A rococo gem, with opulent ornamentation, especially on the closed back, and the intricate neck carving. The neck and headstock employ a great deal of mother-of-pearl, and the purfling and inlaid detailing are exquisite.
This banjo was a gift from Bob Saporiti, senior VP for marketing for Warner Bros. Records, and found by him in the course of his international travels.
I designed this unique instrument, incorporating various Celtic motifs, and it was beautifully constructed by the luthiers of Bardsong. They allowed me to hand-pick the fine exotic woods from their on-site inventory, and they worked from my scale drawings.
The instrument is strung in three double courses: octave low D, octave A and octave high D, which gives it a range similar to a 12-string guitar, but with the open-fifth tuning, sitar effects are possible, in addition to the traditional bouzouki voicings.
It has full electronic capability, with two piezo pickups, and outboard tone and volume controls.
To accommodate the low D course, the neck measures 27″ from nut to bridge.
The pewter headstock escutcheon of Celtic design was a gift from noted Irish traditional singer Elizabeth Reed, after I produced one of her albums: Go raibh maithe agat, Eilis!
A one-of-a-kind instrument that was gifted to me by the late Karen Everly, Don Everly’s ex-wife, just before her death due to M.S. Towards the end she was bed-ridden and I would visit and sing songs to her, always using this guitar. The last time I saw her, she gave me the instrument.
The elaborate ornamentation and beautiful hand-painting indicate that it was not a production line model. The interior label is signed, identifying the luthier as F.U. Wilfer, and the painter as R.U. 22. It was made in October 1976.
I gather it was a presentation model made for Don Everly, but he didn’t care for it, so Karen got it after they divorced.
I string it with heavy gauge round-wound strings and tune it down one whole tone . It’s big-toned and brassy.
A guitar that Ray Flacke had lying around after an endorsement deal didn’t pan out. He handed it off to me. I use this solely for octave work employing a heavy gauge round-wound D and high E tuned down a tone as the only strings. These were actually high-priced axes made with great attention to detail and fabulous exotic woods, but they never caught on.