Categories
Collectable Guitars

Collectable Guitars pt 37 – Jackson Roswell Rhoads

icontexto-webdev-social-bookmark-09tipdrop logofacebook481The Jackson Roswell Rhoads was a very rare, limited edition guitar made in 1997. It was a limited run of 123 guitars, and was a twist on the classic Jackson Randy Rhoads shape, with a UFO theme running through it.

The body, instead of being made from wood, was made of 6061-T6 aluminium, an aircraft-grade metal which was hand-carved and polished in the Jackson Custom Shop. The guitar featured a single humbucker and a fixed bridge.

It also had a set maple neck with a satin grey finish, and the tuners were unusual LSR gearless types.

The Roswell’s body shape was based on the popular Randy Rhoads shape drawn up by the late guitarist in 1980, but the famously angular, pointy shape of the regular RR model was ditched in favour of a much more curvy design, which kept the basic shape but warped the body into an asymmetrical “U” shape as opposed to the regular model’s offset V shape.

The inlays were crop circle designs, befitting the alien/jet age theme of the guitar.

The name was taken from the location of a supposed alien space craft crash in the 1947, Roswell, New Mexico.

The original Roswell Rhoads was only built for a short time, in incredibly limited numbers, but has gained a cult following.

The shape is still available, although only through Jackson’s custom shop, and if you want one you’ll have to settle for wood instead of aluminium.

The Roswell was priced at a truly huge £3,999 when it was launched 13 years ago, and original, aluminium-bodied examples fetch even more than that today; Gbase currently have one for sale at $5000.

There is, however, a more mainstream guitar which retains the same kind of shape as the Roswell and comes at a much less extravagant cost, in the form of Gary Kramer Guitars’ Kramertorium model.

This is a newer model featuring a Floyd Rose tremolo and EMG pickups, for a price of around £500.

If you can’t find a Roswell Rhoads or don’t have the money, this new guitar could be a very realistic alternative.

Categories
Books and Reference Material

A Desktop Reference of Hip Vintage Guitar Amps

This book by Gerald Weber looks like an interesting reference…

A Desktop Reference of Hip Vintage Guitar Amps (Book)

If you have questions about guitar amplifiers-how to fix them, how to restore them, or how to hot-rod them-this book has the answer.

This book is written for the guitarist or collector who desires a common sense approach to understanding the essence of vintage tube amps and vintage tube tone.

Not written for engineers, it does not contain engineering formulas, polar mathematic equations, or abbreviations that are assumed you should know.

Gerald Weber, a regular columnist for Vintage Guitar magazine, shares the knowledge he has accumulated over the years of repairing and building his line of Kendrick amps.

Categories
Collectable Guitars

Gary Moore’s 1958 Gibson Les Paul Standard For Sale

icontexto-webdev-social-bookmark-09tipdrop logofacebook481A snip at $275,000! Here’s the specifications;

This guitar is considered to be the Holy Grail to many guitar enthusiasts, collectors and musicians. Sunburst Les Pauls were and are played by the most iconic rock stars of any era.

Billy Gibbons, Jimmy Page, Joe Perry, Duane Allman, Ace Frehley, Jeff Beck, Paul Kossoff, Joe Walsh, Gary Richrath, Steve Lukather, Gary Moore, James Hetfield, Michael Bloomfield, Peter Green, Gary Rossington, Ed King, Slash, Edward Van Halen, Eric Clapton, Rick Nielsen and many many others. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to own a vintage Les Paul that has a history that is traceable back to the 1960’s AND was owned by Gary Moore.

This guitar is in spectacular condition and has made appearances in numerous magazines and books. The color is fantastic and the top has a very pleasant mild flame. Guitar plays and sounds fabulous. I personally dealt with Gary Moore’s management and tech to acquire this guitar for a collector in 1994 and the experience of working with Mr. Moore’s staff was a great pleasure.

History This Les Paul was used for Gary Moore’s “After Hours” CD photo shoots. It was used for Gary’s 8×10 B&W glossy photos. It was used in two Gary Moore videos: “Cold Day in Hell.” and Since I Met You Baby.” This guitar has been featured in NUMEROUS books and magazines. (ie: “The Electric Guitar, an illustrated history.” Pages 93 and 147.)

Notable Provenance circa 1965-1990 owned by a guitarist who is also a vintage guitar dealer. 1990-1991 owned by English author Richard Chapman. 1991-1994 owned by guitarist Gary Moore of Thin Lizzy. Condition Guitar is in exceptional condition with exception to the following issues.

  • 1. Replacement (formerly gold) correct era pickup covers.
  • 2. Replacement switchring.
  • 3. Refret and replacement nut made of correct era Nylon.
  • 4. Grovers removed and correct era tuners reinstalled.
  • 5. Small headstock tip repair and headstock over-sprayed. (Circa 1978.)
  • 6. Guitar is in a flight case.

Link to ebay auction

Categories
New Guitars

Gibson Announce New Jimmy Page Les Paul


icontexto-webdev-social-bookmark-09tipdrop logofacebook481Gibson Les Paul Jimmy Page Number TwoThe Gibson Custom Shop has announced the Gibson Custom Jimmy Page Number Two Les Paul Limited Edition guitar, modified by the legendary Jimmy Page himself.

Here’s their press release…

Every musician knows that late ’50s Sunburst Les Paul Standards are hard enough to come by as it is. Obtaining a pristine and exemplary ’59 ‘Burst and modifying it for heightened performance and vastly expanded tonal options? Unheard of… unless, of course, you’re Jimmy Page.

That’s exactly what the legendary Led Zeppelin guitarist, perhaps the world’s most iconic Les Paul player, did with his own ’59 Les Paul Standard, and now, thanks to the extreme efforts of Gibson’s Custom Shop and the intimate cooperation of Jimmy Page himself–the artist’s hallowed “Number Two” Les Paul is available to mere mortals, in the form of the Custom Shop Jimmy Page “Number Two” Les Paul.

Produced in strictly limited numbers, with two levels of aging, this guitar captures the look, feel, sound, and versatility of one of the greatest artist-owned Les Pauls of all time, and it is likely to disappear from authorized Gibson dealers in record time.
The 1959 Les Paul that has come to be known as “Number Two” was purchased by Page in 1973 after trying for some time to acquire an exceptional second Les Paul.

This was several years after having acquired his other legendary Les Paul–“Number One”, a ’59 ‘Burst with shaved-down neck profile and no serial number–from Joe Walsh. “Number Two” was essentially all original when he acquired it. Jimmy did have some modifications done to the neck shape so that it would more nearly match the feel of his “Number One”. The neck is certainly slim but not to such extremes as the now-ultra-slim neck on “Number One”. It had a strong, beautiful sunburst finish with a red element that had faded to a dusky amber-brown, along with a clear serial number dating it to 1959. Page played this Les Paul frequently through his days with Led Zeppelin, and in the early ’80s decided to make it an even more versatile instrument.

Page also added that he wanted to “explore the full range of what the two humbuckers have to offer”. He designed a switching system for coil splitting, series/parallel, and phase-reverse options for both pickups, and employed a skilled electronics technician to devise a working schematic and make his sonic vision a reality.

The result comprised a push/pull pot on each of the guitar’s four standard controls, plus two push-button switches hidden beneath the pickguard, all mounted on a ’59 Les Paul Standard that is otherwise a superb example of the breed, both in tone and playability.

The Custom Shop Jimmy Page “Number Two” Les Paul was recreated with intense, inch-by-inch examination of Page’s original guitar, inside and out. The process of getting it right involved the production of a number of hand-built prototypes, each of which was checked and critiqued in detail by Page himself. Approval of the final iteration was only offered after the legendary artist had intricately examined and extensively played this last prototype in his London home, after which it was given the thumbs-up, worthy of being the template for the Custom Shop Jimmy Page “Number Two” Les Paul.

Only 325 examples will be produced in total: The first 25 instruments are to be aged by vintage-reproduction master Tom Murphy then inspected, played and hand signed and numbered by Jimmy Page personally. An additional 100 guitars will be given the extensive aging treatment and 200 will be finished to Gibson’s VOS specs.

Categories
Books and Reference Material

New Fender Guitars Book

icontexto-webdev-social-bookmark-09facebook481

A friend of a friend has a new book about to be published about Fender’s golden period, 1946-1970.

Fender: The Golden Age

Here are the details, from Amazon:

Fender: The Golden Age

Leo Fender’s guitars have arguably had the greatest influence on modern music than any other make of guitar. Over 250 guitars in every model, style and finish are lovingly photographed and detailed, from the greatest to the rarest – Strats, Teles and the infamous Marauder. This title includes hundreds of never-before-seen images from recently unearthed archives and specially commissioned shoots around the world. Working with a worldwide network of collectors each model has been photographed specially for the book and alongside these exceptionally rare guitars are reproductions of Fender ephemera – the largest collection anyone will have ever seen. Tracing the history and influence of the company with a level of detail no other book can rival. These vintage guitars are among the most loved and collectible instruments in the world.

About the Author:

Martin Kelly is the joint MD of highly acclaimed British independent record label Heavenly Recordings home of the Magic Numbers, Doves and Cherry Ghost. Paul Kelly is an award winning film maker (director of Finisterre and This Is Tomorrow) and designer. He is taking all the photographs in this book. He lives in London.

Terry Foster is one of the world’s leading authorities and collectors of Fender guitars. He lives in America.

Here is the link to Amazon.com, if you are outside UK:

Fender: The Golden Age 1946-1970

Categories
Westone Rebuild

Westone Cutlass Rebuild pt 3 – Oiling The Body And Rebuilding

icontexto-webdev-social-bookmark-09tipdrop logofacebook481I’m fully aware of how long it  has taken me to write this update and I seem to begin virtually every post with an apology these days, but you know how it is..

Anyway, the nice clean wooden body needed some protection from the wear and tear of musical life, and as I said in the last update all those months ago, the owner agreed with me about keeping it natural looking. The previous instalments of this series are here

After investigating various varnishes and lacquers, and taking advice from friends who know about this type of thing, I went for an oiled finish rather than a painted one. The problem with varnishes is that inevitably the finish will get damaged at some point and begin to chip away, looking pretty nasty over time.

Danish OilOiling leaves a nice satin finish and brings out the grain of the wood, while giving a reasonable amount of protection. I headed off to my local DIY warehouse and bought a large tin of Danish Oil for under a tenner, which will probably be enough to refinish every Westone Cutlass in existence! Applying it couldn’t be easier…tip some sparingly onto a clean duster and stroke it into the wood, keeping the coverage as even as possible. It dries in about 15-20 minutes and then you can keep adding layers (3 or 4) until a decent covering has been built up.

It looks pretty dark when first applied, but lightens up as it dries and soaks in, leaving the colour only slightly darker than the bare wood. When it has dried for a while the finish is buffed over with another clean duster to remove any excess and give a nice satin sheen.

I left it for a few hours to be sure it was fully dried out and then began re-assembly. I screwed the neck and bridge back into place and reinstalled the springs on the trem block.

Most of the wiring was already in place as the scratchplate was fully assembled when I got the guitar, but I had dis-assembled it when I repaired the crack. I refitted the pickups and pots, and reattached the wires for the humbucking pickup which had become detached.

