About Don



My story is not so different than most middle-aged part time guitar players:

I became interested in guitar when I was 14. My first guitar was an old Harmony Acoustic. I struggled to learn the single note lines of Smoke on the Water, Gimme Three Steps and Dirty Water. By the time I finished high school, I was playing in local party bands with a BC Rich Guitar and a Peavey Bandit amplifier.

I completed college in 1990 and moved to Ventura to start my career as a plastics process engineer (I know, exciting huh?) I auditioned for various groups and eventually started my first original material band. We found a strong reception in the LA clubs and focused our efforts there. I was playing an Ibanez S series guitar through a Marshall Valvestate Amplifier. The rig was never enough to complete with the huge birch drum kit and a 500-watt SVT bass cabinet. Other guitarist on the circuit had no problem cutting through with an old tube amp and a Stratocaster or Les Paul. These guys had crushing tone. I began to wonder, what was wrong with my rig?Choices-3

Four years later, I married my high school sweetheart. In 1996, we bought a new house in Corona CA and our family grew with the addition of two wonderful daughters. While I still played a few shows per month in various groups, my family and my career had become first priority.

A new guitar store called Sunset Music opened in town. An old acquaintance from San Diego managed the store. I bought a Fender Custom Shop 66 reissue Strat and a Gibson J45. These instruments had that tone I had been searching for! From this moment, I became obsessed with learning everything I could about guitar tone.

Don - Guitar Tone Stylistic Graphic

As the years passed, I acquired more guitars amps and effects. My hobby became experimenting with different guitar/effects/amp combos. I would drive my band mates crazy by bringing a different rig to every live show! Some of these rigs worked well, others…not so well. Suffice to say, I have learned a lot about guitar tone over the last 29 years.

A good friend of mine suggested that I make a cd where I used a different guitar for every song on the cd to document the wide variety of tones I could achieve with my gear collection. Another friend pointed out that I have a unique understanding of guitar tone and should share my knowledge in a DVD. This was the craziest idea I had ever heard. So I made that DVD…………