General Interest

Green Day Ukulele Play-Along Volume 25

Guitar Lifestyle - Fri, 10/13/2017 - 07:49

By: Russ

Aloha! Let’s talk briefly about the human brain: It has a marvelous flexibility and one of the coolest things that it does all on its own is, over time, it diminishes not only the painful, but the mundane as well and at the same time embellishes what you think is great. This is what makes people think the past (pick whatever period you want) was some sort of golden era unlike today. But thirty years from now, we’ll probably look back and say it actually wasn’t all that bad.

Hopefully.

Anyway, this is where nostalgia comes from. The food that wasn’t anything special – just food you ate as a kid – became comfort food as an adult, the TV shows that had all sorts of flaws became genius, and the music was the best ever offered.

Personally, I’m a sucker for nostalgia. Regardless of the psychology behind it, it brings a pleasant, warm feeling with it. A familiar feeling where you’re comfortable with whatever you’re thinking of.

This is especially true with music – just ask people what the greatest decade was for music and it’ll probably line up with when they were young.

Even though the only correct answer is the 1990s.

The 1990s was the BEST decade for music because no decade featured so much music from different genres getting so much attention from different audiences. There were still songwriters playing their own material in the pop world, metal went through changes from hair to heavy to nu, punk became accepted by the masses, hip hop went from crying for social justice to bragging about personal wealth (and even included its own small civil rights movement), and we even had a popular shock artist in the middle of it to freak out the parents.

And when my daughter was just a baby, I would play her songs from the 90s when she was crawling around on the floor, or to try to calm her down in the evenings. Today, even though she has her own music, she still knows the words to some of the songs and loves to sing along with them. And since she’s learning the ukulele, she wanted to play the songs I used to play on guitar on her own ukulele.

I decided that this can’t possibly be an isolated incident and would make a fun writing topic anyway, so I decided to get some books from Hal Leonard and indulge her (and my own) nostalgia.

So let’s start with what might be my favorite band of the 1990s: Green Day

Green Day is one of a handful of bands/groups/artists that not only have hits that span decades, but have hooked in fans from different generations. My kids would love to see a Green Day show, but so would I because I remember seeing them when I was fourteen and loving every minute of it.

They were pop punk before pop punk was a thing, and they were never scared to experiment with their music or sound and they’ve used this to grab different people for different reasons, but all finding something in the music be it fun, energy, stories, or something more personal.

And Green Day translates well to ukulele! The book I received is from Hal Leonard’s “Play-Along” series which aims to have you playing the songs quickly and easily. They aren’t making the songs any more intricate or difficult than they need to be in the transcriptions (music notation with chord boxes and TAB for solos), and they also include a CD to hear how the songs should sound (complete with a backing band), and then you can play with different tracks sans ukulele so you’re the star (and so you can get the timing down). You can use the CD in any CD player, but if you use it in your PC or Mac, you can also slow it down without changing pitch so you can work your way through any parts you may be having trouble with. That’s a pretty handy tool to have at your disposal.

The songs are easy to learn and fun to play. Most punk is. But unlike a lot of punk, Green Day’s songs always seemed to be filled with more hooks and melodies than a lot of either the screaming punk popular in the 80s or repetitive pop punk of the late 90s. They’ve always been a great compromise between punk rock tone and energy and pop melodies and this means the songs are fun to play, fun to sing along with, and fun to learn. People are quick to sing along with Green Day when you start playing.

The book features 12 songs that span just about their whole career from Dookie to 21st Century Breakdown. Personally, I’d love to see a more fleshed-out Green Day offering more songs, but these 12 will certainly get your foot in the door for the style of this fun band to play along with for $14.99!

Until next time!

Mahalo!

Categories: General Interest

Tom Petty - His Life and Guitars

The Unique Guitar Blog - Thu, 10/12/2017 - 03:28
Tom Petty


Charlie T. Wilbury Jr has died, and so has Tom Petty. When I think of Tom Petty, I think of one of the last real rock players. There are some others still with us; Petty was one of the best.





Tom Petty in later years
Tom Petty was a like chameleon. Sometimes his voice sounded like Bob Dylan; Sometimes he sounded like Roger McQuinn, on his song Room at the Top, he tried to sound like Carl Wilson, but most of the time Petty was at his best with his own distinct voice.

Young Tom Petty

Petty had a rough childhood with an abusive father.  By age 11, he knew what he wanted to do with his life, when he had a chance meeting with Elvis Presley.  In 1961, Tom's uncle owned a film developing company in Ocala Florida, the same town where Elvis was shooting the movie, Follow That Dream. Young Petty was asked by his aunt and cousins if he would like to go watch the action.


At age 11 Petty met Elvis

Petty was dumbfound when the King climbed out of a white Cadillac and walked over past the crowd to speak with his aunt, cousins, and him. While his family recalls that moment as a special event, for Tom Petty this was life changing. After that he quit going outside, content to stay inside and listen to music all day. He even collected Elvis 45 rpm records.



The Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show
In 1964, when The Beatles were on the Ed Sullivan Show, Petty knew that he wanted to be in a band. Eventually he learned to play guitar. And of course, if you played guitar, you needed to sing. His first guitar teacher was Don Felder, who went on to become one of the founding member of The Eagles.

Petty's First Band
He formed a band called The Epic, which later named themselves Mudcrutch. By 1976, the band had gone their separate ways after a recording they made called Depot Street failed to chart. Mike Campbell, Benmont Trench, decided to stick with Petty, who had decided on a solo career.

They were later joined by Ron Blair, and Stan Lynch and became the first incarnation of The Heartbreakers.

Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers




The band’s first album enjoyed more success in the UK than in the United States.






Damn The Torpedoes



But their second album, Damn The Torpedoes, sold over two million copies and had hit songs on it like, Don’t Do Me Like That, Here Comes My Girl, and Refugee.




Stevie Nicks with Petty
Subsequent albums were also hits, and lead to Petty recording with Stevie Nicks, and being asked by Bob Dylan to join him on tour. The Heartbreakers even played some dates with The Grateful Dead.  The groups 1985 album was produced by Dave Stewart of the Eurythmics.

The Travelin' Wilbury's
with their Gretsch guitars
In 1988 Petty was asked by George Harrison to join his group, The Traveling Wilburys. Along with Petty, and Harrison were Roy Orbison, and Jeff Lynne. This lead to several albums. Petty incorporated The Wilburys’ songs into his live shows.

Jeff Lynne and Tom Petty


Petty collaborated with Jeff Lynne on one of his best songs; I Won't Back Down.

Petty and the Heartbreakers had initially inked a deal with Shelter Records at the start of their career. Shelter Records was later sold to MCA, which upset Petty. He felt that he and his band were being treated like a commodity.

To thumb his nose at MCA, he financed next record and ran up a bill in a recording studio costs of over $500,000, then he refused to release the album. In a legal move, he declared bankruptcy to force MCA to void his contract. He then resigned with MCA on more favorable terms.

Tom Petty Hard Promises
His album, Hard Promises was to be sold at $9.98. Petty once again argued with executives at the company that the price was too high and he refused to allow the album to go forward. The record company relented and dropped the price a full dollar. Petty’s legal maneuvering led the way for other artists to take back their music and receive respect from the record companies.

The Traveling Wilburys were signed to Warner Brothers Records. Petty later signed a contract with this company under a better arrangement then he had with MCA.

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers - last concert September 25, 2017
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers continued to tour and played his last concert at the Hollywood Bowl just a week before his untimely death on October 2nd.

The guitars that Petty used are too numerous to mention them all. He was a collector and owned some exquisite instruments.

Petty - 1964 Stratocaster



One of his favourite guitasr was a sunburst 1964 Fender Stratocaster.





Petty with vintage
 Rickenbacker


He played quite a few Rickenbacker instruments, including a 1965 Rose Morris, and a 1987, and 1993 reissue of the Rose Morris. For those that do not know, in 1965 Rose-Morris Music was chosen to be the official distributor of Rickenbacker guitars.





Petty with Rickenbacker 330/12


Petty also owns a  1967 Rickenbacker 360/12.





Tom Petty Rickenbacker 660/12


He plays a 1989 Rickenbacker 660/12TP, that was designed by the company as an artist model for him. Petty had input in the design of this guitar's neck. He had them build the neck so it was slightly wider than other Rickenbacker 12 string guitars.



Petty - Epiphone Casino

In an interview he stated that one of his favorite guitars for recording is an Epiphone Casino. Since feedback was a problem with hollow body guitars, he did not take this one on the road.

Petty '63 Telecaster reissue



On the road he played a white ‘62 Fender Custom Shop Stratocaster, as well as a sonic blue ‘63 Fender Telecaster.







Petty with a 1967 Fender Esquire


Petty also owned a blonde ‘67 Fender Esquire, and his sunburst ‘64 Fender Stratocaster.





Petty with '76 Firebird



Tom also owned a white ‘63 Fender Stratocaster, a 1960 blonde Telecaster, and a 1976 Gibson Firebird V.







Petty with his Fender XII



One other Fender guitar he owned w.as a white late 1960's Fender XII







Petty with Gretsch Country Gentleman


Petty owned and played a couple of vintage Gretsch guitars; a 1963 Gretsch Country Gentleman, model 6122, and a 1967 Gretsch Tennessean, model 6119.



Petty with Gretsch Billy-Bo


He also owned a Gretsch G61999 Billy-Bo Jupiter.





With signature model
Rickenbacker 660/12TP


We've already alluded to his Rickenbacker collection, which included His 1964 Rose Morris 12 string with a Fireglo finish. A Rickebacker 320, a 1967 Rickenbacker 360/12, a mid 1980’s Rickenbacker 620/12 with a fireglo finish, his signature 660/12TP, also done in fireglo.




Petty with his '64 Electro


He also owned a 1964 Rickenbacker Electro ES-17, in fireglo.  (There were only two models of the Electro brand was made in the USA by Rickenbacker; The ES-16, and the ES-17. In their day, these were budget guitars, but were fine instruments.)





Petty with 1966 Vox Mark VI


Petty also played a white 1966 Vox Mark VI teardrop guitar. Petty sometimes played bass guitar in the Heartbreakers.


Petty with Hòfner Club bass


His bass collection included a 1960's model Höfner Club Bass, and a 1960's model Höfner Violin bass.




'60's Danelectro Longhorn bass



He also owned and played an ES-335 Gibson bass, and a 1960's Danelectro Longhorn bass. Both were used in The Travelin' Wilburys.






Martin "Tom Petty" HD-40
six and twelve string models



His favorite acoustic guitars included a C.F. Martin HD-40 Tom Petty signature model, and a 12 version of this same instrument.





