Friday 28 November 2008

Double Bass!

Double Jazz Bass
Wow! This look a bit of a backbreaker! Hembry Custom Double Neck Jazz Bass.

Some eBay sellers SERIOUSLY need to do a little homework!

A supposedly unique guitar... yeah, right...
The seller of this guitar describes it as having a "Very unique shape".

I doubt very much that it is "custom made" either.

Oh, also it supposedly has a "Floyd Ross" bridge too.

Wednesday 26 November 2008

A Visually Loud Stratocaster

Hand-painted StratQuick, grab your sunglasses!

This handpainted Strat-type guitar looks like it may have been influenced by Fender's paisley guitars. Check the other photos in the item listing on eBay.

Is it cool? Is it hideous? I don't know ... I've not decided yet. I just can't get over how LOUD the finish is!

Tuesday 25 November 2008

Montecristo Golf Set Cigar Box Guitar

Montecristo Golf Set Cigar Box GuitarThis oddly-shaped but attractive hollow-bodied electric is actually a
Montecristo Golf Set Cigar Box Guitar - a cigar box guitar with a difference.

Cigar box guitars are usually very basic instruments, but this appears to be a deluxe version! The box itself is from a Montecristo Golf Set and would orignally have contained golf balls and tees alongside the cigars.

The original lid of the cigar box now forms the back of the guitar. It is still hinged and it would seem that you can use this feature as a built-in guitar stand.

Monday 24 November 2008

Zoybar Open Source Guitar

Find more videos like this on Zoybar

Inspired by the open source movement within the world of computing, Zoybar is a modular hardware platform for creating custom electric string instruments and effects (such as the Kaoss Pad).

In essence this would appear to be a modular guitar system. In the words of Zoybar founder and designer Ziv Bar Ilan, "The Zoybar components provide research and development tools as a sustainable, playable prototype platform. The same modular parts can be assembled as different instruments, can be changed during the performance and also be mounted with numerous special effects, just by adding and changing their position across the profile groves."

For more, see, check out the videos, and learn how you could win one of three limited edtion kits.

Friday 21 November 2008

Acoustic Corporation Black Widow Guitars

Jimi Hendrix plays the Acoustic Black Widow
This is a follow-up to Tuesday's post about a certain Hollowbody Fretless bass. What I hadn't realised from the original eBay listing was that where it said "Acoustic" was that was a brand name and not a description! (I thought it was a reference to the bass being a hollowbody!). The Acoustic in question was Acoustic Control Corporation who - while they were better known for their solid state amplifier range - produced a range of guitars known as the Black Widow. These were originally designed and built by Paul Barth and his Bartell company in the USA, but production moved several times, to the Matsumoko factory in Japan, back to Mosrite in the USA and then finally to the Hohner company. So, now the eBay listing makes sense!

For the full story and lots more pictures, see the Acoustic Black Widow Fan Page. Pictured above is probably the most famous guitarist to have played an Acoustic Black Widow, supposedly in the studio only. Does anyone have any idea on which recordings Jimi Hendrix may have played this guitar?

Disclaimer: I'm not sure where this photo originally came from and cannot make out the small print in the bottom right hand corner. Apologies in advance if I am using your picture without permission.

Thursday 20 November 2008

The Damned's Captain Sensible and his ESP LTD Viper 1000 Deluxe

Captain Sensible of The Damned, yesterdayA lot of guitarists (online at least) seem to be into heavy rock and those widdly widdly players that no-one except for other guitarists seems to be into. I have to confess that most this kind of music just leaves me cold. As I grew up in the late 1960s and 1970s my own guitar heroes include people from the punk and new wave era. One of my very favourites is Captain Sensible of classic punk band The Damned.

The Damned were reportedly the first punk band to release a single ("New Rose" in 1976), the first to record an album (1977's "Damned Damned Damned") and the first to tour America. All of this, I suppose, depends on your definition of "punk" but we're talking about the late 70s phenomenon primarily in the UK, the most famous protagonists of which were The Sex Pistols.

In their original line-up Captain Sensible started out as The Damned's bass player but when they reformed in 1979 (first punk band to split, first to reform...) he took over on lead guitar duties and occasional keyboards.

