Aloha! Are you familiar with fake books? The way that it was explained to me, years ago, was that it was basically just a memory jogger. You would learn songs – lots of songs – and then you would forget the chord progressions. You would know the rhythm and melody but would forget the chords because you know so many songs with so many chords. So you make a fake book with the chord progressions like so:
C, A, C, D
And boom, there’s your fake book. You could cram a ton of songs into a relatively small package like a binder or notebook and bring it to gigs in case people call out songs you know, but don’t REALLY remember.
But that’s only one type of fake book. Another type is Hal Leonard’s which I’m pretty sure is just the sheet music for songs that includes lyrics and chord boxes for ukulele. Not that this is a bad thing, mind you. I honestly think that it’s called a fake book because there’s just so many offerings from different genres, styles, and decades. There really is a little bit of everything in this for you and it’s all laid out in basic form for easy understanding.
The best thing about this book is the size. There are over 400 songs included in this ONE book and THAT is amazing. To illustrate just how amazing it is, the other night I was watching a Nostalgia Critic review on YouTube (because it’s a very funny show) and he referenced “Rainbow Connection.” I thought about it and said to myself “yeah, I bet that would be a fun song to play!” I opened the Ukulele Fake Book and there it was on page 454. I also flipped through from the beginning on and found songs that I love but never thought to learn on ukulele. “Time of Your Life,” “At Last,” a bunch of Elvis songs, “Dream Lover,” “Blue Bayou,” and on and on and on. Even songs that I would totally learn just for laughs is in here (Smash Mouth’s “All Star”).
That’s the beauty of the book.
The downside is that it’s a massive book. I mean, over 400 songs has to fit in SOMEWHERE, but the book is larger than most of this year’s phonebooks at 686 pages. This would obviously cut down on the portability, but you could always copy the chord progressions and bring them with you if you knew what the set would include.
Fortunately, Hal Leonard gives the buyer a choice: you can buy this behemoth or you can buy a smaller version. The songs are exactly the same, written exactly the same, they’re just written smaller. If you’re looking for portability, that might be your best bet, but if you’re looking for legibility – particularly on stage looking down at a book – the bigger version might be more up your alley. I look at it like this: If you’re staying home and using it, get the smaller one because it’s easier to handle (also slightly cheaper), but if you’re going to be bringing this out, the big one will be better. Less wieldy but more visible.
The book is bound nicely WITHOUT spiral binding. I hate spiral binding. It does lay flat, which is nice, but it’s easy to spin around and break the edges and then you have to deal with torn holes as it slowly (but surely) begins to rip apart from one end to the other. This comb binding is a nice compromise between stitched or stapled binding and spiral binding, though. It lays flat, but you can’t twist it too far since it’s a piece of plastic with multiple termination points as opposed to one continuous spiral. And on the side of the plastic it even says what it is so it’s even easier to find on your shelf.
Personally, this is my favorite musical book I’ve ever reviewed. I would think of songs and look them up and, yup, there they are. This is INVALUABLE! I could easily think of hours spent trolling the internet looking for accurate chords for different songs, clicking out of pop-up ads, dealing with pushy “subscribe!” notices, or risking malware on my computer and now, I can just open the book and it’s probably right there!
And, for the amount of songs, it’s really affordable. There are other ukulele fake books that I will review later, but it makes me wish there were more treasure troves like this. Hal Leonard has a Disney Fake Book, for instance, that I would LOVE to see in ukulele transcriptions. There’s also a Sinatra Fake Book, a Coffeehouse Companion (which sounds particularly interesting) – oh my god, they even have an Easy Jazz Fake Book. Why are these not available in ukulele? I would buy them all!
But I would START with this book. If you’re looking to learn ukulele, the bang for your buck value here is out of this world. I can’t recommend it enough!
Until next time! Mahalo!
PRESS RELEASE: TOLEDO, OH (June 14, 2017) – Reverend Guitars and Matt West united to create a signature model just in time for Neck Deep’s Warped Tour jaunt. Based on the Jetstream platform that West loves, the guitar has a single Reverend CP90 pickup and a Wilkinson tremolo. It’s topped off with a reverse headstock and West’s wizard logo on the back. The model is available in Midnight Black and Powder Yellow, both with tortoise pickguards. The guitar will be released this Friday, June 16, 2017, in conjunction with West’s Warped Tour appearance.
Matt West is a member of the Welsh pop-punk band, Neck Deep, known for their intense and philosophical lyrics as much as their riff-driven music. The band is about to embark on the Vans Warped Tour for the entire US run. They will release their third studio album, The Peace and the Panic, on August 18, 2017.
On all Reverend Guitars, there is a Boneite nut and locking tuners, Reverend’s Bass Contour Control, and a dual-action truss rod – all for maximum performance. You can’t be different if you’re playing what everyone else is. Visit www.reverendguitars.com to start your journey towards being an individual.
PRESS RELEASE: AKRON, Ohio — Ohio-based extra special effects pedal manufacturer EarthQuaker Devices will host the second-annual EarthQuaker Day festival at their downtown Akron facility (350 W. Bowery St.) on Saturday, August 5, 2017 from 1:00pm until 8:00pm.
