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Wednesday, 11 March 2009

My Guitars over the last 30 or so years.

Me with my latest Strat

For those of you who are nerdy enough to like this sort of thing.....here is a list of just about every guitar I've owned.....I have tried to find pictures of similar instruments to illustrate the more unusual gems.

1. Old “parlour” acoustic guitar bought for me at an auction sale when I was eleven. Cost about three bob, and had a completely busted off headstock. Made a new head, and knowing nothing about guitars at the time turned up violin style tuning pegs on my Dad’s lathe.
Strung it with nylon strings (I think now it should have had steel) and hammered the hell out of it! It was German or Italian and very old…….Wish I still had it!

2. Black D28 copy acoustic: bought from Freemans Catalogue. Can’t remember the make, had a horrible action, dead sound due to several gallons of thick lacquer……Looked
fantastic, but a plank! Sold it (or gave it away in disgust).

3. Maya solid body electric: Cheap, ply bodied Stratish thing, bought from a junkshop for twenty quid. The first guitar I ever sorted the action out on……Couldn’t sort out the fact that it had a neck like a cricket bat however. Played it through an old valve tape recorder cos I couldn’t afford an amp. Sold it for £25……RESULT!

4. Strange Les Paulish thing I built myself: Got some bits of Mahogany counter top, copied the fret spacing from my Maya, body shape from the old Parlour guitar (adding two cutaways). Got a new Framus pickup from Stentor Music, a tunomatic bridge and a semi-acoustic tailpiece. Copied the fret spacing wrong so the damn thing would not play in tune above the fifth fret…….Learned to play slide on that one! Smashed it up at some point……Can’t remember why!

5. Antoria Les Paul copy: This was my first “proper” electric guitar. I will always have a soft spot for this instrument, it was truly lovely to look at, a la “sunburst 1959”, and its build quality was fantastic (man was it heavy). As so often happened in those far off seventies, the pickups let the whole shooting match down, so in went new fangled Di Marzios. Kept it a couple of years, till I got a yen for a “semi”.

6. Hofner President semi acoustic (1967): I worked part time in a music shop at the time (I was about 16) and fell in love with this old beauty. Someone had already bodged the pickups by fitting cheap Jap Telecaster pickups under the Hofner chrome Humbucker covers, so I fitted the Di Marzios off my Antoria, carved bigger pick up holes in the top, and the old girl really flew! It was my first gigging guitar and I even used it for Punk and Heavy Metal. Had it for a few years but eventually I got hard up and sold it to a mate for a silly-cheap price and I think he still gigs with it.

7. Fender Telecaster USA 1972: Black with maple neck (to be like the guy in the Stranglers). Thought it was time I got a real Yank guitar. Bought 2nd hand “sight unseen” from Telecoms music in Portsmouth for a couple of hundred quid. It played like a dream, but I have never really been a Tele convert so I sold it on……Should have kept this one, could have got a grand for it now!

8. Fender Precision bass: White, early seventies. What can I say? The best thing to drink tea out of is a cup, the best thing to play bass on is an old Precision. Sheer class. Never played it as much as I should……Feel quite guilty about that. Wound up passing it on to someone who would love it so that was alright in the end!

9. Manson solid body electric one and two: My Tele wasn’t driving my 50 watt Marshall “Plexiglass” head hard enough so chopped it in for British made Manson. Sexy thin neck, Ebony fingerboard Kent Armstrong pickups, lots of little switches and weighed a TON!
Many years later I bought another of these cheap (well battered). The second one was rubbish compared to the first!

10. Ibanez Flying V: Bought on a whim……Went into shop to buy strings……Came out with V! Super low action, lovely feel, sexy shape. Pickups were low powered so put on Di Marzios. I was mad to sell it, but was gigging with a band that had a real problem with the V’s image……Bye bye V…..Sob.

