Monday, 22 December 2008

TTM "Scream" Devastator

TTM Scream Devastator
TTM Guitars regularly have a whole bunch of guitars for sale on eBay. They have a choice of high quality USA-built Strat-a-like guitars in various limited edition finishes, some of which are very nice. However I can't say I like their headstock design very much - it looks like it ought to belong on a much cheaper and nastier guitar.

The above pictured TTM Devastator features a limited edition "Scream" graphic, based loosely on the now legendary artwork by Edvard Munch. At first I thought it was yet another guitar covered in skulls (yawn) but now the design is actually growing on me.

Friday, 19 December 2008

GatorTar - Alligator art guitars from Louisiana

Alligator art guitars from LouisianaWhen I first saw this picture of a GatorTar, I thought an alligator had swallowed a Telecaster!

Surely, a must-have for Swamp Rock bands.

Thursday, 18 December 2008

Folk legend Davy Graham dies aged 68

Davey GrahamI've only just heard the sad news. The infamous and highly innovative folk guitarist Davy Graham passed away on Monday. Graham was the guy who inspired many other folk greats such as John Martyn and Bert Jansch. He took influences from Arabic and Indian music and experimented with various alternate guitar tunings, and reportedly it was he that developed the popular DADGAD tuning.

I remember seeing a gig of his in Oxford about 20 years ago, and let's just say it was a very eccentric performance with lots of tuning and re-tuning of his guitar inbetween the songs.

Will Hodgkinson writes about Davy Graham at quite some length in his hugely entertaining Guitar Man book. It seems he was quite a character!

The Guardian's Music Blog has a video tribute page here.

I'm now going to give his final album, "Broken Biscuits", another spin in his memory.

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

1959 Gibson EB0 Bass

1959 Gibson EB0 BassThis 1959 Gibson EB-0 Vintage Bass Guitar is interesting, as I've not seen one with this body shape before. The body styling is Les Paul doublecut, as found on certain Les Paul Juniors. More usually Gibson EB series basses shared the SG guitar body shape.

The first Gibson bass was violin-shaped (giving rise to the Hofner "copy" Violin Bass whose popularity eclipsed that of the Gibson original due to it being Paul McCartney's instrument of choice), and others I have seen include semi-acoustic 335-style basses.

I'm not a Gibson expert, so perhaps others who are more knowledgable in this area will think that this bass is nothing too special. Does anyone know how rare it is? Anyone seen one before? Just curious.

It's a nice looking bass, and I can imagine the booming tone you'd get from that huge neck-mounted pickup. To my eyes, at least, it's a more attractive body-shape than the SG style. I can't say I like the banjo-style tuners though.

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Ring Out Those Bells!

Frank Eatherly Bell Shaped GuitarHere's a seasonal one for you! It's a bell-shaped acoustic guitar, handmade by Frank Eatherly of Sarasota. Aside from its unconventional shape (not one for playing whilst seated, I think), the guitar features a curly koa top with walnut trim, cherry sides, mahogany back, and maple neck.

Monday, 15 December 2008

Peter Kellett Fanned Fret Aluminium Strat

Fanned Fret Aluminium Strat
Any Strat fans searching eBay for the weird and wonderful may well have missed this Peter Kellett Strat type guitar because the seller has, for reasons unknown, very ingeniously listed it as a Tele type guitar. It's a guitar that ticks off several of our "weird" boxes. Firstly you'll notice it has an over-the-top "Western" graphic applied to the front of the body. The body itself is anodized aluminium and the listing claims it is "From the last of the Harly Davidson bodies" (sic) which would imply that the body is genuine Fender. The most unusual feature, however, is the neck which features the Novax (or "Kovax" as the seller insists on calling it) patented fanned fret system so that the scale length varies for each of the strings, the top E having the shortest scale and the low E having the longest and which supposedly makes for more comfortable left-hand positioning.

For more guitars in a similar vein, see

Saturday, 13 December 2008

A Sparkly Fender Musicmaster from 1959

Fender Musicmaster
This will be the Fender Musicmaster that you can see in the background of the pics of the DuoSonic that I posted about earlier this week. Again, this one has a rare sparkle finish and is supposedly quite rare.

With an eBay Buy It Now price of US $3,499.99, you'd think the seller could afford to string it up!

Thursday, 11 December 2008

Cliché Alert!