The company, proudly based in Akron, Ohio since 2004, invites music lovers of all ages to converge upon their facility for a day of live music, product demonstrations, local business and art exhibitions, guided workshop tours, food from local favorites the Square Scullery and Nuevo, coffee by Kent’s Bent Tree Coffee Roasters, Dippin’ Dots ice cream, discounted EarthQuaker Devices B-stock, door prize giveaways, the PRS Guitars Riff Contest, fun, and games. The event is free and open to the public.
Each attendee will receive a raffle ticket upon entry for a chance to win one of several door prizes, including contributions from Moog Music, MakeNoise, the Nightlight Cinema, the Akron Symphony Orchestra, SIT Strings, the Akron Civic Theater, Summit Artspace, DeMarco School of Music, Good Life Tattoo, Tri-C Recording Arts & Technology, and more.
One of the 2016 highlights was the Riff Contest, which thanks to the generous sponsorship of the Maryland-based PRS Guitars, will receive a significant prize upgrade. This year’s winner will take home a PRS SE Custom 24 guitar valued at $759, in addition to EarthQuaker Devices’ Erupter and Ghost Echo v3 effects pedals, an EarthQuaker Devices swag pack, and a first place trophy. Contestants will receive 30 seconds to impress a panel of celebrity judges with their best riffs performed through an assortment of EarthQuaker Devices pedals. Participants must pre-register at www.earthquakerdevices.com/eqdayand check-in on the day of the event. Limited to 20 entries. Contest begins promptly at 5:15pm on the Lawn Stage. The 2017 celebrity judges include:
- Juan Alderete – bassist in Halo Orbit, Deltron 3030, Racer X, the Mars Volta, Juliette Lewis
- Nick Reinhart – guitarist in Tera Melos, Big Walnuts Yonder
- Jamie Stillman – EarthQuaker Devices founder, president, and product designer, guitarist in Relaxer, the Party Of Helicopters, Drummer
EarthQuaker Day 2017 will feature original music and covers performed by EarthQuaker Devices employees, including:
- Suffer Little Children (The Smiths tribute)
- Crystal Visions (Fleetwood Mac tribute)
- Thelma & the Sleaze (Nashville, TN)
- Fringe Candidate
- EYE (Columbus, OH)
Effects pedal clinics and Q&A sessions include:
- Marc Lee Shannon (Michael Stanley & the Resonators) – Using Pedals with Acoustic & Folk Instruments
- Nick Reinhart – Guitar Clinic
- Juan Alderete – Bass Clinic
- Nick Reinhart / Juan Alderete / Jamie Stillman – Roundtable Discussion & Jam
Other notable additions to this year’s festival include a dunk tank, a cash grab machine, and, courtesy of 91.3 the Summit FM, EarthQuaker Day 2017 will be an official MusicAlive Donation Station where attendees may donate their new or gently-used instruments to help keep music in our schools and place instruments in the hands of Akron Public Schools students in need.
The official EarthQuaker Day 2017 after party begins at 8pm at Annabell’s Bar & Lounge (784 W. Market St.) and will feature performances by Black Sabath and This Moment In Black History.
To celebrate the occasion, participating retailers in the United States will offer EarthQuaker Devices products at a 15% discount on August 5, 2017.
EarthQuaker Devices is a manufacturer of hand built guitar effects pedals that has been based in Akron, Ohio since 2004. The company, which began as a one-man basement workshop operation is now an award-winning multimillion-dollar international phenomenon with clients ranging from bedroom rock gods to Grammy Award winners.
EarthQuaker Devices would like to thank each and every one of our sponsors from the bottom of our hearts. Your kindness and generosity makes us proud to be from Akron, Ohio, and we appreciate your contribution to this celebration of Northeast Ohio’s creativity, talent, and passion more than you will ever know. EarthQuaker Day 2017 sponsors include:
- 91.3 the Summit FM
- Rock & Recovery
- Circle Prime Manufacturing
- Dr. Z Amplification
- Hoppin’ Frog Brewery
- PRS Guitars
- Pro Guitar Shop
- Tri-C Recording Arts & Technology
- Chicago Music Exchange
- The Devil Strip
- Gotta Groove Records
- Guitar Riot
- Mr. Zub’s Deli
- Mustard Seed Market & Café
- Peoples Bank
- Thursday’s Lounge
- Saffron Patch Cleveland
- 91.1 WRUW FM
- Akron Art Museum
- Akron Civic Theatre
- Akron Symphony Orchestra
- Bent Tree Coffee Roasters
- CAD Audio
- Decibel Pedalboards
- DeMarco’s School of Music
- Custom Audio Mutation
- Annabell’s Bar & Lounge
- Warwick / Rockboard
- Graham Fox & Co.
- Human Unlimited
- Make Noise
- Moog Music
- The Nightlight Cinema
- Nuevo Modern Mexican & Tequila Bar
- Birchwood & Pine
- SIT Strings
- Square Records
- Three Anchors Tattoo
- Good Life Tattoo
- Towpath Credit Union
- Wax Mage Records
- The Guitar Department
- Square Scullery Food Truck
What: EarthQuaker Day 2017
When: 1:00pm – 8:00pm, Saturday August 5, 2017
Where: EarthQuaker Devices HQ – 350 W. Bowery St. Akron, OH 44307
Cost: Free, open to the public
PRESS RELEASE: Melbourne rock outfit Drunk Mums return with a new single ‘Ode To Death’ The first single of their forthcoming EP Denim.
