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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!

USA guitar sale

USA Clearance Sale

THREE DAYS ONLY. Up to 45% OFF with FREE SHIPPING. All items are brand new. Limited Quantities! 

Airline H77 Black – Reg: $699 SALE $579

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Eastwood LG-50 – Reg: $599 SALE $425

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Airline Twin Tone Green – Reg: $499 SALE $399

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Eastwood Fire Bird – Reg: $799 SALE $579

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Sidejack Baritone 1P – Reg: $499 SALE $375

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Eastwood S-200 Black – Reg: $699 SALE $399

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Eastwood S-200 Sunburst – Reg: $699 SALE $399

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SOLD OUT

Microfret Martian Green – Reg: $999 SALE $749

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Eastwood Swinger – Reg: $499 SALE $299

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Liberty MS-150 – Reg: $599 SALE $479

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Eastwood Wedgtail – Reg: $899 SALE $599

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Be Stiff Bass – Reg:$499 SALE $399

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  Kingston Flying Wedge – Reg: $649 SALE $399

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DEVO Whip It – Reg: $499 SALE $399

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Mandocaster White – Reg: $399 SALE $329

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RD Artist Sunburst – Reg: $699 SALE $529

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Peavey T-15 blog

Peavey T-15: the “Mississippi Mustang”

Some players seem to have a natural dislike for Peavey amps, which is often unfair. But what about… the Peavey T-15 guitar??? Now here’s an  obscure little gem! In this guest article, Rob Roberge reminds us why this guitar and Peavey itself deserve a bit more love…

Peavey T-15 guitar - sunburst

Peavey T-15 guitar – sunburst

I was talking to my buddy – a professional blues player – a great player who has an impeccable ear for tone, telling him about my new (well, used…but new to me) really outstanding amp, a Peavey Delta Blues. He said to me, “you lost me when you used Peavey and Blues in the same sentence.” And while I could have gone on about some of the southern blues players that, in fact, did and still do use Peaveys (both guitars and amps), I kept my mouth shut. I could have even gone into a minor history lesson about Lynyrd Skynyrd using the very powerful and tuneful competition for the 70’s Fender Twin Reverbs – the Peavey Mace (with SIX 6L6 power tubes inspiring all those Zippos to flame up every night during “Free Bird”).

But if you think many guitar players’ reaction to Peavey amps is dismissive, just try selling them on the brilliant (Yes. Brilliant. There. I said it.) T-Series of Peavey guitars (many made from the late 70’s-mid 80’s, though most dying a quiet death in the early 80’s). At best, you may get a chuckle that suggests you know nothing. Or a comment about how ugly they are (not an uncommon thought…and actually, with some models, perhaps the most valid criticism of the series). Or even an incredulous reaction: “Are you kidding? Peavey? Peavey guitars? Please.”

But why this reaction to Peavey guitar equipment? Especially the guitars themselves. So long as we’re not talking about an abomination like the pink Adrian Vandenberg signature model of the late 80’s…ouch. Yes…Peavey deserved all mocking and humiliation for that clunker.

One of my main theories for why Peavey is taken most seriously for their PA’s and audio equipment, and at times very seriously for their amps, and almost not seriously at all for their guitars (especially, paradoxically and oddly, for what is their classic period when they were making as good or better guitars than either Fender or Gibson) is for one unfortunate reason: they had almost no recognition at the time as a guitar builder. And they committed a cardinal sin in the guitar business: they were (and still are, for many players) pretty uncool and, at best, aesthetically boring. No way to get a new line of guitars off the ground.

Peavey T-15

Peavey T-15 and some better-known models

And while we guitar players tend to think we are somewhat radical and hardly conservative, consumers in the guitar market are like consumers in most other markets – they go with brand names they know other people think highly of. And in the late 70’s, that meant—more or less—Fender and Gibson. Even if those companies were producing, it is now widely agreed, some of the worst instruments they have ever made.

Of course, this is an oversimplification—the very existence of Eastwood Guitars points to the fact that there is a market for guitar players who want to stand out from the Strat, Tele, and Les Paul crowd. But, I’d argue, that market was pretty much absent in the late 70’s. It’s only over the last 15-20 years that we have seen a steady growth of interest in some of the most interesting and wild guitars of the 60’s.

The Rare Guitars Revival

The (steadily over the last fifteen/twenty years) increasing interest in Harmonys, Danos, Valcos, some of the best Kays, and others has been caused, I’d argue, by a two-prong desire among guitar players:

  1. As vintage Fenders and Gibsons—and brands Guild, Gretsch, and Epiphones and others—started to skyrocket in price, players on a limited budget still wanted to get their hands on a piece of guitar history and vintage gear. And,
  2. Players discovered (or rediscovered, as many baby boomers first instruments were affordable 60’s models) that a lot of these budget/catalog guitars from the garage boom of the mid 60’s just happened to be pretty great guitars.

And they were—and this is not to be minimized—cool. In 1979, just about everyone was playing a guitar by a major company. And many of these were the traditional, yet boring designs that hadn’t changed much from the 1950’s.

Even before players such as Jack White brought his radical, funky red resolglass Airline to the masses, you’d had a quiet, yet growing groundswell of underground 80’s and 90’s bands playing inexpensive guitars that are now classics—but were, at the time—simply affordable, weird guitars that set them apart from mainstream bands. Hey, if your band wasn’t mainstream, why play a mainstream guitar? This was even true of some of the higher profile players/bands, with people like Elvis Costello and Tom Verlaine and Steve Wynn dusting off Jazzmasters—which, by the late 70’s, were considered pawn shop crud. Or, if not crud, hardly a guitar that had been by far Fender’s most expensive guitar in the 1963 catalog. By comparison, Strat was very fairly priced (by comparison…it was still pricey for the day), and Teles and Esquires (not to mention, later, Mustangs) were positively relatively cheap.