I did a quick test by plugging in a lead to the jack socket and my amp and tapped the pickups with a  screwdriver to check I had sound, and as all seemed ok I went ahead with re-fitting the scratchplate assembly.

After that, it was just a case of re-stringing and setting the bridge. The neck was perfect and didn’t need any truss rod tweaking so the whole re-assembly took less than an hour. A real pleasure after the hassles with the Westone Thunder 1-T rebuild.

This is a GREAT guitar. I love the feel and the sound of it, It’s beefier than a Strat, but still capable of subtle tone variations. The humbucker (by Gotoh, I believe) screams nicely and the whole package is well balanced and well made.

Rebuilt Westone Cutlass

Westone Cutlass back and front

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Categories
General

BB King’s Lucille Comes Home



icontexto-webdev-social-bookmark-09tipdrop logofacebook481I found this great story by Eric Dahl on the Guitar Center blog, so I thought I’d pass it on;

I’m one of those people that is always in search of the next cool guitar so I frequent all of the Las Vegas pawn shops, music stores, Craig’s List and of course Ebay. I’m also an avid reader of several musician magazines including Vintage Guitar Magazine, Premier Guitar and Guitar Player, which help keep me current on vintage and new guitar gear.

This all began back on September 10th when I was contacted by a pawn shop that I had bought several other guitars from in the past, about a Lucille they had for sale and wondered if I would be interested.

BB King and LucilleBeing a huge fan of BB King of course I was. On the phone they told me it was an 80th Birthday Lucille model which I had never heard of! So I started doing research with anyone and everyone I knew that could help me out. I found out from Gibson, that 80 of them were created for BB King’s 80th Birthday in 2006 and that they sold new for almost $10,000.

Each one was issued with a letter from BB King also and only 44 were sold in the US. As you can imagine I was pretty hyped up. When I got to the pawnshop I was disappointed to find that the guitar had been gigged hard, was covered in filth, had pick scratches and even some small dents from being played. The shop would not budge on the price. It did not have certificates and the case wasn’t the original. I flipped the guitar over and looked at the headstock expecting to see the standard serial numbers. To my surprise “Prototype 1” was stamped just below where the headstock serial should be. I figured this was a fake or a really cool piece that had once been approved by BB King then given away to a fellow musician, friend of the family or relative.

Of course I bought it and took it home and cleaned on it for a few hours trying to buff off the grime and scratches, oiled the fret board and put on new strings. That is when my research really began. I couldn’t find anything about the 80th model in my Gibson or Gruhn reference books, just a few stray articles on the web. I contacted Walter Carter, the author of numerous guitar reference books and part of Gruhn Guitars in Nashville; he had no idea and had never seen a stamp like that on back of a guitar.

Then I contacted my Guitar Center friends here in Las Vegas and in LA, still no idea. Even sent pictures to Wally Marx, writer for Vintage guitar and Premier Guitar, and he had no idea. So I went back to Gibson customer service and played e-mail tag with Bob Burns for two months trying to find out if this was a prototype, if so did BB play and approve it, who built it, and how much it was worth? I was pretty much at my wits end and was ready to give up the quest. One day I was doing a guitar search on the web for a different guitar and found a contact with Blue Book Publications. It ends up he’s the owner of the company, Zachary Fjestad, super nice guy and flipped him pictures of my 80th Lucille.

He sent me more information than anybody else did all the way from Minneapolis, Minnesota their corporate headquarters! I kept bugging Gibson every week too and my contact told me that he had a guy there at the custom shop that knew something about my guitar and he was going to call me.

Finally on November 9th I get a call from Pat Foley, he is the Gibson Artist Relations Director out of Nashville. I assumed he was calling me up to give me some juicy details on the guitar and did he ever. First off he asked me if I still had the guitar here in the United States, which kind of seemed odd to me since where else would I keep it? Then I started asking him a series of questions as well.

It ends up the guitar was stolen from BB King, the beginning of summer 2009. The guitar had been presented to BB in 2005 by Gibson for his 80th birthday present in Los Angeles. Also this was Mr. King’s main gigging guitar for the last four years and he was so upset when it was stolen that he asked the Gibson Custom shop to make him as close a replica as possible.

Mr. King’s people and Gibson were very pleased that I did not try and sell this to a collector in Japan and that I was more than willing to return it to Mr. King the rightful owner. In appreciation BB and his Assistant, Lavern Toney worked with Gibson to have a guitar present for our meeting on November 30th at 3pm yesterday. Mr. King exceeded my expectations with his friendly greeting. He kept thanking me and shaking my hand and was so happy to get his Birthday present back that was stolen from him.

I got the experience of a lifetime to meet Mr. King in person and talk to him for 45 minutes. Plus he signed a Lucille to me, gave me some BB guitar picks to use and signed my BB King Treasures book. He wants of a copy of our picture together to put up at his office. I’m just happy that I was able to return a prized guitar to one of my guitar idols and inspirations so he can continue to give joy to so many other blues fans around the world!

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Categories
General

Guitar Hero Games Foster Interest In The Real Thing


icontexto-webdev-social-bookmark-09tipdrop logofacebook481Once frowned upon by just about everyone, video games are breeding a new generation of musicians. Most guitar teachers and competent players will tell you two things about the video games Guitar Hero and Rock Band. One; they stink at them. Big time. Two; they're bad for music. Playing fake music on fake instruments is more geared toward the thugs in Stanley Kubrick's "A Clockwork Orange" or the futuristic slugs in Mike Judge's "Idiocracy." They fear kids will become prodigies at playing a video game instead of mastering a real instrument. For 11-year-old Jack Press of Delaware, the games provided a musical revolution inside his still-expanding mind. Guitar Hero gameWhen he was 9, he and his brother Brogan saved up to buy Guitar Hero.  At the time, Jack was mostly into pop like Michael Jackson and Pink, but playing along to tunes by the likes of Ozzy Osbourne, AC/DC and Aerosmith pushed him more toward rock. By the time he was 10, Jack was ready for a real instrument. "Guitar Hero sort of inspired me to play drums," said Jack, who takes lessons with teacher Tony Mowen at the Center for Creative Arts in Yorklyn. "When I started to play Guitar Hero, it made me listen to rock more. I like that a lot better now." Jack's story is by no means unique. Despite fears the video games would drive kids away from taking up real guitars and drums and pianos, the opposite is proving true. Kids are taking up an instrument after playing one of the video games and catching the music bug. Blake Carlisle, who teaches guitar basics at Earle Teat Music in Delmar, said most of the kids who come in for lessons were inspired by Guitar Hero or Rock Band. shop125He said about 50 percent stick with it, but he still sees the games as a positive influence. "It's definitely been very good for us," said Carlisle, who has been teaching guitar for more than 10 years. "I think kids that normally would be playing video games now pick up instruments. I think it's very good to get someone into it." Millions of copies of the video games have been sold, mostly to young people. With the Christmas shopping season in full swing, various Guitar Hero and Rock Band incarnations will be flying off shelves and into the hands of new players, potentially creating more future musicians. Delawareonline.com

Categories
Books and Reference Material General

The New Guitar Collecting Amazon Store

icontexto-webdev-social-bookmark-09tipdrop logofacebook481Time for a little shameless self-promotion.

We have set up our own store within Amazon, for all the guitar related stuff we can think of.

The thinking behind it is that we hope to create a starting point for anybody searching for books about guitar collecting, tab books and sheet music, CDs and DVDs by relevent and maybe hard to find guitarists, such as Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, and Michael Landau.

We will be adding to the shop very regularly, but you can also use it as a starting point to search within Amazon for anything else.

We aren’t trying to hide the fact that we also earn a commission on anything that gets bought through the shop links, so by earning a little  cash this way it allows us to keep running the website and keep the rest of our advertising as low key as possible. I hope our readers can appreciate this point, we will never engage in spam or “in your face” promotional techniques.

We hope you like the shop, and please feel free to give us any suggestions on how it could be improved.

Visit the Guitar Collecting Amazon Store

Categories
New Guitars

Paul Smith And Vintage Collaborate on Designer Guitar


icontexto-webdev-social-bookmark-09tipdrop logofacebook481Not Paul Reed Smith!

Paul Smith, the well known British clothing designer, has collaborated with Vintage Guitars in order to produce the Paul Smith acoustic guitar.

It’s a 3/4-sized acoustic that Paul Smith is refers to in most of his marketing as a ‘children’s guitar’ but could really serve as a travel guitar for the fashionistas who wants to strum as cooly as they dress.

paul smith guitar

The guitar has a spruce top and mahogany body with a maple neck and rosewood fingerboard. Specifications list a mahogany bridge but the image makes it look rosewood (which would be more usual) – I suppose it may be dyed.

Finish is black gloss only and it has a blue binding. The soundhole rosette features the Paul Smith ’signature stripes’ and the headstock bears the Paul Smith signature.

It comes with a gig back sporting a small Paul Smith tag and another ’signature stripe’ on another small tag.

It is for sale at Paul Smith website (or in his stores) for £180 or $330.

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Categories
New Guitars

First Chanel, now the Ferrari Guitar


icontexto-webdev-social-bookmark-09tipdrop logofacebook481This is interesting. The Blackbird Rider travel guitar is now available in a special Ferrari version. The body is a one piece carbon fibre monocoque, just like an F1 car and the design is unique to say the least. I have never seen or heard of these guitars before but they seem pretty good, (watch the video below) and Felipe Massa certainly looks pleased!

Blackbird Rider Ferrari Guitar

The Blackbird Rider Ferrari Guitar costs $1,500 and has a red A string and a  Maranello red interior, which is cute.

For further information their website is here

Categories
General

Gibson Guitars may face prosecution under revised Lacey Act

icontexto-webdev-social-bookmark-09tipdrop logofacebook4811958 Gibson Les Paul StandardGibson Guitars, long lauded by environmental groups as a pioneer in the use of sustainable wood products, is the first U.S. company to face prosecution under a new federal law banning trade in illegal wood.

“This is the first enforcement action that we are aware of, and we are extremely encouraged that the government is taking this new tool so seriously,” said Alexander von Bismarck, executive director of Environmental Investigation Agency, a nonprofit group that investigates international environmental crime.

That “new tool” is an amendment to a century-old law called the Lacey Act, which combats trafficking in illegal wildlife, fish and plants.

Congress expanded Lacey in May 2008 to include timber and wood products, making the United States the first in the world to regulate trade in plants and plant products. Declaration requirements went into effect in May of this year.

According to the EIA, which fought for more than a decade to get the amendment passed, Gibson is the first in the country and, by default, the world, to be investigated under the new provisions.

Penalties for violations of the Lacey Act range from a simple forfeiture of goods to fines of up to $500,000 and prison time if the company or individual is found to have knowingly engaged in the trade of illegally sourced wood.

Agents with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service executed a search warrant at Gibson’s Nashville guitar plant on Tuesday. According to unconfirmed media reports, agents seized various items, including an endangered type of rosewood from Madagascar.

Andrew Ames, spokesman for the U.S. Department of Justice, confirmed the raid but declined further comment.

Gibson posted a statement on its Web site stating that it is “fully cooperating” with Fish & Wildlife officials.

Late Wednesday, Gibson updated the statement to include a statement from Allen Hershkowitz, senior scientist with the National Resource Defense Council.