The track continues from their recent homage of hard rock and punk heard on their latest release Leather.Taking influence from Johnny Thunders and The Stooges the band takes a step back with this one, or so it seems, considering the lyrics have a pretty bleak undertone. Don’t let that fool you though, it is still something you could probably show ya parents and hell they’d probably like it too.
‘Ode To Death’ is true to the Drunk Mums rock, punk, garage sound which has been witnessed in previous tracks ‘Plastic’ and ‘Nanganator’. Following the release of ‘Ode To Death’ Drunk Mums will roll out a small Australian tour with some of their favourite bands in support.
The four piece, have built a reputation for their rowdy shows over the years, having played at many of the country’s finest festivals: Cherry Rock, Party in the Paddock, Paradise, Sounds of the Suburbs as well as with the likes of Jake Bugg, Dune Rats and Rich Ramone.
Catch ‘Ode To Death’ live in August when Drunk Mums take their Aussie garage rock on the road.
PRESS RELEASE: Amsterdam, The Netherlands (June 20, 2017) — True to its name and purpose, the Phaser pedal for electric guitar has progressed through various musical phases, and across many stages, over the past few decades. Simple in delivery, NEXI Industries’ Phaser (PSR-01) represents the next stage for this effect pedal, with a plug-‘n-play design that makes compatibility a breeze—just like the effect’s signature sweeping and swooshing.
As a modulation, the phaser effect is created by the pedal’s signal processor that receives the input of the guitar and breaks it down into two parts—the first is kept dry, preserving the guitar’s original sound, while the second passes through various stages, creating the “sweeping” effect. NEXI’s analog Phaser is a throwback to the pedal’s earliest days, with a single knob that increases or decreases the speed of the peaks and troughs. Crank it up to “Fast” to create an aggressive swirl for heavy rock or metal, or turn it down to “Slow” for a lush sweep that’s ideal for ballads, reggae, or country.
NEXI’s Phaser was designed by boutique effect pedal creators, the self-declared “Vintage Analog Protection Squad,” who are committed to providing a unique tone without compromise. Like all NEXI pedals, the Phaser is true bypass and hybrid, meaning it can be used standalone with a 9V battery or plugged right into the external power supply of NEXI’s revolutionary pedal board. Aptly named “The Solution,” this heavy-duty board has a two-channel switch and three-step booster to satisfy every guitarist’s ego. It’s also equipped with a built-in tuner and power supply, two charging docks for tablet or smartphone, and covers that protect ports against dirt and beverage spills (splash-proof). Players are free to create those mind-bending swooshes and swirls, knowing that their board—and their Phaser pedal—are safe and sound.
Get a closer look and hear a demo at https://nexi.eu/products/phaser.
PRESS RELEASE: June 21, 2017 — Edmond, OK — Keeley Electronics is proud to announce the Tesla MKIII Fuzz, a vintage voiced MKIII Soviet Germanium fuzz with Keeley attention to detail.
With controls for FUZZ, TONE, and LEVEL the Tesla Fuzz makes it easy for players to dial in very wild amounts of fuzz. Modifications to the circuit allow for an increased high frequency not heard of before as well as ultra-low noise. Furthermore, design modifications have solved temperature problems that can affect vintage fuzz units. This particular bender design has a very vintage tone to it. Pure fuzz, no overdrive. Think late 1960’s and very unrefined.
“Our design team focused on building a MkIII style circuit with a stash of 104NU71 Soviet transistors that Keeley obtained. In this particular NPN Germanium design we focused on bringing out the most amazing attributes of the transistor. The 104NU71 has a super sticky, velcro tone and an incredibly unique bass response” said Robert Keeley, founder and chief engineer, Keeley Electronics. “To achieve this, we employed several technical innovations from our Time Machine Boost and Holy Fuzz designs. We also use techniques to nearly eliminate temperature coefficient problems in germanium designs.”
The Keeley Electronics Tesla MKIII will be released June 22nd at RKFX.com and at select dealers worldwide. Street Price is $149. Visit www.rkfx.com for more information about the full lineup of award-winning Keeley Electronics effects.
June 21st celebrates not only the summer solstice but national Make Music Day!
As a proud sponsor of Make Music Day, Martin Guitar hosted an all day jam session in the visitor's lobby. Martin Guitar employees performed from 8AM to 5PM. Visitors to the Martin factory were encouraged to join in and the local Nazareth Acoustic Eagles even performed for us. You can catch our Director of Marketing Chris Thomas perform here.
A number of Martin Guitar dealers also participated with free guitar lessons, open mics, and more!
Find a round up of the 2017 Make Music Day here. And don't forget to make your calendar for June 21, 2018 to celebrate the next Make Music Day at Martin Guitar!
Wampler first announced the Ethereal pedal at last year’s winter NAMM show. Brian Wampler wasn’t fully satisfied with the pedal at that point, and he spent the last year and a half refining the pedal to where he was satisfied. And now, Wampler have official released the Ethereal for sale.
So, what is the Ethereal? Here’s how Wampler describes it:
How many times have you sat in front of your favorite ambient pedal and felt like you need weeks of training at NASA to use it? Knobs, switches, sliders…It’s often SO hard and frustrating to find a usable tone on those things quickly… Keeping that firmly in mind, when we first considered making an ambient pedal, ease of use was a top priority, right up there with top tier quality tone on par with pedals at twice the price.
