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Mosrite vs. Sidejack

Mosrite vs. Sidejack: Which One Is Better?

Can a brand new guitar be better than a legendary, vintage one? Mosrite vs. Sidejack: Which One Is Better? This is a tougher question that you might’ve thought…

Before we start a fight, let’s be clear: we LOVE Mosrite here at My Rare Guitars, as Mike himself made clear in previous blogs. They sound amazing, look beautiful, and are some of the most iconic and unique guitars ever made. From a collector’s point of view, it’s a no-brainer: if you can find and afford an original, vintage Mosrite, you should just go for it!

But we all live in the real world, and from a musician point of view, things get a little bit more complicated… and vintage may not be convenient, nor necessarily mean better.

Over the years, there’s been many variations of the Mosrite models: from the Univox guitars in the 70’s, to 80’s and 90’s replicas branded Mosrite, besides other brands making their own versions of the classic design, to varying degrees of success (Hallmark guitars, Danelectro and others).

The thirst for Mosrite guitars has been there for many years – not just because of the Ventures surf-music connection, but also due to it’s connection to seminal rock bands such as The Stooges (Dave Alexander played a Mosrite bass), MC5 (Fred “Sonic” Smith) and, especially, the Ramones (Mosrite was *the* Johnny Ramone guitar).

Fred "Sonic" Smith and his Mosrite

Fred “Sonic” Smith and his Mosrite

The first problem regarding Mosrite is precisely that – most musicians inspired by those artists, who want to actually rock out onstage, wouldn’t (shouldn’t?) really choose a vintage Mosrite to play. After all, Mosrites are too rare, too expensive for actual rock gigs, now! So no wonder so many copies have proliferated.

And then, there’s the other, more pressing question: were the original Mosrites actually that good?

Some well-known Mosrite issues

Vintage Mosrite guitar

Vintage Mosrite guitar

While there’s no question about the build quality of the original Mosrite guitars, and even less doubts about their amazing sound, there WERE some issues which have bothered many players over the years.

Basically, the Mosrite neck were quite idiosyncratic and a big barrier for many, many players who’d otherwise love the guitar: tiny frets, and very thin necks very narrow at the nut – which quite a few players could enjoy but not all – especially if playing lead.

The frets, though, were definitely a big issue. We’ve heard of people who bought original Mosrites and decided to actually re-fret them! Just imagine – you buy a rare, expensive vintage guitar, and feel the urge to actually change its specs – and, by making it not all-original anymore, devaluating the guitar. 

Yep, that’s how bad some people didn’t like those frets.

 

It’s important to note this because, lo and behold, not even The Ventures were too keen on them! Despite their association with Mosrite (after all, mk I model was called “The Ventures”) they actually preferred to use Fender guitars in the studio, and used Mosrites live just because of their contracts.

The Ventures

The Ventures… and their Fenders!

According to an old blog post we found:

“…remember, it was the Ventures that really started using stringbending….and try to bend a string on an orignal model…there is no fret to use…It’s all but filed off… They had specifically asked that the Mosrite necks have the same frets and feel as their favorite Jazzmaster, Stratocaster and PBass.”

Another interesting thing about Mosrites: they didn’t have a nut!

Mosrite headstock

Mosrite headstock

Instead, Mosrite guitars have a  zero fret that acts as a nut, and behind it, they feature a metallic string slide device to keep the strings in place. Looks weird but, apparently, is a very clever design that helps with the intonation.

Vintage 1964 Mosrite bridge

Vintage 1964 Mosrite bridge

Another interesting detail is that Mosrites used a roller bridge, not too dissimilar to a tune-o-matic, but the saddles were actually little wheels that would allow for smooth tuning and smooth tremolo action. However, some players say that  that some of them had issues where the bottom of the saddle didn’t conform to the bridge plate, and would cause buzzing – some players would then put a small and thin piece of felt under the saddle!

All told – everything does seem to show that, for such an expensive piece of rock history, the Mosrites (or some of them) did have playability issues most people shelling out thousands of bucks, today, would rather avoid…

Are Eastwood Sidejacks Better Than Mosrite?

Eastwood Sidejack DLX

Eastwood Sidejack DLX

Now… here’s the million dollar question: are the new Eastwood Sidejack guitars actually better than the legendary Mosrite? As the recent Re-Inventing The Past: From Mosrite to Sidejack blog says, there’s little doubt that the Sidejacks are, today, more popular than the original Mosrites ever were.

The Sidejacks are not “reissues” or replicas of the Mosrite, but modern, updated tributes to the original. They definitely feel more playable, and feature a more familar jazzmaster-style tremolo,  besides adjustable bridge. So, while not 100% like an original Mosrite, the Sidejacks are the true heirs, keeping the Mosrite cult alive – and doing it the RIGHT way: by being used by lots of bands who really love to rock out!

