Posts Tagged ‘six-string nation’

A Brush With Fame

Posted by Brian on 21st March 2012 in Guitar, Journal

Six String Nation GuitarSo what do I have in common with Canadian music icons Gordon Lightfoot and Stompin’ Tom Connors? Not much. But last night I got to play a guitar that both of them (and thousands of other Canadians) have played.

I’ve written about the Six String Nation Guitar a couple of times in the past. It was born as a response to the separatist movement in Quebec and was built out of materials that represent the Canadian identity.

Well last night, it was back in Uxbridge at the Silverbirch Charity Concerts “Guitar Special” which featured Wendell Ferguson and a host of local guitar heroes.

And I got to play it!

Here is a picture of me playing a few bars of “Watermelon Sorbet”

Six String Nation Guitar

Incidentally, you can catch the remaining two Silverbirch concerts this Friday and Saturday.

Six String Nation website:

Silverbirch Charity Concerts website:

Book Review: Six String Nation

Posted by Brian on 29th March 2011 in Book Review, Guitar, Review, The Instrument

Back in December, I wrote a post on the Six String Nation Guitar. A guitar that was built using Canadian historical and cultural artifacts.

Shortly after I wrote that post, I was given the Six String Nation book written by Jowi Taylor, who first conceived the idea of the Six String Nation Guitar.

The book is basically a history of the guitar, which has been nicknamed “Voyageur”.

Taylor starts with the initial concept and takes us through the collection of materials and construction of the instrument, to its performance debut, and beyond to its appearances at various music festivals and other events. There are also a number of short pieces throughout the book featuring various people who were involved in the creation of the instrument and stories of how various artifacts from different regions came to beĀ  part of the instrument.

The book is well written and interesting, but what really struck me was the photography. One of the features of the Six String Nation project is that when the guitar is at a public event, a photographer is available to take pictures of different people holding the guitar. The photos are all taken with the same white backdrop, but the artistry of the photos is quite striking. There are also lots of photos of the guitar being played both on stage and off, by a number of Canadian performers.

So if you’re looking for a gift for that special guitar-playing someone, this just may be the ticket.

Ordering information can be found on the Six String Nation Website.
(Note: I have no affiliation with the book, its author, or its publisher.)



This is Cool: The Six String Nation Guitar Project

Posted by Brian on 23rd December 2010 in Guitar, The Instrument

The Six String Nation Guitar Project was conceived by Jowi Taylor as a response to the Quebec Referendum of 1995; his goal was to bring together “the many voices and perspectives that together define the spectrum of Canadian identity and experience”. After a few years of research, Taylor set about collecting most of the materials for the guitar over a two year period starting in 2004. At first the collection process was slow, but a few high profile donations, including a piece of Pierre Trudeau’s canoe paddle donated by Justin Trudeau really got the ball rolling.

The guitar was built in the Spring of 2006 by luthier George Rizsanyi from 63 pieces of wood, bone and metal collected from historic and cultural artifacts representing all 13 provinces and territories. It was presented at the Canada Day celebrations on Parliament Hill on July 1, 2006 where it was played by Canadian folk icon Stephen Fearing – eleven years after the idea was first conceived.

A sample of the materials used:

  • Top: 300 year-old Albino Sitka Spruce that was killed by a vandal.
  • Back and sides: Oak from the beams of the St. Boniface Museum in Winnipeg.
  • Neck includes materials from the Bluenose and a Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
  • Frets made from steel that was milled on Cape Breton Island.
  • Ornamentation includes pieces of seats from Massey Hall and the Montreal Forum, gold from Rocket Richard’s 1956 Stanley Cup ring, and some wood from a deHavilland aircraft.
  • Bracing includes wood from Pierre Elliot Trudeau’s paddle, a shelf in Sir John A. MacDonald’s office, and Nancy Greene’s skiis.

Jowi Taylor recently presented the guitar at our local high school and a couple of students were lucky enough to play the instrument.

Detail of some ornamentation.


SixStringNationTV (Youtube):






Video Trailer:

Edit (3/1/2011): I was given a copy of the book for Christmas – review to follow…