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My New Flammang J-35

January 14th, 2020 Leave a comment Go to comments
Like a walk back in time

Like a walk back in time

Foto by Vanessa Kaukonen

So last year early in the FPR season one of our students came down from Toronto and he had this J-35 looking thing built by a guy out in Iowa named David Flammang. I picked this guitar up and started to play and in a bizarre way it was like being twenty years old again. It had the same feel my ’58 J-50 had when I got it in 1960. The way it played, the way it responded to my right hand and the way it felt perfect with .013’s. Tom Feldmann was on board for that class and he knew David… of course. He had used one of David’s L-00’s for a Robert Johnson instructional. He put me in touch with David and I ordered one immediately. He made two which he brought to a Tuna gig in St. Paul and I chose the one with the torrified top.

Now, I’ve already been asked, ‘Is it better than your M-30,’ and the liked. These are ridiculous questions. It’s apples and oranges. Martins sound like Martins, Gibsons and Gibson-like guitars have characteristics all their own. For that bass string sound so evident on the first Hot Tuna LP and Quah, you need a J-50 or something like it. That’s the deal. The M-30 is a long scale guitar and as such there is a certain sonorous quality short scales don’t have. But they have something else. Now, on the final FPR workshop of last year I had my old J-50 in the room, and it is still a really great guitar. She’s an old girl though and I would never take her on the road.

Is the Flammang better?

The Flammang is different… and in an interesting way hearkens back to another time. My Martins are magnificent and I’m not getting rid of any of them. I’m a lucky guy. I’ve got it all.

And speaking of having it all, the LSU/Clemson game last night was more that awesome. Joe Burrow, the QB that Ohio State overlooked, went to the high school where my daughter goes. Athens High School. Go Bulldogs!

Joe is awesome. All of us Southeast Ohio folk are so proud of him.

Life is darned OK!

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  1. Joey Hudoklin
    January 14th, 2020 at 19:33 | #1

    Nothing like getting a new guitar!

  2. DennisK
    January 14th, 2020 at 19:47 | #2

    Best of luck with the new guitar. I hope it brings you joy and inspiration. Maybe some of those songs with that bass string sound with show up on some 2020 set lists.

    Also congratulations to you and Vanessa on the Governor’s Award for the Arts. That is well deserved!
    See ya soon,

  3. AndyK
    January 15th, 2020 at 09:54 | #3

    Joe Burrow thankfully brought attention to the ongoing hunger crisis that afflicts way too many in this world of plenty. He is someone to rightfully be proud of.

  4. Mitch Spector
    January 15th, 2020 at 13:58 | #4

    When i heard Athens Ohio was were Joe Burrow is from i said to myself that’s Jorma’s area !
    Congratulations & very cool !!Enjoy your new Guitar

  5. JohnC.
    January 15th, 2020 at 18:53 | #5

    Thanks for the update! There is nothing like that feeling when you pick up a new guitar to play and it just feels… right? an extension of your fingers?? like it’s speaking to you?? Hope to see you on tour with it in NorCal in 2020.

  6. Chappy
    January 15th, 2020 at 20:26 | #6

    Thanks for the info on the guitars…cool stuff! I read an interview with Jimmie Vaughan in Blues Music magazine a few months ago and he said there are two kinds of music: the kind you like and the kind you don’t like. So very blessed that I like your music from every guitar I’ve ever heard you play! Looking forward to the 2020 FPR concert series.

    As for Joe Burrow, I have been watching college football for 50 years and have seen many great players, teams and games in that time, and the season that Burrow, his teammates, and coaches had this past year has been nothing short of incredible! Hats off to the competitor from SE Ohio and LSU on a historical season and super championship.

  7. richard
    January 15th, 2020 at 21:02 | #7

    This is a cool post el cap. 013? Flammang? You feel like twenty again? All good stuff. I listened to a demo on site and it lacked boom or low end to me,but it was not you in demo.so with that said try dropping down to D and think see weed strut. Happy new year.

