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We recently met up with a dynamic young player, Yasmin Williams, who was on the hunt for a quality steel string to take her playing to the next level. Here’s a sample of the kind of tone we’re talking about here: https://www.facebook.com/dreamguitars/videos/2022839427746979/.  After taste testing nearly every guitar we had in the shop, she finally found what she was looking for in Eric Weigeshoff’s Skytop Guitars. Yasmin had a few additional requests, and after working out the details with Eric we’ve settled on a custom build with a Teredo-holed Sitka top, multiscale fingerboard, and a few other juicy details. According to Eric, the Sitka came from a “log that was a float log in Alaska for about 50 years, and the mollusks got in then. Most of it was used for firewood, but I got a stash of it that’s been great to use as soundboards. This will be my 4th Teredo-holed guitar.” Eric has already started the build, and we wanted to keep you all in the loop as it progresses. Stay tuned and keep checking back, there’s a lot more coming down the line!

Custom Skytop Grand Concert
Multiscale fingerboard: 25.4″ to 24.9″
Back: Indian Rosewood
Top: Teredo-Holed Sitka Spruce
Binding & end graft: Curly Koa
Top/back purfling: B/W/B
Side purfling: Maple
Neck: Honduran Mahogany, C Shape
Nut: 1-11/16″
Saddle spacing: 2-1/4″
Bridge: pinless Ebony
Fretboard binding & 12th fret: Curly Koa
Headstock veneer: Ebony
Backstrap: Indian Rosewood
Tuners: Gotoh 510 Cosmo Black
Florentine Cutaway

9/28/18 Update: It’s been a few weeks, but Eric’s been busy at work on our custom build for Yasmin Williams. Now he’s finished building the jig for the multiscale fretboard, roughed-in the soundports, and glued and carved the back braces. Stay tuned for more!

10/11/18 update from Eric: “Got the top braced and carved, and closed up the box this week.”

11/5/18 update from Eric: “All coming along swimmingly at this point. Got the box closed and bound, and now working on the fretboard.”

12/3/18 update:

We recently had the great pleasure of chatting with fingerstyle-songwriter virtuoso David Wilcox about his complex (to say the least) journey through the world of guitar amplification. Years of teasing out the proper application of each kind of pickup have resulted in a system that employs over five pickups–for one guitar! You’ll want to listen with a pair of good headphones in order to hear the subtle variations David demonstrates here, but even regular earbuds will go a long way.

David has upcoming shows at the Songbirds Guitar Museum in Chattanooga, TN on Friday 4/27/18, and at Eddie’s Attic in Decatur, GA on Saturday 4/28/18. David’s new record “The View From the Edge,” will be released on May 11th. People can pre-order the digital download version and listen to excerpts from the record here: http://smarturl.it/hawa3q.

The first two videos here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eX9rY… and here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=93NJM…

David will (busy guy) also be doing a Facebook Live session on Friday (4/20/18) at 6:30 PM eastern time with Jorma Kaukonen, live from Jorma’s Fur Peace Ranch in Ohio. Find out more here: facebook.com/davidwilcoxmusic

What happens when you put Al Petteway in the same room as one of our long-time client’s personal guitar treasure trove? Something like The Collector’s Passion! Al sets down a permanent record of some of the finest guitars we’ve ever seen, from Somogyi & Traugott to Greenfield, Lowden, Olson, Martin—the track list goes on. Al’s fingerstylings render Tony’s exquisite collection in full technicolor, a rare glimpse of what must surely be guitar heaven. Available now at Dream Guitars!

We’ve sat Al down with Paul to discuss how this CD came about, Al’s recording process, and how the various guitars complemented each piece. This interview is an excellent companion to the record.

Here’s the interview! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zxaYC_1TznA

Folks, there’s a hot new item on the market for gigging and traveling musicians. One which eliminates the stress of microphone feedback, sidesteps navigating mic stands, yet offers the kind of tone you can only find with your favorite microphone– in fact, the exact tone of your favorite microphones! This lovely tool analyzes the tonal differences between your chosen microphone and your instrument’s pickup, then creates a WaveMap preset which will replicate the tone of your favorite mic with only the ToneDexter preamp and your instrument’s pickup. No more mic stand clutter, no more feedback woes from a hot microphone!

When you first get your ToneDexter, you do a one-time training session with both a mic and the pickup plugged into ToneDexter. This way, ToneDexter can listen to both signals simultaneously and learn the difference between the two. By playing for about a minute, ToneDexter figures out how to simultaneously correct for the pickup’s deficiencies and restore the missing body tone to the pickup signal, and creates the WaveMap. With a simple press of a button, ToneDexter stores that WaveMap in one of the eleven available preset locations. You can then put the microphone away and enjoy beautiful, lifelike sounds from your guitar, violin, mandolin, or other acoustic instrument.

