This is a saddle. The strings run over the saddle and are tied behind the bridge. The saddle is carved from a piece of bone. As you can see, there is a small section that is carved differently, so that one particular string has a slightly longer length that can vibrate than the other five strings. That’s for the G-string.

I had been using a particular bone for many years when Keith Vizcarra, the luthier, looked at my guitar a while ago and suggested that we lower the strings ever so slightly. In order to do that he carved a new bone.

Fast forward to the Florida tour two months ago. Florida was plenty humid and the A on the 1st string, and a few other notes, started to buzz. Thinking ahead to the concert with the NM Phil I thought I should switch back to the older saddle that would certainly eliminate the buzz, because it is higher.

I took the strings off, removed the newer, lower bone and replaced it with the older, taller bone, and strung up the guitar with a new set of strings. I gave myself a few days to get used to the new, old setup.

I discovered that I couldn’t get used to it. It felt difficult to play. The difference between the saddles could not have been more a fraction of a millimeter (maybe a tenth of a mm?) in height but it therefore also added a tiny bit of tension that I had to overcome when fretting the notes with the left hand.

I decided that this change in playability was more troublesome than the small buzz and decided to change back to the newer/lower saddle. The neck, meanwhile, had started to recover from the humidity and the buzzing note played nearly clean. After I spent almost a week in Santa Fe, the neck was totally fine and the guitar sounded great.

I realized that Keith’s lowering of the guitar’s action had really helped my hands and made it a little easier for me to play.

Saturday Concert

Here are a few photos I took as they were setting up the stage, before soundcheck. I enjoyed the performance. Mistakes were made but there were also some fine moments. The conductor Roberto Minczuk, a Brazilian, did a great job with the orchestra. Jon’s arrangements were wonderful and I took the time to enjoy the intros he wrote for Waiting in Vain, Snakecharmer, and Barcelona Nights. And it is always a huge pleasure to play at Popejoy, which sounds fantastic.

Short Video I took while Jon and the conductor were going over the score.

The Week

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Monday evening I went to dinner with Roshi Joan. We went to her favorite restaurant, Izanami. When she saw my hat she said I looked goofy. I am going for full on goofy and being myself, I replied. I want to be that crazy old man who dresses strangely uniquely and dances in the rain in the middle of the night. Besides, I find this hat so much cooler than a baseball cap. It’s waterproof, it protects my neck as well as my face, and I can fold it up and stick it into any pocket. Plus it’s black and no logo shows. And it reminds me of Yohji.

This afternoon I went to an optical shop called OJO, near the plaza. I love their logo. The word OJO means eye in Spanish and the J is an even better nose than the Y of eye.
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I have always picked out my frames, but this time I asked the sales person to pick out something for me, so I would try something new and different. He gave me a few interesting choices, that I will think about. I think the shop has been open in Santa Fe for several years, but I never went inside before. OJO only deal in independent frame designers. I looked at beautiful frames that were made in Belgium and in Hong Kong, for example. No Luxottica stuff for them – the Italian company that probably controls 90% of the eye glass market.

LensCrafters, Sunglass Hut, Apex by Sunglass Hut, Pearle Vision, Target Optical, and It also owns EyeMed, one of the largest vision health insurance providers. Luxottica’s market power has allowed it to charge price markups of 1000%.


Tomorrow Rahim AlHaj will come for a visit, and maybe a little jam. I haven’t seen him since right before the pandemic and it will be great to catch up.


First time in Cheyenne. First time playing there. Might have been there once, with the tourbus, on our way to somewhere else. Loved the old theater. Two images show the transformation of a stage into a place where music happens. The venue used one of Matt Callahan’s photos for their poster. As we were loading out of the building I noticed the concrete block wall across the alley, with a mural of cartoons. It was freezing, too cold to stand still. Looking up, there was the moon, fat and almost full, and on the wall I saw the text bubble “I am wondering what if…”