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Holovnia 2 Sara

This is my bass.  Built by Joe Holovnia of Shrewsbury, MA in 1988.  I bought it in 1993 and then in 1994 he re-worked the top, back, and braces. Although it was a fine sounding bass at the time, the work he did made it into a much better, more powerful instrument. It's a flat back model.  The scale is slightly larger than a 3/4 size, he put a wedge under the heal to improve the neck angle.  This bass is his #2.  He has built about 20.


My guitar is a Martin D-18 Golden Era.  Built to replicate a 1934 model, it has an adirondack spruce top, mahogany back and sides, and scalloped bracing.  I bought it new in 2004 right around the date that bluegrass great Charlie Waller passed away, so I call it "Charlie".


My resophonic guitar is a Regal Black Lightning.  The name was inspired by a popular tune called Vincent Black Lightning, so I have named it "Vinny".  It's a relatively inexpensive instrument, but has a nice tone.  I modified it slightly by replacing the maple bridge with a ebony topped maple bridge.  I also put a higher nut on it to raise the action.  It made the instrument a bit tighter and louder.


This is a Kentucky 180-s mandolin.  It's really not a pro level instrument, but I had my brother replace the frets with larger ones, and he heat pressed the neck a few times, and it has stayed very stable since.  (That was almost 20 years ago)

It has a decent tone, with a fairly heavy bottom end.  I don't perform much on mandolin, so it has been good enough.  It is on my albums.


This is a 1980 Guild D-35.  My parents bought it for my brother, and when he bought his first Martin this was handed down to me.  I used it for the first 5 years I was in Blackstone Valley Bluegrass before I bought Charlie.  It's a good guitar, but lacks the bottom end and volume of the Martin.  I use it now as a high-strung guitar.  A high-strung guitar uses a 12-string guitar set of strings, using the high strings on the low end.  So 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th strings are an octave higher than normal.  The 1st and 2nd strings are normal.  It gives the guitar a sound similar to a 12string sound without the chorus effect of having double strings.

kay and guild

This is my 1957 Kay C-1 that my parents bought me for my 11th birthday.  Like many Kay basses, it has a powerful low tone, but lacks the punch in the upper end.  I have a pick up on it now, and really only use it when I have to amplify using an amp.  I played this bass for many years from day one through my college years and the first couple of years I played with Front Range.  To the right of the bass you can see my Atlas classical guitar, which I used before I was given the Guild.  My first guitar was a Sears guitar that also was handed down by my brother.  I also have custody of Dave's fiddle which I use on my recordings and sometimes at shows.  It's just a decent fiddle which would probably benefit from being taken apart and having the top re-graduated.



String Info

  • I use Pirastro Obligato bass strings.  I've had the same set on the bass for over 10 years!  I'm considering trying Pirastro's Evah Pirazzi.  Visit www.gollihurmusic.com for a comprehensive listing of strings and more!
  • On guitar I have used Elixer nano web phosphour brozne medium strings for many years.  Recently due to an out of stock I put a set of Martin Tony Rice Strings by Morel.  So far I like them a lot.  We'll see how long they last.  The Elixer's usually last me about 6-8 months.
  • For the resophonic guitar I use the Paul Beard BR-79 strings.  They have a nice sound and the G string lasts as long as the other wound strings.  Visit www.beardguitars.com for more info.
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