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|Don E. Noble & Company|
Somehow Noble became involved with business man Norman Sackheim. Eventually the name became Strum and Drum.
|Italian made mid-1960's Nobel Guitar|
Between Nobel, and Sackheim they imported quite a line-up that included Italiian guitars from EKO, Avanti, Wandre, and Goya. In 1969 Strum and Drum purchased the National Guitar brand name.
The logo was a stylized music staff, with the name Norma entered with the "N" as artistically designed 8th note. On some "high-end" models, the fret maker inlays were done in the letter "N".
|1966 Norma Guitars|
|1966 Tombo Guitar|
As an aside “Tombo” is the Japanese word for Dragonfly The company is still active, but no longer manufacturers guitars. They now specialize in harmonicas under the Lee Oskar brand name. Some of the Norma guitars may have been manufactured by Teisco.
|1969 Norma electric|
very similar to a Goya Rangemaster
The necks on these guitars were rather thick, possibly due to not have an adjustable truss rod. The single coil pickups are basic, and some guitars had as many as four pickups.
|1966 Norma Bass Guitars|
Then there are switches and knobs; lots of them. Most of these guitars and bass guitars were sold with a chipboard case, and retailed well below $100.
|Mid 1960's Norma Catalog|
Unfortunately after purchasing National Guitar, Norman Sackheim was killed in a plane crash while on a trip to Moscow. I know the company existed at lease until 1972.
|'68 Norma 12|
By far my favorite Norma electric guitar was their 12 string. The body was based on an exaggerated version of a Fender Stratocaster.
|Head stock of 12 string|
The headstock was an exaggerated version of a Rickenbacker 12 string.
This guitar also came in a six string version with four pickups, lots of switches, and knobs.
|The Oscar Schmidt Factory|
Jersey City, NJ
Stella was the model name given to a series of guitars manufactured by The Oscar Schmidt Company of Jersey City, New Jersey. This company was established sometime between 1871, and incorporated in 1911.
|Vintage Stella paper label|
The Oscar Schmidt Company not only made some nice guitars, but manufactured a variety of stringed musical instruments, such as lap harps, autoharps, chord zithers, and something called a ukelin (which is a bowed psaltery made in the shape of a violin).
While other instrument manufacturing companies would create instruments to be sold through department stores, or catalogs, usually under the store’s brand name, the Oscar Schmidt Company’s strategy was door-to-door marketing.
|A pair of top-of-the-line |
Stella guitars with Tree of Life inlay
|Family music time in the parlor |
During this era the only form of entertainment for families was outings, playing games such as cards, or playing music. Playing music in the family room/parlor, was how the term “parlor guitar” was coined.
|1920's Stella 1925 Soveriegn 1925 La Scala|
To keep the manufacturing cost down, many Stella guitars were made of solid birch. The nicer models were made of mahogany or German spruce. Despite the low cost, the wood was solid. Some of the tops featured unique decal designs. I've even run across those with decals applied to the fretboard. Stella guitars generally used ladder bracing.
Most Stella guitars did not last throughout the years, as the interior finishing was rather crude, and quickly completed. The bridges were made of rosewood, and on some instruments the strings attached to a trapeze tailpiece.
|1935 Stella Westbrook|
The fretboard was usually made of birch or maple and it was stained black. Unfortunately this stain caused some of the boards to eventually rot.
|Leadbelly with his Stella 12 string |
He tuned it down to B
With all that said, Stella guitars sounded great, and came with an affordable price; only $15 for a new guitar. This made the Stella an attractive guitar for Blues players of the day.
|Stella 12 string|
Leadbelly’s 12 string Stella (he called his guitar Stella, in the same way B.B. King called his guitar Lucille) provided a loud booming sound that could be heard In the Juke Joints or in the house parties during the days when amplification was not available, or deemed necessary. He tuned it down to B.
|1920 Stella Regal|
The Oscar Schmidt Company flourished for many years. At one point they even had five manufacturing facilities within the United States. Unfortunately the company did not last through the Great Depression of 1929. In 1930 the company’s assets were sold to the Harmony Company of Chicago, although Oscar Schmidt continued to manufacture and market autoharps.
