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Sharon Isbin

The SoloEtte Travel Guitar is a fabulous invention. Now I can travel anywhere in the world and maintain my technique and repertoire with ease and convenience.
  Sharon Isbin


SoloEtte TM
Travel/Practice Guitar
  • Solid, unbreakable.
  • Disassembles quickly into a small carry-on case.
  • Full size body. Full scale length.
  • Silent practice. Headphones plug directly in.
To my great delight, someone finally created a brilliant device that is even better than the portable electronic keyboard that pianists use. It’s called the SoloEtte Travel Guitar, and when disassembled for traveling, it’s only 33 inches long and no wider than a guitar neck. In less than a minute, you pop on three aluminum tubes designed to recreate the shape of an actual guitar. Your friends can’t hear you practice, but you can by plugging earphones into a jack powered by a nine-volt battery. Since the nylon strings are tuned to pitch and the neck is identical to that of a real instrument, you can practice anything and experience the physical sensation of an actual guitar. It even plugs into an amplifier or sound system should you need to play a few gigs in between hikes. My first stop with the SoloEtte? I brought it to the Galapagos Islands and the Ecuadorian rain forest, and I am pleased to report that it worked wonderfully, surviving the rigors of dugout canoe travel, high humidity, and ravenous insects. It even works well in outer space. A SoloEtte was launched in the space shuttle Atlantis in November 1995 and presented (along with my American Landscapes CD) to the Russian cosmonauts as a gift during Atlantis’ rendezvous with the Russian space station Mir.
  Sharon Isbin

A Practical Solution to a Classical Problem
The SoloEtte is a solid-construction, nylon string guitar. It plugs directly into stereo headphones or standard amplification equipment. The frame comes apart and fits into a small carrying case. The features of silent practice and portability combine with amplification capabilities to offer a bright, new innovative concept for the serious musician.

  • Headphones plug directly into the guitar for full stereo sound. Guitar plugs directly into a guitar amplifier for usage as an electric nylon string guitar.
  • One solid maple piece, 33" long, forms the neck, body and pegbox. The frame is a rigid aluminum rod covered with soft rubber.
  • The unique angled bout provides the sensation of a full size classical guitar at body contact points.
  • Assembles in 30 seconds - disassembles in 15 seconds. Fits in a small carrying case for carry-on air travel (soft case included, hard case available). Solid, unbreakable, very durable, no thin woods and no pegheads to break off.
  • Left hand models are available.
Available mail order direct from:
Wright Guitar Technology
Website: www.soloette.com
Sharon Isbin with SoloEtte Travel Guitar
SoloEtte Travel Guitar
Sharon with Friends and SoloEtte Travel Guitar
Gretel, the rhea, gets a lesson on
Sharon’s SoloEtte Travel Guitar while
Maggie and Benny listen attentively.

Graf Tuners
“I use hand-crafted Graf Tuners on my Humphrey, O’Leary and Mueller guitars. Graf’s unique and brilliant design makes tuning effortless, silent, and durable. ”
  Sharon Isbin
Graf has created a ‘Sharon Isbin Signature Model’ elegantly fashioned in gold and silver available by special order.
Website: www.graftuners.com
Sharon Isbin Signature Model tuner by Graf
Sharon Isbin Signature Model tuner by Graf
Click Image to Enlarge

Antonius Mueller Guitars
“It's a joy to perform and record on my cedar double top Antonius Mueller guitar. Loud and with a fast response, the warm, rounded trebles and deep basses make this an extraordinary instrument.”
  Sharon Isbin

Hear the guitar in her latest CD, Guitar Passions: Sharon Isbin & Friends (Sony), August 30, 2011 release.
Website: www.antoniusmueller.com
Sharon with Toni Mueller
Toni Mueller & Sharon at the Philharmonie Hall in Haarlem, Netherlands following her performance on her Mueller guitar with the Holland Symfonia, March 2011.
2007 Thomas Humphrey Millennium “Le Sacrifice”
Acoustic Guitar, November 2008
by Sharon Isbin
Thomas Humphrey, who passed away at the age of 59 last April 16, was one of the most influential American classical guitar makers. His guitars have been played by artists including the Assad Brothers, Michael Chapdelaine, David Tanenbaum, and myself, and luthiers the world over have integrated his ideas in their own designs. Starting his career as an apprentice to Michael Gurian in the early 1970s, Humphrey never stopped searching, experimenting, and dreaming about advancing the instrument. Humphrey’s landmark Millennium design came to him in a dream in 1985. Morphing elements of the guitar with those of a harp, Humphrey designed a raised fretboard and forward pitched neck, causing the strings to pull the top at a steeper angle than on most guitars. The design met the goal of increasing volume, and it also improved playability in the upper registers.
Sharon with Thomas Humphrey, New York City, 1994
Sharon Isbin’s tribute to Thomas Humphrey, Acoustic Guitar, November 2008.
Click here to open as PDF.
Among Humphrey’s last projects was a collaboration with artist Tamara Codor, who painted the backs of three of his guitars, including the beautiful 2007 Millennium “Le Sacrifice” shown here. The subtlety and magic of the image of two singers derives from the cascading hair which emerges unpainted from the natural undulating waves of the grain. Built with a cedar top and Brazilian rosewood back and sides, the guitar’s sound is warm, dark, resonant, and lyrical, with deep rich basses and bell-like trebles. I inaugurated the guitar on my new album of music ranging from the Renaissance to bluegrass on which I was joined by guests Joan Baez and fiddler Mark O’Connor.
Just ten days before his untimely death, Humphrey was in the audience when I used this guitar to perform the Concierto de Aranjuez with the Hudson Valley Philharmonic. Afterward, his wife, Martha, told me that during the performance Humphrey had tears of joy running down his face. She told me she’d “never seen him so happy, moved, and relaxed, as if in a state of grace.” She realized that night, for the first time, the profound meaning of Humphrey’s artistry. We visited the next day at their farm, admiring the horses, handcrafted swimming hole, and marvelous landscape. I never guessed this would be the last time we would be together. Tom was a beacon of light and joy. His voice will live for an eternity in the instruments he crafted so lovingly, born anew each day in vibrant harmonies.
Sharon with Thomas Humphrey, New York City, 1994
Sharon with Thomas Humphrey,
New York City, 1994
Sharon with Thomas Humphrey, New York City, 1994
Sharon’s “Le Sacrifice” Thomas Humphrey guitar. She performed on this instrument in her GRAMMY Award winning CD Journey to the New World (Sony).
Michael O’Leary Guitars
“My O’Leary guitar has a powerful projection, and a beautiful sound with rich, full, warm, clear trebles and excellent sustain.”
  Sharon Isbin

Sharon Performing at the at the White House 'Evening of Classical Music'
Pictured here performing on guitar by Michael O’Leary at the White House Evening of Classical Music with President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama, November 4, 2009.

Sharon Isbin performs at the White House
Hear the guitar in her latest CD, Guitar Passions: Sharon Isbin & Friends (Sony), August 30, 2011 release.
Website: www.olearyguitars.com
Sharon with Michael O'Leary
Sharon and Michael O’Leary, New York City, March 2009
Worth Guitars
“Kelly Worth is Thomas Humphrey’s appointed heir to guitar building, and as Humphrey’s exclusive apprentice and assistant for several years, he was the person Humphrey entrusted to build Millennium guitars. His instruments are magnificently crafted, perfectly balanced, and have a warm, clear and beautiful sound.”
  Sharon Isbin, May 2009
Website: www.worthguitars.com
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