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Guitarists lose vintage gear in Nashville flood

icontexto-webdev-social-bookmark-09tipdrop logofacebook481Brad Paisley is one of hundreds of Nashville’s top stars, working musicians and tour support company owners who lost what will likely be millions of dollars in gear due the historic floods in Nashville.

Paisley is one of an estimated 1,000 musicians and business owners who house gear at Soundcheck Nashville, a storage rental hub in an industrial park down by the Cumberland River. Owner Ben Jumper said the 160,000 square feet of space he rents out is all flooded and the losses will be in the tens of millions. The storage facility is full of classroom-sized “lockers” used to store gear.

Keith Urban lost his gear. Friends say Vince Gill may have lost most of his entire guitar collection, including irreplaceable vintage pieces with historic value. A tractor-trailer full of LeAnn Rimes’ road gear is also probably under 3 1/2 to 8 feet of water, her guitarist Ryan Wariner said.

Wariner is trying to be optimistic, but there’s not a lot of reason for hope.

“Everything that I use but two guitars is in there — pedals, amps, speakers, mics, front house consoles, everything was in there,” said Wariner, son of Grammy-winning country artist Steve Wariner.

Another major Soundcheck client was the recently opened Musicians Hall of Fame, which stored historic instruments donated by dozens of top players, not only within the country music world, but from rock, R&B, soul and jazz players.

Joe Chambers, founder and chief executive of the Musicians Hall of Fame, which just opened a year ago, is distraught over the losses, but acknowledges that it could have been worse. “So many people lost the pillow they lay their head on at night, much less a guitar. But the fact is, a lot of historical instruments were stored at Soundcheck.”

Among those donated to the hall of fame were a Fender Stratocaster that belonged to Jimi Hendrix, a Gibson Les Paul played by the Who’s Peter Townshend, and one of Johnny Cash’s guitars.

“We had two of Lightning Chance’s basses — he’s somebody a lot of people don’t know about,” Chambers said, “He played at the Grand Ole Opry alongside Chet Atkins, Patsy Cline, Hank [Williams] Sr., the Everly Brothers. Both those basses just fell apart. One of them was used on Hank Sr.’s very last recording session — that’s the bass that’s heard on ‘Your Cheatin’ Heart.'”

Associated Press

Genuine Hendrix owned Strat for sale at Vintage and Rare!

My good friend Nicolai has a genuine Jimi Hendrix owned 1967 Fender Stratocaster for sale through one of his dealers (Rock Star Guitars) at his website, Vintage and Rare.

This sunburst guitar was given as a gift by Jimi in late 1968 to James “Tappy” Wright, who was a member of his management team along with Chas Chandler, of the Animals, who Tappy was also road manager for.

The guitar is currently on display in the Nashville Musicians Hall Of Fame and Museum and was the subject of various lawsuits over the years as the Hendrix estate tried to claim back ownership.

These lawsuits are now all settled, and the guitar is available for sale with full legal backing.

The historically interesting guitar is for sale for £260,000 and you can read more and see other photos on the vintage and Rare website.

The Strange World of Guitar Pick Collecting

icontexto-webdev-social-bookmark-09tipdrop logofacebook481I found this interesting little article yesterday; A subject close to my heart as I have a fair few “famous” guitar picks from my time working at Wembley Arena in the early 1980’s.

Unfortunately, many were unbranded, and over the years I have forgotten who owned what – It’s a shame that Angus Young and George Benson both favoured identical picks! I do have a few nice ones though; Rick Nielson from Cheap Trick, JY and Chuck from Styx, and a cool one that says “misplaced by Mick Jones” from Foreigner.

Here’s the article…

If you’ve ever wondered what all those guys were doing, eyes cast down, shuffling their tired feet, milling about at the front of the stage after Van Halen were safely in their buses and on the way to the next city… well, they were probably looking for guitar picks. Collecting custom imprinted picks is a collector craze that is still in its infancy but growing. Scott Roderick from www.swag.com, the biggest pick retailer in the world, thinks it’s catching on quicker than James Hetfield’s pick-clutching right hand.