“NRDC knows firsthand that the leadership at Gibson is committed to and informed about environmental issues, and we look forward to continuing our collaborations with this good and upstanding organization for many years to come,” Hershkowitz said.

But an NRDC spokeswoman said the statement is from the past and is not in response to Tuesday’s raid.

Nashville Biz Journals

Categories
General

Iowa music store will restring guitars for food

icontexto-webdev-social-bookmark-09tipdrop logofacebook481This is a great story, why don’t other string manufacturers follow D’addarios lead?

Clinton, Iowa — Local music store, Tegeler Music, in cooperation with the D’Addario String Company and the Independent Music Store Owners coalition will take part in the national Restring for Food event collecting non-perishable food items in exchange for restringing guitars. All food collected will be turned over to Pantries United and distributed to three Clinton area food banks — Benevolent Society, Salvation Army and Community Action.

The Restring for Food event will take place from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at Tegeler Music, 101 S. Second St. Tegeler Music will be stringing donors’ electric and/or acoustic 6-string guitars for free with a brand new set of D’Addario strings.

In return Tegeler Music asks that people donate at least two non-perishable food items per guitar. The D’Addario string company donated all the strings for this event and Tegeler Music staff will install the strings, polishing and evaluating each guitar present.

This national food drive was originally organized by a group known as iMSO (Independent Music Store Owners) which has a current membership of almost 400 independent music stores, a large portion of which are involved in this year’s food drive.

“I have been a member of iMSO for about three years and it is one of the best things I’ve done to help focus my business in a positive direction, especially when we have an opportunity to take part in an important event like this national food drive,” Don Tegeler, owner of Tegeler Music, said.

Along with the food drive, there will be drawings, giveaways, special sale pricing and in-store promotions of musical instruments and other gear.

Donors and other customers can enter to win a free iPod shuffle to be given away Saturday, Dec. 19.

Clinton herald.com

Categories
Collectable Guitars

Charvel Spectrum Epidemic!


icontexto-webdev-social-bookmark-09tipdrop logofacebook481I thought you may be interested to see this. A high end guitar collecting friend of mine has a guilty pleasure. Collecting Charvel Spectrums! His addiction has been satisfied for the time being, with the arrival of a black model from Australia, although he is making noises about the lack of maple necked models. He has also persuaded a few collecting friends of his to indulge too, and between them the Spectrum collection is now in double figures. So what's all the fuss about? The reason is, these are great guitars... versatile, with an extra tone eq pot and great for gigging with. They have an 80's vibe about them (don't get too near that pointy headstock!), and the quality of the construction is undeniable.

Seven Charvel Spectrum Guitars

The sparkle finish model (top left) is a special order, but the rest are all original.

These are still pretty cheap guitars, in the £300-500 price range, but prices are steadily climbing, probably due to my mates hoovering them up at a rate of knots!

If this style of guitar is of interest to you I'd start looking soon. As always, I'd recommend going for originality and  good condition to help safeguard future values, but I'd be quick, because as soon as funds allow I'll be out there looking for an orange one too!

In the meantime, here's a little bit more information about Charvel Spectrums.

Categories
General

Relic your guitar parts

tipdrop logoI found this interesting video yesterday. I’d never considered doing this myself. but it’s given me a few ideas..

Categories
New Guitars

New Taylor Swift Signature Guitar

Taylor Swift now has her own signature model guitar to be built and distributed by Taylor Guitars, the renowned acoustic and electric guitar company founded in 1974.

She joins Leo Kottke, Doyle Dykes and Dan Crary as artists who have a signature model built by the company. The Taylor Swift Baby Taylor guitar is based on the best-selling Baby Taylor guitar and is ideal for both promising players and accomplished pickers.

Taylor Swift Signature Acoustic GuitarAt three-quarters the size of a standard dreadnought, with a slim 1 11/16-inch neck and a comfortably compact shape, the guitar is just right for both the littlest player’s hands and anyone who likes to pick up and play on the go.

The top of the special-edition instrument is decorated with a screen-printed rosette design and the word “love” three times within a vine motif.

It also includes the title of her latest album, Fearless, and her signature near the bridge.

“For a beginner, finding the right guitar can be intimidating, but this guitar, it’s the perfect size,” she said. “Even if you’ve been playing for years, it’s a great size to travel with.”

The guitar’s list price is $398, but it is expected to be sold for around $299 when it becomes available later this month.

Categories
General

Guitar Collecting for the Financially Challenged

James Hetfield model guitarimmy Page model double neck guitarAs guitarists, most of us would love to have the financial means to acquire a dream collection of our favourite instruments.

Real world pressures usually get in the way though, and most of us restrict ourselves to having one or two guitars at most.

Our collecting urges can now be satisfied though, as well as solving the thorny issue of where to store a huge guitar collection!

MiniguitarUSA.com make very nice models of a massive range of guitars and basses. They are 10″ long and very detailed, with authentic looking hardware and paint finishes.

It isn’t difficult to find these types of models in various souvenir shops around the world, but the ones from MiniguitarUSA do seem to be of superior quality.

Prices start at around $19.99 and the range is huge; signature models, double necks, acoustics, basses, everything you can think of, pretty much.

They also makes cases, stands and miniature amps, drums and themed collections so you can build a collection around any musical subject or band of your choosing.

Go take a look for yourselves!

MiniguitarUSA

Categories
Collectable Guitars

Collectable Guitars pt 36 – Fender Electric XII

The Fender Electric XII was a purpose-built 12-string electric guitar, designed for folk rockers. Instead of using a Stratocaster-body style, it used one with a Jaguar/Jazzmaster body style.

It was also a departure from the typical “Stratocaster”-style headstock, instead featuring a long headstock nicknamed the “hockey-stick” headstock. The Electric XII used a unique split pickup design and had a 4 way pickup selector allowing for neck, neck & bridge in series, neck & bridge in parallel and bridge only options. It also used a string-through-body design similar to a Telecaster to help increase sustain.

Designed by Leo Fender, the Fender Electric XII was introduced in late 1965 with the bulk of the production taking place in 1966 before it was discontinued around 1970.

Unlike its competitors’ electric 12-string models which were simply existing 6-string guitars with six extra strings, the Fender Electric XII was a purpose-built 12-string designed to capture a part of the folk-rock market.

The headstock was a departure from Fender’s usual Stratocaster-style shape and is sometimes referred to as the “hockey stick” headstock.

Leo Fender’s bridge design for this model is elegantly simple, works extremely well, and is regarded by many as one of his best designs of the 1960s. The bridge has an individual saddle for each string making precise intonation possible. The design is also string-through-body which helps to increase sustain.

Perhaps the most famous user of the Fender Electric XII was Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page who used one to record “Stairway to Heaven.”

Other notable users of the Electric XII were Pete Townshend, who used it extensively on the album Tommy, and folk-rocker Tim Buckley. Johnny Winter also used one briefly (strung as a regular six-string) during the late 1960s and early 1970s.

1960’s models currently sell for around £2000-2500.

Categories
Westone Rebuild

Westone Cutlass Rebuild pt 2 – The Body and the Scratchplate

icontexto-webdev-social-bookmark-09facebook481As I said in part one of the Westone Cutlass rebuild, I have decided not paint this guitar, but to keep it natural looking.

The original body finish was a pale, yellowy clear lacquer which suited the look of the guitar, but now has some quite deep scratches and dents on the front, back and upper horn (see pic).

Westone Cutlass body

Unlike a painted finish, it isn’t possible just to sand back the top coat and use wood filler to fill any blemishes. As the wood will be on display under a few coats of wood oil, the base has to be as perfect as possible.

This lead to a hot sweaty Sunday afternoon with an array of different types of sandpaper and a sanding block to remove all traces of the old finish and the blemishes. I was lucky, none of the marking was so deep that it couldn’t be sanded out, and after an hour or two I had a pristine body, looking as good as the day it was cut! The grain is very attractive, with some darker marks behind the bridge area which look like scratches, but and just part of the natural colouring of the Alder body.

Westone Cutlass body

The scratchplate damage is the other main issue with this guitar, but it is fixable with no huge chunks missing; just a split below the bridge and a little piece gauged out. I have mentioned in the Westone Thunder rebuild series that my other hobby is building model cars. This comes in useful with guitar repairs too, as I am used to doing close intricate work, and I also have a large array of tools and items for manipulating plastic.

One such item is a product called microballoons, which is a filling material. It is basically a very fine white resin powder which is mixed with superglue to produce a sandable filler which sets almost instantly. I began by gluing the crack in the scratchplate with superglue, then when that had dried, I used the microballoons to build up the surface again to the previous level.

Westone Cutlass scratchplateOnce this had dried, I carefully sanded back the excess coloured the white microballoon area with a black felt tip pen. It’s not perfect, but it’s a solid repair and hardly noticeable now the guitar is back together.

Westone Cutlass scratchplate

Next instalment will be about oiling the body and putting it all back together.

Categories
General

1958 Gibson Les Paul Standard is up for Auction

icontexto-webdev-social-bookmark-09facebook481California Auctioneers will be auctioning one of the rarest rock guitars in the world; The 1958 Gibson Les Paul Standard.

An amazing collection of over 70 Autographed guitars of the who’s who in rock n roll, contemporary art, and a rare collection of Marilyn Monroe and Michael Jackson Memorabilia.

1958 Gibson Les Paul StandardOn Sunday Oct 11th, 10 am California Auctioneers will be selling one of the rarest rock guitars in the world; The 1958 Gibson Les Paul Standard.

The guitar is a one owner guitar, and is completely original. The collector’s piece was owned by John Ford of Jersey City, NJ, who was proud to call Les Paul his friend. Ford’s private collection of guitars is one of the world’s best, and the estate has decided to offer the Standard which Les Paul played on many occasions at Ford’s estate.

Also a major collection of autographed guitars by the who’s who in rock n’ roll, including The Who, Led Zeppelin, Rolling Stones, the Eagles, a Nirvana stage played guitar from Vince Neil’s collection, Ozzy, Santana, Clapton, Dylan, Slash, Cream, and Johnny Cash will be sold on the 11th.

California Auctioneers is located just below Johnny Cash’s old estate, and he was known to frequent the bar where California Auctioneers now lives.

Modern Art by Lichtenstein, Warhol and Rauschenberg and Vintage collections of Marilyn Monroe and Michael Jackson memorabilia fill the walls along with the rare and vintage guitars. There are oddities like Marilyn Monroe’s enameled pill box, Michael Jackson’s pill bottle and memorial programs.

“This is the best collection of Americana history we’ve seen in our 45 years,” says Jewels Eubanks, auctioneer. The first of its kind, California Auctioneers’ sale promises to be full of rarities, excitement and fun and offers history to the highest bidder live, and online.

Located on 8597 North Ventura Ave, Preview is Saturday Oct 10th Noon – 5PM with hors d’oeuvres, Auction starts at 10AM on Sun Oct 11th. To view catalog and photos go to californiauctioneers.com. 805-649-2686.

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General

Hendrix 1967 Stratocaster For Sale

icontexto-webdev-social-bookmark-09facebook481A 1967 Fender Stratocaster guitar owned by Jimi Henrix with a controversial past is now for sale after its owners settled with the late rock star’s estate.

The sunburst Strat is a right-handed one that was converted to left-handed use to accommodate Hendrix.

