John Sebastian (Baritone)
John Sebastian, of “Lovin’ Spoonful”, “Welcome Back Kotter” fame, is a good friend and neighbor of mine. Our kids hung out together. John has always been a lover of guitars, and of being around shops that produce them. He worked in Tom Vinci’s shop when Tom built guitars. When Veillette-Citron moved to Kingston, NY, which is very close to Woodstock, John started to come around. He asked us to build him a Baritone. He had been playing Fender 6-string basses tuned down a fifth, and strung with strings gauged from .016 to .080. The sound was amazing, and enchanting. He used to capo at the second fret or so to make the reach a little bit more manageable. We built him a 28–3/4” scale Baritone that worked very well for him. Ever since I started building again, I hoped that John would ask me to build him a Baritone. I had a strong feeling that the Baritone would be amazing built the way I build my 2–1/2” thick mostly hollow instruments. I let him play a variety of my guitars with different degrees of hollowness, and he agreed with me. When I finished his Baritone he said it was the best sounding Baritone ever. The first baritone I built for him has a body of Honduras Mahogany, Spruce top, Mahogany neck, fingerboard Rosewood fingerboard, Rosewood bridge with a custom compensated thick bone saddle. John didn’t use piezo, so that Baritone is totally passive with two humbuckers, a three-position pickup selector, master volume and master tone. At a NAMM show some time later John borrowed a Baritone to play in a show. It had a Quilted Maple top in lieu of Spruce, and a piezo with all of the electronics necessary to make that work (active circuit with master volume, stacked volumes for the magnetic pickups and piezo, a passive tone for the mags, stacked treble/bass for the piezo, and a mono/stereo switch). He loved it, and that has been his Baritone of choice ever since.