Buzz Feiten

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Howard "Buzz" Feiten (born November 4, 1948) is an American singer-songwriter, guitarist, session musician, and luthier. He is best known as a lead and rhythm guitarist and for having patented a tuning system for guitars and similar instruments. Feiten also manufactures and markets solid-body electric guitars.

Early years[edit]

Feiten grew up in Huntington Station and Centerport, New York, where he was known by schoolmates and friends as "Buzzy". The son of a musical mother, Pauline (a classical pianist), and an airline pilot, Howard Sr., Feiten received training in classical music as a child. His older sister Paula was a flautist and fashion model in the mid-1960s. A younger brother, Jon, was also involved in music and the arts. In youth, he studied several musical instruments, settling on the French horn. As a teenager, he played in all-county (Suffolk) and all-state (New York) youth orchestras on the instrument.

Feiten first played Carnegie Hall in 1966 on French horn in American Youth Performs.[1] In 1966, he auditioned at the Juilliard School on French horn but was rejected. In high school he belonged to a band called The Reasons Why with Steve Beckmeier (rhythm guitar), Al Stegmeyer (drums), Danny Horton (lead guitar), and Daniel Kretzer (keyboards). The band was successful on Long Island, and two songs, "Tell Her One More Time" and "Same Old Worries", were mentioned in a Billboard 'new singles' article in the summer of 1966.


Still known as "Buzzy", in late 1968 or early 1969 Feiten was a student at the Mannes College of Music in New York City.

Feiten replaced Elvin Bishop in the Paul Butterfield Blues Band.[2][3] Feiten recorded on the group's fifth album, Keep on Moving.[3] With Butterfield, Feiten toured internationally and played at the Atlantic City Pop Festival and the Woodstock Festival.

Feiten was lead guitarist for The Rascals on their albums Peaceful World and Island of Real.

Feiten's debut album Full Moon was released[3] by Warner Bros. in 1982 and was recorded with Ray Barretto, Randy Brecker, Robin Clark, Gene Dinwiddie, Dave Holland, Neil Larsen, Airto Moreira, Tasha Thomas, and Phillip Wilson. A sequel, Buzz Feiten & The New Full Moon, was released in 1999 and recorded with Freddie Beckmeier on bass (brother of Steve from The Reasons Why), Jai Winding, Brandon Fields, and Gary Mallaber. In 1998–99 he was a member of the Dave Weckl Band. In 2008, Feiten recorded with Steve Postell of Pure Prairie League on the album Time Still Knocking (Immergent).

Feiten has worked with Gregg Allman, The Brecker Brothers, Bob Dylan, Aretha Franklin, Michael Franks, Al Jarreau, Rickie Lee Jones, Chaka Khan, Dave Koz, Kenny Loggins, Bette Midler, Olivia Newton-John, Wilson Pickett, David Sanborn, James Taylor, Stevie Wonder,[4] Etta James, Dave Weckl and Don McLean.[5]

Tuning system[edit]

Feiten patented a tuning system for guitars,[6] marketed as the Buzz Feiten Tuning System, which is intended to correct problems of the standard equal temperament.[further explanation needed] The system can be retrofitted by a repair shop or luthier that has paid a licensing fee and received specific training. The system consists of a compensated string nut (or "shelf nut") and a method for intonating the bridge. The system was licensed to Washburn Guitars (1995–2010) and Suhr Guitars.

The tuning system is intended to create more accurate tonality of notes played on the lowest three or four frets. Some guitarists claimed to hear no difference, perhaps attributed to their particular playing style or primary musical genre. A few stated the opinion that, while a BFTS-enhanced guitar was clearly superior when recording alongside electronic keyboards, it generally rendered their tone "sterile" or "thin." Others believe that despite the company's "three or four" frets claim, the system provided marked improvement in accuracy virtually everywhere on the fretboard.


In 2012, Feiten announced the founding of Buzz Feiten Guitars[7] to manufacture and market solid-body electric guitars. The firm initially offered five models, the Blues Pro, T Pro, Signature Elite, Classic Pro, and Elite Pro.

In 2018, the company was renamed Buzz Feiten Guitar Research, offering three models of SuperNova guitar: Classic (two humbucker pickups), Futura (bridge humbucker and neck single-coil pickup), and Futura Super-Trem (three single-coil pickups with synchronized vibrato). The "Buzz Feiten Tuning System" is mentioned only in regards to the Classic.


As leader[edit]

  • Larsen-Feiten Band (Warner Bros., 1980)
  • Full Moon with Full Moon (Warner Bros., 1982)
  • Whirlies (Ulftone Music, 2000)
  • Buzz Feiten & the New Full Moon (Dreamsville, 2002)

As sideman[edit]

With Aretha Franklin

With Rickie Lee Jones

With Neil Larsen

  • Jungle Fever (Horizon, 1978)
  • High Gear (Horizon, 1979)
  • Through Any Window (MCA, 1987)
  • Smooth Talk (MCA, 1989)

With Jeff Lorber

With Bill Quateman

  • Just Like You (RCA Victor, 1979)
  • The Almost Eve of Everything (Next of Skin 2001)
  • Trust (Dreamsville, 2002)

With David Sanborn

  • Taking Off (Warner Bros., 1975)
  • Voyeur (Warner Bros., 1981)
  • As We Speak (Warner Bros., 1982)
  • Backstreet (Warner Bros., 1983)

With Tom Scott

  • Street Beat (Columbia, 1979)
  • Desire (Elektra Musician 1982)
  • Smokin' Section (Windham Hill, 1999)

With Dave Weckl

With others


  1. ^ "American Airlines sponspored the American Youth Performs program" (PDF). Retrieved June 25, 2014.
  2. ^ Prown, Pete; Newquist, Harvey P. (1997). Legends of Rock Guitar: The Essential Reference of Rock's Greatest Guitarists. Hal Leonard. pp. 41–. ISBN 978-0-7935-4042-6. Retrieved March 25, 2019.
  3. ^ a b c Erlewine, Dan (2007). Guitar Player Repair Guide: How to Set Up, Maintain, and Repair Electrics and Acoustics. Backbeat Books. pp. 66–. ISBN 978-0-87930-921-3. Retrieved March 31, 2019.
  4. ^ Thompson, Art (July 2, 2014). "Buzz Feiten's Obsession with Making Guitars Play and Sound Better". Retrieved April 1, 2019.
  5. ^ [1] Archived March 29, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ Johnston, Richard; Simmons, Michael John; Ford, Frank (2005). Acoustic Guitar: An Historical Look at the Composition, Construction, and Evolution of One of the World's Most Beloved Instruments. Hal Leonard. pp. 59–. ISBN 978-0-634-07920-7. Retrieved March 31, 2019.
  7. ^ "Buzz Feiten Guitars — The Ultimate Guitars, For Serious Players". Retrieved November 4, 2015.

External links[edit]