Wednesday 31 December 2003

Alert officers rescue special guitar belonging to Howard "Sonny" Robertson
Guitar has star spot at HardRock Cafe: Rock trio Feeder give bass guitar to HardRock Cafe in Cardiff.
Guitar doctor strums up a package deal: 87 guitars to be auctioned in a single lot on Friday!
Playing guitar market hits all 6 strings
CBEs for songwriter Davies and guitar maestro Clapton

Friday 12 December 2003

Girls with guitars (and drums): More women learn, teach male-dominated instruments such as guitars and drums. And companies are changing ads to target this new market.
Guitarist Icons: Marshall: The third issue of Guitarist Icons concentrates on 40 Years of Marshall Amplification.
Guitarist brands Pop Idol judge Cowell "a joke": Guitarist Andy Taylor of legendary pop band Duran Duran has branded Simon Cowell a “joke” and accused him of helping to ruin the British music industry.

Wednesday 10 December 2003

Guitarist set to riff for Zep legend: A Suffolk guitarist is to perform for Led Zeppelin rock legend Jimmy Page at a competition designed to find the country's best riffer.
Chameleon guitar apes classic sounds. Yes, you've guessed it, this is an article about the Line 6 Variax. I've been meaning to discuss this guitar on this website for a long time, having first seen this at The London Guitar Show in May, but I still haven't decided whether I think it's a good thing or not. The whole idea seems rather soul-less to me. For more info, see
Guitar Shed 1.6 - MacUpdate: Guitar Shed is a set of tools for guitarists, bassists, and many other musicians. Includes an extensive tuner, with customizable alternative tunings, a chord library, tablature organizer, jam machine, song jammer - which lets you slow your songs down for practice, as well as loop sections continuously for simple learning.
Paul Carrack in Crimewatch plea after guitar theft

Tuesday 9 December 2003

Fire burns house of guitarist John Abercombie: Renowned guitarist John Abercombie was injured in a fire that heavily damaged his home in Putnam Valley - and destroyed many of his guitars.
Johnny Lang has the perfect look for a guitar player: What's all this about the guitar face?
Guitar Tuner 0.1: Guitar Tuner is a small Java application, which allows the user to tune their guitar with the aid of their computer.

Thursday 4 December 2003

Stones row over Jagger knighthood: Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards has hit out at bandmate Mick Jagger's "ludicrous" decision to accept a knighthood. Richards said he did not want to go on stage with someone wearing a "coronet and sporting the old ermine" and told the singer it was a "paltry honour".

"It sent out the wrong message. It's not what the Stones is about, is it?" Richards told Uncut magazine.
John McLaughlin - The Montreux Concerts 17-CD set now on sale!
Fender unveil new range of bass amps
DIY guitar building strikes a chord: Bailey Guitars of Ayrshire.

Monday 1 December 2003

Jaco PastoriusToday is the anniversary of the birthday of Jaco Pastorius who was born on 1 December 1951.

Jaco, who single-handedly popularised the fretless bass guitar, has often been referred to as "The World's Greatest Bass Player"... and with good reason. Unfortunately Jaco's all too brief time on this planet came to an end on 19 September 1987.
Guitars stolen from David Crosby's touring band
Bill Stafford: Steel guitar spokesman: He played with Elvis; now he plays for the world.

Sunday 30 November 2003

Wednesday 26 November 2003

What will be the Christmas No 1?

I don't ordinarily take any notice of the "charts" here in the UK, seeing as they are generally full of such rubbish, kiddiepop and Pop Idol type drudgery.

However, it would be good to know that something worthwhile gets to the top of the charts for once.

So, how's about we all go out and buy the forthcoming PUNK AID single "Ere's Your Christmas"?

The record is the brainchild of a certain Captain Sensible and also features Charlie Harper of the UK Subs, Martin Newell, Marky Ramone, a couple of Electric Prunes, and TV Smith, amongst others. All proceeds will go towards helping children with cerebral palsy.

See:The single is released on the 8th December, so please remember that date and go out and buy it... buy several copies even and give them away as Christmas presents!
Gig cancelled after bassist saws himself out of tree: British Sea Power had to cancel a gig in High Wycombe after the bass player hurt himself falling out of a tree. Hamilton was collecting branches to decorate the stage when he inadvertently sawed through the branch he was holding on to.
Gibson Guitar Appoints Michael L. Allen as Chief People Officer
John Lee Hooker - Face To Face: album review from

Monday 24 November 2003

George's cheapy guitarHarrison guitar fetches £276,000: The Dutch-made Egmond guitar, nearly 50 years old, was originally bought for George Harrison by his father for about £3.50. Harrison, who died in 2001, recalled it as "a real cheapo, horrible little guitar but it was OK at the time". A Fender Stratocaster guitar given by Harrison to Spike Milligan fetched £17,250 at the sale at London's Hard Rock Cafe by auctioneers Cooper Owen.
High-tech guitar lessons on the way

Monday 17 November 2003

Win a Fender Stratocaster HH guitar! - the ultimate tone machine, so they say, featuring the new S-1 switching system (which basically splits the humbuckers to give a single-coil soung).

And once again: "Contest is open to only to legal residents of the United States and its territories."

Get a free limited edition Fender Stratocaster lunchbox ... when you place an order for $65 or more. Big Wow! Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz...
Actor-guitarist promotes rock music: Acting in the most acclaimed television series in history, Little Steven Van Zandt has made a name for himself playing Silvio in HBO's "The Sopranos." But long before that show hit the airwaves, you would've recognized him as the bandana-clad guitarist in Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band. He just wrapped up a 120-date tour with the musician, working in the new season of "Sopranos" on his days off...
MC5 guitarist Wayne Kramer is making music for 'grown-ups': Plenty of music, Kramer says, is created for and marketed to teenagers, which is fine, but adults need music that connects with them and their concerns, too.
Wesley Webb "Speedy" West, whose innovative steel-guitar licks made him one of the best on the instrument, died Saturday. He was 79.