While not quite as well-known as the Jazzmaster (yet?), the Sidejack is equally suitable for surf music, punk or indie rock. For fans of the P-90 sound, simply an amazing choice.

Now… better than a Mosrite? Only YOU can tell, really, if you ever have the chance to compare both. Everyone will have their own opinions… but I know which one I’d rather take to my next gig!

Vox MV50

Vox MV50 Review: Are Mini Amps Any Good?

Ever since Orange broke new ground with the Tiny Terror a few years ago, there’s been a surge in giggable mini guitar heads. But the question is: are they any good? Let’s see if a look at the new Vox MV50 can help us to answer this question…

Vox MV50

Vox MV50.

Big, loud guitar amps are part of rock’n’roll mythology. You can’t imagine Jimi Hendrix or Led Zeppelin onstage with only a 20-watt amp with a 1×12  cab, can you? But, back in the real world in 2017, things are a little bit different. As we mentioned on a previous blog, amps don’t need to be too loud now. Most guitarists, if not playing stadiums, will be more than happy with smaller, quieter and more affordable guitar amps. Perhaps that explains the popularity of mini amps!

But one question remains: how BIG does an amp have to be? The answer seems to be… not very big! Since Orange released the ground-breaking Tiny Terror  head 10 years ago, the trend for mini and micro heap amps has only become more popular – and the new Vox MV50 amp, announced at the last NAMM show in January 2017, just reinforces this trend.

The MV50 is very affordable – which in a way might get in the way of some people fully appreciating it. Why? Because guitarists who buy a “budget” gear usually do so because, well, they are on a tighter budget. So it follows that a potential buyer will get a MV50 because they can’t afford a bigger and more expensive head – which probably means they’ll use the MV50 with a cheaper and not very great cab, too! In this case – you can expect the MV50 to sound poor!

Vox MV50

Vox MV50 rear view.

However – if you do have a great cab, you might choose the MV50 for the right reasons: because it sounds pretty good and it’s so tiny and light! The price tag, then, becomes just a welcome bonus. So, just as with the best mini/micro head amps out there, the MV50 sounds good and is very useable – if you use it correctly, ie., paired with a good cab! 

Check this demo, comparing the MV50 against a Vox AC15 (also featuring an Airline 59 3P): 

There’s no doubt that today, in 2017, mini amps such as the MV50 can be good enough for rocking out, not just at home but at gigs. Of course, many of us guitarists are not creatures of logic. We’ll stick to big, loud amps – because they rock, and a tiny amp will never look as cool… maybe Jimi was right all along!

What about YOU? What kind of amp do you prefer? Post your comments and let us know!

Learn more:

Vox MV50 page

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YouTube Your Eastwood (July 2013)

Manosanta K-CHUNGA = Airline Tuxedo

Keith McFadden – Sidejack DLX and Bass VI

Walk off the Earth – Airline Bighorn

Walk off the Earth – Eastwood AEB Bass & Airline Bighorn

Keith McFadden

Welcome Keith McFadden to the MRG Demo Team

Some of you may have noted that over the past two months a new face has surfaced on the MyRareGuitars YouTube channel. Say hello to Keith McFadden from Lindsay Ontario. Yep, Canadian like us, eh? Keith adds a new twist as he takes advantage of loops to highlight the guitars versatility within the same take and the demos are really entertaining. Please take a moment to view a few of them and pass along your welcome comments to Keith!

Airline Bobkat

Sidejack Bass VI and DLX

Airline Folkstar

Airline ’59 3P G.Love

Airline Jupiter

Eastwood Hi-Flyer Phase IV

Airline Espanada

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YouTube Your Eastwood (December 2012)

Vince Lee – Airline Catalina


Richard Hawley – Sidejack Baritone DLX


Crazy Aces – Sidejack BASS VI


Emma Lee – Airline 3P DLX


Lewin Barringer – Mandocaster


Lewin Barringer – Joey Leone Superfast


Marco Gervais and his dog – Eastwood Messenger


Githead – Colin Newman – Airline MAP


Frederic Voleon – Airline Folkstar


Jack Mazzenga – Eastwood Mandocaster

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YouTube Your Eastwood (September 2012)

Crazy Aces (Jeff Senn – Sidejack DLX)


NIPPON MADONNA – Airline ’59 2P


Vince Lee – Airline Espanada


Rod Piazza and the Mighty Flyers – Henry Carvajel – Airline Espanada


Joe Brewer – Hi-Flyer Phase 4 DEMO


Mojo Radio – Classic 4 Bass


Bliks – Airline H44


Demi Barbito – Airline ’59 3P


Buzzcocks – Starway Limited Edition


Le Murd – Sidejack DLX


Jeff Senn – Sidejack DLX DEMO

Slow Static's Matt Plummer with his Eastwood Breadwinner Guitar at Dallas Cowboys Stadium