“Guitar-pick collecting started off as a very cult-ish hobby and probably started gaining credibility somewhere around the mid-80s,” said Roderick. “A lot of stuff isn’t documented. Once again, it’s still somewhat a new hobby. But actual signature guitar picks, from bands, really started probably in the late ’70s, with bands like Van Halen. These old white on tortoise, or block black print on white are some of your earlier styles. And there were a few, Ted Nugent, I believe, had one, J. Geils; there were a handful of acts. But generally they’re block-type prints, very plain-looking. It’s the same as with backstage passes. You look at the old backstage passes, and there aren’t a lot of graphics. Basically it’s somebody’s stamp; not very graphically pleasing. But those are some of the first ones.

So generally they were white print or black print with the name of the band. But yeah, one guy looks at another and says, ‘Oh man, you’ve got your name printed on a pick; that’s cool.’ And one picks it up and then another picks it up, and before you know it, there are a lot of picks out there. And then some time in the early ’80s, you started seeing different colors, band logos, signatures printed on them, different materials.”

“There are really just a handful of companies who actually make these for the bands, one being Jim Dunlop, also D’Addario, D’Andrea,” explained Scott, when asked about print runs of something like a guitar pick. “Those of the three major players. There have been others who’ve come and gone…. plus Ernie Ball was in it for a time. They don’t even have records or samples of something that they printed 20 years ago. Nobody ever thought — and I’m speaking for them; they would be the ones to really ask to get the best answer — but they didn’t even think that this would be something people would think about collecting.

It’s really been since the mid-80s that somebody really started to go for this. I always like to use the analogy: Remember when we were kids and we took baseball cards and put them in the spokes of our bikes, or glued them into our books? Exactly. Well, now, nobody would ever think of doing that. So that’s my analogy with guitar picks. Nobody thought of these things as collectible. So there weren’t good records kept.”

Emphasizing the fact that the history can be lost, Scott said, “There have been times where you go backstage and you show an artist 60 different picks. ‘Look, I’m a collector, and here are all your picks.’ Sometimes they don’t even remember some of them. A lot of them grew up in the ’70s and ’80s. [laughs] And a lot of times, the guitar techs are responsible for specifications, and if that particular guitar tech is no longer with the band, some of the history goes away with that person.”

Goldminemag.com

Jeff Beck insures his fingers for £7 million

icontexto-webdev-social-bookmark-09tipdrop logofacebook481Guitar hero Jeff Beck has insured each of his fingers for £700,000 after accidentally chopping off the tip of one digit.

The 65-year-old had his mishap as he sliced carrots at his home in Sussex, reports The Daily Mirror.

Doctors sewed the tip of his left index finger back on but then he struggled to finish his new album Emotion and Commotion.

Therefore, he has now raised his insurance cover on his hands five-fold – making his 10 digits worth £7million.

A source close to the former Yardbirds star said: “Jeff was making a stew when he cut his finger clean off.

“Thankfully surgeons were able to patch it up. But now he’s taking no chances and has upped his insurance to £1million per finger.”

Collectable Guitars pt 39 – Fender Lead 1, 2 and 3 Models

icontexto-webdev-social-bookmark-09tipdrop logofacebook481The Fender Lead series electric guitars were manufactured from 1979-1982.

They was produced in Fullerton, California factory under the direction of Greg Wilson and John Page.

They resemble Fender Stratocasters in appearance, but have a unique set of features. Steve Morse was one endorsee of the Fender Lead, and the whole series were probably designed to cash in the fashion for single pickup, Van Halen style superstrats  in the late ’70s and early ’80s

In 1979, Fender introduced the Lead I. The Lead I had a only one pickup, a humbucker in the bridge position. The Fender Lead series models all had the 25 1/2 inch scale length  of a Fender Stratocaster and  all Lead models were available with either maple or rosewood fretboards.

The Fender Lead I controls are unique. There is a 3 position pickup selector switch (Neck pickup, Neck & Bridge parallel mix, Bridge pickup) a phase switch, a master volume control, master tone control. The volume and tone potentimoters are 250k and the tone capacitor is 0.05 uf ceramic.

The Fender Lead I was manufactured until the end of the Lead series in 1982. The price of a Fender lead I in 1979 was $399.

Today a Fender Lead I in excellent condition sells for up to $1000.

The Lead II was also introduced in 1979.

It featured Two specially designed X-1 single coil pickups. The X-1 pickups were promoted as “wide range single coils” and are slightly hotter than a standard Strat of that era.

Both the Lead I and Lead II were normally finished in either black, wine red or brown.

Today a Fender Lead II in excellent condition sells for around the same price as the Lead 1.