Thursday 13 November 2003

Guitar Legends Launch Store: Rock stars from two generations attended the launch of a Westcountry guitar shop's new home this week.
Rubbish Music - Lesotho shepherds turn junk into funk: "A group of shepherds from Lesotho are making an impact in the musical world with their creation of 'Junk funk' - songs performed on instruments made from rubbish."

...which reminds me of a Boston band called Neptune who played impossible-looking instruments that had been welded together from pieces of scrap metal. I remember there was one guitar that had been made from the side of an old cooker. The necks were steel rods with "frets" welded across them, so that there was no fingerboard beneath - just air.

I had linked to these guys back in the early days of this blog, but now those links are dead. Does anyone have any more info on this band? I've found a few articles on the web, including this one and this one, but would love to see a feature with photographs of all those instruments again.

Wednesday 12 November 2003

Napalm Death - Guitarist Jesse Pintado "Taking Some Time Off!"
Neil YoungHappy 58th Birthday to legendary songwriter and guitar player Neil Young.

Check out Neil's Garage.
The Musical Instrument Makers Forum: Acoustic guitar building, electric guitar making, archtop guitar building, violin making, dulcimer making, mandolin building, banjo building, or any other type of lutherie; pickup winding and rewinding; drum making; flute and recorder making and repair; brass instrument building and repair; and more.
Want to be a Guitarist reviewer at
Motorhead’s Lemmy Rallying The Troops For Upcoming Solo Album!

Tuesday 11 November 2003

From the New York Times:

"Cornell University physicists reported last week that they had used a laser beam to pluck the strings of an invisibly tiny silicon guitar just 10 millionths of a meter long. Each string of the instrument is about 50 nanometers (or billionths of a meter) wide - 100 atoms thick."
'Lord Of The Rings' Star Enlists Guns N' Roses Guitarist To Play On His Album: "Lord of the Rings" star Viggo Mortensen has recruited GUNS N' ROSES guitarist Buckethead as well as co-stars Elijah Wood, Dominic Monaghan and Billy Boyd as guest musicians on his upcoming musical album.
James "Spider" Rich, Famous Guitarist Dies at Age 80: James 'Spider' Rich of Winchester, who was for many years a key guitar player and composer of guitar instrumentals on the Nashville country music scene, died Sunday at the age of 80.
Slim guitar auction benefits police woman: A guitar signed by Slim Dusty - "Australia's King of Country Music" who died after a lengthy battle with cancer on 19 September 2003 - has sold in Western Queensland for more than $10,000.

Friday 7 November 2003

Guitar festival kicks off in Wirral, Birkenhead, UK.
Sharleen Spiteri of TexasHappy Birthday to Sharleen Spiteri of Scots' band Texas who is 36 years old today.
Rocker’s guitar gift surprises fan: Cheap Trick’s Rick Nielsen visits a Marine who was paralyzed in a June accident.

Thursday 6 November 2003

Glen FreyToday's guitarist birthday boy is Glenn Frey founder member of The Eagles, and who is 55 years old today.
Former Metallica bassist Ron McGovney auctions off memorabilia but nothing exciting as far as I can see; just some smelly old vests, wrist bands, a few old photos and receipts. Nothing exciting like a bass guitar.
Guitarist Scotty Moore is named a musical ambassador: Nashville resident Scotty Moore has been called the guy who invented rock 'n' roll guitar, having provided the guitar licks behind the King of Rock 'n' Roll: Elvis Presley.
While my guitar gently disappears: The Guardian's take on that stolen Ringo Starr guitar story.

Wednesday 5 November 2003

Happy Birthday to:
Bryan AdamsIke Turner
Bryan Adams (44 years old today) and Ike Turner (72 years old today)!

Wednesday 29 October 2003

Music piracy forces top guitarist onto the streets
Queen guitarist Brian May left without a pot to p*ss in

How very odd!
Auerswald-instruments: Did you ever wonder where Prince got that Symbol guitar from? A fascinating selection of innovative space-aged instruments.

I notice that there is a Chico Hablas model. All that I know about Chico Hablas is that he played guitar on certain songs by swiss funsters Yello; in fact his laid back but Oh So Cool solo on "Desire" on the album "Stella" has got to be one of my favourite guitar solos ever. Other than that I know nothing about the man. If anyone has any more information on Chico Hablas, please get in touch!

Tuesday 28 October 2003

The Nu-Metal Guide: Handy hints on how to form your own Nu-Metal band, become the next "Slipknot", etc...
The Humane Guitarist: dedicated to the technique and health of the classical guitarist.
The Oud Home Page: all about this 11-stringed fretless arabian lute.
Jazz guitarist Pat Metheny's learning curve continues
Guitar factory could open in Wayne County: A Huntington man who makes a uniquely shaped guitar is proposing to open a manufacturing facility in Wayne County. Leo Burrell, retired pastor of Norwood Free Methodist Church, has invented and sells what he calls "the only truly ergonomic guitar." The guitar is constructed at an angle and without internal bracing to curve around the musician’s body. It was patented three years ago. Burrell also invented a twisted neck guitar that was patented in 1985.

See also: - these guitars are freaky! Visually, they could possibly be considered acoustic equivalents of Brian Eastwood's Bender Distortocaster!

Monday 27 October 2003

Playing guitar a weighty decision: Eduardo Niebla might have become the King of the Accordion - instead, he has been dubbed The King of Latin Guitar.
Oppressive work spurred guitarist on: John McLaughlin speaks about his career and his new album "Thieves & Poets".

Tuesday 21 October 2003

Kiss guitar hero recovering from shooting - NME.COM
Julian CopeI don't know if he celebrates such things, but Happy Birthday anyway to the Arch-Drude himself, Julian Cope, who is 46 years old today.

Actually, I'm going to see his "Rome Wasn't Burned In A Day" show in London at the end of the month, which should be interesting!
'Scuse me while I eat my pie! JIMI HENDRIX biopic in the works!

