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What is a musician but one who constantly pushes on against the bleeding edge of sound? What is a luthier but one with that same drive, who challenges convention with their ceaseless experimentation? John McLaughlin (of Shakti fame) is one such musician, just as Mirko Borghino is one such luthier.
The brand new Shakti model we have here today stands between these two great men as the very image of experimentation, and the means to achieve it. McLaughlin's Indian fusion band from the 1970s, Shakti, offered one of the first tastes of the rich waters spanning the continents of Indian Classical music and Jazz--and at the heart of this group was McLaughlin and the first iteration of this guitar, all scalloped frets and diagonal sympathetic strings. The Borghino Shakti model here is the most recent version, done up in Madagascar Rosewood and Italian Spruce with dual K&K Fantastick undersaddle pickups and a stereo output which allows the player to amplify the regular bridge, the sympathetic strings, or both.
The scalloped frets make for a truly featherweight fretting experience (no friction from your fingertips and the fretboard to slow you down), and it's easy to bend strings far and fast in the fashion of a Sitar. The seven diagonal strings offer complex overtones simply from the energy of the regular strings--but you can pluck or strum these baritone strings as well for a burst of color and volume. Borghino's attention to detail is surgical: the Abalone trim and rosette are stunning, crisply executed, and the scalloping of the fretboard is smooth and graceful. For a guitar experience unlike anything else, this feat of lutherie is worth every penny. Losing yourself in your music is unavoidable with your hands on this Shakti.
What is a musician but one who constantly pushes on against the bleeding edge of sound? What is a luthier but one with that same drive, who challenges convention with their ceaseless experimentation? John McLaughlin (of Shakti ...read full descriptionArtists who play instruments by this builder:
"I went back through some old recordings with John McLaughlin and Shakti after seeing this guitar at the Artisan Guitar Show. Of course I couldn't wait to play this one myself! The scalloped frets make left hand work effortless and fast, and there's something hard to describe about the character of the sympathetic strings. Mirko's done an amazing job building a unique instrument that just begs to experiment on." - Paul Heumiller
"I had a blast with this one. It's designed to sound somewhat like a sitar and has raised frets, a scalloped fingerboard, and a bridge saddle with a flatter top to encourage that sitar "twang" on the high E. The wound strings running perpendicular across the top are tuned to an open E chord and are designed to match the tuning of tabla drums. You can see John McLaughlin playing an early version of this guitar with Shakti in the 1970s version of the band. Really amazing." - Al Petteway