Friday 27 February 2004

Adrian SmithNeal Schon
Many Happy Returns to these two axe-wielding fellas: Adrian Smith (left) of Iron Maiden fame is 47 today, and Neal Schon (right) of Journey is 50.
Traben introduces Phoenix Flame Bass: check out the bridge on this thing! See also
Kiss - More Summer Tour Details Revealed
The Eagles go back on the road: The Eagles have reactivated for 2004. The first of 13 shows will kick-off in Las Vegas on May 22.
Nectarine No 9, I Love Total Destruction: Guardian CD review. I love this quote: "Even its sweetest song, I Am the Sky, has a guitar line that buzzes like a wasp attacking garden furniture..."
Andre 3000 to play Hendrix in movie: Outkast's Andre 3000 is in final talks to play Jimi Hendrix in an upcoming film. Hmmmm... they've been talking about making a Hendrix movie for decades now. Years back, I recall that Thin Lizzy's Philip Lynott was once up for the part, and now he himself is a worthy subject for a biopic.
The Datsuns Get Led Zep Bassist To Help With New Album
Dinosaur Jr guitar whiz J Mascis soldiers on solo
Eric Clapton to host three-day Crossroads Guitar Festival benefit at Fair Park in Dallas on June 4-6, a charity event that will culminate with an all-star concert.

Thursday 26 February 2004

Prince announces comeback
Kinks singer's injuries more serious than reported
Create Some Good Karma with Malden Guitars: Malden Guitars unveiled a new addition to their lineup, the Karma.
News from Fender - New Basses For 2004: due in the shops from April.
Guitarist Robben Ford jazzes up his take on the blues
John McLaughlin: Zen and the art of guitar-playing: John McLaughlin's new LP was 12 years in the making. Meditation kept him sane, he tells The Independent's Martin Longley.
The Ten Most Wanted Fender Basses
The Wheelbarrow bass: I wonder if the guy who builds these things has too much time on his hands?
The BBQ Dobro: Smokin'.

Wednesday 25 February 2004

Fender and the Golden Age of Punk 1976-81: Fender's potted history of punk!
Guitarist Magazine reviews Gibson LP SmartWood Studio, LP Melody Maker & LP Faded DC
Guitarist Magazine revisits the Mosrite VI Standard
Guitarist's performance was just plain 'great': That flamenco guitarist Paco de Luciá bills himself as "one of the greatest living guitarists in the world" seems a bit lofty. And arrogant. Most players who go around making such claims rarely live up to them...
Guitarist Suggested Dylan Change His Song: Guitarist Kevin Odegard once told Bob Dylan how to change one of his songs for the better in 1975.
Boom in Guitars: Retro rockers The Darkness have sparked a massive boom in electric guitar sales. One supermarket chain reported an 82 per cent rise in the last three months with youngsters leading the rush. And bosses of their shopping website said budget copies of the guitar played by the band's frontman, Justin Hawkins, are the most popular buys. managing director David Clements said: 'If guitar sales are anything to go by, we'll have another generation of rockers to look forward to soon.' Hawkins plays various Gibson Les Pauls, worth around £2000 each. Copies cost less than £180.
Tammy Cochran's guitar is something special: Gibson Guitar supports fight against Cystic Fibrosis.
Network rail win guitar appeal:
Network Rail has been cleared of liability to pay nuisance damages for electromagnetic interference caused by signalling equipment to electric guitars in a nearby recording studio.

The Court of Appeal overturned a judge's ruling that Colin Morris, trading as Soundstar Studio from premises 80 metres away from the London to Brighton mainline at Whitehorse Road, Croydon, was entitled to compensation.

Mr Morris, who began trading in 1987, sued Network Rail Infrastructure for more than £60,000 after steadily losing customers using his studio to record their guitar music.
Chet Atkins guitar model joins GuitarTown project: Gibson's Chet Atkins "Country Gentleman" guitar model has been added as a featured instrument for GuitarTown, a public art project in Nashville to showcase the talents of visual artists on 10-foot-tall guitar sculptures.
Guitar makes digital music: Nashville-based Gibson Guitar Corp. will start shipping an initial run of its new digital guitar in April. The first run of 3,000 instruments will retail for about $2,600 each.
Granddad builds bass guitar for 15 year old
Wales' answer to Pink Floyd?: Not quite, says Super Furry Animals.
New Who for 2004: Who fans will hear the first new music from the band next month, although it will be only two songs (and from two members of the band).
Peter Frampton bass player dead at 52: Peter Frampton's long-time bass player Bob Mayo has died of a suspected heart-attack at while on tour in Switzerland.

