DANELECTRO 66 12 String

Posted: October 25, 2020 in Uncategorized
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Our “66” is killing it on stages and in studios across the globe. Now we add the Wilkinson tremolo and voila… the 66T. A toneful combination of large single coil and Lipstick Humbucker pair.   Pull on tone knob to coil tap the Humbucker. One guitar you will cherish forever!

Tonally, a Dano sits somewhere between a Telecaster and a Rickenbacker 330. Any way you slice that, you get bags of sparkle and presence that responds beautifully to compression and light overdrive, particularly on the coil-split setting. As we discovered on the old ’66, the knobs are fiddly, so engaging the coil split on both new Danos takes the edge of a pick or a fingernail. It’s worth the effort. You get a great Tele-like twang with the bonus of the springy vibrato. 

Running the ’bucker on full power allows both guitars to find a classic rock or even metal voice. Add in the warmth that the neck P-90 brings in and you’ve got a fantastic tonal palette to work with. 

When we put the hardtail ’66 through its paces it behaved itself impeccably, at least until it received a clip ’round the earhole when we spotted the price tag. A year on, we’ve made our peace with the RRPs. Face it, you’re going to get a deal on a ’66T anyway and, besides, the versatility, build quality and tonal charms of this guitar make it worth the money. 

It can be loud, brash, brutal, experimental, and even psychedelic, but arguably no other style of music has experienced as many revivals as garage rock. Maybe that’s because it taps into the essence of what rock ’n’ roll is all about: Just turn up your guitar, and play like you mean it.

If you’ve ever spent a Saturday afternoon in a friend’s basement slugging beers and banging out guitar jams through a few raggedy amps, a beat-up drum kit, and a makeshift PA (possibly a cheap microphone hooked up to another raggedy amp), then you know what it’s like to play in a garage band. There’s no rarified air or mystery to it. Rock ’n’ roll, as every rock critic from Lester Bangs to Lisa Robinson has asserted over the years, is the great equalizer—a democratizing force that imbues us all with the inalienable right to unleash our rebel yell. In the end, all you really need is the desire … and a dream.

So what then is “garage rock,” exactly? The term itself gets tossed around a lot these days, and rather glibly at that, but it comes down to a few key ingredients (and it’s not just about where you play it or how “lo-fi” it sounds). For starters, it has to be electric-guitar based. You can have a Farfisa organ, even a horn section, or backing singers, but without guitars and amplification, it ain’t garage. Then there’s the do-it-yourself factor. Covers are allowed, just as long as you give them your own unique spin—the farther out, the better. And finally the kicker: Attitude is an absolute necessity.

“When you picture someone in a garage or a basement or at home or wandering down the street, trying to find a way to express their inner core, that’s what it’s about.” —Lenny Kaye
Patti Smith Group, Nuggets curator

Ironically, this most all-American of pastimes got its kick-start when the Beatles and the first British Invasion started dominating the airwaves back in early 1964. Before then, ’50s rock and rollers like Ritchie Valens and Buddy Holly—who, incidentally, recorded a clutch of early demos in his parents’ garage with his backing band, the Crickets—had helped set the tone for what was to come. By 1963, with the release of their classic version of “Louie Louie,” the Kingsmen staked a claim for what may very well be the first true garage-rock record. Just on the basis of Jack Ely’s unhinged, almost indecipherable vocal performance and Mike Mitchell’s wacky Strat solo, the song certainly qualifies.

“When you picture someone in a garage or a basement or at home or wandering down the street, trying to find a way to express their inner core, that’s what it’s about,” says Lenny Kaye. And he ought to know. Besides his punk-rock bona fides as the founding guitarist of the Patti Smith Group, he also curated the famed Nuggets: Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era 1965-1968 compilation for Elektra back in 1972. The double album features 27 key tracks by such stage-proven stalwarts as the Seeds, the Standells, the Shadows of Knight, Blues Magoos, the Electric Prunes, and many more. Nuggets has long been recognized as a lodestone in the garage-rock canon, because it provided, for the first time, an encapsulated history and context for a sound that detonated across the latter half of the 1960s. Fueled by hungry, fiercely iconoclastic bands that had emerged from underground scenes around the country, garage rock had all the earmarks of a musical movement.