Over the years they have had numerous line-up changes but the funny thing is that whoever is playing somehow the songs always sound quintessentially "Damned". I think they've had something like six drummers, eight bassists, six guitarists but only the one vocalist in Dave Vanian (although he has been known to go AWOL over the years).

Their current line-up has been in place for about five years and they are one of the best bands on the live circuit today. Last night at London's Carling Islington Academy I attended their album launch gig, celebrating the release of their latest album "So Who's Paranoid?" where they played a two-hour set of old and new songs all of which sounded fantastic.

Captain has been playing ESP LTD Viper guitars for the last eight years or so, but I thought his new white ESP LTD Viper 1000 Deluxe equipped with Seymour Duncan Custom-5 pickups and gold hardware sounded great and looked great under the stage lights. The design is obviously derived from Gibson's SG although the body has been skewed into an offset shape like Fender's Jaguar and Jazzmaster guitars.

Sensible is a very much under-rated guitar player. I think people don't take him seriously because The Damned are known as a punk band (although they are much more sophisticated than that) and because back in the 1980s Captain also had a solo career as a pop star and even made No.1 in the UK with "Happy Talk", a cover version of the song from the soundtrack of Rodgers and Hammerstein's "South Pacific". What a lot of people don't realise is that this guy is a very talented musician. I remember being blown away by his playing on 1979's "Machine Gun Etiquette" album (give "Plan 9 Channel 7" a spin), and if you're not impressed by his solo on "Under The Floor Again" (on 1982's "Strawberries") then you must have been lobotomised.

Wednesday 19 November 2008

Blackbird Rider Nylon Carbon Fibre Guitar

Blackbird Rider nylon
Those who read my report of the London Guitar Show 2008 may remember my enthusiasm for an all-graphite acoustic guitar from the Rainsong brand.

Another company building carbon fibre guitars are Blackbird Guitars who launched the Rider Steel String guitar last year. Sporting a radical design, its small size, resistance to humidty and almost indestructability make it a perfect although not inexpensive choice as a travel guitar. It should be pretty lightweight too.

Now blackbird have announced its nylon-strung counterpart, the Blackbird Rider Nylon. It's a similar design although the body appears somewhat fatter and squatter that the Rider Steel. Just like the steel string, the Rider Nylon has a hollow neck and an additional soundhole in the headstock. I've not heard this in action but in theory it sounds like a brilliant idea. Having played that other carbon fibre guitar I can imagine that the Blackbird would be extremely resonant.

It's a lovely piece of design, but I think it's out of my price range.

Tuesday 18 November 2008

Hollowbody Fretless Bass

Hollowbody Fretless Bass
Here's quite an attactive looking hollowbody fretless bass on eBay. It's looks like it's seen some use and has a fair few knocks and dings but I think these add to its charm.

The seller doesn't know what brand the bass is and thinks it might be a Mosrite or Hohner from the 1960s. Well, fretless basses were virtually unheard of before Jaco Pastorius popularised them in the 1970s, so I think he's got the wrong decade there, and I also believe that this bass is a USA-made Bartell (a company allegedly set-up by ex-Rickenbacker employee Paul Barth) as I have found a very similar bass also for sale on eBay (pictured below).
Bartell Hollowbody Fretless Bass

Monday 17 November 2008

Magnatone Lap Steel Guitar

Magnatone lap steel although I wouldn't want that enormous thing on MY lapI think that on a casual glance you could be forgiven for not realising that this
Magnatone Lap Steel is even a guitar. It's one of the most un-guitar-like guitars I have ever seen.

Actually, I'd even question it being a lap steel. Even without having a headstock, it still appears to be quite a substantial piece of gear. Possibly it's supposed to have legs attached, as it looks too hefty to play on the lap.

Sunday 16 November 2008

Quick Quiz Answer: It's a BANJO!!!

Conard 6-string banjo with Fender-style headOh yes indeed! That Fender-esque 6-in-a-line headstock belongs to a six-string banjo. Who would have thought it?

To be precise, it's a Conard six-string banjo otherwise known as a guitar banjo as it's a banjo in guitar format - six strings, guitar tuning. It's an ususual headstock for a banjo, and looks like it would be more at home on the end of a solid bodied electric guitar. I'd bet that not many of you would even have guessed this headstock was on an acoustic instrument let alone a banjo!