Tuesday 24 February 2004

Fender to copyright body shapes?

"Word in the guitar industry is that Fender and its deep pockets are finally on the verge of copyrighting the body shapes of the Strat and Tele like they had previously done to their peghead designs. The implications are enormous. Established manufacturers will either pay royalties to produce a Stratoid, if they are even given the license to do so, or they will have to change their guitars so that they do not have the Strat shape to any great extent. Custom manufacturers will most likely not be able to afford the licensing. Why after 50 years is Fender doing this? They've bought so many of their competitors and are in such a solid financial situation, they may be trying to corner the market on Strats and teles." (Via The Wizard of Az)

Monday 23 February 2004

Enter this contest to Win a Fender 50th Anniversary Stratocaster guitar!... just so long as you don't live outside of the United States. When are Fender going to learn that this is the WORLD wide web?

Saturday 21 February 2004

James Dean BradfieldHappy birthday this Saturday to James Dean Bradfield of the Manic Street Preachers, who is 35 years old today.

Friday 20 February 2004

STHAC Guitars Introduces Texas Havana Model. See also:
Fired Bassist Fires Back At Queens Of The Stone Age: A week after Queens of the Stone Age announced that bassist Nick Oliveri had split from the group, Oliveri has revealed that his departure was not voluntary. "Unfortunately, I was fired," Oliveri said in a statement on the Web site of his group Mondo Generator. "Queens of the Stone Age as we all know it is no more."
B.B. King's 'biggest fun' is watching people at his shows
Council's snub for guitarist: A street named after the late Rolling Stones guitarist Brian Jones is to be renamed following an unanimous decision by Cheltenham Borough Council.
Rock guitarist is Mr Blue Sky: Former Electric Light Orchestra guitarist Dave Scott-Morgan is now playing at a higher level after buying into an air taxi business.
Electric guitars set for a makeover:
"I fear Gibson’s brave adventure is doomed to failure. I just cannot see the traditional axe hero becoming a techo wizard. That is the keyboard player’s job."
What a blinkered attitude!
The Self-Tuning Guitar system from TransPerformance: Well, Jimmy Page likes it!
Sir Paul McCartney is to headline at this year's Glastonbury Festival
Guns N' Roses' Greatest Due In March, But Axl May Intervene
The Darkness slam 'boring' Radiohead: I still don't know what to make of The Darkness - they come across as being a joke band. Nevertheless, they are right about Radiohead.
Ageing punks' single stunt a hit: Ageing post-punk band The Alarm have scored a top 30 UK chart hit - with a stunt disguising themselves as an unknown younger group.
Stars line up for Sunday's 'Experience Hendrix' concert

Wednesday 18 February 2004

Leland SklarThe latest bunch of guitars destined to hang on the walls of the Hard Rock Cafe include an Elvis guitar and a few other goodies too, the most unusual of which being "a double-necked bass guitar played by Lee Sklar on Jackson Browne's 1977 'Running on Empty' album and subsequent tour. The instrument's body was carved into the shape of an eagle, with detailed tail feathers on the end and two eagle heads on the headstocks." (See also: Moonstone Guitars).
Edward B. Driscoll, Jr. discusses The Guitar's Technological Crossroads over at Tech Central Station.
Found guitar leads to famous encounter with Zakk Wylde!
Lennon's guitar offered at £1.3m: A guitar thought to have belonged to John Lennon and found in a New York rubbish bin went on sale on Monday with an auction price of £1.3m.
Gibson guitar clinics planned
Learn Jeff Beck's Signature Licks and Sounds: Riff Interactive has released "Jeff Beck Style", a guitar lesson CD-ROM where you'll learn how to play like the guitar legend Jeff Beck. Allegedly.

Friday 13 February 2004

Deep Purple rocks generations
Batman - with an Edge: U2's guitarist The Edge is to perform the 'Batman' theme tune for the new series of the caped crusader's adventures.
The Who Announce Intimate London Shows: The Who have confirmed details of three club shows in LONDON. The group, who will perform ’Tommy’ at the London Royal Albert Hall on March 29, will warm-up with three nights at the London Forum (March 22-25).
Nick no longer a Queen: Queens of the Stone Age bassist Nick Oliveri has left the band.
Marriage split costs Fairport star his guitars: Dave Pegg, the bass guitarist with Fairport Convention and Jethro Tull is having to sell his collection of vintage instruments because of the collapse of his marriage. (See also:
Japanese steel guitar pioneer Kobayashi dies
Two New Guitar Speakers from Celestion: Celestion has a pair of new 10" models for guitarists, offering a choice of vintage-style tone with a ceramic magnet or traditional Alnico speaker sounds.

Wednesday 11 February 2004

Sheryl CrowHappy Birthday to Sheryl Crow who is 42 (would you believe it?) today.
Taj Mahal is touring to 'reconnect with the guitar'
Deicide Guitar Giveaway: in a move inspired by Charlie and the Chocolate Factory perhaps, if you find the metal plectrum in the packaging of their new album you can win yourself a B C Rich Beast (the ridiculously pointy one).

Monday 9 February 2004

Guitarist review Ovation's surfing inspired acoustic, the Ovation Tangent MOB57.
Era of Digital Guitars: Gibson prepares to unleash new licks. Yet another take on the current hottest story in the Guitar world.
Learning Guitar for Cheapskates OR Grammys Here We Come!
Gibson's latest Pete Townshend guitar: Gibson Guitar Corp has partnered with Pete Townshend to re-create the J-200 he used to compose classic material for the Who.
New Montreal Model Guitar from Godin: Named after the host of the annual Summer Jazz festival, Godin's latest model uses a two-chamber mahogany body and offers both electric and acoustic sounds.

Wednesday 4 February 2004

Guitars 4 Kids: raising money for the St Jude's Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, TN. Check out the auctions!
Purple Haze records sues Jimi Hendrix firm: More legal squabbles over the legacy that Hendrix left behind.
Police may quiz Noel Gallagher: The Oasis guitarist is pictured in The Sun newspaper walking along a railway line. Is he trying to get back to his roots? Does this mean he might reinvent himself as Boxcar Noel?
Lennon guitar goes on show
Mexico works for Martin Guitar: C.F. Martin and Co. will move production of its lower-priced DXM line of guitars to Mexico.

Tuesday 3 February 2004

My Guitars

The guitar collection has changed quite a bit since November 2002 so I decided it was time for an update.

At the moment the collection is as follows:

Gibson Flying V "faded"
Gibson Flying V
This, of course, is my latest purchase. I bought it because it was my 40th birthday and Hell, I reckoned I deserved a classic American guitar. This is from the "faded" series of Gibson guitars and has a worn cherry finish, that I believe is supposed to look like an antiqued instrument. Although the faded series is part of Gibson's cheaper range of guitars, there are very few compromises on the build quality of this instrument. The only thing I can see is the natural finish. The sound of this guitar is quite simply amazing - it has that classic Gibson tone and it sustains beautifully. It blows away all other guitars I have ever played. It is a slightly odd shape, admittedly. Someone told me when I bought it that it would be a guitar for playing either standing up with a strap, or lying down. However, I find that you can sit and play it quite nicely, if you adopt an almost classical guitar-playing postion and place the lower pointy bit between your legs. I hope to be recording with this beast soon - gotta capture that sound!

Fernandes Revolver Pro
Fernandes Revolver Pro
This guitar, which I bought in 2002, is the reason that I stopped playing Fenders (I'd played a Strat and a Tele up unti then). It features a 24-fret neck, Floyd Rose licensed tremolo, EMG pickup in the bridge position and a Fernandes Sustainer in the neck position. I always used to be a huge fan of the EBow but this guitar and its brilliant Sustainer system makes the EBow virtually redundant. The main difference is that when using the EBow, you want a clean sound on your amp and let the EBow do the over-driving, but with the Sustainer it works much better with an overdriven sound. You can also sustain and slide whole chords, or just use the Sustainer to beef up your sound, and used in conjunction with the Floyd Rose things can go Over The Top very easily. Another bonus factor is that the guitar never seems to go out of tune. I just love it, although I'll admit that it isn't the prettiest guitar in the world. It is actually finished in a dark metallic green (which doesn't photograph too easily) which has earnt this guitar the nickname of Emerald.

Danelectro 56'U2
Danelectro 56'U2
This is one of the Danelectro reissues from a few years back, before they pulled the plug on the guitar making line altogether, and these are becoming more and more sought after. Actually, this is an oddity because the neck and body come from different instruments which I assume were smashed. I bought the parts up in separate ebay auctions and married them together. It looks slightly strange that the body is aqua green and the neck is copper, but I like it that way as it makes the instrument a bit more individual. The sound peculiar to this guitar is the result of the lipstick tube pickups combined with the body resonance courtesy of the unusual construction materials (plywood body frame with hardboard top and back making this a hollow body guitar). It is a really nice instrument to practice with unplugged as it still has quite a lot of volume.

Danelectro Convertible
Danelectro Convertible
This is my second Dano, which I bought because I loved the U2 so much. It is a rather bizarre semi-acoustic guitar and has a tonality that puts you in mind of a resonator guitar. Played acoustically it is actually quite a loud instrument - easily as loud as the Aria Elecord electro-acoustic I recently sold, and that had a much bigger body.

Traveler Pro-Series
Traveler Pro-Series
This is a fantastic little guitar, and as the name implies is great for carrying with you when you travel. The leg-rest that carries the controls is detachable and the whole thing packs up nicely into a little gig bag that is easily slung over your shoulder. For practice purposes you can plug in a stethoscope-style headset which picks up sound vibrations from a membrane positioned beneath the bridge - no wires and no electrics required. The guitar has two pickups - a magnetic Strat type pickup and a piezo acoustic pickup set under the bridge. The two volume controls allow you to mix the two signals, and the stereo output allows the signals to be sent out to separate channels. The guitar is strung as an acoustic and is capable of a very realistic natural acoustic sound when you want it. A verstatile instrument that is great for practice, but capable of so much more!

Traveler Pro-Series
This is the same lovely little classical guitar that I have featured on the banner at the top of this page. Again, it was an eBay purchase, and was a bargain at only £27. This is the guitar I keep in the living room and grab when I'm trying to work out songs, or just for practice without having the mess of leads, effects, amps, headphones, etc. It is a gorgeous little guitar - much better than the pile of junk that I had to take to guitar lessons at school when I was 12. It should have retailed for a whole load more, but it was apparently part of an over-stock for a German music fair. The chappie selling this one was also selling a whole load of others just like it, so it sounds like he had a job lot on his hands to get rid of. Sorry, but I know very little else about this guitar.

Bozo the Clown, short-scale bass
Short-scale bass
This was an eBay purchase from 2002. I was looking for a bass guitar that I could use as a "fuzz bass"; something that I could essentially use as a guitar, play overdriven powerchords on it, etc. This bass fits the bill perfectly, and - despite its short scale - sounds quite good as a regular bass too. This may be in part due to the retro-fitted jazz bass pickup. I have to admit that I quite like the sound of the neck pickup - deep and boomy - would be great for those dub-reggae-style basslines. The bizarre "artwork" on this guitar was not my doing. I bought it like that. Basically, someone has painted it green at the top and blue at the bottom, and has then covered the body with cut-out vinyl shapes. The stuck-on red stripe dividing the blue and green halves actually goes along the back of the neck. You'd think that it would be annoying when playing, but surprisingly it isn't. The paintwork is quite crazed in parts so I'd say that the guitar was refinished in this manner many years ago. The angular scratchplate, pickup surround and truss rod cover have all been cut by hand and presumably added by the same person who "customised" this beastie. I have no idea what make this bass is. The person I bought it from thought it might be an Ibanez, but after having done a little research, I can find nothing that looks like it might have been this.

Fender Jazz Bass, fretless
fretless Fender Jazz Bass
This is absolurely gorgeous. It was another eBay purchase for just £250 and arrived in virtually new condition. It is a Mexican-made Jazz Bass with a lined fretless fingerboard. I love fretless basses. I used to have a fretless Westone back in the 1980s, but I sold it many years ago and have long since regretted doing so. I had been on the lookout for another for a few years, and when I saw this at such a low price I knew I had to have it. By the way, the sticker beneath the bridge is of Maggie Simpson, and was put there - I presume - by the bass's previous owner. I left it there because - hell - I like The Simpsons too!

Teisco MJ2
Teisco MJ2
For a guitar that is approx 40 years old, this is in quite good condition! When I bought this the volume and control knobs were continually falling off and one was missing altogether. I replaced these with a suitably vintage-looking set of knobs that complement the design of the instrument perfectly. The two hefty metal pickups are operated by two bizarre-looking rocker switches which are somewhat idiosyncratic in operation, in that they don't actually click into position. These switches are labelled "MIC 1 ON" and "MIC 2 ON" in true Teisco style! The scratchplate that the controls sit on is of the familiar striped aluminium type that is almost a Teisco trademark in itself. The bridge is solid and non-adjustable (and also slightly pitted in places) and the tailpiece is covered by a very odd huge chunk of metal. Other idiosyncracies are that the machine head tuner for the G string has been bent at some point, whilst the one for the B string has been replaced. The final (22nd) fret is missing for some unknown reason, as is the strap button on the lower part of the body. I never replaced this as I use the guitar for slide and play it lap-style. When I first got this guitar, and having re-strung it, my immediate reaction was to raise the action of the strings (using a nut extension from a guy called Chicken Bone John who often sells such items here on eBay); then I tuned the guitar to a chord of D and used it for slide playing with a bottleneck. This guitar sounds absolutely fabulous played in this way. The pickups are loud and have that great bluesy tone required for such playing. At some point in its life, someone has tried to "glam" up this guitar by covering it liberally with gold glitter. I have managed to scrape most of this off, but traces still remain. This could be removed totally with some concentrated effort, but I never found the time.

Wot? Only three-strings? Well, this is my "Presidents of the USA" style "guitbass". It is a three-stringed guitar that I built myself from spare parts, and is tuned C sharp, G sharp and C sharp (an octave higher than the low C sharp). The guitar sports a single Epiphone humbucker and a solitary volume control - I thought I'd keep it nice 'n' simple. 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 across all three strings at any fret, and you get root note, one fifth above and one octave above. It's actually something of a riff-monster and so I have to wonder: 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?

Tele-style "Bitsocaster"
The body is an old Telecaster type that I'd bought off eBay. It had been in storage for Who knows how many years, and despite having one or two minor knocks, had not ever been used. It required some extra routing of the pickup cavities as they weren't quite deep enough for the pickups I wanted to install, and we had to drill holes for the strings thru body and for the jack socket on the lower bout. Because of the way in which the original body routing had been carried out, I was unable to use a standard design Telecaster scratchplate on this, because a channel from the bridge pickup to the control cavity would not have been covered up. I traced the outline of the shape I wanted from a real Tele scratchplate, then extended the design (using a dinner plate to continue to top curve!). We used some attractive tortoiseshell scratchplate material bought from and cut this to the desired shape using a fretsaw. The pickups are a chromed Gibson style P90 at the neck position and a Seymour Duncan Stratocaster-style pickup in the bridge position, so this guitar is certainly not wimpy in the sounds department. The P90 allows for some nice jazzy tones, and overdriven it can get quite bluesy. The neck came from a Encore "Guitarist" model instrument which was offered for sale in the pages of Guitarist magazine in the 1980s. I did consider removing the logo, but decided that I quite liked the novelty of keeping the old Guitarist magazine logo on the headstock. This original Encore guitar was quite a cheapy - I bought it in a very sorry state for £21. Right from the beginning the only part I intended re-using was the neck as it was a well-made neck and in very nice condition, with a very pleasing satin feel to the back of the neck. It just so happened that this neck fitted the Telecaster style body perfectly, so I decided to marry them up.

And that's the major part of the collection. I do have other guitars in various states of playability and condition, but these are what I consider "Projects" rather than "Players" so I won't feature them here.

Sunday 1 February 2004

Jim Marshall - The Father of Loud: a new book detailing the story of the man behind the world's most famous guitar amplifiers.


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