Put more simply, it’s a combination reverb and delay pedal. Obviously, they’re marketing it towards ambient tones and players, but based on the demos, it could also work as a stand-alone reverb or delay pedal.
I don’t really play in an ambient style, but if you do, this looks like a pedal to look at.
Warren Haynes recently sat down with Reverb.com to discuss his approach to playing slide guitar in standard tuning instead of an open tuning:
The popular 15-Series has two fantastic new additions! Discover the D-15M Streetmaster and 000-15M Streetmaster.
Built to the same specifications as the D-15M and 000-15M models but with a beautifully distressed satin finish. The StreetMaster is perfect for your next gig, whether it be at the historic Ryman Theater or a day of busking in the big city. Enjoy the look and feel of a well-worn instrument with the lifetime warranty and the superb playability of a brand new guitar. The 15 Series StreetMaster models come with a gig bag making them ready to hit the streets!
You can learn more about the new D-15M Streetmaster and 000-15M Streetmaster here.
|Miller with Les Paul|
Steve Miller gets his affection for Les Paul honestly since Les was his godfather.
Miller’s father was a jazz aficionado who met Les in 1948 when Les Paul and Mary Ford were playing at a Milwaukee jazz club. Dr. George Miller aka Sonny asked Les Paul if he would mind if he recorded his show on his tape recorder. (In addition to being a pathologist, Dr. Miller was a recording engineer).
Afterward, Les listened to the recording with Sonny and Bertha Miller and a friendship developed. It is worth noting that Steve's mother, Bertha, was a gifted jazz singer.) In fact Les and Mary spent the night at the Miller’s house.
As early as age 4, Les Paul encouraged Steve Miller to play guitar. The two men maintained contact with each other up though Les' passing.
|Miller LP Recording|
This guitar featured low impedance pickups for recording that could changed to high impedance with the flip of a switch. These low impedance pickups were Les’ ticket to getting all those guitar overdubs back in the early days of multi-track recording.
By bouncing from track to track, the original signal dissipates with each successive pass. This does not happen with a low impedance signal.
The guitar could get a sound like a Rickenbacker, or back it off and it sounded like Wes Montgomery’s Gibson L-5.
|Les Paul's personal |
In addition to Steve Miller's Les Paul Recording guitar, the Music Zoo is offering twenty-five of Miller’s personal instruments for sale to the public, and some are being sold at a very reasonable price.
|Miller's 3 Eric Clapton Beano Les Pauls|
|Blues Breaker cover -Clapton with Beano comic|
|Les Paul Beano|
Since then Gibson’s custom shop has made some replicas. Miller’s four Gibson Beano Les Pauls range from an asking price of $10,000 to $30,000 USD.
There are also two Miller “Joker” Standard black Stratocasters for sale at $5,000
Each guitar has a harlequin-like representation of The Joker on their bodies.
Four other Fender Stratocasters are offered.
|Children of the Future|
One is called Children of the Future. This was a guitar has a unique design on the front that is based on the cover of Miller’s Children of the Future LP.
The other strat is a Fender Museum American Standard model in Olympic White with a maple neck and is autographed by other guitarists. Etched in the top of the body is the Fender Museum logo.
The third strat is a black Fender of unspecified vintage. It has a maple neck and the body is tastefully bedecked with a white/black emblem from the end of the bridge unit to the back of the guitar, and an orange Fender sticker that says “I’m a Champion” with Steve Miller’s autograph.
There are only two acoustic instruments being offered. Both guitars are 12 string models made by Martin.
|Martin J-12 40e|
One is a Martin Grand J-12 40E, that has a bound neck, and headstock, and lovely rosette work. The top is made of solid Sitka spruce, while the bookmatched back, and sides are solid east indian rosewood. The Martin logo is inlaid in abalone in the headstock. At $5,000 it is a bargain.
|Vallee electric |
Miller's collection includes two other Bolin model. This one is in the shape of a Gibson ES-335. The bound top is flamed maple that is book matched with a sunburst style. The guitar includes two humbucking pickups, with only a single volume and tone control, plus a selector switch. The bound back is equally impressive with book matched flamed maple. The flamed maple neck has a single skunk stripe. It is offered at $5,000.
|Bolin Les Paul Style Guitar|
|2011 Lou Pallo|
Another one of Miller's Gibson Les Paul is available for $5,000. This is a 2011 Lou Pallo Signature model. It has a beautiful black top and a natural back. Lou Pallo was the guitarist that played in the Les Paul Trio.
The Miller collection includes not one, but two Gibson EDS-1275’s, The first custom shop double six 12 string has an all white finish. It is wired in the same manner as Don Felder of the Eagles had his guitar wired, and is even autographed by Felder on the back of the headstock and numbered. It comes with a certificate and a copy of sheet music for Hotel California that is signed by Felder.
The other EDS-1275 is a 2008 custom shop version of the famous double neck used by Jimmy Page on Stairway to Heaven. It comes with a certificate of authenticity and is one of 250 instruments produced. Both double necks come with the original hard-shell cases.
|Gibson Les Paul Jr.|
Steve Miller is also offering his White Les Paul Jr that was made by Gibson’s custom shop.
