Don Maloney's Conklin Experience
I took a road trip to the Conklin Shop to pick up a M.E.U. that I had ordered. What a beautiful instrument! It had great tone, playability, and amazing craftsmanship. While I was at the shop, I asked Bill if he had any 7-string guitars I could try out. He said, "No, an 8-string." The guitar he handed me had a gorgeous quilted maple top, and played like an absolute dream. It combined everything that I enjoyed about playing bass with everything I enjoyed about playing guitar. I have always been more of a guitar player, but I use a lot of bass techniques in my guitar playing. Although the 8th string was a little difficult to get used to, and I felt as though I was tripping over frets and strings more than creating music, I could see the potential that the 8-string provided. Less than 2 weeks later, I placed my order.
Ok, so that was the easy part. I knew that I wanted an 8 string guitar, and I knew that I wanted Conklin to make it for me. I also knew that if I was going to have a custom guitar made, I was going to have a custom guitar made! We talked about the woods, and I trusted Bill's extensive experience. I knew I wanted the beautiful burled maple top that I had seen. I wanted a full range sound from the guitar. It had to be super clean, but punchy. I wanted the bass side to have a lot of low end, and did not want the low B or F# to sound thudy like many 7 strings that I had played. I also wanted complete control of the tone on the guitar. So here was the list. I wanted 2 humbucking pickups split down the middle to separate outputs sending the low 4 strings to a bass amp, and the top 4 strings to a guitar amp. I wanted each side to have a 3 way pickup selector switch, a 3 band EQ, piezo pickups, separate volumes, and a switch to go from single coil to humbucker. Mike took that a step further, and had a 3 way switch for each pickup to switch between series and parallel wiring, and single coil. I also wanted to be able to switch to a mono output when I was only using one amp. Bill and Mike kept me informed of the progress that they were making.
I had planned a drive across country right around the time that the guitar was to be finished. I told Conklin that, and asked if they could have the guitar finished in time for me to pick it up. Mike said he was finishing up the wiring, and if he could get it done in time, then I would be able to pick it up. In typical Conklin fashion, Mike finished the extensive wiring, and I was able to pick up.
The guitar surpassed my already high expectations. The sound is perfect, and the tonal versatility is amazing. It is also very beautiful, and the craftsmanship is top of the line. I love the guitar, and could not have asked for a better instrument.