Tom Petty's Gibson Dove

Petty owned a Gibson Dove, that he used as his primary guitar to write songs. He saved this guitar from a fire that destroyed his home in 1987.


Petty's '69 Gibson Everly Brothers J-180


Other acoustic guitars included a 1987 Gibson Everly Brothers acoustic.



Petty with Gibson J-200




A Gibson Tom Petty signature J-200 Wlldflower acoustic, and a Gibson Pete Townsend J-200 acoustic-electric model that had a natural finish.




Guild D-25-12


He frequently played 1970’s Guild D25-12 string acoustic in concert.





Tom Petty Fender Acoustic-electric


Fender had designed a Tom Petty model acoustic guitar.





Petty's FenderVibro King amplifiers



His amplifier set up included two 60 watt Fender Vibro-King combos.





Petty's Amplifiers
He also toured with a 1969 Marshall JMP Plexi head, and a 1987 Marshall Vintage Series 50 watt tube head.

Petty preferred Vox speaker cabinets. He owned a mid 1960's model Vox 120 Super Beatle head.

Petty took a couple of Hi-Watt amps on the road, including a 2007 Custom 50 watt head, and a recent model DR-504 Custom 50 watt head.

'59 Bassman Reissue



In addition to the Fender Vibro-King amplifiers, Petty also used a reissue '59 Bassman. In a recent interview with Tom Wheeler, Petty states he purchased many of his guitars and amplifiers from Norm's Rare Guitars in Los Angeles.







Tom Petty 10/20/1950 - 10/02/2017



I will conclude this remembrance with some lyrics from Jimmy Webb’s song called, "All I know".



"When the singer's gone Let the song go on..."

Click on the links under the pictures for sources. Click on the links in the text for further information.
©UniqueGuitar Publications






Categories: General Interest

Brian Fallon’s Painkillers

Guitar Lifestyle - Wed, 10/11/2017 - 09:12

painkillers

By: Russ

Aloha!

Let’s talk about Bruce Springsteen. I’m not a huge fan, myself, but I always find Springsteen fans to be an interesting bunch. Have you ever noticed how they usually say the same things? They talk about how Springsteen is a voice of the people – that he sings their songs, not necessarily his own. Isn’t that interesting? Instead of listening to his music and seeing a window into his soul, it’s like they’re using his music as a window into their OWN souls.

I tell you, it’s beyond interesting, this Myth of Bruce. And, because of it, I have tried repeatedly to get into his music but most of it just doesn’t do anything for me. He may sing the songs of millions of souls, but mine is left out and there is just way too much saxophone.

Recently, though, I began to wonder if I’ve EVER felt that sort of connection and I came to the conclusion that I have not. I have listened to music that I found poetic and appropriate for the subject. I could follow and grasp the social unrest of punk rock, the anger of metal, the avant-garde nature of experimental jazz, and love it all, but through every bit of it I failed to see myself through the music. It’s always been looking at the artist and not using the artist as a mirror to myself.

I don’t think this makes me lacking in some serious manner – I can still appreciate music – but I just haven’t gone to that other level.

Or, I should say, I hadn’t because recently I have in a big way.

I have a playlist on my phone filled with music I don’t have any experience with. I’ll see someone on a late night show or get a recommendation from someone and download an album or two from Apple Music and give it a shot. The good stuff gets dumped into my catch-all “Awesome” playlist and everything else falls away.

On a long trip away from home, I decided to listen to something new and pulled up my experimental playlist and listened to Brian Fallon’s Painkillers, and that was it. I instantly fell in love with it on that new level. The folksy rock sound that flows throughout the album gives it a raw feel even though there are layers of instruments and back-up vocals and the prevalence of acoustic guitars gives the whole thing an intimate vibe. It isn’t a folk album by any means, but it has that folk feel where people are usually more honest with themselves and the audience about what they’re feeling – where there’s less pretense and showmanship to convey an image rather than the real person. There’s more dimension to the songs and Fallon moves around from bouncier offerings to heartbreaking songs with ease and he’s definitely bringing you along for the ride.

I listened to it all and felt like he was singing my songs or my soul. There was just a feeling to it that is tough to describe. The weirdest part is that I couldn’t point to any one area of my life that was a good example of whatever song and draw a connecting line like “this song reminds me of when I…” No, the situations were all alien to me, but through Fallon’s writing and playing they all felt like I had lived them at some point and had come away wiser if a bit more jaded.

And what a testament to his writing and performing when he moves beyond getting your feet to tap – beyond even painting a picture for you to admire from afar and say “I understand,” – and move with ease from the first song to the last bringing you on a trip and you feeling like you had done these things, lived these lives, and learned these lessons. The stories don’t show the song’s subjects as a heroes or villains, but rather just people and sometimes people do good things and bad things. It’s just part of being human and it’s nice to hear stories that back that up.

The playing is something to really sit down and listen to as well. Most of the songs feature a comfortable strum and familiar chords, but the accents that Fallon places on top of them with different licks, solos, and other instruments make everything feel like something you’ve never heard, but something that is still familiar. Like sitting in someone else’s comfortable chair. Yes, it’s not the same chair you’re used to, but it’s still comfortable and you can delight in the differences instead of them distracting you too badly.

I am NOT saying that Painkillers sounds like a Bruce Springsteen record, but the immediate attachment that it made me feel – that closeness that spread like wildfire inside me – is so similar to what I hear when Springsteen fans talk about the Boss that I get it now. I understand why his fans are so devoted. Springsteen, despite his success, still manages to convey a “one of us” vibe. He never comes across as above his fans, or more elite. He feels like a neighbor down the road – an old friend from school – and you want to support that. Brian Fallon does the same thing: Through his excellent songwriting and performing, Painkillers comes across as intimate and vulnerable, but still something you can shout along with in your car. His songs are anthems of the every-man and nowhere does he imply that he’s above you.

Painkillers is, without a doubt, my favorite album I’ve ever listened to and I had to come here and gush about it even though I focus on ukuleles and instruction materials. I feel like it’s my duty to proselytize and tell you about it because I haven’t seen enough press about it or t-shirts on the streets. I have no doubt that Fallon’s album would be appreciated by a ton of people if they gave it a shot so I implore you to check it out. The worst case is you feel like he doesn’t speak directly to you, but what if he could if you gave him the opportunity?

Categories: General Interest

I Heart Guitar Podcast Episode 1: Rich Ward, Tony MacAlpine & Tony Iommi

I Heart Guitar - Mon, 10/09/2017 - 22:46

 

Well, I’ve finally gone and done it: meet the I Heart Guitar Podcast! The first episode is online now and it features Rich Ward of Fozzy, Tony MacAlpine, and an interview from the archives with Black Sabbath legend Tony Iommi. I hope you enjoy it, and there’s a lot more where that came future will include guest co-hosts, gear reviews, blogpods from various events, and lots more. 

You can listen to it below, or at the following links:

Here’s where to listen:
I Heart Guitar Podcast on iTunes
I Heart Guitar Podcast on Stitcher
I Heart Guitar Podcast on BlogTalkRadio

The post I Heart Guitar Podcast Episode 1: Rich Ward, Tony MacAlpine & Tony Iommi appeared first on I Heart Guitar.

Categories: General Interest

Boss JB-2 Angry Driver

Guitar Lifestyle - Mon, 10/09/2017 - 13:58

jb-2_main

Boss recently surprised the pedal industry by collaborating with JHS Pedals to create the JB-2 Angry Driver:

To celebrate the 40th anniversary of BOSS compact pedals, BOSS and JHS Pedals have come together in a historic creative collaboration between the two industry leaders. Housed in the classic BOSS compact design, the JB-2 Angry Driver pairs the tones of the iconic BOSS BD-2 Blues Driver with JHS Pedals’ popular Angry Charlie. Working closely together, the two pedal innovators have developed an all-new combined circuit with refined sound and performance perfectly tuned for dual-mode drive operation.

The JB-2 Angry Driver features three dual-concentric knobs that provide independent drive, tone, and level control for each overdrive type. Via a six-position mode selector, you can use each overdrive independently, or combine them together in series and parallel configurations. With the ability to blend the Blues Driver’s famously expressive low-to-mid gain tones with the Angry Charlie’s aggressive rock voice in any combination, the JB-2 Angry Driver delivers unmatched range and versatility from a single overdrive pedal.

This is quite an interesting pairing. Even though it’s fairly ubiquitous and has been for years, I have not played through a Blues Driver before, but I have played through the Angry Charlie and I really liked it. It’s a great Marshall sound.

I like the switching options that the JB-2 comes with. It’s interesting that you can run the two sides in so many different combinations, including running both in Parallel Mode. It’s clear Boss really thought through this pedal, and it looks like they’ve done a solid job.

Dan and Mick at That Pedal Show recently did a feature of this pedal where they detail a lot of the options. They also compared it to the pedals it’s based on as well as a Marshall Guv’nor pedal:

Categories: General Interest

Gibson Gary Clark Jr. Signature SG

Guitar Lifestyle - Fri, 10/06/2017 - 07:17

gary clark sg

Gibson and Gary Clark Jr. have collaborated once again to create a new signature guitar, the Gary Clark Jr. Signature SG:

The all new Gibson Limited Edition Gary Clark Jr. Signature SG guitar captures the spirit of creative inspiration. Finished in an exciting, vibrant Gloss Yellow and featuring a trio of aggressive Gibson P90 pickups, this guitar embodies the organic and sonorous sounds of one of this generation’s most influential guitarists, vocalists and songwriters.

Gary Clark Jr. is perhaps more widely associated with the Epiphone Casino, which Epiphone celebrated in the Blak & Blu Casino Signature model they made for him in 2015. However, he has been playing an SG quite a bit since collaborating with the Foo Fighters on their Sonic Highways album in 2014. Clark has stated that Foo Fighters’ guitarist Pat Smear gave him an SG during those sessions.

Earlier this year, Clark was seen playing a new SG at the Grammys show. It turns out that it was a new signature model.

This model differs quite a bit from the typical SG in that it has three P90 pickups. Gibson SGs have had P90s before, of course, but you rarely see them in a three pickup configuration. It also differs from other SG models in that it is gloss yellow, has 24 frets, and the controls are laid out in a three volume + one tone configuration.

Everything else appears to be fairly standard for SGs:

  • mahogany body
  • slim-taper neck
  • 24 3/4″ scale
  • rosewood fingerboard
  • nitro finish
  • ABR bridge

The street price of $1499 seems pretty reasonable for an American-made signature guitar. The guitar is currently (as of this writing) available at Zzounds while other retailers are taking pre-orders.