But even lower on the food chain were the Airlines, the Silvertones, the Harmonys, the Danos. In the early 80’s, Karl Precoda used a Silvertone-branded Harmony H78 (with a missing middle goldfoil) on the Dream Syndicate’s classic The Days of Wine and Roses, an album that was widely praised at the time for bringing back long and aggressive duel guitar to underground rock—with a band that owed more to, say, Quicksilver Messenger Service and the Velvet Underground than to any South Bay Hardcore. All of this with Precoda’s feedback-laden killer tone out of his Harmony.  East Bay Ray, from the Dead Kennedys, was famous for using off-brand guitars, often seen with then forgotten/unknown various Valco/Airline resoglass models over a decade before Jack White hit the national stage. No one was like him in bands of the time.

And then perhaps the band who perhaps most single-handedly showed their audience a plethora of cool 1960’s rare and funky and (at the time) forgotten guitars: Anton Newcome’s hollowbody Vox Cheetah he uses this day…over the years, he’s also used a Silvertone 1454L (the Silvertone model number for the Harmony/Airline H78—one of Eastwood great Airline reissues), Vox 12 strings…while brilliant former lead guitar player Jeff Davies was seen on stage with Hagstroms and Harmonys, and sometime bassist/sometime guitarist Matt Hollywood was often seen with a two pickup Rocket.

Brian Jonestown Massacre live

Brian Jonestown Massacre, dusting off vintage guitars…

Peavey T-Series

But, back to the Peaveys of the early 80’s. In some ways, picking a guitar (at least in part…no one plays a piece of crap just because it looks radical and unique) because it looks cool seems like a pretty shallow reason for picking you main/stage guitar. Because it is.

Still, I can understand why players might have shied away from the T-Series at first. The flagship and top of the line, the T-60, is a pretty unattractive guitar. While some people who LOVE them tend to say things on forums like, “it’s so ugly, it’s beautiful.” And while there are some people who do actually think the T-60 is a good looking guitar, they are in the vast minority. And remember, these are on forums for people who absolutely love these guitars. The general guitar playing public, if they are at all familiar with the T-60, tend to think of them as pretty uninspired designs at best, and pretty damn ugly at worst.

Peavey T-60

Peavey T-60: ugly, or so-ugly-it’s-beautiful?

But the T-Series was built in a way that revolutionized the guitar making industry. Peavey was the first to construct necks with a computerized copy lathe. By using computers, every neck came out exactly the same for the first time in guitar making history. This is now used throughout the guitar industry. This technology also allowed Peavey to produce guitars that were at least the equal to the quality of Fender and Gibson, yet significantly lower their production costs.

In 1978 (the first year of the T-60’s production), these were the prices of Fender’s Strat, Gibson’s Les Paul, and Peavey’s T-60:

Les Paul: Nearly $1,000

Stratocaster: $790

T-60: $375

And maybe that was another problem for Peavey. Maybe guitarists had the perception that a guitar that sold for so much less couldn’t possibly be the equal of the big names. But that simply wasn’t true (even if they weren’t nearly as good looking).

But the best—or most compelling and surprising—guitar in the T Series may be the T-15. This was a guitar that Peavey marketed as a beginner’s guitar, or a professional guitar for “players with smaller hands.” It’s become known over the years as the “Mississippi Mustang”—a reference, obviously, to Fender’s much more famous short scale classic—the Mustang.

Peavey T-15 in sunburst

Peavey T-15 in sunburst

The Fender Mustang had/has a 24” scale and a fast, comfortable neck that not only makes single note runs easy to speed up, but also offers a comfortable reach for more complex chords than many longer scale guitars allow and, lastly, makes bending easier up and down the neck. 

If you’re a player who enjoys playing the Mustang’s 24” scale, you might well love the T-15’s 23.5” scale. This, combined with a thin, flat, very fast neck, makes for an ease of playing that’s hard to describe. I’ve never player another guitar quite like it. It not only allows all of the benefits I mention above with the Mustang, but it makes double country bends enormously easy once you get used to the effortlessness of the bends. It may be why the guitar found early popularity with country players—with its ability to lend itself to complex country pedal steel-like bends. I have fallen in love with the 23.5” scale—which happens to be very rare and the same scale as the Gibson Byrdland (a short scale that’s also a favorite of Ted Nugent, which I pray is the only thing he and I have in common with the exception that we are both carbon based life forms).

Though, while the whole T Series of Peaveys first found the majority of their players in the country field, the T-15 is becoming more and more popular in indie rock. Some of the big reasons for this could be the one of a kind Peavey Super Ferrite pickups, which sound like a powerful cross between P90’s and some of the twang of a bridge Tele. But they have a sound all their own. Peavey also has the nice feature of there being no treble loss when you roll off the volume knob—the guitar keeps its tone no matter how low you roll off the volume.

Peavey T-15 in natural

Peavey T-15 in natural

Other features of the guitar are a three way pickup switch and a single tone and volume knob that controls both pickups. There’s a metal nut much like some of the classic Danelectros, which is nice because they never seem to wear down like many of the plastic ones that need to be replaced after many years of work. And while some of the higher end models, like the T-60, are famous for their excessive weight (some are reported to weigh more than a Les Paul—though the colored and sunburst ones supposedly weigh less than the more common natural wood finish), the T-15 is a very light and comfortable instrument. It, too, came most often in a natural wood finish, with much more rare versions made in both sunburst and walnut. According to Peavey’s literature at the time, the T-15’s body is made of “southern hardwood” whatever that might exactly be. The radius is 12”. And the neck is made of hard rock maple. It all adds up to a first-rate guitar. A Mississippi Mustang, indeed.

Lastly, while most of the T-15’s came with Peavey’s custom fit plastic cases, some (hardly all, but some) came with a 10 watt solid state amplifier in/with the case—harkening back to the classic Silvertone (made by Dano) Amp-in-Case of the 60’s.  The better one, of course, being the one that came with the two pickup 1457. Complete with a deep tremolo and a great tube sound driven by a single 6V6. While the T-15’s Peavey solid state amplifier hardly comes close to the greatness of the Silvertone Amp-in-Case, it does have some beautiful cleans and serviceable overdrive. But it’s hardly the same, even if it’s a cool and nostalgic feature.

