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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!

Vintage Fender Musicmaster Electric Guitar

My First Fender

A couple of months ago, I inquired about an Eastwood 12-string electric guitar. Your response was immediate, and ever since, I have enjoyed your website. After seeing today’s email, your request for stories brought back memories of my first Fender. I hope you find it interesting.

Back in the Sixties, Fender guitars were the holy grail of electric guitars. I knew two people in the valley that had Jazzmasters. But, being a sixteen year old kid, owning a Fender was out of the question. For us, it was the Sears or Eaton’s catalogue and a cheap, poorly built guitar from another land. My first electric guitar was so poorly built it could not be tuned properly, and every time you switched pickups, you got a shock. It soon went back to the catalogue company. I settled for an Italian acoustic and played folk music, but the thought of an electric guitar was never far from my mind. Playing Ventures music on an acoustic just didn’t cut it. After a long and hot summer, I earned enough money working at a chicken farm to head off to the city and see if I could buy some sort of electric guitar.

hitchhikerOne sunny morning, I swung my acoustic across my back, stuck out my thumb and headed for the city, about 2 ½ hours away. Pretty soon an old beat up Hudson pulled up, driven by a longed haired hippie, with wife, baby, and sister. Strapped to the roof were their worldly possessions, as they were from California, heading north to the gold fields in Alaska. I got in the back with the sister, guitar across my knees as there was barely room with all the boxes and clothes. We got to talking about their adventure, life, sixties politics, and eventually music. I mentioned that I was headed to the city to see if I could trade my acoustic in on an electric guitar. After a while I learned that he had a Fender electric in the trunk. Of course, I was pretty excited that I met another Fender owner, and we talked different models etc. After a couple hours, he eyed my acoustic and told me that they were a bit short on cash and he would consider selling his Fender, taking my acoustic as part of the deal.

Deep in my heart, I was thinking, “I’ll never be able to afford it, but what the heck, at least find out how much he wanted for his guitar”. He scratched his beard for a few seconds, and said “tell you what…your acoustic and ninety bucks, and you got yourself a deal”. Well, you could have peeled me off the roof of the car. I was in heaven – I was going to buy a Fender! My summer’s work had put $130 bucks in my pocket, so I said I might be interested. Yeah right, I would have given him every cent I had. I wanted that Fender, and I am sure he could tell I was pretty excited. He would get the guitar out of the trunk so I could look at it when we got to where he needed to turn off and go north.

Finally we reached the turn-off, he pulled the car off the highway, and I proceeded to help him unload a well packed trunk. It took a few minutes and finally, laying across the bottom was a beat up old brown fender guitar case. I was so excited, it didn’t matter what was in that case…it was a Fender and that was all that mattered. He slid the case out and onto the ground. He popped the case open and there it was. This beautiful, beat up, old, scratched and chipped, beige colored, ¾-sized, one pick-up, maple neck Musicmaster:

I picked it out of the case, strummed a couple of chords, stood up, shook his hand, and said, I’ll take it!” I pulled the cash out of my wallet, helped him put everything back in the trunk, and then watched as they headed north, the sister smiling in the back seat as she strummed my acoustic.

I crossed the highway, stuck out my thumb and headed back the way I came. I didn’t need to go any farther. I was the proud owner of a Fender.

Written by: Andrew Marr, Coldstream B.C.

vintage-silvertone-4-pickup-electric-guitar-featured

This Silvertone is Home to Stay

The Poorboys '65 (Vintage Silvertone 4 pickup electric guitar)

The Poorboys ’65 (Vintage Silvertone 4 pickup electric guitar)

Approximately 4 yrs ago I had a brainstorm. I thought I would try to find a guitar that was similar to the one I had in Junior High (1963). That would be a four pickup Silvertone solid body guitar. When I was 12 and the Beatles came out, I had decided that I wanted to play guitar. My sister bought me a Stella to learn on, and I saved up enough to buy my own Silvertone guitar and the Twin 12 amp.

Shortly after I bought the guitar I was approached by some guys in my class, and they asked me if I would lead sing for them. Of course I jumped at it. When they heard I played guitar that was a plus.