Impressed? You’re not the only one–we can hardly keep these ToneDexters in stock! You can see our full listing here and snag one for yourself: https://www.dreamguitars.com/shop/amplification/preamps-and-di-boxes/audio-sprockets/audio-sprockets-tonedexter.html

Here’s a demonstration and general how-to by fingerstyle virtuoso Doug Young: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kH9Qs3FZLYc.

The boutique guitar industry is chock full of unique experiences, and we’ve certainly had our fair share of them take place in these very showrooms. Recently, we found ourselves with no fewer than five Traugott R models at the same time (some have already sold by now). When Al rolled in on Wednesday for our regular recording session, we seized the opportunity to taste test the five Traugotts (from a 1994 Koa model all the way to a 2016 with Adirondack Spruce) and get Jeff Traugott’s own feedback on how he heard his individual sound manifested in each individual guitar. It was a pleasure both to analyze the common threads of Jeff’s voicing, and to delve into the minute idiosyncrasies by which each model R stood out from its siblings. Below you’ll find the The Traugott Five: From 1994 to 2016 compilation video, and each Traugott’s individual video with Paul and Jeff’s commentary. Tell us what you think!

1994 Traugott R (R.009.07.024) Flamed Koa & German Spruce


Paul: This doesn’t sound like your dad’s Koa. The bass is tight and defined, which I expect of Koa, but the brightness in the trebles has a roundness that’s something else entirely. This one is well played in, and responds accordingly. I’d describe the energy as wide open, but precise.

Jeff: The Koa guitar has a beautiful range with bright lows and mids and fat highs, but the overall tone is less complex than the Brazilian. Not in any negative way, just that to me it’s not as deep and varied as the sound I can I get with Rosewood. Like the 6-12 string guitars, the Koa has a smooth, warm, sweet character, and they are all getting better with age.

2004 Traugott R (R.000.130.104) Brazilian Rosewood & German Spruce Matched Pair


Paul: This one has a mature, seasoned voice. Strong trebles, and a little more warmth in the lower mids than others. Both this and its 12-string twin have lots of headroom. This one in particular has that glassy top end you only find with Brazilian Rosewood.

Jeff: The 2004 pair of 6-12 strings sound so rich and smooth with a balanced range and super thick highs. They’re getting better with age.

2004 Traugott R 12-String (R.000.126.064) Brazilian Rosewood & German Spruce Matched Pair


Paul: Just like how the Koa Traugott isn’t your usual Koa guitar, this R 12-String ain’t a regular ole jangly strummer. The voice is much more focused and doesn’t suffer from the harsh brightness of other 12-strings. It’s tough to describe it other than it’s more musical, more nuanced and dynamic, than what you’ve been conditioned to expect from a 12-string guitar.

Jeff: The 2004 pair of 6-12 strings sound so rich and smooth with a balanced range and super thick highs. They’re getting better with age.

2012 Traugott R (R.000.202.082) Brazilian Rosewood & German Spruce


Paul: Ah, now that’s some gorgeous Brazilian. Old school, nice and straight-grained. The bass is a bit more prominent in this one than the others, and there’s great note separation and clarity. The tone is focused with bright trebles, and I’d describe the energy as forward-voiced.

Jeff: The 2012 and 2016 have a notable boost in the low end and low mid range with some wild overtones and killer volume while still maintaining the strong mid-range and fat high end which I try for in all my guitars. I made an effort to get this kind of sound in 2006 when I made some significant bracing changes including my design for the floating back brace.

2016 Traugott R (R.001.230.086) Brazilian Rosewood & Adirondack Spruce


Paul: Rich sonority was the first thing I noticed. The lower mids are particularly rich as well. This one the Brazilian glassiness just like the 2004 6-string. The notes have that elusive bloom, where there’s a kind of overtone swell that blossoms after the initial attack starts to fade. It’s a rare thing, but I’ve seen it in a number of Traugotts.

Jeff: Both the 2012 and the 2016 started life big and bold and to me have a huge tonal range and a complexity that is stunning. This is the case with all my current guitars and I’m loving that. I just strung a new Model R Fan Fret today with the sister set of Brazilian to that of the 2016 R and it is crazy good! I hope I can hear the 2012 and 2016 in 10 to 20 years and see how they have developed like these others.


Further, Jeff had this to say about the collection: I believe strongly that the more a guitar is played and the older it gets, the better it gets. When someone owns a guitar and plays it year after year they mingle their DNA with the guitar’s DNA and this can create something very special! In truth I would love to own any one of these guitars. I’m very pleased to hear this mini retrospective of my work and thankful to Al, Paul, and Logan at Dream Guitars for putting together such a lovely soundscape! Thanks also to everyone who has bought or may buy one of my guitars, many of you have become friends over the years and that has been a wonderful experience for me! Anyone with questions about these or any of my guitars are free to contact me!