Spot the cliche!Looking through some of the current listings on eBay, I'm experiencing déjà vu.

A guitar shaped like a gun.

A guitar made from a toilet seat.



(Wake me up when someone comes up with an ORIGINAL idea for a novelty guitar).

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Fender Duo Sonic with sparkle finish

Fender Duo Sonic
You don't see many of these Fender Duo Sonic guitars with this distinctive red on gold sparkle finish. This particular example is from 1963 and the finish is original. Why don't we see more like this? Was it a very limited edition, or were examples refinished over the years?

Monday, 8 December 2008

Raspberry Ripple Guitar

1985 Jem Despagni
This guitar with the "raspberry ripple" finish is actually a pre-Ibanez JEM Despagni and is apparently just like the one that Steve Vai has from 1987.

The seller also believes that this may be possibly the very first multi-swirl JEM guitar ever! (I'm not quite sure how I'm expected to react to a statement like that? Should I be impressed or just simply stunned into silence with the awe-inspiringness of it?)

Sorry guys, it may well sound awesome, but looks-wise I'd give it a miss. I'd rather hear it than look at it.

Saturday, 6 December 2008

ESP Doreamon Guitar

ESP Doreamon guitar
From Japan (naturally) comes this ESP Doreamon guitar based on a cartoon character that I'm not really aware of but have seen on guitars before! I like the fact that it seems to have a built-in amp but the sheer size and shape of it means that it would be totally impractical as a travel guitar. It's extremely cheesy and I have to confess to secretly liking this one mainly because of its ridiculousness. It's a very odd shape, it's funny, and it's another example of what the imaginations of those wacky Japanese can come up with.

Friday, 5 December 2008

Guitar George is cycling on ice

George unicycles on ice!Here is a bizarre news story about 18-year old George Britcher who has been alarming patrons of his local ice rink in Norfolk with his party piece which consists of riding his unicycle on the ice and playing guitar at the same time.

I'm assuming he uses a wireless connection to his amp as a guitar lead trailing behind him would surely make this feat even more hazardous!

Joe Satriani sues Coldplay

Joe Satriani in 2005The BBC News reports that "Grammy nominees Coldplay have been sued by rock guitarist Joe Satriani, who claims the band's song Viva La Vida uses one of his riffs."

Apparently the song uses substantial original portions of Satriani's 2004 instrumental "If I Could Fly".

Whilst I'm not the biggest fan of Satriani's music, I can only applaud his decision to take the arrogant Chris Martin and Co down a peg or two.

It's not the first time Coldplay have plundered someone else's songs and presented them as their own. As a big Kraftwerk fan I still shudder everytime Coldplay's "Talk" comes on the radio, which uses the entire melody line and main riff from Kraftwerk's "Computer Love". At least in that instance Chris Martin asked persmission and having heard a thing or two about Kraftwerk's Ralf Hutter, you can bet they get royalties. (It still irritates me though.)

It makes me wonder why Coldplay's Chris Martin asked permission from one artist but not from another. Did he think the Satriani piece was so obscure that no one would recognise it? And can't Chris Martin write his own music at all?

Thursday, 4 December 2008

Burns Scorpion Bass

Burns Scorpion BassI remember when Burns Guitars launched their Scorpion guitar back in 1980. It was at the same time when they also launched the Western-looking Steer guitar.

I hadn't previosuly realised they made a Scorpion Bass too. Looks neat. Is that a short-scale, I wonder?

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Breaking News: Image of Jesus seen on guitar

Image of Jesus seen on an acoustic guitarI'm not saying anything about this story. Make up your own minds!

"Employees at Instrumental Music and Sound in Ludington, Michigan say the wood grain of one of the store's guitars has an image that looks like the face of Jesus. Others believe it looks like an angel.

The guitar would normally sell for $500. But officials at the store have decided to take the instrument off the market.

See the story here where there's also a video clip.

AxeGlove - THE Ultimate Guitar Protection System

You're not coming in here dressed like thatIt's that time of year where many guitar sites and blogs like to bring to your attention various guitar-related gifts.

Well, how about the AxeGlove, designed to protect your pride and joy from knocks and dents.

There are tales of this product being demonstrated at guitar shows with the salesman bashing a Les Paul custom protected by the AxeGlove against a hard surface, only to remove the cover and show that the guitar was unmarked.