Our band, the Poorboys, stayed together for about 4 yrs. We then split up. I lost interest in the guitar and sold it to my cousin in 1969. From this point on I never heard anything about the guitar.

Fast forward to 2009. I decided to try to find a guitar that matched to one I had. If the paint didn’t match, that would be okay, as I would refinish it to hang on the wall. I went on eBay and searched for a Silvertone 4 pickup solid body guitar. That particular day there was only one. It was a sunburst paint job. Everything worked. I contacted the guy and asked him about the guitar. He was being quite the butthead, as he acted like I was putting him out. Anyway, he had a ‘Buy It Now’ price of $550. I asked him if he was high or something, as I thought his price was totally out of place . He hung up on me.

Well I bidded on the guitar and won it for $325.00.

Shortly after I bought it, I checked it out and everything worked. It was just ugly with the sunburst paint. I stripped it down and tried to make the paint work but was struggling. I put it up on the shelf.

In September of 2012 I decided to just paint it and hang it up as it was just a memory and that’s it. As I was putting it together I noticed the chrome was perfect on the whammy bar cover. When I looked underneath I found the initials (gB) The day after i bought the guitar in 1963 I took the cover off and scratched my initials on it. When I saw this I just about died. I started thinking about the rest of the guitar. I remember putting a small chip in the volume control knob when I was taking it off. I also remember that one screw that held the tuning knobs on was different as one was stripped. I checked and both were there.

This guitar is the one that I bought in 1963 and played for several years and was a very important part of my rock and roll life. This guitar is home to stay.

Written by: Gary Berdinski

Mosrite Electric Guitar, The Ventures Model (Blueburst Finish)

Back Catalog Memories: Blueburst Mosrite, Ventures Model

Mosrite Electric Guitar, The Ventures Model (Blueburst Finish)

Mosrite Electric Guitar, The Ventures Model (Blueburst Finish)

It wasn’t long after we moved back to Toronto from California that I acquired this guitar. You have to understand – I’ve bought and sold more guitars in the past 20 years than there are Beatles fans in Liverpool. When you are in the business of buying/selling guitars, you simply cannot afford to get attached to them. Yes, it is hard some times, but in the end this is what pays the bills, so you have to let them go.

That is why this one is so incredibly special. I knew when I first saw her, it might not leave. In fact, in the early years of myrareguitars.com, I used to have a BUY NOW button and a price, just to test my resolve. Every couple of months I would get an offer near my asking price – that would scare the hell out of me – so I would jack the price higher to ward off temptation. But a few years ago I simply surrendered to the fact that I could never part with it at any price. Funny, because I hear stories from guitars players all the time about the guitars they covet and can never let go and I never really had that feeling. But now I did and I completely understand.

It’s not “vintage”, but it is “rare”. In the late 90’s and early 00’s, a Japanese factory was making these incredible Mosrite replica’s. Some had the tailpiece stamped with “excellent” instead of “Moseley” or “Vibramute”. The lower cost ones were selling in the $1,000 range (Excellent) and the “Vibramute” ones were the top end selling for 2-3 times as much. An enterprising young fellow in USA was importing them in low quantities (probably 50 or 60 at a time) and selling them in the early EBAY days. That is how I found this one.

It has a serial number of “0000”, which is cooler than the other side of the pillow. To this day I am still unsure of the factory that made them, but I can tell you this – the quality and craftsmanship is over the top.

There are very few guitars that I keep in my “collection”, this is one of them.
Check out these photos:

 

Vintage 1980's Harmony Flying V Electric Guitar

Guitar Assessment Checklist

I have a friend with a cool little music store here in St. Louis. I pop in from time to time since he always has a great selection of vintage lap steels, as well as an ever-changing assortment of oddball pieces to check out. As I was on my way out the door after one of my most recent visits, I spotted an early 80s Harmony “Flying V,” and immediately stopped in my tracks. The guitar had no price tag, and as I picked it up for a closer look, my friend told me to make him an offer. I was pretty interested in the guitar, so I quickly went through the complete assessment checklist I use when I’m considering buying a used piece. Following are the things I look for to determine whether a used guitar can be made playable, or if it’s destined to spend the rest of its days as wall art.