The Lead III was manufactured in 1982 only. It had 2 humbuckers.

All of these guitars are becoming collectable now, as they are American made Fenders  and the youngest are at least 25 years old, which gives them an intrinsic value. They are quite rare, but still affordable, so it it worth tracking them down and snapping them up when available.

RIP T-Bone Wolk

This is a personal one for me..

I was deeply saddened to hear of the passing of one of my all time bass heroes, T-Bone Wolk last week. Hall and Oates were one of my favourite bands for at least 20 years, and I saw them live on numerous occasions, always with T-Bone laying down the groove.

As a bass player he was a massive inspiration to me and I spent many hours working out his licks and stealing his grooves.

He was one of the busiest session musicians in the industry, having worked with some of the most popular artists in the past and the present, including Bette Midler, Carly Simon, Billy Joel, Robert Palmer, and Avril Lavigne among the artists he had worked with.

RIP T-Bone…the bass world won’t be the same without you.

Johnny Marr’s Stolen Gibson SG is Returned

icontexto-webdev-social-bookmark-09tipdrop logofacebook481Former Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr is “ecstatic” after one of his favourite guitars was returned to him – 10 years after it was stolen.

Marr’s treasured vintage 1964 Gibson SG vanished after a show with his band Johnny Marr and the Healers in London in 2000.

The musician was so upset by the theft, he offered a reward for information leading to the return of the guitar, which has an estimated value of £30,000.

Now he has finally been reunited with the instrument – after a guilt-ridden fan confessed to the theft.

Stephen White admitted stealing the guitar on the “spur of the moment” after he was invited backstage following the gig. He took it home by taxi and has kept it in his living room ever since – but was arrested earlier this year after cops received a tip-off.

At Highbury Corner Magistrates Court in north London last week, White pleaded guilty to theft, admitting he feels “disgusted” with himself.

Police Constable Christopher Swain said Marr is “ecstatic”, adding: “He bears no malice towards the defendant… The guitar did have a high sentimental value to him.”

A spokesman for Marr says, “He is obviously very happy to have his guitar returned.”

White was sentenced to 200 hours community service.

But is it art?

I don’t know…I have very mixed feelings about birds playing guitars!

Trained as a musician and composer, French artist Céleste Boursier-Mougenot creates works by drawing on the rhythms of daily life to produce sound in unexpected ways. His installation for The Curve will take the form of a walk-though aviary for a flock of zebra finches, furnished with electric guitars and other instruments and objects. As the birds go about their routine activities, perching on or feeding from the various pieces of equipment, they create a captivating, live soundscape.

The Barbican, London

Collectable Guitars pt 38 – Ibanez RBM Voyager Reb Beach Model

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Reb Beach was the guitarist with hair metal band, Winger, who achieved a reasonable level of fame in the late 80’s and early 1990’s. More recently he has been a member of David Coverdale’s Whitesnake.

This is signature guitar produced by Ibanez in the early 90’s is probably the guitar Reb is most closely identified with, in particular in his Winger days. Designed by Reb “on the back of a napkin on a plane flight when I’d had quite a bit to drink!” the guitar’s design echoes design features of some of Reb’s favourite guitars of the time, in particular the Steinberger GM model with its rear cutout.

The RBM1 and RBM 2 were the original Japanese models and later came the RBM 10 and 400. All Designed by Reb himself, the Voyagers combine great looks with a good tone. They were made with a Hawaiian Koa top on a mahogany body and a 22 fret maple neck with Bolivian rosewood fingerboard (also known as Pau Koa) and round clay dot markers.

Early models were fitted with EMG pickups; and 85 humbucker and two single coil SAs. Later models had Ibanez single coil SB10 pickups on the neck and middle positions and an Ibanez HB10 humbucker on the bridge. Early original models had a locking Floyd Rose tremolo system while later cheaper models were fitted with Ibanez’s own floating Lo-Pro trem. Most models came with gold hardware. Top of the line models were the Japanese made RBM2NT down to the Korean made RM10 model

The RBM model was Made in Korea at the Cort factory, and is pretty rare today. Quality is good, (being an Ibanez guitar) and the body shape is unusual without being too outlandish.