Monday 20 October 2003

The Guitar Hanger - Rock & Roll Museum featuring guitars owned by David Bowie, Mick Ronson, Ian Hunter, Carlos Santana, Blue Oyster Cult, and others.

Friday 17 October 2003

V-Amp Guitar Processor From Behringer
A ukulele orchestra is claiming that Kate Bush has banned them from recording a cover version of her hit song Wuthering Heights. The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain, who claim that all genres of music are available for reinterpretation as long as they are played on the ukulele, have already become a big hit on BBC Radio 2 and had hoped to release the song on their new CD. The track has now been replaced by a Miss Dynamite cover.
Kiss guitarist shot outside club
Former Kiss lead guitarist Bruce Kulick has been shot in the leg and grazed by a bullet to the head outside a West Hollywood nightclub. More...

Thursday 16 October 2003

Support Jimi's brother and sign the LEON HENDRIX "AXIS" Petition
The Cigar Box Guitar's Rightful Place In Music History - a very interesting and entertaining website! Recommended to would-be guitarists on a very strict budget!

See also: How to make a cigar box guitar
Get Well Soon Jack BruceCream bassist has liver transplant

Best Wishes to Jack Bruce who is currently recovering from a near-fatal liver transplant operation.

Get well soon, Jack!
Happy birthday to Spandau Ballet's Gary Kemp who is 44 years old today.
Ono gives Lennon musical the nod - the very idea sounds hideous to me.

Wednesday 15 October 2003

Martin guitars hit 1 million on high note - in January 2004, the one-millionth Martin will make its debut at the annual NAMM Show in Anaheim, California.

Tuesday 14 October 2003

McCartney Guitar up for auction live on TV - it's one of his first guitars apparently. I doubt if it's any of his famous instruments such as one of the Hofner violin basses.
Argghhh! It's Cliff!Blinkin' flip! Today's the 63rd birthday of Sir Cliff Richard, and the alarming thing is that he's still going strong.

Never mind, at least his old backing band did well too... one of the most famous guitar groups ever: The Shadows

Monday 13 October 2003

The Roberto-Venn School of Luthiery - some fantastic stuff in the galleries here. Happy browsing!
The votes are still coming in for our Stratocaster Poll with "boring" in the lead (only just), I'm afraid...

Sunday 12 October 2003

Rick Parfitt from Status QuoHappy Birthday to the master of no-nonsense twelve-bar boogie rhythm guitar, Mr Rick Parfitt, who is 55 years old today.

See also:
Roadhouse Replicas - faithful replicas of the now legendary Status Quo Telecasters

Saturday 11 October 2003

Smiths bass guitar sells for $5,800.00 (approximately £3,486.21) on eBay.

Friday 10 October 2003

Stratocaster bashing - the poll.
Vote now!
Midge: Where's my guitar?Happy Birthday to Midge Ure who is 50 years old today. As well as being successful in his own right as a solo artist, and famously fronting the post-John Foxx line-up of Ultravox, Midge has also played guitar for bands such as Slik, the Rich Kids, and Thin Lizzy.

Sorry, by the way, that I couldn't find a decent photo of Midge with a guitar. Oh, and if I remember rightly, he never liked Strats either.
For Mac users: Guitar Shed 1.0.1
Guitar Shed is a set of tools for guitarists, bassists, and many other musicians. Includes an extensive tuner, with customizable alternative tunings, a chord library, tablature organizer, jam machine, song jammer - which lets you slow your songs down for practice, as well as loop sections continuously for simple learning.
Guitar showdown with G3 - Steve Vai, Joe Satriani and Yngwie Malmsteen at Reno.

Thursday 9 October 2003

If anyone out there would like to take issue with my claim that Stratocasters are boring, then when you communicate would you please make a reasoned carefully-thought-out argument, and do not simply resort to name-calling or extremely baffling and childishly immature exclamations of "Are you gay?" in the comments.

Whatever one's sexual orientation has to do with a person's preferences for certain guitars, I just cannot fathom.

If you've got something to say - a point to get across - then just say it. But really, there is no need to resort to abuse just because someone else thinks a little differently to you.

As to Stratocasters, well, I used one for over 10 years. It was a great guitar, but the best thing I ever did was to get rid of it and try something different!

Wednesday 8 October 2003

The bass guitar on which Smiths bass player Andy Rourke played on all the band’s records is being sold.

The 20-year-old Yamaha bb200 is currently listed on ebay for a starting bid of USD$2,400 (approximately £1,444).

According to the item description, Rourke bought the bass guitar in 1983 and subsequently used it on all the Smiths recorded output, as well as on session work for artists including The Pretenders, Badly Drawn Boy and Sinead O'Connor. It also appeared on the gatefold cover of the Smiths’ 1984 rarities compilation ‘Hatful Of Hollow’.

The bass, which comes in its original case with a letter from Rourke, is up for bids until 2pm on Friday (October 10). To bid, click here.
EBay air guitar gets bid of £25,000
Ha! There's always some joker on eBay who thinks that it is the height of wit to offer for sale an "air guitar" ... as if no-one had ever thought of that "joke" before. It's absolutely pointless. Well, now the joke's on the latest air guitar selling prankster - just think of the fees he's going to have to pay eBay! Serves the stupid bastard right.
Pick an investment: Collectors see electric returns from playing guitar market  The Seattle Times - Business & Technology

Friday 3 October 2003

The Fender Discussion Page - I must admit that I'm vaguely interested, but have decided that I am very much an ex-Fender user (other than my Jazz Bass, that is). I just don't see the point in playing a Strat or a Tele anymore because everyone else plays them. The word "boring" springs to mind, especially where the Stratocaster is concerned.

"Oh, but you've assembled a couple of Fender-style projects yourself..." you may well say. This is true; let's face it building a Strat-type guitar from parts has to be the easiest because the parts are so easily available and you can mix and match to your heart's content. So, yeah, I have put together a couple of Strat type guitars, and a Tele style guitar too, but at least I tried to inject a bit of originality into them (especially the Tele!).