For now, the T-15’s are still pretty affordable for such a great, professional grade guitar. They play like butter, and they have pickups like you’ve never heard, but will want to her a lot more once you do. Grab one before the price starts going up. The T-60’s have already been discovered. Grab the T-15 while you can.   

– guest article by Rob Roberge.

WATCH: PEAVEY T-15 DEMO 

Slide guitar

How To Play Slide Guitar

There are few things more satisfying for a guitarist than playing slide – you know, proper, blues slide guitar! And guess what? It’s not that hard… if you follow some simple tips!

Hound Dog Taylor

Hound Dog Taylor, a slide guitar legend, with his Kawai SD-40, now reissued by Eastwood.

Before we start, it’s important to make clear that the slide guitar technique wasn’t invented for blues, and is not for exclusive use for blues guitarists. The origins of slide can be traced to one-stringed African instruments, and anyone can use a slide in any musical style – from Hawaiian music to experimental, noisy bands such as Sonic Youth. George Harrison was also an adept of the slide, using it on Beatles tracks and in solo recordings. 

But of course, it’s in the blues format (and blues-inspired rock’n’roll) where the slide found its perfect home, and one of the earliest accounts of the blues, by W. C. Handy, mentions an unknown blues player at a Mississippi train station, playing slide guitar… with a knife!

“As he played, he pressed a knife on the strings of the guitar in a manner popularised by Hawaiian guitarists who used steel bars. The effect was unforgettable.”

So, it’s for those interested in playing blues slide that this blog is intended.

You don’t need a special guitar… but you will need a “slide set up”

Though lap-steel guitars and resonator guitars are used for playing slide, it doesn’t mean you need one. Any guitar will do, whether electric or acoustic. If you plan to play or practice slide regularly, it’s recommended that you get a new / spare guitar just for that, because it’ll need a few extra adjustments for this purpose, which may not feel great when going back to playing your normal style, without a slide!

Eastwood Custom SD-40

We’re partial of the Eastwood Custom SD-40 , inspired by the one used by Hound Dog Taylor, of course!

But don’t worry, those adjustments are fairly simple:

  • the action on your guitar needs to be setup higher than usual, otherwise it’ll rattle too much. 
  • it’s recommended to use slightly heavier gauge strings for a “thicker” tone, though that’s a matter of taste, mostly.
  • the guitar needs to be tuned to an “open” tuning, because you won’t be making any chord shape with your slide!

What are the best slide guitar tunings?

You’ll manage with any open tuning, but the most common are Open G and Open D, as used in many legendary blues recordings.

OPEN G: G B D G B E

OPEN D: D A D F# A D

Here’s a good example of how the open D tuning sounds like. The slide used was a heavy gauge Bronze one by Dunlop.

 

What’s the best kind of slide: glass or metal?

Again, this is a matter or taste. Generally speaking, glass / pyrex slides will give you a warmer tone, and metal slides (bronze, steel…) will give you a louder and brighter tone, besides the fact they won’t break! Of course, there’s a taste for everything and some players will say bronze is better than steel etc etc… the best thing is: go to a shop and try a few, or if in doubt – just go for any steel slide, because that’s the most common.

There are also ceramic slides, which are not as popular as glass or metal, but which many connoisseurs prefer, because they sit somewhere between the warmth of glass and the sharpness of metal.

This video of the new Eastwood The Continental by Jeff Senn features a glass slide – check the tone! 

 

 

On which finger should I  put the slide?

The most common choice is the ring finger, which makes it easier to use the slide wherever you play on the fretboard. Some players prefer to use the pinky, because this way you can more-or-less easily use the other fingers to play chords. 

For beginners – just go with the ring finger, we say! 

Two quick slide guitar lessons to get you started

Now that you are all set to go, here’s two of our favorite slide guitar lessons on Youtube, to get you started!

RJ RONQUILLO: 6 SLIDE GUITAR LICKS

The always excellent RJ shows how to play 6 side licks plus talks a bit about the guitar setup.

 

SLIDE GUITAR BLUES LESSON IN OPEN D

One of the best and most straight-forward guitar lessons we’ve ever seen on YouTube. WARNING: some profanity ahead… make sure no kids are around!

The Continental by Jeff Senn

New Jeff Senn & Eastwood Custom Shop Guitar

The Continental is the latest collaboration between Jeff Senn and Eastwood. This model is more “upmarket” than the popular Model One, and looks very much like a vintage classic!

On a recent interview on the Eastwood website, Jeff Senn Explained the inspiration behind his new design, which also has a certain hint of the legendary Supro Ozark to it.

“When I was building the original Continental for myself it was built with a vintage Supro pickup in the bridge position and a vintage Guyatone pickup in the neck position. When we decided to make The Continental available as a production instrument I chose pickups that evoked a similar tonality but were easily accessible. 

“It’s a very versatile combination as the guitar can twang, growl, sparkle and cover many genres of music from Punk to Western Swing, Blues and Jazz. I’m personally drawn to guitars that I can take on almost any gig without worrying if they will fit the style of music. Versatility is a good thing and this is what I had in mind for The Continental. Another aspect of the pickup choices is that they are easily replaceable with a plethora of choices should the player want a different sound or output. By mounting the mini-humbucker in a P-90 rout the mini can be traded out easily for a P-90 should the owner wish to, which would be another great version of the instrument.”

Read the full Jeff Senn interview here.

More about the Continental by Jeff Senn

The Continental by Jeff Senn

The Continental by Jeff Senn

It’s worth mentioning that The Continental is NOT in production just yet (March 31 as we write this) because this is a new crowdfunding project by the Eastwood Custom Shop. Even though the guitar was designed by Jeff Senn, this model won’t be manufactured or sold by Jeff Senn Guitars, Senn’s own brand.

