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December, 2009:

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.

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.

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 810 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

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.

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

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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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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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