|Harmony made Stella H6130|
Most guitar aficionados will be more familiar with the inexpensive Stella guitars manufactured by Harmony, than those made by Oscar Schmidt. Many of these were made by Harmony using solid birch wood for the bodies, that was painted to appear to have faux flame. The tops were usually had a two tone sunburst.
|1965 Stella |
Steel Reinforced Neck
The necks were made of poplar. The headstocks proudly announced "Steel Reinforced Neck", although it was not adjustable. The position markers were painted on the fret boar. The machine heads were inexpensive, 3 on a plate, open gear style tuners.
|A typical mid 1960's Stella guitar|
Most models had a stamped metal trapeze tailpiece. If there was a fixed tailpiece, it was screwed into the body.
under the Winston brand
A few years ago, before his passing, luthier Bill Collings, of Collings guitars launched a new venture. He wanted to recreate guitars made in the 1920's, that had "that" sound you would find on a guitar much like an Oscar Schmidt made Stella guitar and other brands of the era. So he founded Waterloo guitars.
|Waterloo WL-S Deluxe|
Waterloo instruments come in parlor to jumbo sized model guitars that feature ladder braced tops (with an X bracing custom option), necks with a V shape (this was an important feature on older guitars before truss rods were used), tops are spruce, backs, sides and necks are made of mahogany.
Instead of a $15 price for a new 1920 Oscar Schmidt Stella, with a $2.00 cardboard case, a Waterloo guitar with a custom hard-shell case will set you back around $2200.
But they are very nice guitars.
Currently the Washburn Musical instruments owns the Oscar Schmidt brand name. The company was formerly owned by musical instrument/electronics distributor U.S. Music, but was recently sold to the Canadian firm J.A.M Industries, which also is the wholesale distributor of musical instruments that are made abroad, and electronic musical equipment.
|George Fullerton - Leo Fender - Freddie Travares - Bill Carson|
It was Fender's head of sales, Don Randall came up with the name; Stratocaster.
|1950 Fender Broadcaster|
Leo Fender had designed and produced the Fender Telecaster four years earlier. This was a “Spanish guitar” adaptation of the lap steel guitars that he and Doc Kauffman had developed as early as 1944. The original Telecaster/Broadcaster had a similar 3 section adjustable bridge saddle which were similar to some of the units used on Fender/K&F lap steel guitars.
The Stratocaster was a whole different guitar than the Telecaster. Perhaps the biggest difference is the two offset horns. Besides just looking plain cool, those horns actually gave the guitar some balance, and provided a great position for the strap button, not to mention easy access to the upper register.
|1953 Stratocaster Prototype|
The original 1953 design for the Stratocaster was quite different than the final product. Some say it looked more like a Telecaster. You can see it has metal knobs.
|1953 Strat Prototype|
The earliest prototype I can find is from 1953. It looks like the 1954 model, but has a much smaller route in the back to hold 3 tremolo springs, and the inertia block.
The designers wanted to create a more versatile instrument that had a different sound than the Telecaster. Instead of two pickups, this guitar would have to have three. And those pickups need to be different than the Telecaster pickups. And the body needed to be different.
Note also the center routing. This would later be changed to a slightly narrower channel between the pickups for placement of the wiring.
|George Fullerton and Freddie Travares|
Freddie Travares was the one that sketched out a new body design.
|Rex Gallion with a '54 Stratocaster|
|1954 Pre-production Stratocaster|
These sculptured curves known as the contoured body are perhaps my favourite part of the Stratocaster. In his later years, George Fullerton shows off his pre-production model.
|Fullerton's Pre-production Stratocaster|
The lower portion of the bout has a definitive bevel that makes for very comfortable arm placement. To do this in 1954, the wood was rift sawn. The blue lines in the photo indicate the saw markings.
|1954 Fender Stratocaster|
This beveled section of the guitars top section gives the Stratocaster a slight offset, since it effects its symmetrical shape.
|1954 Stratocaster Back Side with cover|
|1954 Fender Stratocaster|
|1954 Pick Guard and Pickups|
The creators of the guitar saw no need for a tone potentiometer for the bridge pickup. I suppose they figured players wanted to maintain the high end sound for lead work. The instrument had only a single volume control for all the pickups.