Those interested can simply pay a deposit ($200 for hardtail version, $250 for Bigsby version) via the Eastwood Continental Page, to guarantee theirs – if Eastwood reach their target! If they don’t reach at least 100% of their goal, the guitar won’t be made and those who left a deposit will be refunded.

Crowdfunding ends on April 27, 2017.

But, oh boy… it’s such a beautiful guitar, that we can only hope she’ll get made! It would be a shame otherwise, wouldn’t it?

View the Continental

Chuck Berry

Goodbye, Chuck Berry (1926 – 2017): The Father Of Rock’n’Roll

Last weekend, we lost a true legend: Chuck Berry died on 18th March, aged 90. Make no mistake, folks – the world lost the one person who truly epitomised the spirit of Rock’n’Roll. Here’s our tribute.

Chuck Berry

The origins of Rock’n’Roll  are somewhat murky, and there are many contenders for what was supposed to be “the first rock song ever”. But Chuck Berry was without a doubt the true father of rock’n’roll. He’s the one person who truly personified its spirit, the seminal influence who laid down the foundations for all that was to come. The outsider. The guitar hero. The rebel. The songwriter. The outlaw. The poet. Oh, and so much more…

Rock’n’Roll Music! 

It could be argued that some artists who followed became more famous, made better albums, and recorded more hits… but none of them would’ve been the same without Chuck Berry, whose lyricism, and genius for simple, memorable songs set the template for the best which rock music had to offer thereafter. Berry songs fuelled The Beatles’ early sets (and final albums); inspired The Beach Boys’ first hit and The Rolling Stones’ debut single. His DNA lives on in pretty much any rock band and guitarist worth anything.

In the past decades his presence had been waning from the music scene and, sadly, perhaps the majority of millennials were not particularly aware of Chuck Berry’s music or influence – but even younger generations will have been touched by his influence… after all, most of them will be probably familiar with Back To The Future’s rock’n’roll ball scene, a delightful homage to Berry and one of the most classic scenes from that film!

Chuck Berry, the father of rock'n'roll

Chuck Berry, the father of rock’n’roll…

The fact is – most of us grew up in a world were Chuck Berry and his music existed, a world where Chuck Berry was a fact of life, and where his songs were so interwoven in the fabric of our culture, that we didn’t even have to think about it, because he’s always been there…  so it’s hard – or even impossible – to imagine how rock music would’ve been without his influence. 

Anyone who’s seen the octogenarian Chuck Berry on stage, will know how fragile he was in his later years, hardly capable of playing his guitar anymore. Though it was an upsetting sight, and some will say he was being exploited by promoters or whoever, we can’t really agree with this view. Any musician passionate about music, and who understands the power of rock’n’roll music, will immediately understand it was something Chuck simply had to do. To play and perform for as long as he was able to, however he could. That’s rock’n’roll, and Chuck Berry was rock’n’roll. How could he do anything else?

And indeed, Chuck kept working. On his 90th birthday, on 18th October last year, it was announced that there would be a new Chuck Berry album, his first in more than thirty years, to be released later in 2017.

Listen! Chuck Berry’s new single, ‘Big Boys’:

‘Big Boys’ is the first taster for Chuck Berry’s upcoming new album, now sadly a posthumous release.

Chuck tracklisting:

1. “Wonderful Woman”
2. “Big Boys”
3. “You Go to My Head”
4. “3/4 Time (Enchiladas)”
5. “Darlin’”
6. “Lady B. Goode”
7. “She Still Loves You”
8. “Jamaica Moon”
9. “Dutchman”
10. “Eyes of Man”

Jeff Senn tribute to Chuck:

Here’s a little tribute our friend Jeff Senn made in Chuck’s homage, playing his new Continental model:

Chuck lives on, in anyone who really cares about guitars and about that magical crazy thing called rock’n’roll. We’ll miss you, Chuck, goodbye!

Chuck Berry, RIP

CHUCK BERRY (Oct 18, 1926 – March 18, 2017)

Vibrato

How to Improve Your Guitar Vibrato Technique, by Tom Boddison

Vibrato, eh? This is one of those well-known guitar techniques that more people know about than they actually know how to do it well. But Tom Boddison will give you a few, precious tips on how to improve your vibrato technique – plus we’ll have a look at the Top 5 best uses of vibrato by famous guitarists!

BB King... king of vibrato!

BB King… the king of vibrato!

Vibrato is one of the most important lead guitar skills you can develop. It adds attitude to any phrase, and works brilliantly to improve your sound.

In this lesson I’ll focus on showing you how to practice your guitar vibrato. There are hundreds of lessons on the web about the motions that you’re supposed to use, but if you don’t know how to practice and improve your vibrato then you won’t get anywhere!

Some players believe that vibrato develops on its own as you play, and although this is partly true, you’ll get much faster results if you devote practice time specifically to this one skill. If you want to make your solos sound really professional, this is absolutely vital.

The Key Elements of a Great Vibrato

In this lesson I’ll assume that you know what vibrato is and you know how to perform the motions. We’ll focus on how to improve it; what you can do to make it sound better and better every time you play.

There are a number of things that make up a really good vibrato technique:

1. Staying relaxed
No matter how much you practice your vibrato, if your fingers are tense then you won’t get anywhere. Having a great vibrato is all about control, and control comes from staying relaxed. If you’re tensing up then slow down, and don’t use so much force!

2. Having an even rhythm
If you don’t have an even rhythm when you play vibrato then it’ll always sound out of control and messy. To make your vibrato sound better, you need to do it in an even rhythm – and preferably in time with the music. Focus on bending and releasing the note in time with the beat.

3. Having even pitch changes
The pitch change is also important when you play vibrato. Try to bend to the same pitch every time – this way, your vibrato will sound in tune and you’ll have much more control over the way it sounds.

4. Using the right vibrato for the job
This all comes down to context. If you’re playing a heavy rock song then your vibrato will most likely be wider and faster than if you’re playing a slower, softer song. Consider what kind of song you’re playing and then adjust your vibrato accordingly – will it suit a more aggressive sound, or a softer, mellower one? Some of this will obviously depend on personal preference.