Aside from the Clapton Beano replica Les Paul’s, Miller has three other excellent Les Paul guitars.
|Pearly Gates LP|
Two of them are Gibson Billy Gibbons Pearly Gates Les Paul guitars with VOS (vintage original spec) nitrocellulose finishes.
|Pearly Gates LP|
Both are 2009 models that were produced in limited editions from Gibson’s custom shop and are replicas of the Reverend Gibbons famous 1959 Les Paul right down to the exact neck profile. Both guitars contain twin Seymour Duncan Pearly Gates pickups with vintage hardware.
It features all the changes that Warren Haynes included on his own instrument. The frets come over the binding, which most professional luthiers and guitar techs would frown upon, but this is Haynes’ preference.
The pointer under the controls lay flat against the body, and this instrument is equipped with Gibson’s CAE sound-unity gain buffer, which keeps the levels consistent on both pickups when raising or lowering volume. The Haynes Les Paul is equipped with twin Burstbucker pickups.
|Asher Tele style|
The final guitar offered from the MIller collection is a black 2010 Asher Telecaster style guitar. This is a custom made guitar from Los Angeles luthier Bill Asher. The body is made of alder and the 22 fret neck is Birdseye maple, with a six on a side headstock. The pickups are hand wound Asher T-blade models. It features a Glendale bridge and chrome hardware. It is offered at $3,500 USD.
Click on the links under the pictures for sources. Click the links in the text for additional information.
©UniqueGuitar Publications (text only)
Ever since Kiesel announced the Vader headless (via a ‘one image fragment at a time’ social campaign a couple of years ago) I’ve daydreamed about owning one. At at NAMM this year checked out quite a few of them and was really impressed by the weight, balance and resonance. So, with thanks to Jeff and Manny at Kiesel, I’m about to take delivery of my dream Vader. Above is a snippet of a photo that Jeff sent me. There’s actually a very similar V7 on the Kiesel site, but mine has some key differences, and there’s a long and convoluted reason for every wood and colour choice, which I’ll get into in a full review when the guitar arrives. For now, why don’t you head on over to the Kiesel website to check out the various options on the Vader!
Here is a pretty good youtube series. “Pedal Power” by D’addario strings has been around for a while but Dweezil Zappa has stepped forward to host the show, and it’s pretty cool.
Here is Episode 3 with Zane Carney, a pretty innovative guitarist with a huge theoretical knowledge (I must work on this!):
Recently reunited RATT members Warren DeMartini, Juan Croucier and Stephen Pearcy caught up with radio station 98.9 The Rock during their appearance at Rockfest in Kansas City last week.
The original trio’s interview with station’s DJ Nivens included talk of their desire to head back to the studio to record a new album. While Croucier was reluctant to over-promise, lead singer Pearcy was more straightforward.
“I would love to get that done, actually. I would,” he said.
Earlier in the year, Pearcy told journalist Mitch Lafon about their plans to follow up last record Infestation.
“We want it to be brilliant, and we’re gonna take the time and effort to do it,” he explained. “We just don’t wanna go out there and … I mean, of course, we’re gonna go out there and play the hits and do what we do, but at the end of the year, we wanna start on the record.”
While fans will have wait for a future new album, they can at least catch the band live this summer on the following dates. Also, check out some great footage captured by Decibel Geek TV below of RATT’s recent performance at the Rocklahoma Festival in Pryor, Okla.
Jose Luis Romanillos, luthier
Today marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of Antonio de Torres.
Those of us who love the classical guitar owe this man everything, he created a model of the guitar that continues to capture the hearts of true music lovers.
He really didn't do anything that hadn't already been done by other guitar makers - other makers had used larger bodies, the so-called fan bracing, domed tops, longer string lengths, all this was already known - but Torres guitars sounded different from others.
Many contemporary classical guitar makers build copies of the original Torres guitars, there are several well known classical guitarists that concertize on original Torres guitars because even after 130+ years those guitars still have wonderful voices.
Antonio de Torres apprenticed with a carpenters guild in Vera, Spain when he was 12 years and when he was 17 he was listed in the guild rolls as a master carpenter. Several writers have stated that Torres was a "simple" or "lowly" carpenter, but to be a master carpenter in 1834 was anything but simple.
You were expected to know all the latest building styles and construction techniques, many of these techniques were published in books which meant that you had to be able to read. At that time in Spain, 76% of the population was illiterate, yet, Antonio de Torres could read and write. Torres' father was a tax collector, perhaps he taught his son how to read and write. In the book, Antonio de Torres, Guitar Maker, by Jose Romanillos, Romanillos speculates that Torres attended local schools before he became an apprentice.
I have done some research on the Internet about traditional Spanish carpentry and discovered that Spanish carpenters of the time dealt with the same construction problems the rest of Europe had to deal with, namely how to keep the building from falling apart. As a master carpenter, you would know la carpinteria de armar(how to construct a building); la carpinteria de lazo, (loop carpentry) and perhaps mostly importantly tocar de madera, (how to work wood).
I want to believe that Torres was a carpenter, not a joiner, because a guitar is in a way, an architectural creation. It is constructed so it can stay together under pressure (a modern classical guitar is subjected to 90 pounds or more of pressure from the strings). If the top is not properly braced to take this tension it will collapse or even worse the whole guitar may fly apart. Most cabinets and chests are not subjected to a constant pressure. Cabinetry is not carpentry.
