Hi. I'm John Standefer. Jim Wallace and I have been friends for over 30 years now. We've shared a lot of life together, been places, done things, had fun, gotten into deep religious discussions – you name it! And we've seen each other through a lot of stuff over the years. A main catalyst to our friendship though has been centered around our never-ending mutual fascination with the guitar. Together, we've accumulated about a century's worth of experience with the guitar. We love getting together for a little jam session now and then. Maybe it's because as guitarists we are so much the same - and yet so different. We both love everything having to do with chords - and our tastes in music and lists of favorite guitarists is almost identical. Yet, we are very different in our approaches, and in how we learn new things. Somehow or other we never really thought much about working together as a duo professionally or anything. We've always just enjoyed hanging out and stealing as many licks as we could from each other. However, in late 2006 things began to change.
It all started when we came up with two particular guitars in odd tunings. For decades I had always kept a hi-string guitar around, primarily for studio work (the 6 strings are tuned like the high strings of a 12 string set). In the early '90s I made an interesting change in the high string concept. I loved the tight chord voicings I could get but the overall pitch range of the instrument was kind of high. I wondered what it would sound like if I strung it up with bigger strings and tuned it down some. I ended up creating a hi-string based on a baritone guitar tuning (5 frets lower pitched than a standard hi-string). One day, JW was over at the house and got to dinking around with that guitar. Jim became totally swept away with the sounds he could get out of it. He immediately set up one of his guitars that way too and began experimenting. When we would play together though, we were in two different keys. I got to thinking that if I had a baritone guitar we could play together in the same key. I ended up converting my Gretsch Rancher into a baritone. This is where the magic began.
Now when Jim and I got together, we had two guitars with extended pitch ranges and altogether different chord voicings. As we experimented with tunes, we stumbled across 'Stardust' one day – and the rest is history. We developed a duet version of the song that had about the biggest chords we had ever heard coming out of two guitars. Once we got it down, it had to be recorded. After that we developed a few other tunes with those two guitars and recorded them too. We didn't really have an agenda other than having fun making up those arrangements and getting them recorded. Then it seemed like life took over for awhile and we didn't end up recording anything at all for a couple of years. Then, as we both got new custom Bertoncini guitars, we got all fired up again. And, not long after that, I acquired a 1923 Gibson L-3 too, which has a peculiar sound that I totally fell in love with. Anyway, over the course of the year 2011, we finally got back to work on adding more songs to our collection and ended up with enough of these recordings to make a CD. The songs are very eclectic in nature to start with, and then we worked a lot of them out in different tempos and rhythms and time signatures than they were originally written in. All in all, the collection is quite stylistically diverse. And yet, it somehow seems to all flow together nicely. So... after 3 decades, we finally put some music together that we thought we'd like to share with the rest of the world. Hope you get a kick out of it.
Regular listeners won't care (or probably even notice) the subtleties of which guitars we are playing or what tunings they're in. But, we figured that our main audience might very well be fellow guitar players. So, if you're interested, here is a list of what's going on:
Who's Who: John is always panned to the left and Jim to the right.
Recording Values: On each song there are just the 2 guitars, no extra overdubbed guitar tracks.
More on Guitars: John's JS signature model acoustic guitar and Jim's custom electric guitar were made by luthier Dave Bertoncini. The Crosman electric guitar listed below is a custom Strat-type guitar that was made for a friend of ours named Charles Crosman. It has been reworked and customized by Dave Bertoncini. The resonator and nylon string guitars were made for John by Nashville builder Paul McGill.
A Few Extra Instruments: There are 2 percussion parts added to 'Just The Two Of Us', and a uke part added to 'Limehouse Blues'. Other than that, you're just hearing the two guitars on each track.
|Track||Guitars: John / Jim||Tunings|
|Just One Of Those Things||Gibson L-3 / Crosman electric||[both standard tuning]|
|St. Thomas||Gretsch Rancher / Ovation||[baritone / bari hi-string]|
|New York, New York||Ibanez Ragtime / Gretsch Rancher||[bari hi-string / baritone]|
|Just The Two Of Us||McGill resonator / Bertoncini elec.||[both standard tuning]|
|Limehouse Blues||Gretsch Rancher / Ovation||[baritone / bari hi-string]|
|Ode to Billy Joe||Gibson L-3 / Crosman electric||[drop D /standard tuning]|
|Stardust||Gretsch Rancher / Ovation||[baritone / bari hi-string]|
|That's The Way Love Goes||Bertoncini acous. / Crosman elec.||[drop D /standard tuning]|
|On and On||McGill classical / Crosman elec.||[both standard tuning]|
|Jimmy Jam||Ibanez Ragtime / Crosman elec.||[bari hi-string / standard]|
|What A Wonderful World||Bertoncini acous. / Bertoncini elec.||[both standard tuning]|
Jim and I both hope that all the weird experiments and time spent on this project has produced some good 'guitar chemistry' - and that you enjoy our little offering...