It’s kind of a funny feeling; that “Eureka!” moment we all get when we discover something we had no idea existed, yet turns out to be blatantly obvious. Something that works like a charm, and solves problems we’ve been having for years. For the briefest of moments, we feel like a real-life MacGyver; nothing can get in our […]
The term “melted my face off” is widely accepted amongst guitarists and concert-goers alike, and in most cases refers to someone being blown-away by a well executed guitar solo. Interestingly enough, it’s most often the guitarist on stage whose face appears to actually be melting. We’ve seen it all; from the “Cringe”: to the “my mouth […]
Top 10 Reasons to Play in a Band It’s a no brainer; much of the initial aspiration to play any instrument comes from the desire to have what your musical heroes have, or to at least produce the kind of material they produce. In many cases, you’ll end up having to find a few […]
Tips on Tones Issue 19: Guidance from the Greats If you could sit down in a room with some of the best musicians and guitar players in the world, what do you think you’d want to talk to them about? For the majority of us musicians, we would want to pick their brains as […]
Once upon a time I was in a used window shop in Milwaukee—true story, such a thing used to exist; they sold windows salvaged from old houses (I needed a storm window)—and some old geezer was wandering around the store yelling “Mayday! Mayday! Mayday!” I thought it pretty weird and didn’t immediately understand until I realized he was a Korean-era Vet and needed help and, like in most modern big box stores, there was no one around to assist him. I don’t often need much assistance in knowing about obscure guitars, but, boy, is this guitar off the radar and it makes me scream “Mayday!” Despite what I do know.
Guitar history has yielded some very odd marriages, from a business perspective, at least. While these can be found at almost any time, perhaps the glory days of unusual conjunctions was the 1960s, when cascading demand for electric guitars among maturing Baby Boomers caused corporations, both with and without music industry experience, to realize that thar’s gold in them thar hills. Among the odder of these unions was that between Chicago’s Heads & Threads company and Norma, Noble, and even National guitars.
Recently in a television interview, Linda Ronstadt was asked what it was like on a tour bus with an all-guy band. She started to give a politic answer and then changed her mind, admitting that “they were a bunch of cowboys.” I think we all know what she meant. It was the kind of macho gestalt that led a company like Ampeg to name its immediately post-Dan-Armstrong line of guitars the, uh, Stud series. Stud, eh?! Geddit?! Har, har.
One of the big influences on my guitar writing “career” was Dan Forte’s writing—under the nom de plume Teisco del Rey—for Guitar Player magazine back in the 1970s and ‘80s. Dan, or Teisco, took a much more tongue-in-cheeky approach to regaling the often goofy guitar designs of the 1960s, whereas I’ve always been a bit more dourly serious about the subject, but I like to think we kept the torch burning for decades for those of us who love whatever’s whacky about guitars.
Any time you identify a “first,” there’s always some other dude who shows up to spoil the party and own the claim. However, I think it’s safe to assert that the first company to use computer numerical control (CNC) carving machines to build guitars in the U.S. was Peavey Electronics.
In an era where guitar heroes are a dying breed, Jack White stands among the greatest guitarists of his generation. His preference for older, more primitive equipment came at a time when most guitarists were neck-deep in processors, pedals and preamps. Relying on his distinct style and killer tone, White became the touchstone for a new movement of more blues-inspired guitarists.
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