The percussive fingerstylist discusses and demonstrates his primary guitar.
by Teja Gerken
September 26, 2016
Austrian-born fingerstyle guitarist Thomas Leeb is known for his highly percussive style. He has released seven albums (the most recent is Trickster), which showcase his intricate originals and solo guitar adaptations of cover tunes, including Bob Marley’s “No Woman, No Cry,” Guns and Roses’ “Sweet Child O’ Mine,” and Pink Floyd’s “Comfortably Numb.” Thomas has played Lowden guitars since the mid-1990s, and the Northern Irish company released a signature model in 2011. Peghead Nation sat down with Thomas before a show in Sebastopol, California, where he demonstrated the guitar for us.
Based on Lowden’s jumbo-size O body style, the Thomas Leeb signature model is built with walnut back and sides and a Sitka spruce top. It has the five-piece neck and pinless bridge that Lowden is known for, and it has a cutaway as well as a plain ebony fingerboard with no inlays. The guitar has a special hardwood “scratchplate” in the cutaway area of the top, which Thomas uses for a brush-style percussive effect.
Thomas amplifies the guitar with a combination of a Mimesis Kudo magnetic pickup, a DPA miniature mic inside the guitar, and a set of Dazzo soundboard transducers. He runs the three sources through a Mark of the Unicorn UltraLite audio interface, which he controls with a MacBook Pro laptop, mixing levels, adding EQ and effects, etc.
In this video, Thomas discusses the guitar and his amplification setup, and he performs his original piece “Oachkatzlschwoaf.” thomasleeb.com
SPECS: Lowden O body. Solid AAAA Sitka spruce top. Solid figured walnut back and sides. Five-piece mahogany/rosewood neck. Ebony fingerboard. Rosewood bridge with split saddles. 25¹⁹/₃₂-inch scale. 46-mm. nut width. Gotoh tuning machines. Made in Northern Ireland. $6,015 list. Lowdenguitars.com
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