This looks like rather a nice neck actually. I have a six-string banjo and the neck is awful - the strings are parallel along its entire length which doesn't help playing higher up the neck.

Saturday 15 November 2008

Soviet Russia's finest! Tonika Guitar and Sovtek Amp

Tonika guitar and Sovtek amp - Russia's finest!Back in January of this year I featured a Soviet-era Russian-made Tonika bass, so how could I pass up this opportunity to feature its 6-string counterpart, the Tonika guitar?

These are weird-shaped beasties, for sure. You have to wonder about the thought processes that gave birth to this bizarre design.

Lovers of vintage tube amps might like to know that the same seller is also selling the Sovtek MIG-50 amp featured in the photo.

Thursday 13 November 2008

Quick Quiz: What is this?

Here's the headstock, but of what?...I know how you guys love these quizzes, so here's another.

Please identify this instrument from the headstock pictured here.

Answers in the comments please.

Wednesday 12 November 2008

FIVE pickups on a Strat?

Five pickups on a Strat?This is one of those "WHY?" guitars.

This Strat-a-like guitar has been fitted with two additional pickups, and wired up so that the 5-position switch can select only one of each of the five pickups at a time. I can't imagine this would be very useful at all. On/off switches for each pickup would surely have been a better idea allowing you to choose pickups in each and every combination you could desire. As it is, it's very silly.

Note also that the seller also has committed the cardinal sin of putting a Fender decal onto the headstock of this non-Fender guitar. It's about time people stopped this illegal and dishonest practice. I don't care if he points out in the listing that it's not actually a real Fender guitar. If it's not a real Fender then the Fender logo does not belong on it. End of story.

I'm still looking for that picture of a Strat with nine pickups.

Tuesday 11 November 2008

Eko 400 Resoglas Guitar

Eko 400 Resoglas Guitar
I thought it was about time we featured some more guitar cheese, so here for your viewing pleasure is an Eko 400 Blue Sparkle Resoglas guitar, a model also known as the Eko Master.

There's a strong resemblance to certain pearloid and glitter-encrusted guitars from Sweden's Hagstrom and Goya brands, but the Eko brand of course is Italian.

For those not familiar with the story, it was the 1960s and The Beatles amongst other guitar-based groups had created an unprecedented demand for the electric guitar. The laws of supply and demand dicatated that several factories which had for many years been manufacturing accordians switched production to guitars and hence some interesting pearloid and glitter finishes and accordian-like pushbuttons started appearing on guitars.

Quick Quiz: What the hell is THIS? The ANSWER!

What the...?As some of you rightly said, this strange item, namely Kustom Electronics "The Bag", is an early predecessor to the Talk Box as used by Jeff Beck and Peter Frampton.

I think the idea was that you'd sling it over your shoulder as you played guitar, and with the tube in your mouth it must have felt like you were playing a bizarre cross between the guitar and bagpipes.

I wonder why they chose to make it look so hideous?

Monday 10 November 2008

Anyone fancy a nice cup of tea and a biccy?

Anyone fancy a nice cup of tea and a biccy?
Never mind guitars that feature artwork that would look more at home on your granny's biscuit tin (see here and here), this guitar appears to be made from the actual biscuit tin itself.

Sunday 9 November 2008

Burns Mirage

Burns MirageGibson aren't the only guitar manufacturer who can take one of their own guitar designs and flip the body shape around, either vertically or horizontally, and come up with a new design (witness the Flying V, Explorer, Firebird and their reverse counterparts).

Here we have a very rare Burns Mirage which is based on their own Flyte guitar only with the body shape flipped around vertically so that the neck appears to be coming out of the wrong end. I always thought the Burns Flyte was quite a cool guitar but this upside-down variation, the Mirage, just looks peculiar.

Burns collectors will probably love it.

Friday 7 November 2008

Weird Stand-Up Bass

Weird Stand-Up BassThis handmade stand-up bass was, according to the seller, the creation of someone who didn't understand how to play, and from what he says it sounds like he's carried out some alterations so as to make it playable.

It's a weird one and I'd say that technically its a bass guitar rather than a double bass because of its scale-length and its flat fretted fingerboard (even though it only has the eight frets). It's quite a nice looker, but I'm not sure it'd be too easy to play.