Vintage 1980's Harmony Flying V Electric Guitar

Vintage 1980's Harmony Flying V Electric Guitar

Usually, if you’re interested in a piece, the seller is nearby, carefully watching as you look it over…game on. The first thing you need to do is calm down. I have purchased more than one instrument that turned out to be a big old can of worms simply because of my initial eagerness to take it home. I have since learned to put that excitement on hold until I can really check it out, and know exactly what I’m dealing with.

Starting from the top and working my way down, I give the guitar a general inspection. I’m looking for cracks, dings, dents, signs of impact (has the guitar been dropped?), or any broken pieces. I will look especially closely at the headstock area for signs of a repaired break.

Vintage 1980's Harmony Flying V Electric Guitar

Vintage 1980's Harmony Flying V Electric Guitar

I’ll then turn my attention to the tuning gears. The “V” I was looking at had one tuning gear that looked crooked at first glance. Upon further investigation, I found that the gear was not an exact match, and that one of the mounting screws was missing. These were cheap, dust covered, geared tuners, so I figured they would most likely be replaced anyway…not a deal breaker.

I also noticed that all of the pickup ring screws were rusted. Rusted screws can equal more shop time trying to get things apart, so be sure to consider the possibility of having to extract broken or stripped screws.

Vintage 1980's Harmony Flying V Electric Guitar

Vintage 1980's Harmony Flying V Electric Guitar

Once I determined that, aside from some rusty screws and a mismatched tuner, the “V” was in good shape, I started step two of the inspection…the nut. I have found that on guitars like this, the nut can be anything from rough to absurd. With this particular instrument, the latter was the case. This nut was an ugly yellow material, with huge string slots that were filed way too deep, and someone had cut up business cards to use as shim stock underneath. With most used guitar purchases, I’ll typically fabricate a new bone nut anyway, so this wasn’t a deterrent for me, and it even made a nice bargaining tool.

Next on the checklist come the neck and the frets. This is usually the make-or-break point for me when deciding whether or not to buy. I will start by sighting the neck, on both the bass and treble sides, for bow and possible twist in the neck. Too much bow or back bow may be correctable with a truss rod adjustment, or even a heat pressing if necessary, but twisted necks can be more complicated. When I sight the neck, I look straight down the edge where the frets end. I look at it as a continuous plane, all the way to the bridge. I can see back bow, forward bow, and I can spot unlevel frets. The “V” in question had a surprisingly straight neck, with fairly level frets…score!

Vintage 1980's Harmony Flying V Electric Guitar

Vintage 1980's Harmony Flying V Electric Guitar

After determining that the neck itself is in good working order, I’ll look carefully at the neck joint, where the neck meets the body. If the guitar has a set neck, I check the area for cracks or previous repairs. The “V” had a bolt-on neck, which I prefer so that I can shim the neck if necessary to get a proper neck angle. I’ll usually push back and forth a little on the neck to make sure there is no movement. Neck movement can mean loose mounting screws, which will cause tuning problems. Side note: if you haven’t checked your neck mounting screws in a while, you should. Necks can work loose over time and cause problems.

At this point, I take a good look at the body, bridge, controls, and general set-up of the instrument. I’m looking for more rusted screws and parts that may cause problems later, when I do a set-up. For example, bridge saddles can seize up over time, no longer allowing for height or intonation adjustments. While checking the set-up, be sure to check the height of the bridge and individual saddles to determine if the guitar has simply been set up poorly, or if a bigger problem, such as a bad neck set, is present.

My final step in evaluating a used guitar includes plugging it in and playing every note on every fret, to see if I get any buzzing or rattling caused by unlevel frets. I want each note to be clear and in tune. I also check the pots and switches for noise or malfunction. I don’t usually get too bent out of shape with bad electronics, because I will usually upgrade the switch, pots, and sometimes the pickups to a better quality part. This is an area where I usually find that the cheapest products have been used, and a little investment in better electronics can go a long way.

