“Just received the guitar this afternoon. It plays and sounds better than anything I could have ever imagined. It is simply transplendent. Wow! I don’t think an acoustic guitar could be made any better. Attached is an essay regarding my tribute to this guitar company. Feel free to post it on the Stonebridge website.” – John Danley
Of all the great feedback we receive about our guitars, the following essay by award winning guitarist John Danley is the most articulate. John recently custom ordered a G22LR-C and couldn’t be happier because the guitar has “reinvigorated a former passion.”
Here is the essay:
An Encounter With Excellence
Last October I walked into a Nashville music store with my wife determined to beta test a limited edition acoustic guitar manufactured by a popular luthier. The salesman told me they didn’t carry that model, but suggested I try another guitar instead. He handed me a Stonebridge G-22SR-C (I had never heard of this guitar before). The salesman proceeded to explain the history of Stonebridge Guitars and the story of Roger Schmidt and Frantisek Furch while I discreetly tuned the guitar.
For the next twenty minutes I experienced the embodiment of acoustic euphoria. Symphonic sustain, powerful projection, meticulous balance, crisp dynamics, decadent resonance, ethereal harmonics, and effortless responsiveness. It was like a serotonin generator had been implanted in my cerebral cortex when I realized the creative possibilities. After years spent compromising with resistant instruments that required various degrees of adroit negotiation, a guitar had emerged that offered every desirable characteristic imaginable and a possible cure for the musician’s version of writer’s block. Every aspect of the instrument’s design was crafted to produce maximum musicality and optimum utility without resorting to ornate flamboyance. To exhaust cliches, the guitar might as well have been playing itself as it required minimal effort to create a rich landscape of sound. In fact, I think you’d have a difficult time discovering a style of playing that wouldn’t work with this guitar.
As a musician, I’ve often encountered acoustic guitars that demand a suspension of my expectations. Maybe the neck is comfortable, but the instrument sounds flat. Perhaps the tone of the instrument is divine, but the balance is less than desirable. In worst case scenarios, playing an expensive guitar that promises to justify its reputation ends up being a confrontation with poor intonation, hampered clarity, wonky bass, harsh treble, and the feeling of having to struggle with a non-compliant instrument. Comparing guitars, like comparing pickups, can lead to neurosis if you take it too seriously. After all, the paradox of choice tends to be more of a liability than a welcome opportunity in today’s saturated market. Many years ago I decided that the search for an affordable, all-purpose acoustic guitar capable of sonic excellence and graceful playability—while also being reliable in the studio or on stage—would result in perpetual frustration. However, as science gently reminds us, sometimes the best thing that can happen is when we are proven wrong.
In 2009 I declared a moratorium on music performance and recording to pursue a career in psychotherapy. It pleases me to say that I am now the owner of a customized Stonebridge acoustic guitar and looking forward to completing another recording project to be released later this year. It may be difficult to believe that a single encounter with an acoustic guitar could reinvigorate a former passion, but it seems to be working out rather nicely.
JOHN DANLEY is an experimental, fingerstyle guitarist who composes and performs his own blend of acoustic, instrumental music. John has developed a style of guitar playing by using a housepainter’s paintbrush to add percussive sounds to the instrument while simultaneously creating colorful harmonies and distinctive melodic hooks. His exposure includes extensive airplay on syndicated radio stations focusing on folk, new age, acoustic, jazz, blues and world music. John Danley is a regular contributor to National Public Radio’s All Things Considered, Public Radio International’s To The Best of Our Knowledge, a performing arts entertainer and composer of music for film and television (including TBS soundtracks for cable). He has performed at The Kennedy Center, college universities, festivals, art galleries, workshops, the Healdsburg Guitar Festival, and has shared the stage with such artists as David Gray, Iris DeMent, Gove Scrivenor, Reese Wynans, Cheryl Wheeler, Peppino D’Agostino, and the Nashville Symphony Orchestra.
Nominations and awards include The Nashville Scene’s “Best Guitar Hero” in 2002 and “best solo guitar album” Cemeteries, Missed Trains and Blue Skies and “best solo guitar song of the year” Hickory, 2004 JPFolks Music Awards. In addition, Drifting into Oblivion, John‘s 5th solo release, was nominated by JPFolks in 2006. Amber Dispositions, his 7th solo release, was nominated for JPFolks 2009 Solo Guitar Album of the Year. Toledo was nominated for 2009 Solo Guitar Song of the Year.