Ever since his woodworking days of the 1990s, Craig had wanted to build an instrument. One sleepless night he had a vision for a new design for a slide guitar. There would be more wood, not only because wood is beautiful, but because it would create support for the sliding hand while theoretically creating more tone and sustain. Craig decided to build a bass version first as he liked the idea of a fluid, unsettled, shifting low end. As it was a new concept, he decided to build a prototype out of poplar, which is cheap and easy to work with. It is typically a less attractive wood, but David at Mr. Plywood in Portland helped Craig find the perfect piece. You can hear "The Beast" on "Take the Fall," "Ponderosa," and "Broke Down Magnets."
After the success of "The Beast," Craig decided it was time to bring his lap slide concept to the guitar. Searching his beloved and reliable Craigslist, he found the perfect piece of wood: a thick slab of cherry with live edge that had grown on the Concordia University campus. It is a beautiful piece of wood with lively grain and dynamic figure. The thick hardwood creates natural depth and sustain that is further augmented by String-Through Steels manufactured by Seattle's Lollar Pickups. "The Slab" doesn't only look good, it sounds good. You can hear it on "Take the Fall," "When Our Ship Comes In," and "Post Election Blues."
As a percussionist who has dabbled with making instruments for years, Kyle often looks for different sounds that add texture and color to songs. When he saw Bart Hopkin's design for the bass kalimba he knew right away that he had to make one for himself. It is modeled after a Caribbean rumba box that is played by sitting on, like a cajon, and reaching down to play the tines. The kalimba can have a full chromatic octave and a half range, but for this application just a few select bass notes and the resonant box serve the music well. You can hear the kalimba on "When Our Ship Comes In" and "Post Election Blues."