Low Cost Guitars Deliver Beautiful Sound!

Low-Cost Guitars Deliver Beautiful Sound!

Dear Reader…

Low Cost Guitars Deliver Beautiful Sound!

These times off the road have been helpful. They have afforded me a chance to go over all the tools I have in the shed. The bottom line is this: Low-Cost Guitars Deliver Beautiful Sound!

You always want to put a little zip in your LIVE set. And sometimes a cool collection of tools – in this case, guitars – can help! They look great, are always memorable! And these little guitars have a great sound! In spite of their low, low cost!

Yes, I have three or four $60 parlor guitars.

Because they get used a lot, they have taken a beating. But they never let me down. And always show up ready to rock, on demand.

Now that’s impressive!

This All Happened By Accident

When I was just getting back up after the Atomics, I was playing in the countryside, in rural rooms. That led me to Kentucky, Tennessee, and Atlanta, Georgia. Because it was a tight circuit, I ended up in Berea, Kentucky one weekend. Actually, on many weekends!

With time off, I went looking around the pawn shops. Not sure what I was looking for, just looking. What I needed was something to spice things up.

North of Berea, I came across a Pawn Shop in Richmond, Kentucky. Right by the back door, hanging on the wall, was this checkerboard guitar.

I had to have it!

Added a Few Things and KA-POW!!!

I soon discovered that these guitars had zero sound tech. That meant what I needed an on-board amp system. After some research, what I found was exceptional! With the right electronics, Low Cost Guitars Deliver Beautiful Sound!

The Fishman Matrix II is an under saddle amp system. It was suggested by a friend in Milwaukee, WI. Thanks to that suggestion, I put one in as soon as I could. The results were exactly what I had been hoping for!

The Matrix II gave a clear, crisp acoustic sound to this Checkerboard Guitar from Trinity River! The lows were huge and the treble was tight and crisp with little decay over the natural sustain. This was impressive!

The new Fishman sounded great onstage! It was so successful, I bought another Trinity River the next month. With the same system in I got the same result!

Martix II Worked So Well in All Formats

The next little guitar I found was in Appleton, Wisconsin. There was a remarkable line of parlor guitars called Jay Turcer Guitars. Or Jay Juniors for short. I found a beautiful “sea-foam green” parlor guitar and put the Matrix II in. Also changed the tuning heads to Schallar M-6 3×3. The transformation was breathtaking!

I used this little guitar almost exclusively going forward! It was wonderful for small stage, intimate shows. The color was drop-dead gorgeous on stage. But it had a unique earthy sound. And the Matrix II didn’t alter it, it just made it project beautifully!

The Jay Turser Guitars are exceptional – I picked up another one – Black, this time – and put the Matrix II in and the transformation happened again – it had incredible sustain, was exceptionally rugged and has lasted for over a decade of abuse on stage and on the road.

Different Box, Different Sound

Ok, here’s the deal on different guitars – even the same guitars but different series – they have a different and unique sound – every one of them!

I love my Trinity River Checkerboard Guitars. Even though I don’t know what they are made of, they sound fantastic!  In the photos you can see a big white patch below the sound hole. That’s because the scratches from the picks and finger picks dig into the top, and what’s exposed isn’t really like wood at all – but I don’t care. They sound fantastic!

These Low-Cost Guitars Deliver Beautiful Sound, and it is proven all the time!

These guitars have their own personality and their own sound – the songs they hold inside are a treasure trove of emotional and poetic content, waiting to be released! The lower the cost for these guitars the closer you get to authentic sound and authentic emotional content in the songs that come forth…

Robert Johnson didn’t wake up thinking what kind of guitar he wanted – he had what he had, took what he could get and what was available to him at the time.

I do have one or two expensive Taylor guitars -they too have a unique sound and a very developed audio signature. Their sound is different, deep and resonant, and  they do great in live and studio recordings…

It Is A Wonderful Collection

Until we get back on the road and back in the fray, I am enjoying these guitars in a quite and more organized environment, a far cry from the frantic insanity of 4o shows a month.

Thank you for reading, thank you for your support and I hope we’ll meet on the road somewhere! In the meantime, take a read of some road prose… and stay in the fight!



Eric Sommer: About the Artist

“If there’s a place for musical perfection, it’s wherever you’ll find Eric Sommer – A blistering acoustic style plus a variety of slide and open tuning formats will knock you for a loop…” wrote Studdie Burns, New Melody Maker/UK in 2013. “How one guy can do this so well is remarkable, but if you look a little deeper there’s a batch of road miles around this lad… and it all makes sense.”

Eric started his musical career in the Boston area under the eye of legendary promoter Don Law and was onstage at The Paradise Theatre in Boston for a record 40 appearances. He has been a regular player on many national and international tours and showcases, and worked in Europe for two years with Nick Lowe and acts Bram Tchaikovsky and Wreckless Eric; during this period Eric worked on Danish, German and British rock stages, returned to Boston and formed The Atomics

Eric Sommer, Boston… & The Atomics

As a founding member of Boston’s legendary pop/new wave cult trio “The Atomics”, who toured non-stop with Mission of Burma, Gang of Four and The Dead Kennedy’s and were on the leading edge of several musical transformations, Eric never lost sight of his acoustic roots, returning to his heroes and mentors often: David Bromberg, Steve Howe(YES), Duane Allman (Allman Bros.), Bert Jansch, Davy Graham, Robert Johnson. Mr. Sommer’s current project with power trio “The Solar Flares” shake up Chet Atkins and David Bromberg’s influences with those of Randy Travis and British Rocker Elvis Costello – a remarkable mix.

And to keep track of it all, Eric started keeping notes, which evolved from napkin scribbles to paper and pen efforts, writing stories, making poetry and capturing the roads and bridges as they went by, plus people, places and… more people which become his notes, then become characters for songs, stories, and prose.

Eric currently has four volumes of verse, 5 studio albums, a LIVE in AUSTIN DVD as well as an electronica project titled “The Smallest Particle” and more on the way… this blog is an attempt to keep track of it all…



You can reach Eric directly at ericATericsommer.com and see more of his projects here on this website. Red Chairs, Black Pancake and Blue Turtle are all available here, as well as all current releases. Please share and comment below.

Almost indestructable...
Almost indestructable...
LOVE this amazing guitar!
LOVE this amazing guitar!
still works great as a main set guitar
still works great as a main set guitar
Worn, road tested, weary
Worn, road tested, weary
Stage shows rock with cool guitars
Stage shows rock with cool guitars
Found two of these beautiful archtops!
Found two of these beautiful archtops!
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