Dream Guitars is also here to talk with you about Traugotts past, present, and future. We hope you enjoyed this glimpse into Paul, Jeff, and Al’s respective ears–and we hope that this compilation can help establish both a thread of continuity across Jeff’s guitars and a greater understanding of the subtle nuances that makes each of these hierloom-quality guitars distinct.

We’ve got a brand new mini video series with Canadian lutherie virtuoso Jordan McConnell (of  McConnell Guitars and The Duhks fame)—Jordan brings out the rich and varied colors of his fellow Canadian builders’ fine creations that we’re happy to represent here at Dream Guitars. Immediately below is a quick collage of the six guitars, and you can scroll down below that for each video in its entirety. Enjoy!

First up is a striking Art Deco Sunburst Maple-and-Engelmann Jumbo from Michel Pellerin (http://www.dreamguitars.com/…/5347-pellerin_jumbo_sunburst…/). To say the voice is huge would be, well, a cruel understatement. This Pellerin rattles your teeth from 20 feet away!

Next on the block is a lively and exhilarating 3GMS/25/27 flattop from Al Beardsell. Soundports, bevels, multi-scale fretboard, isometric neck profile—all with quick attack and responsiveness.

Number three could easily be number one in our books: a Little Manzer in Brazilian and Cedar from Linda Manzer! A pocked-sized beauty with a guitar-and-a-half voice, this model was originally made famous by Pat Metheny, and since then Linda’s made but a handful of these handy (themselves a handful) little gems.

Number four: a classic from one of Canada’s greatest: our 2000 OMC from Mario Beauregard. Brazilian Rosewood and German Spruce of this order is incredibly hard to find these days, and in Mario’s hands these tonewoods are honed to their ultimate edge. Flawless balance from string to string, elegant curves and Ebony trim, a voice equal parts creamy and crisp—you have to make a hard decision between playing this Beauregard and doing anything else, ever, each time you pick it up.

Number five comes from the man himself, Mr. Jordan McConnell. This particular 16 Inch model was built for our very own Paul Heumiller (so of course the Brazilian back and sides are ridiculous), who opted for Moonspruce on top and a Blue Ridge Parkway-themed inlay scheme by none other than inlay virtuoso Larry Robinson.

Click here to check out our latest artist performances and lessons!!

Since the day I started Dream Guitars I’ve always wanted it to be more than just a guitar shop selling instruments. The sense of community and the shared love of music is one of the reasons that I got into this business and it’s what keeps it so enjoyable for me year after year. All of the wonderful instruments that we sell are for one purpose which is to make music which in turn makes the world a better place. I truly believe that. To that end we have always offered inspiration in the form of our Listening Studio, concerts, performance videos and lesson videos on dreamguitars.com.


Many clients are surprised when they realize how many lessons we have actually produced over the years. We have over 40 free lessons on our website and YouTube Channel today by such artists as Al Petteway, Steve James, Vicki Genfan, Clive Carroll, Konarak Reddy, Danny Ellis, Doug Young and Paul Asbell. In addition we have performance videos by these players and other friends who come by the shop, including Cliff Eberhardt, Loren & Mark, Jordan McConnell (The Duhks), Steve Baughman and Robin Bullock.


All of these can be found on our popular YouTube Channel and we also have a direct link to our Lessons Page on our main menu under Resources.

Have you visited our Listening Studio? Over the years, we at Dream Guitars have been recording each of our in-stock instruments, many by the one and only Al Petteway. As a result, we were able to compile all of these recordings into a database that now allows you to listen to thousands of individual guitar recordings while comparing and analyzing tone woods, builders, models, wood types, and more.


We have also produced a complete book of Sheet Music and TAB for the Dream Guitars Vol. I: The Golden Age of Lutherie CD by Al Petteway.

In addition, we are very excited to have just finished up Dream Guitars Vol. II: Hand Picked by Al Petteway as well. Volume II not only includes Music and Tab but will also include a Video lesson of absolutely every track available on our site in the coming months.

DG II Front Cover-i


Hot News: Robin Bullock has also recently moved back to the Asheville Area and will begin to produce a regular lesson series for us as well!! Stay tuned for more on this.

So take advantage of the Listening Studio as well as all the Lessons, Blog Articles, Interviews and all we create for you. You can find them on our YouTube Channel, Facebook Page and of course dreamguitars.com. Most importantly keep making music!!! The world needs it!

(Clive Carroll has toured with Tommy Emmanuel and Michael Manring, visit Clive’s site for more information.)

We had the absolute pleasure of having Clive Carroll at Dream Guitars for a house concert back in February…and we took full advantage of our time with him before the show!! Clive was gracious enough to perform some of his amazing tunes and provide a handful of lessons for our viewers.


