Heiner Dreizehnter Model A

You don’t see many blackwood-topped guitars. In fact, this is the only one I’ve seen, my blackwood beauty, built by German luthier, Heiner Dreizehnter.

I met Heiner at the Open Strings Guitar Festival in Osnabrück. Of the many guitars that I played over the festival weekend, this was the one that I couldn’t forget. It took two months before I succumbed to the siren song of the blackwood, but succumb I did. I made the call, hoping that it hadn’t sold and, thankfully, it hadn’t.

It is Tasmanian blackwood throughout with maple bindings and ebony fretboard, headstock veneer, bridge and bridge pins. The specs are as follows:

* Scale length is 648mm (25.5″)
* Nut width, 45mm (1.77″).
* Lower bout, 395mm (15.55″)
* Upper bout, 290mm (11.42″)
* Waist, 245mm (9.65″)
* Depth at end pin, 120mm (4.72″)

The tone is deep and rich and it was that depth of tone that captured my heart. The craftsmanship is outstanding, something I’ve come to expect from German luthiers.

It has a nice oil-based finish, something which I hadn’t seen before and haven’t seen since. It really brings out the natural wood and there’s none of that swish of clothes rubbing against it as is the case with satin finishes.

But, aesthetics aside, let’s get to the meat of the matter: the tone. I’m a bass lover – always have the bass button pushed in on my stereo, iPod EQ set to bass boost, nice, meaty subwoofer for the 5.1 amp, you get the picture. And let me tell you, this guitar floats my boat. I don’t know whether it’s the depth, the wood, the bracing or what, but this guitar has some real meat to it.

Saying all that, one would be forgiven for thinking that the guitar is bass heavy. It isn’t. That’s what makes it so remarkable. It’s well-balanced but with presence, if that makes any sense.

The quality that this guitar has, besides the rich depth, is sustain. For Celtic fingerstyle, the only guitar I’ve played that I liked more was a Walker, and they are about three times more expensive. It has a kind of dry, vintage-like tone similar to what one would expect from mahogany, and also like mahogany, it favours the fundamental. But the similarities with mahogany end with the sustain – I could pick a note, switch on the kettle and it would be still be ringing as I was pouring in the milk.

I have posted a review of this guitar on Harmony Central.

UPDATE: September 2005

I took this guitar with me to Steve Kaufman’s flatpicking camp in Tennessee last June and am pleased how well it coped in amongst all those dreadnought banjo busters. Sure, it wasn’t a bluegrass monster, but it was certainly loud enough to stand up to some good pickin’. I had the action lowered a bit by luthier and Kamp Doctor, Ken Miller. He also installed a PUTW dual-source pickup. This guitar is now my gigging and pub guitar, as well as everything else. It’s my keeper!


Here are some recordings I’ve done on this guitar. I record using condenser microphones. Here’s a page showing the gear I used: Recording Gear

My Mary of the Curling Hair

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Humours of Ballyloughlin

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Hector the Hero

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May the Fourth Be with You

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Sit Down You’re Rocking the Boat

Recorded at last night’s rehearsal.

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Night Snipers

This is a fairly new discovery for me, found through last.fm when listening to my favourite Russian band, Akvarium. They’re called Night Snipers and this song is called Black Sun. I uploaded it for two friends of mine who I thought would like it since they like Apocalyptica (which I actually don’t, but there you have it).

Sons and Daughters

I had heard of Sons and Daughters from my mates and had Love the Cup on my hard drive but hadn’t given it its proper attention. Then today I was doing the vacuuming and put S&D on on the iPod and had a rocking time. For some reason it made me think of dave, knowing that he has a penchant for British alternative music. So dave, I had a look through your last.fm and saw no sign of S&D in your charts so I thought I would upload some for your enjoyment introduce you to them. Maybe you won’t dig it, but just maybe you will. Give it a go and see what you think. I love it!

They’re a Scottish band, from Glasgow.

Gilt Complex
Rama Lama



What’s good in your life?

I need to blog. Not sure what this will achieve but maybe I’ll can look back on this period in a year or so and thank God that we got through it.

Life is hard. Too fucking hard.

This new business is great; I’m really enjoying the work, enjoying being an employer, enjoying the respected position in the community, enjoying being part of a community that I want to be a part of, enjoying the day-to-day challenge and the feeling of a good, honest day’s work at the end of the day.

But we’re skint. Rooked. Nae cash. No moolah.

Lorraine is working all the hours that she can. I get home and am too tired to do anything but reheat my dinner, eat it and go to bed. I haven’t properly played the guitar for maybe a year or so. When Lorraine manages to meet a deadline (usually by working well into the night for the last few days) she either has another deadline looming for the next batch or has to clean the house as it gets into a dreadful state when nobody can do it because nobody has the time. And on top of that she’s dealing with eBay auctions for cards for the shop, putting them in cellophane bags, printing labels to say what the message is inside.