That volume knob is well placed for guitarists that use it for “swell” sounds, that can imitate a steel guitar or a trumpet.
|1954 Strat close-up|
|1954 Strat Pick Guard|
Because the first Stratocasters came with the 3-way switch, some guitarist would jam a piece of a matchstick in the selector to prevent the switch from springing back to the single coil mode. It would not be until 1977 when Fender adopted the 5-way switch as standard equipment.
The plastic switch tip on the '54 model was slightly longer than on models from 1956 and later.
|1954 Strat Pick Guard back side|
Expediency in manufacturing was a key feature of the Fender pickguard, pickups, and electronics. The first pick guards were made of a single piece of .060" thick ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene) vinyl. Some sources say this was made of Bakelite.
The 1954 pickguard, pickup covers, switch tips, and knobs have a tendency to crack over time. The knobs on the 1954 model were slightly shorter.
The electronics, including all three pickups, the three-way switch, the potentiometers, the 250k ohm capacitors, and all the wiring were assembled by Fender workers directly on the pick guard. A small sheet of aluminum was placed below the electronics for shielding.
|1954 Stratocaster routing|
Another feature that set the Stratocaster apart was its floating tremolo.
|Fender Stratocaster blue print|
He insisted that this feature was necessary to compete with guitars being manufactured by other companies.
|Impression of how a 1953 Strat |
may have looked with a roller bridge
The initial tremolo system used a stationary bridge with individual rollers for each string that went to a separate tailpiece. Bill Carson and Leo thought this sounded fine, but George Fullerton disagreed.
He even took the prototype and played it with his band. He said it sounded like an amplified banjo, and lacked sustain. So it was back to the drawing board.
|Patent for Guitar |
The new tremolo unit was actually based on a gram scale that Leo had in his office. The entire bridge assembly moved. much like the plate on the scale. The strings were fed through a solid steel inertia block that attached to the bottom of the bridge plate. This steel block aided with the sustain. And each string had individual adjustable saddles, that could be moved up and down, back and forth to give them the correct height and intonation.
|Patent for Guitar |
Vibrato Apparatus Fig 2
The bridge unit attached at the front of the body with six screws that were countersunk on each side, thus giving it a knife-like edge, allowing the bridge to rock up and down. The rear of the bridge was not anchored to further allow the up and down movement.
|Routing on '54 Strat for vibrato springs|
This gap was wide enough to allow the block to move forward and backward. A rectangular piece of ABS was screwed onto the back to cover the assembly. This was held in place by six wood screws. Six holes that were placed directly under the inertia block acted as slots to thread the strings into the guitar.
|Strat with five springs like the originals|
|Cover plate on |
back of a 1954 Strat
Then there are those players that do not use the tremolo at all; sometimes placing a piece of wood between the trem-block and the end of the cavity to prevent movement.
|1954 Hard-tail Fender Stratocaster|
That guitar had a stationary bridge, anchored by six screws, with the strings fed through the body attached to grommets in the back, just like on a Telecaster. Only a handful of these guitars were sold.
|Eldon Shamblin with 1954 |
Stratocaster, custom gold finish
Leo Fender used to give guitars to well known players that came by the Fullerton shop, to try out, and give him feedback on what they did or didn’t like. He did this with the Stratocaster. Many of those players were from Country Western bands in the California area. One result of these encounters was the recessed input jack on the guitars face.
The Stratocaster was the only guitar to be equipped with this feature. Although it was later copied by other manufacturers. The recessed input was meant for the cables with straight plugs.
|'54 Strat neck|
|'54 Strat neck|
The position markers found on the 1954 Stratocaster were made of dark, baked clay molded into 1/4" dots. Smaller clay dots were placed on the upper side of the neck. On the back of the neck you find what came to be known as the "skunk stripe", which was a strip of walnut wood, glued into the routed area covering that area of the neck where the truss rod was installed.
|Bigsby and Strat headstock|
The Fender six-on-a-side headstock was probably copied from Paul Bigsby's design. Bigsby and Fender knew each other. The Telecaster prototype had a three-on-a-side headstock design, while the production model did not.
