Thursday, 31 July 2008

Who signed Susan Tedeschi's Telecaster?

Listening to Susan Tedeschi's 2005 album "Just Won't Burn" yesterday, and glancing at the cover, I noticed that her Telecaster has been signed by someone. I can make out the "To Susan..." part but can't read the rest. It looks like the first part of the name is in quotes. (Click here for a enlargement).

Does anyone know whose signature this is? It could be someone I've never heard of, I appreciate that, but I'm just curious.

And just to confuse the issue further, I found other photos of Susan's Tele - including this one - where the same guitar is absolutely covered in signatures. So, firstly, whose signatures are they, and secondly, is this photo more recent than that on the cover of "Just Won't Burn" or vice versa? Were the (other) signatures removed before the Winnie the Pooh stickers went on or were they a more recent addition?


UPDATE: Alli thinks that the main signature may be "Gatemouth" Brown. (See the comments).

"Only Fools and Horses" Reliant Super Van MkIII guitar

From the seller of yesterday's BSA engine casing guitar also comes this guitar based on the delapidated 3-wheeler van used by Rodney and Del Boy Trotter in top-rated BBC sitcom "Only Fools and Horses".

Strangely, it's been signed by diverse artists such as The Arctic Monkeys, Rik Savage of Def Leppard, Yngwie Malmsteen, Michael Angelo, Paul Carrack, and many others. I wouldn't have thought some of those would even have known what the guitar was supposed to represent. Unless Yngwie is a secret Only Fools and Horses fan. Who knows?

Personally, I'd have preferred to have seen it signed by David Jason and Nicholas Lyndhurst.

Wednesday, 30 July 2008

Three-string slide guitar made from BSA engine casing

This 3-string slide guitar features an aluminium neck and a body made from the engine casing from a BSA Bantam motorcycle. According to the seller, it's the "little brother" to a similar 6-string guitar built for Seasick Steve. I'll look out for Steve playing that one when I go see him play the Royal Albert Hall in October.

Holiday plans

I'm going away on holiday, 2-15 August. (Bermuda was work, although we did have some free time). I might be able to access the internet but cannot guarantee I'll be able to make any blog posts in that time.

Do any regular readers fancy being a Guest Guitarz Blogger for a couple of weeks? Knowledge of the workings of Blogger would be of benefit.

Email me at

Tuesday, 29 July 2008

Spot the cliché. Amusing tuners though.

"Hand Carved Deluxe Work of Art" it says on the listing. However, it's yet another yawn-inducing clichéd design featuring scary skulls. Spooky, eh?

I haven't seen skull-shaped tuners before though. They gave me a laugh.

Time for some more guitar cheese!

Hurrah! You know how I love these bizarre vintage Italian guitars.

Currently up for grabs on eBay is this wonderfully cartoony-looking Wandre-Framez Piper Guitar. I can't imagine that it would be a great player, but in purely aesthetic terms as an artistic object I think it's a fantastic piece.

Monday, 28 July 2008

A rant about inappropriately used decals

You see it time and again on eBay. Someone builds a "Bitsocaster" guitar - a Strat or a Tele type guitar assembled from spare parts, and they apply a Fender decal to the headstock. In the listing they may say that "This is not a Fender", but in that case WHY put the decal on there in the first place? I do not understand this peculiar way of thinking.

If I play a Strat or a Strat-a-like that is not a Fender then I DO NOT WANT it to say Fender on the headstock. It would be a lie, pure and simple. (Actually, I have five Strats/S-type guitars. Two are Japanese Fenders - a blue flower Strat and a candy apple red 12-string, one is a Japanese Sanox Sound Creator and has that logo on the head, another is my DiMarzio/Charvel which has no logos at all, and the final one is my Feline Holy Panther which sports the Feline logo on the headstock although seeing as the body is from a genuine 1970s American Fender technically it's more Fender than much of the crap bearing that name that you see on eBay.)

How would a copy guitar benefit from having the Fender logo on it? The only answer I can think of is so that the player can pretend that they have the real McCoy, which is a bit sad really.

The same goes for Squiers. If you play a Squier, be proud of it and don't replace the logo with a Fender one. There's nothing wrong with playing Squier guitars, most of which are excellent guitars in their own right. I don't see the point in pretending they are anything else.