However, for those of you who can't get enough of the Fender Stratocaster, there's this site: All Things Strat
The Blues Blog

Thursday 2 October 2003

Present at the creation: The Electric Guitar - a recommended site for all of you who are interested in the history of the solid body electric guitar.
Mike RutherfordWe have another guitarist birthday today, namely a Mr Mike Rutherford, of Genesis and Mike and the Mechanics fame, who is 53 years old today.

Click here for a nice pic of one of his wacky doubleneck guitars, this one being a twelve-string guitar and six-string bass pairing.

Click here to find out more about his more celebrated Shergold doubleneck instruments.
Sting, and his mug of cocoaRaise a glass - or a mug of cocoa if you will - in honour of Sting who is celebrating his 52nd birthday today.

At last, that seems to be a believable age for the ex-Police frontman. I recall that years back he must have stayed at age 32 for at least a decade.

Wednesday 1 October 2003

Strat Central - Fender Stratocasters galore! A whole website devoted to the World's most popular (and arguably most boring) guitar.
How about these Kona Walkingstick Basses? They must certainly be a lot less ungainly than a standard upright.

Friday 26 September 2003

I've just joined this new Yahoo!group called Guitar Gallery. Their introductory paragraph says:
Guitars! They're as much fun to look at as they are to listen to! Please post any guitar pics you find interesting. Weirdo pawnshop finds are particularly welcome! Enjoy!
As one member put it, it looks like quite a few of us have G.A.S. (Guitar Acquisition Syndrome). Should be a good fun group. Go on - boost the numbers and join up yourself!

Click to subscribe to guitar_gallery

Tuesday 23 September 2003

SpringbeanBruce Springsteen celebrates his 54th birthday today (according to my sources, that is, but just now on Top Of The Pops 2 they said he was 58... Hmmmmm...)
754 Guitarists Not Enough for World Record
(see also original story which we listed last month)

Monday 22 September 2003

Joan JettHappy Birthday wishes to Joan Jett who's looking punkier than ever, and who is celebrating her 43rd.
B.B. King: 3rd 'Greatest Guitarist in History'
Interview from the Clarion Ledger, Mississippi

Tuesday 16 September 2003

Today is also the 26th anniversary of Marc Bolan's death. He was a fine songwriter and a brilliant tasteful guitarist despite the fact he claimed only to know eight chords.
B B KingHappy Birthday to da big guy, Mr B B King, 76 years old today!
Forget your paisley and blue flower finishes... Fender announce the Splatter Stratocaster!
Fender finds hot guitars and cars a cool mix

Monday 15 September 2003

Well, the George Harrison Rosewood Fender Telecaster did sell at auction, although the different news reports give different figures. £301,000 say Reuters. £273,000 say The Daily Record. £289,000 say Etc, etc... Let's just say it went for a lot of money, OK?

Friday 12 September 2003

Johnny CashJohnny Cash, R.I.P.
Singer Johnny Cash, one of country music's most enduring stars, has died in the US aged 71.

Cash died in hospital in Nashville, Tennessee, his manager said. He had recently suffered a stomach complaint and spent time in hospital.

He become as famous for his image as an outlaw figure, famous for playing prisons and creating the myth of the Man in Black, his semi-official nickname.  More...

Bradford Reed and his Amazing Pencilina - Bradford fights and tames the idiosyncrasies of the pencilina, an original instrument of his own design and construction. The pencilina is an electric ten stringed collision of the hammer dulcimer, slide guitar, koto and fretless bass with six pickups of varied types. It is struck with sticks, plucked and bowed, giving Reed and incredibly wide sonic palette.

Wednesday 10 September 2003

This seems like an opportune time to re-list this link: Fab Guitars of The Beatles - a superb website.
George Harrison's legendary rosewood Telecaster for sale
A guitar played by George Harrison at the final Beatles gig is expected to fetch $250,000 (£156,900) at auction. The instrument was also used by the late musician during the filming of the Beatles' movie Let it Be. The custom-made Fender Rosewood Telecaster is being sold in Los Angeles during a pop memorabilia sale on Saturday and Sunday. It previously went on sale in London in 1999 but failed to meet the asking price and was withdrawn.  More...

Tuesday 9 September 2003

Meet GTRBOT the scary-looking robot guitarist / bassist of Captured By Robots. They may be robots, but Kraftwerk they ain't!

Monday 8 September 2003

These Reverend guitars from Canada look quite tasty (and are supposed to have a secret weapon in the sustain department too). The design puts me in mind of Danelectro crossed with Fender.

Captain Sensible's Hohner Electric 12-string up for grabs! Make him an offer... Or do you have a short scale bass (e.g. Fender Mustang) you'd like to swap?

Sunday 7 September 2003

Chrissie HyndeToday's Birthday Greetings go out to Chrissie Hynde.

I realise that it's not considered to be polite to dwell on the subject of a lady's age, but she's still looking good at 52.

Friday 5 September 2003

Dweezil Zappa and the now legendary StratHappy 34th Birthday to Dweezil Zappa. How soon before he tries selling that ex-Hendrix Strat again, I wonder?
At PRS Guitars, a Second Golden Age
I thought I'd include this link for all of you who like that sort of thing. Personally I think PRS guitars are vile.

Thursday 4 September 2003

This guitar, built for Rudolf Schenker of the Scorpions, claims to be the World's first acoustic Flying V.

But what of the Takamine Flying A which dates back to the early 1980s?

Wednesday 3 September 2003

Today I got myself a Danelectro e-15 eStudio, which is a neat little headphone amplifier with built-in echo and distortion. It's quite an impressive little device: powered by a single PP3 battery (which is included, by the way) it delivers an enormous sound into the phones. It also has a line-out for recording purposes or for driving a larger amp. Check it out.

Tuesday 2 September 2003

John Birch guitars proudly present the Superyob, a reissue of the now legendary guitar played by Dave Hill of Slade. This new version incorporates LED dot markers in the fingerboard and also features a laser built into the headstock which no doubt enhances the sci-fi laser-gun appearance of the guitar.