“I have the great fortune as the owner of Dream Guitars to often have the chance to be in the company of some of the world’s top guitarists. I am always amazed at the extremely high level of play they achieve and of course it’s because they put the hard work in on the techniques that often elude mere mortal guitarists. Well here’s a look at a few distinct techniques and riffs that are very doable for everyone, if you just take the time it takes and have fun with it. Challenge yourself to play something new today, something you’ll learn from one of the very best Clive Carrol.” – Paul Heumiller


The grouping of videos include amazing performances of “Autumn Leaves” and “Black Moon” as well as four mini-lessons covering the Plectrum Technique, a great blues riff, a right hand exercise, and a lesson on thumb/finger independence.

Click here to view all six Clive Carroll videos.


About Clive Carroll:

Soon after graduating from London’s prestigious Trinity College in 1998, Clive was given the opportunity to play at a gig with UK guitar maestro John Renbourn, who, on hearing him play, immediately suggested that Clive record an album. So one year later, Clive was working away in the studio, recording his first album ‘Sixth Sense’, which was greeted by press and audiences alike as something of a breath of fresh air in acoustic guitar circles. The album’s 2000 release didn’t go unnoticed by mentor and friend John Renbourn, either, because the pair spent the next two years on tour together in Europe and the United States.

In the meantime, Clive would occasionally return to playing classical repertoire, recording the ever popular ‘Canon’ by Pachelbel for BMG/RCA Victor in 2002. His next solo album, ‘The Red Guitar’ appeared in 2004 and this time it was guitar legend Tommy Emmanuel’s turn to invite Clive to tour with him. After a jaunt across Australia together, the pair continued to perform all over the world. The collaborations with John Renbourn continued, meanwhile, and 2005 saw them work together on the Sony Picture Classics film ‘Driving Lessons’ which starred Julie Waters and Harry Potter star Rupert Grint.

After years of travelling with guitar giants Renbourn and Emmanuel, it was time to go solo and so in 2006 Clive embarked on a series of tours under his own name, accepting an invitation to appear at the highly regarded International Guitar Night of America along the way. All the time, the buzz concerning this young virtuoso began to grow ever louder…

So, with barely time to draw breath in between working on side projects like tutoring at the Irish World Music Centre in Limerick, playing at events organised by the likes of film director Guy Ritchie and Michelin award-winning chef Jean-Christophe Novelli and travelling to the Middle East to play at the Strings Of Freedom concert for the Sultanate of Oman, work began on Clive’s third solo album, ‘Life In Colour’. The result is a roller-coaster ride of six string virtuosity that takes the listener from the dusty roads of ‘Mississippi Blues’ one minute to the wide epic open space of ‘Oregon’ the next.

One thing is for sure; ‘Life In Colour’ represents a milestone both in the career of a remarkable musician and the music world in general.

For more information, please visit his website.




We had the luxury of having Indian guitarist Konarak Reddy visit the shop recently, perform and also record a video lesson all available here.

Konarak is an amazing player with a unique style of play. We have asked Konarak a few questions about his history and playing style – following are his responses:

How long have you been playing Fingerstyle?

I have been playing fingerstyle off and on for about 40 years. But I started concentrating solely on fingerstyle about 15 years ago when I performed at Peter Finger’s “Open Strings Festival” in Osnabruck, Germany. Around the age of 13, I first began playing the guitar and it was an acoustic steel string guitar (nylon string guitars were not available in India back then) and I started out by studying western classical guitar from the “Carcassi Classical Guitar Method” book.

What styles are you blending together? Is it Indian classical music or folk music?

I blend styles that range from western classical, jazz, rock, Brazilian, North and South Indian classical and from my experiences of life.

As a child growing up here in India in the 50’s I lived with plurality and multi-culturalism. Every morning I heard the Muslim Mulla’s call echoing from the neighborhood mosque as well as the traditional Subrabhatham, a Sankrit chant sung by the famous M.S.Subbalakshmi playing on temple speakers. We had the Andrew sisters on Radio Ceylon and the western classical music of Beethoven, Chopin, Bach and Tchaikovsky on 33 and 78rpm records at home. We had the churches and the choirs. We had concerts of the great South and North Indian musicians of our time and we also listened to Jimi Hendrix, The Grateful Dead, The Who, Ten Years After, Miles Davis whose LP’s we would exchange amongst us friends.

Where did you learn western music skills?

Well, I studied western classical guitar in India and took exams from Trinity and Royal College of Music, London which are held in India annually. After that, I toured India extensively with my rock band. In ’76, I went to Berklee to study jazz and in ’89 to Musicians Institute, Hollywood. I lived in Los Angeles for 6 years, teaching and playing. Finally, I returned to India in 1993 to focus on my music.

What musicians / artists were influences on you along the way?

Lalgudi Jayram, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Bismillah Khan, Ali Akbar Khan, Carl Jung, Jimi Hendrix, Andre Segovia, Flute Mahalingam, The TibetanBook of the Dead, Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin…

What else would you like our readership to know about you?