What is worse is that there are guitars which aren't even copies that people are slapping the Fender logos on. You see Fender decals appearing on all sorts of weird un-Fender headstocks.

Take a look at this example as pictured above. The diminuitive body is almost certainly from a 1980s Encore starter guitar and is made from MDF. The neck may or may not also be Encore. OK, so the guy has done a nice spray job on it with that blue finish, but it is so definitely not a Stratocaster or even an approximation of one, so WHY put the Fender Stratocaster logo on it? Look at the shape of that headstock! Who does he think he's fooling? Or does he genuinely think it looks like a Stratocaster?

Friday, 25 July 2008

Libster Lobster, Labster Lee*

For some bizarre reason, possibly known only to the maker, this Blueberry Classical Guitar features intricate carvings on the back, sides, and headstock of lobsters of all things! It makes for a rather surreal guitar. Is it supposed to appeal to fishermen, I wonder, or just the casual lobster fanatic?
* From the poem:


Libster Lobster
Labster Lee,
Living in
The deep blue sea.

Libster Lobster
Where are you?
Gone to lunch
( - Back at two).

Spike Milligan

Thursday, 24 July 2008

Guitar for cat lovers

I'm sorry but I wasn't able to post anything here whilst I was away in Bermuda. I did have some free time, but tell me honestly, if you were in Bermuda and the weather was beautiful, where would you rather be: cooped up in your hotel room typing away on your laptop, or HERE?
Anyway, back to the world of weird and wacky guitars... I've seen this cheapy Les Paul Junior knock-off with cat graphics previously on eBay, but haven't featured it on the blog before. Seeing as it has a bit of a holiday theme to it, I thought it would be appropriate right about now.

The cat in the middle seems to be suffering from some kind of personality crisis, as it can't seem to make up its mind whether it wants to dress up in holiday attire or else as Geordi La Forge from Star Trek.

Saturday, 19 July 2008

Back soon!

In a few hours time I'm going to be flying to Bermuda for an all too brief visit. I shall be taking my laptop with me so depending on how much time I have free and what other diversions I encounter, I may or may not post. Otherwise, normal service will be resumed next Thursday. (And before you say it, I should be safe from the Bermuda Triangle as our flight will be coming in from the East.)

Friday, 18 July 2008


I think I spoke too soon.

When commenting, only last week, on the supposed new Hendrix album that had been discovered, I joked that " makes a change from yet another Jimi Hendrix guitar being found and put up for auction, doesn't it?"

And then along comes THIS.

It looks a bit charred, doesn't it? This Strat is said to be one that Hendrix set alight during a performance in 1967 at the London Astoria, although given its ordeal it appears to be in remarkably good nick.

Will it fetch the expected $1million? We shall wait and see.

Credit where credit's due: story via Strat-O-Blogster.

[...and for those who don't know, that's Victor Meldrew.]

Thursday, 17 July 2008

Encore Semi archtop electric

Ever get that sense of déjà vu? This is another 335-inspired archtop semi-acoustic guitar, looking rather similar to yesterday's Eko, but this one was made in Japan.

What intrigues me about this guitar is that it carries the Encore name. I'm pretty sure this isn't the same Encore that we know in the UK today (as distributed by John Hornby Skewes) and whose guitars are firmly aimed at the budget end of the market.

I'd say it was a pretty safe bet that our Encore guitar pictured here (nice greenburst, by the way) dates from the 1960s.

Does anyone know anything about this other Encore brand? I'll wager that it was just another brand name and that there was no Encore guitar manufacturer as such. The guitars were probably made in the same factory as Japanese guitars bearing various other brand names. The pickups certainly look familiar.

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

Eko model 290 archtop electric

Eko archtop electric
Here's another of Italy's finest: a very tasty looking Eko model 290 archtop electric guitar circa 1964/65. The guitar is obviously styled after Gibson guitars such as the now legendary 335 and its sisters, and appears to be in fantastic condition given its age. But the main reason I'm featuring this guitar today, is because I want to say "Look at the tremolo arm on that! Blimey, it's a long one!"