By the way, I believe that the original Superyob guitar is now owned by Marco Pirroni (ex Adam & the Ants).
Clearport guitars - featuring "Thurman Multi-dimensional Sound Ports" these acoustic guitars offer "unsurpassed acoustical and ergonomic performance ... with greater sustain, a faster attack and a broad dynamic range". (See also Augustino Loprinzi Guitars whose Nova Futura model classical guitar also features Thurman Multi-dimensional Sound Ports in their design).

I'm reminded of the FUNNELBody guitars that I mentioned last month on this blog.

Monday 1 September 2003

Guitar recycling hits a chord with musicians
A GUITAR engineer is hoping to bring new life to old instruments by setting up a recycling workshop. Jon Dickinson, 34, who has been an engineer for eight years, has set up his own workshop in Crystal Palace to customise stringed instruments and renovate old guitars.  More...
Manchester Guitar Tech - Now here's a useful site, very clearly laid out and with lots of helpful photographs. The section on Building from a kit looks particularly good.

Sunday 31 August 2003

Vox semi bassA friend sent me this picture of his Vox semi-acoustic bass guitar.

Does anyone out there know anything about these lesser-known Vox instruments?

Apparently the guitar is labelled as being "Made in Japan". Does anyone have any idea of when this might have been made?

However, it's a real beauty, isn't it?

Update: It does look a little like the Vox Cougar bass with several differences: the pickups are not the same, the tailpiece is comletely different, the Cougar on the Vox website has a scratchplate (sure, this could have been lost), the headstock is a different shape, and the VOX logo isn't quite the same.
Happy Birthday to one of the UK's finest songwriters, formerly of Squeeze, Mr Glenn Tilbrook, who is 46 years old today.
Glenn Tilbrook

Friday 29 August 2003

Cheap Guitars Are Fun - I was pleased to find this site, as it's the work of an old friend of mine who I had lost touch with. Some nice piccies and stories surrounding this guitar collection including Futurama, Hagstrom and Egmond guitars amongst others.
Jeff Beck’s guitar still sings  Daily Trojan, student newspaper of the University of Southern California

Thursday 28 August 2003

...and today's guitarist birthday is...Shania Twain - DOES she actually play the guitar?

Shania Twain, who is 38 today!

Wait a minute... she's not really known as a guitarist, is she? Come to think of it, does she actually play the guitar?

Oh well, in that case, today's Birthday wishes must instead go to THIS WEBSITE which is one year old today! (See the very first day's postings here).

I originally started this site as a weblog so as to keep track of interesting guitar links that I found. I didn't know really how often I would be able to update it or how much material I would be able to find for inclusion in it, but I'm happy to say that it'g grown into something approaching really quite good (in my estimation).

I do wish I'd get more feedback from people though. It seems a shame that most people only find their way here through a search on Google. I have considered letting other people sign up and write for this weblog... if anyone is interested, please drop me a line!

Tuesday 26 August 2003

...and whilst we're still on the subject of Micro-Frets guitars, here's a photo of Wreckless Eric (a.k.a. Eric Goulden) which I took last week on the occasion of the launch of his autobiography at The 100 Club, Oxford Street, London on 21 August 2003. And, yes, that battered green guitar is a Micro-Frets.
Wreckless Eric at the 100 Club, London, 21 August 2003

I would highly recommend Eric Goulden's "A Dysfunctional Success - The Wreckless Eric Manual", which is available for a mere £10 from
Photos of Micro-Frets guitars courtesy of
Speaking of Micro-Frets guitars: Micro-Frets Guitar Secrets Revealed!
Hendrix, Allman top Rolling Stone guitar list
Jimi Hendrix and Duane Allman lead the list of the 100 greatest guitarists of all time in the upcoming issue of Rolling Stone magazine. Hendrix, who invariably tops such polls, received a glowing tribute from Who guitarist Pete Townshend, who wrote that he "made the electric guitar beautiful." Allman was hailed by the magazine for transforming "the poetry of jamming" with the Allman Brothers Band, the Atlanta rock group he founded with younger brother Gregg in 1969. B.B. King, who turns 78 next month, came in at No. 3. Clapton landed at No. 4, followed by Delta bluesman Robert Johnson. Rounding out the top 10 were Chuck Berry, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Ry Cooder, Jimmy Page and Keith Richards. (Reuters)
Presenting the Earvana compensated nut.

(Wasn't that the same idea behind the nut on the now legendary Micro-Frets guitars?)

Monday 25 August 2003

Gene Simmons and Elvis Costello

Q: What is the connection between Gene Simmons of Kiss and Elvis Costello?

A: They both have birthdays today. Elvis Costello is 49 and Gene Simmons is 54.

Thursday 21 August 2003

Searchers bassist dies
Tony Jackson, bass player for the 1960s "Merseybeat" band The Searchers, has died. He was 63. Full story...

Wednesday 20 August 2003

Someone found this site on Google using this search: help strings on fender stratocaster too close to neck.

Get yourself a bunch of allen keys and raise the string height on the saddles at the bridge, using one of the smallest allen keys to adjust the height on the 2 little grub screws on each saddle that you want to raise. That ought to do the trick. If, however, the action if too low on the neck nearer to the nut, you may need to raise the nut or else replace it for another with shallower string slots.

If anyone else has any queries like this you can always email me, rather than doing a hit or miss search on Google. If I don't know the answer I might know someone (or a website) that does,
Cambridge Guitar Orchestra and Havant Area Guitar Orchestra - very interesting - guitar orchestras here in the UK.
Niibori Guitar World - all you ever wanted to know about the japanese guitar orchestra!
Santana guitar under hammer to help Iraqis, Palestinians Gulf News

Tuesday 19 August 2003

Here's an intriguing and innovative design that enables a small bodied acoustic to sound louder, and also gives stereophonc acoustic sound(!): FUNNELbody guitars and basses.

