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I met both Wm. F. Ludwig Jr. and Wm. F. Ludwig Sr. when I was a little boy. I'd seen Ringo on The Ed Sullivan Show and noticed the Ludwig name on his bass drum. After looking at my Beatle cards with deeper scrutiny, I saw it there as well. My mom told me, "Mr. Ludwig goes to your grandfather's church and plays the timpani every Easter" (my grandfather was a Lutheran pastor in River Forest, Illinois). This wonderful twist of fate in my favor found me on tour of the Ludwig facility in 1968 - a period of great productivity for the company. That experience stayed with me (I even stuck it in one of my novels).

After graduate school I was teaching drums privately and at the collegiate level, and when I'd assign students to find out the history of the drum kit, they'd come back and say there wasn't anything on it. I did my own checking and realized this was, to my astonishment, indeed true. I then had the idea to do a book about Ludwig as they were responsible for so many of the 20th century's percussion advances, and I felt comfortable contacting Wm. F. Ludwig Jr. (he liked my grandfather).

Ludwig Book

I chose to write it in a style that makes copious use of the recollections of both Wm. F. Ludwig Sr. and Wm. F. Ludwig Jr., and drew heavily upon Ludwig's archives in the form of catalogues and photographs - most of which were in Mr. Ludwigs basement (lovely basement really).

Acquired of the Angels

Some say that heterosexual males are drawn to the guitar because it's shaped like a woman. If this is the case, then I thought that D'Angelico and D'Aquisto guitars were the goddesses of the guitar world - veritable sirens with arms extended. Before I even heard one I was moved by their visual beauty (as history can attest, this is also a problem amongst human beings).

Through the Guild of American Luthiers I learned more about their history, and after numerous visits with Jimmy D'Aquisto about building me an instrument, I had the idea to document their story - the guitars were such lovely pieces of art it seemed like such an important slice of Americana.

The first edition came out in 1991, and after Jimmy died I did a second edition, as the story was, in a sense, complete. As with all of my instrument history books, I really wrote them because I wanted to read them. I learned much - about the instruments, and about the people. I'm the fortunate one.

Aquired of the Angels

Art That Sings
After my experience with D'Angelicos and D'Aquistos, there were very few instruments that interested me as a player. But Steve Klein's guitars were the exception. I met him at an Association of Stringed Instrument Artisans convention when my publisher sent me to have a display for "Acquired of the Angels". I played Steve's guitars and felt an immediate connection with them - they had some of that incisive character of the D'Aquisto I'd been playing, but with that flat-top glow, which suited some of what I was writing then. Art that Sings

After visiting with Steve and noticing how unique and wonderful his guitars were compared to everything else at the convention, I began to peek into his world and found it fascinating - the whole California 70s scene with Joni Mitchell and all of the singer/songwriters that have since become iconic. Hence, another book was conceived and birthed.

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