Categories: General Interest

The 1990s (The Ukulele Decade Series)

Guitar Lifestyle - Thu, 10/05/2017 - 14:02

1990s uke

By: Russ

Aloha! Let’s say that, for some CRAZY reason, you’ve never heard any music from the 1990 but because people love it so much, or request it so often, or reference it in some way, you’re looking for a crash course in it.

Or, alternatively, you’re a sucker for 1990s music and want a treasure trove of offerings from the decade.

Either way, The 1990s (from The Ukulele Decade Series) is the book for you. It’s a pretty massive tome of 80 songs with chord boxes, musical notations, and verses written out. It’s a full-size music book with about 312 pages of music and, because of this, it’s a little cumbersome. But once you get over the fact that it’s not meant to be traveled with but rather used to pull individual songs from to learn, the content really shines.

The music included is just about everything you could love from the 1990s when it comes to instrumentation. It’s got early 90s cheese (“I’d Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That)”) to meaningful alternative (“Runaway Train”), odd-duck music that would have a tough time surviving in any other decade (“Santeria”), one-hit wonders (“She’s So High,” “Sex and Candy”), to songs from movies (“My Heart Will Go On”).

While Meatloaf would be an interesting pick for ukulele, most of the songs in the book seem like a natural fit and be fun to play – especially for someone who’s really into the decade. If you think about all the different offerings from all the different genres and sub-genres, you could use this book alone and put together a pretty interesting show with enough variety to be plenty interesting and enough of a theme to be fun.

Personally, this is one of the first uke books that I ever wanted. I thought that it was awesome to take a greatest-hits approach to a music book, and this one fits me so perfectly that I couldn’t NOT enjoy it. It’s my desert-island music book – the one book that I would grab and bring along if I knew it was going to be the only uke book I could have because it’s more than just the song count, it’s the quality of those songs and how much they mean to me. This book is the soundtrack to my childhood and the songs mean a lot to me. I’m sure we all feel the same way about the music we grew up with (even if you didn’t grow up in the 90s) so it’s nice to have so many fantastic songs to pull from.

And with a list price of $22.99 (and a cheaper street price), it’s a steal. I think that, as my daughter gets a better grip on the ukulele, she’ll be looking to learn some of the songs she grew up with me singing and playing to her and this is going to be appreciated like crazy. True, it doesn’t have TAB or CDs you can play along with, but I think the quantity and quality of songs makes up for it.

Overall, I couldn’t recommend it more.

You can buy direct from Hal Leonard, from Amazon, or from you favorite book store.

Until next time!
Mahalo!
-Russ

Categories: General Interest

REVIEW: Pickmaster Plectrum Cutter

I Heart Guitar - Sun, 10/01/2017 - 21:50


I don’t know where my guitar picks disappear to. I’m pretty sure it’s the same place my socks and my abs went. Some days I spend at least as much time searching for plectra as I do playing guitar, and although for years I was strictly a one-pick dude (the Jim Dunlop Jazz III), I’ve trained myself to now use whatever pick I find, wherever I find it. It’s just better and more musicianly to remain adaptable than to be bound to any one type of pick.

The makers of Pickmaster must realise this quandry because they’ve created the ideal way to ensure you are never left pickless. The Pickmaster Plectrum Cutter is a very chunky and solidly built tool which lets you stamp out picks from whatever material you find around the house – old credit cards, the lid from the butter tub – you could even be super-ironic and use it to cut a guitar pick out of one of those large triangular bass picks.

I tested the Pickmaster out first on its own packaging (how very meta), then on a few cards laying around the house. The unit is reassuringly strong, and requires a bit of pressure to cut through some materials. When it does so it cuts a perfect pick shape every time, regardless of material. Some ‘victims’ might require you to smoothe out the edges a little, which can easily be performed by rubbing the sides of the pick on your tattered old Levis or even on the carpet. Then you’re good to go.

The Pickmaster Plectrum Cutter will easily stash into your guitar case or gig bag for those little emergencies, and aside from being extraordinarily practical, it’s also a lot of fun. I can see myself making little pick-shaped pasta out of lasagne sheets, or maybe pick-shaped confetti out of shiny paper for some kind of special guitar-related occasion (I’m not sure what occasion that might be yet – I’ll invent one).

The post REVIEW: Pickmaster Plectrum Cutter appeared first on I Heart Guitar.

Categories: General Interest

Surf Guitar - Instrumental Guitar Music

The Unique Guitar Blog - Sun, 10/01/2017 - 13:46
The British Invasion


In 1965 the British Invasion was in full force, and so was the guitar boon. As a 13 year old boy, I had to have a guitar, and so did many of my friends.




The Surfaris


The popular British groups were mostly vocal groups. So, back in those days, to learn guitar we turned to guitar groups such as The Ventures, Dick Dale and the Del-Tones, The Chantays, and of course The Surfaris.





The Surfaris - Wipe Out
The Surfaris had written, recorded and performed the one-hit wonder “Wipe Out”. This simple 12 bar tune had only four notes that were repeated in the I, IV, and V position. If a guy had any sense of rhythm at it was simple to learn, and a great starter tune for all those young garage band guitarists.

An early publicity photo of
The Ventures
Those of us who wanted to take a further plunge into Surf guitar stepped up to learn songs by The Ventures, such as Walk, Don’t Run (both versions) or The Chantays song, Pipeline,  or Dick Dale’s Miserlou, or The Marketts song Out of LImits. All you needed was a good ear, and some ability to play basic guitar.

Dick Dale
Credit should be given to Dick Dale for the creation of Surf Music. As a young man, Dale had two passions; playing guitar and surfing. He was born in Boston, with the name Richard Monsour. His family lived in an Arab/Lebanese community in Quincy Mass, where he learned to play traditional music that was taught to him by his uncle. One of these songs was known as Egyptian Muslim Girl in Arabic, but translated to Miserlou in English.

While growing up, Dale learned to play traditional instruments. And this is where he got his rapid picking technique.

By his teen years, Dale's father got a new job and moved the family to El Segundo, California. There Dick got involved with surfing and taught himself how to play guitar. And he became a master of both skills.

Dick Dale and The Del-Tones
He changed his surname to Dale, dabbled for a while in Country and Western music, before finding a niche by creating music about surfers and surfing. He then put together a band and called it Dick Dale and The Deltones.

By 1961 Dick Dale had become so popular in the city of Newport Beach that he was able to get permission from the owner of the Rendezvous Ballroom to reopen the shuttered establishment and put on a series of dances that he called Stomps. These events were very popular, drawing crowds of up to 4,000 people at each dance. Dale played this venue for a six-month stretch.

Dick Dale and the Del-Tones
During his sets, he kept blowing up his amplifiers, since his style of playing pushed those amps and speakers to the breaking point. As a result he got in touch with Leo Fender and Freddie Travares. Both men came to watch him play and after the shows, the men all got together to discuss what could be done.

Dick Dale with original Stratocaster
The result was the creation of the Fender Showman amp, which had transformers that could withstand Dale’s aggressive and extremely loud style, and also had a 15” JBL D130F heavy duty speaker, and boosted an output of 100 watts RMS.

This was the amplifier that Dale needed, and it went on to become the staple of most Surf bands.

Fender Reverb Unit
The other device that Dale, and many other Surf bands used was a outboard Fender Reverb Unit; model 6G15. This was a tube powered device that utilized a 12AT7 preamp tube, a 6K6 power tube, and a 12AX7 tube as the reverb recovery tube. This unit was usually placed on the floor, so it would not rattle on top of the amp and make noise.

It featured three controls; Dwell, Mixer, and Tone. This was usually the only effect that Surf bands used.

Surf music was meant to be played clean and loud. Any distortion came from the tubes in the amplifier.

The Chantays

Dale was a Californian. So were the members of the Chantays. Surprisingly,  some of the most well-known Surf bands were not from California, or even near an ocean.



The Marketts
The Marketts were more or less a studio band that played songs written by producer/songwriter Michael Z. Gordon. In 1961 Gordon put together a group of musicians from his home town of Rapid City, South Dakota called The Routers, and the group went on tour.


The Routers eventually moved to California and were signed by Warner Brothers Records, where they had a hit record called The Pony.

The Marketts aka The Routers
Gordon went on to write another tune that he called Outer Limits. This instrumental had a catchy recurring four note theme, which sounded too close to the theme song of a very popular television show called the Twilight Zone.

Around the same time the song was released, the Twilight Zone’s creator, Rod Serling, had developed another science fiction/mystery show called The Outer Limits. Not only was Mr. Serling not amused with the song, he thought the song’s title infringed on his new show's trademark name. Serling sued and to settle the song was re-titled Out of Limits.

Out of Limits
Like many touring bands from that era, the song was actually recorded by session players in Los Angeles, including drummer Hal Blaine. This method saved the record companies money and put out recordings that were professionally done. Out of Limits went on to sell over a million copies. Gordon went on to write some lesser known surf songs. He later became famous for writing film and television music.

The Chantays

The Chantays started in 1961 as a group when they were still high school students in Orange County, California. A year later they had a hit record with their song; Pipeline. The Chantays had a few other minor hits, but will forever be remember for their one big hit.



The Chantays on Lawrence Welk

Pipeline was so popular that it was recorded by many other artists. The Chantays other claim to fame was being the only Rock/Surf band ever to be featured on The Lawrence Welk Show.


The Ventures 


Perhaps the biggest instrumental surf music band of all was not from California. Members of The Ventures all lived and worked in Tacoma, Washington.



Don Wilson and Bob Bogle
Don Wilson and Bob Bogle had a chance meeting in 1958 where they discovered they both played guitar. These guys bought a couple of used guitars from a pawn shop and started playing at bars and small clubs.


Nokie Edwards at right
They went to see guitarist Nokie Edwards, who was playing at a nightclub and asked if he would join them as a bass player.  He took them up on the offer. They called themselves The Ventures.



The Ventures with Howie Johnson
The band later went through several drummers before settling on a guy named Howie Johnson. The drummer that originally played on the recording of Walk, Don’t Run, was Skip Moore. Moore left the group to work at his families gas station

Next George Babbitt joined the group, but had to leave, because he was too young to play in nighclubs.

Babbitt went on to become a 4 Star General in the US Army.

The Ventures with Mel Taylor
Johnson played with The Ventures until he was injured in an automobile accident. He was replaced by Mel Taylor.

Back when Wilson and Bogle met Nokie Edward, he was already performing a Chet Atkins song called in his nightclub set called Walk, Don’t Run. This song was actually written by jazz guitarist Johnny Smith.

The Ventures Walk, Don't Run
The Ventures took their version of this song to a recording studio and laid down a track, along with a B-side called Home, and had the company press some 45 rpm records, which they shipped to record companies and radio stations.