It is claimed that Torres went to Granada, Spain in 1836 to learn how to make a guitar, when he returned home he continued as a carpenter and tried several other business ventures. His first wife died in 1845 and that is when he moved to Seville and by 1852 was known as a guitarrero.
I would like to thank Don Antonio de Torres Jurado for the work that he did. The guitar is a beautiful instrument, but Torres took all the work of the great makers before him and made it the most beautiful instrument ever created.
If you are interested in learning more about traditional Spanish carpentry I recommend that you click here to visit the Albanecor website on carpinteria de lo blanco.
The earliest example of a true double neck guitar is from the year 1690. A guitar of that era, small by today’s standards, was built by luthier Alexandre Voboam of Paris. This unique guitar had a smaller sized guitar jutting out of the instruments lower portion. Both guitars/necks had five courses of gut strings; however the smaller guitar/neck was tuned to a higher pitch. This allowed the player to play in a low key or a high key and use similar fingerings.
Harp guitars and other multi-neck instruments were not produced on a large scale until the late 19th Century. These were instruments that allowed an individual player the ability to produce a much broader sound due to the addition of bass strings or sympathetic strings.
The sympathetic stringswere not strummed or plucked, but naturally made sound based on the vibrations of the fingered strings. There were few mandolin/guitar combinations produced in this era that allowed the player to change instruments during a song or saved them from having to carry two different instruments. Plus a double neck guitar looks great on stage.
One impetus that may have caused the creation of double neck guitars was the rise of interest in the steel or Hawaiian guitar.
During the late 18th Century, Spanish speaking Mexican cowboys arrived in Hawaii bringing with them their guitars. The arrival of the guitar in Hawaiicould also be attributed to missionaries.
Hawaiians took to the instrument andmade the guitar their own by tuning it differently and often to open chords.
As the years progressed, we can turn to the early 20th Century when Hawaiian music became popular inthe United States.
During this fad, guitar companies including Martin built instruments that were meant to be played on a persons lap. Instead of fingering chords and notes these guitars were played by use of a metal bar pressed against the strings. It wasn’t too long before the lap steel became electrified.
Since a lap steel player was limited to keys within the open chord which the instrument was tuned, the obvious answer was to add another neck that was tuned to a different chord. By the 1920’s and 1930’s folks like Alvino Rey were playing multi neck electric steel guitars with popular orchestras. Rey had Gibson Guitars build a double neck steel guitar for him and not long after he was playing three and four necksteel guitars.
During the era of World War II, much of the guitar building business was halted as manufacturers turned their attention and fabrication to building weapons and vehicles for the United States armed forces.
By the end of the war, Leo Fender had his own radio and television business in California. He also repaired guitar amplifiers.
It was not long before he realized a profit could be made by building amplifiers forthe electric steel guitar players from nearby Los Angeles and the surrounding area. He teamed up with his friend, Clayton “Doc” Kauffmann who had worked for Rickenbacker Guitars. The two men began designing and building steel guitars, and electronic pickups.
Traveling musicians stopped by and provided ideas of their needs. Fender went on to build two and three neck steel guitars, before turning attention to the electric Spanish guitar.
Meanwhile in another part of California, motorcycle enthusiast, Paul Bigsby, was casting his own parts for his bike. He began building his own version of the electric Spanish guitar. Though his instruments may have looked like solid body instruments, they were actually hollow to hold the wiring. Bigsby also built a vibrato unit that gave players an added dimension to their sound. His version of the guitar vibrato was built out of motorcycle parts including piston springs.
Guitarist Grady Martin asked Bigsby to build him a guitar that also had a mandolin-like neck. What resulted was an instrument which had a guitar neck, with three pickups and a Bigsby vibrato and a smaller neck with six individual strings tuned an octave higher. It wasn't a mandolin, as the strings were individual and not in courses, but itdid give Martin a unique sound.
Apparently Grady Martin’s Bigsby Double Neck was not the first that Paul Bigsby built. He built at least six double neck instruments. In those days, production records were at best sketchy.
|$266 K Bigsby|
It is worth noting that recently a 1949 Bigsby guitar sold at auction for over a quarter of a million dollars.
One of Bigsby’s employee’s was Semie Moseley. This is the same Semie
Moseley that went into business in a Bakersfield Californiagarage, building his own brand and naming it Mosrite Guitars.
Around this same time, the early 1950’s, Joe Maphis was a popular Country and Western guitarist and was a regular performer on a television show produced out of Los Angeles called TownHall Party. Maphis’ style was playing blazing fast arpeggios on the guitar.
Semie Moseley struck up a friendship with Joe Maphis and his wife Rose. Rose Maphis played rhythm guitar with her husband. Moseley built several beautiful personalized double neck guitars for Maphis. He even took Rose’s Martin guitar and customized it with a handmade Mosrite neck and he added a fancy large pickguard to the dreadnoughts body.
The exposure Maphis brought to Mosrite guitars paid off big time. A similar double neck instrument was custom made for pint-sized Larry Collins who was Maphis’ protégé and could match Joe note for note. All of the early double neck guitars Semie Moseley made had a guitar neck and an octave guitar neck.
Moseley did create one triple neck guitar in 1954. This instrument included a guitar neck, an octave guitar neck and a mandolin neck.
