Thursday, 25 February 2010

Stephen O'Malley of Sunn O))) and Travis Bean aluminium-necked guitars
Here's a recent email from Gary:
I've been a religious follower of your blog the past couple years and I have a problem here that I'm sure you're used to getting millions of e-mails a day about. I've attached some pictures of a guitar played by Stephen O'Malley of Sunn O))) and many other droney, experimentaly type projects. Note the T-shaped cutout on the headstock. It also appears that it has an aluminum bolt-on neck with a large tongue that fits into the body. And are the strings through the body and into the tongue (essentially the neck itself)? I don't see myself as anything close to an expert on guitar design but couldn't that offer some massive sustain? I recently bet a friend of mine that I could find out what it was before him so any help whatsoever would be greatly appreciated. And any insights you might have into the guitars design (like me being ridiculously wrong for example) would be awesome.
Hi Gary

It's a Travis Bean - which were a forerunner to the metal-necked Kramers. You are quite correct about the construction of the guitar and yes - they are known for their massive sustain.

See the Guitarz archives for a Travis Bean "display guitar" (that looks cruelly butchered) and a little bit of info.

There's also a TB1000S on eBay right now:

Thin Lizzy's Brian Robertson can be seen playing a Travis Bean in some of the band's videos from the 1970s. I'm pretty sure that Bill Wyman played a Travis Bean bass in the Stones for a while too.

G L Wilson

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