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New Toys!

Written by Bill on September 23, 2016 – 11:15 am -

I’m excited to announce that I recently received my new Synergy X7 Artisan harp guitar from Alistair Hay at Emerald Guitars! This instrument is a great addition to the arsenal for several reasons; a great working instrument for the hot, dry Arizona climate and for its compact size, when flying to gigs. It’s roughly the size of an electric guitar and comes with a high-quality soft case with backpack straps and storage compartments.

Due to its carbon fiber construction, it’s much more durable when dealing with hot temperatures and dry climates.  It has a short scale neck that makes long stretches with the fingers much easier.  The soft case is perfect for transporting it to local gigs and it’s great for airline travel, as it fits in the overhead storage bins, quite nicely.synergy-hg

What impresses me the most about Emerald Guitars is that Alistair can create just about any idea you come up with.  The flexibility of adding custom options, along with impeccable workmanship is what drew me to Emerald Guitars, in making my idea a reality.  My J. Thomas Davis harp guitar has six sub bass strings and I’ve always found myself wanting that one extra low sub bass note.  Alistair was able to add a seventh sub bass along with Dunlop jumbo fret wire.  I like jumbo fret wire because you can do vibrato much easier and you don’t feel the fret board as much when fretting.  I had a second input jack installed for another pickup system along with traditional string posts installed on the harp headstock, near the sub bass tuners.

The instrument came with a Dual B-Band UST system that uses two under-the-saddle pickups wired to a stereo output jack that has a built in preamp.  Using a stereo Y-cable, you can run each pickup into separate channels and get great separation between the guitar and sub bass strings.  This allows you to run different signal processing on each channel and get some really cool results.  While the B-Band set up provides a crisp, clean sound, I’ve always preferred the sound of magnetic pickups for their deep bass response and initial attack produced from the string.  This, along with a contact transducer is my preferred set up. I find that magnetic pickups are more feedback-forgiving in live situations and they allow you to get high volume levels without feedback issues that arise from piezo/type under saddle pickups.

arnsparger-magThe issue for me was finding a 7-string magnetic pickup that was low-profile in size and that would work with phosphor bronze strings.  I worked with Bill Arnsparger at Arnsparger Guitar Pickups, in Columbus, Ohio, to design a prototype.  This magnetic pickup is about 10mm high and attaches to the face of the Synergy with double-stick tape. It’s passive and has adjustable pole pieces which really helps with dialing in the string balance, when dealing with phosphor bronze strings. Bill makes all kinds of custom wound pickups and I recommend you check him out if your looking for something new for your instrument.

The issue I’m dealing with in terms of getting comfortable with the Synergy is the string spacing on the sub bass strings.  They’re a little wider than my J. Thomas Davis harp guitar and I have to reach a little farther when plucking a sub bass string.  I’ve got to relearn all the muscle memory for all the tunes I do and it’s coming along…just need to hit the woodshed some more. 🙂  I’ll be posting some performance videos soon so stay tuned!

In conclusion, if your looking for a durable, workhorse instrument with exceptional features, sound and craftsmanship, check out Emerald Guitars line of unique instruments.  The only limits are your imagination and as Alistair said to me in the beginning, “If you can think of it, there’s a good chance we can do it.”

img_6279Oh yeah…You’ll also get a cool Emerald Guitar coffee mug when you purchase an instrument!

#emeraldguitars #alistairhay #synergyharpguitar #billarnspager #arnspargerpickups #harpguitar



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September Schedule – Solo, Duo and Trio Gigs!

Written by Bill on August 29, 2016 – 11:04 am -

Bill Harp MIM 2Hi Folks!

Here’s the schedule for September:

2nd: Solo-Acoustic – Culinary Dropout (Tempe Marketplace) 9-12am.
8th:  Solo-Acoustic at Indigo Crow in Cave Creek, 7-9pm.
9th: The Bill Dutcher Trio at Janey’s, 7:30-10:30. $10 at the door.
10th:  Solo-Acoustic – Culinary Dropout (Waterfront Location – Scottsdale & Camelback) 8-11pm.
15th:  Solo-Acoustic – Janey’s in Cave Creek, 7:30-10:30pm.
16th:  Solo-Acoustic – Anthem Country Club (Ironwood Clubhouse), Member event, 6-9pm.
22nd:  Solo-Acoustic at Indigo Crow in Cave Creek, 7-9pm.
23rd:  Bill Dutcher & Bryan Hawkesworth (Acoustic/Percussion Duo) at Bootleggers Modern American Smokehouse , 7-10pm.  3375 E. Shea Blvd. Phoenix, AZ 85028 602.996.4228
24th:   Solo-Acoustic – Culinary Dropout (7th St. Yard Location) 8-11pm.
30th: Bill Dutcher & Bryan Hawkesworth (Acoustic/Percussion Duo) at Bootleggers Modern American Smokehouse , 7-10pm.

I hope to see you at a show!

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Smokehouse BBQ Night – Thursday Nights in March and April!

Written by Bill on February 5, 2016 – 3:50 pm -

Dynamite Grill Trron NorthThanks to everyone who came to the Dynamite Grill, at Troon North, on Thursday, February 5th.  Looks like I’ll be playing there in March and April!  The grill overlooks the 18th hole and the “Smokehouse Night” features BBQ specials, and is open to the public.  Come hang out, enjoy some great food and drink and listen to live music!  All Thursday performances are 5:30-7:30pm.


