Saturday, April 23, 2011
Here's a Hi-Flyer in it's natural environment, nestled between a couple of crusty-but-imposing amps. But wait - a set neck? A hefty body with fresh electronics? Why it's not an old Univox at all, it's one of the sweet new Eastwood reissues. True, the old Japanese Hi-Flyers have their own sleek, super-lightweight charms, but the Eastwoods feel a lot sturdier, while keeping the same Mosrite-derived reverse body style. Of course, we've got a few of the old ones around, as well - more on those later.
Saturday, April 16, 2011
Here's a very nice G&L thinline tele, with a humbucker in the neck position and a gorgeous red finish. There's just a tiny bit of metal flake in the finish; just enough to give it a nice vibrant "sheen" underneath all those fancy stagelights. There's plenty of flash sonically, too, with both the humbucker and the semi-hollow construction warming up the inherently spiky twang of a tele. I'll admit to having no great fondness for most thinline teles, but this one plays great! I have to say that I've liked the larger frets that have been on the G&Ls that I've played so much that it definitely influenced my decision to have my Fender Telecaster re-fretted with similar fretwire.
The little Vox amp next to it is a Brian May Special, a little solid state monster that snarls and spits out lots of sharp, nasty, and distinctly musical distortion. It's based on a homebrew amp that Queen's bass player, John Deacon, cooked up for guitarist Brian May. May used it to add some hair and gristle to his tracks upon tracks of pristine Vox AC30 tones. Most people wouldn't think that those regal-sounding harmonized guitar lines in Killer Queen and Bohemian Rhapsody were recorded with assistance from such a ornery and rude-sounding amp, but it really does the trick. It also works as a powerful boost pedal when plugged in front of another amp. Not bad for what's basically an oddball studio/practice amp!
Saturday, April 9, 2011
Here's a nice pair - a newer Marshall and an older Strat. A '79, to be precise, with a well-worn cherry burst finish. There's something about a Fender Strat, though - the more beat to hell it looks, the more compelling it becomes, at least in my humble opinion. As for the amp, it's a JCM 2000; Marshall's latest and greatest, paired up with a sweet 1960A 4x12 cabinet.
If you get a good look up close, you can see why we call this one our "Mommy Dearest" Strat. An array of cigarette burns dot the top, though I don't see any coat hanger marks. Ah well. Still, a guitar this uglied-up has the potential to be somebody's "Number One" someday, so come check it out!
Wednesday, April 6, 2011
Saturday, April 2, 2011
Here we have one of Gibson's early 80s experiments, the Challenger. From a distance, it looks to be yet another Les Paul, but the Challenger has a very un-Gibson-like bolt-on maple/rosewood neck, not to mention an extremely 80s retro-futuristic "Robot Gray" finish.
The amp here is a Gregory Bass 60A, a low watt mini-stack from what was allegedly a rather small New Jersey-based company in the 50s and 60s. There is what looks to be an exhaustive look at the Gregory line here, although all you really need to know about this one is that it sounds awesome and looks spiffy, once again proving my theory that the best guitar amps are all really failed attempts at making a decent bass amp.
Back to the Challenger - it's hard to see with the black pickguard/black pickup configuration, but the original humbucker has been replaced with a very fine and pricey Bartolini. The clean sounds are amazing, and even with gobs of distortion piled on, the pickup retains its punchy character. The little switch seems to act as a coil tap, which gives you a few more tonal options to play with on this single-pickup guitar. Overall, you could do much, much worse from the era of spanex, leg warmers, and neon.
Friday, April 1, 2011
Got a 1977 Martin D-35 the other week! A big 'ol dreadnought: very "grassy," and very clean for its age. Open chords ring for days and it has a nice full, chunky low end that still has good note definition. In other words, it's a Martin!
Martins don't just walk in the door every day, so check this one out while you can.