Wednesday 5 November 2008

Levi Strauss Stratocaster

Levi Strauss StratocasterSomeone has rather bizarrely taken a Mexican-made Fender Stratocaster and covered it in denim from a pair of jeans. And it looks bloody awful.

Vox Standard 25

Vox Standard 25
I just saw this Japanese Vox Standard 25 guitar from the early 1980s on eBay and just had to blog about it as an identical guitar was the first ever electric guitar that I owned. You could say it was the first of many! (One day I'll make a list of all the guitars I have ever owned).

The design was obviously inspired by the Fender Stratocaster but it's not a straight copy. The smaller more-rounded body-shape was very attractive to my eyes. As I remember it was a very heavy guitar, but then the body and neck were made from solid maple. The pickups were DiMarzios so it was pretty pokey in that department. I used it on lots of early recordings and demos and it never let me down.

The seller of this example on eBay says that it "looks like a strat but is much heavier, more robust, and many people who've owned or played both, myself incuded, believe that the Vox is a superior guitar in almost every respect."

I'm sorry, but I have to take issue with this claim. In 1988 I fell in love with and bought a paisley pink Fender Stratocaster. The Vox guitar was a good quality guitar, but - in a side by side comparison with the Strat - the Fender was streets ahead of it in sound, feel and playability. Friends commented on how much better a guitar my new Strat was, and I believe that my own playing vastly improved as a direct consequence. I have to wonder what kind of Stratocaster the seller of the above Vox is comparing it to? If it's a basic Squier or - dare I say it - a Mexican-made Strat, I wouldn't be surprised if the Vox came off better, but compare it to a quality Fender (my paisley was one of the very early Japanese Fenders) and I bet there'd be no contest.

Owning the Strat, and later a Telecaster too, made my own Vox Standard 25 somewhat redundant. I kept it in Nashville tuning for a while (i.e. strung with the octave strings from a 12-string set) but about 12 or so years ago I decided it really was surplus to requirements and sold it to a friend and then used the money to buy a bicycle. Looking at the above pictures I'm feeling a bit nostalgic about this guitar. It was a good guitar, but the replacements were better. I made the right decision.

I'll try to find some photographs of me with my Vox guitar sometime.

Tuesday 4 November 2008

Quick Quiz: What the hell is THIS?

What the...?This peculiar THING was listed on eBay recently (I'm not letting you have the link just yet), but what on earth is it?

Is it a psychedelic vacuum cleaner, perhaps?

Or a 1960s-era Doctor Who monster?

I'll give you a clue: it IS guitar related.

Answers in the comments please.

Monday 3 November 2008

'ere, Mister, can we 'ave our ball back?

'ere, Mister, can we 'ave our ball back?The seller of this football-shaped guitar with built-in amp thinks for some unfathomable reason that it might be a Pignose, but I very much doubt it. There are factories in China and Korea churning out novelty guitars like these, some of which I've featured in these pages.

Notice how it appears to be a deflated football, as if it had landed on top of some spiked railings.

Saturday 1 November 2008

Vline Sword Guitar

Vline Sword Guitar
I'll leave it to the seller to tell you about this guitar because I've had a long day and I'm tired and wet:
This is a VLINE 'SWORD' made by Vincent Berton, a French avant garde luthier in the early 1980s. Bound for recognition, he was the protégé of James Trussart of James Trussart Guitars, who recognized his art was beyond anything that had ever been done. He was completely brilliant, maybe too much for sanity, as he would spend months building one-of-a-kind creations and BUILD EVERY SINGLE DETAIL BY HAND, even into the tiniest of details. He would build the knobs, the saddles, the control plates all from solid blocks of BRASS! He also built his own revolutionary pickups hiding the secret of his custom design by integrating them inside the body. He also built his own cases, but even down to the smallest of details like the hinges and the handle, also built by hand from solid brass! Insanity caught up with this TRUE GENIUS, and unfortunately Vincent Berton, after he built a reported 2 dozen instruments, all unique, commited suicide in the mid 1980s, cutting short the recognition that was never to be during his lifetime. Now his creations are scarce and very sought after, as his skills and total mastery of the art of luthiery survive in the less than a dozen surviving instruments worldwide, this one being the rarest of all.
(Apologies for the poor use of the English language. I edited some of the more excruciating punctuation and spelling mistakes.)


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