Also, check out their double-sided guitars.
Queen's John DeaconAnd today's birthday boy is John Deacon of Queen, 52 years old today!

Guitarist birthdays I missed earlier this month include: David Evans a.k.a. The Edge of U2 who turned 42 on the 8th, David Crosby who was 62 on the 14th, and at the end of last month I also missed out one of my fave ever guitarists, Daniel Ash (Love and Rockets, Bauhaus, etc) who was 46 on the 31st July.

Monday 18 August 2003

"Show us your Strat", say Fender.

I'd show them mine, but I sold it last year, and somehow I don't think the "Strats" I've bolted together from spare parts qualify.

Friday 1 August 2003

Keith Richards Caption Contest

I'm off on my holidays for the first two weeks of August and so won't be able to update this website until my return. In the meanwhile, here's a picture of Keef for your viewing pleasure. Please leave suggested captions in the COMMENTS beneath this post.

Wednesday 30 July 2003

Buddy GuyANOTHER guitarist birthday!

Today it's famed bluesman and master of the polka-dot Stratocaster, Buddy Guy!

67 years old today and still going strong!

Tuesday 29 July 2003

Mark "Surf Rat" Rowe - 12-String Fretless Bassist!

12 string fretless bass? Sounds pretty painful on the fingers to me! Would love to hear what it sounds like.
Geddy LeeHappy Birthday to Rush bassist and vocalist Mr Geddy Lee, who is 56 today.

Check out the official Rush website here.

I remember at school, there was always some kid who had inscribed the name RUSH on his books, or perhaps had painstaking painted the logo on his bag in Tippex.

This was far too much temptation for me, and armed with a pen (or another bottle of Tippex) I would make a sly amendment, thus destroying any credibility that the kid had: BASIL BRUSH.

Basil Brush!Well, it kept me amused anyway. To this day, I still cannot separate in my mind the band Rush from that cheeky fox puppet!

Monday 28 July 2003

Erik Braunn

Iron Butterfly guitarist Erik Braunn dies at 52

Associated Press

LOS ANGELES - Erik Braunn, lead guitarist with Iron Butterfly during the two years of the heavy metal band's greatest success, has died. He was 52.

Braunn died of cardiac arrest Friday in Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Times reported Monday. No other details were given.

Braunn, considered a violin prodigy, began his musical career at age 4. He was born in Pekin, Ill., but raised in Los Angeles. He was 16 when he joined Iron Butterfly and spent 1967-69 on tour with the band. He was the lead guitarist on the band's 1968 anthem, "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida."

Braunn and Doug Ingle, Ron Bushy and Lee Dorman, left their mark on musical history with the psychedelic, 17-minute "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida." The album went platinum and stayed on the national sales chart two years, and a three-minute version also became a Top 40 radio hit.

Braunn occasionally reunited with the band for performances, and worked as a songwriter, musician and producer until his death. During a 1988 reunion, he told the Times about his superstardom experience 20 years earlier, saying: "My first vacation I bought a car, a Jaguar, and parked it outside the hospital where I spent two weeks for ulcers and gastroenteritis."

Guitbass - Part 2

I mentioned last week that I had put together a "guitbass" (three-stringed guitar) from an old Fender Stratocaster copy and various spare parts, but that I was having some problem with the electrics and that only the middle pickup was working.

Yesterday, I decided to sort this out and give the guitar a single humbucking pickup in the lead position (an idea that suddenly seems to be credited to the guy out of Blink 182, although people had been using single-humbucker Strats for years - witness Earl Slick on David Bowie's "Serious Moonlight" tour).

First of all, the bridge pickup cavity needed enlarging to accommodate the bigger humbucking pickup. I used a router to do this, and it all went very smoothly despite being only the second time I had used that particular variety of power tool.

The next job was to cut out a humbucker-sized hole in the scratchplate. I had the idea that I'd cover the whole plate in sticky-backed plastic ("Get down, Shep!") and thus cover up unwanted holes for the neck and middle pickup.

Then I changed my mind, and decided to make a new scratchplate from, errrrm, scratch. Having a sheet of black/white/black ply scratchplate material helped, obviously, and I set out first drawing the outline using another plate as a template, and then went to work cutting it out using a fretsaw. It all went surprisingly well. It wasn't the greatest piece of cutting in the world, but some work with a sander around the edges soon smoothed out any inconsistencies in the cutting.

Cutting the pickup hole was a bit trickier, especially as I managed to break the fret saw blade mid-way through. The resultant hole wasn't as straight as it could have been, and was very slightly lopsided, but hey we're talking about using a black pickup in a black scratchplate, so unless you look up close it's not really obviously wonkily cut. Also, a slightly lopsided pickup in the bridge position of a Strat would most likely look like a design feature!

Next I had to wire it all up. Now I was really scraping the bottom of the barrel, parts-wise, as I could only find a few short pieces of wire, and could not find any spare 500k pots for the volume control, so I had to resort to using a 250k pot which would have been far more suitable for a single-coil pickup equipped guitar. When I get the chance, or rather a 500k pot, I shall rectify this.

I didn't install a tone control as I dislike them intensely, and chose to keep things simple and have just the single volume control between the pickup and the output jack. I topped off the volume pot with a black metal domed-knob, which fitted in with the black scheme of the scratchplate beautifully.

The pickup itself, by the way, was one from an Epiphone guitar. I was originally going to use a DiMarzio humbucker, but it had one of those surrounds for a guitar with an angled-back neck and I couldn't figure out how to mount it.

And yeah, it's quite neat. As I already said, I'd still like to tinker around a bit under the hood, and depending on whether or not I decide to sell it, I may replace the machine heads and bridge saddles and make it into a six-string guitar again. The back of the neck could probably do with some attention where there are one or two deep scratches. These aren't really a problem for one-finger guitbass playing, but for regular playing they would be annoying.

So, still some work to do, but a good fun project.