The owners, Rockstarsguitars.com, are asking $500,000.

The instrument, currently on display at the Musicians Hall of Fame in Nashville, was at the centre of a 2001 lawsuit. Disputed were claims by Experience Hendrix LLC that the guitar was stolen shortly after Hendrix’s death in 1970, or that it never belonged to him at all.

After two court trials and appeals, the estate settled with Rock Stars Guitars earlier this year for an undisclosed sum and an agreement that Experience Hendrix will give up its claim to the guitar.

As the story goes, Hendrix gave the guitar to roadie James “Tappy” Wright as a gift around 1968.

Rock Stars Guitars owners, Greg Dorsett of San Diego and David Brewis of England, said they bought it from Wright in 1999 for $60,000.

When the company tried to auction it on eBay in 2001, Hendrix’s estate halted the sale by questioning its ownership.

A lawsuit followed, ending with a verdict two years later that ruled in favor of the businessmen. The jury awarded the partners $131,000, saying Hendrix’s estate prevented them from getting market value on the guitar.

But after subsequent appeals, the case finally resolved in January with the settlement.

“I see this settlement as a complete vindication,” Dorsett said in a statement. “Hopefully the litigation experience has only added to this guitar’s unique history.”

Categories
Collectable Guitars

Collectable Guitars pt 35 – Fender Duosonic

icontexto-webdev-social-bookmark-09facebook481The Fender DuoSonic guitar was first produced by in 1956.

It was meant to be a student guitar. It featured a short, 22.5 inch, scale length that was considerably shorter than the 25.5 inch scale used on standard Fender guitars.

Fender Duosonic Guitar

The DuoSonic, which is sometimes spelled as Duo-Sonic or Duosonic, has two, single coil, pickups and a vertical pickup selector switch that is placed on the lower horn of the body.

Duo-Sonic II

Fender released a new guitar called the Mustang in August 1964. This guitar was an economy model and was designed for student guitarists. This guitar featured a new design of tremolo arm that many guitarists found impractical. At the same time Fender also release the Duosonic II which had the same offset waist body but did not have the tremolo arm.

Fender discontinued the Duo-Sonic II in 1969.

This model was only in production for 5 five years. It has become Fender guitar that has a growing collector value due to its rarity and player demand.

Many guitar players prefer the Duo-Sonic II to the similar Fender Mustang. This is because they prefer the more practical fixed bridge to the Duosonic II as compared to the troublesome tremolo bridge of the Mustang.

The Duo-Sonic is closely identified with Liz Phair though it was used by David Byrne of the Talking Heads early in their career as well as Jimi Hendrix (when he toured the under the name Jimmy James with The Isley Brothers).

Johnny Winter also used a modified Duo-Sonic during the late 1960s and early 1970s, particularly on his first few albums.

Patti Smith also plays a Duo-Sonic and has featured her guitar in song lyrics, for example in “Radio Ethiopia/Abyssinia” from the Radio Ethiopia LP.

Tom Cummings from Human Condition uses the late 90’s remake Duo-Sonic.

The Duo-Sonic I and II are both considered rare and have displayed growing collector value. The Duo-Sonic II in particular is often seen as a desirable alternative to the more popular Mustang, since it negates the difficult-to-maintain tremolo bridge.

Fender have recently re-issued very cheap “Squier” version of the duosonic, but original 60’s ones are still available for under $2000. Well worth a look at that price!

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Westone Rebuild

Westone Cutlass Rebuild pt 1 – The Background


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When I first started this site, one of the reasons was to get back into restoring, customising and fiddling with guitars.

Westone Cutlass restoration project

I have played around with guitars all my playing life (30 years this month!) as most of us players do. It is always useful to know how to fix your own gear, and sooner or later a pickup will need changing, or a machine head will break and all of a sudden you find yourself up to your eyes in bits of guitars.

Last year I was browsing Ebay and I found a Westone Thunder for sale in appalling condition. It really was the worst I had seen, with virtually every piece of it broken in some way. I bought it and restored it, and the story is on this blog here.

As part of  the process during the restoration, I used my Twitter account to alert readers to new updates, and to publicise this blog. I was contacted during the build and asked if I would be interested in restoring another Westone.

It’s a Westone Cutlass, which was built in the UK, not Japan in the late 90’s and is actually a really nice guitar. I have been researching them and I’ve put togther a short history of the Westone Cutlass here.

This one was in pieces, but complete when I got it with a few scratches and marks in the clear lacquer, and a small break in the scratchplate, near the bridge. Originally it was to be painted in the same colour blue as my Thunder, but after discussion we decided it would look better natural, in keeping with its original look.

Here are a few shots of the guitar as recieved, next installment will deal with the body refurbishment.

Westone Cutlass restoration project

Westone Cutlass restoration project

Westone Cutlass restoration project

Westone Cutlass restoration project

Categories
General

Bill Wyman criticises ‘Guitar Hero’ style video games

icontexto-webdev-social-bookmark-09facebook481Bill WymanBill Wyman, the former bassist of the Rolling Stones, has claimed that Guitar Hero, Rock Band and other music games discourage children from learning real instruments.

His criticism comes on the eve of the release of  ‘The Beatles Rock Band’ computer game, which allows players to play along with to band’s back catalogue.

“It encourages kids not to learn, that’s the trouble. It makes less and less people dedicated to really get down and learn an instrument,” Wyman told BBC News. “I think it’s a pity so I’m not really keen on that sort of stuff.”

Nick Mason of Pink Floyd supported Wyman’s comments, saying, “It irritates me having watched my kids do it. If they spent as much time practising the guitar as learning how to press the buttons they’d be damn good by now.”

However, he also confessed he wouldn’t mind his band’s tracks being used on such games as they provide a new audience for their songs, adding, “I think everyone’s looking at new ways of selling the music because the business of selling records has almost disappeared”.

Alex Rigopulos, one of the co-founders of the company that creates the Rock Band games, defended his product and claimed, “We’re hearing from fans who were inspired by Rock Band to start studying a real instrument”.

The Guitar Hero series alone has sold more than 25 million games globally collecting revenues of $2 billion and can claim Simon Cowell among its celebrity fans.

Telegraph.co.uk

Categories
Collectable Guitars General

Steve Lukather sells his surplus gear on Ebay

Ex Toto guitarist and all round session superstar Steve Lukather has listed a whole bunch of instruments and gear on Ebay through L.A. Vintage Gear.

Steve Lukather Ibanez Prototype GuitarIncluded are a very cool looking Rickenbacker 6/12 string double neck and a unique 26 year old Ibanez prototype of a potential Lukather signature model that never made it into production. Bidding starts at $18,000 so start raiding your piggy banks!

Here are the links to some of the more interesting auctions:

Ibanez Prototype

Rickenbacker 362 /12 Double Neck Guitar

Valley Arts guitar

1966 Fender Electric XII

Gibson Chet Atkins

Fender Blackface Princeton Reverb amp

Categories
Westone Rebuild

Westone Thunder 1-T Rebuild pt 6…Finally finished!

I can’t believe that last update on this subject was December 31st 2008!

Sorry for the massive time lag, in truth the guitar was finished months ago but I had been busy writing on so many other subjects I just forgot to tie this subject up.

In the last post I alluded to the wiring issues I was facing. It took a bit of head scratching and some advice from a few knowledgable friends to finally solve the issue I had with an earth type buzz. It turned out I had bought a stereo jack socket and wired it wrongly. Once that was solved, and I found a great wiring diagram from the fantastically useful Westone Info site I was sorted. I used new shielded cable for all the new wires and resoldered all the joints on the existing wiring.

All that was then left to do was restring it and set it up. After a little tweaking of the string heights it was playing great.

It’s a heavy guitar..almost in Les Paul territory..and this adds to the feel of solidity when you play it, although I think the shape is more comfortable than a Les Paul. The pick ups are gutsy, and the coil tap switch adds a nice dimension, allowing some decent “thinner” single coil tones through for clean picking. The worn lacquer on the neck sides adds to the “patina” of playing an older guitar, and the paint finish, although not perfect, is certainly a big step from the way it looked when it arrived!

Overall its a versatile guitar and well beyond the feel of being the budget instrument it was originally marketed as.

Since this project started I have been approached to do another westone rebuild, a Cutlass, which is in much better shape. I’ll be filling you in with the details in the next post.

Thanks to everyone who has commented on this project, particularly the guys and girls over at the Westone Forum for their advice and encouragement.

Rebuilt Westone Thunder 1AT

Rebuilt Westone Thunder 1AT back

Categories
New Guitars

Epiphone 1966 “worn” Wilshire


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A year or so after Epiphone’s lovely but hugely expensive 1962 Wilshire reissue, they have now announced a much cheaper, but just as tempting 1966 model, in the nicely faded “worn” range. The following is directly from the press release;

Epiphone brings back the Wilshire with a faithful reproduction of the 1966 model. Like an SG guitar, the Wilshire’s double cutaway Mahogany body with a glued-in Mahogany neck that joins the body at the 22nd fret gives you ultimate upper fret access.

Epiphone 1966 Lightweight and comfortable, the Wilshire has excellent resonance and natural acoustic tone – even unplugged! Featuring Epiphone’s LockTone tune-o-matic/stopbar combination, the transfer of string vibration is improved even more giving this guitar excellent sustain and clarity. But here’s what separates the Wilshire from the SG. Most early Epiphone guitars including the Wilshire were equipped with mini-humbucking pickups and Epiphone carries on this tradition.

With its smaller size, narrow magnetic field and unique design combination, the mini-humbucker produces bright and focused output while retaining famous humbucker “hum-free” performance. A replica of the originals, they feature adjustable pole pieces, enamel wire, bar ceramic magnets and rounded nickel plated covers set in an original style black mounting ring with height adjustment screws.

Cool Retro-Looks! Also unique, the Wilshire features Epiphone’s own “batwing” headstock. A classic design that improves tuning ease and accuracy by offering a straight string-pull design, the headstock is adorned like the original with the vintage “Epiphone” logo in gold. Other features include a 1960’s SlimTaper neck profile with Rosewood fingerboard, premium 14:1 die-cast tuners and individual Volume and Tone controls for each pickup. And to give it that worn-in look and feel, Epiphone tops it all off with a thin satin finish.

No word on prices that I can find, but the other “worn” guitars aren’t too expensive, so I think these guitars will offer great value and a nice retro/vintage vibe. I’ll be getting one!

Categories
Collectable Guitars

Collectable Guitars pt 34 – Gibson Nighthawk


icontexto-webdev-social-bookmark-09facebook481Gibson’s radical Hawk series was another shortlived attempt to modernise Gibson’s image in the 1990s. It lasted from 1993 to 1998 and the series comprised 5 models.

In the mid 1980s Gibson released new models that were nothing like previous ones to try and compete with new companies in the market.

Gibson Nighthawk guitarThe Corvus (radical new shape, covered elsewhere on the site), Victory (Strat shaped), RD Artist (Firebird shape with complex active electronics) and M-III (superstrat, also on the site) were launched and all three were shortlived and relatively unsuccessful.

Ten years later another such attempt to crack a new market was planned. This time Gibson played it slightly safer by using an updated version of the Les Paul shape, an iconic Gibson trademark.