Tuesday, 15 July 2008

Hexaphonic Pickups available from Paul Rubenstein

Hex pickup
Paul Rubenstein - the guy who got Brooklyn kids building guitars - writes that:
"I've just made a few hexaphonic pickups (separate output for each string), and I have some for sale.

They're electromagnetic, and each coil is height-adjustable. What you can do with them depends on how you wire them... six jacks to six amps (too many cables), a seven pin jack to seven pin cable to breakout box to 6 amps, pan pots or switches to stereo outs to two amps (that's how I set mine up)... or whatever else someone could come up with. I set one up with pan controls to stereo outs in an 80s Korean Squier (middle position) and here's a little demo, with every other string panned opposite:

One side was recorded direct, the other through a Fender Champ and an RE20. No effects or eq, compression, etc. of any kind. The output on these is on the low side, but not unacceptably so. The signal to noise is very good, which makes up for that. They're electromagnetic, and there's no bleed between coils.
Sounds like a great idea to me. I've been wanting to experiment with hex pickups for years. Way back in the 80s I experimented with having a single-string pickup a friend had made taped to my guitar and aimed at the low E string. This I fed through an Boss Octaver pedal so I could generate an instant - albeit simple - bassline. It was primitive and the taped-on pickup was not very practical. The dream was to have a guitar equipped with individual pickups for each strings and pan pots for each. You'd be able to postition each string in the stereo mix wherever you wanted, and to send different strings through different effects (such as an octave pedal for the bass strings).

If you want to hear what a guitar with strings individually panned to different locations within the stereo spectrum can sound like, listen to "Top Jimmy" on Van Halen's "1984" album. This song features Eddie Van Halen playing a Ripley Stereo guitar, which basically has a hexaphonic pickup and pan pots.

I'd like to give Paul's pickups a whirl, but would need to find someone to help me out with wiring up a guitar for it with all the pan pots, as this is not an area I excel in.

Monday, 14 July 2008

Rare Yamaha Bass from 1970

Yamaha SB-1C short scale bass
I've previously seen some of the rather bizarrely-shaped early guitar offerings from Yamaha as 6-string electrics, but this is the first time I've clapped eyes (if only of a photograph) of one of their basses from the same time period. Dating from 1970 the Yamaha SB-1C Short-Scale Bass is certainly a very distinctive looking instrument.

Sunday, 13 July 2008

Paolo Angeli and his big ol' strange guitar

Paolo Angeli plays a Sardinian guitar customised with extra sets of strings, levers operated by footpedals, and assorted other mechanisms and doodads, and it sounds like nothing else you've ever heard.

His recent album contains cover versions of songs by Fred Frith and - quite appropriately considering the weird factor going on here - Bjork.

Thanks to Janet who heard this guy playing on a National Public Radio All Songs Considered podcast.

Friday, 11 July 2008

An alleged "rare rare rare rare" guitar fails to set eBay alight with a bidding frenzy

An alleged rare rare rare rare guitar
Talk about optimism! This eBay seller is asking a whopping $78,000 for this horrible looking pile of firewood, which he claims is a W. Starrett Vintage Pre-1980 Guitar.

The "pre-1980" description makes me laugh. I mean, guitar-wise we were in the stone age in the decades before 1980, weren't we? The big name musicians were playing cigar box guitars, whilst the rest of us had to make do with a shoe box with a couple of elastic bands stretched around it.

The auction is due to finish soon as I write, and whilst it has had no bids there have been three offers, all of which the seller has declined. He's also added the following to his listing:
This is a rare piece and I will increase the Buy It Now Price by $10,000 after each listing it does not sell. Please see if you can find this rare guitar--anywhere else.
In other words, "if you don't buy it now at a ridiculously inflated price, then I'm going to stick the price up even further next time to teach you a lesson."

Possibly it is a rare piece, but the optimistic Buy It Now fee and the seller's threatening tone must surely turn away any potential buyers.

Let's see him re-list it and watch it fail to sell again and again.

Let's watch his eBay fees creep up and up.

UPDATE (Saturday morning): It didn't sell (of course it didn't sell) and - true to his word - the seller has re-listed it at $88,000.

ANOTHER UPDATE (Sunday morning): I see the seller has removed the ridiculous threat to raise the price by $10,000 if he has to re-list it again. Which doesn't stop the whole thing being a joke. (Oh, and I also see that a certain Forum has borrowed this story without giving me any credit. Did anyone say Telecaster?)