Apparently you can keep it on the guitar as you play too! Possibly you could wear a woolly hat and scarf to match.

Obviously, it's not a product that's going to appeal to the lover of relic-look guitars.

And is it just me, or does anyone else remember a similar product called the "Guitar Sock" a couple of years ago?

Let's face it. It's pyjamas for your guitar.

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Gene Simmons autographed Westone Warlock bass

Gene Simmons autographed Westone Warlock bass
This Gene Simmons autographed Westone Warlock bass is quite neat, as apparently he won't sign guitars any more. Being a Westone it ought to be a nice quality instrument too. I had a Westone Thunder I-A fretless bass years back and it was a fantastic bass. I always regret getting rid of that one.

Pictured below is another bass that looks like it should (or could) be played by the Kiss bassmeister himself. Apparently it's a Toshiya bass (never heard of them) and to my eyes it looks as if the design has been based on a left-handed Rickenbacker.
Toshiya bass

Monday, 1 December 2008

Those of a nervous disposition may want to look away

Mutilated 1974 Strat
I am absolutely astounded and just a little bit disturbed that someone could have thought that this mutilation of a 1974 Fender Stratocaster was a good idea. Yes, I know some of those early 70s Strats were very heavy but taking a saw to one and carving it up does seem a bit extreme.

Friday, 28 November 2008

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

A Visually Loud Stratocaster

Hand-painted StratQuick, grab your sunglasses!

This handpainted Strat-type guitar looks like it may have been influenced by Fender's paisley guitars. Check the other photos in the item listing on eBay.

Is it cool? Is it hideous? I don't know ... I've not decided yet. I just can't get over how LOUD the finish is!

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Montecristo Golf Set Cigar Box Guitar

Montecristo Golf Set Cigar Box GuitarThis oddly-shaped but attractive hollow-bodied electric is actually a
Montecristo Golf Set Cigar Box Guitar - a cigar box guitar with a difference.

Cigar box guitars are usually very basic instruments, but this appears to be a deluxe version! The box itself is from a Montecristo Golf Set and would orignally have contained golf balls and tees alongside the cigars.

The original lid of the cigar box now forms the back of the guitar. It is still hinged and it would seem that you can use this feature as a built-in guitar stand.

Monday, 24 November 2008

Zoybar Open Source Guitar

Find more videos like this on Zoybar

Inspired by the open source movement within the world of computing, Zoybar is a modular hardware platform for creating custom electric string instruments and effects (such as the Kaoss Pad).

In essence this would appear to be a modular guitar system. In the words of Zoybar founder and designer Ziv Bar Ilan, "The Zoybar components provide research and development tools as a sustainable, playable prototype platform. The same modular parts can be assembled as different instruments, can be changed during the performance and also be mounted with numerous special effects, just by adding and changing their position across the profile groves."

For more, see, check out the videos, and learn how you could win one of three limited edtion kits.

Friday, 21 November 2008

Acoustic Corporation Black Widow Guitars

Jimi Hendrix plays the Acoustic Black Widow
This is a follow-up to Tuesday's post about a certain Hollowbody Fretless bass. What I hadn't realised from the original eBay listing was that where it said "Acoustic" was that was a brand name and not a description! (I thought it was a reference to the bass being a hollowbody!). The Acoustic in question was Acoustic Control Corporation who - while they were better known for their solid state amplifier range - produced a range of guitars known as the Black Widow. These were originally designed and built by Paul Barth and his Bartell company in the USA, but production moved several times, to the Matsumoko factory in Japan, back to Mosrite in the USA and then finally to the Hohner company. So, now the eBay listing makes sense!

For the full story and lots more pictures, see the Acoustic Black Widow Fan Page. Pictured above is probably the most famous guitarist to have played an Acoustic Black Widow, supposedly in the studio only. Does anyone have any idea on which recordings Jimi Hendrix may have played this guitar?

Disclaimer: I'm not sure where this photo originally came from and cannot make out the small print in the bottom right hand corner. Apologies in advance if I am using your picture without permission.