The tune was eventually picked up by Dolton Records and went on to become #2 on the charts. It was later redone by The Ventures with an updated surf guitar arrangement and released again as Walk, Don’t Run ‘64. This song became one of only a handful of recordings that charted twice on the Billboard Hot 100.

Walk, Don't Run
Walk, Don’t Run became required playing for all garage bands in the mid 1960’s. It’s theme was slightly more complex than other surf songs, as it went from a minor to a major mode. The Ventures went on to produce many more albums, and even TV themes, however the early recordings were generally surf based music.


The Pyramids (with Dick Clark)
Another one-hit wonder band was The Pyramids. These guys were from Long Beach, California and scored in the Billboard Top 20 with their self penned song called Penetration. The group went on to get a part in the Bikini Beach movie, playing another song they had written called Bikini Drag.

1964 Fender Showman 15" JBL
Most Surf groups used high wattage Fender amplifiers, usually a Showman, or Dual Showman. The only outboard effects were the stand-alone Fender Reverb unit. The sound also sometimes relied on the amplifiers onboard tremolo/vibrato circut.

Mosrite Fuzzrite
In 1964, The Ventures were working with Semie Moseley, and he gave them a Mosrite Fuzzrite pedal, which was used on a few songs; notably the 2000 Pound Bee (Although one source cites that the fuzz pedal used by The Ventures was made by a pedal steel player named Red Rhodes, that joined them on the album The Ventures In Space).

Interestingly, Moseley had hired a young man to help design amplifiers for his company. So Alexander Dumble is rumored to have modified The Venture’s Fender amplifiers.

Early photo of The Ventures

During their early years, The Ventures played late 1950 era Fender guitars; a Jazzmaster, a Stratocaster, and a Precision Bass.


Mosrite guitars had already become popular in California, due to the double neck model that Joe Maphis and Larry Collins played on a California television show called Ranch Party.

Gene Moles with his Mosrite
Semie Moseley, the guitars creator, also made a single neck version. Nokie Edward saw a local guitarist named Gene Moles playing one of these new Mosrite guitars. Edwards was fascinated with the sound and design and asked if Moles would introduce him to Moseley. On their first meeting Nokie Edwards walked away with a Mosrite guitar.


Mosrite
Ventures Model
Before long, Edwards struck up a deal with Moseley to build guitars under The Ventures logo. This arrangement lasted from 1963 to 1965, when the model name was changed to the Mark I. However The Ventures continued to tour with Mosrite guitars from 1963 to 1968.

Briefly Mosrite had attempted to build and market an all transistor amplifier under The Ventures banner. However it failed, due to design problems. After the agreement between Mosrite and the Ventures ended, The Ventures returned to playing Fender instruments.

Wilson Brothers
Ventures Model



Later in life, the group had arrangements with Aria Guitars, and Wilson Brothers Guitars to produce Ventures model guitars.








Aria Ventures model



And later in their career, The Ventures enjoyed a resurgence of popularity in Japan; the same country where Aria guitars are manufactured.




The Chantays


The Chantays played matching 1960 model Fender Stratocasters and a Fender Precision Bass from that same era after they became famous.



The Chantays

Prior to that one of the players used a 1961 Kay K580 with a single coil pickup. The other player had either a Valco or Airline single pickup guitar. The Chantay’s bass player had a 1960’s model Precision bass.


This group used Fender Showman amplifiers that were built between 1960 - 63 that were covered with white Tolex and had maroon grill clothe. Before that they have a Fender Deluxe amp, and a Danelectro/Silvertone style Twin Twelve amplifier, and of course the Fender reverb units.

The Pyramids
The two guitarists in the Pyramids played 1960 Fender Stratocasters. One player was left-handed and played a red strat, while the other right-handed player had a white strat. The bass player had a sunburst Precision bass with a black pickguard. This group also used “blonde” Fender Showman amplifiers.

Dick Dale's Stratocaster

Dick Dale was given a Fender Stratocaster by Leo Fender. The story goes that Dale visited Fender at his office and announced that he was a guitar player, but did not have an instrument. Leo procured a Strat and has Dale to play something.

Dick Dale's Stratocaster

Since Dale was left-handed, he flipped the guitar upside down and to Mr. Fender’s amusement played the guitar in this manner. Dick Dale had learned to play guitar with the large E string on the bottom and the small one on the top.

Mr. Fender must have been impressed because he had a left-handed Stratocaster built for Dick Dale. However Dale always strung it like it was a right-handed guitar.

Dale's set up - original Showman amp
 - Dual Showman cab - reverb unit

Dale and Leo Fender had lengthy discussions on building guitars, amplifiers, and even combo organs. As previously stated, this was how the Fender Showman and Dual Showman were developed. At Dale’s suggestion the Tolex was changed from white material, to a light brown colour, which showed less dirt.


Dick Dale’s mid 1950’s Fender Stratocaster was originally painted Olympic White with a red tortoise shell pickguard. It is odd, since most models of that vintage had maple fretboards, Dick Dales model was perhaps the first of that era to have a rosewood fretboard.

Dale modified the guitar by removing all of the pots, since he felt they took away from the volume, and he always kept the guitar at full volume anyway.

His guitar had the older 3-way toggle switch. Dale had another switch installed that turned the middle pickup on or off. This enabled him to use the middle and neck pickups or the middle and bridge pickups simultaneously. Dick Dale never used the vibrato. He blocked it off with a piece of wood.

Dick Dale's repainted Stratocaster
Sometime in 1963, Dale had the guitar repainted with a gold sparkle finish. He also changed pickguard to a plain white one. It has remained that way for years, and Dick Dale still uses the same guitar in his concerts.

Though Dick Dale was mainly thought of as an instrumental guitarist, he also sang on many of his early recordings.

1960 Fender Jazzmaster


Many of the California Surf and instrument guitar players preferred the Fender Jazzmaster, because of its pickups, which had a warmer sound than Stratocaster pickup and some of its other attributes.





1959 Fender Jazzmaster
One of the other features that made this guitar desirable to Surf players was it’s dual circuitry. The switch on the guitars upper bout enabled the player to chose the lead mode, in which both pickups acted conventionally, or the rhythm mode, which worked only on the neck pickup.

In this mode, volume and tone were controlled by the roller switches on the upper bout. This also activated a capacitor in this circuit that gave the guitar a warmer tone with more of an acoustic feel. The other difference was the use of 1M linear taper potentiometers for the lead tone control, and a 50 k linear taper potentiometer for the rhythm tone control.

The final feature that made the Jazzmaster most desirable was it’s long-armed vibrato. The vibrato in Surf  music of the day was used subtly to enhance the end of musical phrases.

1960's Fender Stratocaster


The Fender Stratocaster seemed to be the preferable  choice for Surf bands as their lead instrument. It was usually played with the bridge pickup activated to get the best sound for this genre.




Fender Flatwound strings



Strings were also important to Surf players. They preferred heavier gauged flat-wound strings.






Difference - roundwound - flatwound


These strings were great for recording, and perhaps live playing, since there was no string scraping noise.




Dick Dale preferred regular extremely heavy gauged guitar strings as part of his sound. His preference was .016, .18, .20, .39, .49, and .60 gauge strings, with the .60 string being the first string.

One other aspect of surf music that may seem odd today, but was downright cool to a kid in the 1960’s was that while the groups played they also did a sort of synchronized dance; moving the guitar necks up, down, and side to side, while stepping back, forth, and sideways sometimes kicking a leg up and down. It is damn silly looking now.

Over on the other side of the world, there were a couple of groups that were prominent in instrumental music, which sounded very close to Surf music.

The Shadows

The Shadows were originally formed as the band that backed popular British singer Cliff Richards on his recordings and shows, and worked with him from 1956 to 1968.


However the group charted with several instrumental hits on their own. Most notably was a 1960 song called Apache. It was a great song.

The Shadows band included guitarists Bruce Welch, and Brian Rankin, aka Hank Marvin. They added bass player Jet Harris, aka Terrance Harris, and drummer Tony Meehan.

Apache - The Shadows
The song, Apache, was written by Jerry Lordan, went on to become a number 1 hit in the UK and abroad.

The Shadows had several more hit songs. Perhaps the best known player from the group was Hank Marvin. He was one of the first players in the UK to own a Fender Stratocaster.


VML Easy Mute and Trem bar
Marvin later modified this guitar to include a device called a VML Easy Mute Vibrato. This features a longer trem arm with an extra bend at the base. It allowed the player to hold onto the bar while picking the notes, and muting the bass strings with the palm of one's hand.



The Shadows - Burns/Baldwin Guitars
At one point Marvin and the Shadows played Burns of London/Baldwin guitars, but later went back to Fender instruments. They always played through Vox AC30 amplifiers., and used a Watkins Copicat tape echo unit.

Telestar Satellite - 1962
In 1962 Bell Laboratories launched the first of two communications satellites into orbit around the Earth. Both satelited were called Telestar. The world was in awe and so was a British record producer/sound engineer named Joe Meek.



Joe Meek

Meek had a rented flat above a leather goods shop in Northern London. There he kept a lot of recording equipment. One electronic instrument that he had on hand was called a Clavioline.


Joe Meek's Clavioline
This was a small electronic keyboard, which came with an amplifier and a stand. The Clavioline was only capable of generating one note at a time. Joe Meek used this instrument to compose the theme to a song he called Telestar.


Joe Meek and The Toranados
Meek recorded this song in his apartment and accomplished part of the arrangement by splicing in recordings of the computer like language that the satellite was transmitting back to Earth. He interspersed this with the theme music that was played on Clavioline, guitar, bass, and drums. He must have recorded the musicians there after the shop had closed.

His recording was laced with a lot of echo and reverberation giving the illusion that this song was being played by a much larger group in a much larger hall.

The group of musicians that recorded Telestar were known as the Toranados. They went on to do live performances of Telestar and other songs and were featured on LP's.

The Toranados
Some of the members were session players in the British recording industry. These members included Clem Cattini on drums, Alan Caddy, who played the lead guitar part on a double cutaway Chet Atkins Gretsch model (also a Duo-Jet), George Bellamy who played o rhythm guitar on a mid 1950’s acoustic Gretsch model 6030 , that had an aftermarket pickup built into the pickguard (also seen with a Gretsch Anniversary), Heinz Burt, who played bass on a Framus Star bass guitar, and Geoff Goddard who played the Clavioline and did the vocal.

The Original Telestar Record
The Telestar song sold over 5 million copies and won awards. And though it was not a Surf song, it was a very important instrumental in rock/pop music history for this period.