I am very fortunate to be born in India a few years after Indian Independence and that too to parents from a mixed marriage, both of whom were artists. The whole world was open to me. I was not confined by tradition, language or thought.

The Freedom Movement was initially led by minds who were fluent in English, aware of world affairs and not afraid to break with tradition. Later, Mahatma Gandhi took this movement to the masses.

So today, when foreign artists and musicians come to India with folded hands, taking their shoes off, dressed in Indian clothes and try to learn from our traditional systems, they do what most hesitant guests do in a new country. They get mesmerized by the brilliance of the traditional systems. The logic, the mathematics, the return to the sum (one), the Raga system, konakol etc. Fusing, trying to mix and match western harmony and Indian melody and rhythm.

But for people like me who grew up in an Indian environment speaking English and equally comfortable with Jimi Hendrix and Ravi Shanker from an early age, well versed with all the influences of post colonial India, mixing styles and genres was a natural process of assimilation. We own it and can practice it with easy irreverence.

I would love readers to contact me on Facebook, share their comments and also to view my music links:


A while back, guitar great Al Petteway sat in front of the camera at our showroom in Weaverville, North Carolina, just outside of Asheville, and gave us all a lesson on how to play his own composition, “Tennessee Mountain Rag,” which is included on the “Dream Guitars, Volume 1, The Golden Age of Luthiers” CD and tablature book.

For the lesson, Al plays a Tippin Al Petteway Signature Model with Brazilian Rosewood and Moon Spruce, built by one of the great luthiers in the United States, Bill Tippin of Tippin Guitars.

“In this style of music, everything is out there to be had,” Al explains when discussing his writing method for this song, which taps into many other tunes and progressions in the genre, and the way he puts it all together to make it his own. This is songwriting, folks.

Al also details his chords as well as a cool “chicken picking” technique that he uses for a neat walk-down. He also details optional rhythm choices, which he points out are reminiscent of the style of Chet Atkins. He also shows you a neat lick he learned from listening to Atkins.

You can watch the video here on our Dream Guitars YouTube channel. The “Dream Guitars, Vol. 1” CD and complete book of tablature is available in our online store. All of this and more is available in the online shopping cart.

You should also visit his website at www.alandamy.com to learn more about Al Petteway, his wife, Amy.

As you may have noticed, bottleneck slide guitar great Steve James spent quite a bit of time at Dream Guitars in our Weaverville, NC, studios back in May, when he came in for a house concert here.

He took time out of his schedule to demo several National Resophonic guitars and perform the classic song, “Guitar Rag,” widely regarded as the first slide guitar song ever recorded (1923).

He also sat down in front of the camera to talk about his life in music; click here to check it out on our YouTube channel. Steve recalls his first records (a collection of Lead Belly 78 RPMs he got the age of 4), his first guitar (a 1963 Gibson J-50) and his early days in New York City studying under such greats as Freddie Lewis and Stan McGee. He also points out the importance of the lessons he learned listening to the unique techniques of Blind Willie Johnson and the alternate tunings of Muddy Waters and Bukka White, some of the unsung heroes of the bottleneck slide blues.

He wraps things up talking about American blues music, calling it “our great export… this is what we offer to the world. People love our music and love to listen to it.”

This video is brought to you by Dream Guitars, proud to be a National Resophonic dealer… and a good friend of Steve James! Contact us today to get your very own National steel! Visit www.stevejames.com for more about Steve!

In many ways, Dream Guitars is not just about buying and selling amazing stringed instruments. Sometimes, we help make music. In fact, we feel that the Tony McManus album, “The Maker’s Mark: The Dream Guitars Sessions,” may have been our finest moment.

Here’s how it all went down…

A few years ago, Dream Guitars’ top dog Paul Heumiller was at the Swannanoa Gathering, which included a week of playing, meeting other musicians and generally having a blast with amazing music in the background. There, Paul met the Celtic steel-string legend and the two hit it off in a big way. As the week drew to a close, Paul made Tony an offer he couldn’t refuse.

“Next time you make an album,” Paul said, “let me know and I’ll bring a bunch of [Dream] guitars.”

Tony called a few months later, and Paul quickly found himself loading up the car with 19 guitars before driving out from Weaverville, NC, to Nashville, Tenn., and the famed Compass Records recording studio, where all of the Outlaws music was recorded, a studio that had welcomed Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson and Hank Williams.

“What a great vibe,” Paul explained.

For a week, Paul prepped guitars and Tony made music with several guitars, including a Greenfield, a Wingert, and a Matsuda, among others, which he selected not only because of the sound but that Tony believed that each luthier’s guitar was the right instrument for a specific song and its character.

