibratos.

ARIA MEISTER SERIES

MSG-05 & 02

Aria Meister Series offer an Impressive Specification. Carefully hand-crafted in Indonesia, “bolt-on” neck construction was employed to Promote Superior Sustain Chracteristics.
The All Solid MSG – 05 has a Solid Engelmann Spruce Top, Solid Rosewood Back & Sides, Gold Hardware and comes with a case.
available in Natural (N), or Brown Sunburst (BS).The MSG – 02 has a Solid Engelmann Spruce Top, Rosewood Back & Sides and Chrome Hardware.
Also available in Natural (N), or Brown Sunburst (BS).agORDER NOW!

ADF / ADW SERIES

ADF-01
Aria ADF-01 is an ideal guitar for beginners of various styles and genres.
The body is a built with a spruce top with sapele back and sides. Generating clear projection and a powerful acoustic sound. A wide range of colour choices also available and all come in a nice
glossy finish. ADF-01 3/4 (580mm scale), ADF-01 1/2 (530mm scale) are also available.
For Dreadnought Players, ADW-01 and electro cutaway version of ADW-01CE are available.

A-48CE

A-48CE

New for 2017. Now in stock.
A-48CE is a thin body classical guitar with electro cutaway.
Features include solid spruce top, flamed maple back & side, Fishman Classica III. 14 fret neck joint and 45mm nut width is employed to improve the playability. Versatility perfect for even non-classical guitar players.
Strung with Savarez CJ500.

UKULELE STRAP

SPS-U/B
SPS-U/B is a leash type ukulele strap.
Available in 8 different beads colours of Natural, Red, Blue, Green, Yellow, Purple, Pink, Orange. Hooks into the sound hole. 680 mm adjustable length.

MOJO GIG BAGS

“Never be Without Your Mojo”

Fabulous Mojo Gig Bags are now all in stock!
Call your Sales Agent or Sales Office Now.

KAPUA UKULELES

Kapua Full Range Available

A great starter Ukelele strung with quality Aquila strings and supplied with a bag. All colours avaialble.

  LEOLANI UKULELES

LEOLANI UKULELE AVAILABLE

These quality Hawaiian Leolani brand Ukuleles are now available in Koa or Mahogany and come with a gig bag.

ARIA STRINGS RANGE

High Quality Strings Available

A great range of Aria strings for: Acoustics and Electrics in Light, Exl, Exl Coated and Coated Light. Electric Bass Long Scale and Classical High & Mid Tension.

STEVE CLAYTON

STEVE CLAYTON

– Ultem Plectrums –
Ultem Plectrums are remarkable for creating crisp clean tones, on even the dullest of strings. This pick is made of the highest grade material to ensure your guitar produces the cleanest, brightest tone available. This pick closely resembles the true sound of actual tortoiseshell that is so widely desired. However, it will not fracture like tortoiseshell and is one of the strongest picks on the market.

RAT DISTORTION PEDALS

We don't sell : we just recommend the best guitars and accessories:



I bought the cheapest guitar I could find with a Bigsby B50 on it so I could have something to test fit my tuning stabilizer on. This Alden guitar popped up on Ebay and I got it for $149.99 direct from China. I have no ides what model they call this or even how one could produce and build a guitar for $150. The pickups were, however, aweful. I replaced them with some Rio Grande Blues / Low Bar P90's that are pretty darn decent. I added the tuning stabilizer to the Bigsby to reduce the string break angle over the bridge, which also REALLY softens the feel of the Biggs. I had laying around an old Fender locking nut with fine tuners, so I slapped that on too. Egnater Rebel 30 makes a difference too! Check this out and judge (the sound, not necessarily the playing) for yourself.

Vigier and A Little Thunder: Something Special for Mary Spender (video)

This summer the luthiers at Vigier have built something special for our favorite UK Songstress, Mary Spender. Known as much for her unique approach to playing as she is for her gorgeous voice and monster songwriting chops, Mary was in need of something to push her solo performances a little further. Enter A Little Thunder.

mary-spender-guitarFor those not familiar with A Little Thunder, here are some words from founder/inventor Andy Alt: A Little Thunder is a patented and unique guitar humbucker that drops the bottom two strings by -1 or -2 octaves to sound like a bass & guitar being played simultaneously. It requires no routing, MIDI, or 9V battery to operate, and has a hyper, near-zero latency bass response. It pops into a guitar and suddenly there’s a huge bass sound filling the room! You also get all 6 guitar strings coming through the pickup, and the bass signal from A Little Thunder can be used at the same time as any other pickup in your guitar. There’s no relearning the guitar either, just play as normal and the pickup detects the lowest notes your playing and gives it a deeply satisfying bass sound to accompany the guitar! We’re proud to feature Mary Spender as a premiere A Little Thunder artist and look forward to a bright future of creative possibilities!

Mary’s new Excalibur Indus in TextWhite is the first and only guitar from Vigier to feature A Little Thunder and we hope it serves her as well as her Revolution Green G.V. Rock has for the past two years.

Read more about A Little Thunder here.

Watch Mary and her Revolution Green G.V. Rock do their thang here :

We don't sell : we just recommend the best guitars and accessories:



I bought the cheapest guitar I could find with a Bigsby B50 on it so I could have something to test fit my tuning stabilizer on. This Alden guitar popped up on Ebay and I got it for $149.99 direct from China. I have no ides what model they call this or even how one could produce and build a guitar for $150. The pickups were, however, aweful. I replaced them with some Rio Grande Blues / Low Bar P90's that are pretty darn decent. I added the tuning stabilizer to the Bigsby to reduce the string break angle over the bridge, which also REALLY softens the feel of the Biggs. I had laying around an old Fender locking nut with fine tuners, so I slapped that on too. Egnater Rebel 30 makes a difference too! Check this out and judge (the sound, not necessarily the playing) for yourself.