While on that subject, it is possible that Doc Kauffmann, who was Leo Fender’s long time business partner might have built a triple neck guitar under the brand Kremo Kustom. It is known that Kauffmann didbuild some guitars using that brand name.
Another builder was a South Carolina fellow named Pee Wee Melton. He built a triple neck guitar for himself, but later sold it to Johnny Meeks. Meeks claim to fame was as one of the guitarist who played for Gene Vincent and his Blue Caps. It was an attention-getter. Meeks eventually sold the guitar to Vincent.
But here I am digressing from the topic of double neck guitars.
In the mid 1960’s when Semie Moseley’s Mosrite Guitar Company was doing a brisk business, the company did offer a production twelve/six string double neck guitar for sale to the public. This guitar featured a twelve string neck on the guitars top and a six string neck underneath. Both sported twin Mosrite single coil pickups with black covers. The twelve string utilized Mosrite’s version of tune-o-matic bridge and the strings were anchored onto a chromed bar held into the body by three wood screws.
The six string neck featured Mosrite’s classic vibramute vibrato. The necks had micro-dot position markers on the rosewood fretboard. All Mosrites had a zero fret. These guitars were offered in various colors, with the most popular being sunburst.
Hallmark Guitars are stillin business. This company was started by Joe Hall. This story about Hall’s relationship with Semie Moseley is very interesting. He had asked Semie to build him a guitar. Somehow Hall wound up working at Mosrite and learned to build guitars using Semie’s methods.
Joe Hall left Moseley’s employment and building guitars under his own brand, that bore Mosrite traits. Hall’s most popular model was called the Swept Wing.
I do not know how many double necks he built. This guitar was specially built for Deke Dickerson.
After Moseley and Bigsby’s creations, it was not too long before other guitar companies began to eyeball the prospect of making double neck guitars.
One of the first that I came across was Carvin Guitars of California. Lowell C. Kiesel’s company first offered double necked electric guitars in their 1959 catalog. Long before the internet this company based their sales on catalogs. They still do. I recall ordering a Carvin catalog around 1963. What I received was a very plain document with black and white pictures of the guitars, guitar kits and amplifiers that Carvin offered.
I also received a typewritten page of price updates. During the early days of Carvin some of the guitars featured necks and bodies made by the Hofner Company of Germany.
Their first double neck offering was a guitar and bass. The necks were the same length, so the bass was short scale. The body was made of maple. The guitar had twin single coil pickups that were about the size of P-90’s, while the bass had just one pickup.
Their other double neck was a guitar and an eight string mandolin combination that came with a similar set up. These guitars were very plain and had a natural finish. The small bodies on these guitars were unusual
These styles were offered through 1967.
By 1968, the Carvin double neck had more of a guitar shaped body with necks probably imported from Hofner. By 1971, the guitar neck was similar, but the bass neck had a more refined headstock. In 1972, Carvin changed the shape of the twelve/six model.
It was in 1976 that the Carvin double neck guitar had a body that looked more like a small Les Paul. The necks were bound and topped with an ebony fretboard. The large rectangular position markers were made of mother-of-toilet seat. The humbucking pickups came with a chrome cover. The 1978 catalog shows a similar body with open humbucking pickups.
These instruments looked more like the guitars that we now associate with the Carvin Company.
By 1979 the double neck was no longer offered. By 1980, the double neck was back with a new improved shape.
In 1990-91 Carvin offered a twelve/six model. Both had pointy headstocks and tuner on one side. By 199, Carvin discontinued their line of double neck guitars as a standard option.
Jimmy Bryant was a well known guitarist in the 1950’s. Much like Maphis, Bryant’s style was fast, but more in the jazz and swing realm. Early on Bryant was one of the first Fender endorsers playing a Fender Broadcaster. But he was looking for a new sound and came upon a guitar builder from Springfield Missourithat was building guitars under the name Stratosphere Guitar Company.
They built a Six and Twelve String double neck for Bryant. He used this guitar throughout his career. The Stratosphereguitar was rather unusual looking. It sported the maple twelve string neck on top and the maple six string neck underneath. Oddly, the headstocks for both necks were slotted. The body was offset and small. There were two single coil pickups for each neck. The neck pickups were parallel and the bridge pickups were slightly slanted.
Both necks had steel offset bridges and stop plates to attach the strings. A switch was near the stop plates that allowed the player to switch the necks on or off. There were two sets of controls, volume and tone for each neck as well as selector switches. There is also a slider switch on the lower side of the instrument.
Bryant tuned the six string neck in a normal manner; however, he tuned the twelve string neck to major and minor thirds.
The Double Twelve was a beautiful instrument. The body on these instruments was different than the SG shape we associate with the EDS-1275. The Double Twelve came with two humbucking pickups per neck.
A switch near the bridge plate provided the option of switching the electronics to either neck. The electronics were two volume and two tone controls and a pickup selector switch that controlled the pickups on either neck. The twelve string neck was on top with the six string neck on the bottom. In my opinion this was possibly the finest looking of all the twelve string double necks. The double cutaway body was thicker than the SG and it was bound in white trim.
The company also offered the Double Mandolin. This later was named the EMS-1275 (Electric Mandolin Spanish). This was similar to the double necks that Moseley and Bigsby had made in that it came with a guitar neck and an octave guitar neck. The guitar neck sported twin humbuckers, while the mandolin neck only had a single humbucker. Once again, the body shape was much different than the SG shape.