The result of this magical week was Tony’s album, “The Maker’s Mark: The Dream Guitars Sessions.” You can find the album in our Dream Guitars shop by clicking here. “Maker’s Mark” is also available on Amazon. Paul feels strongly that this is “one of the finest solo guitar records ever” because of Tony’s expert selection process.

Each unique musical piece brings tonal variety. For the final track, “Valse de Belugas,” or “Waltz of the Belugas,” Tony used all 19 guitars and added a beautiful, 12-string Veillette Gryphon.

For the record, Acoustic Guitar Magazine has said this about Tony and his music: “Few guitarists can present Celtic music with the gusto and nuance they possess when played on fiddles or bagpipes. Tony McManus is one of those few.”

The album won the Canadian Folk Music Award in the solo instrumental category that year, and we at Dream Guitars remain as proud now as we were then.

Tony has also just released his latest recording entitled “Mysterious Boundaries.” You can check it out by visiting Tony’s website.

Our own Paul Heumiller recently sat down in front of the cameras to talk about one of Dream Guitars’ favorite builders, Jordan McConnell of McConnell Guitars (and the Grammy-award winning band, The Duhks) for a video interview.  You see, Paul is not only has a savvy eye when it comes to great luthiers and their instruments, but also sees things from the mindset of a player. In fact, he’s a proud owner of a McConnell and shares his feelings about that fine, custom made instrument with the viewer. Paul makes clear the guitar’s ability to bring out the music and sound he feels inside, a rare trait for any custom instrument.

McConnell builds rich-sounding and versatile instruments in both steel string and classical models at his shop in Winnipeg, Canada, on the fringes of the Canadian Prairies. McConnell became enamored with the construction of guitars at a young age and has studied with famed Spanish luthier, Jose Romanillos, gaining a valuable education in the work, the craftsmanship.

Among his customers: Tim Sparks, an award-winning fingerpicking player, jazz greats Larry Roy and Harley Card, Seth Avett of the Avett Brothers and Irish player John Doyle.

So, Paul sat down in our Weaverville, NC, studio, to talk about this fine luthier, who works with his father on the construction of the guitars. As a builder, Jordan McConnell has become a hot name and his work is in demand. While we do not have currently any in stock, Dream Guitars is accepting orders for his custom builds. Paul will personally work with you to ensure you get what your music deserves. Contact us to discuss the possibilities.

Considering a McConnell now? You may also want to check out this video of Jordan McConnell at the Dream Guitars headquarters a few years ago, offering an exclusive performance. We also have several other video samples of various McConnell guitars on our YouTube channel as well as the Listening Studio on our home page.

Special thanks to Dan Crapsi and Ginny Temple, who visited our shop and filmed this interview for their blog, thegoodguitar.com.

Singer-songwriter Danny Ellis has had an interesting life to say the least. After growing up in an orphanage in Ireland in the 1950s, Danny found music and it saved his life. He began his professional career as a trombone player with “The Boyne Valley Stompers,” a Dixieland band touring Ireland. From there, Danny expanded his horizons, his singing and playing and started a diverse musical career that has taken him all over the world as a trombonist, keyboardist and guitarist as well as a professional songwriter.

Flash forward to today and Danny is opening for for many musicians, including the great Bonnie Raitt for her recent show at the North Charleston Performing Arts Center. Bonnie is a great fan of Danny and his music and personally invited him to fill the opening slot.

Danny now maintains a studio in Asheville, NC, just down the road a spell from our Dream Guitars headquarters in Weaverville. We have built a solid professional relationship with Danny and he granted us some of his time to record a lengthy video interview with our own Paul Heumiller to talk about singing, songwriting, musicianship and his latest role as a teacher, which he conducts out of his studio in person as well as on Skype. In fact, Paul himself has spent plenty of time learning from Danny, studying the finer points of singing and songwriting. Paul considers Danny a mentor and a friend as well as a teacher. You can get more information about Danny’s teaching career and how to become a student by visiting his website and checking out his lessons page (www.dannyellismusic.com/musiclessons.cfm).

We have two videos on our YouTube Dream Guitars channel, one the full-length interview (22:28) and a short highlight reel of the same (5:31). Check them both out, then take a trip to Danny’s site, where you can read about his history, his discography, find links to his Facebook and YouTube pages as well as learn more about his teaching methods and how to contact him for lessons.

When Steve James spent time with us at Dream Guitars just before his rocking house concert performance at our Weaverville, NC, offices, not only did he demo several amazing National Resophonic guitars, he also taught us all a lesson in bottleneck slide playing the legendary “Guitar Rag.”

Your moment of musical history for today: Sylvester Weaver’s “Guitar Rag” is recognized as the first recording of slide guitar. That was way back in 1923, though Steve’s classic style is more than simply reminiscent of the period.

