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Thread: Guest Luthier Series: Jol Dantzig

  1. #1
    SDUGF Founder Evan Skopp's Avatar
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    Default Guest Luthier Series: Jol Dantzig

    Please welcome Hamer Guitars co-founder Jol Dantzig. Some of Jol's contributions to guitar history include:

    • Design of the first 12-string bass
    • Design of the first locking tuner
    • Design of the first workable electric/acoustic hybrid guitar (DuoTone)
    • Creation of the "Modern-Vintage" boutique guitar niche market

    Jol's guitar designs have won six Editor's Pick awards in a row from Guitar Player magazine.

    Jol has designed guitars for: John Lennon, George Harrison, Sting, Keith Richards, Gary Moore, Billy Gibbons, Rick Nielsen, Keb Mo, KK Downing, Glenn Tipton, Lyle Workman, Mark Knopfler, Eric Johnson, Martin Barre, Johnny Ramone, Elliot Easton, Brad Gillis, Roy Buchannan, Jeff Watson, James Honeyman-Scott, and many, many more.

    Jol's musical credits include recording with: Blue Guru, Wilson Pickett, Freddie Scott, Jon Tiven, Shaw-Blades, Jim Carroll, and Frank Black. His compositions have been featured in films and television.

    Check out Jol's Wikipedia page here. Click here to follow his blog. And click here to see a video interview.

    At the end of Jol's appearance today, a randomly selected participant will win a cool prize. Jol will pay to pick up their guitar and bring it to his workshop where he'll do a full soup-to-nuts setup on it. He'll intonate it. Adjust the truss rod. Dress the frets. Clean and lubricate it. Jol and Seymour will consult on a set of pickups for the guitar, based on how the guitar plays and the winner's playing style. And Jol will drop the pickups in. It’ll play like a dream when he's done with it. And the lucky winner can follow the day-to-day progress on Jol's blog.

    So there you have it. Any electric guitar or bass set-up personally by Jol Dantzig. Pickup selection by Seymour. All documented for the world to see on Jol's blog.

    Now, the fine print. The guitar can’t be a total basket case. It has to be a reasonably playable solid body or semi-hollow electric or electric bass. Also, to qualify for free pickups, it has to use standard production model pickups like Gibson-size humbuckers or Fender-size single coils. And finally, because Jol is generously picking up the shipping costs both ways, this offer is limited to guitars with shipping addresses in the Continental USA only.

    Ladies and Gentleman, please welcome Jol Dantzig!
    Evan Skopp, Inside Track International
    Sales and marketing reps for D'Addario, Musopia, Reunion Blues, Q-Parts, and Nukleus Pickups.

  2. #2
    Heel Whacker tone4days's Avatar
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    Default Re: LIVE NOW - Guest Luthier Series Feature's Hamer's Jol Dantzig

    1) welcome and thanks for doing this Jol ...

    2) I saw the DVD that Hamer sent out a few years back and was fascinated and totally impressed by the attention to detail and high quality ... i was transfixed by the scene with the craftsman applying neck binding so meticulously ... can you talk a bit about the ramifications of having neck binding when it comes time for a refret? ... does the neck get stripped of the binding, then refretted, then rebound? or something else? ... with the way the binding goes over the fret end, i just can't get my head around the best way to have it done ...

    3) what are your thoughts on stainless steel frets especially as far as how they sound in an electric solidbody guitar when amplified ?

    4) how do you determine what neck carve you'll use on a given instrument? how do you get that carve translated from your thought to the piece of raw lumber? is it hand done? or a computerized process?

    5) Evan shared with us the development process of his KILLER korina / P90 beast from a few years ago ... major GAS inducing ... can mere mortals like us get a guitar like that from Hamer? I have held off on buying my first P90 guitar until I can see about getting one as happenin’ as Evan’s …

    6) thanks for all the years of sharing your artistry and craftsmanship with us ... wishing many more to come for you and all the good folks at HAMER

    cheers,
    t4d
    gear list in profile

    "no seymour - no tone ... know seymour - know tone!"

    Is it not the glory of the people of America that, whilst they have paid a decent regard to the opinions of former times and other nations, they have not suffered a blind veneration for antiquity, for custom, or for names, to overrule the suggestions of their own good sense, the knowledge of their own situation, and the lessons of their own experience?" - James Madison - Federalist #14

  3. #3
    SDUGF Founder Evan Skopp's Avatar
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    Default Re: LIVE NOW - Guest Luthier Series Feature's Hamer's Jol Dantzig

    Hey Jol:

    Welcome to the SDUGF. We are very happy to have you here today.

    - Evan
    Evan Skopp, Inside Track International
    Sales and marketing reps for D'Addario, Musopia, Reunion Blues, Q-Parts, and Nukleus Pickups.

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    Ultimate Tone Member
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    Default Re: LIVE NOW - Guest Luthier Series Feature's Hamer's Jol Dantzig

    Good morning! It's great to be here, and thank you Evan for inviting all of us.

