Jon Wood
ONE to five: Origins 1 | Origins 2 | Track by Track

ONE to five: Jon's solo CD

15 musicians, 15 months... ONE to five - how it came about and what it's all about...

Origins: my father was a gambling man, way down in... er... West Worthing...

My father was a keen gambler. To settle a debt, a colleague who was leaving town offered to pay
the balance by giving my father a guitar. "What do I want that for?" But realising there was no
money left to give, the guitar duly changed hands and was then passed to me. "Here son, have a
go with that." I was twelve at the time and was soon fascinated with this white, semi-electric jazz
guitar with a neat pick-up you could slide from the bass to the treble position. I spent six months
trying to play one or two chords right-handed and was about to give up when my friend Paul
showed me how to re-string the instrument left-handed, and I could play three chords the next

My first fascination was electric guitar. When I was 18 I was in my third local band (Catbrook-
Section-Switch), but this one was different, we actually played gigs. I can still remember being in
the dressing room of Lancing Parish Hall surrounded by 20 gorgeous girls thinking this must be
heaven! To this day I still love electric guitar playing and gigging with my current band. My
favourite electric player of all time is Jukka Tolonen, the Finish guitarist who played with
Tasavallan Presidentti and Wigwam. Jukka played a Gibson 335 and it is the guitar I have wanted
all my life. But left-handed '63 335s don't come on the market very often (in fact, never) and if
one did, I wouldn't be able to afford it. Update: I managed to get one in the end at a reasonable
price around 2011 on eBay USA.

From left to right: Alistair, Jon, Glyn, Hugh

It was when I bought an EKO Ranger that I truly got into acoustic guitar. I'd only had it a short
time when my friend Neil convinced me that it would sound a whole lot better if I took all the thick
muck (lacquer) off the front of it. After a few hours with a power sander the deed was done and it
sure did sound 100 times better. About the same time I heard an album called 'The Contemporary
Guitar Sampler' on the Transatlantic label. This comprised a selection of guitar instrumentals by
leading finger-style guitarists of the time. The album featured the likes of John Fahey and John
Renbourn and certainly opened my mind to the type of playing possible on a six-string guitar. A
little later I heard a track called 'Insanity Rag' by Dave Evans on the John Peel show. I managed
to pick up the album, 'The Words in Between', featuring 'Insanity Rag', for 29p in a sale! I played
this record constantly and adore it to this day. Everyone I knew was forced to hear it, including Mr
Steve Fairhead, the fivetrees magnate himself (who is an
excellent guitarist by the way). Singing is not particularly Dave's strong suit, but the guitar playing
completely entranced me. Also around the same time I heard 'Solid Air' by John Martyn and just
had to work out the guitar part to "May you Never" because it was so lovely.

The stripped-back EKO Ranger (plus eldest daughter,
Rachel). This guitar was stolen in the mid '90s. I cried (a lot!)

Dave Evans then released an album of instrumentals called 'The Sad Pig Dance' on Kicking Mule
Records. This label not only specialised in finger-style guitar, it also included a tablature booklet so
you could play them yourself. It was the booklet that came with this album that introduced me to
DADGAD tuning for the guitar. For myself and most other guitarists I know, this is a case of 'once
bitten, forever smitten'. I've used this tuning to create a parallel universe for myself to play in! In
normal tuning I feel bound, up to a point, by the conventions I've learnt - chords, scales etc. But
in DADGAD I've never bothered to learn any of that, because I don't want to. I prefer to just 'suck
it and see' and play about. Incidentally, I've lost my tablature booklet for 'The Sad Pig Dance' and
I love the title track, which from what I think I recall uses the tuning CGDGAD. If anyone has a
copy I could look at, please let me know. As an aside, Dave Evans' other love is ceramics and he
returned to this in 1977 and is a potter to this day (see The Pottery
NOTE: (added December 17th, 2005) Thanks for the response to this! Someone has now sent me
a copy of the Sad Pig Dance tab book. However, I would love a tab for 'Insanity Rag' but I don't
think one has ever been done as far as I know. Update - some sent me this in the end, although I
don't think it is spot-on tab.
Dave Evans - Sad Pig Dance