Now you can learn a thing or two from James himself right here at our YouTube channel, study the master’s moves and styles. There is an awful lot of information here and you’ll be able to apply what you learn as you progress as a player. Steve takes the time to demonstrate basic hand placement, string contact, touch, pick technique, vibrato, chords and more as he teaches the viewer how to play like a pro.

Steve James is world-renowned as an expert slide guitar master, not only touring and recording his own material and but acting as a sideman for such legends as Bo Diddley, Kinky Friedman, Buddy Guy and John Hammond. For more information and cool stuff, visit Steve’s homepage… after you learn how to play “Guitar Rag” his way — arguably the best way!

Last month, Dream Guitars hosted the great Steve James for the latest house concert at our Weaverville, NC, headquarters… and the house was rockin’.

Steve played Sylvester Weaver’s “Guitar Rag,” widely recognized as the first slide song ever recorded (1923). Throughout the show, Steve played his own National Resophonic instruments, including a Resorocket Wood Body WB, an NRP Black Rust and an RM1 Mandolin. He also toured our showroom and selected a few guitars from the racks to use during the show: a 1964 Gibson Sunburst SJ-200 and a Mervyn Davis SmoothTalker, a wood body instrument that that has a resonator-like quality.

Steve also wowed us with a version of “Stagger Lee,” re-written from the perspective of Stagger Lee and his John B. Stetson hat. Incredible!

Dream Guitars hosts about six house concerts a year and in the past has hosted many amazing artists, including Al Petteway and Amy White, Woody Mann, Martin Simpson, Clive Carroll, Lawrence Juber, Paul Geremia, Robin Bullock and Mary Flower to name a few.

Our next show is set for July 7 with the amazing duo of Loren and Mark. Other upcoming guests include Paul Asbell (August 3) and the return of Clive Caroll (Feb 28).

Check out our Event Calendar for more information on our house concert series.

We host a number of events here at Dream Guitars. Just one of our many ways to give back to the community and share music with others who are passionate about it. We welcome you all to come join us at a House Concert, Guitar Clinic, Setup Saturdays and other events throughout the year. Come visit Dream Guitars and the wonderful Asheville area!


Loren and Mark in Concert!

Sunday, July 7 @ 7 pm

Pre-Show Pot Luck @ 6 pm

Tickets $20, Reservations required

About Loren and Mark

Loren Barrigar and Mark Mazengarb, both virtuoso players in their own right, ran into each other several times over the years, first meeting in 2005 at Jorma Kaukonen’s Fur Peace Ranch guitar camp when working with Tommy Emmanuel. Loren was a seasoned player making his first deep foray into the world of acoustic guitars, while Mark was in the process of finishing his degree in classical guitar at the University of North Carolina. They met again in 2009 at the Chet Atkins Appreciation Society (CAAS) convention in Nashville, Tenn., and then they were late additions to the CAAS 2010 Saturday night finale performance lineup based on what the gathering of international guitarists had heard from them during the week. You can see part of that performance here.

Together, Loren and Mark run the gamut of acoustic guitar performances of both original and arranged music. With a background of bluegrass, jazz and Western styles, their thumb-picking technique harkens back to guitar greats such as Atkins, Merle Travis and Jerry Reed. When performing original compositions, Loren brings amazing vocals along with Mark’s stunning harmonies.

They have already recorded two albums together — the first of which won the 2011 SAMMY (Syracuse Area Music Awards) Best Album at the Northeast Music Industry Conference — and have been touring as a duo since 2011. For more on Loren Barrigar and Mark Mazengarb, visit their website http://www.lorenandmark.com.

Reservations required for all events, please email [email protected] or call us at (828) 658-9795.

How it works….

  • Come join us at 3 pm and bring a dish to share and a bottle of your preferred beverage. It’s always a wonderful array of treats!
  • Show starts at 4pm and performers play two sets with an intermission to mingle and meet the artist!
  • Guitar demos available in the shop before and after the show.

Future Concerts/Clinics

Paul Asbell, Mr. Versatility on Guitar, August 3

Clive Caroll, From England! February 28 (7 pm)


Here at Dream Guitars, we discovered early on that one element of selling world-class guitars online was missing for our online customers: the sound. We then became perhaps the first online dealer of guitars to offer sound samples by recording every guitar we have in stock, played by any number of our favorite friends. In fact, we made every effort to use snippets of the same song for each guitar to give customers a great point of tonal reference.

If you are a fan and frequent visitor, you are no doubt familiar with, “The Crossing,” written and performed by Al Petteway and included on the “Dream Guitars, Volume 1” compact disc. In effect, it has become our unofficial theme song. In fact, we’ve noticed that many clients come into the showroom outside of Asheville, NC, and play snippets of the very same song they had heard on this site. Kind of cool on the one hand, but very telling on the other.

As a result, we have put together two videos: one with Al performing the piece, the other with a full-blown lesson from Mr. Petteway, complete with detailed instructions on how to play “The Crossing” from the composer himself. The videos are available on our Dream Guitars YouTube channel.