Saturday 26 July 2003

He's not really known as a guitarist - although I believe he does have some talent in that area - but I couldn't let today pass by without mentioning that it's Mick Jagger's 60th birthday!

Poor guy, I bet people are going to keep on reminding him of this fact all day.

"Shut up..."

Thursday 24 July 2003

Oh, and after much soldering and de-soldering last night, I managed to fix that humming problem on the red "Falcon" Strat project.
Hhmmmmm... the guitar pictured at the top of the page HERE is a bit silly, isn't it? I mean, Rick Neilson's 5-necked Hamer was silly, but at least the necks on his were arranged slightly closer together.

Who on earth would be able to play that aluminium thing? And why have five necks all the same?

Daft for the sake of being daft.

Tuesday 22 July 2003

Strat Projects - "Guitbass" (part 1) and the "Falcon"

Here are a couple more Strat-style projects that I've put together from my box of assorted guitar bits and pieces.
Strat Projects
The red one at the top of the photo was based around a Falcon (never 'eard of them, guv) body and neck that I bought on eBay for only £12. The body is made of the weirdest material. I thought at first it was MDF, but I'm not entirely sure about this. Inside the control cavities where it hasn't been sanded and polished up it looks like solidified foam rubber! It is actually very dense, and the finished guitar sustains very nicely. The scratchplate and electrics came from a Squier Strat, although I had to modify the plate to accommodate the longer than usual 22-fret neck. Unfortunately I cut away more scratchplate than I really needed to, so am considering filling up the "hole" between the end of the neck and the scratchplate with some kind of white plastic material. This guitar, despite being a real cheapie, actually plays and handles really nicely. I still want to sort out the wiring some more, as I'm getting more hum than should be present. Humming Stratocasters seem to be haunting me at the moment!

The sunburst guitar is one I have mentioned before several times, namely my "Presidents of the USA" style "guitbass". This is a three-stringed guitar tuned C sharp, G sharp and C sharp (an octave higher than the low C sharp). To allow for the low tuning the strings are very heavy gauge - I forget the gauges I bought now, but I think the lowest string is a .062 gauge. In fact, this string was so heavy that I had to drill the hole in its machine head bigger to accommodate it. This tuning is designed for power chords - just place a finger at any fret, and you get route note, one fifth above and one octave above. It's actually something of a riff-monster and now I'm beginning to question: Why get overly complicated and use a 7-string guitar for these low heavy riffs when you can do the same thing with a 3-string?

However, the electrics are old and knackered - only the middle pickup seems to be working. I've been thinking of replacing the other two pickups, but what I'd really like to do would be to equip this instrument with a single humbucking pickup in the bridge position. This will require a little routing in the body to allow for the larger pickup, and also a new scratchplate, which I will probably have to cut myself. (Single humbucker Strat-style scratchplates seem to be virtually non-existant from all the suppliers that I have checked). I'd also only want the one volume control and no tone. I'm not a fan of passive tone controls; I consider them usually to be virtually useless at the best of times.

Monday 21 July 2003

Eliah Levy - The Stick Man - I just saw this guy busking in Oxford City Centre this lunchtime. Quite impressive. Unfortunately, I can't say the same for his website!

For more information on the Chapman Stick, see here:

Teisco guitar

Teisco guitarBack in March I mentioned that I'd bought an old Teisco guitar on eBay, then neglected to ever mention it again. Well, the guitar had really great sounding pickups, although perhaps the action was a tad too high for regular playing.

Teisco guitar
It also had one of the control knobs missing, so I replaced the whole set of four with an appropriately vintage-looking set also found on eBay. One slight annoyance with the appearance was that at some point someone had decided to spray gold glitter all over the whole guitar in an effort to make it look glam (perhaps?). I have been trying to gently scrape this off, but it's everywhere including on the fingerboard.

Teisco guitarNevertheless, the glitter doesn't detract from the great sound. Seeing as the action wasn't appropriate for regular playing, I decided to raise it even further and bought a nut extension from a guy called Chickenbone John who regularly advertises his slide-guitar products on eBay. This nut extension also has the side-effect of increasing the string spacing at the headstock end (obviously!) of the guitar so that the outside strings are almost hanging over the edge of the fingerboard! However, this is not a problem as I am using this guitar for slide playing (got a lovely bottleneck from Chickenbone John too!) and am playing it in the lap position as you would a Hawaiian guitar. The guitar is currently tuned to an open D chord and it sounds wonderful!

For more on Teisco guitars, see:

Hendrix tops guitar album poll

Jimi Hendrix's pioneering classic Are You Experienced has been named the greatest guitar album of all time more than 30 years since its release. The 1967 release, which spawned classics such as Foxy Lady and Fire, was chosen by a panel of music writers and experts.

The Beatles failed to make even the top 20 although the writers thought their 1966 effort Revolver, with its backward guitar snatches on Tomorrow Never Knows, deserved a place in the list of the 100 greatest guitar albums. The Who were runners-up with 1965's My Generation and a self-titled 1962 compilation by bluesman Howlin' Wolf completed the top three.

Left-handed musician Hendrix made it to number two in the UK charts with his debut album Are You Experienced, continuing the promise shown on earlier singles Hey Joe and Purple Haze. He had perfected his incendiary style in the clubs of Greenwich village in New York, but found fame after being brought to the UK by former Animals bass player Chas Chandler.

Are You Experienced showcased his incredible talent as well as his range of innovative guitar sounds using an array of electronic boxes. Music writer Ritchie Unterberger said: "It's impossible to cram all the innovative ways of playing an electric guitar that Hendrix pioneered on his first album into one paragraph.

"Foremost among them were his use of controlled feedback coaxing both oceanic waves and subtle flutters; his mastery of a huge range of high volume distorted tones and his piercing, clear lightning-quick blues runs."

Two albums from the Nineties make it into the top ten - Loveless by My Bloody Valentine and Radiohead's The Bends. Only one album since Radiohead's 1995 release is thought to be worthy of the top 100 - Elephant by The White Stripes which was released this year.