Thursday, 10 July 2008

Gretsch TK-300 solid body guitar

Gretsch TK-300Gretsch TK-300Gretsch TK-300
Now, I know that Gretsch always have offered solid body guitars but the very name usually conjures up images of large-bodied semi-acoustics equipped with Bigsbys and having names like Country Gentleman or White Falcon.

The above rather meekly-named Gretsch TK-300 which sold on eBay recently is one solid body Gretsch I've not seen before and design-wise is quite unlike what you would expect from that company. I have to say, I really like it! I like the odd angles of the pickups and scratchplate. The headstock is pretty wacky looking too! My guess is that it was probably a "student" instrument. It's probably quite a rarity too, but seeing as it sold for $725 it obviously doesn't command the big bucks that the more famous Gretsch guitars do.

Original Content Vs "Corporate Content" - Getting it into perspective

Some CDs, yesterday
Record companies, publishers, artist agencies, etc, please take note.

Regular readers will have observed that occasionally I review CDs, DVDs, books, etc. Yes, these are freebies that I am asked if I would like to review by record labels, publishers and agents. I will also run the occasional news item that has been passed on to me from one of these agencies, such as news stories about charity auctions.

However, I'm reluctant to become the mouthpiece of all these third parties and corporations, so such items will not be allowed to dominate. I don't want to have the same content as all the other guitar blogs, many of which are reviewing the same products. If I feature too much "corporate content" it will dilute the blog's originality and make it feel like I'm "selling out".

Reviews, for instance, will have to fit in with the general theme of the blog, i.e. guitars. I didn't take up a recent offer to review the latest Sergio Mendes CD, however brilliant it may be, because the guy's a piano player after all, and the link to our theme is getting tenuous.

If anyone thinks that I review CDs solely to expand my own CD collection, let me tell you that I actually decline most offers of review CDs. Some of the more interesting sounding ones I will accept (so long as there is a valid guitar connection). The other factor, of course, is one of time. It actually takes quite a good while to write these reviews. The CD (or DVD or whatever) needs a good long audition, then I have to compose the piece which can takes days. I think I played the Neil Diamond "Home Before Dark" CD through at least six times before I wrote a word. So, I'm not going to do too many of these reviews as I simply do not have the time, and I do have a day job! If anyone wants a CD reviewed in a hurry, forget it.

On the topic of news items, I have to stress that it is my own policy NEVER to feature either air guitar or the Guitar Hero computer game on the blog. This is my decision based purely on my own intense distaste for both. (So to the person emailing me to feature a news story about some air guitar contest, thanks, but no thanks).

I notice that most of these agencies seem to be operating out of the USA. Are similar agencies in the UK all asleep, or are they not yet aware of the phenomenon that is The Blog? (When I say "The Blog" I'm talking about blogging in general, not just this blog.)

Where, for instance, were my freebie tickets for the recent London Music Show? The organisers were missing a trick there by not getting blogs involved. My review last month generated an amazing amount of interest and there were links coming into the item from all over.

Blimey, I mean I get invited to go over to the States to attend the NAMM shows (although, rather worryingly, they say they require proof that I am "press", such as a letter from my editor. How would that work? I am my own editor. Should I write my own letter from my editor? I reckon the NAMM administration need to consider us bloggers more carefully. C'mon, get with the times!).

Invites to go see whichever latest band in New York or Los Angeles are likely to go ignored. Sorry about that, but it's a little too far to travel. Come on you agency guys, is it that difficult to make one or two geographical connections when sending out these invitations? Neither am I likely to want to perform a transatlantic telephone interview with some up and coming artist I've never heard of. They may be great, but I don't have that kind of operation going on here.

Wednesday, 9 July 2008

Lost Jimi Hendrix album discovered

Jimi HendrixDigital Spy reports that a long lost and forgotten Jimi Hendrix album, recorded with Stephen Stills, has been found.

The album, which Stills allegedly "forgot about" (What?!?!?) soon after recording it 30 years ago, is being prepared for release by his bandmate Graham Nash.

Hey, it makes a change from yet another Jimi Hendrix guitar being found and put up for auction, doesn't it? Joking aside, I'm really looking forward to hearing this release.