These days Reb has an endorsement deal and signature model with Suhr guitars, but still plays an RBM live ocasionally

Conan O’Brien Talks About Guitar Collecting

icontexto-webdev-social-bookmark-09tipdrop logofacebook481I came across this interesting clip today..I had no idea he was into guitars. Then again, being English, I don’t get to see  his show very often anyway and I guess I won’t be seeing it in the future either!

Being a big rockabilly fan he has his focus on Gretsch guitars…enjoy!

Guitar Collecting iphone app now available!

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We have developed a free iphone app for all our readers who want to read this site whilst on the move, or are sitting on the couch in front of the TV.

Just go to the Apple app store (direct from your phone or from Apple’s website) and search for “guitar collecting”.

Download the free app and then you can read the RSS feed of all our latest postings, and click through to the full article on the Guitar Collecting website.

We hope you like it..please tell all your iphone-owning guitarist friends, and leave us some feedback and comments about your thoughts!

How to Buy a Vintage Guitar

icontexto-webdev-social-bookmark-09tipdrop logofacebook481I found this interesting video on sale whilst browsing on Amazon yesterday.

How to Buy a Vintage Guitar [VHS]

This buyer’s guide teaches how to appraise, critique, determine originality and playability, recognize counterfeits and predict future investment values. Using both electric and acoustic guitars as teaching tools, George examines finish, hardware, fret type, inlays, bindings, peg head shapes, more.

As I’m sure you know, George Gruhn is one of the most well known experts in vintage guitars and this video will be packed with tips and hints built up from his life times experience in guitar collecting and dealing.

It’s an American tape, so foreign buyers should check they can play it in their own countries.

Lowell Kiesel, Founder of Carvin, 1915 – 2009

icontexto-webdev-social-bookmark-09tipdrop logofacebook481Just a little snippet of sad news;

It is with great sadness that Carvin announces the passing of it’s founder, Lowell C. Kiesel.

Mr. Kiesel was born in Nebraska in 1915, and as a young man, spent time in Wichita, Kansas, where he developed an interest in musical instruments; specifically, Hawaiian steel guitars, resonators and the electronic aspects of these instruments.

He founded the L. C. Kiesel Company in 1946, and began winding pickups on an old sewing machine owned by his wife, Agnes. The company was located in Los Angeles, briefly relocated back to Mr. Kiesel’s home state of Nebraska, and then moved back to southern California in 1949, where the name was changed to Carvin, after his two eldest sons, Carson and Gavin.

In the following years, the company expanded from pickups to guitars and basses, amplifiers, pro audio equipment and other musical accessories.

Mr. Kiesel’s leadership, technical expertise and innovative engineering concepts led the company for decades, and even after handing the reins of the company over to his sons, he maintained an office in Carvin’s San Diego headquarters and remained active in company operations.

He will be greatly missed and fondly remembered by the Kiesel family and the entire staff of Carvin.

Kirk Hammett’s ESP Guitar for sale at $35,000

icontexto-webdev-social-bookmark-09tipdrop logofacebook481A ten year old guitar played by Metallica lead guitarist Kirk Hammett is on sale online for $35,000. Hammett used the ESP Flying V guitar live on stage prior to August 1998.

Seller Neals Vintage Guitars is offering up the instrument on eBay.com for the fixed price.

A statement from the seller reveals, “Kirk played this guitar in concert quite a bit! Just after that, he gave me a backstage pass for a show at Irvine Meadows in Orange County, California on the Load tour, I went backstage and had everyone in Metallica sign the guitar, I also had them sign the Load CD. I then had the pickguard sprayed with a clear coat to protect the signatures.

“Then, in 2007, I was lucky enough to go the studio where Metallica was recording their most recent album, Death Magnetic.

At that time I had Kirk sign the back of the headstock and sign the letter of authenticity. I am including a photo of Kirk signing the guitar! This guitar has lots of road wear from Kirk playing it, but it is in good solid condition and plays great!”

Auction details here

Picasso’s “Little Guitar” recovered in Italy

icontexto-webdev-social-bookmark-09tipdrop logofacebook481Here is a weird but interesting little story…

A small guitar which Pablo Picasso had sculptured as a gift for his daughter Paloma has been recovered by the Italian Police.

The  Police state that Picasso had given the toy to his friend Vittorio Parisi.

Two years ago, Parisi, at the age of 92, handed over the little guitar to an Italian businessman and amateur artist who had promised to build a glass showcase for it to be exhibited at the civic museum on Lake Maggiore, but it was never seen again.