Thursday, 20 November 2008

The Damned's Captain Sensible and his ESP LTD Viper 1000 Deluxe

Captain Sensible of The Damned, yesterdayA lot of guitarists (online at least) seem to be into heavy rock and those widdly widdly players that no-one except for other guitarists seems to be into. I have to confess that most this kind of music just leaves me cold. As I grew up in the late 1960s and 1970s my own guitar heroes include people from the punk and new wave era. One of my very favourites is Captain Sensible of classic punk band The Damned.

The Damned were reportedly the first punk band to release a single ("New Rose" in 1976), the first to record an album (1977's "Damned Damned Damned") and the first to tour America. All of this, I suppose, depends on your definition of "punk" but we're talking about the late 70s phenomenon primarily in the UK, the most famous protagonists of which were The Sex Pistols.

In their original line-up Captain Sensible started out as The Damned's bass player but when they reformed in 1979 (first punk band to split, first to reform...) he took over on lead guitar duties and occasional keyboards.

Over the years they have had numerous line-up changes but the funny thing is that whoever is playing somehow the songs always sound quintessentially "Damned". I think they've had something like six drummers, eight bassists, six guitarists but only the one vocalist in Dave Vanian (although he has been known to go AWOL over the years).

Their current line-up has been in place for about five years and they are one of the best bands on the live circuit today. Last night at London's Carling Islington Academy I attended their album launch gig, celebrating the release of their latest album "So Who's Paranoid?" where they played a two-hour set of old and new songs all of which sounded fantastic.

Captain has been playing ESP LTD Viper guitars for the last eight years or so, but I thought his new white ESP LTD Viper 1000 Deluxe equipped with Seymour Duncan Custom-5 pickups and gold hardware sounded great and looked great under the stage lights. The design is obviously derived from Gibson's SG although the body has been skewed into an offset shape like Fender's Jaguar and Jazzmaster guitars.

Sensible is a very much under-rated guitar player. I think people don't take him seriously because The Damned are known as a punk band (although they are much more sophisticated than that) and because back in the 1980s Captain also had a solo career as a pop star and even made No.1 in the UK with "Happy Talk", a cover version of the song from the soundtrack of Rodgers and Hammerstein's "South Pacific". What a lot of people don't realise is that this guy is a very talented musician. I remember being blown away by his playing on 1979's "Machine Gun Etiquette" album (give "Plan 9 Channel 7" a spin), and if you're not impressed by his solo on "Under The Floor Again" (on 1982's "Strawberries") then you must have been lobotomised.

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Blackbird Rider Nylon Carbon Fibre Guitar

Blackbird Rider nylon
Those who read my report of the London Guitar Show 2008 may remember my enthusiasm for an all-graphite acoustic guitar from the Rainsong brand.

Another company building carbon fibre guitars are Blackbird Guitars who launched the Rider Steel String guitar last year. Sporting a radical design, its small size, resistance to humidty and almost indestructability make it a perfect although not inexpensive choice as a travel guitar. It should be pretty lightweight too.

Now blackbird have announced its nylon-strung counterpart, the Blackbird Rider Nylon. It's a similar design although the body appears somewhat fatter and squatter that the Rider Steel. Just like the steel string, the Rider Nylon has a hollow neck and an additional soundhole in the headstock. I've not heard this in action but in theory it sounds like a brilliant idea. Having played that other carbon fibre guitar I can imagine that the Blackbird would be extremely resonant.

It's a lovely piece of design, but I think it's out of my price range.

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Hollowbody Fretless Bass

Hollowbody Fretless Bass
Here's quite an attactive looking hollowbody fretless bass on eBay. It's looks like it's seen some use and has a fair few knocks and dings but I think these add to its charm.

The seller doesn't know what brand the bass is and thinks it might be a Mosrite or Hohner from the 1960s. Well, fretless basses were virtually unheard of before Jaco Pastorius popularised them in the 1970s, so I think he's got the wrong decade there, and I also believe that this bass is a USA-made Bartell (a company allegedly set-up by ex-Rickenbacker employee Paul Barth) as I have found a very similar bass also for sale on eBay (pictured below).
Bartell Hollowbody Fretless Bass

Monday, 17 November 2008

Magnatone Lap Steel Guitar

Magnatone lap steel although I wouldn't want that enormous thing on MY lapI think that on a casual glance you could be forgiven for not realising that this
Magnatone Lap Steel is even a guitar. It's one of the most un-guitar-like guitars I have ever seen.