Although hardly high on technical merit The Ramones debut album with its straightforward three-chord romps is included for its primitive excitement.

The top ten are:

1. Are You Experienced - Jimi Hendrix Experience.

2. My Generation - The Who.

3. Howlin' Wolf - Howlin' Wolf.

4. Maggot Brain - Funkadelic.

5. Loveless - My Bloody Valentine.

6. The Bends - Radiohead.

7. Ramones - Ramones.

8. Genius Of The Electric Guitar - Charlie Christian.

9. New Orleans Street Singer - Snooks Eaglin.

10. The Rock'N'Roll Trio - Johnny Burnette And The Rock'N'Roll Trio.

Sunday 20 July 2003

Carlos SantanaThis weekend's other birthday boy is Carlos Santana, who is 56 today.

Saturday 19 July 2003

Brian MayHappy birthday to the maestro of the home-made guitar himself, Mr Brian May, who is 56 years old today.

I'm glad to see he's not wearing his clogs on that skateboard!

Check out Brian's official website here:

Friday 18 July 2003

Gruhn Guitars - THE source for the vintage instrument world.
The Genius of Lloyd Loar - The roaring '20s was a period of blatant disregard for laws, boundaries, and tradition. It was also an age of invention. In 1922 a brilliant acoustic engineer named Lloyd Loar developed the Mastermodel series of acoustic instruments and invented the first solidbody electric viola. Loar was the architect of the modern stringed instrument. This collection features the entire Gibson Mastermodel series and Lloyd Loar's personal instruments, which include his electric-viola, mando-viola, and musical saw.

Tuesday 15 July 2003

Guitar Project: "Frankie 2"

This weekend I started to put together a second "Frankenstrat" from various odd bits and pieces that I had been accumulating. I had acquired a very attractive Strat body with a red transparent finish. Thinking that this could be the starting point for a really classy looking guitar, I bought a pearloid scratchplate, which came "loaded" with pickups, pots, wiring, etc (I got it for a very good price).
Strat body, with pearloid scratchplate in place

I already had a neck that I though would be suitable for this project, and indeed it was of the correct scale length and fitted the neck pocket in the body perfectly. Just one bizarre thing about this neck though, it was a left-handed neck with an Explorer-style headstock! Nevertheless, I thought it looked well cool, and let's face it - bog-standard STRATS ARE BORING! I wanted this one to look just that little bit different. (Actually, it strongly resembles one of the Strat-type guitars made by the Robin company in the 1980s.)
Strat body, with left-handed Explorer neck attached

So, I went about attaching all the parts: scratchplate, neck, tremolo claw, trem-bridge, springs, etc, and then wired it up to the jack socket. Plugged it in and ... it doesn't work. Arghhh!!! Looks like I've mixed up the wires and soldered the wrong one to the tremolo claw (for the earth), and so forth.

So... I had to remove the scratchplate so as to re-arrange the wires and poke them through the correct holes for the jack socket and tremolo cavities. But, as I was to find out, I couldn't take the scratchplate off with the neck in place, as the neck had a fingerboard extension to allow for 22 frets, and this was overhanging the scratchplate and stopping me from removing it.

I had to take the whole thing to pieces and re-wire it, then put it all together again. Once again I tested it through an amp (I had strung the guitar with a single string for testing purposes). Still not working! Grrrr... back to the drawing board again.

I tell you, I had that guitar assembled and then taken apart so many times that day that I lost count! I then got out my original Frankenstrat project guitar, and had a look under the plates of that one to see how it was wired up. I also consulted other Strat parts that I had, including another pre-wired scratchplate, a bunch of electrics without the plate, and the Strat-style guitbass that I'd been putting together recently. Would you believe it? It seemed that the electrics of no two Strat-style guitars (that I could lay my hands on) were exactly the same! However, in the end I think I worked out what was supposed to go where, and also discovered that I hadn't wired the original Frankenstrat properly either, as the tone controls were not working (this I fixed, obviously).

Despite getting all three guitars - Frankenstrats 1 and 2, and the guitbass - wired up as they should be (and double-checking against a circuit diagram I had found on the net), every time I tried out the guitars on my amp I was hearing a horrible humming.

At the end of Saturday I can tell you I was thoroughly sick to death of Stratocasters. However, yesterday it occured to me that the new Vox Brian May Special amp that I had been testing the guitars with might simply not like Stratocasters! So, again, I tried out all three guitars on my little Washburn practice amp. Perfect!!!

So, a word of warning there: Don't get a Vox Brian May Special amp if you want to play a Strat through it, because it'll sound awful. It's not a problem for me as I have other guitars.

Frankie 2, looking cool, but still some work to be done on itBut that wasn't the end of my problems with "Frankie 2". Remember that upside-down Explorer style headstock? Well, I soon discovered that my low E-string would fall off the nut because of the extreme angle of the head. I tried stringing all the string up "the wrong way around" and then the high E-string fell off the other side. So, I've now got this stupid situation where all the strings are strung normally except for the low E, for which you need to turn the machine head in the opposite direction from all the others in order to tighten the string. Not a very good situation really, so I'm going to have to find some kind of string retainer to screw to the front of the headstock for the strings to pass under.

So, how did the string stay in place on that neck originally, you ask? Well, the neck shows signs of having a lockin nut fitted. Not thinking that a replacement locking nut would be needed as I was only fitting a standard Strat-style tremolo to this guitar, I simply glued a non-locking roller nut in place. This turned out to be another mistake, as I hhadn't considered the height of the nut. I really should have filed out a little channel for it to sit in, as currently it is 1.5 mm too high, so the action at the bottom (headstock-end of the neck) is too high, making chords a right pain to play.

However, I did do quite a nice job of cutting out and shaping a little plate to cover the holes from the old locking nut on the headstock. I made the shape deliberately asymmetrical to echo the shape of the head, and I think it looks quite nifty!

So, still a few things to sort out on this guitar (see part 2 - coming sometime in the future), but it does look cool!


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