Tuesday, 8 July 2008

CD & DVD Review: John Mayer - Where The Light Is - Live in Los Angeles

John Mayer Where The Light Is CD cover
Let me just say right at the start of this review that prior to this, I had absolutely no idea who John Mayer was. Had you mentioned him to me I would most likely have thought you were talking about John Mayall and that I had misheard you, or else you had developed some species of speech impediment. Quite how John Mayer has managed to slip under my radar, I don't know. An easy answer would be to say that he simply isn't that big over here in the UK, but to be perfectly honest I couldn't tell you how true that actually is.

This double CD set and/or DVD would appear to be the perfect introduction to John Mayer. Each has the same track listing and is divided into three distinct parts in which we see John Mayer perform firstly an acoustic set, secondly a set with the John Mayer Trio, and finally a set with his full band, all recorded at a show at the Nokia Theatre, Los Angeles, last December. As Mayer jokes in the DVD film, he is effectively his own support act.

So, to start, I uploaded the CD into iTunes and gave it an intensive listening to on my iPod.

But, oh dear! "Oh my God, how am I going to review this?", I said to myself. "I don't like it!"

I forgot about the album for a while, and listened to some other bits and pieces. As often happens when I don't have an inkling to listen to any particular album, I set my iPod to "Shuffle" whilst working one afternoon, and one song - with some great guitar playing - shuffled up and caught my attention. "Wow! What's that?" I said, and checking the iPod discovered it was one of the John Mayer Trio songs from the album that I had previously dismissed. The one song played in isolation from the rest of the album had made my prick up my ears, whereas when I'd played the two CDs straight through I found it all a bit too much to take in.

I decided it would be easier to review the DVD. Watching an artist play is nearly always interesting to me. I like watching what a guitarist does, how he plays, what techniques he uses. It's one reason I love to get up front and close to the stage at gigs.

The DVD is subtitled "A film by Danny Clinch", which to my mind is a bit pretentious. It's a live music video, so let's have less of this "film" talk. Unfortunately because there are pretensions at work here, we get unnecessary scenes of Mayer talking utter shite whilst driving his car and with a small yappy-type dog on his lap (is that legal?) and various backstage scenes interspersed between the songs every now and again. These I find highly annoying. He doesn't say anything particularly insightful or interesting, he's just providing inane soundbites probably on-cue from the film maker. This is not the kind of thing I want from a music video. I want the music, so let's have the songs uninterrupted please! Save the silly backstage stuff (e.g. Mayer choosing a wrist watch to wear on stage from a selection of about 20 or so) and the scenes of Mayer and his dog driving about talking bollocks to the DVD extras.

Or as the late Frank Zappa once said, "Shut up and play your guitar!"

Now the music is really quite good. The first three acoustic tracks are Mayer on his own and it's clear from the offset that his guitar playing is quite outstanding. It's fascinating to watch his fingers move and I'm dead jealous of the way he hooks his thumb over the top of the neck to play the bass notes on the low E string. He's joined by Robbie Macintosh on Dobro on the fourth song, and on the next David Ryan Harris joins in on additional guitar. (I'm reminded of The Talking Heads "Stop Making Sense" which begins with David Byrne playing guitar along to a ghettoblaster for the first song, and with each subsequent song an additonal band member joins him until the full band is present.)

The next section features the John Mayer Trio, which is Mayer on guitar and vocals, Steve Jordan on drums, and Pino Palladino on bass. Pino Palladino is a name I know from way back. He famously played the fretless "yoobeeedooo" bass on Paul Young's "Wherever I Lay My Hat (That's My Home)" back in the 80s, and in more recent years has joined Pete Townshend and Roger Daltry on stage with The Who following the sad demise of John Entwistle.

From this section it's obvious that John Mayer's guitar playing is not only informed by Jimi Hendrix, but that he must have studied Hendrix's playing in intricate detail. It's obvious from his playing, his mannerisms, his phrasing and on a visual level in his choice of guitars (e.g. Hendrix "Monterey" Strat replica, and Voodoo Strat with reverse headstock). Oh, that and the fact that he pulls off two very well executed Hendrix covers, "Wait Until Tomorrow" and "Bold As Love". All in all, the Trio set works incredibly well. It's exciting, the playing is fantastic from each of the three musicians, and there's lots of eye candy for guitar enthusiasts as Mayer plays a different guitar for each song (seven different Strats and a Guild Starfire). Yessir, this boy can play the blues.