Click on the links below the images for sources. Click on the links in the text for more information.
©UniqueGuitar Publications (text only)







Categories: General Interest

Peavey T-60 Guitar and T-40 Bass

The Unique Guitar Blog - Sat, 09/23/2017 - 11:13
Peavey T-60 & T-40



One of the most underrated, and best solid body guitars made in the USA was the Peavey T-60. The same can be said for the Peavey T-40 bass guitar.






Hartley Peavey with T-60


Hartley Peavey graduated from Mississippi State University and went to work at his father's music store.  In 1965 Hartley started building amplifiers under the Peavey brand name. His amplifiers gained popularity and so did his reputation for building a dependable product.



By the early 1970’s Hartley was looking to expand into the guitar market. Competition in the guitar market was rough as this was a time when manufacturers looked to sell more guitars at a lower cost.

1960-70's Lathe with copy attachment
Peavey was an avid gun collector and knew some things about the mass production techniques used to build rifle stocks in a manner that they would attach to the gun barrels with precise fit. Peavey surmised that he could use a copy lathe, like the gun builders used, to create guitar necks with precision measurements.

He became the first manufacture to use this technique.

The same process has been done for years since using CNC equipment, however Peavey decided on this technique in the early 1970's at a time when computer aided machinery was in its infancy. This production method allowed Peavey to build guitars at a high production rate with lower costs, at better quality than his competition.

Chip Todd in the 1980's


Chip Todd was hired in 1974 by Peavey to oversee the guitar division. It took several years to overhaul the plant and order machinery to gear up for guitar production.



The First T-60 Advertisement

By 1978 the first models were offered. These were the T-60 guitar and T-40 bass. In advertisements of the day, Peavey was offering the T-60 and asking consumers “Why?" And featured pictures of a Les Paul selling for $918, and a Fender Stratocaster selling for $790, and a Peavey T-60 for only $375.




1979 Peavey T-60
And the T-60 was indeed a great guitar. Manufacturers took note. The T-60 was a market changer. By the way, the T is for Todd; as in it’s creator Chip Todd.


1981 Peavey T-60
Initially the T-60 was only offered in a natural finish. Later models came with either a stained, sunburst, or painted finish.

The body shape featured two large horn-cutaways that were more exaggerated than those found on a Stratocaster. Unlike a Stratocaster, the body was not contoured. A common complaint is that the guitar was rather heavy. The body was made of “select hardwoods”, which was either maple or ash (whatever the builder selected from the stack of body blanks).

1981 Peavey T-60



The strings attached through the body, much like those on a Telecaster.




T-60  Neck and Headstock
The neck had a flatter profile than a Fender. Initially the necks came only with a maple fretboard. Later models came with a rosewood board. The T-60 neck also featured an aluminum nut built specially for this guitar.

The six-on-a-side headstock had a unique shape. It also had a triangular string tree.

The T-60 featured an adjustable torsion rod in the neck, to maintain straightness. This was covered by a plastic cover at the base of the headstock that was attached with a single screw. The T-60 also featured a neck tilt adjustment.

The torsion rod originally had a hook on its end to grab the wood and prevent the neck from slipping. It seemed like a good idea, but when the rod was adjusted the hook would bend, tear right through the wood, or straighten out. The hook feature had to be filled with epoxy on the initial models to allow the necks to be usable.

Back of T-60 neck revealing a Penny

The other issue involved the tilt mechanism. It was designed to rest up against a piece of metal. Peavey ordered metallic slugs to place in the routed out area at the end of the necks underside. The slugs were the same size as a United States Nickel coin.

While waiting on the shipment of slugs a nickel coin was used. Peavey decided it made more financial sense to use a Penny. If you own a T-60 with the neck tilt feature, and remove the neck, you may find a Penny.

'79 Toaster and '81 Blade pickups


The first edition of the T-60’s humbucking pickups were “toaster-like” models. These had blade magnets under the covers. Later models changed to a blade style, where you could see the blade.



Peavey T-60 Controls

The electronics for the pickups were very unique. Each pickup had it’s own volume and tone control, and of course a three-way pickup selector switch. A phase switch was also included. The phase control acted when both pickups were both engaged. It reversed the polarity In the bridge pickup.

The out-of-phase sound was rather hollow, and timbre could be altered by changing the positions of the volume and tone controls.

What were really unique were the tone controls. Each pickups tone circuit operated independently. When the potentiometer was fully turned to the #10 position, the pickup was in the single coil mode. Rotating the control counterclockwise to approximately the #7 position put the pickup into the humbucking mode. Further counterclockwise rotation engaged the tone capacitor. It was a most interesting feature.

1981 Peavey T-60

All of the metal parts for the T-60 were made in house and were very well done.  The bridge/saddle unit had a metal housing, and adjustable saddles that were similar to those on a Fender Stratocaster.


Most of the artists I recall using the Peavey T-60 were Nashville based session players that had gigs on television shows in the 1980’s.

Chet Atkins with The Peaver

Chet Atkins had a Peavey T-60, but it was modified by his accompanist/guitar tech, Paul Yandell.

Yandell removed the neck from Chet’s T-60 and replaced it with a wide Fender Stratocaster neck. He also took out the electronics and pickups from the guitar.


Paul crafted a new pickguard and installed two EMG single coil pickups in the middle and bridge position. A volume control was added for each pickup as well as a single tone control. Paul added the phasing switch.

The Peaver


This pickup position was used because it is practically impossible to get harmonics on a Fender stratocaster if the neck pickup is engaged. The placement of that pickup cancels out harmonics. Paul called this guitar "The Peaver". Chet used it on at least 14 different recordings because he liked the phased sound.





1979 Peavey T-40 bass guitar
The T-40 bass showed up the same year as the matching guitar. It weighed in at about 10 1/2 pounds, and had all the features found on the guitar, along with a long scale neck.

Much like the guitar, the original 1978 models were available in a natural finish, while subsequent models had either a stained, sunburst, or painted finish.


1984 & 1979 Peavey T-40's

Again, the original models had humbucking toaster pickups. Although the pickups had Peavey Super ferrite magnetic blades, they were hidden beneath the covers. By 1981 these were replaced with blade pickups.





Peavey T-40 Basses



The electronics on the bass model were the same ones featured on the T-60 guitar.





Inner shielding on a Peavey T-40


On both the guitar and the bass, the electronics were shielded with an aluminum lining.

Both the T-60 guitar and the T-40 bass are excellent instruments and can still be found on auction sites at more reasonable prices than many other similar instruments.

As a plus, these the initial price for these Peavey guitars included a hard-shell case. So most sellers include the case in their offer.

These were excellent instruments made 100% in the USA.

Click on the links below the pictures for the sources. Click on the links in the text for further information.
©UniqueGuitar Publications (text only)







Categories: General Interest

Ted Leo - Live in Detroit

Guitar Vibe - Thu, 09/21/2017 - 08:51
Ted Leo & The Pharmacists, one of my favorite bands in the last twenty years, is on tour promoting their first new album in seven years. Although the album "The Hanged Man" was mostly composed and performed by Ted Leo... Zack Urlocker
Categories: General Interest

Sarah McLeod’s ‘Wild Hearts’ Video

I Heart Guitar - Tue, 09/19/2017 - 04:52

Sarah McLeod has just released a video for the track ‘Wild Hearts’ from her new record Rocky’s Diner, and is about to hit the road for an Australian tour in support of the album. The Wild Hearts video captures seemingly routine moments in time, like passing buskers in the street – but rather than rush by them, like you might if you were on your way to work or similar responsibilities, the clip allows you to stay a while. It also features her adorable little dog, Chachi! 

Here are the tour dates:

SUN 5 NOV | JIVE, ADELAIDE, SA | 18+
Tickets available from http://sarahmcleod.oztix.com.au/ | 1300 762 545 | All Oztix Outlets
WED 29 NOV | THE CURTIN, MELBOURNE, VIC | 18+
Tickets available from http://sarahmcleod.oztix.com.au/ | 1300 762 545 | All Oztix Outlets
THURS 30 NOV | THE BASEMENT, CANBERRA, ACT | 18+
Tickets available from http://sarahmcleod.oztix.com.au/ | 1300 762 545 | All Oztix Outlets
SAT 2 DEC | THE FOUNDRY, BRISBANE, QLD | 18+
Tickets available from http://sarahmcleod.oztix.com.au/ | 1300 762 545 | All Oztix Outlets
THURS 7 DEC | THE HEN HOUSE, BADLANDS BAR, PERTH, WA | 18+
Tickets available from http://sarahmcleod.oztix.com.au/ | 1300 762 545 | All Oztix Outlets
FRI 8 DEC | THE ODD FELLOW, FREMANTLE, WA | 18+
Tickets available from http://sarahmcleod.oztix.com.au/ | 1300 762 545 | All Oztix Outlets
SAT 9 DEC | PRINCE OF WALES, BUNBURY, WA | 18+
Tickets available from http://sarahmcleod.oztix.com.au/ | 1300 762 545 | All Oztix Outlets
FRI 15 DEC | HERITAGE HOTEL, BULLI, NSW | 18+
Tickets available from http://sarahmcleod.oztix.com.au/ | 1300 762 545 | All Oztix Outlets
SAT 16 DEC | THE LANSDOWNE, SYDNEY | 18+
Tickets available from http://sarahmcleod.oztix.com.au/ | 1300 762 545 | All Oztix Outlets

THURS 5 OCT | SOL BAR, SUNSHINE COAST, QLD | 18+
Tickets available from http://sarahmcleod.oztix.com.au/ | 1300 762 545 | All Oztix Outlets
FRI 6 OCT | SPOTTED COW, TOOWOOMBA, QLD | 18+
Tickets available from http://sarahmcleod.oztix.com.au/ | 1300 762 545 | All Oztix Outlets
SAT 7 OCT | MIAMI SHARK BAR, GOLD COAST, QLD | 18+
Tickets available from http://sarahmcleod.oztix.com.au/ | 1300 762 545 | All Oztix Outlets
SUN 8 OCT | BYRON BAY BREWERY, BYRON BAY, NSW | 18+
Tickets available from http://sarahmcleod.oztix.com.au/ | 1300 762 545 | All Oztix Outlets
THURS 12 OCT | 48 WATT, NEWCASTLE, NSW | 18+
Tickets available from http://sarahmcleod.oztix.com.au/ | 1300 762 545 | All Oztix Outlets
FRI 13 OCT | THE BAROQUE ROOM, KATOOMBA, NSW | 18+
Tickets available from http://sarahmcleod.oztix.com.au/ | 1300 762 545 | All Oztix Outlets
SUN 15 OCT | MIRANDA HOTEL, MIRANDA, NSW | 18+
Tickets available from http://sarahmcleod.oztix.com.au/ | 1300 762 545 | All Oztix Outlets
WED 25 OCT | PELLY BAR, FRANKSTON, VIC | 18+
Tickets available from http://sarahmcleod.oztix.com.au/ | 1300 762 545 | All Oztix Outlets
THURS 26 OCT | SOOKI LOUNGE, BELGRAVE, VIC | 18+
Tickets available from http://sarahmcleod.oztix.com.au/ | 1300 762 545 | All Oztix Outlets
FRI 27 OCT | KAROVA LOUNGE, BALLARAT, VIC | 18+

Tickets available from http://sarahmcleod.oztix.com.au/ | 1300 762 545 | All Oztix Outlets

 

FRI 3 NOV | WARATAH HOTEL, HOBART, TAS | 18+

Tickets available from http://sarahmcleod.oztix.com.au/ | 1300 762 545 | All Oztix Outlets

 

SAT 4 NOV | CLUB 54, LAUNCESTON, TAS | 18+

Tickets available from http://sarahmcleod.oztix.com.au/ | 1300 762 545 | All Oztix Outlets

 

The post Sarah McLeod’s ‘Wild Hearts’ Video appeared first on I Heart Guitar.

