GUITAR TO BE AUCTIONED TO BENEFIT THE CONFLUENCE COMMUNITY ARTS CENTER IN EAU CLAIRE, WISCONSIN
29th October 2012: Justin Vernon, the Grammy-award winning singer-songwriter and frontman of Bon Iver, has teamed up with longtime friend and master luthier Gordy Bischoff (http://www.bischoffguitars.com) to develop ‘The 1608’ – a baritone guitar made with original white oak wood from BUSHMILLS™ Irish Whiskey barrels.
‘The 1608’ is Bon Iver’s collaborative release with Bushmills for ‘BUSHMILLS BROTHERS™ Since Way Back’: the initiative that celebrates the lives and close friendships of artists and creative talent across the world and collaborates with each to produce inspired content that reflects each of their passions.
A link to view and embed the official video premiering ‘The 1608’ can be seen at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VNqp-AtDSqQ
From Monday, October 22 to Thursday, November 1, ‘The 1608’ will be available to take home via an online auction (http://www.ebay.com/itm/281003876062) to benefit The Confluence Community Arts Center: a community arts center in support of Vernon's hometown community of Eau Claire, Wisconsin.
“The goal is to put art back on the map in Eau Claire,” said Vernon. “Far too many artists from this area have had to leave because what we want to do with our lives just isn’t possible here. That’s what the Confluence Project is: to build a center that can be a nucleus for art here in Eau Claire.”
Vernon joined ‘Since Way Back’ in 2011 with brother Nate and close friends Kyle Frenette and Brian Joseph, all of whom form the backbone of Bon Iver as Co-Managers and Audio Engineer, and whose relationships define the ‘Since Way Back’ story of supporting family and friendship.
The guitar was revealed last week at a private event for friends and family of the band in Wisconsin. Eau Claire is home to one of the strongest and most diverse music scenes in the United States, and Vernon utilises his international notoriety to bring awareness and support to his Wisconsin community. From the initial idea to conception, everything ties back to his hometown.
The importance of supporting a community is parallel to the history of Bushmills; whiskey has been made in the Bushmills area since the original licence to distil was granted in 1608. Since the brand’s inception, BUSHMILLS Irish Whiskey has a held belief in the power of timeless friendship and brotherhood.
“I was really happy to have this opportunity to work with Gordy on this collaboration,” said Vernon. "He’s an example of someone who’s stayed in Eau Claire and built an artisan career from the ground up. His guitars are not only world class, but from our area. I’ve known him for many years – he’s built a lot of guitars for us, it’s been a lot of fun to see what he came up with.”
Bischoff, a master luthier for 37 years, utilised a combination of his woodworking skills with moisture and heat to mould and soften the fibers to bend the wood into place, and develop the shape needed to create a guitar. This baritone guitar is made almost entirely out of the white oak wood from the whiskey barrels, with only a touch of additional wood added to the internal structure. The nine-pound guitar features two separate pickup systems, an acoustic transducer and two passive electric pickups, and features a neck made from hard rock maple and Ebony. The finishing touches tie the entire collaboration together, featuring BUSHMILLS bottle caps as the volume and tone control knobs, with a bit of BUSHMILLS Irish Whiskey added to the guitar humidor in the case to enhance the aroma of the iconic brand.
“I first met Justin when he was in one of his early bands, Mt. Vernon,” said Bischoff. “After coming in for various setups and adjustments, he eventually ordered his first custom acoustic guitar from me – that guitar went on to be featured by Bon Iver in their Grammy-nominated song of the year, Holocene. I knew I was in for a test when I got a call from Justin and he said he had two questions for me: one, could I build a guitar from a whiskey barrel and two, was I interested. It was a ‘yes’ for both.”
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