Scott Ainslie demonstrates his Brazilian rosewood small jumbo.
by Teja Gerken
November 12, 2018
Scott Ainslie is one of the most respected fingerstyle blues and roots guitarists on the scene today. Fluent in many styles, not only on guitar and vocals, but also on banjo, fiddle, and other stringed instruments, Scott is an in-demand performer and teacher who has played and taught at many of the country’s top festivals and music camps. A move to Vermont several years ago led to a friendship with Froggy Bottom Guitars founder Michael Millard, and a pair of Froggy Bottoms have become Scott’s flattops of choice. While on a recent West Coast tour, Scott stopped by the Peghead Nation video studio to demonstrate his Froggy Bottom Model K.
Scott’s Model K is unique in that he actually helped build the guitar in the Froggy Bottom shop. “Michael had a guitar going, and I was building next to him, so we had two benches going,” Scott recalls. “He’d glue a piece of wood on his guitar and it would take him 15 minutes. About two hours later, I’d say, ‘I think I’ve got this,’ and we’d move on. I’m sure for him, it must have been a painful process! But I learned a tremendous amount, not so much about building guitars, because I was literally just following his steps, but about the precision and the emotional cost of putting an instrument together that you care about, with materials that are irreplaceable.” Scott’s Model K is built with Brazilian rosewood back and sides and an Adirondack spruce top. The Brazilian rosewood, which came from Michael’s personal stash, is what is known as “stump wood,” meaning that it came from the stumps of trees that had been cut many years earlier. Scott says the wood on his guitar was most likely cut in the 1970s, and Michael acquired it in the 1990s.
“I also have a Froggy Bottom Model G jumbo, which is a wonderfully powerful guitar, but I wanted a little smaller guitar. I played some of Michael’s Brazilian Model Ks, and liked the sound that came out of them. They’re sort of glassy on the top, with a lovely high-end, and a nice warmth at the bottom. Like most of Michael guitars, the guitar has tremendous balance across the strings, so the notes decay all together when you strum a chord.”
In this video, Scott talks about the building process of his guitar and uses it to play an arrangement of “In the Bleak Midwinter” in CGCGCE tuning. Froggybottomguitars.com
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