In fact the Stratocaster headstock looked much more like Bigsby's design. Leo's design for the neck and headstock was based on ease of manufacturing. Keep it simple. The headstocks for the necks were cut using a template for the shape. Then another cut on the band saw removed the upper half of the wood on the headstock. A bevel was then created starting at the bridge saddle area.
|Straight vs Angled Headstock|
On guitars with the angle, the slope of the headstock aids to keep the strings aligned properly from the saddle to the post.
|'54 Strat - Kluson keys|
The metal tuning keys were made by Kluson and were similar to those found on the Telecaster. The 1954 model had one rounded string tree for the 1st and 2nd string.
Stratocasters, or any Fender guitar with Ybarra pickups are special. Other workers that installed the electronics signed their name or initials to indicate their job was done. Commonly on these older Fender Stratocasters you will find the name Mary (Mary Lemus) or Gloria (Gloria Fuentes).
|1955 black Strat owned|
by Howard Reed
It wasn't until 1956 that Fender produced Stratocaster bodies painted with colours based on Dupont automobile paint. Aside from Shamlin's gold strat, this 1955 black Stratocaster was custom built for Howard Reed, who was the guitarist for Gene Vincent and His Blue Caps. The original 1954 Fender Stratocaster used Canary Yellow, and an amber paint called Dark Salem to create the two-tone sunburst finish. It was sprayed with a nitrocellulose lacquer.
|1954 Stratocaster body made of ash|
|Leo with Alvino Rey|
Dick Dale approached Leo Fender, and in a bold move said, “I’m Dick Dale, I’m a surfer and a guitar player, and I need a decent instrument.” Leo handed him a 1954 Stratocaster and asked him to play something. Mr. Fender had a laugh when Dale flipped it over and played the guitar. Dick was left-handed, but learned to play guitars strung for right handed players.
|Dick Dale with gold Stratocaster|
However the Stratocaster that Dick Dale is most associated with, is nicknamed, The Beast. It was not created until 1960, and was a gift from Leo Fender.
Dale removed the tone potentiometers from his guitars, and put metal caps in their place. He left the 250 ohm volume potentiometer and the 3-way pickup selector switch. Dale also has a mini-toggle switch that turns the middle pickup on.
The other player associated with the 1954 Stratocaster was Country and Western Swing music guitarist, Eldon Shamblin.
|Eldon Shamblin, later in life, |
with his original 1954 Stratocaster
|Shamlin's guitar and |
Leo gave Eldon Shamblin one of the first Fender Stratocasters It is dated 05/04/1954. It is unique because it was the only guitar that year to have a gold finish. Shamblin also used a 1953 Fender Bandmaster with a single 15” speaker when playing with Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys.
Throughout the years the Fender Stratocaster has undergone many changes, however the original 1954 model is the archetype model that many other electric guitars are based on, including those designed by many other companies. When the Fender Stratocaster was finally offered for sale, the retail price was $249.99 for the tremolo model, and $229.99 for the hard-tail version.
Click on the links under the pictures for sources. Click on the links in the text for further information.
©UniqueGuitar Publications (text only) 2018
The next two videos are from 1957, but demonstrate how Fender manufactured their guitars back in the day.
There are also some scenes from trade shows.
|The Original Beach Boys|
|Jan and Dean|
The instrumental surf bands were great, however the other part of surf music were the vocal bands. Most of these groups yielded only one hit wonders. Jan and Dean stand out as an exception and had sixteen hit records from 1959 to 1966. Both were singers, and did not play instruments in their concerts.
|The Rip Chords|
Another surf band of this era was The Rip Chords. They had a hit with "Hey Little Cobra". Ironically Bruce Johnson, who would go on to become one of the Beach Boys, was a member of this group.
The Hondells started out in the studio, as a fictitious band. They were later assembled with real perfomers after their version of Little Honda became a national hit. Studio musician Chuck Girard sang the vocals on the recording, and members of the Wrecking Crew provided the instrumental support. Girard later to become a well-known Christian singer-songwriter, and member of the Christian band, Love Song. The Hondells appeared in several of the surf based teen movies of the day.
|The Beach Boys|
But by far the most famous vocal surf group was The Beach Boys. After five decades, their music still has a strong following with concert goers of all ages.