  8. mikie
    January 16th, 2020 at 10:28 | #8

    I get AXS TV on my Directv dish, and I see Dan Rather doing Big Interviews with many of my favorite musicians. I keep waiting for the Hot Tuna interview, hope it can happen. Mr. Rather is certainly a master at his craft. m

  9. Judge Jim
    January 17th, 2020 at 10:14 | #9


  10. Tom
    January 17th, 2020 at 14:08 | #10

    Bringing world class musicians to Southeast Ohio, what is not to like!

  11. John B
    January 17th, 2020 at 14:21 | #11

    “What is the Frequency Kenneth?”@mikie

  12. January 17th, 2020 at 16:07 | #12

    There must be something in the air or in the terra firma , in South East Ohio,first Joe Burrow ( yes that was a great game), and than the governors commendation for your dedication and hard work & fun, at Fur Peace.
    Must be the twinkle in the eye.
    Kudos to Vanessa & Cap.
    Rock on

  13. mikie
    January 17th, 2020 at 20:39 | #13

    How many folks recall the origin of that phrase?


  14. John B
    January 18th, 2020 at 12:06 | #14

    Not many Mikie. But whenever someone brings up his name that is the first thing that comes to my mind…… @mikie

  15. mikie
    January 19th, 2020 at 10:28 | #15

    Yep, Dan has sure taken one for the team a time or two. I learned to love the man watching the 68 Chicago convention coverage. He and Cronkite were the best. m

  16. Kevin
    January 19th, 2020 at 20:54 | #16

    They don’t make ’em like that anymore, and we sure could use a few these days.

  17. John B
    January 20th, 2020 at 10:37 | #17

    Happy Martin Luther King Day everyone ……… And if you think that things have changed in America just remember that the FBI was spying on Dr King …………

  18. carlo pagliano
    January 20th, 2020 at 12:12 | #18

    Rock The Bay High Today, Jorma!

  19. carey georgas
    January 20th, 2020 at 13:58 | #19

    @John B
    Herbert Hoover was a completely different animal than the immediate past directors, Comey and Meuller. Maybe ‘cause I’m older, I trust the FBI way yonder more than I did in my wild-haired youth.

  20. Joe K
    January 20th, 2020 at 17:23 | #20

    @carey georgas
    Wrong Hoover. J.Edgar was the FBI Director at that time.

  21. Tom NY
    January 21st, 2020 at 09:12 | #21

    @carey georgas
    Hoover and Wilson. Presidents… Some are better than others.

  22. mikie
    January 21st, 2020 at 09:33 | #22

    “Just because you’re not paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you!”
    – Steve Earle

  23. carey georgas
    January 21st, 2020 at 09:33 | #23

    @Joe K
    I said Herbert Hoover? Lord, have mercy, I done give it away! Linda, pass me that bottle of Geritol to wash down these Carter’s pills, then grab my cane. We gotta get outta here before they come to take me back to the home!

  24. January 21st, 2020 at 13:32 | #24

    Ain’t no more canes on the risin
    jEdgar and Herbert
    Two different animals

  25. John B
    January 21st, 2020 at 16:33 | #25

    J. Edgar , FBI Director , was spying on The Rev Dr Martin Luther King………… some things never change…………

  26. John B
    January 21st, 2020 at 16:36 | #26

    “Peace in Our Time……..” The great appeaser Woodrow WIlson………..

  27. January 22nd, 2020 at 06:54 | #27

    I always thought the misguided Peace in our time was Neville Chamberlain,his appeasement caused Churchill bowel trouble

  28. Hogan
    January 22nd, 2020 at 07:48 | #28

    ‘AWESOME’ Knockin on Heaven’s Door Captain…..You ROCKED it…
    Hope your enjoying the Island..


  29. AndyK
    January 22nd, 2020 at 09:45 | #29

    Wow, lots of great July Hot Tuna Electric dates announced in the northeast!
    And paired with that Dawg David Grisman.
    Can’t wait!

  30. AndyK
    January 22nd, 2020 at 09:52 | #30

    Is there a presale code for the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center July 13th show?
    Presale tickets today at noon.