Once I’ve decided what needs to be fixed or replaced, I can begin the bargaining process. My checklist for the “V” revealed a bad tuner, rusty screws, some wonky electronics, and a nut that needed to be replaced. With a bit of haggling, the guitar was mine at a killer price.

I quickly made a new nut, replaced the pots, switch, and jack, and found a Fralin P-92 humbucker to put in the bridge position. After just a few hours of work, I had a killer new “Flying V.” I even had it up and running in time for my wife to play at a show the next night. Looks like I may have to find another one of my own sometime soon.

Happy hunting!

– Dave Anderson

Dr. Dave Walker on stage with Tommy Emmanuel

Be Careful What You Wish For – You May End Up On Stage With Tommy Emmanuel!

I guess I’m a typical guitarist. When I’m watching one of my favourite players I used to dream about one day being up there sharing the stage with one of my heroes. Well that dream came true for me a few years ago when I was invited up on stage by Tommy Emmanuel.

Now don’t be too impressed yet – this wasn’t a “moment of discovery” where record producers and agents saw me and made me an overnight sensation. Tommy was in Toronto doing one of his pre-concert workshops and I was in the audience. He usually ends by asking volunteers to come up and play a song with him. I sat there sweating while friends got up and played, wondering if I would actually have the nerve to do it. Then I impulsively threw up my hand and before I could chicken out I was sitting on stage with one of my greatest guitar heroes.

Dr. Dave Walker on stage with Tommy Emmanuel

Dr. Dave Walker on stage with Tommy Emmanuel

This was a moment I had dreamed about for years, and I wasn’t really unprepared. I had been practising one of my favourite Chet Atkins tunes ‘All Thumbs‘ and thought that it would be perfect since Tommy was such a huge Chet fan and knew every one of his songs (or so I thought). So when he asked me what song I wanted to play and I said All Thumbs, imagine my shock when he said: “Oh, I don’t know that one! I’ll have to fake it. You can start.”

Gulp! I took a few deep breaths to calm down before starting, but as I did Tommy addressed the audience. “This one is really hard,” he said to the crowd, “REALLY, REALLY hard!” Just what I didn’t need to hear. Then he turned to me and said: “Go!” One more deep breath and to my amazement my fingers began playing the song, and Tommy joined right in.

It all went well right up to the last few bars. That’s the trickiest part in the song, because Chet plays one of his patented cascades of sixteenth-notes all across the strings, and it had been hit-and-miss almost up to that very day. I was dreading the spot, and sure enough when I got to it, my fingers failed and I stopped. Ouch!

There was a sort of gasp from the audience and Tommy whispered to me: “Keep going! Don’t stop!” But it was too late – I HAD stopped. So I looked up at him with a grin and said: “Wait for it” and to my own (and everyone else’s) amazement I ripped off the cascade perfectly and ended the song. Tommy let out a whoop, jumped up and gave me a huge hug. With his arm still around me he turned to the audience and said: “THAT is how you play All Thumbs!”

I have never been so nervous playing in my life, nor have I been so proud on stage as that day. So do I still dream of doing it again? No way! That one performance was a pinnacle that I doubt I could reach again. And besides, it turns out that it did give me my little niche in posterity after all.

A couple of months later I was at the Chet Atkins Appreciation Society convention in Nashville talking with a group of the guys from Toronto. Tommy recognized us and came over to chat and reminisce about his recent visit. I was to his side and slightly behind him, and was shocked but very pleased to hear him say: “Hey, remember that crazy doctor who got up on stage with me and played All Thumbs? How amazing was that?!”

by “Dr. Dave” Walker
blog.davewalkermusic.com

Dr. Dave Walker is a writer for blog.davewalkermusic.com and for Just Jazz Guitar. A former computer science professor, he has since come to his senses and now teaches music.

David Anderson

Guitars & Humidity: Taking Care of Your Guitar

David Anderson

David Anderson

So, it’s cold out side and the snow is falling. You decide to sit by the fire with your favorite hot beverage and your guitar for a little one on one time. You give your prized axe a strum, but it seems someone has replaced your instrument with an imposter. This guitar looks like your old friend in every way, but it’s buzzing and rattling, and the frets are sharp. You ask yourself what is going on.