The Wilson brothers grew up in a Hawthorne California bungalow in the 1950’s.
|Audree and Murray Wilson|
The father of the three Wilson brothers, Murray Wilson, was injured in an industrial accident and lost an eye. During his long recuperation he began writing music, and came out with a couple of popular songs. This launched his career in the music business.
|The Wilson brothers at their home|
Brian also enjoyed listening to the popular music of the day, which included recordings by The Four Freshman, and the hit records by the Ronettes, the Crystals, and Darlene Love.
Brian had this amazing inherent ability to hear the different parts of each vocal, and each instrumental segment. This gave him the skill to dissect each musical line in his head. Some study at a music conservatory for years to develop this craft. Brian was blessed with this gift.
Brian shared a bedroom with his brothers Dennis, and Carl, and for fun he recruited them, neighbor David Marks, and the Wilson's cousin, Mike Love, as well as friend Alan Jardine, to sing harmonies on the songs that he loved. The Wilson boys would even sing in harmony for their family gatherings.
Later on Brian received a reel-to-reel tape recorder and learned how to overdub vocals. This lead to further recording adventures.
|Beach Boys - Torrence High School 1962|
Another version states that Al Jardine's mother financed the equipment rental. This may be more plausible, since an adult would have to sign a rental agreement.
As Dennis was the only surfer in the group, and we can thank him for prodding Brian to write this song. If not for him, the Beach Boys may have been a long forgotten Folk music group.
By the time the parents arrived home from their trip, the father, Murray, was furious that the boys had used all the food money to rent instruments, until he listened to the recording and realized that his sons were very talented.
|The Beach Boys - Candix Records|
The company had changed the name to The Beach Boys by one of the companies promoters without telling the group. At first the members disliked the name, but it stuck and their fame grew.
|The Beach Boys "Surfin' Safari 1962|
Their first hit was Surfin', later followed up by Surfin' Safari.
|The Beach Boys on the Ed Sullivan Show|
Brian did not like to tour and was having some emotional and health issues. In 1964 he had a traumatic panic attack during a chartered flight. After that experience, he told the group that he could no longer perform, and wanted to stay home and write music. Around this same time, Al Jardine was dissatisfied with undergraduate school, wanted back in the music business. He was invited back to play bass guitar and sing Brian's vocal parts.
|Glen Campbell as a Beach Boy|
A new bass player was recruited. The job fell briefly to Glen Campbell, and later in 1965 Bruce Johnston, officially became a Beach Boy.
|Murray looks on as the boys play music|
During a recording session at Capitol Records, while Murray was barking orders, Brian shoved his father against a wall, fired him as the groups manager and ordered him to leave.
|Pet Sounds -|
Their first album not about surf music or cars
This was actually turned out to be a great move and it accounted for the groups longevity.
|The Beach Boys 50th Anniversary tour|
|Mike Love's Beach Boys|
|Al Jardine and Carl Wilson|
Al Jardine, and Carl Wilson never claimed to be great guitarists, but they were certainly good enough to play in concert. Dennis Wilson life was all about having a good time. He was never a great drummer, but he could sure keep the beat, and kept the eyes of the ladies. Dennis also wrote some wonderful songs.
|The Wrecking Crew|
I believe Brian's desire to create huge orchestrated productions of his songs stemmed from a desire he had in the back of his mind for many years. Brian always had a huge admiration for Phil Spector's production technique, and showed up at his recording sessions, just to watch Spector create his "Wall of Sound". Brian and his brothers also had a friendship with John Maus of the Walker Brothers. The Walker Brothers songs had backing arrangements similar to those Brian was about to develop.
The Pet Sounds album was a huge musical turning point in the Beach Boys career.
|Brian coaches bassist Lyle Ritz.|
Drummer Jim Gordon in the back
At first the "Wrecking Crew" was a derogatory slur given to this group of players by the "suits" that usually did the background music for Capitol Records arrangements. They thought these musicians were going to wreck the industry by playing pop music, instead of contributing their talent to recordings like Montavani's 1000 strings. Years later members of the "Wrecking Crew" embraced the term. You hear them play on literally thousands of popular hit songs from the 1960's through the 1980's, that were made by thousands of artists. None of the members ever got credit for their work.