Vibrato

Playing vibrato is a great lead-guitar skill

How to Practice Vibrato

Now that you’ve got a good idea of what makes up a good vibrato, we’ll go through how to practice it. Do this for five to ten minutes each day and within a couple of weeks you’ll definitely see an improvement in your technique.

1. First, play a note on any fret and bend it up in pitch slightly.
2. Then, release the bend back down to the normal pitch again. Make sure you completely release the bend – otherwise your vibrato will sound out of tune.
3. Now, try and bend back up to the exact pitch that you bent up to before. You can use a tuner if you like to make sure you bend up to the same pitch.
4. Then, fully release the bend again and repeat the process.

Once you’ve gotten used to bending to the same pitch every time, then start doing this exercise to a metronome. Gradually speed it up over time, and before you know it your vibrato will sound great!

After you’ve practised in this way for a days, you can start to apply this stuff to songs. Whenever you add vibrato to a note, pay attention to how it sounds – try to make it sound just a little bit better every single time you do it.

Final Thoughts

I hope this article has helped you to improve your vibrato technique. If you’d like to see more cool articles check out my website www.tomguitar.co.uk, which is filled with reviews, guitar secrets and free lessons!

– by Tom Boddison

Top 5 Best Songs with Vibrato by Famous Guitarists

What are the best songs to feature vibrato? Well, there are a few great examples, but here’s our top 5, picked by Tom, who explains:

“Each of those feature very different vibrato styles, from the subtlety of BB king to the raw, full expression of Stevie Ray Vaughan, to the fast, smooth vibrato of Gary Moore. There’s something to learn from every single one of those.”

1) BB King – The Thrill is Gone

2) Stevie Ray Vaughan – Ain’t Gone ‘n Give Up On Love

3) Rory Gallagher – Bad Penny

4) Gary Moore – Parisienne Walkways

5) Steve Vai – For The Love of God

More info:

 www.tomguitar.co.uk

Playing a wide neck guitar

All You Need To Know About… Wide Neck Guitars

Wide neck guitars – what’s it all about? Do you need one? Here’s a look at all you need to know about this niche (for now) market which is increasingly growing…

Playing a wide neck guitar

A few years ago, Gibson announced their 2015 range of electric guitars, which featured several changes that didn’t please many of their core customers – and one of those changes was a wider neck. The move proved a big PR fiasco, with many players thinking that Gibson had finally lost the plot, and that the wide necks were one of the most visible signs of that.

Looking back, perhaps Gibson had the right idea, but just dealt it the wrong way, by having all their 2015 models being made with wide necks – thus depriving their customers of choice: there is indeed an increasing market for wide neck guitars, no question about that… but it’s not for everybody!

Why play a Wide Neck guitar? Is it for YOU?

The fact is, if we’re honest, that a good chunk of the population is, well… getting chunkier! To be totally blunt about it – fatter people have fatter fingers, and it can (sometimes, for some players) make it harder for  them to play a guitar which has a narrower neck. But also, anyone who’s bigger and thus got bigger hands might find it a bit troublesome to deal with a standard, narrow neck guitar…

For those players, opting for a wide neck guitar can make a huge difference! It’s in fact quite remarkable that for so many years, the industry has not focused on this problem, but now guitars with wide necks are not such a rarity anymore.

Please bear in mind that when we say “wide neck” we don’t refer to the thickness of the neck, which is something else altogether – as most players will be aware, different guitars my have different neck profiles, with different shapes and different thickness (which is a subject that’s itself worth a separate blog!)

We are, of course, talking about the actual width of the fingerboard. Visually, at a quick glance, many people might not notice any difference in some cases, but the relationship between the player’s hand and the fretboard is so crucial and subtle, that just a matter of tiny millimetres can make a huge difference – the difference in fact, between you loving a guitar or maybe even loathing it!

Take two very similar guitars, such as the Airline Tuxedo, and the new Airline Tuxedo WN Wide Neckrecently announced:

Airline Tuxedo

1) Airline Tuxedo

Airline Tuxedo Wide Neck

2) Airline Tuxedo Wide Neck

The first picture is of an original Tuxedo, with a width at nut of 1 11/16″, while the second one is a Tuxedo WN, with width at nut of 1 7/8″.

We’re talking about minimal differences here, but which play a crucial factor on how much playable you will think a guitar is – depending on how comfortable either of them feels on your hand!

Going back to Gibson, here’s another comparison: the maligned 2015 Les Paul had a width at nut of  1.795″, whereas “normal” Les Paul Standard has a width at nut of 1.695″. That’s right – 0.1″ of difference that’s enough to make someone simply hate an instrument!

But that’s the crux here – it’s not about the instrument, because there’s nothing wrong with a wide neck, it’s just a matter of: do YOU actually need one?

Other Guitar Companies Who Make Wide Neck Guitars

Eastwood / Airline is the latest brand to embrace wide necks, but the Airline Tuxedo WN is currently still just a custom shop project. There are other brands who’ve been adopting the wide neck design too, over the years, besides Gibson.

The Zarley Wide Neck Guitars was founded by Tracy Todd, who decided to make wide neck models after years struggling with playing standard guitars, and their instruments have been welcomed by players who fancied wide necks:

Zarley Wide Neck

Zarley Wide Neck

Many “Heavy Rock” brands such as Ibanez, Jackson, BC Rich also make guitars with necks wider than the usual Fenders, Gibsons etc you see around. 

Best Fingerpicking (“Fingerstyle”) Guitars?

Another common use for wide neck guitars is for those who play guitar “finger-picking” style… whatever the size of your hand! Though most fingerpicking guitarists use acoustic guitars, you can also use electrics for that style, and wider necks offer a distinct advantage, due to the wider width at nut and string spacing.

Wide Neck Guitars: for Beginners, too?