John MayerThe final secton with the full band (two additional guitars, bass, drums, keys, trumpet and sax) I didn't enjoy anywhere near as much. Perhaps this is the poppier material, and I just have a preference for the edgier sound of the trio. Nevertheless, this final set still has its moments. Mayer coaxes some incredible sounds from his guitar, especially on "Gravity" where he plays a solo by bending the strings of his Strat behind the nut. We also see some great hammer-on soloing and a little violining going on.

The last three tracks see the band joined by Pino Palladino, so there's two bass players. I was trying to work out if they were playing different parts or just doubling up the same bass line, but I couldn't really tell. I've gotta say, the show was dragging on for me a bit by this stage. Mayer was thanking the audience for staying so late (the show must have been over-running). I was just sorry for those of them who had missed their ride home (I know what that's like, trying not to miss the last train).

So, to sum up...

He's a brilliant guitarist, let's make no mistake about that. I'm not decided on whether or not I like his voice, the jury is still out on that point, and I find some of the things he says to the audience and to the camera to be quite cringeworthy. (But then, at 30 years old, he's still a kid, right?)

John Mayer fans will love this CD and DVD, but they won't need me to tell them that. As a showcase for Mayer's music, it's a great collection, and the three sets idea is a neat one. I can also see that either the CD or DVD would be a good introduction to John Mayer for the curious.

Guitar fans will most likely get a lot out of the DVD in particular if they are like me and enjoy watching other guitarists play. And of course there are plenty of guitars to drool over (I counted at least eight Strats, one Guild, a Gibson semi, three Martins, and possibly a few others that I've forgotten about).

As I've already said, the Trio section was the most enjoyable for me, but I suppose that's what's good about this collection. Different people will like different parts.

Buy it here: CD / LP / DVD / Blu-ray

Monday, 7 July 2008

If Captain Birdseye played guitar...

A fishy Tele relicA fishy Tele relic
Hmmmmm... There's something very fishy about this Tele "relic", I reckon.

Leather-covered home-made guitar

Leather covered guitarI'm sure some people will love this unique leather-covered hand-built guitar, but speaking personally I think it looks vile. The shape is bulbous looking and awkward, the leather covering is disturbing, whilst the metal scratchplate is a feature all too often seen on amateur guitars and - to me - it just screams "home built". Not that there's anything wrong with home-built instruments, but some are more tasteful than others.

As for the EMG pickups, well the reason I don't like them is that they just sound like EMG pickups. You could stick them on a Les Paul or you could stick them on a shovel and string it up. They'd sound the same either way. In the case of the shovel you'd be impressed that it could sound like that, but with the Les Paul you'd be losing out on the tonal characteristics of the instrument itself.

Sunday, 6 July 2008

Your Guitars: Andy's Pew Bass

Andy's Pew BassAndy's done it again! Following his Les Pew guitar build, Andy found he still had some offcuts of the church pew he'd used left over.

I'll let him take over and tell you the story in his own words:
Here's my home made headless bass. It has a pine body made from wood from a 1856 church pew and keeps the original finish! (We've been there before haven't we?) The hardware and neck are from a Westone Thunder I-A. Unlike other headless designs it uses the original standard bass tuners which are spaced apart by running the outer (E & G) strings around rollers which were made from the Westone's brass control knobs!

The body is largely hollow and contains the active electronics and two 9 volt batteries (the lower fin or wing unbolts to access them). I feel my mini head is a better idea than the 'standard' headless design as it does away with any wood screws going straight into the neck's end grain and weakening it, also it prevents any string tension being transmitted into the fingerboard which could cause the glue to fail and the board detach from the neck.

It has a great vibrant tone (far better than the Westone's muddy thud!) and sounds quite loud acoustically. It also balances perfectly on a strap and on your lap. (More by luck than judgment!)

Please post you comments, either good or bad I'm interested in what you make of it! And I'll try to answer any questions.