Categories: General Interest

New Satriani Album And Tour!

I Heart Guitar - Tue, 09/19/2017 - 03:47

Wow, 2018 is gonna be a big year for Joe Satriani fans! Joe has announced a new record called What Happens Next, and it’s out on January 12. It features the rhythm section of Glenn Hughes and Chad Smith, so I can’t wait to hear the results. Visit Joe’s website to hear a preview of the track ‘Energy.’ And Joe is also kicking off a new G3 tour on January 11 with John Petrucci and Phil Collen. I’m really excited about this one because that’s three of my favourite guitarists from my teen years (who am I kidding – now too!) on the one bill, and it will be really interesting to see what Phil does in a solo context. 

Here’s the press release about the new record and tour. 

World-renowned guitar virtuoso, JOE SATRIANI, announces the release of his 16thsolo album, What Happens Next, set for release, January 12, 2018 on Sony/Legacy Recordings.  Just a day prior to the album release, SATRIANI revives his G3 tour entity, inviting Dream Theater’s John Petrucci and Def Leppard lead guitarist, Phil Collen to join him.  The G3 tour launches on January 11 in Seattle, WA and continues across the U.S. before winding up on February 25 in Milwaukee, WI.  There is a special tour pre-sale promotion giving fans the opportunity to buy concert tickets with the new album as well as VIP packages. Visit https://lnk.to/WHN for more information, pre-sale opportunities and specific market pre-sale and on-sale dates.

The new, instrumentally electrifying album features a power trio of legendary status;SATRIANI on guitar and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee bassist Glenn Hughes (Deep Purple/Black Country Communion) and drummer Chad Smith (Red Hot Chili Peppers), the latter reuniting with SATRIANI for the first time since their work in the supergroup Chickenfoot. SATRIANI is once again joined byproducer/engineer/mixer Mike Fraser, his frequent collaborator over the last 20 years,on What Happens Next. Fraser is well-known for recording/mixing every AC/DC album since 1990’s The Razors Edge along with his classic works with SATRIANI going back to the release of Crystal Planet in 1998.

These new tracks literally vibrate the soul with an energy rarely found these days. From the dynamic opening track, “Energy”, to the majestic crunch of “Thunder High On TheMountain”, and the easy, sensual cords of “Smooth Soul”. This unparalleled rock-rhythm section gives What Happens Next a depth of groove that sets it apart from SATRIANI’s other work.

Since its debut in 1996, SATRIANI’s G3 tour has featured the world’s greatest guitarists (everyone from Steve Vai and Eric Johnson to Steve Lukather and Robert Fripp) and has become a consistent concert hall sell-out attraction in the U.S., South America, Europe, Australia and Japan. “I could say that I’m surprised at the durability of G3 and how much it’s grown, but in a way I’m not,” SATRIANI says with a laugh, “I think part of its charm and its mojo is in the chemistry of having three top guitarists share what they do on stage. It’s fun, it’s unpredictable, it’s wild – it’s everything you could want in a show.”

In addition to this new album and exciting tour news, a new documentary “Beyond the Supernova” shot by SATRIANI’s filmmaker son, ZZ, makes its debut at the Mill Valley Film Festival this October.  The tour documentary chronicles Joe, along with his band and crew, on their last “Shockwave Supernova” tour throughout Europe and Asia.

Satriani’s Strange Beautiful Music: A Musical Memoir first released in May 2014 will now be available in paperback.  Pre-orders are available now with the official release on November 7, 2017.  The paperback version includes a new chapter focusing on SATRIANI’s last album, Shockwave Supernova. Read an excerpt from the new chapter HERE.

“What Happens Next” Track Listing:

1 – Energy                                                                           7 – Headrush

2 – Catbot                                                                           8 – Looper

3 – Thunder High On The Mountain                          9 – What Happens Next

4 – Cherry Blossoms                                                        10 – Super Funky Badass

5 – Righteous                                                                     11 – Invisible

6 – Smooth Soul                                                                12 – Forever And Ever

The post New Satriani Album And Tour! appeared first on I Heart Guitar.

Categories: General Interest

Steely Dan Guitarist Walter Becker - His Life - His Guitars - His Guitarists

The Unique Guitar Blog - Sat, 09/16/2017 - 13:33
Steely Dan - Becker and Fagan
Some of the greatest songs from the 1970’s came from the “group” Steely Dan. Although for two years, Becker and Fagan toured as a group, most of their creations took place in the studio.  Becker originally played bass with the original group before switching to the instrument he loved; the guitar.



Walter Becker
Walter Becker cannot be defined as “guitar god”. All of the solos played on the recordings were done by studio pros. But Becker’s gift was songwriting, production, and the knowledge of what to leave in, what to leave out. Fagan did most of the vocals, and stands out as the front man, but Becker added more to the group than was ever acknowledged.


The foundation of the group was to write, and produce rock songs with a hint of rhythm and blues, and jazz. And they were very good at that.

Becker originally played saxophone, but took guitar lessons from his neighbor Randy Wolfe (aka Randy California of the group Spirit). Becker had a troubled childhood. He attended Bard College in New York, and it was there that he met fellow student Donald Fagan. Fagan heard him playing electric guitar and asked if he wanted to start a band. This prompted the two guys to begin writing songs together.

They originally played covers of some not-so-well-known songs, along with their own compositions. One of the drummers in this early group was comedy star Chevy Chase.

Jay and the Americans 1965
Both guys landed gigs in the touring band of Jay and the Americans. Jay Black, the groups front man, and lead singer, was a clean-cut, all-American, while Becker, and Fagan were left-overs from the “Beat” era. Becker and Fagan left when their salaries were cut in half by Black and his manager.



Streisand - I Mean To Shine
Barbara Steisand recorded a song written by Fagan and Becker called I Mean To Shine. After they determined they could make a career in the music business, the men moved to California and landed a deal as staff songwriters for ABC records. And it was there that Steely Dan became a band.

Along with Fagan and Becker were guitarist Jeff “Skunk” Baxter, drummer Jim Hodges, and singer David Palmer, who joined as a singer when Fagan was unable to overcome his stage-fright. They recorded a single called Dallas, that tanked.

Can't Buy A Thrill
It was not until 1972 when the LP, Can’t Buy A Thrill was released, that the band got any recognition. Among the songs were Reelin’ In The Years, Do It Again, and Dirty Work (sung by Palmer). Their second album Countdown to Ecstacy, released in 1973, was another hit and contained the FM hit Bodhisattva.



Pretzel Logic



Their 1974 album, Pretzel Logic, had the hit, Rikki Don’t Loose That Number. During this era, Becker and Fagan wanted to concentrate on writing and producing, so the did not want to tour.



Members of their band left and were replaced by session men, including Michael McDonald, Larry Carlton, Lee Ritenour, sax player Phil Woods, bass player Winton Felder, and some members of the group that would go on to become Toto.

Aja
Subsequent albums were released including Kathy Lied and The Royal Scam, and finally Aja, which included such hits as Peg, and Deacon Blues.

The men were asked to write the music for a movie called FM, which became another hit song.

During most of 1978, Becker and Fagan took a break, but were writing songs for the album Gaucho.

Gaucho
That year Becker’s girlfriend died of a drug overdose in his apartment, which resulted in a lawsuit. During the same year Becker was struck by a taxi and his leg was shattered. Gaucho finally surfaced and contained the hit Hey Nineteen.

But internal disagreements caused  Steely Dan to disband in 1981.

Walter Becker moved to Hawaii and purchased an avacado farm. He also quit using drugs and became sober. Becker occasionally produced recordings for other artists, including Rikki Lee Jones.

In 1986 Becker and Fagan performed together on an album by Rosie Vela, and artist signed by their former manager, Gary Katz. The record was called Zazu.

Fagan's Kamikiriad
Becker went on to do production for Fagan’s solo LP Kamakiriad. In 1994 MCA records release Citizen Steely Dan, a boxed set of their recordings. Becker and Fagan went on tour to support the effort.

Subsequent tours took place in 2000 and 2003. Fagan continued to perform, sometimes with Becker.

Becker released his solo LP, Circus Money, in 2008.

Becker's Final Performance

The Steely Dan band played its final performance with Walter Becker on May 27th. Becker was supposed to join Fagan for more shows, but had to cancel for undisclosed reasons.


Becker passed away on Sunday, September 3, 2017, due to an undisclosed illness. He left behind an approximate net worth of $17.0 million. He leaves behind his wife Elinor and his two children.

Throughout his career, Becker's on stage guitars and basses were usually Gibson or Fender style instruments.

Becker with Epiphone acoustic


One of the earliest pictures shows Becker on an acoustic archtop Epiphone Broadway guitar.




Becker with Fender Bass
In the early days when Steely Dan was touring, the guitar parts were left to  Jeff "Skunk" Baxter, while Becker played bass.

Here is Becker with a modified PJ Fender bass. Baxter is playing the Telecaster.

Becker with Gibson Thunderbird bass


In a later photo from that era,  Becker is playing a modified Gibson Thunderbird bass.





Becker with a Sadowsky bass



We do not see many photos of Walter Becker playing an instrument until he and Fagan got back together in 1986.





Walter Becker - Grimes Guitar
Becker played a variety of guitars in the studio including this Grimes model jazz guitar.




Sadowsky Walter Becker Signature model
Becker was fond of guitars made by New York luthier, Roger Sadowsky. Here Becker plays his signature model. This guitar has a built-in preamp, with a gain switch.