Perhaps another angle we could look at, is that wide neck guitars are also perfect for beginners and less experienced players, as it may be easier to try chords. Many people start on guitar playing a cheap Classical acoustic guitar (also known as Spanish or flamenco guitars) which are usually about 2″ wide (approx 49-52mm).

So we can’t see why wouldn’t beginners opting for an electric guitar not enjoy a wide neck model, in fact it could make learning even easier.

Is wide neck right for you? Well… first look at your hands, then let us know!

IMG_20161106_214346

THE SMARTER GUITAR NUT #3: Strap Buttons – Part 1

Hey, fellow Guitar Nuts, consider your humble strap buttons. Where would we be without them? Well, for one thing, we’d probably all be playing our guitars and basses while sitting down rather than leaping about while wildly wind-milling power chords. In summary, while some incredible guitar playing can be performed while seated, to (almost) quote Dires Straits’ song The Sultans of Swing: “It ain’t what we call rock and roll!”  

As with so many other things, the best way to show the importance of strap buttons is to look at what happens if they simply aren’t there, or if they don’t work correctly, or when they aren’t where they should be. The consequences include dropped guitars and resulting damage to headstocks, necks, bodies and wallets.  Conclusion: strap buttons are pretty darned important.

In future articles, I’ll spend more time on guitar design theory and how to best position a strap button from the start to maximize playability, comfort and balance. Right now, although the issue of positioning or re-positioning a strap button will come up, I’m going to focus on strap button issues in the context of collectible guitars. This is important because strap button-related issues are among the most common concerns when it comes to what should or should not be done to a collectible instrument.

First and foremost, you have to know what to look for as to whether an instrument has its original strap buttons in their original places. If you’re not sure, my usual recommendation (for just about anything) is that you deal with a reputable and knowledgeable seller and keep your trusted guitar tech in the loop. In addition, because we want to make you a Smarter Guitar Nut, you can educate yourself on this subject pretty quickly since there is abundant information on-line including pictures of almost any instrument and numerous other resources such as scans of original ads and vintage manufacturers’ catalogues.

IMG_20161106_214346

The most common type of strap button, found on many brands including Gibson and Fender. These are easy to obtain including reliced versions like the one on the right.

 

You’ll notice there’s a pretty limited range of strap button types. Indeed, the most common type is used on the majority of electric guitars including Fenders and Gibsons. If these need to be replaced, they are readily available, including reasonably priced reliced versions. Just to keep life interesting, there are also, of course, a few very unusual types strap buttons and related hardware which, if missing, can be very hard to replace.

 

Once you’re sure what to look for, you can recognize whether a strap button has been replaced, added or re-positioned. An appropriate, well-installed replacement should- I suggest – not be a concern in terms of collectability and value. The big problems are:

  • If a strap button has been added, it means there’s a hole in the guitar that wasn’t there originally. While the strap button is left in place, you can’t see that hole, but it means the button has to stay put regardless of where it is. Worse, if the installation wasn’t done neatly, there might be some additional cosmetic or even structural damage.
  • If a strap button has been repositioned, this is a bit more serious because it means there’s now an extra hole in the guitar that might or might not be able to be touched up.
IMG_00000093

The strap loop on an old Kay Pro bass. If it’s missing, it will be tough to find a replacement.

Serious issues about added or repositioned strap buttons will be addressed in a future column. For now, you need to know two things:

  1. As a buyer, this is something you need to ask about and as an owner/potential seller it’s something you need to stop and consider before making any changes yourself; and,
  2. Strap button issues can affect the value of a collectible guitar, whether or not that alteration makes perfectly good sense in terms of improved balance and playability.

If changes or repairs have been or have to be made, you can decide if that’s a deal breaker.

Once you’ve got any issues resolved, if all that’s left is that a strap button is a bit loose, the fix is simple (that is: it’s simple if you’re dealing with a solid body guitar, hollow bodies will be dealt with in the next article):

IMG_20161106_213145

A small piece of dowel, marked to show to show the depth of the screw hole.

IMG_20161106_213425

Always wipe off any excess glue.

1) Remove the loose screw and the strap button;

2) Insert a piece of 1/8” dowel (or the traditional piece of match stick) into the hole and mark it to that depth;

3) Remove the dowel and cut it at the mark so it is the same length as the depth of the hole;

4) Coat the dowel with a thin, even layer of glue (white or, preferably yellow…not epoxy or super glue) and push it back into the hole;

5) Then, re-install the strap button.

6) If any excess glue squeezes out of the hole, remove the screw, wipe off the excess glue so none remains on the surface of the guitar and re-install.

An important note here about the term “tighten up”. This always means to turn something just until it stops. It does ­not mean turning it until it stops and then trying to turn it more with all your might. When tightening any component on a guitar with any tool, the rule is: Don’t force it! There are (almost) no guitar-repair situations where it is a good idea to try to force something to go more than it seems to want to go. If you ignore that warning, things can turn out very badly. How badly? Well, let’s just say there will be a future column dedicated to dealing with broken or stripped screws that remain stuck in places where you do not want them to be stuck.

If you manage to tighten up both strap buttons, congratulate yourself. You’ve just repaired one of the most common issues to be dealt with on almost any guitar. This fix should not affect the value of almost any instrument.

If, after going through the steps above two or three times, a screw still doesn’t tighten up, its hole has to be doweled and re-drilled.

Dowelling and re-drilling a hole is a much more complicated procedure and the typical Smarter Guitar Nut would be indeed smarter to pass it over to his trusted tech. The Smarter Guitar Nut who is a bit more experienced with basic repair work should practice dowelling and re-drilling only on very expendable guitars or on scrap wood. We’ll deal with this procedure in a subsequent instalment of the Smarter Guitar Nut.

David Bowie red guitar

The Guitars Of David Bowie

2016 was a year of great musical losses, but none was as shocking or as saddening as David Bowie’s. One year on, let’s remember a side of Bowie that’s been often forgotten: the guitarist! Here’s our guide to the guitars played by David Bowie over the years… enjoy!