These musicians loved working for Brian. His sessions were long, and the players were paid by the hour. Pet Sounds wound up costing over $70,000 to make and it was not at all financially successful.
At the time the fan base may not have understood the direction that The Beach Boys had taken. But it yielded four of The Beach Boys best songs; Wouldn't It Be Nice, Sloop John B, God Only Knows, and the mournful Caroline No (which lyricist Tony Asher originally wrote as "Carol, I Know", but Brian misunderstood). In an effort to recoup their money, Capitol Records did not wait long after the release of Pet Sounds, to release a compilation album called The Beach Boys Greatest Hits.
|Bruce, Brian, Al, and Dennis|
|Brian working with Hal Blaine|
|The Beach Boys (The Pendletones)|
We’d just have to get new ones, so I don’t have a clue where they are.. So through the Sixties we’d just keep recycling them.”
However we do know about some of the guitars that The Beach Boys used.
Carl took guitar lessons at an accordion studio near Hawthorne, and from a musician that lived in the area named John Maus. John was in a group called The Walker Brothers, and taught guitar out of his home which was a couple of blocks around the corner from the Wilson family home.
|Carl with Rickenbacker model 360|
|1959 Carvin Electric guitar|
David Marks parents bought him a Sears Silvertone acoustic guitar in 1958. A year later he purchased a Carvin electric guitar from John Maus.
|1959 Kay model K899OJC|
Carl acknowledged his first guitar was a Kay hollow body electric guitar that he received as a Christmas present. He played this guitar unplugged on the recording of Surfin’.
|Carl '62 Stratocaster|
Once the record was released, the Beach Boys needed better equipment. Carl purchased a 1962 sunburst Fender Stratocaster, which he used briefly. Al Jardine was originally the bass player, and for a while played a stand-up string bass. This would figure, as Al was a fan of folk music. He is responsible for introducing the song, Sloop John B, which is properly titled, The John B. Sails. to Brian. If it was up to Al, the Beach Boys would have been a folk group.
We do not know what type of guitar Al used on early recordings, but due to the sound, we are fairly certain it was not a Fender.
|Brian with his |
'62 Fender Precision Bass
Brian’s first bass was a sunburst ‘62 Fender Precision Bass.
When Al Jardine left the group to go to school and David Marks came back he was playing a Rickenbacker, before switching to a ‘62 Sunburst Fender Stratocaster.
|The Beach Boys amplifiers|
|Carl's '62 Jaguar and Al's '62 Stratocaster|
Later in 1962, Carl got his Olympic white Fender Jaguar. In 1963 Marks purchased a similar
|Carl with Rickenbacker 360/12|
In 1964 Carl added a Fire Glow (red sunburst) Rickenbacker 360/12, that he used on some songs.
|Beach Boys '63 Al with Gibson SG|
|The Beach Boys 1964 Concert|
In 1964 both Carl and Al usually played through 1960-63 white tolex Fender Dual Showman amplifiers, and 1962 Fender stand-alone reverb units. They also used an Ampeg B-15 Portaflex bass amp.
At some concerts they used a Fender 1961-62 Bassman amp with a 1964 white Tolex cabinet.
|Carl with Epiphone 12|
Besides the 1963 white Jaguar and the fire glow Rickenbacker 360/12, Carl Wilson used some other guitars in concert. These include a sunburst Epiphone Rivera 12-string, that he used on Help Me Rhonda, and Sloop John B.
|Carl Gibson ES-335|
Carl also owned a Blonde Gibson ES-335, with a Bigsby that he purchased in 1970 from a friend for $300,
|Carl - Gibson ES-335 12 string|
In addition to the Epiphone 12 string, Carl also owned a red-burst Gibson 12 string Es-335, both a black Les Paul, a sunburst Gibson ES-345, and a red Les Paul, and an Olympic white Fender Stratocaster.
|Carl with yellow Stratocaster|
He also owned the a tobacco-burst Epiphone 12 string pictured above and, a yellow Fender Stratocaster, that he named Old Yeller, and a yellow Fender Telecaster.
|Carl's red Baldwin 12 string|
He also owned a blonde Fender Stratocaster, a red Baldwin 12 string, and a Les Paul Jr.
|Carl with Yamaha APX700|
As for acoustic guitars, Carl owned a Martin D-41, a Gibson J-200, and a Yamaha APX700 acoustic-electric.
|Carl with Fender XII |
and Dual Showman amp
Over the years a few guitars were stolen that include a Fender XII 12 string, and a Martin D-76 Bicentennial model.
|Carl with a white Fender Telecaster|
There are a few unusual guitar that he also played which included a white Fender Telecaster with a Bigsby unit. Fender did not offer those until 1967.