Humidity is what’s going on, or more accurately, the lack of humidity. Guitars and other stringed instruments require 45 to 55% relative humidity in the environment in order to function properly. If your guitar gets below 45%, it will actually begin to shrink. Your instrument can easily loose 1/8 of an inch of mass from shrinkage due to a dry environment, and that means sharp fret edges, notes that buzz, cracks in the wood, lifting bridges, and even failing neck joints. If your instrument is over-humidified, on the other hand, you will notice an immediate difference in the way it plays due to the neck relief changing and the top rising and bellying up. You may even notice a difference in tone.

But don’t “fret”…it’s not too late! You can reverse the condition of your guitar by simply changing the relative humidity of the environment in which it resides. If you have a hard shell case, you can easily add humidity by purchasing a guitar/case humidifier, but you must be sure to keep the guitar in the case while not in use to allow the case interior to act as the immediate environment for the guitar. If you like to hang your instrument on a wall or display it on a stand, you will need to get a cold mist humidifier for your room (home furnaces with built in humidifiers will not suffice). It’s a good idea to purchase a hydrometer so you can keep track of the relative humidity in your area. Expect it to take a few weeks for your guitar to acclimate to its proper environment. This may seem like a lot of effort, but so is humidifying and repairing a top crack or dressing frets due to dryness, fixes not covered by the manufacturer as warranty work. Prevention is key!

So, if you want to give that special stringed someone the gift that keeps on giving, give the gift of humidity. Your guitar will be happy, and you will too.

Written by: David Anderson

Musicvox Spaceranger Electric Guitar (from the Austin Powers movie 'Goldmember')

Back Catalog Memories: Musicvox Spaceranger Guitar

As most of you know I’ve been running www.myrareguitars.com since about 1997. Before that I was doing it with pen and paper. Recently I discovered a file folder on my backup drive with TONS of photos containing just about every guitar I’d ever bought and sold over the years. Looking at these photos have stirred up some memories. So, here are some stories and photos (to the best of my deteriorating memory) from the Back Catalog of myRareGuitars.

Story #3 – Musicvox Spaceranger

Musicvox guitars are pretty wierd. But, you never know what will come of a sketch on a napkin and an enthusiastic owner – Matthew Eichen – who was responsible for Musicvox guitars. These were part of a small Korean production run in the mid/late 1990’s. You’ve probably never seen one in your local shop, as the distribution of the brand did not gain any traction, but you may have seen one when New Line Cinema put the guitars in the hands of musicians playing parts in the Mike Meyers/Austin Powers film Goldmember in 2002.

Musicvox Spaceranger Electric Guitar (from the Austin Powers movie 'Goldmember')

Musicvox Spaceranger Electric Guitar (from the Austin Powers movie 'Goldmember')

The “band” in the film was named Ming Tea:

  • Mike Myers (as Austin Powers, vocals)
  • Susanna Hoffs (as Gillian Shagwell, lead guitar)
  • Matthew Sweet (as Sid Belvedere, bass)
  • Stuart Johnson (as Manny Stixman, drums)
  • Christopher Ward (as Trevor Aigburth, guitar)

They are best known for their song “BBC”, which appeared after the ending credits of the movie Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery, as well as the song “Daddy Wasn’t There”, which Myers’ character Austin Powers sings in Austin Powers in Goldmember. Both songs appear in their respective movie soundtracks.

Check out the original music video of “Daddy Wasn’t There”:

My son Troy and I are big fans of the Austin Powers movies, and also big fans of Matthew Sweet. Matthew has been a customer of My Rare Guitars for many years. He is not only a great singer / songwriter / guitar player, he is also a collector of the very weird and oddball guitars that our website is known for. So, a couple of years after the films release, I traded some cool stuff for a couple of Spacerangers from the movie GOLDMEMBER – a sunburst bass and a 6 string. He was kind enough to have them signed, the bass by himself as “Syd Belvedere” and the 6 string by Susanna Hoffs. We donated the 6-string to a Toronto Charity auction that year, but I kept the bass because it is just so wierd, and it’s a peice of Austin Powers history that I can pass on to Troy.

