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Geared Up: Burnstick’s Jason Burnstick Discusses His Celtic Cross Weissenborn Guitar

Jason Burnstick of indie folk duo Burnstick joins us today for a Geared Up interview to discuss his favourite piece of gear, The Celtic Cross Weissenborn.



Burnstick, photo by Gabrielle Touchette
Burnstick, photo by Gabrielle Touchette

Some records are just worth the wait, like Burnstick’s latest offering. The folk duo released their sophomore full-length, Made of Sin, at the end of last month. It’s been in the making for some time now, with it coming five years after the release of their acclaimed Kîyânaw debut. That album immediately received acclaim, garnering JUNO Award nominations in the process. A folk duo composed of Nadia and Jason Burnstick, the pair share a deep bond that goes beyond music. Their songwriting explores the complexities of relationships. It invites conversation and hope as they deliver personal stories of discovering beauty within chaos. Melodic and highly emotional, the Burnsticks have a knack for storytelling and crafting harmonious melodies.

As you may expect, Made of Sin was written and recorded meticulously with great attention to detail. They focused primarily on capturing precise tones, timing, and lyrics, which is not easy, to say the least. Much of the album is focused on relationships, including, but not limited to, their own. It also was inspired by relationships they have had with others and these experiences from the past. They stress the importance of being open-minded and making a great effort to understand each other. Within the songs themselves, Burnstick describes their indescribable love for family, ponders the quickness of time, and reflects on the special moments in life we all hope we can relive.

Joining us today for our latest Geared Up interview is Jason Burnstick. We discuss his gear setup, his favourite gear, The Celtic Cross Weissenborn, and his first-ever instrument.

First things first: what’s your current setup?

Jason Burnstick: “I run all my lap slides and guitars through the same signal path on my acoustic board. My setup includes:

KORG stage tuner.
– PLUS sustain pedal by Gamechanger Audio.
AFX FISHMAN PRO-AFX-Mini Acoustic Guitar Preamp & EQ.
STYMON El Capistan Tape Echo
Radial Passive Direct Box JDI.
Da Capo 75 Udo Roesner Acoustic Amp.

“I also have Porch Board Micro Bass Foot Stomp Pedal, which is a straight in XLR line and doesn’t require power.”

Jason Burnstick - Guitars

Jason Burnstick – Guitars

What one piece of gear do you use to obtain your signature sound?

“The Original Weissenborns that I play are from the early 1920s into early 1930s. I have them all set up with a Seymour Duncan Mag Mic pick up in the sound hole. I’ve tried many other pickups over the years, these are my favourites. For my acoustic guitars, I have the Matrix Infinity Mic Blend system in them, love these!”

How did you come to possess your Weissenborns? Vintage shop, regular shop, borrowed money, gifted? Give us the details.

“I have a dealer in Germany who watches out for Weissenborns’ on sale, or I will find them myself. So far, they’ve come from the U.S., Australia and Germany.”

What made you choose the Weissenborn, and were there any close seconds or alternatives?

“The Celtic Cross Weissenborn is what I started out on. I still own some Weissenborn copies made by Neil Russel of Celtic Cross, (including a double neck he made for Ben Harper). And I really love what he does, and when I’ve compared to other models, I’ve preferred Neil’s. I will use the copies for live shows occasionally, however, there really is nothing like the original sound of a 100+ year old instrument.”

What about the Weissenborn makes it so important to you?

“Well, I feel incredibly fortunate to own a number of original Weissenborns, and I will pass them along to my son.”

Did you use your Weissenborn during the recording of Made of Sin?

“Yes, I have used all of them at one point or another. I also used a Bill Asher Lap Steel BH Model for the overdriven sounds. It’s a monster. I also used a Taylor Baritone for some overdubs on several tracks.

Tonally, this album was a journey. I wanted to get the most out of each instrument. For strumming acoustic guitars for example, there are many layers there. I started with six guitars, stereo them to three each side. Depending on the song I either added an additional six in alternate tunings or capo-ed, sometimes both. I wanted to hear and feel a spectrum of tones.”

We know you love the Weissenborn, but are there any major cons? (OK, you can also list the pros.)

“I don’t have enough of them (laughs).”

Burnstick ‘Made of Sin’ album artwork

Burnstick ‘Made of Sin’ album artwork

Do you have a backup for your Weissenborn? If so, what?

“I own a number of other original Weissenborns and acoustic guitars that are stage-ready. We have duplicates of certain important pedals as well and a duplicate stomp box.”

What was your first-ever instrument?

“A classical guitar, then a Yamaha acoustic. I learned to play on the classical (widening the spread of my hand), and probably making me a better guitarist. It was an easy transition to the acoustic.”

What’s your favourite piece of equipment you’ve ever owned?

“My Original Weissenborn 1920’s Teardrop. My number one always. There are only 30 of those in the world. It resonates like only a 100-year-old instrument could. It’s made of Koa wood from Hawaii and is shaped like a teardrop, hence the name.”

What brand do you usually lean towards when looking up new options?

“For acoustic, I’m loving the Martin sound, same can be said for the Gibsons. I’ve had an acoustic guitar made for Nadia by Jeremy Hamm, Hamm-tone Guitars in Winnipeg, and it sounds amazing. I would definitely go back to him as well.”

What’s the most you’ve ever paid for gear?

“We don’t talk about Bruno.”

Have you ever had any of your gear stolen or gone missing? Did you ever get it back?

“Yes, an acoustic guitar years ago and no, I never got it back. In terms of my stuff now, I don’t see why anyone would; it’s not like they could ever go public with it. The Weissenborn guitar is so particular and is very challenging to play, and they’d be recognizable.”

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