Actually, I'd even question it being a lap steel. Even without having a headstock, it still appears to be quite a substantial piece of gear. Possibly it's supposed to have legs attached, as it looks too hefty to play on the lap.

Sunday, 16 November 2008

Quick Quiz Answer: It's a BANJO!!!

Conard 6-string banjo with Fender-style headOh yes indeed! That Fender-esque 6-in-a-line headstock belongs to a six-string banjo. Who would have thought it?

To be precise, it's a Conard six-string banjo otherwise known as a guitar banjo as it's a banjo in guitar format - six strings, guitar tuning. It's an ususual headstock for a banjo, and looks like it would be more at home on the end of a solid bodied electric guitar. I'd bet that not many of you would even have guessed this headstock was on an acoustic instrument let alone a banjo!

This looks like rather a nice neck actually. I have a six-string banjo and the neck is awful - the strings are parallel along its entire length which doesn't help playing higher up the neck.

Saturday, 15 November 2008

Soviet Russia's finest! Tonika Guitar and Sovtek Amp

Tonika guitar and Sovtek amp - Russia's finest!Back in January of this year I featured a Soviet-era Russian-made Tonika bass, so how could I pass up this opportunity to feature its 6-string counterpart, the Tonika guitar?

These are weird-shaped beasties, for sure. You have to wonder about the thought processes that gave birth to this bizarre design.

Lovers of vintage tube amps might like to know that the same seller is also selling the Sovtek MIG-50 amp featured in the photo.

Thursday, 13 November 2008

Quick Quiz: What is this?

Here's the headstock, but of what?...I know how you guys love these quizzes, so here's another.

Please identify this instrument from the headstock pictured here.

Answers in the comments please.

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

FIVE pickups on a Strat?

Five pickups on a Strat?This is one of those "WHY?" guitars.

This Strat-a-like guitar has been fitted with two additional pickups, and wired up so that the 5-position switch can select only one of each of the five pickups at a time. I can't imagine this would be very useful at all. On/off switches for each pickup would surely have been a better idea allowing you to choose pickups in each and every combination you could desire. As it is, it's very silly.

Note also that the seller also has committed the cardinal sin of putting a Fender decal onto the headstock of this non-Fender guitar. It's about time people stopped this illegal and dishonest practice. I don't care if he points out in the listing that it's not actually a real Fender guitar. If it's not a real Fender then the Fender logo does not belong on it. End of story.

I'm still looking for that picture of a Strat with nine pickups.

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Eko 400 Resoglas Guitar

Eko 400 Resoglas Guitar
I thought it was about time we featured some more guitar cheese, so here for your viewing pleasure is an Eko 400 Blue Sparkle Resoglas guitar, a model also known as the Eko Master.

There's a strong resemblance to certain pearloid and glitter-encrusted guitars from Sweden's Hagstrom and Goya brands, but the Eko brand of course is Italian.

For those not familiar with the story, it was the 1960s and The Beatles amongst other guitar-based groups had created an unprecedented demand for the electric guitar. The laws of supply and demand dicatated that several factories which had for many years been manufacturing accordians switched production to guitars and hence some interesting pearloid and glitter finishes and accordian-like pushbuttons started appearing on guitars.

Quick Quiz: What the hell is THIS? The ANSWER!

What the...?As some of you rightly said, this strange item, namely Kustom Electronics "The Bag", is an early predecessor to the Talk Box as used by Jeff Beck and Peter Frampton.

I think the idea was that you'd sling it over your shoulder as you played guitar, and with the tube in your mouth it must have felt like you were playing a bizarre cross between the guitar and bagpipes.

I wonder why they chose to make it look so hideous?

Monday, 10 November 2008

Anyone fancy a nice cup of tea and a biccy?

Anyone fancy a nice cup of tea and a biccy?
Never mind guitars that feature artwork that would look more at home on your granny's biscuit tin (see here and here), this guitar appears to be made from the actual biscuit tin itself.

Sunday, 9 November 2008

Burns Mirage

Burns MirageGibson aren't the only guitar manufacturer who can take one of their own guitar designs and flip the body shape around, either vertically or horizontally, and come up with a new design (witness the Flying V, Explorer, Firebird and their reverse counterparts).

Here we have a very rare Burns Mirage which is based on their own Flyte guitar only with the body shape flipped around vertically so that the neck appears to be coming out of the wrong end. I always thought the Burns Flyte was quite a cool guitar but this upside-down variation, the Mirage, just looks peculiar.