This guitar also has a push-pull EQ control, and a 5 position slider switch to control its three P90 style pickups. Becker also has a similar model with twin humbuckers.

Hahn Telecaster

Becker also played an all mahogany Telecaster-style guitar made by New York luthier Chihoe Hahn.






Mid-2000 Fender No-Caster


Becker occasionally used a Fender mid 2000 relic'd No-caster in concerts.


Hahn Stratocaster Model


Becker played several Stratocaster-style guitars that were also made by Hahn Guitars.




Frye Guitar

Becker also owns and tours with a unique single pickup guitar made by Frye Guitars of  Green Bay, Wisconsin by luthier Ben Frye.



Sadowsky Strat-style
Walter Becker owned several Sadowsky guitars including this Silver stratocaster-style model that has three P90 style pickups, a built-in preamp, and EQ control.



Sadowsky Guitar
Another Sadowsky guitar is this one that was Becker's favorite studio guitar. It has two single coil pickups, and a bridge humbucker, and the EQ, and preamp features found on his other Sadowskys, but this one includes tune-able bridge saddles.

Blue Sadowsky Strat


Becker seemed to be very fond of Sadowsky Stratocaster-style guitars.




Sunburst Sadowsky Strat
Though the shape and contour of the Sadowsky guitaar a similar to a Fender Stratocaster, the cut on the sides of the Sadowsky guitars are not as beveled as one would find on the original Fender models

Kaur Banshee
Walter also owned and played a unique guitar that looks a lot like a Gibson Firebird, but it has a gold finish, and two P90 style pickups. It was made by Kaur Guitars of California, and is their Banshee model. This model came with Steinberger tuners.

Fano Alt de facto



Becker also owned and played a Fano Alt de facto RB6 guitar that is equipped with twin Lindy Fralin P90 style pickups and a unique "ToneStyler" control.







Becker's Flying Vee



Becker also owned, but seldom played a Gibson Flying Vee, which was based on the original 1958 model.





Dean Parks


As the early touring band only existed for around two years, most all of the groups music took place in the studio using session guitarists. These included Dean Parks, who is one of LA's busiest session men.




Larry Carlton

Probably the best known session player for Steely Dan was Mr. 335, Larry Carlton. Carlton's first appearance was on the song Daddy Don't Live In That New York City No More from the Katy Lied Album. Carlton reappeared on the groups fifth album; Royal Scam, where his excellent licks were on Kid Charlemagne. He was an important part of the Steely Dan sound.

Rick Derringer



A lesser known session player for Steely Dan was Rick Derringer, who appeared on the Katy Lied LP.






Jay Graydon


Another popular session player of that era was guitarist, Jay "Wah-wah" Graydon. The only track he played on was their hit Peg.




Hugh McCracken



Guitarist Hugh McCracken was hired to play rhythm on Kathy Lied.








Steve Khan


Guitarist Steve Khan played on both the Aja and Gaucho albums. For him it must have been like going back in time since he was an original member of Steely Dan.







Lee Ritenour

Jazz player and session man Lee Ritenour was also a session player called up for the Aja LP.







Chuck Rainey


LA Bass veteran, Chuck Rainey, was called up to do the bass guitar part on Peg.


Click on the links below the pictures for sources. Click on the links in the text for more information.
©UniqueGuitar Publications (text only)








Categories: General Interest

T-RackS 5 Looks Crazy Cool

I Heart Guitar - Thu, 09/14/2017 - 18:01

When the email about IK Multimedia T-RackS 5 hit my inbox, it dawned upon me that I’ve been using T-RackS for 18 years now. Whoa! If you haven’t tried it yet, a) what’s wrong with you and b) it’s an incredible suite of plugins for mastering, and I use it in all sorts of ways. Currently I’m using some of its EQ models to emulate particular mixing desk channels – my guitars go through a the model based on the Pultec® EQP-1A and a Black 76 Limiting Amplifier, then through my secret weapon: the Mic Room mic modeller, set for the same kind of mic I’m using but giving me access to the Proximity and Harmonics controls. Shh, don’t tell anyone.

T-RackS 5 has just been announced and it includes all the same great models but with a new improved audio engine, four new processors for a total of 38 high-quality modules on a flexible 16 processor series/parallel chain, a comprehensive broadcast ready professional metering tool section, a new completely redesigned, smart single-window GUI as well as an album assembly section with multi-format exporting function.

I’m particularly excited by the new Master Match module, which automatically matches the sound of your songs using up to three different source tracks as reference. 

Watch the video below and hit this link for more.

The post T-RackS 5 Looks Crazy Cool appeared first on I Heart Guitar.

Categories: General Interest

Sano Acoustic Guitar Mystery. Possible connection to Lowden or Yairi

Guitarz - Thu, 09/07/2017 - 08:36
guitarz.blogspot.com:










Hello all, as I get ready to send my youngest off to full time school, I may actually have more time to post here. Unless I get one of those job thingys. Let us hope not.

Here we have my newest acquisition.

I spotted this Sano Acoustic guitar as it reminded me a lot of my Lowden O-10 ( see the last picture). Then I ended up down the rabbit hole of google research. There is little to be found on the subject of Sano acoustic guitars. There is quite a bit about Sano amplifiers and their possible connection to Ampeg. 

Sano started off building accordions and were in the forefront of accordion amplification. They imported electric guitars from Italy in the 
1960s and started to focus on guitar amplifiers at the time. 

I did find some information that said there was possibly some Sano acoustic guitars build by Yairi in the 1980s. Lowden also built guitars with Yairi in the eary to mid 1980s. There was even a short lived brand of guitars that were Lowden designed sold under the name Artisan ( less than 1000 guitars ).

This guitar is amazing. Has all the balanced tone of my Lowden and is perhaps even better sounding when using a more aggressive strum attack. The top is solid cedar and the back and sides appear to be mahogany, but I cannot tell if they are solid or laminated. The fit and finish are quite good even if not quite as refined as the Lowden. And the trim work definitely suggests this guitar is worth more than I paid for it. 

A couple of interesting things on this guitar. The volute is the biggest pyramid volute I've seen in person, yet it's well placed enough to be unnoticeable while playing. The pick-guard is more unique than you may think upon first glance. It's rosewood, and it's actually inlaid into the cedar. In all my years of guitar obsession I've never seen this approach. 

Has anyone seen these guitars before. The only labelling or markings are a serial number on the neck block and a small label inside that says "Sano Craftsman Made". No country of origin, or any other markings. 

Be interested to see if anyone else has been as lucky to come across one of these guitars.

R.W. Haller



© 2016, Guitarz - The Original Guitar Blog - the blog that goes all the way to 11!Please read our photo and content policy.











Categories: General Interest

Alice In Chains – Dirt

I Heart Guitar - Wed, 09/06/2017 - 06:33

Man, I’m continually blown away by how well Dirt by Alice In Chains holds up today. For all its darkness and brutal honesty there’s something strangely beautiful about it. It’s not an easy listen. You can tell even at this stage that the band was surrounded by and drawn towards self-destruction. The lyrics speak not just of addiction in an abstract sense, but of surrendering willingly to it, throwing yourself into it and letting it take you over completely. Embracing the hopelessness and the fuck-it-ness of it all. 

When I first heard the record, I couldn’t relate to that at all. Hell, the biggest addition I had was playing guitar, and I managed to turn that into something constructive. But as I got older I started to understand Dirt a little more. I was never a drug guy but I came to understand self-destruction, hopelessness, the compulsion to see how far you can take something that is bad for you, how low you can get before you admit you need help, how much you can dislike yourself before you decide to either do something about it or give in. 

There are a lot of albums I love that I don’t particularly feel like I need to listen to regularly any more, just because they’re so burned into my brain. But this one keeps calling to me and I keep hearing new things. And although Dirt has been out there in the world for 25 years now and has been a part of my life since my teens, I don’t listen to it for nostalgia. I listen to it because it feels like a living, evolving document of the human condition. It’s filtered through the lens of depression, addiction, desperation and surrender but as a listener you can superimpose all sorts of demons onto it and hopefully exorcise them in the process. 

Dirt is still not an easy listen. If you’re a sensitive soul, you’re going to feel a lot of things and you’re probably going to want to just sit in silence for a few minutes afterwards, letting your mind come back from wherever you’ve just been. But it’s a very worthwhile listen too.

The post Alice In Chains – Dirt appeared first on I Heart Guitar.

Categories: General Interest

John Abercrombie - His Life and Guitars

The Unique Guitar Blog - Mon, 09/04/2017 - 08:20
John Abercrombie with a Les Paul
John Abercombie, passed away on August 22nd of this year. Abercrombie was a well-know, world class jazz guitarist, with a lyrical style that is hard to pin down to one genre. Abercrombie was aslo a composer and bandleader. His style changed and evolved throughout the years.

Born in 1944. Abercrombie took up guitar at age 14 and learned Chuck Berry, Bill Haley, and Fats Domino tunes. He later discovered Jazz by listening to Barney Kessel recordings.

Young Abercrombie
with 1920's Gibson L-4
John attended Berklee College of music where he gigged with other students at a local jazz club. It was there that he was invited to join a band made up of Hammond organist Johnny Smith, sax player Michael Brecker, and his brother, trumpet player Randy Brecker.


For awhile, Abercrombie shared a room with fellow student Jan Hammer.

When the gig with Smith ended, Abercrombie moved to New York and signed on to play in drummer Chico Hamilton's band. He was soon in high demand as a sideman.

Abercrombie attributed the beginnings of his style to Kessel, Wes Montgomery, and Jim Hall. He also drew inspiratation from Miles Davis and Bill Evans. John Abercrombie became one of the pioneering figures of Jazz/Rock, which he states was developed out of necessity due to lack of role models.

John Scofield, Bill Connors,
Steve Khan-John Abercrombie
In an interview he said, "I had to figure things for myself. I grabbed onto every device in my arsenal, including my knowledge of harmony and the guitar, the few little fuzztone or pieces of gear that I used at the time, and tried to fit it in. When I'd play with Jack and Dave Holland, or some other players, I responded to what I was hearing around me, and let the sound of it all teach me what I was supposed to do." (excerpted from an article by Ted Panken.)

Young Abercrombie
By 1969 Abercrombie joined a Jazz Rock band named Dreams, which featured the two Brecker brothers and drummer Billy Cobham.  Abercrombie played guitar on several of Cobham's albums. This band shared the stage with several prominent rock acts, including the Doobie Brothers.

At one point on the tour, Abercrombie decided this was not the direction we wanted to pursue for his music or life style.