The Ridiculously Comfortable Eastwood Breadwinner

One of our “not-so-best-selling” models is the Breadwinner. We made a replica of this guitar some years back just because it was always one of my favorites, and is stupid comfortable to play. No other guitar on the planet seems so ergonomically correct like this one does. So we keep it in production, because every now and again someone else will stumble upon its design brilliance. In fact, last month I got a letter from a customer – Matt Plummer – that I thought I would share with you. Here is Matt in his own words:

Slow Static's Matt Plummer with his Eastwood Breadwinner Guitar at Dallas Cowboys Stadium

Slow Static's Matt Plummer with his Eastwood Breadwinner Guitar at Dallas Cowboys Stadium

Michael,

I just wanted to email Eastwood and say that buying an Eastwood Breadwinner was the best decision I have ever made. I have muscular dystrophy and am unable to stand or walk. I use an electric wheelchair for mobility and have been playing guitar for 8 years. One year ago, give or take, I came across the Breadwinner and thought to myself that it would be a perfect guitar for me because of the body style. Having to sit down and play made most guitars uncomfortable for me. I had the toughest time finding something that had that perfect fit. When I finally gave in and bought the guitar my mind was blown at how easily I was able to play it while sitting.

It opened up so many new things for me musically and physically. I now play quite often in a band of my own, Slow Static. This guitar, its shape, and lightness made playing guitar easier for me which, in turn, allowed me to expand my own musical ability. I play a style instrumental, cinematic, ambient music with my band. We have had the opportunity to play with many national acts such as Jeff the Brotherhood, Touche’ Amore, and many others. Also, we had the opportunity to play a show at the Dallas Cowboys Stadium this past spring which was an amazing experience for me. So if it hadn’t happened already Eastwood officially had someone play one of their guitars in that huge stadium! Haha.

Slow Static's Matt Plummer with his Eastwood Breadwinner Guitar at Dallas Cowboys Stadium

Slow Static's Matt Plummer with his Eastwood Breadwinner Guitar at Dallas Cowboys Stadium

I just wanted to let you know that this guitar has opened up so much for me personally. We are recording our first album and I’m excited for what the future holds. Rest assured that I will always be playing music on my breadwinner. I don’t think any other guitar would do. I’m definitely saving up for another Breadwinner in the near future! Thank you and to the rest of the company. It might sound a little cheesy but that guitar has officially changed my life.

Thanks!

Matt Plummer

Electromuse Lap Steel Guitar Pickup

Lap Steel Guitar – You Need One!

I don’t remember what drove me to my first lap steel. Maybe I needed a new sound for a song my band was working on, or perhaps I just felt like my guitar playing was in a rut. Whatever the reason, once I discovered it I was instantly hooked.

I started with an old Electromuse (it looked like a boat paddle), and then had to figure out what to do with it, and so I commenced the seemingly endless quest for the right tuning, picks, bar, and tone. Now, this was before we all had the Interwebs at our fingertips (back when I’d visit the library once a week to review the three emails I’d acquired since last login), so how-to videos via youtube simply were not an option. I was left to my own devices.

Electromuse Lap Steel Guitar Pickup

Electromuse Lap Steel Guitar Pickup

I plunked away on my steel, but I was missing something. My sound was thin, and noisy, and out of tune…nothing like what I was hearing in my head. I chipped away at it without much luck, until I met Spider Webb Welten.

Willbern “Spider Webb” Welten owned a music store in Sparta, IL (also noteworthy as the film-shooting locale for some scenes from the original movie version of In The Heat Of The Night). Welton’s was a small, quirky store that shared its quarters with a wig shop/hair salon run by his wife, and it featured a few glass counters, about twelve guitars wrapped in plastic (for that cozy, backwoods, Invasion of the Body Snatchers ambiance), and some miscellaneous cases which, I would soon find out, housed lap steels and pedal steels.

Upon my first visit I took in the air, tainted with the chemical aroma of hair product, as a skinny, elderly man came out from the back and asked how he could help me. As soon as I told him I was looking for a set of steel strings, the old man perked up. ” C6TH, E9TH or both?” he inquired, and I could already tell I was in way over my head. “Uh…it’s for a lap steel?” The old man frowned and corrected me, “it’s not a ‘lap steel,’ it’s a straight steel, son” and he walked behind the counter and pulled out a pack of 6-string “straight steel” strings. Then he took out a card and scratched down A/C#/E/A/C#/E, with the words ” Top A Tuning ” underneath. As I paid for my strings, I asked if he had any other tips. In the course of the next hour, Webb pulled out three lap steels (straight steels), three pedal steels, an assortment of finger picks, and a magazine that had his picture on the cover. I realized that this was the guy, and I had happened to find him in middle-of-nowhere-southern-Illinois by complete chance.