After Parisi’s death in January of 2009, his widow asked police to try to find the famous guitar.

She alerted them that the “Little Guitar” was still in the hands of the businessman. Police say the unnamed businessman never returned the work, keeping it in a shoebox in his home.

The guitar has never been valued, but is considered to be very valuable because of its originality.

The Italian businessman now faces fraud charges and a 3-10 year prison term.

It turns out father does know best

icontexto-webdev-social-bookmark-09tipdrop logofacebook481Here is a great story I unearthed the other day. It just goes to show that there are still some fantastic guitars out there, still waiting to be found!

This is the story of my father, who was a pack rat, his 50-year-old guitar, which sat neglected in our basement for years, and the extraordinary Hanukkah surprise our family received this year.

Much to my mom’s chagrin, my dad never threw out anything. Even old things would find a new use one day, dad used to say.

He not only kept things that were obviously meaningful–such as his old grammar school notebooks or his collection of corny, handwritten jokes he kept just in case he needed a groaner for a party.

He also saved stuff that no one else would think of keeping–like the hang tag for the 1956 Fender Esquire he bought in Saskatchewan not long after my parents immigrated to Canada.

Fate delivered a cruel blow about three decades ago when dad was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. The tremors first began in his right hand–his scalpel hand–and my father had to give up surgery.

Soon it became too difficult for him to play the guitar and the Fender was tucked into its bag and stashed away.

About a decade ago, my brother-in-law expressed interest in learning how to play the guitar so my father gave him the Fender. But just like I never used that sewing machine I bought on a whim many years ago, my brother-in- law never got around to taking guitar lessons.

So the lonely Fender sat untouched in their basement for years.

A couple of years ago, after my father died, my brother told some of his guitar-playing friends about the Fender. After seeing photos of it, they concluded: “Dude, this is a serious guitar!”

They sat my brother down in front of the computer, showed him some vintage guitar sites and it slowly dawned on my brother that my dad’s old guitar might be quite valuable.

Still, procrastination set in and my brother didn’t actually take the guitar in to be appraised until a couple of weeks ago.

As my brother tells it, the vintage guitar specialist “opened up the case, looked at it quietly for about 30 seconds and his eyes lit up.”

That specialist, Chris Bennett, of the Twelfth Fret in Toronto, spent about 45 minutes examining the guitar. He took it apart to check out the markings and electronics, then put it back together and played it briefly.

“Other employees kept coming over to see what he was up to and they universally had the same reaction: ‘Holy (bleep)!’ ” recalls my brother. “There was a buzz in the store.”

My father probably paid about $180 for the Fender when he bought it in 1957, says Bennett. The Esquire, introduced in 1950, and played by musicians such as Jeff Beck when he was with the Yardbirds, was a big seller.

In fact, Fender now has a custom shop that recreates those pieces for about $3,000, says Bennett.

“It’s a way of connecting with the past and getting one of those guitars without paying $15,000 and up for them,” he explains.

“It’s a lovely guitar. It definitely made my day,” he says of my dad’s Fender. He appraised it at $25,000 US because it’s in great shape, hasn’t been altered and it’s got the original hang tag and carrying bag.

“My eyes bugged out,” says my astonished brother. “I was gobsmacked,” adds my mom.

Perhaps my Irish father always knew he’d immigrate to western Canada. Long before he ever bought the Fender, he was strumming songs such asRed River Valley, Home on the RangeandRidin’ Down the Sunset Trailon earlier guitars.

“(The guitar) was just occupying space as far as I was concerned,” says my mom. “I’ve decided that I probably won’t throw anything away.”

Mindelle Jacobs

Inside the Trussart Guitar Workshop

icontexto-webdev-social-bookmark-09tipdrop logofacebook481Most guitar collectors will be aware of James Trussart’s wonderful metal bodied creations.

The expensive hand-produced Telecaster, Jazzmaster and Les Paul shaped works of art are all individual; some are painted, some are bare metal, some are rusty, some a re a combination of all of these.

The article below is a fascinating look behind the scenes of the Trussart LA workshop.

Inside the Trussart Guitar Workshop

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

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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

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

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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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

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

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

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.

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..

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.”

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!

Westone Cutlass Rebuild pt 1 – The Background


icontexto-webdev-social-bookmark-09facebook481

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

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

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

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

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!

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.

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!

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

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


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

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)