    I'l be checking in routinely during the day to answer questions and provide links when possible.

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    Frito's Better Half beandip's Avatar
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    Default Re: LIVE NOW - Guest Luthier Series Feature's Hamer's Jol Dantzig

    What was the reason to go Kaman, and what have the changes been since?

    Most underrated tool in your shop?

    Most overrated tool in your shop?

    How did you get about starting in the building/repair business?

    What on earth would make you want to build a 12 string bass?

    Are there any locking tuners out on the market today that closely resemble your original design?

    I've got a few more later.
    This is the very perfection of a man, to find out his own imperfections. - St. Augustine of Hippo

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    Tone Member
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    Default Re: LIVE NOW - Guest Luthier Series Feature's Hamer's Jol Dantzig

    First off, thanks to Seymour, Evan, and Jol for this opportunity for us forum members!

    1) What inspired you to become a luthier?
    2) How did you learn how to build guitars?
    3) Which of your designs are you proudest of?

    Thanks again!

  7. #7
    Super Toneologist MojoMonster's Avatar
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    Default Re: LIVE NOW - Guest Luthier Series Feature's Hamer's Jol Dantzig

    Hi Jol
    Thanks for making the time.
    I'm a big fan of Hamer guitars and while I've never owned one, I look forward to the day when I can stop lusting and start playing one.

    I'm wondering if you wouldn't mind giving us your thoughts on a couple of things:
    The possibility of all-composite guitars succeeding in light of the eco-friendly attempts to make guitars out of non "tone woods" or non-traditional manufacturing processes.
    Frankly, I'm drawn to the concept but wonder if the market will bear out for them given the propensity for guitarists demanding woods like light-weight mahogany, figured maple and Brazilian rosewood in their quest for tone.

    And, what are your thoughts on bolt-on necks, versus set-neck and neck-thru designs with regards to how it affects tone.

    Thanks again and I hope this ends up being a good experience for you.

    MM
    MM

    2000 ES335LE Teal Blue, 2009 Gibson LP Trad Pro HCS, 2007 Edwards LP-130LTS/RE Lemon Drop, 2010 Gibson '50's Tribute Studio Goldtop.
    Carvin V3, Bogner Alchemist, Egnater Rebel 30, Peavey Classic 30, Dave Hunter Two-Stroke, Digitech GNX3, Carvin T100

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    Asshatologist
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    Default Re: LIVE NOW - Guest Luthier Series Feature's Hamer's Jol Dantzig

    How does it feel to have a part in molding the sound of Rock and Roll?

    What were some of your favorite custom guitars you made for someone famous?

    What is your personal favorite tonewoods for your guitar... If you had unlimited access to money/material and had a perfect clone of yourself to build it (so you don't have to spend time doing it yourself)? What fret size, fret number, pickups etc... to sum it up what's your perfect dream guitar that you would build for yourself.

  9. #9
    Ultimate Tone Member
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    Default Re: LIVE NOW - Guest Luthier Series Feature's Hamer's Jol Dantzig

    Tone4days:

    Fretboard binding is a personal choice. It does add to the look of the neck and protects your hand from sharp fret edges when done well. The issue of refretting can be addressed in several ways. The "nubs" can be removed and the guitar can be refretted in a standard manner either by cutting slots in the binding (not a great solution) or by notching the fret tang so the fret bead lies over the binding.

    The other alternative is to trim the frets exactly so that they fit back between the nubs at each end of the fret. More difficult and exacting, but it retains the original look and feel.

    Stainless steel frets are somewhat harder to work with but we do it. Some folks say that they hear a difference and I'd say that's small but true. In the scheme of things, it's a small upgrade for people who use one instrument constantly.

    Neck carves are also very personal. My favorite is a deep, hard V shape, which I use on the Talladega model, but I also like a lot of other configurations. I think that each guitar should have a personality that inspires you to play certain things. If I want a different feel, I change instruments.

    We offer a variety of "stock" carves as well as custom shapes and dimensions. But to answer your question directly, our stock guitars are just ones that feel right to me. There are only three of us who carve necks, and we've done so many that we only use the templates to check our work. They are rough sanded with a belt using a metal stop to get us into the ballpark, then finished up with files, scrapers and lots of hand sanding.

    And... yes, we build guitars for all kinds of players and collectors every day.

  10. #10
    Ultimate Tone Slacker Mr Wolf's Avatar
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    Default Re: LIVE NOW - Guest Luthier Series Feature's Hamer's Jol Dantzig

    Hi there Jol thank you for giving up your time to do this. Firstly...

    1. Are there any particular rival designs that you wish you came up with yourself? As an extention of that question, any rival luthiers out there which you admire?

