This particular piece is not only a focus on a special Instrument the “Gibson Dove Guitar” but a very special man. It is about a Love affair with the guitar and where it can lead you. It’s also a study of how the power of music can connect two people or half a Million. For those of you who are interested in the sound of the Gibson dove guitar, I have included this short video from the musician’s friend channel on youtube with a rundown of the guitar’s sounds and materials.
The Sound of the Gibson Dove Artie Kornfeld’s Favorite Guitar
Songwriters and Guitar players more often than not have a way of finding each other in the same mystical moments and ways that songs are born.
In 2014 I had a life-changing experience. An email I had sent out and pretty much forgotten about brought a phone call. I answered and I was given another phone number to call by Pat Scully. That number belonged to Artie Kornfeld.
Artie and I talked at length and I brought up Guitar Legend Dick Wagner who I had spoken to the week before. I was told “Well if you know who Dick Wagner is then you know some serious music” “ I’ve got a band scheduled this week, but you know, I’m going to push that interview back and you call on Wed night at about 7 and we will get ready to do the radio show…I like you and I think we are going to have fun.”
When the call was done I walked out of the room and my Dad and my wife at the time were looking at me funny. They agreed I looked like I’d seen a ghost. I had to collect myself to say..” Ummm I just spoke with THE Creator of Woodstock and I’m going on his live radio show later this week to spend an hour with him to about 300 thousand listeners. “
He actually had never listened to my music until he heard it live on the program but he said “I feel like I already know you, and I feel it’s gonna be great.” He booted the “The Spin Doctors” off for a week to let a relatively unknown person on and by the time we were done we were friends. That is the core of what a wonderful man Artie Kornfeld is.
The conversation and laughter carried on while off-air during commercials and then after the broadcast was over. The conversations have never ended it’s like the whole Bandcamp vs Spotify debate. I was asked to attend the 45th anniversary of Woodstock in Bethel, NY as a friend/assistant/and as-needed security. We were dealing with a few thousand people and there’s one in every crowd and of course, our Crew had to contend with it. It solidified our relationship further.
With the just recent passing of Michael Lang, I had held back calling as I understood the bombardment of phone calls and emotions. Rest easy Michael.
Artie Kornfeld, Michael Lang @ Woodstock ’69
Today I spoke to my friend again after many months. We talked about Michael, the state of our current lives, and then it was time to drop the heavy thoughts. Artie prefers and lives a life of optimism and forward progress. After the main subject at hand, as almost always we end up talking about music and Guitars.
It’s understandable that many only know Artie from his Leadership in Making the Legendary Woodstock Festival happen. Its importance is listed second only to the Moon Landing as the most significant achievement in Human history. There is so much more to who Artie is.
Woodstock was only 9 months of Artie’s career. It is important that more people realize that Artie Kornfeld is a guitarist, singer, songwriter, record producer, Manager, and Promotional Wizard. He was involved in the music industry on many levels since the mid-1950s. If you were to name every major artist from then to now Half of them have worked in some capacity with Artie. He has expressed many times that he is a musician and songwriter first. There is a quality to him that is a bit like two chapters of a book, being before Woodstock and After. They are equal in their amazement.
Artie Kornfeld (2014) Presentation at SUNY at Fredonia
Artie found himself as a young man with a record deal and on stage with Dion and the Belmonts and performing with The Skyliners, singing backup. He became a vice president of Capitol Records in his early twenties, making him the youngest to hold the position. Artie, along with Steve Duboff, teamed up as the pop/folk group, The Changin’ Times.
They wrote and recorded “The Pied Piper” in 1965 (Crispian St. Peters’s cover of the song would become a hit) and were the opening act for Sonny and Cher during their “I Got You Babe” tour. By 1966, Kornfeld had written over 75 Billboard charted songs and participated in more than 150 albums. His career continued ever-escalating in its higher trajectory from 1967 on.
Changin’ Times – How Is The Air Up There?
Artie and Steve wrote prolifically, for themselves and others. John Lennon was a fan and particularly of their song “The Pied Piper”. An unusual encounter between Lennon and Artie found common ground because of the song and they began a long-term friendship that endured to the very night John was taken from the world.
Changin’ Times – “Pied Piper” Shivaree show
In the years of our friendship and Brotherhood, he often mentioned his Gibson Dove. I told him that due to Covid I’d gotten involved with Music Journalism here at Guitardoor and I have wanted to know the story of that Guitar for quite some time. So I just asked. The backstory was very simple, very mind-blowing, and very “Artie”.