However, this body was less well-proportioned than Gibson’s original, and as such looked vaguely like a squashed Les Paul.

This did the model no favours.

The pickups were two stacked P-90s on the semi-acoustic Blueshawk, two standard humbuckers on the Hawk model, one standard and one slanted humbucker on the Nighthawk Standard, and the same on the Special and Custom Nighthawks, but with a single-coil in the middle position.

The Nighthawk Custom had a flamed maple top and a Floyd Rose tremolo. All the Nighthawks had a maple top and a mahogany body, the basic Hawk did not have this luxury, and the Blueshawk had a maple top and a chambered poplar body with f-holes.

The guitars were unsuccessful and were unceremoniously dropped in 1999, apart from the Blueshawk which continued until 2006.

Values now are available on the very good website www.blueshawk.info, from which I found that Blueshawks retailed for £792 new (price taken from 2002 catalogue) and are now worth about £550 for a good example. Nighthawks are similar in value but because of all the different models used prices vary.

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Books and Reference Material General

Free Guitar Collecting Ebook!

icontexto-webdev-social-bookmark-09facebook48125 Cool Signature GuitarsWe have put together a free ebook for all our visitors as a thankyou for your support over the last few months.

“25 Cool Signature Guitars” is almost 50 pages long and is available for free download by filling in your name and email address on the right.

We are also giving you permission to copy, give away and redistribute our book as many times as you like, just so long as you don’t alter it in any way. If you have your own guitar website please feel free to offer it as a giveaway too.

We hope you like the book, it’s not a definitive guide of signature guitars, but a just a personal view of some guitars that we think are either well known,  interesting in some way, or just cool!

Categories
General

United Breaks Guitars pt 2

Dave Carroll has released the second of three videos in this now world famous saga. This one is about the now legendary “Ms Irlwig”…enjoy

Categories
General

RIP Les Paul


icontexto-webdev-social-bookmark-09facebook481Les Paul, whose pioneering electric guitars were used by a legion of rock stars, has died at the age of 94.

Les Paul dies, aged 94Mr Paul died from complications of pneumonia in New York, according to Gibson, the firm that sold his guitars.

He is credited with inventing the solid-body electric guitar, which went on sale in 1952 and contributed to the birth of rock ‘n’ roll.

He also developed other influential recording innovations such as multi-track recording and overdubbing and he was credited with inventing the eight-track tape recorder.

Henry Juszkiewicz, chairman of Gibson Guitar, said: “His influence extends around the globe and across every boundary.”

Gibson president Dave Berryman said: “As the ‘father of the electric guitar’, he was not only one of the world’s greatest innovators but a legend who created, inspired and contributed to the success of musicians around the world.”

bbc.co.uk/news


Categories
General

Warning of guitar ‘identification’ sites

icontexto-webdev-social-bookmark-09facebook481A number of websites have cropped up that claim to be able to provide visitors with information about their guitar via its serial number.

This has misled some guitar owners into believing that their counterfeit guitar is an authentic one. In fact, some counterfeiters or sellers of these fakes now even refer potential buyers directly to one website in an effort to verify the ‘authenticity’ of the fake guitars they’re peddling.

For example, one consumer recently forwarded Gibson’s manager of brand protection, Ric Olsen, a craigslist.org posting, wherein a fake guitar was being sold as an authentic Gibson. The ad read: “I am selling this beautiful Silverburst Les Paul Custom. Please note that though the headstock says Gibson, it is not a Gibson, but rather an Epiphone. You can verify this by putting the serial number, 08015553, into the following database: www.guitardaterproject.org.”

Web sites such as Guitar Dater Project also claim to be capable of identifying Fender, Ibanez and Yamaha guitars. Olsen wanted to be clear that this site and others like it — intentionally or not — are perpetuating the counterfeiting epidemic, one that is built on this kind of misinformation. With the years of shipping records in manufacturer’s books and dozens of variations on numerical schemes used across the years, decoding serial numbers isn’t an art that any one guitar aficionado, or piece of software, can undertake.

“Although Guitar Dater Project may correctly identify a guitar here and there based on historical data uploaded, it is a very unreliable way to truly identify and authenticate a Gibson or Epiphone guitar,” said Olsen.

“I could give you a serial number from a fake right now, and you could enter it on this Web site, and it would tell you it’s a real Gibson or Epiphone. But it’s definitely not.”

Counterfeiters are taking advantage of Guitar Dater Project and other similar websites by sending in a bulk of fake serial numbers. This data is uploaded and subsequently appears to show that particular serial number as authentic.

The Guitar Dater Project said that it: “aims to provide you with the information hidden in your guitar’s serial number in plain English. It is a work in progress and is constantly evolving, much of which is due to user feedback.”

Olsen warned that there are some easy ways to detect an incorrect reading from the site.

“If you come across, say, a ‘brand new’ guitar, but the serial number tells you it’s anything older than one year ago, question it,” he said.

“If you’re looking at a piece that is older than one year old and it’s being sold as ‘new,’ that’s a red flag because a lot of these fakes are coming with serial numbers that actually roll to a manufacturer date of up to five years ago or longer.”

Gibson has issued legal notices to the Web site to simply post a disclaimer but they haven’t responded.

For more information on identifying a guitar by its serial number, click here.

From MIPro.co.uk

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General

It Might Get Loud


icontexto-webdev-social-bookmark-09facebook481This new film (great title!) looks like it will be worth a look..

Featuring interviews with Jimmy Page (Led Zep), The Edge (U2) and Jack White (White Stripes, Raconteurs, etc)

Categories
Collectable Guitars

Collectable Guitars pt 33 – Ibanez Musician

Ibanez Musician MC-550WNThe Ibanez Musician was born out of the Japanese copy boom of the 1970s, which also helped spawn the Ibanez Destroyer and Iceman.

After Ibanez were sued for copying Gibson designs they branched out into original designs. Their first original models were the aforementioned two guitars, as well as the Performer, a Les Paul-type with a small curve cut into the bass side of the neck joint.This design has been more famously used by another Japanese company, Aria, on the iconic PE series.

Around 1978 the Performer was followed by the new Studio and Musician series.

The Musician was a more conservative piece of design than the wild stylings of the Iceman and the “Explorer-on-steroids” look utilised on the Destroyer.

It had a body shape halfway between a Stratocaster and a Les Paul, the same overall shape as a double cutaway PRS, although of course those guitars came about five years later. The most basic model was the MC100, with a bolt-on neck, although all the others, up to the custom order MC550WN model (of which only 465 were made), were neck-through.

The Studio series is less well-known, and less upscale than the Musicians. The Studio series all had set necks, although this was the only main difference to the Musician.

This new series of guitars were known for their excellent sustaining properties, although this did lead to extra unwanted weight. The woods used were usually walnut and maple (for the through-neck), plus ash or walnut “wings” which formed the actual body.

Pickups were Ibanez Super 88 humbuckers, and the high-end MC500 had an onboard three-band EQ activated by a toggle switch. This gave the player free rein to create a properly unique sound, for when the other two toggle switches activating phase reversal and coil splitting of the pickups just weren’t enough.

The MC500 had controls for the passive pickup mode, and three more knobs for when the EQ switch was on. The passive controls were a master volume, master tone, three-way pickup selector and the coil split and phase reversal switches. When the third toggle switch was activated the active controls (a different knob type to avoid confusion between the passive and active controls) controlled Bass boost, Midrange boost and Treble boost. The control layout for the Musician MC500, while vast, was quite simple and easy to use.

The EQ allowed for a vast spectrum of sounds, and the beautiful woods, through-neck, carved top and huge sustain made the MC500 one of the more desirable guitars of the late 1970s. There are also many good reviews of the other guitars in the series, and the models have a cult following among players.

The guitars aren’t too rare, but can be fairly hard to find sometimes. A recent search on eBay uprooted a few guitars, mostly in America.

An MC500 is going for just under £1100, while another MC200 looks to be going for significantly less.

Every review I have read of these guitars praises them, particularly the MC500, and they are worth quite a lot now.

Below is a picture of a beautiful MC500 (albeit with no strings attached), and I will attempt to explain the control layout.

musician Controls

Categories
General

Oh No!!! Van crashes into guitar repair shop

Doc Pittillo described the Saturday morning crash that has left him physically unharmed but financially devastated as something akin to a psychedelic experience.

van crashes into guitar repair shop“I turned around and actually saw the van come through the window of the store,” Pittillo said. “It was slow motion.”

Pittillo, owner of The Guitar Doctor, 18171 Euclid St., said he was plucking a guitar in front of his shop about a minute before a minivan slammed into its front window.

“If I were standing there, my guess is I would have been killed or really badly mangled,” Pittillo said. “There are usually a lot of people in the front of the shop. Man, if that would have happened with the customers there? Somebody would have been killed…there’s no doubt in my mind. It would have been really ugly”.

Only Pittillo and one of his workers, both who were near the back, were at the store at the time.Fire officials said they received a call about 11 a.m. about a vehicle that had crashed into the store at Euclid and Newhope streets. Other details about the crash, such as the driver’s name, remain unknown because Fountain Valley Police Department officials did not return multiple calls for comment.

Witnesses said that a gold-colored minivan crashed into the shop. The driver, his wife and teen-age daughter were also in the vehicle, they added. All seemed uninjured.While Pittillo said he is grateful to be unhurt, he said he lost at about $80,000 worth of valuables inside the store, including many vintage guitars.

One in particular was a candy apple-red 1965 Fender Stratocaster, worth at least $40,000, he said. “And I have no recourse,” Pittillo said.While he had insurance on the actual building, Pittillo said the contents inside were not insured because he couldn’t afford it.

“It’s not the value so much but that this instrument I played on the road for years,”

Pittillo said about the ‘65 Fender.

By Cindy Carcamo, Orange County Register

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General

How Guitar Strings Are Made

Interesting video this, for anyone who was ever curious about how the process of string making took place.

This video shows D’addario string manufacture.

Enjoy!

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General

Start ’em Young!

Not a guitar collecting item, but this deserves some further promotion;

“Folsom Prison Blues” performed by Wesley, 5 years old, at the 2009 Spring Coffee Shop Jam, at The Columbia City Theater in Seattle, WA.

Amazing what 5 year old kids spend their time doing these days, eh?

Categories
General

Bay Area Guitar Show Sees Fewer Buyers

Rob Szupak is a semi-retired contractor itching to become a fully retired contractor. For the past three years, the 62-year-old Fairfax resident has been restoring vintage lap steel guitars and tube amplifiers and reselling them, hoping to earn enough of a living to make that his primary source of income.

Szupak’s entry into the guitar market just happened to coincide with the biggest economic downturn in decades, a recession that has sent guitar prices plummeting as much as 50 percent in some cases. Szupak is one of the 40 vendors displaying their wares at the Bay Area World Guitar Show, taking place this last weekend at the Marin Civic Center Exhibit Hall.

“It’s one of those things like sailboats, when the economy goes down, people just aren’t spending money on guitars and amps like they used to,” said Szupak, whose company is called Slide Zone. “I’ve been watching my favorite instruments in the world becoming less valuable over the years.”

Vendors throughout the exhibit hall floor said they’d reduced their prices across their inventory. Show organizer Larry Briggs said that although price cuts have hurt vendors, consumer interest remained high, even if fewer attendees were leaving with a purchased guitar in hand. He said he expected more than 1,500 attendees, on par with the same two-day event in Marin a year ago.