TrueFire Review

TrueFire Review

There is no shortage of musical instruction companies that are using modern technology to help them in teaching the masses, but there are few that do it as completely and with such great success, all the while not exiling traditional instruction techniques in the process as TrueFire.

The first thing you should know about TrueFire is that if you’re the type of person who only wants a DVD, you’re going to be happy with TrueFire’s offerings as most are available on DVD.  But if you’re the type of person that prefers to indulge themselves in modern technology made possible through computers, tablets, or smart phones, TrueFire is ALSO right up your alley.  If you find yourself somewhere between the two camps, you’ll still love TrueFire.
The first thing you’ll notice as you look through their catalog of over 12,000 video lessons, is that they are focused on trying to mitigate buyer’s remorse as much as possible.  Lesson samples include videos, often-lengthy explanations of the course’s materials, and how the instruction will be presented (as every instructor is a little different).  As a result, you really get a feel for what the course you’re buying will be like instead of judging it based on the instructor’s reputation (or a worse way to judge: their looks) or DVD cover like you may in a store.
The second thing that sets TrueFire apart is that there are usually two packages you can buy from them: one being a download-only option where there is no physical media sent to you(at a lower cost as there is no physical material to print and ship to you), and one where physical media IS sent to you at a higher cost.
Personally, I think there’s no reason to buy the physical media and have it shipped to you.  TrueFire encourages you to burn a data DVD with the materials on it so it never gets lost, even if your computer’s hard drive crashes.  I took it one step further and copied it into my Dropbox account so I can access any part of it from any tablet or smart phone in the world (so long as I have an Internet connection).  This includes PDFs and TAB in a variety of formats, jam tracks, and the videos themselves, basically offering me the entirety of the course on my small iPhone screen, which may be the most handy thing possible for long trips away since there are no books or DVDs to keep track of and Dropbox keeps everything in the cloud, always accessible.
But this is just the traditional video-type lessons.  True Fire has more than that.  They have online workshops, interactive video lessons, TrueFire TV (where you can see the interactive video lessons in a streaming format), online classrooms where you get “face to face” instruction that really is one on one.  If that isn’t enough, they also have apps designed for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch that range from the free Guitar Lab app (which contains various mini-lessons from various courses) to the more specific apps that focus on a specific course (like “50 Blues Guitar Licks”).  They all come with videos and other needed learning materials.
As far as the instructional quality goes, TrueFire offers all the video angles to help eliminate any confusion, and everything is slowed down and easy to follow.  The course’s chapters are easy to navigate, you never feel lost, and (most importantly) there’s not a lot of wasted time when it comes to getting to where you need to go so you can get start learning right now.  Additionally, when you’re looking at potential lessons to buy, they all feature extensive “About Your Instructor” sections that explain who they are and why they’re an authority on the subject.  There are also potential comments and/or reviews on the courses so you can see what other players thought of it.
One of the best things about TrueFire is that they are so committed to a pleasant user experience that anyone can sign up for the free Student Plan and get 30 days of access to the full site (and “other great perks,” which in my case meant 10 free dollars in credits that happened to coincide with a lesson sale, so I was able to pick up a full lesson for free) so you can take your time, poke around, see what the courses have to offer and then, if you want to, sign up for a paid plan which starts at $15.00 a month.
A friend of mine suggested that I look into TrueFire for a review and told me his Dropbox method of storing the lessons since he goes on the road a lot.  He said that the customer service folks are very nice to work with, and that he thinks $15.00 a month is a steal considering that he has access to so much and $15.00 wouldn’t get you nearly as much with a real-world instructor.  He’s got a really good point there.  $15.00 of music-store instruction wouldn’t begin to cover what you would get for the same money from TrueFire.
Their library is immense and I was able to find several video lessons that I wanted to purchase in the future (they have a beginner’s bluegrass lesson, for instance, that has 175 minutes of video, text commentary, standard notation as well as TAB in both Power Tab and Guitar Pro, and jam tracks that covers all sorts of chords and techniques, culminating in SIX full songs to learn).
In this day and age traditional video lessons on DVD are great, but they have limits – limits that are all but blown away by online offerings, but rarely do online companies offer their perks in such an up-front and easily-navigated format.  If you’re looking to learn new things, or in a new way, you should look at TrueFire and sign up for their free student plan to see what it’s all about.  I was nothing short of impressed and I bet you will be as well.
For more information, click HERE.

We don't sell : we just recommend the best guitars and accessories:



I bought the cheapest guitar I could find with a Bigsby B50 on it so I could have something to test fit my tuning stabilizer on. This Alden guitar popped up on Ebay and I got it for $149.99 direct from China. I have no ides what model they call this or even how one could produce and build a guitar for $150. The pickups were, however, aweful. I replaced them with some Rio Grande Blues / Low Bar P90's that are pretty darn decent. I added the tuning stabilizer to the Bigsby to reduce the string break angle over the bridge, which also REALLY softens the feel of the Biggs. I had laying around an old Fender locking nut with fine tuners, so I slapped that on too. Egnater Rebel 30 makes a difference too! Check this out and judge (the sound, not necessarily the playing) for yourself.