Here are some photos of the Spaceranger Bass:

Musicvox Spaceranger Electric Guitar (from the Austin Powers movie 'Goldmember')

Musicvox Spaceranger Electric Guitar (from the Austin Powers movie 'Goldmember')

Musicvox Spaceranger Electric Guitar (from the Austin Powers movie 'Goldmember')

Musicvox Spaceranger Electric Guitar (from the Austin Powers movie 'Goldmember')

Musicvox Spaceranger Electric Guitar (from the Austin Powers movie 'Goldmember')

Musicvox Spaceranger Electric Guitar (from the Austin Powers movie 'Goldmember')

Musicvox Spaceranger Electric Guitar (from the Austin Powers movie 'Goldmember')

Musicvox Spaceranger Electric Guitar (from the Austin Powers movie 'Goldmember')

Musicvox Spaceranger Electric Guitar (from the Austin Powers movie 'Goldmember')

Musicvox Spaceranger Electric Guitar (from the Austin Powers movie 'Goldmember')

GuitarMatz: How I Got My Guitars in the Living Room

I’ve been playing my ’72 Fender P-bass since I was 14 and over the past few decades my collection of guitars and basses got to the point that I didn’t know how many I had. A common problem with musicians, as some were in cases, some on guitar stands, and some on hooks in the basement and others at practice rooms. So to remind me how much I loved these wired pieces of art I went searching for a way to display my favorite guitars on the wall in our living room. That search ended with me creating the guitarMatz™ graphic guitar hanger which we just introduced at the Eastwood Guitars booth at NAMM 2010 this January.

The guitarMatz is an innovative wall mounting system that displays your guitar in front of a 48” x 18” graphic of your choice. The system works with a steel wall mounted guitar hanger that holds a channeled frame. The graphic sits inside the frame and a guitar hook securely bolts into the wall mount. The guitarMatz is designed and built in Canada out of heavy-duty epoxy eCoated steel and it is built to last. The result is a large wall graphic that looks great either with or without your guitar hanging on it. But the best result is, that with this art piece, you may be able to convince your spouse into allowing you to hang your guitar in the family space.

GuitarMatz: Wall Mounting System for Guitars

GuitarMatz: Wall Mounting System for Guitars

How did I get here you ask? Well I spent years searching. I looked at all of the available methods of displaying guitars trying to get my guitars out of the basement. First I found the rather overpriced museum style framed boxes that look more like a coffin than a cool place to display your prized Mosrite. They didn’t look right for me. Then I found and purchased a Rockcase by Warrick – with its flightcase aluminum frame and plexi window, it is very cool, but it looks way too much like it just came off the tour bus. My Rockcase is in the basement holding my Johnny Winter autographed Firebird, it never made it over the couch. Then I looked at the giant multi-guitar cabinets that take up half a room and will cost you your vacation to Disney. That really wasn’t my style or in my budget.

But what I did like the most, were the custom framed collectable guitars that fill all the memorabilia shops in Vegas. Big, bold and exciting with photos and graphics relating to the guitar, their only problem was the guitar was just an expensive signed art piece that you couldn’t play. So I put my years of marketing, design and visiting guitar shops together and created the guitarMatz. It is a simple logical way to display your guitar. It looks great because it is a frame and you choose the graphic that best suites you, your guitar and your room. And the best thing about the guitarMatz is that your guitar is right there… just pick it up off the hanger and you can noodle away for hours while everyone else watches some mindless dance contest.

I am very excited about how great the response to guitarMatz has been from guitar players, retailers and their spouses. We are now developing some very interesting licensing deals and some special artist programs for new and exciting graphics. And we also have the flexibility to allow you to create and upload your own photos and graphics. Just jump over to www.guitarmatz.com to check them out.

MyRareGuitars.com will soon be offering the complete line of guitarMatz as one of their ongoing products.

