Friday 29 February 2008

Furry Ibanez

Cuddly Toy

Someone, possibly inspired by the now legendary ZZ Top (pronounced Zed Zed Top here in the UK), is selling this fur-covered Ibanez Roadstar on eBay. Apparently it is currently non-functioning but it wouldn't take too much work with a soldering iron to put that right depending on what parts may be missing. Just be careful not to singe the fur.

When I was at school there was a kid who had a fur-covered bicycle. I always wondered how he coped with it when it rained.
Rock Guitars Could Hold Secret To Universe (from The Bolton News): Rock guitars could hold the key to the origins of the universe, hundreds of young science pupils were told. The Institute of Physics held a lecture in Bolton entitled "Rock in 11 dimensions: where physics and guitars collide". Acoustics physicist Dr Mark Lewney told more than 600 youngsters who attended that the vibration of guitar strings may answer unsolved questions about the Big Bang.

Wednesday 27 February 2008

The Naked Lady guitar

Younger readers please look away now...

Presenting The Naked Lady guitar. Naked, that is, apart from a pair of red socks.

This is very likely one of the worst guitar designs I have ever seen. And why does she look like she's been drawn by an 8-year old?

Tuesday 26 February 2008

Grand Funk Guitar

Original 1967 Messenger and Eastwood copy
On the left: This 1967 Messenger Panther guitar, as used by Mark Farner of Grand Funk Railroad, is one rare beastie and bidding on this example on eBay is currently at $1,499.99 (approximately £762.38).

On the right: Those masters of the retro reissue, Eastwood Guitars, have just released a Messenger Tribute guitar for about half the price of the example on the left, and which as you can see is available in a very attractive greenburst.

Eastwood are to be congratulated for reinviograting and keeping these funky old guitar designs alive.

Sunday 24 February 2008

Soviet Doubleneck

Soviet doubleneck
Regular readers will know by now that I can't resist posting a picture or two of some crazy Soviet-era Russian guitar, and as a doubleneck this one is rarer than most.
Soviet doubleneck

Friday 22 February 2008

Odd just for the sake of it?

Kronodale guitarYou have to wonder what's going through the minds of some guitar designers. We all know about pointy guitars, but this Kronodale (never heard of them) is just a little bit pointy, like it's got some kind of modest pointiness going on. I'll wager that it's not too comfortable playing this guitar whilst seated either.

Big Ukulele Bash at the Barbican

This sounds like fun. The Barbican in London is having a Big Ukulele Bash on 8 March 2008, starting at 2pm. Participants will work with experienced players to learn the basics of this easy-to-play instrument and then come together for the capital's largest ukulele bash on the Barbican Freestage. The Ukulele Bash is open to all ages above 7 years, and ukuleles will be provided.

Thursday 21 February 2008

Wreck n Roll

Wreck-n-Roll Flying VW bass
Here's what's been dubbed the Flying VW Bass Guitar from Wreck-n-Roll Custom Instruments. I can't say I'm too keen on the feature of having the maker's wisdom teeth as the volume and tone knobs. That's a bit too grisly for my taste. Despite that, this bass is quite a conservative-looking model when compared to Wreck-n-Roll's upright basses with bodies built from motorcycle petrol tanks.

Tuesday 19 February 2008

The Wandre Davoli Guitar

For all you lovers of cheesy guitars, there are a couple of examples of what may be the crudest cheesiest guitar ever known - the Wandre Davoli - on eBay right now, here and here.
Wandre DavioliWandre Davioli
How much more basic can an electric guitar be? Hollow body, pickup(s) and electrics surface-mounted on a floating scratchplate, steel rod for a neck with fingerboard attached and a whacking big piece of metal bolted on for a headstock.
Wandre Davioli
Wandre Davioli
Wandre Davioli
Wandre Davioli
To learn some more about these beauties, check out this site and also Fetish Guitars which, although much of the text is in italian, has a gallery of some really freaky-looking Wandre guitars, including what must be some of the first ever upright electric basses.

Thursday 14 February 2008

You don't see many of these for sale on eBay

Robin Octave Guitar
At first glance it may appear to be a toy guitar or one of those horrible computer game controllers (which I refuse EVER to blog about), but no, it a Robin Octave Guitar made in Houston, Texas. These little babies had some degree of popularity in the 1980s and were used by the likes of Dave Stewart of The Eurythmics and Charlie Burchill of Simple Minds, often to double track guitar parts in a higher octave.