Andy with the pew bass
More guitars, etc, on my myspace.
It's nice to see imaginative recycling such as this in action. Andy claims that this build didn't cost him a penny!

UPDATE: Andy has provided some more photos so as to better illustrate how the tuners are located.
Pew bass tuners
Pew bass back
Andy says that the roller support bracket in the tuners photos was made from a bracket from an old school chair!

Mel Galley, RIP

Mel Galley
The former Whitesnake guitarist Mel Galley has died from cancer of the esophagus, aged 60.

On discovering he had only weeks to live in February, he told The Daily Telegraph, "It happens, but I've had a fantastic life. I have been very lucky. I have seen some great bands, and played with many great musicians. I am thankful that I can say a proper goodbye to all the friends I have made, who are now rallying round me."

See full story here.

Saturday, 5 July 2008

Kyle Petty signed Gretsch 6120 up for grabs

Kyle Petty signed Gretsch 6120
Here's one for fans of NASCAR and for fans of Gretsch guitars. This beautiful Gretsch 6120 guitar, donated by the Gretsch company, has been signed by NASCAR star Kyle Petty and is due to appear on a well-known auction site on Thursday, 10 July.

All proceeds will benefit the 14th Anniversary Chick-fil-A Kyle Petty Charity Ride Across America, which raises funds for and awareness of Victory Junction Gang Camp and other children's charities.

Friday, 4 July 2008

Minimalist Bass Guitar - Underwater Bass?

Stainless Steel Tube Fretless BassThis custom stainless steel headless fretless bass certainly looks very intriguing. I wonder how well it would play, each string having its own tubular "fingerboard". I wonder how well it would handle string bends.

The seller also claims that this is "the only bass you can play under water", but doesn't elaborate as to how exactly this is achieved.

I'm reminded of the minimalist Gittler guitars that were also constructed from stainless steel tubes and resembled a cross between a television aerial and a fish skeleton. I actually got a chance to play one of these way back in the days when we used to have the British Music Fair. It was a weird playing experience, especially with the lack of a neck as such, but I quite liked it.

[Thanks to KC who recommended that I check out this bass on eBay. Content suggestion for this blog is always welcome, so don't be shy, get in touch. I'd also like to feature more readers' own guitars, but would prefer unique instruments, interesting customizations and self-builds. Please, no bog standard Strats, Teles, Les Pauls, etc.]

Thursday, 3 July 2008

Grant Nicholas' Jazzbird

Feeder's Grant Nicholas with the JazzbirdWe were listening to "Silent Cry", the latest album by Feeder, in the office yesterday, which reminded me do a search for that guitar that Grant Nicholas plays, the one that looks like a Gibson Firebird with a Fender Jazzmaster neck on it. Now, that's a strange combination, because Gibsons typically have glued in necks whereas Fenders have bolt-on necks.

I could find very little about this guitar, other than Wikipedia's mention of Grant Nicholas owning a "green Custom Jazzbird". Does anyone out there know who built it?

I think it's a very cool looking guitar; somehow the Fender head looks correct teamed up with that particular bodyshape. It would appear that he's got a Jazzmaster tremolo on it too.

I am reminded of John Entwistle's "Fenderbird" basses which married a Gibson Thunderbird body with a Fender Precision neck.

Wednesday, 2 July 2008

Bubblegum guitar

Bubblegum guitarIf you've been following the coverage of the Summer NAMM 2008 show (for example, over at Modern Guitars Magazine), you'll have seen the rather bizarre Helmet Guitars which are styled after American football helmets and are available in a wide range of colours so as to match your favourite team, if indeed you have a favourite as such.

However, if you click through to the gallery of other guitars produced by the parent company, NEO Products Inc, there are a whole bunch of oddities including guitars that double as aquariums complete with goldfish, guitars with neon lights inside them, and my favourite, this guitar that is also a bubblegum machine.

Tuesday, 1 July 2008

Sympathetic Slide Chicken Cooker in Open G

Sympathetic Slide Chicken Cooker in Open G
I've blogged about Iner Souster and the Experimental Instruments He Lives With before, about two years ago. I'm glad to report that he's still busy making weird and wonderful musical instruments out of assorted found objects and pieces of junk, and am even more pleased that he documents it all in his splendid blog.


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