“It’s all coincided with people seeing the value of their home drop and their 401Ks going out the window,” said Briggs, a resident of Tulsa, Oklahoma who puts on eight guitars shows a year in the U.S., including two in Marin. “People that were making money were spending it on guitars. Now that their nest egg has been taken away in many cases, they’re not. But the opportunities to buy are certainly better now.”

“People just aren’t spending money these days,” said Gary Garcia, a Sacramento builder of handmade guitars, including one he made two years ago for former Prime Minister Tony Blair at the request of Californian Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who gave it to Blair as a reirement present. “They’re more likely to hold onto what they already have, so there’s a lot more repair business now.”

While the bursting of the real estate bubble certainly impacted the guitar market, many vendors said some guitars had a bubble of their own. High-end electric guitars, particularly vintage models from the 1950s and 1960s, exploded in price earlier this decade, and have subsequently taken the biggest hit. Bob Danielson of Schoenberg Guitars in Tiburon said the boom was sparked in part by a front page Wall Street Journal article 10 years ago that highlighted the value of vintage guitars as an investment.

“All of a sudden all of these novices who weren’t players or collectors started buying vintage guitars – that drove the market to insanity,” Danielson said. “You had people calling into dealers saying, ‘what’s my guitar worth today?’ They were treating it like the stock market. That really made it crazy, but it’s getting back to normal.”

For instance, a 1957 Les Paul Gibson that may have commanded $200,000 a year ago would likely fetch $150,000 today, according to Vintage Guitar magazine’s annual price guide.

The other end of the market is vastly improved, Danielson said. Entry-level guitars are cheaper and better quality than ever, and the demand remains high. To respond to that trend, Rich King, whose store, Guitar Maniacs, is based in Tacoma, Washington, took many of his guitars worth $30,000 or greater and sold them, using that revenue to buy more guitars in the $200 to $2,000 price range. “It’s all about how low will people go,” he said.

King said the Marin show is typically “softer” than other shows. While he sold 32 guitars at a show in Dallas in April, he hadn’t sold one by late afternoon Saturday. Szupak was in equally unfortunate company. He said he remains hopeful that business will pick up. “But I’m hanging onto that optimism with my fingernails right now,” he said.

Jim Welte

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Collectable Guitars

Collectable Guitars pt 32 – Washburn A-20V Stage Series


icontexto-webdev-social-bookmark-09facebook481The Washburn A10-A20V Stage series of guitars were produced between 1979 and 1985.

Washburn A-20V Stage GuitarShaped like a truncated Gibson Explorer with a chunky slanted headstock, the high quality Stage series found homes with a fair number of rock guitarists in the early 1980’s. They were produced in Japan in the highly regarded Matsumoku factory, which also built guitars for Ibanez, Westone, and a host of other manufacturers.

The lower model A10 has a bolt on neck, while the higher priced A15 had a set neck, leading up to the top of the range A20s which had through necks.

Washburn also made a bass version, the B20 which sells for around the same prices as the guitars.

  • Features included dual humbuckers with independent tone and volume
  • Push/pull coil splits
  • A three-piece 22 fret v-shaped maple neck,
  • Ash body wings with flamed two-piece maple top
  • Ebony fretboard with brass washer-shaped inlays
  • Strat-style tremelo with string-thru-body
  • Sealed tuners
  • Brass nut
  • Full binding

Washburn released them again as a re-issue in 1995. Prices are fairly low for such a well made guitar, but I guess the shape is an acquired taste, not suitable for everyone.

I have recently seen a couple of A10s for sale on GBase for $5-700, so I have to assume that the A20 will be a little higher, probably $800-1000, which I think makes them pretty decent value.

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Collectable Guitars

Collectable Guitars pt 31 – Tokai Talbo


icontexto-webdev-social-bookmark-09facebook481This guitar was originally made from 1982 to 1984 in Japan by Tokai, who at this point were looking to expand away from the copies they specialised in.

Tokai Talbo GuitarIt was very unusual in that the body was not made of wood, as you might expect, but aluminium instead. As such the name was actually an acronym for Tokai ALuminium BOdy. The benefits of using aluminium were sustainability- no trees get chopped down to make enough aluminium for a Talbo body, and a different sound.

Made of cast aluminum alloy AC-4B, which is commonly used in racing car engines, the Talbo’s design is simple and elegant, combining new and traditional elements. Basically, it’s like two superimposed teardrops with the tips pointing right and left to yield a bi-level, sculptured double cutaway. Its headstock decal reads “The New Legend Of The Guitar History.”

The aluminium body was mostly solid, but with a large hollow chamber for the controls and for weight reduction. It had Blazing Fire pickups, usually a bridge humbucker and two single coils although two humbucker versions are not uncommon. The neck is made of maple and is bolted to the body.

The Talbo Blazing Fire is a quality guitar, comfortable, easy to play, with a great sound. If there’s a limitation, it’s that the three-way select limits the tonal potential, although this is mitigated somewhat with the two volumes. Perhaps the most famous appearance of the Tokai Talbo in the 1980s was in the hands of the band Devo.

Tokai Talbos were promoted briefly in American and European markets for perhaps a couple years, but after 1984 seemed to disappear from the radar. They didn’t disappear  though. The Talbo appears to have continued in production in Japan since its ’82 debut. And what’s more, it continued to evolve. What had been called the Blazing Fire became simply the Talbo, in its present state offered with twin humbuckers. In 1999, Tokai introduced the Talbo Woody, an all-wood version made of two hollowed-out pieces of maple.

A more interesting variant was the Talbo Junior that debuted in 2000. It takes the teardrop-shaped sound chamber and encapsulates it in cast aluminum, then hollows the top of the body and cutaway horns, making them just a frame. Then, to spice things up, it adds a built-in amplifier under the strings. That same year, the Talbo’s body was extended and turned into the Talbo Bass. And finally, Tokai brought back the Blazing Fire moniker on a fantastic blue-tinted transparent plexiglass version, still with the 3-D Talbo shape, but with no aluminum. These are produced in Korea.

So what of the original Talbo? Well, prices probably are about £700-£1000 for the guitars and basses, while the new Woody models are probably significantly less.

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General

Canadian Guitarist Gets Revenge For Airline Damaged Guitar


icontexto-webdev-social-bookmark-09facebook481

You have probably seen this story by now, but I thought I’d report on it anyway;

A broken guitar is turning out to be a major break for Canadian musician Dave Carroll.

Carroll has become an Internet sensation after posting a revenge song on YouTube about United Airlines’ baggage handlers breaking his guitar during a flight in the United States.

His video for the song “United Breaks Guitars” was posted on the popular file-sharing site Monday night and had received more than 600,000 hits by Thursday evening.

Dave CarrollHe’s also received thousands of emails and a flood of friend requests on Facebook.

“I was thinking I’d definitely get some action on (YouTube) because the song has been resonating so well with audiences as I’ve been performing it, but I didn’t know it would take off like this,” Carroll said Thursday.

“It’s been a whirlwind and the craziest two days of my life.”

On the same day as Michael Jackson’s memorial service Tuesday, Carroll’s video was one of the most watched on YouTube.

Carroll, 41, said it’s ironic that his video has gotten far more attention than anything he’s ever done in 15 years as a musician.

“Every musician wants to get their stuff out there. I just didn’t necessarily expect it to happen in this way.”

Carroll, a guitarist for the pop-rock group Sons of Maxwell, might have to scrap plans to take it easy this summer as he fields calls for appearances.

Since the clip appeared on The Chronicle Herald’s website Tuesday afternoon, Carroll’s schedule has been packed with interviews. On Wednesday night, the story was featured on the Situation Room on CNN and has appeared in newspapers across Canada and the U.S. Even Oprah’s people called Thursday afternoon.

Along with emailed stories from people who empathize with his broken guitar and damaged luggage, Carroll has received a stream of requests for gigs from as far away as Las Vegas.

The catchy song recounts Carroll’s year-long struggle to get compensation for what he calls “a vicious act of malice” at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago last year.

Carroll was flying between Halifax and Nebraska when he switched planes in Chicago. The passenger next to him noticed baggage handlers tossing guitar cases outside the plane.

At first Carroll thought his Taylor guitar was destroyed. Even after paying $1,400 in repairs, it still doesn’t play the way it used to but he keeps it for sentimental reasons. He played it on all eight of his band’s albums.

The songwriter spent the past year trying to get compensation from United Airlines. When the airline refused to take responsibility, the songwriter made the humorous music video and posted it online.

Some fans have praised Carroll in emails for dealing with the problem in what they say is a distinctly Canadian way.

“They appreciate the high road that I’ve taken with the light-hearted approach to it and they say they’re proud to be Canadian because of it,” said Carroll.

Taylor Guitars in California got in touch to say they’d be happy to see if they could repair the damaged guitar. They also promised a big discount on his next purchase.

United Airlines also called to say it wants to discuss the situation. Officials for the airline reportedly said they liked the video and want to use it as a textbook case on how to handle customer complaints in the future.

The video was shot in 12 hours with friends dressing up as flight attendants and musicians. Volunteer firemen played the baggage handlers who are shown playing catch with the guitar case and tossing it like a hammer throw.

Carroll initially told United he would write three songs about his broken guitar. He plans to debut the second song in the next few weeks but hasn’t written the third one yet.

He said it remains to be seen whether his story will be “a love story or a tragedy.”

By ELIZABETH McMILLAN The Canadian Press


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General

John Lennon’s Hofner Senator sells for £205,250!


icontexto-webdev-social-bookmark-09facebook481A 1958 Hofner Senator guitar owned by John Lennon sold for £205,250 at Christies London auction yesterday.

Guitars owned by John Lennon very rarely appear on the market and George Harrison’s verification of this guitars’ provenance in his letter to Lily Evans is invaluable.

Harrison’s own keen interest in guitars meant that he had a clear recollection of the models he and his fellow Beatles owned and used over the years. In the course of Christie’s research, Lennon’s friend and colleague Pete Shotton told us that although he himself didn’t remember who played what guitar [Shotton himself was not a guitarist but played the washboard in the Quarry Men] George had an extremely good memory for detail and would not put his name to a statement unless it was correct.

John Lennon Hofner Senator guitarThere has been some written speculation in the past that this Hofner Senator may be the very one that former Quarry Man Ken Brown owned, however this seems unfeasible when the provenance of this guitar is analysed.

In the course of their research Christies spoke to Ken Brown himself about this rumour and he stated that he did not believe this to be the same guitar as the Hofner Sentator he owned. Also when it is considered that fellow Beatle George Harrison recalls Lennon owning one of these models, and that this guitar’s history shows that John gave his Hofner Senator and a white Vox guitar to trusted friend and road manager Mal Evans.

Evans did not appear on the Beatle scene until 1963 long after Ken Brown’s six-week interlude with the Quarry Men in 1959, and as far as we know their paths never crossed. All these factors appear to refute the Ken Brown association with this particular guitar entirely.

In the late ’50s and early ’60s American electric guitars were not readily available in the UK and if they could be found were very expensive, as a result budding guitarists had to rely on German-made and European electric guitars. Although Lennon came to be identified with the Rickenbacker 325 from late 1960-1961 onwards, what he himself described as his first ‘real guitar’ was a Hofner.