Burns collectors will probably love it.

Friday, 7 November 2008

Weird Stand-Up Bass

Weird Stand-Up BassThis handmade stand-up bass was, according to the seller, the creation of someone who didn't understand how to play, and from what he says it sounds like he's carried out some alterations so as to make it playable.

It's a weird one and I'd say that technically its a bass guitar rather than a double bass because of its scale-length and its flat fretted fingerboard (even though it only has the eight frets). It's quite a nice looker, but I'm not sure it'd be too easy to play.

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Levi Strauss Stratocaster

Levi Strauss StratocasterSomeone has rather bizarrely taken a Mexican-made Fender Stratocaster and covered it in denim from a pair of jeans. And it looks bloody awful.

Vox Standard 25

Vox Standard 25
I just saw this Japanese Vox Standard 25 guitar from the early 1980s on eBay and just had to blog about it as an identical guitar was the first ever electric guitar that I owned. You could say it was the first of many! (One day I'll make a list of all the guitars I have ever owned).

The design was obviously inspired by the Fender Stratocaster but it's not a straight copy. The smaller more-rounded body-shape was very attractive to my eyes. As I remember it was a very heavy guitar, but then the body and neck were made from solid maple. The pickups were DiMarzios so it was pretty pokey in that department. I used it on lots of early recordings and demos and it never let me down.

The seller of this example on eBay says that it "looks like a strat but is much heavier, more robust, and many people who've owned or played both, myself incuded, believe that the Vox is a superior guitar in almost every respect."

I'm sorry, but I have to take issue with this claim. In 1988 I fell in love with and bought a paisley pink Fender Stratocaster. The Vox guitar was a good quality guitar, but - in a side by side comparison with the Strat - the Fender was streets ahead of it in sound, feel and playability. Friends commented on how much better a guitar my new Strat was, and I believe that my own playing vastly improved as a direct consequence. I have to wonder what kind of Stratocaster the seller of the above Vox is comparing it to? If it's a basic Squier or - dare I say it - a Mexican-made Strat, I wouldn't be surprised if the Vox came off better, but compare it to a quality Fender (my paisley was one of the very early Japanese Fenders) and I bet there'd be no contest.

Owning the Strat, and later a Telecaster too, made my own Vox Standard 25 somewhat redundant. I kept it in Nashville tuning for a while (i.e. strung with the octave strings from a 12-string set) but about 12 or so years ago I decided it really was surplus to requirements and sold it to a friend and then used the money to buy a bicycle. Looking at the above pictures I'm feeling a bit nostalgic about this guitar. It was a good guitar, but the replacements were better. I made the right decision.

I'll try to find some photographs of me with my Vox guitar sometime.

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Quick Quiz: What the hell is THIS?

What the...?This peculiar THING was listed on eBay recently (I'm not letting you have the link just yet), but what on earth is it?

Is it a psychedelic vacuum cleaner, perhaps?

Or a 1960s-era Doctor Who monster?

I'll give you a clue: it IS guitar related.

Answers in the comments please.

Monday, 3 November 2008

'ere, Mister, can we 'ave our ball back?

'ere, Mister, can we 'ave our ball back?The seller of this football-shaped guitar with built-in amp thinks for some unfathomable reason that it might be a Pignose, but I very much doubt it. There are factories in China and Korea churning out novelty guitars like these, some of which I've featured in these pages.

Notice how it appears to be a deflated football, as if it had landed on top of some spiked railings.

Saturday, 1 November 2008

Vline Sword Guitar

Vline Sword Guitar
I'll leave it to the seller to tell you about this guitar because I've had a long day and I'm tired and wet:
This is a VLINE 'SWORD' made by Vincent Berton, a French avant garde luthier in the early 1980s. Bound for recognition, he was the protégé of James Trussart of James Trussart Guitars, who recognized his art was beyond anything that had ever been done. He was completely brilliant, maybe too much for sanity, as he would spend months building one-of-a-kind creations and BUILD EVERY SINGLE DETAIL BY HAND, even into the tiniest of details. He would build the knobs, the saddles, the control plates all from solid blocks of BRASS! He also built his own revolutionary pickups hiding the secret of his custom design by integrating them inside the body. He also built his own cases, but even down to the smallest of details like the hinges and the handle, also built by hand from solid brass! Insanity caught up with this TRUE GENIUS, and unfortunately Vincent Berton, after he built a reported 2 dozen instruments, all unique, commited suicide in the mid 1980s, cutting short the recognition that was never to be during his lifetime. Now his creations are scarce and very sought after, as his skills and total mastery of the art of luthiery survive in the less than a dozen surviving instruments worldwide, this one being the rarest of all.
(Apologies for the poor use of the English language. I edited some of the more excruciating punctuation and spelling mistakes.)