Lenny Kaye, lead guitarist for the original Patti Smith Group and curator of Elektra Records’ canonical Nuggets garage-rock compilation, performing in London’s Hyde Park on July 1, 2016. Photo by Brian Rasic/WireImage. One of Kaye’s fond gear memories from the early years of the garage movement was seeing the game-changing
Gibson Maestro FZ-1A Fuzz-Tone. 

“This was the renaissance for rock and roll,” Kaye observes. “Especially for the guitar, where the instrument became the primary source for innovation and inspiration. It made the garage band very guitar-friendly, because the one thing you needed was a guitar, y’know? And it coincided with the explosion of mass acceptability of the guitar, and its sense of electronic potential. When I was playing with my own band the Zoo, I remember seeing the first Gibson [Maestro] Fuzz-Tone, the FZ-1A. So when we played ‘Satisfaction’ or ‘Wild Thing,’ we could replicate that stinging, sustained tone.”

Although the preferred gear varied wildly in the early days of garage, Fender Strats, Mustangs, Teles, Precision basses, and Jazzmasters rose to the top, often powered by Fender Twins, Super Reverbs, and Showmans. But almost as soon as the Beatles came on the scene, the amplification began to shift. Up until late ’63, the Fab Four had relied on the workhorse Vox AC30, but their screaming fans consistently drowned them out. Vox outfitted the band with the larger and louder AC100 amps and cabinets (prototypes for the U.S.-made Super Beatle, introduced in ’66), so by the time they reached American shores in early ’64, the word was out.

One teenaged guitarist based in San Francisco had been following the development closely. Cyril Jordan hadn’t yet founded Flamin’ Groovies, a future cult favourite in the Bay Area and southern California—and, with the 1971 release of Teenage Head, a band that was destined to be considered a key progenitor of punk rock and the garage offshoot known as “power pop.” But Jordan was already a well-informed aficionado of guitar gear, and he put his knowledge to good use.

Flamin’ Groovies founding guitarist Cyril Jordan onstage in 2013 with one of his favourite axes, a Dan Armstrong Plexi with swappable pickup modules.Influential San Francisco guitarist Cyril Jordan was often found plugged into a Fender Pro Reverb onstage with punk forefathers Flamin’ Groovies.

“I started getting guitar catalogues in 1959, and in ’63, my cousin in Holland sent me a Vox catalog,” he says. “This was just before the Beatles came to America. It was weird, because the Vox amps were drawn in pencil—there were no photos. And then when the Beatles show up on Ed Sullivan with their Vox amps, I’m like, ‘Oh, those are from the catalogue my cousin sent me!’ So I went to a store in my neighbourhood called Angelo’s Music, and I kept bugging Angelo to look at this catalogue. Finally he takes a look and says, ‘What’s the big deal?’ And I told him these are the amps the Beatles use. As it turned out, Angelo was a rep for the Thomas Organ Company, and guess who got the franchise for Vox in America? I didn’t figure this out until decades later.”

Jordan himself was a proponent of the Fender Pro Reverb, which he retrofitted with Electro-Voice speakers before the Groovies recorded their defiantly oddball, multi-styled debut, Supersnazz, in 1968. He also owns one of the original Dan Armstrong Plexiglas guitars, which he still plays to this day. “At the time, they were going for $400 and came with two extra pickups that looked like chocolate candy bars,” he says. “You could slide one out like a cassette and put the other one in—it was amazing. I always used it on basic tracks, and later on I split the signal so I could play live in stereo. I took it back to mono about five years ago. It still has a great shredded sound, because I go into a Roland JC-120 for pure treble, with a Brian May Vox AC30 on the bottom.”