  31. Tom NY
    January 22nd, 2020 at 12:29 | #31

    @Greg martelli
    “Will I ever learn, that there’ll be no peace, that the war won’t cease, until He returns.”

    Bob Dylan 1979

    But we can certainly try to be peacemakers, and be lights in this world, right Brother Greg?

  32. AndyK
    January 22nd, 2020 at 13:31 | #32

    Electric Tuna just announced for Lockin Festival in June

  33. John B
    January 22nd, 2020 at 17:49 | #33

    That’s right it was Neville…..@Greg martelli

  34. John B
    January 22nd, 2020 at 17:50 | #34

    Looking for a good book on Churchill Greg ….any suggestions?

  35. John B
    January 22nd, 2020 at 17:51 | #35

    @Tom NY Amen

  36. mikie
    January 22nd, 2020 at 18:05 | #36

    Lockin looks like a Phil-thy good time! m

  37. January 22nd, 2020 at 21:13 | #37

    “The power of Words”, his letters ,musings and memoires,another favorite book is “Beneath the Diamond sky”.,
    Totally disparate and no attempt at equivalency ,just a great read.
    Mines full of 4- leaf clovers -found.

  38. January 22nd, 2020 at 21:16 | #38

    Phil’s definetly the headliner ,
    Hot Tuna
    The 50th airplane show at Lokin was great.
    Jimmy Cliff with full band great,Toots was cool.
    I think it’s a cool festival .
    Well run for patrons and fans.
    Great music

  39. AndyK
    January 23rd, 2020 at 10:07 | #39

    Mornin’ y’all.
    Capitol Theatre presale starts at 10AM today!
    Presale code is TUNA20

  40. DennisK
    January 23rd, 2020 at 14:44 | #40

    Can anyone share the pre sale code for Count Basie?

  41. AndyK
    January 23rd, 2020 at 15:10 | #41


  42. DennisK
    January 23rd, 2020 at 15:20 | #42

    Thnx I must have missed that. Now how to get in. They don’t seem to open pre sale to the public, just members.

  43. greg
    January 23rd, 2020 at 15:32 | #43

    You have to go to ticketmaster. Just got my ticket.

  44. Joe K
    January 23rd, 2020 at 16:48 | #44

    Cant believe my son just moved out of Red Bank. He lived right around the corner. Still will make the show with him & my wife

  45. AndyK
    January 23rd, 2020 at 17:23 | #45

    @Joe K
    It’s a great venue. Saw the Tuna boyz there with Leftover Salmon couple of years back.
    That was a very fishy evening!

  46. Dan Nigro
    January 24th, 2020 at 11:29 | #46

    Hopefully we will see the Flammang in the Acoustic sets (one can never have enough guitars). Burrow when questioned about playing for the Bengals was, no problem Dad can be at my games in 3hours, all they have to do is pay me. Sounds like he has a great attitude to lead the Bengals out of the wilderness. Maybe its time for you and Vanessa to become “homers” and let go of the Steelers and Patriots (certainly the Patriots)

  47. carey georgas
    January 24th, 2020 at 13:33 | #47

    Sometimes I feel kinda like an old porch dog sitting around in here. I’m out here watching through the screen door while all ya’ll sit around talkin’ about Tuna here and Tuna there, let’s go to this one this week and that one the next. I’m reduced to whimpering and drooling on the porch floor, ‘cause I know I live under the house, just hoping for the occasional bone. Though when one gets thrown my way, it’s been more like gettin’ a steak.

  48. AndyK
    January 24th, 2020 at 15:07 | #48

    @carey georgas
    Haha Carey. Time for another road trip! Lots to choose from.
    Writing this reminds me of Police Dog Blues. “All my life I’ve been a traveling man…”

  49. AndyK
    January 24th, 2020 at 15:10 | #49

    BTW The summer Tuna tour is both Coustic and Lectric.
    Sumtin’ fur everyone

  50. January 24th, 2020 at 19:00 | #50

    Gotta watch that police dog,he will leave his mark on your pants.

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