The “Dream Guitars, Vol. 1” CD and complete book of tablature is available in our online store. All of this and more is available in the online shopping cart.

You should also check out the world of Al Petteway at his home website at www.alandamy.com.



Frequent visitors to the Dream Guitars website have no doubt noticed our recent fine classical guitar demos, all compliments of one extremely talented guitarist, David Stevenson. David is both a skilled performer and an immensely gifted composer. On May, Arise Stevenson and percussionist River Guerguerian collaborate on a engaging set of music that showcases  instrumental mastery, as well as great emotional depth.

May, Arise by David Stevenson with River Guerguerian

The songs have a transcendent uplifting quality that sound contemporary and immediate, while simultaneously conjuring images or the ancient and arcane; no mean feat indeed! Guerguerian’s skillful performance, featuring a wealth of global percussion, supports and enhances the material wonderfully.

For guitarists, David Stevenson’s playing is an inspiration. Technically brilliant, the sound of his custom Abe Wechter guitar propels May, Arise with skillful execution from the very first track to the CD’s extremely satisfying conclusion. We highly recommend this very fine CD! For more information about David, and to purchase May, Arise please click here.

Check out the following clips:

1) Eastern Anthem

2) 11/8

3) Bulldozing for Zen

4) Resolution

Dream Guitars is extremely pleased to have a player of David’s high caliber to demonstrate our nylon string instruments. Look for more information about David, including video lessons and performance video in weeks to come!

The talented Mary Flower stopped by Dream Guitars recently and spent the afternoon playing some of the fine guitars we have in stock. Mary plays a great combination of roots music, including ragtime, acoustic blues and folk. If you like these videos, be sure to check out Mary’s website for upcoming gigs, and information on her albums and instructional DVDs.

Steve James is a well known name among devotees of contemporary acoustic folk and blues; this notoriety based on numerous critically acclaimed recordings, a tireless international tour schedule and a sheaf of published work including articles, instruction books and videos. His instrumental versatility (on guitar, slide guitar, mandolin, guitar-banjo) also makes him a favorite at music camps and workshop programs.

Recently Steve stopped by Dream Guitars and played some of our great vintage and custom-made guitars.

Everyone knows that Al Petteway is an extremely fine guitarist, but what you may not know is that he is also an excellent guitar teacher. In this video Al instructs how to play  his  original tune “Tennessee Mountain Rag”. If you live in the greater Asheville area or just visiting, Al is available for one-on-one lessons that are sure to inspire. Give us a call anytime — we’ll be happy to schedule a lesson or two for you!

Canadian luthier Jordan McConnell dropped by Dream Guitars last week and sat down for an interview with our own Paul Heumiller. For those who don’t yet know, Jordan is building outstanding, versatile instruments that are in high demand. As a touring professional guitarist with his band the Duhks, Jordan understands the needs of the guitarist, and his instruments deliver on all fronts.

"NPS Photo, Courtesy of Carl Sandburg Home NHS."

Recently I was invited to view the guitars of Carl Sandburg at the Carl Sandburg Home — a National Historic Site located in Flat Rock, North Carolina.  In addition to being a famous writer and Pulitzer Prize winning poet, Carl Sandburg was an accomplished folksinger that helped preserve many of America’s great folksongs through his book The American Songbag.


"NPS Photo, Courtesy of Carl Sandburg Home NHS."

My guide for my tour of the Sandburg archives was Miriam Farris, a Museum Technician at the Carl Sandburg Home. Miriam took me to a large building that is completely air-conditioned and secure. This building houses Sandburg’s guitars and also his paintings, books, gun collections and other artifacts.

"NPS Photo, Courtesy of Carl Sandburg Home NHS."

One by one Miriam brought out the guitars that were owned by Carl Sandburg and used regularly in performances for his own enjoyment. One thing that was readily apparent as I viewed the guitars was that these were not fancy ornate instruments that collected dust. Rather, these were very simple guitars that were used daily and enjoyed by Carl Sandburg and his family. I can imagine him finding these instruments as he traveled across the country and bringing them back home with a smile on his face.

There are indeed some unique pieces in this collection including a Lyon and Healy Washburn Bell-Shaped guitar, model 5270, that was quite interesting. In addition, there is a pear-shaped English Lute that was very beautiful.

The home and the entire farm is extremely beautiful. I highly recommend that visitors to the Asheville area visit the Sandburg home and enjoy all that it has to offer. Tell them Dream Guitars sent you!

"NPS Photo, Courtesy of Carl Sandburg Home NHS."

"NPS Photo, Courtesy of Carl Sandburg Home NHS."

"NPS Photo, Courtesy of Carl Sandburg Home NHS."

"NPS Photo, Courtesy of Carl Sandburg Home NHS."