11. Another home made Les Paul Junior sort of thing: I seem to have a thing about building LP Junior copies. Built this one, never bothered to paint or varnish it slapped the ubiquitous Di Marzio Super Distortion pickup and rocked. I wish I could remember what happened to it!

12. Hofner (Japanese made) semi acoustic: Looked lovely, played like a dog, bent neck, gutless pickups…….I was given it what can I say! Sold it to a mug.

13. Westone 335 copy: I love BB King so I thought I’d love this guitar. Finish looked muddy like a half melted Malteaser, pickups were muddier…..Nice case though!

14. Casio Synth guitar: Why I bought this I don’t really know. Cheap and nasty “Super Strat” with unreliable synth tracking. Who wants to play a flute solo on a guitar?

15. Fenix or Phoenix Super Strat thing.

16. Ibanez Roadster: Funny guitar this, Strat shaped with two Humbuckers, nice maple neck, low action and lovely feel. I was teaching guitar at the time, and a student pestered me until I sold it to him.

17. Encore Strat. Bought it for peanuts at a local music store, stuck a Di Marzio Humbucker on the back, slim fast neck, but cheap locking bridge. Another one I flogged to a student!

18. Dreadnought twelve-string: Can’t remember the make. Looked fantastic, flamed maple veneer top, big blond and beautiful…….Tough on the fingers: I was using .08s on my electrics at the time so I wussed out and sold the 12.

19. Avon “EB1” Bass copy: I either bought or was given this sad specimen when I started to rehearse with Pete Hogman’s “Jukes”. 1970s vintage with a damaged neck/body joint, it used to self destruct on a regular basis. It was lovely for a guitarist to play due to its shorter scale. The finish looked like it had been attacked with a chain-flail, the electrics worked when they felt like it, another one I wish I still had!

20. Home made “Explorer” fretless bass: Wanted a bass, so I built one. It turned out pretty good, and got me the commissions to build several other instruments for local musos. It had a mahogany neck and body, with an ebony fingerboard and a single Di Marzio EB1 pickup. Played it for several years but in the end the light neck construction failed in a big way! I was adjusting the truss rod when the neck literally exploded! I gave the body to a mate……so it might still be about.

21. Fernandes BC Rich Mockingbird bass copy: Played this with the “The Jukes” when the EB1 copy used to get temperamental. A good bass with lots of punch but too rock and roll looking for a blues band!

22. Squier Heavy Metal Strat: Crappiest of the most crappy! Sick pink in colour, would not stay in tune, crap action, so gigged it a few times as a “slide plank”.

23. Gibson Les Paul special 1974 re-issue: This was my once in a lifetime guitar. As a guitar repair/set-up expert I had looked after this beauty for its owner for several years. Flat topped with twin P90 soap bar pickups it was as loud, raucous and typically American as the Gerry Springer Show! Its Light mahogany construction had lead to it getting a broken neck at some point in its history, so I bought it cheap (for a Gibson). Lord could that guitar wail out the Texas Blues!
WARNING: The second to worst crime in the world is to sell your guitar cos your hard up…….The worst crime is to sell your Gibson.

24. Squier Strat, candy apple red: Yawn! I mean this guitar was boring! Bought it as a “clean” option to gig with my Gibson LP. OK action, OK sound OK looks……Ended up smashing it up on stage to relieve the tedium……. The damn thing wouldn’t even break in an interesting way!

The Wilderness Years:
I sold all my instruments and amps in 1991 when my music shop folded, and gave up playing for nearly ten years. When I wanted to play again I was too skint to afford a decent “name” guitar, so I started scouring the junk shops for hidden gems!

25. Burton (or some similar name) black pointy super strat copy. Bought this off an American bass player in a mate’s band……cheap as he had a habit to feed! Not too bad an axe but I’m not really into super strats so I gave it away.