David Bowie has had many different faces and personas over the years, but, surprisingly, one has been overlooked by most – David Bowie, the guitarist. In a way, it’s not very surprisingly, considering he was far from being a guitar hero, and, most importantly, has collaborated with some truly stellar guitarists who contributed greatly to his music, including: Mick Ronson, Carlos Alomar, Earl Slick, Robert Fripp, Adrian Belew, Nile Rodgers and Stevie Ray Vaughan. Quite an impressive list!

Which Guitars Did David Bowie Play?

Though not primarily a guitarist, Bowie had a consistent taste for vintage, rare guitars and his choice of instrument often changed with his ever-changing musical directions. Here’s a guide to some of his most notable guitars. We usually talk about electric guitars, but in Bowie’s case we can’t help but mention a few acoustics, too… after all, he was a huge fan of 12-string acoustic models, throughout his career! In any case – Bowie was a true connoisseur, and his choice of guitars over the years is nothing short of fascinating! 

Here’s Bowie’s career – in 20 rare, amazing guitars.

1) Framus 12-String Acoustic (1965-66)

Of course, many of you will know that Bowie started his musical career as a saxophone player, and then became the frontman of different bands (The Mannish Boys, The Lower Third) but never playing a guitar. This pic of an young David Jones with a Framus 12-string  is the earliest photograph of Bowie with a guitar.

David Bowie circa 1965-66 with Framus 12 string

David Bowie circa 1965-66 with Framus 12-string 

According to Bowie biographer Paul Trynka, Bowie bought a guitar in late 1965. Considering Bowie’s well-documented taste for 12-string acoustics in later years, it’s fair to assume that the Framus in the photograph was indeed his first guitar, though there has never been any specific information about it. It’s interesting to note that his guitar had pickup, volume and tone controls – perhaps it was modded and bought second-hand by the still struggling Bowie. Little trivia: the guitar was redburst. 

Playing guitar was an important step in David Bowie’s career, as he started to use the instrument to compose songs, such as “Maid Of Bond Street” and his first true classic, “Can’t Help Thinking About Me”.

2) Gibson B45 12-String (1968-69)

Bowie live with Feathers

Bowie performing with Feathers

After the commercial failure of his 1967 debut album, Bowie tried other directions, including joining Lindsey Kemp’s mime troup, buddhism and forming folky trio Feathers with his girlfriend Hermione Farthingale and John Hutchinson. During this period, Bowie used a Gibson B-45 12-string acoustic.

Gibson B-45, as played by David Bowie

Gibson B-45, as played by David Bowie

He’s never been seen or photographed with this guitar again, after the end of Feathers. We actually believe this is the first time this guitar has ever been mentioned in relation to Bowie, as we couldn’t find anything else elsewhere. Well, now you know!

3) Hagstrom 12-String Acoustic (1969-1972)

Bowie live at the Beckenham Free Festival in 1969, with his Hagstrom.

Bowie live at the Beckenham Free Festival in 1969, with his Hagstrom.

This is perhaps Bowie’s most legendary guitar. It’s believed it’s the one he used to write his first hit, ‘Space Oddity’, as well as used live and to write most ‘Ziggy Stardust’-era songs, including ‘Starman’.

Curiously enough, the guitar is now on display at the ‘Beatles Story’ museum, in Liverpool. At some point, it seems to have had pickup and tone & volume controls added to it, though it’s not shown with this configuration in any Bowie photos.

David Bowie's Hagstrom on display in Liverpool.

David Bowie’s Hagstrom on display in Liverpool.

4) Espana 12-String Acoustic (1969)

Bowie and his Espana 12-string

Bowie and his Espana 12-string

This guitar was used on a famous promo shot for the ‘Space Oddity’ single, but strangely enough, there’s not a whole lot info about it. It might have been used just as a prop for the photograph. It looks very similar to the Hagstrom 12-string, and it could indeed be the one he’s using in other pics and footage, but it’s hard to be sure!

5) Guild 12-String Acoustic (1971)

David Bowie live in 1971 with Guild 12-string

David Bowie live in 1971 with Guild 12-string

When David Bowie toured the US for the first time, to promote ‘The Man Who Sold The World’ in 1971, he could be seen playing a Guild 12-string acoustic. There’s no report or pics of him using one before or since, so he probably just borrowed it for the tour.

6) Harptone 12-string (1972-83)

Bowie and his Ziggy-era Harpoon 12-string

Bowie and his Ziggy-era Harpoon 12-string

This Harptone 12-string is “the” Ziggy-era Bowie acoustic. He used it when touring with the Spiders From Mars and this guitar can be seen on most footage from the era. 

Curiously enough, it seems Bowie decided to dust it off years later, after the release of Let’s Dance, as this live pic suggests:

Eighties Bowie meets Ziggy-era acouistic.

Eighties Bowie meets Ziggy-era acoustic.

7) Harpotone 12-String Jumbo (1972-75)

Bowie Harptone 12 Jumbo

Bowie Harptone 12 Jumbo

Many people don’t realise this, but Bowie also regularly used ANOTHER Harptone 12-string, which at first sight looks similar to the previous one, but you’ll notice that it has a different scratchplate and is also bigger. He used this model on the second, Ziggy-era “Space Oddity” video; during the Ziggy tour and up until the Young Americans- era.

8) Egmond 12-String, Blue (1972)

Bowie and his blue Egmond.

Bowie and his blue Egmond.

This is one of Bowie’s most important guitars – if not for anything else, simply for being the guitar he used on the watershed moment of his career – playing “Starman” on Top Of The Pops, which finally launched Bowie as a bona fide popstar in the UK! He also used the Egmond on a few promo shots, and that seems to be about it.

9) Vox Teardrop Mark XII 12-String (1972)

Bowie and his Vox 12 string

There’s no record of Bowie using this cool Vox guitar other than in 1972, for promo pics. Years later, he used a Vox Teardrop Mark VI for the recording of one of his best songs in the Eighties, ‘Absolute Beginners’. The guitar is now on display at the Hard Rock Cafe in Warsaw. There’s no photo of him and this guitar, though.