As guitarists across the U.S. picked up on the Beatles’ built-for-sound Vox AC100 behemoths, the marketing gurus at Vox were already plotting the company’s entry into the American market by sponsoring a few emerging bands, including two stalwarts of the L.A. garage scene—the Seeds and the Standells. The 1967 exploitation film Riot on Sunset Strip features the Standells playing through Vox amps (with guitarist Tony Valentino wielding a Telecaster and bassist John Fleck slinging an Eko 995), while the Seeds’ Jan Savage, who favoured a Fender Mustang, also played a Vox Bobcat through the Super Beatle, later models of which upgraded the trapezoidal V1141 head with a built-in “distortion booster.”

Although Hendrix is often thought of as a premiere proponent of the Arbiter Fuzz Face, Leigh Stephens, who achieved notoriety for his band Blue Cheer’s raging 1968 rendition of “Summertime Blues,” was also a big fan.

Along with Vox, Marshall amps broke into the U.S. market in the mid 1960s, and suddenly volume was the name of the game. Blue Cheer’s Leigh Stephens was an early convert to the 100-watt Marshall stack—the perfect outlet for his Strat or Gibson SG, which he usually played through an Arbiter Fuzz Face. The band’s ’67 demo of “Summertime Blues” is a stunning example of how, with just a little power and distortion, a garage band could morph into blues-rock with a psychedelic edge.

“I always liked John Cipollina’s amplifier setup, with the trumpet horns on the top, and a Standel and a Twin,” says Kaye, referring to the lead guitar slinger from the Quicksilver Messenger Service, who became an unsung hero to many fans of the late-’60s San Francisco scene. “But that’s a very high-end sound, and of course everything changed with the Marshall and Hiwatt invasion from England. Blue Cheer were probably the underbelly of garage rock as it developed that heavier sound through the end of the ’60s.”

“The bands of the Bay Area were still growing up on a folk-based thing, so when the [13th Floor] Elevators showed up, things changed real quick.” —Billy Gibbons

Jordan picks up the thread, recalling his first encounter with the heavier version of the garage-rock scene in Detroit. “We’d seen the fuckin’ MC5, and Fred [“Sonic” Smith] and Wayne [Kramer] both had Marshall stacks. That really blew our minds.” In fact, the Flamin’ Groovies started sharing bills with the MC5 and the Stooges—both known for their hard-rocking protest anthems (later lumped under the rubric of “proto-punk”)—in early 1970, when the Detroit scene was in full throat. “After that, I knew I had to get a Marshall,” Jordan says. “I used one when we cut Teenage Head about a year later, and the rest of the guys had the Vox Super Beatle amps. Those were real cool, too, because they had that power.”

After the technical leaps made in amplification in the mid ’60s—not to mention the oncoming wave of new and improved effects boxes, including the Echoplex EP-2, the Maestro FZ-1A, and the Vox wah—it made sense that the next frontier for the garage sound would be the musician’s imagination. But those weren’t the only pieces of the puzzle. Just as important were the growing support networks—the scenes—that had popped up in cities all over America.

Austin, Texas, certainly had one, and bands based in the nearby cities of Houston and San Antonio fed into it. In the mid ’60s, Red Crayola (out of Houston), Bubble Puppy (San Antonio), the Golden Dawn, and the Babycakes were all part of a burgeoning psychedelic scene that united like-minded musicians of all stripes. And oscillating at the center of it were the 13th Floor Elevators.

Led by the wild-eyed, charismatic singer-guitarist Roky Erickson, with lead guitarist Stacy Sutherland by his side, the Elevators defined a sound—duly repped by the way-gone “You’re Gonna Miss Me,” included on the Nuggets set—that was overtly derived from the band’s mind-altering experiments with hallucinogenics. In the liner notes to their 1966 debut, The Psychedelic Sounds of the 13th Floor Elevators, co-founder Tommy Hall wrote about chemically altered states and “the essence of the quest,” putting fans on notice that the Elevators weren’t just firmly committed to musical experimentation—they were living it.