Carl and Al Jardine may of received that gratis from Fender, since the Beach Boys did start endorsing Fender products in 1962.
A music dealer once offered Carl a Mosrite, like the ones The Ventures played, in exchanged for endorsements, but he turned that down.
|Carl with custom Fender Lucite guitar|
Fender also built Carl a special one-of-a-kind Lucite guitar. This guitar was a prototype model that never went on the market. It was hand built by Roger Rossmeisl. The body was somewhat similar in shape to a Stratocaster.
|Fender custom Lucite guitar|
The guitar also had a vibrato unit, similar to the Fender Mustang vibrato.
|Al Jardine with '62 Fender Stratocaster|
Al Jardine is usually seen playing his stock Olympic White Stratocaster.
|Al Jardine with a black Stratocaster|
Though at some venues, he used a black Fender Stratocaster.
|Al Jardine - |
white Fender Jaguar
However Al also played a Fender Jaguar on some songs.
The 1967 white Telecaster with the Bigsby unit, that Carl is playing in a few videos may have actually belonged to Al. Al has a relationship with Fender Musical Instruments and Senior VP Richard McDonald. They still ship him equipment if he needs it.
|Al Jardine with Martin D-45|
During the 1980's and 1990's, Al usually plays a white or red 1962 replica Stratocaster, with a rosewood neck, through a Fender Twin Reverb amplifier. He also owns some Martin acoustic guitars.
|Fender Twin Reverb amplifier|
The Fender Twin Reverb was designed to be a combo version of the Dual Showman, although it has two 12” speakers with 85 watts of RMS power.
Through the later years the Beach Boys generally relied on Fender Twin Reverb amps in concert, I’ve also read that at one point they used Dumble amplifiers.
|Mitchell Pro-100 amplifier|
Carl owned a Mitchell amplifier the he really liked.
|Beach Boys 50th Anniversary Tour|
Carl was the usually the only Beach Boy to play guitar or bass on their recordings, although some of their first albums featured the members of the band doing the instrumentals.These were the albums done before the Wrecking Crew stepped in to do the instrumental parts.
|Carl playing bass in the studio|
In an interview Carl stated that most of the guitar parts were recorded using a direct box to the mixing console unless Brian wanted an over driven sound and then they cranked up the amplifier.
|David Marks at a guitar clinic|
|David Marks and the Marksmen|
As for David Marks, he left the Beach Boys after the first five albums, but he maintained a career in music; first with his band, David Marks and the Marksmen, and later as a studio player. He is seen in this picture with a 1960's era Epiphone Crestwood guitar.
|David Marks with Dennis Wilson|
Marks studied classical and modern music with Warren Zevon, and Robert Kraft. Marks also worked and recorded with composer Mike Curb, who wrote a lot of television theme music, and in the 1960’s put together a group called The MIke Curb Congregation.
Marks came back to The Beach Boys in the 1990’s when Carl became ill. It was only supposed to be a temporary gig. Sadly Carl passed away, and Marks stayed on and was prominently featured in the 50th Anniversary concert.
|Early concert with |
Al on bass and David Marks
As the years have passed, there have been a lot of legal feuds between the band members. Money talks.
|Beach Boys 50th Anniversary|
After the 50th Anniversary tour ended Mike Love, through legal maneuvering took possession of the legal name; The Beach Boys, from Brother Record Incorporated. That keeps the money flow going.
Prior to that, Mike Love was touring as America’s Band along with Bruce Johnson and David Marks.
|Al Jardine and |
the Endless Summer Band
Lawsuits and counter suits resulted. The 50th Anniversary Concert was a truce, and the band rallied to record one more Brian Wilson song called That’s Why God Made The Radio.
