Tuesday, January 05, 2010
Vyvyan is a seven year old Seagull S-6 Cedar Dreadnaught guitar Jaynes bought new in 1999 for about $500. Her name alludes to the Lady of the Lake in Medieval Arthurian Legend, and as you all know, she is the supernatural being who was entrusted to keep Excalibur safe for all time after Ygraine, the Queen of the Celts, buried King Arthur Pendragon.
Jaynes has played over 1,000 shows with the Lady Vyvyan (800+ with Oz and Jaynes, the rest being solo shows (“Temporary Palace,” Jaynes’ solo album, was released in 2002) bluegrass, jazz, and experimental side projects such as “Room”, “Enterprise J,” and “Starman Chronicles.”
What most people fail to realize is that the guitar is sentient and very picky about this and that. Jaynes is pretty sure Vyvyan hails from a planet circling a trinary star system near Omega Centauri, and has been on Earth close to three millennia, in various forms both corporeal and non. She has a slight tendency to feedback (due to holes in the Cedar Top), and was powered by an L.R. Baggs Ribbon Transducer Pickup.
The neck of the guitar has been replaced, and Jaynes has spent over two thousand dollars in maintenance in the last seven years. His devotion to the guitar is obsessive.
Some people have expressed interest in the effects rig Jaynes has used over the years, so if anyone is curious, the temporally linked sound of the gods came out of Vyvyvan (Martin Marquis Medium Strings, please) and ran into (the following combination has changed over the years, but the variance is not too high) an Ibanez delay, a Boss e.q., a generic distortion unit, an original WAH, and into a Line-6 digital sampler and delay modeler (this is the key to Jaynes’s live performances; the sampler allows him to lay track after track of chords / themes / whatever, and to shred / solo / dance on top of it all). From there it all runs through a tuner and into a Hughes & Kettner Montana Acoustic Amp, out a balanced D.I. in the back, and into the Mackie board. This amount of toys is not overkill; it allows Oz and Jaynes to be more than one guy singing and one guy strumming. The Sampler and the effects Matrix is one of the keys to the overwhelming intensity for which Oz and Jaynes’s live shows are known and praised.
In early July, 2006, after seven years of touring the country, the cross bracing under the cedar top finally caved during an intense set. As a result, the top dropped, the bridge pulled loose, and the action became unplayable (at least live). True, the bridge and top could be replaced, but Jaynes believes removing the battle scars and compromised structural integrity would remove the Lady’s soul. To keep from destroying a piece of beloved created artwork, Jaynes retired Vyvyan from live service (he still plays her around his secluded ranch almost daily) and an era ended. Worry not, the new Martin (tentatively named Le Fey) seems to be able to hold it’s on, but a sad undeniable fact of the universe is that Le Fey can never be Vyvyan.
Vyvyan’s glad to be put out to pasture after a very busy and hectic professional career. She enjoys cold moonlight, fireflies, and divides her time between Jaynes’s library and a planet near Omega Centauri.
For more info about Seagull guitars (handmade in Quebec, Canada) and the luthier Robert Godin, go to http://www.lasido.com/