The Elevators toured the West Coast in October ’66, and right away they had a profound effect on the San Francisco scene. “The bands of the Bay Area were still growing up on a folk-based thing, so when the Elevators showed up, things changed real quick,” observes ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons in the 2006 Roky Erickson documentary You’re Gonna Miss Me. (During his teenaged stint fronting his own psych band the Moving Sidewalks, Gibbons played a white ’63 Fender Jazzmaster, a garage staple.) “Every musician had so much respect for this crazy thing that they were coming up with. They took it into a new realm, branching out with some of the wildest arrangements.”

Trip-a-delic 6-string masters Roky Erickson and Stacy Sutherland of the 13th Floor Elevators both favoured Gibson ES-330s .

The kaleidoscopic range of Erickson and Sutherland, who plugged their Gibson ES-330s into Fender amps that were usually outfitted with the essential “Tube Reverb” or “Reverb Tank,” lingers to this day. Besides influencing Texas players like Butthole Surfers’ Paul Leary and the Black Angels’ Christian Bland, the Elevators directly inspired the founding of the annual Levitation festival (formerly the Austin Psych Fest), which has been drawing crowds since 2008.

Meanwhile, in New York City, an entirely different but no less explosive movement was coalescing around the thriving countercultural art scene—one that intersected with the experimental music of composers like Tony Conrad and La Monte Young, and created a super-heated atmosphere that was primed for the Velvet Underground.

Thanks to the support of Andy Warhol’s Factory studio, Lou Reed and the Velvets had a platform to launch their brooding, street-hardened, and decidedly garage-flavoured brand of art rock. For Reed, it was a natural progression. He was an avowed fan of the Sonics’ 1965 debut, Here Are The Sonics!!!, and had even written an accidental garage hit in ’64 called “The Ostrich” for an ad-hoc band he assembled under the name the Primitives. (Among the players brought together in the project was Welsh musician John Cale, who would go on to become another founding member of the Velvets.) The song featured a droning guitar with all six strings tuned to the same note—a technique that would later be used in VU.

Both Velvet Underground frontman Lou Reed and lead guitarist Sterling Morrison often plugged in a Kent Copa 532 for the band’s influential amalgam of garage-inspired art rock, but Reed often played a ’64 Gretsch Country Gentleman as well.

Reed favored a ’64 Gretsch Country Gentleman through a Fender Deluxe, while lead guitarist Sterling Morrison often went for a ’65 Japanese-made Kent Copa 532 (also a fave of Reed’s), as well as a small arsenal that included a Fender Stratocaster, a ’61 Gibson SG, a Les Paul Standard, and a Vox Phantom. Reed and Morrison both switched up on amps, which included Silvertone 1484s, Vox Super Beatles, and Sunn models. Ultimately though, the gear almost didn’t matter: If the twin emotions of desire and dread could be double-helixed into a yowling guitar sound that personified the dystopian end of the ’60s, this was it.

The rest, as the cliché goes, is rock history. VU’s 1967 debut album with Warhol starlet-singer Nico eventually became a creative flashpoint for a wave of ’70s protopunk and glam bands, influencing the Modern Lovers, the Dictators, the New York Dolls, and plenty more to follow. Or as Brian Eno put it in a 1982 interview with the L.A. Times: “I was talking to Lou Reed, and he said that the first Velvet Underground record sold only 30,000 copies in its first five years. Yet that was an enormously important record for so many people. I think everyone who bought one of those 30,000 copies started a band!”

In the wake of the ’60s, the influence of the garage rock sound ebbed and flowed, but the spirit behind the music never really wavered. “We’re talking about a very direct, no-frills form of rock ’n’ roll,” says Lenny Kaye. “When you start reducing the music to its base elements, that spirit is always there for renewal. You can see it cropping up through the years—not specifically a garage revival as exemplified by, say, a group like the Chesterfield Kings in the early ’80s, or even the Lyres, although those bands had a little more modernity. But to me, the great garage revival scene was the one in Detroit, with the White Stripes and the Demolition Doll Rods and the Gories. That was bringing things back to the elemental.”

