The Current's Guitar Collection: Justin Townes Earle; Anthony LaMarca - The Loar

justin townes earle anthony lamarca the loar
Justin Townes Earle (L) and The War on Drugs' Anthony LaMarca (R) play their The Loar guitars in The Current's studio. (MPR photo/Nate Ryan)
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By strange coincidence, a guitar make that we hadn't covered before was mentioned by two different guitar players within one week: Anthony LaMarca of The War on Drugs and singer-songwriter Justin Townes Earle both describe their acoustic guitars built by San Francisco-based The Loar.

Anthony LaMarca, The War on Drugs

How long have you had this guitar?

Not that long. I got it for this tour, so I got it a couple of months ago. It's brand new; it's called The Loar, and it's model LH200. It's nice: nicely made, small body, acoustic; it's all they do, this company The Loar, just small-body acoustics.

How did you discover this make?

We saw this guy who was opening for us in Sweden; he had one. His name is Markus Svensson, and his band is called the Tarantula Waltz. He opened for two or three shows, and we were all like, "Oh man, your acoustic sounds great."

So I just got in touch with Markus and found out what kind of guitar it was and then I picked one up.

Do you remember where you went to pick one up?

I just ordered it from the company, which is based out of San Francisco. Hopefully we'll stop by their shop whenever we get out to the West Coast.

What is it about the tone that drew you in?

I just like the small-body acoustic. I don't like a really big guitar for just, like, strummy stuff. I don't do acoustic bluegrass playing or anything, but just for strumming and stuff, it fits in there nicely without taking up too much space.

And you've got it fitted with a pickup.

Yeah, it sounds great. It's an L.R. Baggs M1. It sounds great. It sounds like an acoustic, which is good, because usually when you put a pickup on an acoustic, it sounds like trash. This gets the job done.

Do you write and arrange with this guitar?

I've actually never owned an acoustic guitar before, so this is the first [acoustic] that I've ever owned. When I'm at home, I have a Gretsch Anniversary model that I usually do all my writing and playing on, and that has always been my acoustic just because it's a hollow body. I love that guitar a ton, and then I also, with these guys, I'm also playing a '69 Fender Jaguar; that's a really sweet guitar. I wish I had brought it today! We scaled back a little for this session.

Justin Townes Earle

Is that a The Loar guitar?

Yeah, The Loar — killer company.

That's an $800 dollar guitar, and that's my thing: I wanted to promote a guitar company that you know, a working-class family can buy for their kid. The Loar is making me an artist guitar that'll come in at a thousand dollars. That's not bad.

It's a great, a great guitar company out of San Francisco. Ashley, the guy who runs it, is a sweetheart. I've got guitars in Australia and in England, so I don't have to fly with them. They just send them over there; it's really good. Anything I ask for.

What kind of pickup do you have on it?

It's an L.R. Baggs M1 pickup. They're great; they're magnetic on the top so you will get a percussive thing. If you don't know how to control that, it will not be a good pickup for you. It does take a learning curve, for sure.

Do you write on this guitar?

No, I have a little parlor at home that I write on, but it's one of theirs also.

And they also make the Recording King, like my signature guitar will be a Recording King. They're just a really good company. They make guitars anywhere from about $800 to about $1500 I think, so nothing that's going to break the bank, really.

Resources

The War on Drugs - official site

Justin Townes Earle - official site

The Loar

The Tarantula Waltz

Recording King

Related Stories

  • The War on Drugs perform live in The Current studio Between their two-night stand in the First Avenue mainroom, the War on Drugs stopped by Minnesota Public Radio to chat with Jill Riley of the Morning Show and to perform tracks live in The Current's studio, including songs off their latest album, <em>Lost in the Dream</em>, and a fantastic Bob Dylan cover.
  • Justin Townes Earle performs live in The Current studio In town to play at First Avenue in Minneapolis, Townes Earle stopped in to The Current for a warm and very open conversation with Mary Lucia.

5 Photos

  • War on Drugs, Anthony LaMarca
    Guitarist Anthony LaMarca playing with the War on Drugs in The Current studio. (MPR / Nate Ryan)
  • justin townes earle 6
    Justin Townes Earle (MPR photo/Nate Ryan)
  • War on Drugs, Anthony LaMarca
    Anthony LaMarca performing live with the War on Drugs in The Current studio. (MPR / Nate Ryan)
  • justin townes earle 4
    Justin Townes Earle (MPR photo/Nate Ryan)
  • anthony la marca the loar headstock
    Headstock of Anthony LaMarca's guitar by The Loar. (MPR photo/Luke Taylor)

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