Friday, 31 October 2008

Thursday, 30 October 2008

The Biscuit Tin Tele

Tanglewood Biscuit Tin TelecasterDo you remember the Biscuit Tin Les Paul? Well, now I've found a Biscuit Tin Telecaster, made by Tanglewood and described erroneously by the seller as being paisley patterned.

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Unusual Ovation Deacon Guitar

Unusual Ovation Deacon Guitar
Regular readers will know that I am a big fan of Ovation's solid body electric guitars from the 1970s, especially the Breadwinner and Deacon models.

I did a double-take when I first saw this rather unusual-looking Ovation Deacon on eBay; I've not seen one quite like it before. I suspect that the neck and neck plate on the back of the body are the only actual Ovation parts. The neck with its white binding and double diamond inlays would appear to be accurate, but the body is wrong for a genuine Deacon as it has obviously not been routed for pickups and electronics mounted on a scratchplate. The pickups are not Ovations, the bridge is a Gibson style Tunomatic and the control layout is not correct. It doesn't appear to have the active electronics that a genuine Deacon or Breadwinner would have.

Whoever put this guitar together has done an excellent job as the body shape and the forearm and belly contouring look to be absolutely spot-on, whilst the colouring of the wood matches the neck very nicely. The effect is that it looks like it should be original, but there are too many un-Ovation things going on here for this to be the case.

Another Yamaha Pacifica project

Yamaha Pacifica 112 project #2I've just bought this carcass (i.e. body and neck) of another Yamaha Pacifica 112. I've not decided if I want to re-finish it yet. The body does have a fair amount of knocks and dings in it but I'm not convinced that they are a problem seeing as relic guitars are supposed to be so cool. However, if I do re-finish it, it won't end up looking like a deck chair this time!

For this project I want to equip the guitar with a pair of Danelectro lipstick pickups that I've had lying about in my box of bits for ages. Now, I'm not quite sure how these should be installed as yet, because if you look at a Danelectro guitar you'll see that the pickups are attached via long screws from the back of the guitar. This shouldn't be too much of a problem for the neck position of the Pacifica - all I'd need to do is drill screw holes in the required positions - but the bridge pickup location puts it over the tremolo spring cavity. I'm not quite sure how I'm going to approach this yet, but I'm thinking on it. If anyone has any bright ideas, let me know!

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Blackspot Guitars

Blackspot GuitarsI don't know how I managed to miss Blackspot Guitars at the London Guitar Show earlier this year because they are certainly distinctive looking!

Blackspot guitars are built by Patrick in Bristol in the UK. I really like that he has developed his own unique designs and they are not yet another variation of the same old thing that most big guitar companies are churning out. They may be a weird shape but apparently they are supremely comfortable to play.

Blackspot guitars are now also producing a range of acoustic guitars which while they are much more traditional in design than their electric counterparts, also have one or two distinctive features such as the shape of the scracthplates, headstocks and the fretboard inlays.

Monday, 27 October 2008

Japanese Kimberly Guitar

Kimberly guitarYou just don't see guitars with 4 pickups these days, do you? Not comtemporary instruments, that is. Those 4 pickups on this tasty greenburst Kimberly have a Teisco look to them. As another Japanese guitar this Kimberley could well have been made at the same factory that produced Teisco guitars. It's not just the pickups which are in abundance. Just look at all those knobs and switches!

On the subject of guitars with a crazy number of pickups does anyone remember a photo in an early edition of the UK's Guitarist magazine which showed a reader's Stratocaster which he had fitted with nine single coil pickups and a whole bunch of switches? I'd love to see that picture again.

(I'm aware of the Music Man Spinal Tap guitar with 4 humbuckers before anyone mentions it. They also had a bass with six pickups.)


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