Due to discontent and legal bickering between the members, and the deaths of the two Wilson brothers, it is unlikely we will ever see the original Beach Boys perform together again. But it was such a good run while it lasted. And we still have all those great recordings.
|The Beach Boys in the U.K.|
Click on the links under the photos for sources. Click on the links in the text for further information.
©UniqueGuitar Publications (text only)
On Sunday, November 19th, 2017, the Fine Musical Insturments department of Skinner Auctions, will be offering the remaining guitars and musical instruments from the estate of J. Geils.
|The New Guitar Summit|
Though he is best known for his guitar work in the J. Geils Band, Geils went on to play Jazz guitar in the Boston area. He was part of the New Guitar Summit with Duke Robillard, and Gerry Beaudoin.
|J Geil's Italian sports cars at KTX|
In addition to his musical career, Geils also owned and operated KTR Motorsports, a business that serviced Italian sports cars. He also had a degree from the Worcester Polytechnic Institute in mechanical engineering.
The upcoming auction at Skinners features some of J’s favourite guitars; including a beautiful 1940 D’Angelico Excel Archtop model, that is expected to fetch between $6,000 to $8,000.
|Stromberg Master 400|
Also featured is a rare 1940 Stromberg Master 400 archtop guitar, that has a price tag of $8,000 to $12,000.
|1954 Fender Stratocaster|
An original sunburst 1954 Fender Stratocaster (the first year this guitar was offered) is being offered at a price of between $25,000 to $35,000. This guitar is in pristine condition.
|1952 Les Paul|
A 1952 Gibson Les Paul gold top guitar that has the original P-90 pickups and trapeze tailpiece is among the items being sold. This guitar is expected to fetch between $8,000 and $12,000.
|Gibson Nick Lucas|
Geil’s 1929 sunburst Gibson Nick Lucas Special acoustic guitar is being offered for $5,500 to $6,500.
|Ignacio Fleta guitar|
His rare handmade 1976 Ignacio Fleta classical guitar is being offered for $20,000 to $30,000.
|Lloyd Loar Mandola|
J. Geils also owned an original 1924 Gibson Lloyd Loar H-5 Mandola. This is the larger version of the F-5 mandolin. It is being offered at between $35,000 to $55,000.
While they are not guitars, the upcoming auction also features a fine Italian violin ascribed to maker Annibale Fagnola that has an estimated worth of between $10,000 and $15,000.
For those of us that would like to own a guitar that belonged to a music legend, but can’t ante up a lot of money, do not despair. Some of J’s less valuable instruments are on the block, and the bidding for these instruments starts at just $20 USD.
This 1950 Vega Duo-Tron electric archtop guitar is being offer for a bid starting at $20. The volume and tone controls are mounted on the guitars trapeze tailpiece.
|1940 Vega Electric guitar|
Also offered is a 1940 Vega electric archtop with a unique slanted pickup. This is reminiscent of a similar Gibson model of the same era.
A 1955 Harmony Monterey archtop guitar, with an added DeArmond pickup is offered as well.
A 1965 Harmony Stella guitar is also offered, that will certainly sell in a low price range.
|Gibson EH-150 Lap Steel|
J’s 1937 Gibson EH-150 lap steel, along with its original case is being offered. It is in pristine condition.
|Broken 1977 Les Paul Double|
I’d love to know the story behind this next guitar being offered. It is a 1977 Les Paul Special. The neck is broken in half, and all the parts are gone.
Two vintage guitar amplifiers are also on the block.
|Epiphone Electar Amp|
One is a gorgeous 1939 Epiphone Electar Zephyr that has a stylized wooden cabinet, with a large wooden E design over the grill.
The other amplifier up for bid is a 1949 Supro model 1600U amplifier.
|J Geils Estate Auction|
There are many other items offered at this auction, that include Senhheiser and Beyerdynamic microphones, a group of speaker cabinets and amplifiers, guitar cases, speakers, awards, photographs, gold and platinum records, road cases, recording equipment, tour jackets, and tee shirts.
And trumpets; J played the trumpet and collected them.
Check out the online catalog.
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