Bowie's Vox VI guitar

10) Gibson 1972 Deluxe Les Paul (1972)

David Bowie and a Gibson Les Paul

David Bowie and a Gibson Les Paul

David Bowie was always very conscious about his image and symbolism. That’s why he posed with a borrowed Les Paul on the cover of the “Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars” album – to show the world he was now a tougher, “rock’n’roll” act.  Maybe for this reason, he was up for using a Les Paul during his 1972 USA tour.

Presented to Bowie by Gibson, he used it live and on the ‘Jean Genie’ promo film. But given his more esoteric tastes in guitars, it’s not surprising that it soon became Mick Ronson’s back up guitar, never to be used by Bowie again. 

11) Hagstrom I Kent PB- 24-G (1974)

David Bowie red guitar

David Bowie and his Hagstrom I Kent PB-24-G

Now we’re talking! The red Hagstrom I Kent PB-24G guitar was Bowie’s first truly iconic electric guitar. Though many fans will recognise and love it, this guitar was only used in promo shots for his ‘Diamond Dogs’ album, and there’s no record of him ever using it elsewhere, apart from a TV appearance:

As most hardcore Bowie fans may know, he played most guitar parts on the ‘Diamond Dogs’ album, but according to those who worked with him, his guitar choice during the sessions was a Dan Armstrong plexiglass model – which he’s never been pictured with… a shame! Unless, those recollections are slightly wrong and they really meant the next guitar…

12) Dan Armstrong 341 (1976)

Bowie's Dan Armstrong 341

Bowie’s Dan Armstrong 341

Yes, David Bowie had for sure another Dan Armstrong guitar, but it was not a plexiglass model! Auctioned in 1991, this is an important guitar. Besides featuring on a famous pic used for the Sound + Vision compilation, it was also used to write one of Bowie’s finest albums. According to Bowie, in ’91: “I’ve had this Dan Armstrong guitar since the early 70s. I wrote most of the songs for Station to Station on it.” Considering the cronology, it may have been used on ‘Diamond Dogs’, too.

13) Custom Fender Telecaster, Natural (1976)

Bowie and a customized Fender Telecaster

Bowie and a customized Fender Telecaster

During the tour to promote ‘Station To Station’, Bowie played a custom Fender Telecaster, with 3 pickups with individual on/off switches. A pretty cool guitar, never seen since.

14) Fender Stratocaster, Red and Sunburst (1977)

Bowie Red Strat

Bowie and his Red Strat

Two  more conventional choices, during Bowie’s least conventional period! In 1977 Bowie could be seen playing a red Stratocaster for the ‘Be My Wife’ promo, one of the most commercial tracks from ‘Low’, which became a single. 

Bowie was also spotted playing a sunburst Strat that same year, for his duet with Marc Bolan, on Bolan’s TV show. This guitar belonged to Marc, who gave it to Bowie as he turned up without one on the day!

David Bowie, Strat and Marc Bolan.

David Bowie with a Strat and Marc Bolan.

15) Gibson L4, Black (1989-90)

Bowie and his Gibson L4

Bowie and his Gibson L4

Owned and used by David Bowie in the studio, on stage and while on tour with Tin Machine, accompanied by a Sound + Vision tour program showing Bowie playing this guitar, a signed letter of authenticity from Reeves Grables and guitar picks. The guitar can be seen in videos for the Tin Machine 1 album, in Music News reports and was used heavily in the studio for the recording of Tin Machine II. 

16) Gibson Chet Atkins Country Gentleman, Wine Red (1990)

Bowie and his Gretsch Chet Atkins Country Gentleman

Bowie and his Gretsch Chet Atkins Country Gentleman

The guitar was used on stage by Bowie during his March – September of 1990, Sound + Vision World Tour.

Bowie also subsequently used this guitar during studio sessions for his 1995 concept album “Outside.”

17) Takamine FP 400SC (1990)

Bowie and his 12-string Takamine

Bowie and his 12-string Takamine

Bowie used this guitar during his 1990 Sound + Vision tour. It was his main acoustic guitar then, used on classic hits such as ‘Space Odyssey’. The tour included 108 concerts over seven months in more than 80 cities around the world. Bowie promoted the tour as a “greatest hits” tour and stated it was the last time he was going to play songs from his back catalog. 

18) Steinberger GL2, Custom Silver (1991-92)

Bowie and hiscustom Steinberger

Bowie and hiscustom Steinberger

Bowie was a big fan of headless guitars, since he saw Tin Machine’s Reeves Gabrel’s: “David saw mine and decided he wanted one like it. My guitar tech, Andy Spray, called the factory in Newburgh to see if they could make another chrome L series. Apparently, they had a guitar they used as a test run for the chroming process. That one had a normal fretboard (it did not have a chromed fretboard) making Bowie’s copycat completely playable while mine was not. The non chromed fretboard is the easiest way to tell them apart.”

19) Supro Dual Tone (2003)

Bowie and his Supro Dual Tone

Bowie and his Supro Dual Tone

The Supro Dual Tone is one of his most iconic later-years guitars. He used it during his last world tour, in 2003, and it even appears on his 2010 live album of that tour, ‘A Reality Tour’:

Bowie 'A Reality Tour' cover

Bowie ‘A Reality Tour’ cover

More recently, Eastwood did a great job at recreating this model (first made famous by Link Wray in the Fifties) as the Airline Twin Tone – a fitting tribute to Wray’s model, but now also a great choice for fans of Bowie who also play guitar…

The Airline Twin Tone, now also popular thanks to the David Bowie connection.

The Airline Twin Tone, now also popular thanks to the David Bowie connection.

20) Hohner G2, Red (2013)

Bowie and his Hohner G2

Bowie and his Hohner G2

Bowie went back to a headless guitar in the video of ‘Valentine’s Day’, from his superb comeback album ‘The Next Day’. As ever, his choice of instrument was unusual but made total sense with his tastes over the years. Unique just like the man himself.