We came to Arran because it’s beautiful place but we never get out to see it. We haven’t been out together since Hamish was born (he was two this week). Even when we’re home we don’t really see each other. Lorraine is fucking exhausted but keeps on going and won’t quit. She looks dreadful. There’s no joy in our lives and we’re not sure how we’re going to make ends meet financially and whether we’ll be able to keep the business going long enough to make it profitable.

Have we made some dreaful mistake? I try and be grateful for all the things that we have: two healthy and happy children, our own health, a roof over our heads. Then things happen like a stone flies up off the road and lodges itself into the gap between the windscreen wiper and the bonnet. So when I try and work the wipers, they don’t move, and I keep trying, thinking that they’re just stuck, and the motor burns out, and we’re left with a 400 quid bill. How is that fair?

I listen to music and am moved as much as I always have been; I feel the urge to play and get excited. I get home and am too fucking tired to do anything. I pick up the guitar to play but it’s no good. I have to go to bed. If I get to bed after 10 p.m. it’s late and I’m tired the next day. Between 9 and 10 and I’m okay. At work I forget it all because I’m doing the next thing and then the next thing and roll through the day and quite enjoy it, but what’s it all for if, when I get home, I’m too fucked to do anything, I don’t see the kids, I don’t see my wife and she’s burned out and stressed and hating herself for having no patience with the kids and feeling like a failure because the house is dirty and there are boxes everywhere and the kids aren’t eating very well?

Oh, fuck knows. Maybe I should just put on some NIne Inch Nails really fucking loud and try and block it out. As Lorraine keeps telling me, worrying about it doens’t help. Yeah, I know. At least I’m not drinking though, eh? I’ve found a great bunch of recovering alcholics here and although I don’t get to many meetings, I still make a few and thank god that there are meetings here and people I can turn to.

Back in Lux we had a decent income and did see each other, although at the time it seemed that we didn’t, but compared to now we most certainly did. But we were never really happy, me especially, living in a foreign country where we didn’t really fit in. Now I do fit in and I love that to bits, but it just seems that there are too many sacrifices. I’m working my bollocks off and the business may be breaking even if I’m lucky.

But I guess this is what we expected, at least for the first year and possibly second and third. Maybe I should just stop fucking whinging and get on with life. As the great John Lennon said, life is what happens while you’re making other plans. My wee girl cuddled me while she fell asleep tonight and told me that she loved me. That’s what I should be focussing on, right? I’m not the drunk, fucked up dad that I might have been (and was for the first 18 months of her life). And I’ve also got Beppe. So I’ll leave you all with a Beppe tune, the one that I just tried to play, and ask you all (hood only, of course) to give the tune a wee listen and, as you listen, sit back and think of what’s good in your life and I’ll do the same.

Ave Maria
Beppe Gambetta


Last last.fm chart of the year (featuring Spear of Destiny)

23 Dec 2007 – 30 Dec 2007

Spear of DestinyGeorg Friedrich HändelАквариумPaolo NutiniNic JonesNine Inch NailsMichael JacksonStephen FrySpice GirlsJona Lewie
1 Play Spear of Destiny
2 Play Georg Friedrich Händel
3 Play Аквариум
4 Play Paolo Nutini
5 Play Nic Jones
5 Play Nine Inch Nails
7 Play Michael Jackson
8 Stephen Fry
8 Play Spice Girls
1 10 Play Jona Lewie

Ah yes, Spear of Destiny keeps Handel from the top. How about that ladies and gentlemen. I always listen to Messiah on Christmas day in the morning but it’s so darn long I don’t think I’ve ever heard the whole thing.

But, to the Spear. What a trip it was to listen to them again. I liked them a lot in the mid 80s. Post punk was the label given to them. Kirk Brandon certainly was an angry man and rather politicised too, just the sort of thing a boy in his teens should be listening to really whilst guzzling six packs of Lamot lager, Diamond White, Rossco’s homebrew and the odd quarter bottle.

World Service (1985) and One-Eyed Jacks (1984) rock, and Outland (1987) takes me back to my army days big time.


Spear Of Destiny
Spear Of Destiny
Never Take Me Alive
Spear of Destiny
Аквариум (Aquarium in Russian) will be an artist of the week for certain at some point. They are very, very good.

Happy New Year fellow last.fmers.

Last fm charts

No time for much any more. Trying to pack and it’s mental. Probably dismantling the network and boxing up the computers in the next day or so. I’ll keep the MacBook out through.

Here’s last week’s charts. Yeah, I discovered May Windhouse. She’s good. And Dave made me seek out Ace of Base too, after his post about some cover or other. Good fun.