  11. #11
    LoveMachineologist jeremy's Avatar
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    Default Re: LIVE NOW - Guest Luthier Series Feature's Hamer's Jol Dantzig

    great to have you here jol!

    i love your monaco and monaco superpro guitars. the longer scale with the single cut semihollow body is perfect. can you give me the story of their creation? what lead you to choose those pickups? the custom in the neck seems an odd choice for such a graceful guitar.

    i played with matt smith shortly after he got his and was blown away by how great an instrument it was, even with such stout pups which usually arent my thing.

    i havent been able to get my hands on a talladega. can you give a little comparison between the two guitars? again the long scale single cut design piques my interest.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: LIVE NOW - Guest Luthier Series Feature's Hamer's Jol Dantzig

    Beandip, when we parted ways with Paul Hamer in 1987 we needed a new salesman. Kaman was a very successful distribution company and Bill Kaman was a fan of our guitars. It seemed like a good solution, one that let us concentrate more on making guitars as opposed to selling them.

    Most underrated tool? The clock.
    Most overrated tool? Fret files.

    I got into this business by putting one foot in front of the other. I never thought I'd be here now. I just did what I loved, and the rest just happened.

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    GrumpyWorfologist newking70's Avatar
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    Default Re: LIVE NOW - Guest Luthier Series Feature's Hamer's Jol Dantzig

    are you really glenn danzigs brother?
    Quote Originally Posted by Gearjoneser View Post
    Put the two together, and make it Kambone.

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    Default Re: LIVE NOW - Guest Luthier Series Feature's Hamer's Jol Dantzig

    Razix I learned from an older repairman named John Montgomery, and then from everyone I've ever come into contact with. In the early days, maybe 1974, I went up to Michigan to visit Ted McCarty to see if I could learn a thing or two. We took one of the first Hamer guitars with us. The first words out of his mouth were "guitars like that were failures". He was speaking of the explorer of course, which was a total sales flop in the 1950s and had been discontinued after less than 100 guitars!

    We got to spend time at the Gibson plant in Kalamazoo when we became the warranty service center for Gibson. We had access to all the tools techniques and materials we needed.

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    Default Re: LIVE NOW - Guest Luthier Series Feature's Hamer's Jol Dantzig

    Mr Wolf. There are a few builders I admire, and am proud to call friends. I don't consider them rivals as much as kindered spirits. The ones that come to mind first are Tom Anderson, Rick Turner, Ken Parker, Ned Steinberger, Dean Zelinsky, John Suhr and Bill Collings. The list goes on...

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    Default Re: LIVE NOW - Guest Luthier Series Feature's Hamer's Jol Dantzig

    Newking: Glenn Danzig is my Dad...

  17. #17
    GrumpyWorfologist newking70's Avatar
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    Default Re: LIVE NOW - Guest Luthier Series Feature's Hamer's Jol Dantzig

    Quote Originally Posted by Jol Dantzig View Post
    Newking: Glen Danzig is my Dad...
    lol,
    Quote Originally Posted by Gearjoneser View Post
    Put the two together, and make it Kambone.

  18. #18
    Lewguitar
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    Default Re: LIVE NOW - Guest Luthier Series Feature's Hamer's Jol Dantzig

    Hi Jol! I'm a big Hamer fan. The Hamer Standard and the Hamer Artist and the Hamer Monoco Super Pro are my three favorite Hamers and I have a question about the pickup choice in the Hamer Monoco Super Pro. I've owned two of them and although I like the 14.4K Custom Custom as a bridge pickup I always wondered why you chose a Duncan Custom as the neck pickup. At 14.4K the Custom is such a hot pickup that I found the tone to be a bit to full and a little muddy when played at higher volumes. The Custom used a neck pickup almost overpowers the Custom Custom bridge pickup. So in my Monoco Super Pro, I removed the Duncan Custom and installed a Duncan Seth Lover neck model instead. Now we have two alnico 2 pickups and the tone seems a lot more balanced. Just curious. Thanks for all the great guitars!
    Last edited by Lewguitar; 09-09-2009 at 08:43 AM.

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    Default Re: LIVE NOW - Guest Luthier Series Feature's Hamer's Jol Dantzig

    Hi Jol,

    Thanks for taking the time to do this! What can you tell us about the DiMarzio pickups that Hamer used in the late 1970s/early 1980s? If I remember correctly, you guys had them custom-made (they weren't a standard, off-the-shelf DiMarzio offering).

    Thanks

  20. #20
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    Default Re: LIVE NOW - Guest Luthier Series Feature's Hamer's Jol Dantzig

    The Monaco series was a way to morph the tonalities of the longer scale into our lineup without being untrue to our set-neck heritage. In every design, I try to answer a question, solve a problem or create a new character for the guitarist. Sometimes I just do something because it seems funny to do or just to see if it can be done, and if it adds something to the musician's palette, we'll go with it. In the case of the Monaco, I wanted a humbucking guitar that spoke with the clarity of a longer scale, and the chambered body and spruce top gives it a nice warm top instead of a sharp edge. The pickups were a weird combination, but they worked. I always try out lots of pickups whe we design a new model.

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