I'm reminded of this famous shot of Stevie Ray and Jimmy Vaughan playing a Robin doubleneck, the top neck that SRV is playing being the octave guitar neck.
Stevie Ray and Jimmy Vaughan
Robin Guitars

Tuesday 12 February 2008

Another Funky Russian Guitar

Funky Soviet-era Aelita guitarHere's one for all you bargain hunters. There's just a few hours to go on the ebay auction for this rather eccentric-looking Soviet-era Russian Aelita 1 electric guitar. I just love stuff like this!

Body: heavy
Neck: thick
Controls: many
Pickups: 3 single-coils
Action: high
Vibrato: Jaguar/Jazzmaster - style unit
Output jack: 6-pin DIN type (as on all Soviet guitars)

Note that it says the action is high. Personally I'd tune it to an open tuning and use it for slide. Either that or just put it on the wall for display.

Edit: Sold for £102. I did consider bidding, but the seller quoted me a shipping fee of approx £60 which I felt was a bit too steep for shipping within Europe. I've sent a Vox AC30 head to Madrid for half of that.

Monday 11 February 2008

BREAKING NEWS: Sand Lizards find Gibson Les Paul Special washed up on beach

Lizards find Les PaulLizards find Les Paul
Lizards find Les PaulLizards find Les Paul
According to this eBay listing:
Recently found by marauding sand lizards on the beach in Guitarland. Obviously lost at sea by pirates on a coastal sortie, but suffered no water damage or scuffs. If you have never played one of these you have been missing out on one of the finest experiences in Guitarland, or the entire world for that matter. Twin P90s grace this icon of a time when Craftsmanship meant more than adding Chinese servos, wheels, and gizmos on the Ken and Barbie-type flash in the pan robot guitars of today. This instrument was crafted by the finest luthiers in Kalamazoo, Michigan.....not assembled by underpaid workerbees in Nashville or Chinese slave labor factories in Communist China. The pickups, pots, switch, jack, and wiring are all original. The tuners were changed in the 60's to nickel patent pending Grovers. The guitar had the neck heel professionally repaired in the 70's, is very stable and almost not noticable under the antique white finish. Super lightweight and has playability and tone to die for. I happened to be on the beach with super model Ann Marie Roberts, and came across the lizard patrol lambasting in their new found vintage wealth, and parlayed a deal to trade them future goldtop exchange values for the prodigal guitar. Sand Lizards always fall for that pyramid scheme promise of more money later if they cough up today. The lizards agreed with a clamor of claws and gnashing teeth, and surrendered their prize. Immediately after that exchange, beautiful Ann Marie blessed the guitar, and offered prayers to Neptune-God of the sea. This magic wand is now offered to the highest bidder with NO RESERVE...
Of course, every word is true!

Unfortunately the auction itself has now finished, and the guitar sold for the tidy sum of $4,000.
Lizards find Les Paul

Friday 8 February 2008

John Martyn - "The Man Upstairs"

John MartynThis is my second post about John Martyn within the space of four days, which is something for which I make no apologies. When I was checking the links on my previous post about John Martyn I clicked through to his website and was very soon found myself placing an order for The Man Upstairs DVD which was advertised there. The DVD arrived in the post the very next day and having watched it I can report back that it is sensational. The footage is taken from a concert from 1978 filmed by German TV for the legendary Rockpalast programme. It's an up-close and personal solo performance from John and includes some fantastic versions of some of his best-loved songs. I was open-mouthed in amazement watching him work his Echoplex magic on "Outside In" and "Big Muff", but there's plenty of more traditional styled acoustic playing on songs such as "Bless The Weather" and "May You Never" (which is NOT an Eric Clapton composition, as is often mistakenly believed).

John Martyn - The Man Upstairs DVDThe show is there - warts and all - including lots of banter with the audience, Martyn re-tuning his guitar between songs (different songs being in different tunings) and breaking a string and performing the fastest string change I've ever seen just before "Solid Air". Also of note is a particularly beautiful version of "Small Hours" on which Martyn's Gibson SG makes an appearance instead of the more familiar Martin acoustic with gaffa-taped pickups.