He can make a short statement about any subject or time that will leave your jaw dropped. The very few minutes he spoke of it was not unusual for him. He just answered the question which was a day in his life to him, but a lightning bolt to me as I never cease to learn things about the man that leave me speechless. I said, “Artie I gotta do a write-up on this .” After we hung up I realized I needed to also write about Artie because even if I’m the 19th voice in the choir…My voice comes from the heart and the other 18 are sometimes simply outside historians.
It is important to know I didn’t make that call for any other reason than to check on my Brother and express my thoughts on Michael. However, when the light bulb moment occurred I followed the timing. He as usual gave his blessing to the Idea. Just as we both know when a thought for a song comes you grab it, the same must be recognized when there’s a great story to tell.
As with our small circle of connected friends we talk openly about some interesting subjects. This conversation as any other moved where it was supposed to move for it’s the very nature of our openness to allow that. Sometimes we talk about teaching Frogs to play Poker, but that’s another story.
The Guitar has been the tool of the trade-in his songwriting. Having said that, The Dove became integral, and “The one” on a special day with yet another friend. Two men on a mission.
How did he acquire the Gibson Dove Guitar?
“In 1967 Johnny Cash and I went into Manny’s in New York and bought the last 2 they had. The timing was right as after 1968 Gibson ran out of the particular wood that all the originals were made from and anything manufactured as a Dove afterward was not the same quality of sound.” . The Gibson Dove is not your average Instrument and it is fitting that Artie chose it as he is not your average man. It is a near-perfect instrument. It is elegant in both sight and sound, yet It’s a working man’s guitar.
He had already been a guitarist and involved in Music since 1956. Obviously, he had a guitar prior to finding the Dove…but he brought it in the next chapter of writing. Artie has used that guitar since to write over 100 songs that appeared in the top 40, top ten, and many number ones.. It has its battle scars and had a few repairs and other issues that Luthiers said “Hey let that be, the structural integrity is still there, the cracks just give it more character. “
The Original Gibson Dove has become a 1960’s acoustic equivalent to the 1959 Les Paul Bursts. They are as rare as hen’s teeth in their original form. Being roughly 1,200 made. It was Gibson’s answer to the best of Martin Guitars’ offerings. I would best describe them as “Functional Art”.
In this morning’s talk, I had to compare it to Bill Monroe’s Mandolin. I would say someday it needs a place in the Smithsonian. Artie and I agreed guitars are individual, they have their own personality just the same as people some are great and others are a legendary guitar like the gibson dove or red special of Brian May. When you find a great one you hang onto it and continue your flight of musicality.
The Gibson Dove
This one owned now by Matthew Scott is the prime example of how incredible the original versions sound. He may well have the best sounding one on earth.
I Found my DREAM Acoustic Guitar!
As for just a taste of Artie’s musical reach in the History of Modern Music, a shortlist would read “Jan & Dean”, “The Angels”, “The Shirelles”, “The Changin ‘Times “, Crispian St. Peters, “The Cowsills”, Johnny Crawford, Freddie Cannon, Cher, “Jay & The Americans”, Al Hirt, Connie Francis, Gene Pitney, “Gary Lewis & The Playboys”, “The Tokens”, “The Hullabaloos”, ” Oscar Benton & Artie Kaplan “,” Jerry Butler & Betty Everett “, Bert Sommer, Dusty Springfield, Minnie Ripperton, Tony Orlando,” Reparperata & The Delrons “, Wayne Newton, Bobby Hebb, The Bangles “,” Survivor “, “Neal Young”, “The Band”,” Melanie”, “Debbie Harry”, “Tracey Chapman” are just part of the list of artists who The man has worked with and that Guitar has been present and involved in much of it.
I also think every guitar has a song in it, and in many cases more than one. Obviously, The combination of Artie Kornfeld’s talent and that guitar are a magical thing. There are still songs waiting in Artie and The Dove. I can’t wait to hear the next ones.
Artie Kornfeld before Woodstock
The Gibson Dove Guitar is a workhorse and the singer /songwriter’s best friend. In Artie’s hands, it became a true purposeful entity, and what incredible songs it was the conduit for. It’s fitting that the now-famous logo of the Woodstock Festival was a Guitar and A Dove. Maybe inspired by this much-loved instrument.
Artie Kornfeld, and 40 Years of Woodstock FOXNews com
Artie Kornfeld is a Treasure to Humanity. We owe him for more music than you can imagine and as a Human being, he is an example of what a great man is. He himself is a Dove of peace and enlightenment. Keep Flying my brother and Take that six-string and write us another piece of magic. Artie Kornfeld continues his flight with his gibson dove