He moved back to New York and became an in-demand session player, recording with Gato Barbeiri, Barry Miles, Manfred Eicher (who founded ECM records), and Gil Evans.

By 1974 he teamed up with college acquaintance Jan Hammer and drummer Jack DeJohnette for a recording called Timeless. This album was critically received and established a foothold for Abercrombie with ECM records.

Abercrombie with  the Gateway Trio
In 1975 he formed the band Gateway with DeJohnette and bassist Dave Holland, and recorded two albums Gateway and Gateway II.

After the Gateway albums Abercrombie altered his style to a more traditional Jazz style. He recorded several LP's and was leader of the group.

The Abercrombie Quartet, which recorded the LP of the same name and another simply called M.

Abercrombie went on to perform with the groups bassist, George Mraz and guitarist John Scofield. Abercrombie's style included Jazz Rock, Jazz Fusion, and plain, but very lyrical Jazz.

Abercrombie with an Ibanez Synth
In the mid 1980's he experimented with a guitar synthesizer in performance. From the 1990's to the 21st Century Abercromblie performed with an ever-changing group of players, settling usually on trios with a drummer and organist, though occasionally other instrumentation was added. Throughout his career he remained loyal to the ECM label.


Abercrombie with Guild Starfire


John Abercrombie played a variety of different electric guitars throughout his career. The earliest photo I can find shows him playing a Guild Starfire. Around the same time he was also playing a Guild F-50 acoustic guitar.




Abercrombie with his mandolins

Around 1976 Abercrombie says he was recording with Ralph Towner. and was looking for a different sound. He went to Manny's Music in NYC and found an old Fender 4-string electric mandolin.


He tried to play in fifths, the way most mandolins are tuned, but did not want to learn new fingerings. So ever since he has tuned it in fourths, as on  a guitar. Since then he acquired several more electric mandolins, that appear to have been made by Kevin Schwab of Minneapolis. Since his mandolins are tuned an octave higher than a guitar, Abercrombie refers to them as Piccolo guitars.

With Les Paul
Note Acoustic brand Amps
Early in his career, Abercrombie played several different Gibson Les Pauls.

At the time in his career he seemed to be partial to Gibsons, as he is seen here with a Gibson SG Custom.




Abercrombie with Sadowsky guitar
At some point early in his career, John Abercrombie became acquainted with luthier Roger Sadowsky.  Sadowsky had already made guitars for John Scofield. Abercrombie acquired a Telecaster style model with 3 pickups, two humbuckers in the bridge and neck position, and a single coil in the center.

This guitar had a Strat-style vibrato.

Abercrombie with a Sadowsky Tele



He later had Sadowsky build a more traditional Tele with a humbucker in the neck position and a single coil in the bridge.






Ibanez Synth Controller



By the mid 1980's John had began experimenting with a synth controller and synth that was provided by Ibanez.







With Ibanez Artist

Around the same time Ibanez provided him with two Artist 2619 model that he used for quite a few years. These guitars have been in the Ibanez catalog since 1976. He stated he preferred the Ibanez to his gold top Gibson Les Paul, which had small humbuckers. He also stated that the Ibanez pickups had a fatter sound.




With a Heritage Guitar



As John got older he discovered different guitars, including this Heritage solid body model.







With a Peter Coura Guitar


He also played an electric model made by luthier Peter Coura.









With a Soulezza Guitar


Around 2015 he had a headless guitar built for him from Spanish luthier, Fernando De Oleza, who creates extraordinary guitars under his brand, Soulezza Guitars.




With a McCurdy Guitar


Abercrombie also played a beautiful green guitar made by New York City luthier, Ric McCurdy. 





With Brian Moore DC1P


During Abercrombie's final years, he seemed to favour guitars made by Brian Moore. At first Abercrombie used a Brian Moore model DC1P. The body shape was similar to a Les Paul, however it had Moore's unique headstock, which has two strings on the top and four strings on the bottom.



Brian Moore -
John Abercrombie DC19.13USB
Many later photos show Abercrombie playing his own signature Brian Moore model DC1P.13USB John Abercrombie signature model. This guitar has a beautiful semi-hollow spruce top, mahogany back, and side, twin Seymour Duncan pickups, a unique 7 way switching system, Moore's back loading input system, and two very unusual F holes.

The guitars headstock has Moore's 2 on the bottom, four on the top tuning machine arrangement.

Acoustic Amp



Young John Abercrombie started out playing through amps made by Fender, Mesa Boogie, and the now defunct Acoustic Company.







Polytone Mini Brut



Later in life he preferred jazz style amplifiers like the Polytone Mini Brut.







Walter Woods Electracoustic

He also owned a Walter Woods amplifier. This was one of the earliest models of transistor amplifiers, and it was made for bass players.

Walter Woods amplifiers were class D, and had a very high output, from 120 to 1200 watts, which aided to project the bass signal. Despite the output, the amp itself was in a fairly small package. It needed to be paired to a separate speaker cab.

There are some videos of Abercrombie playing through a Carr Viceroy amplifier.

On the road Abercrombie preferred Roland Jazz Chorus amplifiers; either a JC-120 or a JC-77. He did not carry these with him, but in his contract rider, the club or facility where he was playing was required to rent one of these amplifiers.




Categories: General Interest

What’s Your Approach To Effects?

I Heart Guitar - Tue, 08/29/2017 - 17:03

What kind of a player are you: straight into the amp, or do you build your sound through stompboxes or effects units? I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately because the maturity of digital modelling means there’s a third alternative: “It’s all in my Kemper/Helix/Axe-Fx/etc” so sometimes it’s just an amp, sometimes it’s a bunch of effects, and sometimes it changes from verse to chorus.”

Me, I’m typically a straight-into-the-amp player. Generally I follow the EVH approach of using the guitar’s volume pot to adjust the amp gain, and most of the time I’m on the dirty channel whether I’m playing distorted or clean. I still love my pedals though and I’ve been collecting them since I was 13 years old so I’ve amassed a few favourites in that time. The Z.Vex Fuzz Factory, the Jim Dunlop Q Zone and Buddy Guy Cry Baby, the DOD FX25 Envelope Filter, the BOSS OC-2 Octave. And then there are my beloved Seymour Duncan pedals (As many of you no doubt know, I’m SD’s social media guy and I’m pretty loyal): the Forza and 805 Overdrive are my go-to drives even though I have …way too damn many overdriven to choose from. The Catalina Dynamic Chorus is the only chorus I’ll ever use now. And the Pickup Booster is so simple yet so classic. Can’t wait to get my hands and feet on an Andromeda Dynamic Delay too.

I guess the dream setup for me personally would be something like, say, a BOSS ES-8 so I can dip effects in and out while still effectively getting my main tone from the guitar and amp. The way I approach effects is very similar to what I recall Chris DeGarmo saying in a Guitar World interview back in the 90s: I see my tone as a beam of light, and effects as a prism to shine it through. I always want to keep the spirit of the sound intact, and I know that Marshall so well in terms of how it responds to my playing, what it can do, and what it needs a bit of extra help with.

One of the things that excites me about the Andromeda is that it’s MIDI-capable, and so is the ES-8, so if I get the two I’ll be able to build Andromeda preset changes into my patches. Kick in a Pickup Booster or 805 with some ducking delay for a hotter lead sound, switch on a nice atmospheric reverse delay for my rolled-back-volume cleanish rhythms, hit the OC-2 and a fat analog delay sound for big riffs of doom …actually I’m thinking of using a Seymour Duncan PowerStage 700 power amp to power a pair of wet speakers so I can have a wet/dry/wet setup for delays, chorus, reverb and pitch shifting, still taking advantage of my ‘straight-into-the-amp’ approach on the gain side of things while also getting the most out of my pedals for the ambient and really ear-catching stuff.

What about you? How do you approach your use of effects?

The post What’s Your Approach To Effects? appeared first on I Heart Guitar.

Categories: General Interest

Jinho JN-07 SP Locking Tuners – review

Lone Phantom - Sun, 08/27/2017 - 04:32

As talked about in my posts about my Squier Bullet Strat project, I wanted to find some decent budget locking tuners that functioned favourably  when compared to the major players. After a bit of research I decided to try some Jinho Locking Tuners. Jinho are used as OEM suppliers for several guitar manufacturers, and the general consensus was that they were solid units. I found some for sale on eBay and got to installing them on the Bullet Strat.

On first inspection, the Jinho locking tuners look very similar to Gotoh or other similar modern design tuner. The turning ratio is 19:1, which is better than some of the established players. The Jinho locking tuner uses a standard locking thumb wheel design, which is also found on many other locking tuners. The tuning post diameter is 10mm, consistent with most other modern designs too.

The Bullet Strat has been upgraded with a Graphtech Black TUSQ XL nut, roller string trees, and a Wilkinson vintage style Strat bridge, loaded with Hantug Custom Guitars brass modern strat style saddles.

Stringing up the guitar, the locking thumb wheels were nice and smooth to operate, and the 19:1 turning ratio made fine tuning each string a breeze. Once the strings were stretched I started testing out how well the guitar stayed in tune. Non-locking strat style bridges aren’t always the greatest with regards to tuning stability, and with the stock tuners, the Bullet Strat didn’t always hold it’s tune too well. With the Jinho locking tuners the tuning held up well with some heavy string bending, and things were still pretty solid after some dive-bombs and heavy vibrato with the whammy bar. I also tested the guitar on stage with my band, and I barely had to adjust tuning throughout the half-hour set of combined rhythm and lead playing.

Compared to my number one Strat, which is loaded with Gotoh Magnum-lock tuners, and is similarly equipped with a Graphtech Black TUSQ XL nut, and Hantug Custom Guitars vintage style strat bridge, the Jinho locking tuners performed just as well in it’s  duties, which is admirable for a set of tuners that cost around half the price of the established brand. The only real downside to the Jinho tuners is that the plating doesn’t appear to be quite as robust as the Gotoh’s, for example. The thumb wheels were bumped a couple of times during installation, and the finish was chipped. Not a major issue, and considering how well the actual performance of the tuners were, it’s definitely not a show-stopper.

Overall, the Jinho JN-07SP Locking Tuners proved to be an excellent upgrade for the budget conscious player. In fact, they were an excellent upgrade even without budget restrictions in place. The excellent turning ratio and solid locking mechanism make them the perfect choice for a guitar with a non-locking tremolo equipped guitar, whether you want to go nuts with the whammy bar or just apply some subtle vibrato. It understandable why a number of manufacturers are using these as OEM parts on their mid-range guitars. If you have a guitar that requires some help on the tuning front, and have a limited budget, then definitely have a look at these tuners.

Categories: General Interest

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