Do yourself and your guitars a favor, take them out of the case and put them up on your walls on a guitarMatz. They will look amazing, you’ll play them more and if you’re real lucky they may even make it to your living room.

Grant Ivens, rgd, is a Toronto musician, writer, creative director, TV producer, married with two talented young daughters, and is currently working on several new products aimed at bringing his ‘brandSimple” design sense to the music industry via his product company ShowOff Gear. You can contact him at grant@showoffgear.com

We’ve Only Just Begun: My 50th Birthday

Wow. Where did the time go? OK, I’m 50. No big deal. I’m just a little surprised how fast I got here that’s all. Looking back I can’t imagine having more fun along the way and no reason to think it will get any less silly moving forward. I am blessed to be surrounded by a great family and a wide, diverse circle of friends. What else could you ask for? Sorry to bore you with the slide show, but I feel the need to document this…

The celebrations took nearly two months to get through. It started early in August with a 2 week getaway vacation with my wife Kay and son Troy. We went to eastern Canada and hit every spot imaginable from Cape Breton to P.E.I. to Halifax and over to Newfoundland. If you have never been to Newfoundland, you should. Here is a picture of Troy and me hiking in Western NFLD:

Troy and me hiking in Western Newfoundland

Troy and me hiking in Western Newfoundland

Here is 10 yr. old Troy in charge of steering the Lobster Boat in P.E.I. He may look calm, but in fact he is very serious because this was a pretty big boat!

Upon returning to Toronto, my brother Peter from California decided to make his second trip up to Canada this summer for the 50th celebrations. We kicked it off with a couple of rounds of golf and more than a couple of rounds of drinks. The big party was Sept 5th, featuring a baseball game with 25 friends from High School – Yes, I said HIGH SCHOOL FRIENDS – question: who can round up 25 high school friends on their 50th Birthday? I think not many. That is what I call good friends! Butch came from Texas, Big T came from Vancouver, Heter from California. Amazing that most of us still hang out together all the time. Here is one of the photos:

Who can round up 25 high school friends on their 50th Birthday? I think not many.

Who can round up 25 high school friends on their 50th Birthday? I think not many.

The party lasted well into the wee hours, featuring numerous guitars, amps, basses, vocals, and of course cocktails. Good thing the neighbors were out of town. After that we went up north to a friend’s cottage in Muskoka for 3 days of fishing. Here is brother Peter, trolling the shoreline for PIKE:

Peter, trolling the shoreline for Pike

Peter, trolling the shoreline for Pike

Then back to Toronto for a short sleep and right on through to the Catskills in New York – a total of 8 hours driving – to the ATP Festival. What a blast that was. Take a look at this shot. Yes, I might be 50, yes, I might look 50, but I am dead center in the middle of the mosh-pit acting like a 20 year old, which is how I feel most of the time. This photo was taken during the kick-ass set from legendary JESUS LIZARD. That is David Yow with the MIC, me right in front of him:

Me in the pit at the Jesus Lizard show at ATP (David Yow with the mic)

Me in the pit at the Jesus Lizard show at ATP (David Yow with the mic)

Also that first night I ran into Nick Cave (who was not on the bill) after sitting in with Warren Ellis and The Dirty Three. Warren and I get to talking about making an Eastwood TENOR guitar. This is really going to happen! Here I am with Nick and his AIRLINE TUXEDO guitar the following week back in Toronto:

Nick Cave with an Airline Tuxedo

Nick Cave with an Airline Tuxedo

Not often you see Nick smile, but somehow it feels like a fitting photograph to cap off the 50th Birthday celebrations. So the partying has finally come to an end and it’s time to get back to work. Summer has also officially ended and the leaves are starting to fall. Here is one final photo from this summer. This is Troy up at our cottage, where most evenings we have a fire and roast marshmallows. Troy decided it would be cool to put a marshmallow on the end of an arrow and fire it out into Georgian Bay. Who has more fun than kids? Looks like the 50 year olds?

Troy decided it would be cool to put a masrhmellow on the end of an arrow and fire it out into Georgian Bay

Troy decided it would be cool to put a masrhmellow on the end of an arrow and fire it out into Georgian Bay