As soon as John Lennon and George Harrison began to earn some money by playing at the Casbah club in Liverpool with the Quarry Men, they both purchased Hofner Club 40 electric guitars, John’s first Hofner, and George’s second, his first being a Hofner President. John’s guitar was acquired via hire-purchase from Hessy’s Music Shop on August 28th, 1959 and he recalled in an interview that when ..George and I saw a Hofner Club 40 we thought it was the end. All the Quarry Men’s performances in 1959 at the Casbah Coffee club were without a drummer – if they were asked about this absence, they would respond: “The rhythm’s in the guitars”. The line-up of guitars at this time was John and George with their two Hofner Club 40s; Ken Brown with his Hofner Senator [for the 6 weeks he was with the Quarry Men] and Paul McCartney with his Zenith.

Hofners are closely associated with all the early Beatles, although in November 1959 George Harrison had moved on from his Hofner Club 40 to a Futurama, the closest thing he could get to a Fender Stratocaster. In January 1960 when Stuart Sutcliffe joined the group as bass player he purchased a large electric Hofner 333 bass guitar with money he had received from selling one of his canvases at the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool. With the addition of Sutcliffe the group’s name changed from the Quarry Men to The Beatles [as a tribute to Buddy Holly’s Crickets although initially spelt Beatals]. Photographs of the group during their landmark first tour of Hamburg show Lennon playing his Hofner Club 40. It was this gruelling tour which provided the group with the foundation for their success, as Mark Lewisohn wrote: Five hundred hours on stage in Hamburg…forged the style that would conquer the world. It seems highly probable that Lennon may have purchased this Hofner Senator whilst earning money in Germany either in 1960 or the following year. It was there in Hamburg in 1961 that Paul McCartney acquired what was to become his signature instrument, his first Hofner 500/1 violin bass.

The lack of photographic evidence of Lennon with this Hofner Senator suggests that he probably kept this guitar at home for writing purposes. It is significant that John Lennon had this guitar during those formative years in the early sixties, and that it was with him right at the beginning of his phenomenal career, when he was writing such early classics as: Please Please Me – The Beatles first No 1; Do You Want to Know A Secret, There’s A Place, I Feel Fine, Help!and Ticket To Ride to name but a few. Putting speculation aside for a moment, it is certainly true that John Lennon guitars with provenance are exceptionally rare and to see one from Lennon’s early career supported by documentation from fellow Beatle George Harrison is scarce indeed.

Serial No.4697, Senator model, natural finish, 22 fret fingerboard with five triple dot inlays, back of the neck applied with a square paper sticker the blue background with cream lettering spelling LOVE; Compensator tailpiece, bound f-holes, plastic facia with a Hofner logo, simulated tortoiseshell pickguard; and contour case containing a few pieces including a contemporary set of Martin Bronze strings, and a simulated tortoiseshell guitar pick; accompanied by: a facsimile copy of a typescript letter from George Harrison to Mal Evans’ widow Lily on October 26th, 1982 on Harrisongs Ltd. headed stationery, regarding this guitar which states that this: Hofner is one of the first guitars of John’s going back to the early days in Liverpool (1960-ish)… ; and a photograph of Lennon playing a Hofner Club 40 at the Top Ten Club, Hamburg, 1960 —8x10in.(20x26c.) (printed later).

Two Hofner Violin basses, both signed by Paul McCartney, were also sold in the same auction; a 1960’s one sold for £8750 and a 1970’s model for £10, 625.

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General

The Michael Jackson Tribute Post

icontexto-webdev-social-bookmark-09facebook481Michael Jackson isn’t the name that usually springs to mind when thinking about guitars, although Eddie Van Halen and Steve Lukather played on the “Thriller” album, Slash played on “Black and White”, and I think Steve Stevens played on “Dirty Diana”.

As the world and his wife are still going on about his death, I thought this video would be a fitting tribute to his passing; it has all the elements required for a fitting tribute…guitars, Billie Jean, young boys…

This kid is an incredible player..Enjoy!

RIP Michael..

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General

London Guitar Show 2009

icontexto-webdev-social-bookmark-09facebook481We made a trip to the London Guitar show last weekend, or to give it its proper title, the London International Music Fair 09, held at the Excel Centre in East London.

I have to say it was a disappointment.

There were noticably fewer guitar manufacturers on display; no Fender, Gibson, or Dean and very few bass companies either, compared to last year.

Nigel Tufnell Guitar

Ernie Ball/Musicman has the same display cases from the last show with the Spinal Tap Nigel Tufnell  “show guitars”  from the last show, as well as autographed Steve Lukather and Albert Lee models.

Acoustic makers were well represented, with quite a few small manufacturers taking stands, and a few companies selling accessories and peripherals.

Apart from a few other notable amp and guitar companies such as Orange, Marshall (with Jim Marshall signing autographs!) Yamaha, PRS and Vintage/Fret King/JHS the rest of the show seemed to be full of PA gear and MIDI stuff.

I assume the credit crunch had an effect on the number of companies able to commit to taking stand space this year, and also there appeared to be less people milling about too.

I guess people don’t have the same levels of disposable income they used to, or if they do, they are being more reticent about parting with it.

Overall it felt disappointing, although I’m sure we’ll be there complaining again next year!

Nigel Tufnell Live Earth Guitar

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General

Vintage Guitar Parts

I found an interesting new website today, which may be useful for all of us at some point.

Fender Stratocaster Volume KnobThe Parts Drawer is a vintage guitar parts service, dealing primarily with Gibson and Fender (about 80% of their stock) but also catering for other makes too.

In their own words;

With over 20 years of experience in the business we offer an expertise that is unrivaled in the vintage guitar parts industry.

The Partsdrawer our flagship Internet store has a constant changing inventory and is updated daily.  We guarantee all parts that we sell are authentic and not reproduction.

Over the years we have had the opportunity to buy and sell thousands of vintage guitars and have noted every detail of their original parts.

We have seen just about every variation of  vintage guitars and hundreds of custom ordered vintage guitars from Gibson, Fender, Gretsch, Martin, National , Guild and many others from original owners that have has unique but original parts to them.

Vintage Gibson guitar parts and vintage Fender guitar parts make up 80% of our inventory but we carry all vintage brand guitar parts when possible.  If we do not have the part you need in stock at the moment we will gladly try and track it down for you .

We have been a part of the vintage guitar community for over 20 years and has made critical connections over the years that enables us to offer the largest selection of vintage guitar parts in the country. We also have an endless supply of vintage guitar parts from our customer base throughout the world.

Many of our customers sell us parts , broken guitars , new old stock parts  from music stores and even trade in parts for our vintage guitar on a daily basis. This makes our business both exciting and interesting because we never know what will walk through our doors today.

Please take a moment and browse our site and view the fine selection we have at the moment . There is never a problem. The Partsdrawer offers a no questions asked 48 hour return privilege . A quick search on the Internet and the associated guitar forums and you will find our reputation is outstanding as is our commitment to our customers is unsurpassed.

Link is here; The Parts Drawer

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Collectable Guitars

Collectable Guitars pt 30 – Fender Elite Telecaster

icontexto-webdev-social-bookmark-09facebook481Fender’s iconic Telecaster has many submodels to its name, which have their own distinct set of players. These include the Thinline semi-hollow model, the Custom with a humbucker at the neck and a different scratchplate, and the Deluxe, with two humbuckers and a wide headstock reminiscent of the 1970s Stratocasters.

But that isn’t the full list of submodels offered as part of this iconic range…

Fender Elite TelecasterThe Elite concept was an ambitious project to combine tradition with modern (at the time) technologies with more user-friendly hardware, upgraded electronics and better neck adjustment. The intention was to produce an upgraded version of a classic with a more modern look and feel, and to hopefully entice some Gibson players into the Fender family.

It was designed as a loud rock-orientated instrument, with 2 humbuckers, four knobs as opposed to the usual two,a three way toggle switch and white binding on the top body edge. The Elite had new pickups and active circuitry, with MDX and TBX controls, a biflex truss rod and a new heavy duty cast bridge, not usually seen on Telecasters. According to several reviews on Harmony Central.com the guitar has a heavy ash body and the usual bolt-on maple neck.

The Telecaster Elite is truly “the one that got away”- it was introduced in 1983 in 3 different versions;

  • The Elite, with chrome hardware,
  • The Gold Elite with gold-plated hardware and pearloid button tuners
  • The Walnut Elite, made with American black Walnut body and neck., an ebony fretboard, gold-plated hardware and pearloid button tuners.

A tremolo and 22 fret neck version were also considered, but CBS’s decision in 1984 to divest from Fender put paid to these variations.

Fender Elite Telecaster

It was, as was the case with the Performer and Katana released around the same time, just too different for traditional Fender players to accept as a guitar truly worth their attention and was dropped with little or no fanfare in 1985.

However, if we assess it on its own merits the story could have been quite different.

The guitars weren’t generally accepted by Fender fans, and as such are rare. However, examples occasionally come up for sale, usually in the £750-1200 range. I myself saw one on a recent trip to that haven for all things guitar, Denmark Street in London. The price tag said £ask, however, so prices remain unclear.

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Collectable Guitars

Collectable Guitars pt 29 – Ampeg Dan Armstrong Plexiglass

icontexto-webdev-social-bookmark-09facebook481The Dan Armstrong Plexiglass was a very odd guitar originally made from 1969 to 1971 as an effort by popular amplification company Ampeg to draw in some more sales than their then-ailing amp lines were. The guitars came about from legendary guitar builder and repairer Dan Armstrong posing Ampeg the question:

“Since you make guitar and bass amplifiers, why not also make guitars and basses?”

Dan Armstrong Plexiglass GuitarAmpeg then asked Armstrong to design some guitars and basses for them to market. The design he came up with resides somewhere between a Strat and an SG, but with a surreal twist: the body was made entirely of a solid slab of Plexiglas (the trade name for a type of rigid, clear plastic) and the scratchplate of a piece of the wood-grain replica pattern Formica, popular on furniture in the 1960s and 70s.

The other very novel and inventive feature of the Dan Armstrong was the electrics arrangement. There was only one pickup “slot”, at the bridge position. There was no pickup actually installed, but specially designed self-contained pickups were available, a twin blade humbucker or a blade single-coil. All the pickups were contained in the same size casing, but the upside was that the two types of pickups could be slotted in very easily and with no complex modification required. There was also an inbuilt volume boost circuit.

There were a couple of clear upsides of the Plexiglas Ampeg, which was available as a guitar or bass. The solid Plexiglas body had a lot more sustain than most other guitars available at the time, new pickups could be slotted in easily with the radical circuitry, and the Plexi body just looked refreshingly different. However, it was also very heavy, and more difficult to make than wooden guitars. Ampeg and Dan Armstrong parted ways in 1971, and the guitar was no more. However, the model has been reissued and is currently available. Ampeg also do cheaper versions made of mahogany or swamp ash.

The guitars have been most famously used by Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters and Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones.

Current prices for originals are high, and the 1970s models are rare. The armies of 1970s Ampeg copies by Ibanez and Shaftesbury are also rare and collectable, but prices for the reissue start at £450-ish for the wooden ones, and the Plexi reissues are about £1000.

