You dig oddball guitars and strange, rare equipment. Sure, a Fender Telecaster is a great guitar (I have a 1969, and I love it), but there’s something about the weird ones that pulls you in or you wouldn’t be reading this newsletter. Fenders, Gibsons and the rest of the big boys are fine, but if you want a guitar that looks like a kitchen counter, perhaps made out of something more…uh…interesting or futuristic than wood…or one with more buttons than your uncle’s accordion (and you know you do!), you are forced off the beaten path to find your treasure.
This is the story of a personal journey through the world of music that begins humbly and ends just as humbly as it started. The fact that your reporter (should I say “moi”?) has experienced it at all is amazing enough, for under any other circumstances I might not have found myself in circumstances that presented so ripe an opportunity to learn and understand that most sensuous, invigorating, physically challenging and just plain righteous of musical instruments: the guitar.
Xabier Iriondo opened SOUND METAK in October 2005. He sells vintage/collector instruments and musical objects like old lap steels (K&F, National, Gibson, Epiphone, Dobro), autoharps, monochords, boutique effects pedals (Cornish, Klon, Menatone, Effector13, etc), accessories, old gramophones and 78rpm records (early blues & jazz, tango’s, etc) and – Eastwood guitars!
This past month or so I found myself having the same conversation several different times with several different people. That conversation centered around the question, “what were the greatest guitar solos on record”? I tend to go for the usual ones, but there are some great guitar sounds, not necessarily just solos, that are also worth mentioning. So folks here are my thoughts on the ten “Greatest guitar songs”. My list is a list not in any particular order, so here we go.
Most of us probably know this longhorned guitar shape from the legendary Danelectro Guitarlin. Indeed, this Hondo guitar was intended to be a tribute to that ‘60s beauty. Danelectro bit the dust in 1969, yielding to the beginnings of international guitarmaking.
Twenty Eight years ago in Toronto, CANADA, an 18 yr old music fan slipped backstage, unnoticed by the distracted security people. Up a staircase, down a hall, then back down another staircase. He heard voices coming from the bands dressing room. He quietly stepped inside and said, “Mr. Nelson, will you please autograph my Album?” The memory seems like it was just yesterday. There, standing in front of me was my guitar hero, Bill Nelson of Be Bop Deluxe. He smiled and obliged. I turned to pose with Bill for a picture as my friend prepared to snap it. “What? No film?” My good friend Wally Moss had forgotten to load film in the camera. Go figure. People follow their passions – Wally’s was photography, mine was the electric guitar – and the musicians who made them sing. Bill Nelson remains one of the best.
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