Following are some of the tips that I learned from Spider Webb that day. These small nuggets of information that the steel guru shared have been invaluable, and I hope they will also help you on your journey to steel enlightenmen:

  • Get some heavier strings. Most steels come with fairly light strings, but thin strings equal thin tone, and this is especially true for the lap steel (which is the name I still call it by…sorry Webb). I typically use a custom gauge that consists of .056-.016, and I feel they produce a nice, fat tone, whether played clean or overdriven.
  • Use two metal finger picks and a plastic thumb pick. This is the key to speed and articulation, and will help you cut through a band better than simply using your fingers. I prefer a medium Pro-Pic that is heavy enough that I can barely bend it, and a heavy, large National thumb pick. I often use a lighter, blue Herco pick, which I also use for the banjo and the pedal steel, because I’m too lazy to carry multiple thumb picks with me, but the heavy Nationals give me a much fuller tone. Fingers without picks can give you a really great tone as well, so you may experiment both ways.
  • Keep your fingers on the strings behind the bar. This was a huge eye-opener for me, as it allowed me to get a truly defined tone without any noise. It also helps to keep the bar straight and accurate for better intonation.
  • Play on the line. This takes a little time to get used to, but you always want to keep your bar directly over the fret marker. Playing in the space will cause you to be flat.
  • It’s not fine china, so don’t be afraid to use some pressure and push down on the strings with the bar. You will get a much better tone this way.
  • Use a volume pedal. Starting with the pedal about 20-30% engaged will give you plenty of room to add sustain to notes when needed.
  • Use vibrato the way a singer would. Play the note clear and solid, and then add a slow vibrato by rolling and moving the bar back and forth. This is one of the more difficult techniques to learn, and it takes some time to accomplish.

Here are a couple of videos of me playing the Airline Lap Steel Guitar, available from www.eastwoodguitars.com for only $349:

1) Hawaiian Tone

2) Kick Butt Blues Tone:

I’ve owned two of Eastwood’s Airline lap steels, and I believe they are the best steel on the market for the money. The Airline has plenty of string height at the nut, and a bit wider string spacing than other steels in the same price range. The body has plenty of mass and weight, giving the steel a great tone, both clean and driven. Add a bit of delay and fuzz for an over the top tone, or try some modulation effects or a POG for a cool organ effect.

Written by: Dave Anderson

Dave Anderson

Dave Anderson

 

Airline RS-II Electric Guitar (Natural Flamed Maple Finish)

New Airline RS-II Guitar Demo Video by Mason Stoops

Mason does it again with some great playing and a quick history lesson on the Airline RS-II. Enjoy the show!

We have a new shipment of RS-II guitars coming in 2 weeks –> Order before April 30th for FREE Shipping!
(North America only)


Airline RS-II Electric Guitar (Natural Flamed Maple Finish)

Airline RS-II Electric Guitar (Natural Flamed Maple Finish)

Airline RS-II Specifications:

  • Airline RS-II Demo – Mason Stoops – Eastwood Guitars.
  • Body: Maple top, back and sides.
  • Neck: Set, bound one-piece, straight-grained Canadian maple
  • Fingerboard: Rosewood, Block Markers
  • Scale Length: 26″ with 12″ radius
  • Width at Nut: 1 11/16″
  • Pickups: Two AIRLINE Vintage Argyle Diamonds
  • Switching: 3-Way, Chicken Head Knob
  • Controls: 2 Volume, 2 Tone
  • Bridge: Tune-O-Matic, Trapeze Tail
  • Hardware: Vintage Kluson Style Nickel/Chrome
  • Strings: D’Addario #10
  • Case: Extra
  • Unique Features: Roy Smeck Pickguard

BUY NOW: $749.00 US

Mason Stoops and Wendell Ferguson jamming at NAMM

New Airline Coronado ’59 Demo by Mason Stoops

 New Airline Coronado ’59 Demo 

Check out this new demo from our friend Mason Stoops. Mason does some great research and shares some interesting historical info about the origins of the Coronado model. Great job!

The Airline ’59 Coronado is our tribute to the Supro Coronado model used by Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys. The originals were made of Res-O-Glas, but we have upgraded the design to tone-chambered mahogany bodies. Upgrades to the standard Coronnado model on this ’59 include rubber body binding, zero fret, Tone Pros bridge and Deluxe Airline hardshell case.

The ’59 Coronado include the DLX Airline hardshell case. Only $1079.




 

SPECIAL OFFER: We will also include a white Airline leather strap ($45) and a white Airline Curly Cord ($39) and FREE SHIPPING for all orders until Dec 15 ONLY. ($99 shipping outside North America)