Hello Everyone (translation: "Hey Errbody")
I have been remiss in my duties as a guitar player, as a sponsored individual, and as a friend, and I am asking for forgiveness. I recently (but not so recently) had a guitar built for me. Just typing that makes it sound a little too much, but really, it's great. While we were on the Altar and the Door Tour, John Waller began playing an acoustic guitar that I didn't actually notice until we were near the end of the Fall leg. He said he met a guy and that guy let him play this acoustic guitar, and then John handed me that guitar, and I began to play. So, a little background on me, I'm a Bluegrass player first, that's how I learned to play guitar. Please don't ask me to pick for you, it has been far too long. Maybe one day I'll get back into some jams so I can actually hang with some of those guys. I DIGRESS! This guitar reminded me of a Martin, but had the solid fell to it that I've never actually felt in any guitars. It was also unique. It was made from Bloodwood in Africa, and every time I play it, no one can quite peg the sound. I always get different responses when people hear it. "Brightness of a Taylor"..."Low end like a Martin"...So I called the guy who built it, and we had a conversation.
Neal Van Slett is the founder of Vesper guitars in Wisconsin. He's been doing it for over 10 years, but he was making custom cabinets even before that, so he's been working with wood for a long time. When I called him, he let me know that he wanted his guitars to go to guys who were doing ministry, that's why John Waller had one, and luckily, that why he agreed to give one to me. One thing I really like is Neal's choice in woods. He made me a guitar with Ebony backs and sides, and I had never heard of that before or since (granted, I don't get out much).
The day came for me to receive my guitar. We were in Lifest in Wisconsin, and until then I was using a loner Neal gave me, and drooling over pictures he was sending me in emails, but the day had come, and I was pretty excited. It still had that same great low end, and brightness that John Waller's had, but he also did some custom work on it for me, namely a crown in the fretboard and my name in the soundhole. I can't believe I have been so blessed, but as a return for that favor, I'm putting his name and the Vesper name up here to show what a great guitar he's built and everyone (that reads this blog, at least) should know about it. Neal is constantly looking for ways to get better, but listening to this guitar I currently have, its hard to see where he can improve. If you see us live, you will pretty much see the Vesper guitar that Neal built me. It is my #1 accoustic. For the sake of those of you who are curious, my #1 electric is the PRS Hollowbody II, can't do without it.
"What should I do?" you may ask. Well, I'm glad you did. Basically, if you're a guitar player, go by the website and check out his stock (although if you wait a little, he'll be relaunching it soon). If you're not a guitar player, pray for Neal, his family and his team, so he can keep building guitars that are used to praise God.
One more thing about Neal. Recently Rush of Fools had their trailer stolen, and all of their guitars were inside. A friend of mine asked me if I knew anyone who could spare some guitars, and I gave them Neal's number. He really helped them out, and now they all have Vespers, and you can see for yourself how great they sound.
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