Sunday, 27 October 2013

Sad news: Lou Reed dies aged 71

Very sad news: former Velvet Underground main man Lou Reed has passed away, aged 71.

Known throughout the world for songs such as "Walk On The Wild Side" and "Perfect Day", both from his hugely influential 1972 album "Transformer", Reed was also a keen experimentalist in the world of music.

He was a keen user of cutting edge guitar designs such as early versions of the Klein headless ergonomic guitar, and the Moog guitar as designed by Paul Vo.

His 1970 double album "Metal Machine Music" - a wall of "elctronically generated audio feedback" was interpreted by many as a comptempt-fuelled attempt to break his contract with RCA Records, but Reed insisted that it was a serious work and it was even adapted for orchestral performance in the 2000s by the German ensemble Zeitkratzer.

For myself, one particular Lou Reed innovation that I have enjoyed playing around with is Ostrich tuning, named after a pre–Velvet Underground song "The Ostrich" by Lou Reed and The Primitives, and which requires all six guitar strings to be tuned to the same note (effectively creating a guitar with a single course of six strings).

G L Wilson

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  1. What sort of guitar is he playing in that picture? I've never seen anything quite like it.

    1. Good question. I'm afraid I don't know what guitar it is, although the body shape is reminiscent of a B.C. Rich Seagull (I think). Anyone else know?

    2. Going by the headstock it looks like a Carl Thompson (probably best known for the basses he's made for Les Claypool of Primus). Body shape is like a B.C. Rich Eagle, which I think did evolve from the Seagull, rare later versions of which also had an upper horn like this, but smaller.
      By the way, Metal Machine Music was 1975, not 1970 (was that a typo or just a lapse of memory?)
      All that aside, a sad loss indeed.

  2. Really really sad... I never got to see him live but was one of my all time favorite musicians... But hey! Thanks for writing about that ostrich tuning, never knew such tuning existed, i'm really intrigued by its sound... Can't wait to try it!
    Saludos from Spain, and thanks for the grrreat work at your blog!

  3. it is indeed a carl thompson:

    if you go almost half way down, it is noted on his page, and even gives a close-up of the handmade bridge. pretty cool.

  4. Sad loss of a brilliant ground-breaking musician and artist. He was an original. The Velvet Underground's first disc was "alternative" before the genre` even existed. If the function of art is to hold a mirror up to society, then the album was true art in that it reflected New York City's underground scene with a mind-bending soundtrack... and he didn't stop with that! Thanks Lou... wherever you are...



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