Guitarists will especially enjoy "Seven Black Roses", a song that Martyn developed for showcase in the guitar clubs where everyone is scrutinising everyone else's guitar playing. It's a very visual piece with Martyn performing a succession of on-they-fly key changes by moving his capo up the neck.

An added bonus is the song "I'd Rather Be The Devil" (with more of that Echoplex!) from the same concert which was not included in the original TV broadcast, but thankfully the footage was discovered when the DVD was being compiled.

Anyway, it's a fantastic DVD. Buy it here.

Thursday 7 February 2008

Cliff with a Strat - it's almost obscene!Cliff Richard blasts The Beatles' guitar solos: Sir Cliff Richard has slated The Beatles' guitar solos as "horrific".

The 60s pop icon told Q Magazine: "Some of the guitar is so out of tune it's unbelievable. I couldn't believe that here they were in this hi-tech age and they couldn't go back and do it with a tuned guitar."

Sir Cliff, 67, then claimed he was the ultimate pop star, saying: "I've sold more singles than... everybody."

Yeah, Cliff, name all those you actually WROTE!

Wednesday 6 February 2008

Happy Birthday to the Flying V

Gibson Flying V Faded CherryWow! It's fifty years since Gibson Guitars launched this radical design upon the world, and it's still one of the freshest and most instantly recognisable designs in the guitar universe.

I've read that it was originally designed as a triangular guitar - like a large Russian balalaika - but the shape was thought to be too unwieldy, so a section was cut out of the base of the triangle thus forming the fins of the now legendary Flying V shape.

Granted, it's not a guitar that's really suited to playing whilst seated (although this is possible if you position the lower wing between your legs and hold the guitar in a classical guitar-playing pose), but it's certainly a great-sounding guitar that's bound to get you noticed.

For many years it was a guitar that I loathed (I thought Accept had the right idea with their Restless & Wild album cover), mainly because it was such a popular choice of axe for many a dodgy metal band. It took the likes of Marc Bolan, Jimi Hendrix, and Gruff Rhys of Super Furry Animals to convince me that it was quite a cool guitar after all.

See also: Gibson Guitar Celebrates 50 Years of the Flying V from Modern Guitars Magazine.

(Pictured left: my own faded cherry Gibson Flying V).

Tuesday 5 February 2008

John MartynJohn Martyn wins BBC folk honour: "Singer-songwriter John Martyn has been given the lifetime achievement award at this year's BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards."

I'm somewhat ashamed to say that, although I've been aware of him for a long time, I only started to seriously listen to John Martyn's music about a year ago. He has very quickly become one of my favourite guitarists. His music transcends genres - folk, jazz, blues, rock, even some reggae, and his early use of the Echoplex pre-dated just about everyone using loops and delay effects in their guitar playing. Oh, and then there's his voice which has often been compared to the sound of the baritone sax. Go on, treat yourself and dig those John Martyn albums out!

Sunday 3 February 2008

The Mysterious Case of the Mystery Case

Mystery case - openMystery case - closed
What kind of guitar lives in a case like this?

UPDATE: I've tried overlaying images of the most obvious suspects onto the case in PhotoShop, and whilst I realise that the scale and orientation of each guitar may not be quite right, it pretty conclusive that it's none of these:

It's not a case for an Explorer
It's not a case for an Explorer.

It's not a case for a Moderne
It's not a case for a Moderne.

It's not a case for this red pointy thing
It's not a case for this red pointy thing (as suggested by Misterhorsey).

Any other ideas?

Friday 1 February 2008

Play It Straight

Barker Vertical BassHere's a very interesting-looking instrument. The Barker Vertical Bass is Lee Barker's solution to wrist pain from playing regular bass guitar in two bands.

Allegedly the instrument's uniquely chambered construction and the freestanding design are responsible for incredible sustain and clarity, coupled with the fact that the instrument's natural resonance is not dampened by contact with the musician's body.

Unlike other upright electric basses modelled on the double bass, the Barker bass has a scale length of 34 inches, rather than the usual cumbersome 42 inches of the double bass, and thus making it more user-friendly to those more familiar with the bass guitar. It is also available in fretted and fretless variants unlike most upright basses which are usually fretless.


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