March:  3rd, 10th and 31st

April:  14th, 21st and 28th


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Special Event – Thursday, January 28th

Written by Bill on January 25, 2016 – 12:33 pm -


RV Pic






OPEN TO THE PUBLIC – THURSDAY, JANUARY 28th – Roberto Venn School of Luthiery.  I’ll be playing a 45-minute acoustic set for the Student Open House at 6pm.  The open house starts at 5pm and is open to the public.  This will be a fantastic opportunity to take a tour of this world-renown school of instrument making.  Students will be displaying their latest creations. Don’t miss it!

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A Sincere Thank You

Written by Bill on December 26, 2015 – 10:51 am -

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Festivus, or whatever your spiritual persuasion, I wish you peace and goodwill to you and your families, during this holiday season.

This has been a great year for me and I feel fortunate to keep moving forward, making music and performing.  I know in my heart and soul that music is what keeps me centered and moving forward.  Music has never let me down and has always been there, through both the good and the bad.  To be able to draw from life’s experiences and put it into song is one of the most gratifying experiences I can think of. To be able to do what I’m most passionate about and make a living doing it, is even more rewarding.

As this year comes to a close, I reflect on what I’ve accomplished, as well as what I haven’t gotten around to doing yet.  I tend to go through a yearly cycle of setting musical goals: learning more theory, finish writing songs I’ve started years ago, learning more about the technical side of recording, learning more on marketing and selling my music to media,TV and film as well as listening to music forms I may not be familiar with.  But when you throw in the daily responsibilities of running a household and supporting a family, those priorities often get rearranged.

As I look towards 2016 I want to extend a sincere thank you to everyone who not only comes to my live shows, but also to the internet community, worldwide, that has reached out and expressed their thanks as to how my music has made a difference in their lives.

My bucket list for this year…not necessarily in order:  Record a new solo-guitar CD as well as a singer/songwriter CD, learn piano, write/learn more harp guitar songs and get out to see more of my fellow performers play, on my nights off.  Most importantly, say thank you, every morning, to the universe for this wonderful ride.

Peace, Love and Altered Tunings,


Bill Dutcher

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Extreme Acoustic Returns to the MIM – Thursday, October 29th!

Written by Bill on October 24, 2015 – 10:35 pm -



“Extreme Acoustic” returns to the MIM on Thursday, October 29th!  The “I AM AZ MUSIC” series continues as Bill Dutcher, Duffy King and Anthony Mazzella bring their talents to the MIM stage for an evening of world-class, acoustic guitar music that is sure to leave you spell bound. The last two shows have sold out so get your tickets now!

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Summer Vacation

Written by Bill on July 13, 2015 – 10:25 am -

IMG_0521We just returned from our vacation and it was great to see so many family and friends while on our trip.
While most vacations are for relaxing and recharging the batteries, that wasn’t the case for me, as I managed to squeeze in six shows between the trips to Chicago, Cedar Point, Put-In-Bay and Lake Cumberland, Kentucky…I need a vacation from this vacation!

Now it’s back to hitting the bricks here in town and I look forward to seeing my Arizona friends at some shows.  I’ll be performing for the first time at the Culinary Dropout in Tempe this Friday, the 17th, 8-11pm.  Saturday, the 18th I’ll be returning to one of my favorite spots in North Scottsdale, Rare Earth Pizza and Wine.  I’ll be playing 6-9pm.

I hope to see you at a show!


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2015 – New Music

Written by Bill on March 11, 2015 – 5:09 pm -

Bill New Pic BWI’ve been writing new tunes as well as digging back through unfinished ideas that I’ve kept catalogued for years.  Every musician has their own method of composing and at times, it can be frustrating to bring new tunes to life.  We’ve all encountered ‘writer’s block’ and it can be discouraging when the creative faucet dries up.  I’ve heard someone say that there are times when an artist simply has nothing to say, at the moment.  That’s not a bad thing, it’s just the soul and spirit dealing with the now and preparing to bring something to the forefront, in the future.  When I compose I always write the date on the sheet music.  I was going back through my ideas and see some of these dating back over ten years!  Sometimes you have to put something away for a while then come back to it at a later time.  The joy of discovery is finding that missing chord progression that brings a tune together and brings life to the song.  Here’s a new song I’ve been playing out for the past couple months.  It’s still evolving and I really enjoy playing it at shows.  I hope you enjoy!

Click here for the video



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May 9th in Yarnell – Mountaintop Festival

Written by Bill on March 9, 2015 – 11:03 am -

YarnellDaze-2015Hey Folks,

I’ll be performing in Yarnell on Saturday, May 9th for the Mountaintop Festival.  I’ll be playing an acoustic set from 11:00am – 12:10pm.  This is a great chance to help out a good cause so get out of town and come show your support!

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A Sincere Thank You

Written by Bill on January 26, 2015 – 1:56 pm -

Bill Harp MIMI wanted to thank everyone who came to the show at the MIM (Musical Instrument Museum) on January 22nd. It’s opportunities like that evening, that make performing well worth it. Having a quiet, attentive crowd that listens to and hangs on to every note, is the most rewarding experience a musician can have.



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