26. Trashed looking blue 1970s strat copy with no name….Kay or Kimbara or something perhaps: Bought it in a pawn shop when I was really hard up. Spotted that it had a solid brass bridge and a Bill Laurence Blade fitted….Got it for £35.00……Sold it after a few months (for a profit) to buy something trivial like food!

27.Italian acoustic D28 copy: 70s or early 80s (perhaps EKO). Bought from e-bay on the spur of the moment for £21.00 this is a cheaply produced but lovely sounding guitar. I set the action quite low for an acoustic, and repaired some of the old girl’s battle scars! She made me want to come over all finger picking. It got nicked!

28.Gallan 1970s Gibson SG copy. Bit of a rare beast this one. Bought off e-bay for under £80.00. I don’t think Gallan guitars were ever officially imported into this country, though they were probably made in the same factory as the Antoria and Ibanez copies that were! This model dates from the “lawsuit” era, and is a copy of one of the least popular SG models: the short lived “front routed” 72/73 type. Sold this guitar again a few months for a fat profit.

29.Squier Korean Strat.
Bought this for eighty quid or so on e bay, lumpy neck, ply body, weak pickups………….So stripped it for parts, flogged the neck and body on e bay. Other good bits went into………

30. Mongrel Strat no 1 built from bits sourced on e-bay features: a vintage Japanese Squier neck serial no 15587 fitted to a Squier Affinity series solid Agathis wood body for lightness.
I added Kent Armstrong pickups and naturally aged covers to give it
a honky Stevie Ray Vaughn type tone, with plenty of sustain. And with the slim-line body, no strain is put on my shoulder. It was a real looker with light relic work, and a mint scratchplate it is finished in “yellowed” white. Sold!

31.Epiphone “1957” Korina Flying V
A pissed conversation lead to me bidding on this beauty: At 200 quid with fitted case it was a bargain. Pots are awful, and machines are cheap and not very cheerful……….Neck heavy…….had to go!

32. 1962 Hofner Colorama: Bought this to do up and sell....sold it.

33. Sunn Mustang 'Old red' relic: built it, flogged it.

34. Squier Tele Custom: Nice body and pickups, nasty neck…ditched it.

35. Cruiser Tele: turned it into a 51 clone then flogged it.

36. My current strat: Korean neck, mahogany body, 1967 pickups…Luvverly!

37. Vintage SG Copy:

Amps I have had/used over the years:

My Dad’s tape recorder of course!

Some crappy Freemans catalogue 10 watt practice thing…..Two in fact as the first one blew up within a week!

Marshall “Plexiglass” 50 watt lead head with 2x Fender 2x12 cabs (early sixties). My first good amp that I ended up using for years. With a valve, tweed covered Watkins “Copycat” sat on top, this combination really rocked. Got a pint of best in the top at a gig and self destructed!

Marshall 100w lead head and two 4 by 12 cabs. Good but not as good as my old 50.

Crate 40 watt combo: Little and very heavy metal. Not quite loud enough for rock gigs, and the distortion was very “fizzy”. All well and good for bedroom Van Halens to do low volume widdley-widdley bits on!

Various Proamp combos: I had the music shop at the time and got these at cost price. They were very expensive all valve “Mesa Boogie” type amps, but they had a design flaw, or quality control problem: They sounded great, really rocked out, then they blew up. Often quite spectacularly. I remember one time the other guitarist was using one at a gig, when it started to ooze greenish smoke that smelt of prawn cocktail crisps! We had to put it outside to cool off in the rain. The company refused to acknowledge there was a problem with their products, and blamed their customers. I believe Proamp went bust in the end……..Like their amps really……..good riddance!

Peavey 120w piece of junk

Carlsbro GXL 80w Combo. Duff amp lovely speaker…….so I drove it with my Laney

Laney Lc15 All Valve Class A and Sweet as they come...but too small.

Laney Lc30.....now this rocks, and is what I use all the time now.

1 comment:

hcmp1 said...

my dad payed £10 for the Hofner & yes it gets gigged every weekend . What a slide machine.