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Collectable Guitars

Collectable Guitars pt 28 – Daion Guitars

icontexto-webdev-social-bookmark-09facebook481Now here’s one you might not have heard of.

Daion were an old Japanese company operating from the famed Matsumoku factory for a short period in the early 1980s. The Daions were very high quality, and full of innovative features.

They had a range of electrics, basses and acoustics which were often very different to the usual guitars available from the bigger companies.

Daion GuitarsOne of the better known (and I use that term loosely) Daion models was the semi-solid ES-335-alike 555 Headhunter, which featured an innovative third cutaway on the bottom of the body.

The central solid block was a sandwich of maple and spruce, with ten grooves cut into each end for increased resonance. It also included a coil split function for each pickup and through-body stringing, a first for semi-hollow guitars.

The company also made two lines of solid-body twin cutaway guitars. The Savage utilised a bolt-on neck and two humbuckers, or three in the case of the Barbarian from the same line.

There was also a bass, similar in looks to a Gibson Ripper. The other run was the through-neck Power series.

This had the SG-alike Power Mk.X and the Mk.XX, which looked similar to a Westone or Ibanez Musician. These also had two humbuckers.

Daion also made acoustic guitars, some, in the Caribou and Gazelle series, with a similar bottom cutaway to the 555 Headhunter. There were even 12 string models.

Daion Power Solid Body Guitars

The Caribou and Gazelle were Daion’s response to the upcoming amplified acoustics market, while the Legacy and Year series were standard high quality acoustics.

Daion, for whatever reason, was a shortlived brand which never really took off.

Very few people have ever even heard of this underrated company, which is why, in the rare event of a Daion of any type coming up for sale, it never generates as much interest as it probably should.

Daions sell infrequently, so prices are unclear. I found a Daion Acoustic which sold for $850 a couple of years back, but Ebay searches didn’t bring up any guitars at all. I would guess the 555 semis would be worth between £500-1000 and  if the trickle of enthusiastic players is to be believed they are worth every penny of whatever figure they sell for.

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General

Ronnie Monrose sues Gary Moore over theft of ’59 Les Paul

icontexto-webdev-social-bookmark-09facebook481In a downer moment that must have left countless concert-goers blinking, shaking their heads, and bellowing, “drag, man!” Guitarist Ronnie Montrose actually stopped a show in mid-song, had the house lights turned on, and scoured the theater when his 1959 Gibson Les Paul Standard was stolen right off the stage.

Gary MooreMontrose, a San Franciscan, hasn’t seen his guitar (which he bought from J. Geils) since that night on Oct. 10, 1972 when he played Dudley, Mass. with the Edgar Winter Band … until now. The San Francisco musician — who has played with Herbie Hancock, Van Morrison and others — claims that after 37 years of scouring and thousands of dollars spent on private detectives, his guitar has turned up in the possession of British musician and guitar collector Gary Moore — and, last week,  Montrose filed suit in San Francisco District Court.

Gibson Les Paul models of this vintage are crafted of mahogany; only around 1,700 or so were ever made and no two guitars look exactly alike. Montrose claims he can identify his old axe from pictures of Moore’s collection — but, more exactingly, he says the serial number of the guitar is the same as the one taken from him in Dudley.   

Reached at his home in Brighton, England, Moore refused to discuss the matter, saying only that the “whole thing is a sham” and “I’ve had that guitar for more than 20 years.” Montrose doesn’t dispute that notion, but he insists that doesn’t change the fact that Moore is in possession of his stolen guitar and must return it. An angry Moore refused to comment further on his tussle with Montrose over the decades-old instrument.

The legal ramifications of the case are complex, and Montrose hopes to get a judge to weigh in on several issues, including the statute of limitations on a 37-year-old case and an instance in which the current owner of a piece of stolen property is not alleged to have stolen it. Another major issue is jurisdictional, as the theft is alleged to have occurred in Massachusetts, its current owner lives in England and Montrose lives in San Francisco.

Ed Roman, owner of Ed Roman Guitars in Las Vegas, has served as an expert witness in stolen guitar cases for the estate of late guitar great Jimi Hendrix. He said Montrose faces an uphill battle, primarily because the alleged theft occurred so long ago.

Roman said the Hendrix estate and Paul McCartney have been unable to retrieve stolen guitars in cases where they knew who had them but were unable to overcome the years gone by. “If it is more than 10 years ago, the person who has it usually keeps it,” he said. “I doubt Ronnie is going to be able to get it back.”

Guitar thefts have long been common in the music business. R.E.M.’s Peter Buck had his prized Rickenbacker guitar stolen in September in Helsinki, Finland, only to have it returned anonymously two weeks later at a show in Luxembourg. Slash of Guns N’ Roses fame had his Gibson Les Paul Goldtop guitar stolen from his studio in 1998, and Gibson eventually made a new one for its longtime star client.

Montrose’s hunt for his guitar has been rife with false leads, missed opportunities and dead ends. In January 1977, someone contacted one of Montrose’s bandmates about the guitar’s whereabouts, only to disappear when Montrose hired a private investigator to look into it.

The hunt regained steam in the early 2000s when Indelicato was given a photo of a 1959 Gibson Les Paul by another guitar dealer at a Texas guitar show and told that Montrose’s instrument was in the hands of an English guitar player. The photo showed the guitar’s serial number, and Indelicato claims that an Internet search for the serial number sent him to a forum thread on the Gibson Web site that connected Moore and the serial number for Montrose’s missing guitar.

But it was the November 2007 issue of the British magazine Guitar Buyer that ignited the standoff between Montrose and Moore, who once played for Thin Lizzy as well as being a well respected solo artist.

The publication featured a multi-page spread on Moore and his guitar collection, including several photos of a 1959 Gibson Les Paul Standard. The Sunburst guitar is known for its distinctive maple wood face with unique wood grain patterns. Montrose claims a photo showing a pin-sized hole in the back of the guitar is the proof, as he drills such holes in all of his guitars.

The Guitar Buyer photos showed that the guitar had sustained significant wear and tear over the past 37 years, a sign that Montrose’s complaint claims “substantiates a risk of future damage so as long as the ’59 Gibson remains in Mr. Moore’s possession.”

An angry Moore refused to comment further on his tussle with Montrose over the decades-old instrument. But his quote in the Guitar Buyer story shed light on its value to both men.

When asked if he still played the ’59 Gibson on the road, he replied, “Sometimes, but don’t tell anyone that. I don’t really like taking it out too much because it’s getting a bit scary now. I don’t think I’ll find another Gibson Les Paul to replace it. I’d have to get one of the same vintage, because no matter what new ones I get, they’re never going to be like that.”


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Collectable Guitars

Collectable Guitars pt 27 – Fender Robben Ford Model

icontexto-webdev-social-bookmark-09facebook481Blues/Jazz guitarist Robben Ford merges styles to redefine the term “fusion” music. His sound, delivery and conception are all his own – as unmistakable and personal as a fingerprint. He chose a deliberate reinterpretation of the unusual Fender Esprit Ultra as the basis for his signature instrument (the Fender Robben Ford Signature model), which reflects Robben’s discriminating and diverse as both a soloist and rhythm player.

Fender Robben Ford Signature GuitarDesigned in the mid-1980’s, the Esprit effectively reconciled the differences between a blues, jazz and rock guitar, making it ideal for Robben’s varied musical tangents. He was originally drawn to the smaller body size, double-cutaway comfort and remarkable playability of the Esprit as an alternative to the larger, honky-sounding semi-hollow-body he had been playing. Though the Esprit was discontinued by the late 1980’s, Robben remained an ardent user.

The History of the “Master Series”  (by Gary Koehler) is as follows;

Approximately 25 years ago, Dan Smith had an idea. He conceptualized a solidbody guitar with routed chambers. These chambers would, in theory, provide a more resonant tonal characteristic. He also formulated and designed a basic shape for the guitar.

Then, in the early 1980s, Fender became interested in producing and marketing instruments which would be viewed as alternatives to those offered by Gibson. These guitars would not be copies, of course, but highly playable guitars with versatile electronics and other features previously unavailable on instruments manufactured by Fender. The company asked Smith to submit a concept, and what followed was an adventurous effort to produce a new line of guitars unique to the Fender’s catalog. The line was called the Master Series.

Two of Smith’s designs were solidified – the Flame and the Esprit (pronounced espree). Both featured alder bodies with routed tone chambers, maple tops, and set-in necks.

The Flame’s body is slightly larger than a Gibson Les Paul, and features two slightly offset cutaways, similar to Gibson’s SG. Two special-design humbucking pickups were developed via Schaller, as was a tailpiece with fine-tuners. The intention was to offer an electronically versatile alternative to the Gibson Les Paul.

The Esprit’s body is slightly larger than the Flame’s, and features two symmetrical cutaways. As with the Flame, two special-design Schaller humbuckers were employed in conjunction with the fine-tuning tailpiece. This instrument was intended as an alternative to the Gibson ES-335.

A third model was an archtop designed by the late James D’Aquisto. His design included some imaginative, versatile features and stands as a testament to D’Aquisto’s creativity as a luthier. 

These three designs were marketed together as the Fender Master Series.

Once designs were approved, the company turned its attention to issues of manufacturing and production. Fender decided that, at that time, it did not possess the technology to build the instruments. The Japanese company Fujigen Gakki (which served as an Ibanez facility) was contracted by Fender to manufacture the line.

Fender ultimately decided to produce three models of both types. The suffixes Standard, Elite, and Ultra were added under the headings Flame and Esprit. Standards featured dot inlays and chrome tuners. The Elites featured diamond-flake inlays and pearloid-button tuners. And the Ultras had split-block shell inlays, ebony-button tuners and gold hardware. Finish options on the Standards were limited to black, autumn sunburst, and cherry sunburst. The Elite and Ultra were also available in white or pink frost, and candy red or candy green metallic burst.

Smith said Fender offered the Kahler tremolo bridge as an option on these guitars. He recalls Fender made the modification post-production, and relatively few were shipped.

He was unable to find records indicating quantities made, but estimated that between late 1983 and 1985, a few thousand were manufactured. In retrospect, Smith feels the guitars were successful in regard to quality and public perception. The line’s downfall was the sale and subsequent transitional period experienced by Fender. In 1986, Robben Ford was brought on as an endorser of the Esprit model, then Fender reworked the production concept and dubbed the guitar the Robben Ford signature model.

In its incarnation as the Robben Ford signature model, it has retained many of the Ultra’s significant features and deluxe appointments, as specified by Robben, including the Ebony fingerboard with fancy Mother-of-Pearl split-block inlays, Ebony tuning key pegs, multiple binding on the headstock, neck and body and gold-plated hardware. The solid Alder body with a carved Spruce top and built-in acoustical tone chambers is a clever variation on the classic solid-body construction theme of mahogany and maple and is a vital component in producing the rich and consistent sustaining Robben Ford solo guitar voice.

Another is the two-humbucker pickup configuration which yields both a mellow, neck-pickup jazz sound as well as a robust, bridge-pickup blues-rock tone. The coil-splitting switch provides interesting thinner and twangier single-coil timbres ideal for rootsy rock and roll, R&B and funky rhythm comping.

Current values of these rare and collectable guitars are in the £1500-2000 range.