We have written many times about the difficulties Tony Rice has experienced of late, particularly the health issues that have made it impossible for him to perform. Owing to advanced arthritis, Tony is no longer able to play the guitar without severe pain, leaving one of the most inventive musicians in the history of the steel string acoustic without a way to earn a living.
It’s a great tragedy in the music world, but one that has shown the tremendous generosity that exists within the community. After an appeal here at Bluegrass Today, donations began to flow in to a benefit fund, and several concerts and events have been held to help raise funds to ensure that our guitar hero never has to worry about money again.
Now Bourgeois has joined in, and will auction a custom Tony Rice tribute guitar they have built. All proceeds from the sale will be donated to Tony.
Founder and chief luthier Dana Bourgeois says that the guitar is a work of gratitude and acknowledgement for Rice.
“Tony Rice had a major impact on my career. I got to know him back in the ’80s, when he often worked out of Boston, and I sometimes brought him guitars to critique. Once, after trying one of my OMs he suggested that I try scaling that sound into a bigger package, explaining that the natural balance of the OM was ideal for a flatpicker who used every note on the fretboard. After years of development, players like Doc Watson, Bryan Sutton, and Ricky Skaggs came to play and appreciate the balanced sound of my Dreadnoughts. I can trace much of my success with these flatpickers back to Tony’s influence. This tribute guitar to Tony Rice is my way of saying thanks.
This guitar is my interpretation of Tony’s ’35 D-28. The essential features are the Bourgeois Aged Tone Top, Bracing and Finish, with Brazilian back and sides, a bound fretboard without position markers, a large soundhole, a Tor-tis pickguard, and oval button Waverly tuners. The top bracing is period correct in pattern and shape, though I used Bourgeois standard back bracing. I think ‘interpretation’ is an appropriate description, as I included many Bourgeois construction features such as our neck joint and truss rod.”
This custom Rice tribute guitar will auctioned from the Bourgeois web site in December. Check there for further details, and events where the guitar will be displayed.
Bourgeois is in no way looking to infringe on the trademarked use of Tony’s name with the Santa Cruz Guitar Company. It is used here strictly for the fundraiser, and is not intended to imply an endorsement.
Here are a few more views…
Additional images can be seen online.
For more details on Tony’s condition, you can read our previous posts: