Monday 31 December 2007

My Top Gigs of 2007

  1. Devo - Shepherd's Bush Empire, London (26 June)
  2. Siouxsie - The Roundhouse, Camden (5 November)
  3. Julian Cope - Concert Hall, Reading (11 May)
  4. Seasick Steve - Borderline, London (24 March)
  5. Super Furry Animals - Oxford Academy (26 October)

Friday 21 December 2007

Absolutely unique - the Dog Bass!

Dog's bass 3
I'll let my friend, "Dog", explain:
"...the bass I've had for over 27 years. One night I got drunk and pulled all the frets off, then drunk again a couple of weeks later I tried to stick them back on again. A while after that I got drunk yet again, and decided to whittle a new neck out of a piece of 3" x 2" timber I had in my shed. That said, it played, and I have used it on many of my recordings."
Dog's bass 1
Dog's bass 2
[More, including soundsamples, on Dog's webpages]

Let this be a lesson to you, folks. Don't drink and perform previously un-planned luthiery this Christmas!

Wednesday 19 December 2007

Ever Fallen In Love With A Guitar You Shouldn't Have?

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketEastwood Guitars - those kings of the retro-reissue guitar - proudly present the limited edition Pete Shelley Starway signature guitar, based on a guitar with a partially broken body that Pete played in the early days of classic punk band The Buzzcocks. Judging by the headstock shape and those distinctive fingerboard inlays, my guess would be that the original was a Teisco - probably the E-100 model (look it up on the Teisco Twangers website).
KT Tunstall Gets Guitar Lesson From Ronnie Wood

Tuesday 18 December 2007

The Return of the Reverse Flying V

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Apparently - and rather surprisingly, I thought - Gibson have had so many requests to make this former limited edition guitar of the week more widely available that they've produced an additional 900 instruments in their custom shop - 300 each in natural, ebony and white finishes. See the Gibson Reverse Flying V micro-site for more details.
Comments will now be moderated. Sorry about that, folks, but there's always one brain-dead simpleton who has to spoil it for everyone else, in this case a retard calling himself Ed, who - no surprise - was too chicken to leave his email address.
Steve Miller to auction off guitars to raise money for firefighters

Saturday 15 December 2007

Look what I've just got my paws on...

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Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketIt's an original 1988/89 Made in Japan Blue Flower Fender Strat, not one of the inferior recent reissues (nasty scratchplate and small headstock on those), and what's more - it's absolutely pristine! There's not a scratch on her. One lady owner, low mileage, etc.

Long-term blog readers will know that I used to have a pair of Paisley Pink Fenders from this same period - a Telecaster and a Stratocaster (pictured here on the right) - and I had to sell them as I needed the money quite urgently at the time. I've always regretted that sale, but this Blue Flower baby makes up for some of that. Wow! What a find!

Tuesday 11 December 2007

OK, Band Meeting...

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketSadly, tonight in the UK on BBC4 we'll be seeing the final episode in the first series of Flight Of The Conchords - one of the funniest and most inventive comedy shows to be seen in recent years. The premise is simple: Bret and Jemaine are two naïve musicians from New Zealand trying to make it in the music business in New York, aided and abetted by Murray their usually inept manager who has a day job in the New Zealand Consulate. If truth be told, not a lot actually happens of any momentum to our two heroes throughout the series. The joy of this programme is in the ridiculous dialogue, the hopeless tangles they get themselves into, and the fantastic and often quite surreal songs that are woven into the scripts usually in the form of some dream sequence.

I believe that they also have something to do with the recent resurgence in popularity of Casio's DG-20 digital guitar from the 1980s, if recent prices seen on eBay are anything of an indication. (I played one at the London Music Show back in the early 1980s when the instrument was first launched and it was a horrible thing. Basically it had the guts of a cheap home keyboard type instrument and with sensors under the fret positions on a rubber fretboard and with nasty black plastic non-tuned "strings".)
Led Zeppelin: The guitars are as much a part of their image as Robert Plant's blond cascade: Jimmy Page's guitars are as much a part of the Zep image as Robert Plant's blond cascade. Article from The Independent.

Saturday 8 December 2007

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketThis guitar really takes the biscuit! It looks as if someone wanted to emulate the now legendary Dobbincaster and create an animal-themed guitar. Check out those fingerboard inlays - they are bone shaped. Wacky, eh?

I reckon they could have been a bit more inventive. For instance, how about having the dog's head emerging from a kennel? As it is, the fade to a turquoise Randy Rhodes style shape just doesn't work for me.

And why not give the dog a collar and attach the strap to that as if it were a leash? That would have been quite funny.

Anyhow, this beastie is equipped with what appears to be a backwards mounted EMG-81 pickup, so not only does it look like a complete dog's breakfast, it probably sounds like one too. (For those who can't be bothered to read between the lines, I am not a fan of EMG pickups. But that's another story.)

"Great sound for heavy metal", it says. Now, had Anthrax changed their name to Basketful of Puppies as was once suggested during the anthrax scares of a few years ago, then this would have been the guitar for them.

Wednesday 5 December 2007

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One of these days I'm going to start up a spoof gothic band and get in a bunch of hideous guitars a bit like this.

Any ideas what this is supposed to be?

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketThis guitar found for sale on eBay (where else?) looks like it could be a cousin of the squashed frog.

Wednesday 28 November 2007

Friday 23 November 2007

Musique Concrete

I've just been browsing the Warmoth Direct Guitar Gallery and had to share this with you.

I'll let its creator, Parker Sloan of Kentucky USA, explain it to you:

"Hey dudes! Here it is, the world's first ever electric guitar made out of concrete. It not only looks good, it sounds fantastic. It only weighs 7.5 lbs and is way more resonant than you'd expect. Its got a sound all its own for sure."

Full marks for innovation. Someone has to make these experiments, after all!

Thursday 22 November 2007

Queen guitarist Brian May named university chancellor: "In this age of celebrity culture, it is rare to find someone who has fame, fortune and universal acclaim and yet who remains true to his core values of learning and enlightenment," says Michael Brown, vice chancellor of Liverpool John Moores University.

Wednesday 21 November 2007

On your bike...

The Swansonator5000 bike guitar started life like this:
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...but ended up like this:
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Now that's recycling for you! [via Guitar Noize]

Friday 16 November 2007

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And here's another one...

...because I know how you love these pictures of crap guitars found on eBay. [Link]
The 5-minute Interview: Steve Diggle, singer, songwriter and guitarist from The Buzzcocks, of course. They have a new live album out next week.
Island gives inspiration for guitars: The story of how a barrister-musician-songwriter-producer-entrepreneur set about creating his own high quality guitar brand - Vashon Guitars - named after the island where he lives.
Did John Lennon Own The Mystery Guitar? "Lennon stayed at the hotel with friends and, when he came to pay the bill, he apparently didn't have the cash on him so left the guitar behind while he went into Plymouth to get some. The story goes that he never came back..."

Thursday 15 November 2007

Epiphone announce EpiActive pickups: the design makes these looks awfully like the dreaded EMG pickups. Let's hope they sound better. (Sits back and waits for the backlash).

Monday 12 November 2007

I wouldn't have thought it was possible to take a BC Rich design as inspiration and make it look any worse! Mercy!

Imagine trying to find a case to fit that monstrosity. I really can't imagine anyone having the patience to put up with such a stupid and unwieldy design. (eBay link).

Thursday 8 November 2007

What the ... ?

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I saw this guitar on eBay recently but unfortunately have lost the link so I don't have any information about it. Does anyone have the slightest inkling of an idea what it is actually supposed to be?

Wednesday 7 November 2007

Reverend Guitars Announces Roundhouse HB-FM Electric Guitar: I wonder what Gibson will make of this? After all they didn't take too kindly to PRS's Single Cut guitar, claiming it infringed the design copyright of the Les Paul.
The History Of The SG: Sharp Points And Radical Departures: A potted history of Gibson's classic guitar from the folks at Epiphone. I notice they skip over details such as why it was renamed from Les Paul to SG (i.e. the man himself didn't like it).

Tuesday 6 November 2007

Stig Pedersen and his 2-string basses

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Here's Stig Pedersen from Denmark's D-A-D (formerly known as Disneyland After Dark but don't let the Walt Disney Corporation hear you calling them that else their lawyer-dialling fingers get twitchy) wielding another one of his barking mad two-string basses. Absolute genius!

Photo: Tina Carstensen
Living legend Page 'on the mend': as you will probably have heard by now, Led Zeppelin's re-union gig has been postponed because Jimmy Page managed to break the little finger of his left hand in a freak gardening accident. At least he didn't fall out of a tree onto his head like another guitarist we all know.

Monday 29 October 2007

Grrrrrrrrrrrr... What an IDIOT!

This kind of thing just makes me really angry!
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This poor old Strat has been horribly abused. Have you ever seen such an appalling so-called "relic" job? The person who did this should be thoroughly ashamed of themself. Look at the back of the neck where it appears to simply have been set on fire. Check out the melted volume knob - as if that's really going to happen through the wear and tear of constant gigging. The fingerboard has been hacked away mercilessly - it's hardly the effect you'd get through constant playing and genuine use.

I've never been a fan of the whole "relic" phenomenom. The first time I ever saw some Fender Custom Shop relics I laughed my head off - especially when I saw the price. But at least the Fender Custom Shop guys know what they are doing, unlike the complete amateur who butchered the above Strat.

UPDATE: This piece of garbage sold for US $705.00 (approximately £339.00). I despair not only because of the complete ineptitude on display by the guy who carried out the "relic" job on this instrument, but also because it seems that there are people out there who are actually impressed by such amateur butchery.

Thursday 25 October 2007

Turned up to 100: Tom Hughes learns to read music for a mass gathering of guitarists as he takes part in a performance of Glenn Branca's Symphony No 13, subtitled Hallucination City.

Wednesday 24 October 2007

McCartney Refused to be the "Loser Bassist": Paul McCartney was unhappy with his role as bassist when he joined The Beatles because he feared he would be less famous than his bandmates. (So it says here. But surely Stuart Sutcliffe was the bassist when he first joined? Sounds like bad journalism to me.)
Now it's India's turn: Over 2,000 guitarists will gather at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Shillong, the capital of Meghalaya, for The World Record Guitar Ensemble during the autumn festival on October 26. For this attempt at the record, the song they will be playing is Bob Dylan's "Knocking On Heaven's Door". The existing Guinness Book of World Records' guitar ensemble stands at 1,721 guitarists from Kansas City, US performing the rock classic "Smoke On The Water" on June 4, 2007.

Monday 22 October 2007

Paul Raven, bassist with post-punk band Killing Joke, has died of a suspected heart attack aged 46.

In another sad loss to the world of alternative and punk music, Paul Fox, guitarist of The Ruts has also passed away.

RIP to the both of them.

Friday 12 October 2007

Yamaha Pacifica 112 Guitar Project, Part 4

I thought it was high time I blew the cobwebs off this long-forgotten guitar project from a few years ago. The damn thing just needed assembling and wiring up and in theory it should be ready to go. However, I had a small mishap when I dropped the replacement loaded scratchplate and broke off the lower horn. Fortunately, I still had the original guitar scratchplate, so I transferred the pickups, 5-way switch and volume pot to this plate. ("What about the tone pot?", I hear you cry. Well, somewhere along the way over the last couple of years it had detached itself, and I'd lost it. Then I decided that I didn't really want it anyway as I never use tone controls, so I figured I'd just leave it as it is).

As a plus point, I noticed that the original scratcplate had faded over the years to a pleasing deep cream colour. You can see the orignal colour in the area previously covered up by the now missing tone control.

So, I put all the parts together, soldered the output wires to a jack socket and attached this to the edge of the guitar using a football-shaped (American football) plate. Then I strung her up.

Uh-oh! The string tension was tipping the tremolo bridge up at an alarming angle. Quick - add more springs!

Now that was a good idea! As has often been said of Strat-style guitars, the springs in the tremolo cavity give the guitar a kind of built-in reverb. It turns out that this guitar now has a really nice tone. It has this ringing reasonance to it that is lacking in many other much more expensive guitars, and this was built up from bits and pieces that I'd bought from eBay! I've got to say that I'm really happy with this guitar and am surprised that it turned out to be so playable.

No doubt the guys over at the forum on would happily nominate this guitar as a candidate to their on-going Worst Colour/Finish/Detail on a guitar thread, but Hey! - it was an experiment, and I secretly quite like the "deckchair" stripes. They make the guitar individual and add to its personality. Perhaps if I was starting this project anew, I wouldn't go down the stripey route again; I'd probably experiment with some other unique look and it could end up looking even more disasterous!

Wednesday 10 October 2007

Now if only there were a band called The Scorpions...

Just in case you think I'm neglecting the bass players out there, here's an abominable 4-stringer for you! (Or should that be 4-stinger?)
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Oh yes! You can buy this Scorpion bass guitar with its too-close-together strings on eBay right now.

Monday 8 October 2007

The Guitarz Freak Show

Here are some more six-string horrors that I found on eBay (where else?). Firstly let me present for your amusement and disbelief the Double Dragon Guitar. Or, as I prefer to call it, the Squashed Frog.

Coming from the "What letters of the alphabet haven't we tried yet?" school of design, let me unveil the Flying K.
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And finally here's a cute one for the kiddies, the Lil' Kitty. At least, I think it's supposed to be a cat, although it's not a very good likeness. It looks like a rejected Daisy Rock design. (Apologies to Daisy Rock).
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Friday 5 October 2007

DIY Stratocaster 12-string

I'm impressed by the ingenuity that some people display when customising guitars, but let's face it, that headstock isn't really designed for all those extra machine heads, is it?
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However, if it appeals to you, it's currently for sale on eBay.

Now, this is what a Fender Stratocaster XII should look like.

Thursday 4 October 2007

Prince Is Number One Underrated Guitarist: I'm astonished. That's the trouble with these polls - no imagination.
Gibson's Self-Tuning Guitar: "As the strings are played, the Powertune processor compares their actual frequencies with the desired notes and sends instructions - tighten the string this much, loosen the string by that much - to tuning pegs equipped with strong, tiny servo motors mounted on the back of the guitar's head."
Gibson frets over guitar knockoff: the curse of the counterfeit.

Monday 1 October 2007

Guitar Tour Is Lift For Oxfam: A guitar has started an epic journey - beginning and ending in Oxford - to raise cash for aid relief. The stunt will see Jammy - a green electro-acoustic - being played by hundreds of professional and amateur musicians in order to raise money for the Oxford-based charity as part of the Oxjam music festival.
Meet Yuri Landman, Maker of Awesome Guitars for Sonic Youth, Liars, Blonde Redhead, Lightning Bolt: As a postscript to my previous post, here's an interview over at PitchforkMedia with Yuri Landman, the creator of the Moonlander and other eccentric instruments.

Thursday 20 September 2007

Yuri Landman Moonlander

Blimey! What's going on here?

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The Moonlander, built by Yuri Landman for Lee Ranaldo of Sonic Youth, is an electric guitar with an extra set of 12 sympathetic strings. While guitars with sympathetic strings are nothing new (e.g. the Coral Sitar) this is the first guitar I've seen to employ a double-deckered headstock. (Note, by the way, in the headstock photo the alternative stringing of the six strings on the neck).

And if you think that's mad, check out some of Yuri Landman's other creations, such as the Moodswinger. Take a look at these highly intriguing pages while you can before Wikipedia goes and deletes them, although there's more to be found at

Monday 17 September 2007

Outlaws' Guitarist Dies at 55: Hughie Thomasson, a founding member of the legendary Southern Rock band The Outlaws, passed away at his home in Brooksville, Florida late Sunday evening. Thomasson, 55, died of a heart attack in his sleep.
Whitesnake Guitarist Uncovers His Own Imposter: Former Whitesnake guitarist Mel Galley has personally uncovered a man who has been posing as him. Perhaps he should have asked him to demonstrate his guitar playing skills.
Led Zeppelin to Rock with Sound of Craftsman's Guitars: John Paul Jones will be playing new basses built by Hugh Manson of Exeter at the forthcoming Led Zeppelin one-off reunuion show at London's O2 centre later this year.
Guitar fans are bursting with love for the now legendary Gibson Les Paul Standard "Burst" sunburst finish. Nice article on vintage guitar collecting from Virginia's

Wednesday 12 September 2007

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketLed Zeppelin to confirm reunion: Rock group Led Zeppelin are expected to announce a one-off reunion concert at a press conference on Wednesday.

Monday 10 September 2007

The Guitarz Chamber of Horrors!

If you enjoyed yesterday's Jerrycan guitar, then you might also enjoy today's little freak show that I have put together from some of the weirder guitars currently on sale on eBay.

First up, we have a one-off guitar built by legendary British luthier John Birch for Dave Hill of Slade, and apparently used by Hill on various TV appearances (although I confess I can't remember having seen it before).
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Hurry! The auction ends in two days time. Buy it now for £25,000! (More on Slade's gear here).

Now feast your eyes upon this - a one-off Rolls Royce themed guitar, complete with flying lady hood ornament! But aren't Rolls Royces supposed to be elegant?
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Starting bid is £700. Buy it for your chauffeur.

Finally, this abomination is supposedly someone's idea of a work of art. Presenting the Charvel "Coral Reef" guitar, which would probably look a whole lot better at the bottom of the sea.
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Buy it now for £999 from this infamous German seller, well-known for their over-inflated prices on complete pieces of crap. Oh, and don't try any Pete Townshend style windmilling on this - you'll likely impale your hand on a spiky bit.


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