The controls for each neck were mounted on the lower bout under each neck. Both featured a single volume and tone control per neck. The switches were mounted near the string stop plate. The one for the guitar side controlled the neck and bridge pickups, while the switch mounted near the octave guitar neck controlled which neck was active. This instruments body was also bound in white trim.
|1965 EDS 1275|
The EDS-1275 was revived in 1974 and offered through 1998. The Nashville factory continued to build the EDS-1275 through 2003. The Gibson Custom Shop began building the EDS-1275 in 2006.
The Epiphone version has been available for many years under the model G-1275. I believe the initial models sold under the Epiphone brand had bolt-on necks. The current production model comes with set necks.
Nate Daniels had been building amps since 1948. His amplifiers were mainly sold through catalog companies such as Sears and Roebuck and Montgomery Wards.
It was not until 1956 that he introduced the Danelectro line of guitars.
Danelectro entered the double neck market with its 1959 advertisement of Stan and Dan; two clean-cut young men of the day both decked out with white shirts, Hagar slacks and DanelectroShorthorn double neck guitars. The top neck was a six string guitar and the bottom neck was a bass guitar.
While the guitar was a normal 24.75” scale with 21 frets, the bass had a short scale of 29.5” with only 15 frets. The Danelectro double neck was also available as a six string guitar and six string baritone guitar.
As usual, both necks had two Dano lipstick pickups.
The Masonite Danelectros lasted until 1966 when Daniels sold the company. In 1998 the company was resurrected under new ownership. This company made guitars through 2001. They offered two versions of the double neck. One was a six/twelve string model and the other was a six string guitar and a six string baritone guitar. Both were nice instruments with a great price.
Danelectro guitars looked cheap, but sounded great and were used on countless recordings.
This is a Gretsch Anniversary double neck. Gretsch currently offers a guitar/baritone guitar doubleneck.
After the British Invasion a flood of Japanese and Korean made guitars arrived in the United States. As you may have guessed some of these were double neck guitars. Greco/Kawai was a Korean manufacturer. This is a 1968 Bass/Guitar double neck.
This is a 1970 Aria copy of a Gibson double neck.
I have noted that some early Carvin guitars were made of Hofner parts. Note the similarity between this Hofner double neck from the very early 1970’s and Carvin’s double neck of the same era.
Another German guitar manufacturer named Hoyer built this 1970’s model.
Rickenbacker built and offered several models of double neck guitars including a bass/six string using their 4001 template and a twelve/six string using their 360 design.
The B.C. Rich, Ibanez and Kramer guitar companies have all built special order guitars for artists, such as Eddie Van Halen, Michael Angleo Batio, and Dave Mustaine.
Often these guitars have two six string necks and are played by using the tapping method.
There were and are a few companies that make acoustic double neck guitars. For years Ovation guitars offered a twelve/six model. This is now made offshore under their Celebrity brand.
|1979 Yairi DY 87|
Around 1979 Yairi guitars offered the model DY 87. This was a wonderful guitar. It sounds great and very easy on the fingers.
In the late 1990's, the Washburn Guitar Company offered a twelve / six string guitar designated the model EA220 six/twelve string guitar in
their Festival Series.
I have recently profiled Blueberry Guitars. They make some fine instruments with intricate inlay and wood carving designs. All their guitars are handmade.
They offer several double neck models which include a six / twelve string guitar, a double neck with two six string necks and fan frets, as well as a six string / 4 string acoustic bass guitar. Blueberry does not sell it’s instruments in stores. Business is done only online.
Here is a Martin Double Neck Guitar made by their custom shop.
The clip below will give a better understanding of Jimmy Bryants odd 12 string tuning on his Stratosphere double neck. On the 12 string neck each string has two pitches that mimic the sound of two guitars. A guitarist today could use a harmonizer for the same effect. In 1956 that technology did not exist.
I have decided to go back to an older style of peghead assembly on the current batch of dulcimers I’m working on. I used this design for years and preferred how it looked but it seemed too labor intensive for a relatively simple part of the dulcimer.
I follow my intuition on things like this and it seems like time to use this joint again, at least for now. So what if it is a lot more work? I enjoy the process! There is the old saying that “time is money” but if I made more money off of my time I would just waste it on house payments, groceries, healthcare, etc.
The head block gets glued on with hide glue and is then sawn to rough shape with a kataba saw. Following the sawing comes bringing the block close to flush with the sides using a low-angle block plane followed by a scraper and file.
The first few times I did this required nerves of steel. It would not be difficult to have a major “Oops!” moment fairly late in the construction process. After gaining some experience I found this to be a relaxing and enjoyable process.
The gorgeous finish of the GPCPA4 Shaded will make heads turn no matter what venue you decide to play in.
The acoustic-electric guitar is crafted with the finest Sitka Spruce top and Sapele back and sides. The warm shaded top gives a vintage feel while the artist profile neck and Fishman F1 electronics are perfect for the modern performer's plug and play needs. The guitar is strung with SP Lifespan strings that along with the tone woods provide a great response and sound.
You can explore the GPCPA4 Shaded here. Don't forget between now and June 18th you can save up to $200 instantly on PA4 Series guitars during the eXceptional sales event happening at an authorized Martin dealer within the USA.