Oh, and talk about vanity – I’m in my own charts! I was listening to recordings of myself on the way to a gig so I could get the lyrics in my head again. I’m no Yam Hinewouse but I ain’t bad.

And Led Zep I just plain rocks. Can’t believe it’s taken me this long to get around to it.

Top Artists this Week (see more)

16 Dec 2007 – 23 Dec 2007
Amy WinehouseAce of BaseYann TiersenRed Hot Chili PeppersJohnny CashLed ZeppelinStephen FryJona LewiePaul McCartney
1 Play Amy Winehouse
2 Play Ace of Base
2 Play Yann Tiersen
4 Play Red Hot Chili Peppers
5 Play Johnny Cash
6 Cams
7 Play Led Zeppelin
6 8 Stephen Fry
3 9 Play Jona Lewie
2 9 Play Paul McCartney


Last.fm (featuring Pete Murray)

9 Dec 2007 – 16 Dec 2007

Pete MurrayStephen FryNick HarperThe KLFNine Inch NailsWaterson:CarthyPaul McCartneyWizzardBand AidGenesis
5 1 Play Pete Murray
17 2 Stephen Fry
3 Nick Harper
4 Play The KLF
4 5 Play Nine Inch Nails
10 5 Play Waterson:Carthy
21 7 Play Paul McCartney
21 7 Play Wizzard
19 9 Play Band Aid
5 10 Play Genesis

Pete Murray is an Australian and I’d never heard of him until my good friend Philippe asked if I would sing a duet with him on the track Opportunity. I learned it in an afternoon and we rehearsed a few times and pulled it off very well as it happens. Unfortunately the recording I made of the concert was too hot and the whole thing clipped all the way through. So, I’d best let you listen to the original then!

Stephen Fry reads the Harry Potter audiobooks and does so very well. I’m just starting the final one now and am really enjoying them!

Nick Harper is a definite for featured artist on day. Meanwhile, enjoy Pete Murray.

Pete Murray

Weekly last.fm charts (featuring Nine Inch Nails)

Cutting it fine again this week!

Top Artists this Week (see more)

2 Dec 2007 – 9 Dec 2007
Nine Inch NailsThe Wonder StuffВладимир ВысоцкийRoy HarperBryan SuttonMartin CarthyPete MurrayPixiesThe Greencards
8 1 Play Nine Inch Nails
2 Play The Wonder Stuff
3 Play Владимир Высоцкий
4 Play Roy Harper
5 Play Bryan Sutton
6 Play Martin Carthy
6 Play Pete Murray
8 Play Pixies
9 The Greencards
10 Pat Walsh

Nine Inch Nails are at the top this week. This is mainly thanks to the inspiration I got from bevester who recommended Year Zero. I’ve been a fan of NIN since Pretty Hate Machine but haven’t bought any of their music since Downward Spiral. Not really sure what that is, but there you have it. So I was excited to hear Year Zero and it didn’t let me down. It has that trademark NIN angst and I loved it right from the start. I guess as a concept album I should get familiar with the lyrics but that usually comes later for me.

The song I listened to most on Pretty Hate Machine was Something I can Never Have. And it still gives me the chills. I remember locking myself away with PHM and a bottle of White & Mackay after being dumped one time and playing it loud.

I did see them perform once in Glasgow (May 1994) but I remember very little about it.

So many thanks bevester for the reco and here are some tunes for y’all’s enjoyment. (including Hurt, which Johnny Cash covered on American Recordings IV and made it his own and now I play the JC version — planning on playing it today at my leaving gig as it happens!) The NIN version is really good too though.

Something I Can Never Have
Nine Inch Nails


Nine Inch Nails


Weekly last.fm charts (featuring Mika)

25 Nov 2007 – 2 Dec 2007

Suzanne VegaMikaMuseBeppe GambettaSergei RachmaninoffStephen FryNine Inch NailsSteve Gibson with Leo Laporte
1 1 Play Suzanne Vega
2 Thomas Luis de Victoria
3 Play Mika
4 Play Muse
3 4 Beppe Gambetta
6 Play Sergei Rachmaninoff
2 7 Play Anne Dudley and Jaz Coleman
1 8 Stephen Fry
9 Play Nine Inch Nails
10 Steve Gibson with Leo Laporte

This week’s artist is Mika. Lorraine heard a track of his on the radio whilst babysitting Hamish in the car while he slept as I and Freya were having fun in the park. She liked it well enough to buy the CD and it really is great. His vocal range is incredible and his music pop-tastic. Sort of a cross between Freddy Mercury and Robbie Williams.

I hope he’s not a flash in the pan!

Thomas Luis de Victoria is a CD that I have of choral music and it’s really good for aiding concentration or playing really loud to mediate to.