Like most of his heroes (Jimmy Page being one), White Stripes mastermind Jack White can’t easily be summed up based on his record collection, but two delectable quirks stand out: his fascination with the Monks—a wacky, way-out band of enlisted misfits stationed with the U.S. Army in Germany who released one sublime album called Black Monk Time in 1966—and his childhood love of the Stooges, whose 1970 classic Fun House album White has lauded as “by proxy the definitive rock album of America.” (White almost produced a Stooges studio album, but he and Iggy Pop politely scrapped the idea after the band demurred. Steve Albini eventually signed on to tweak the knobs for 2007’s The Weirdness.)

Interestingly, while the Stooges’ Ron Asheton recorded the band’s early albums on Stratocasters and a Gibson Flying V—usually through a Marshall stack, and often front-loaded with unpredictable waves of fuzz and feedback—White pursued much more of an exotically vintage—and one could even say defiantly minimalist—route with his ’64 Airline Res-O-Glass “JB Hutto” guitar. Doubled up through an old Silvertone and a Fender Twin, the unusual axe pretty much defined the crunchy, gutbucket sound (and, in fire engine red, the seductively louche style) of the first five White Stripes albums.

Beyond the music, White clearly revels in shrouding himself in mystique, but the 2009 documentary film It Might Get Loud is probably the most accessible window into his thinking about how the guitar—and the garage attitude—defines his stripped-down aesthetic. “Distortion, anger, the punk ideal—guys who got picked on, like a lot of us did in high school, this is our chance to push you down now,” he says. “Southwest Detroit is a tough town, and it puts up with a lot and keeps going. Where I lived, it was uncool to play guitar. Hip-hop and house music—that’s what everyone wanted to hear. Nobody liked rock ’n’ roll or blues music. Surf, rockabilly, Dick Dale, the Cramps—I tried to absorb everything.”

He also cites going to see Flat Duo Jets—a seminal two-piece band from North Carolina fronted by Dexter Romweber—as a life-changing event. “They were guitar, drums, and vocals just like me and Maggie. I was just blown away. There was nothing onstage—just an old 10-watt amp and a Silvertone guitar. [Dexter] had what I would have thought at the time as a backwards direction. And I had to reassess what backwards meant in my mind. That opened up a whole new inspiration for me about the guitar.”

That tireless search for the unusual, even the outrageous, in both gear and sonic direction has driven the efforts of numerous artists for the last two decades. You can hear it in the bent, vibrating wall-of-sound generated by Thee Oh Sees, the psycho-surf-glam grooves of Ty Segall, the ageless experimental sludge rock of the Melvins, the wall-banging riffs of JEFF the Brotherhood, or the spooky desert twang of Allah-Las—and the list goes on and on. By and large, the underlying mission these days is to completely deconstruct the garage ethos with giddy abandon, reshaping it in a distorted funhouse image that embraces the sheer possibility of the music.

“That’s what I like about it, because it pushes me to keep trying different types of music and expanding my vocabulary,” says L.A.-based belter and axe-grinder Hanni El Khatib. Since 2010, he’s churned out three noisy, exuberant, and instantly accessible albums, including 2013’s grimy Head in the Dirt, produced by the Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach. This year, El Khatib has focused on rolling out a three-volume series of EPs called Savage Times—each a raucous snapshot of his growing interest in sonic manipulation and electronics.

Velvet Underground’s Reed and Morrison used a variety of amps, including a Silvertone 1484 Twin Twelve like this specimen.

“I was really taken by bands that morphed that idea of early rock ’n’ roll,” he says, “especially the Sonics, the Cramps, and 13th Floor Elevators. Roky Erickson, I would consider a very influential garage source for me. But I see it all falling out of blues and rock ’n’ roll, and then it just moved forward. It was the answer, or the antithesis, to straight-up mainstream rock. But the essence of it, in a sense, is derived from that late-’50s, early-’60s garage sound. It definitely informed the way that I think about music. I mean, it’s fast, and it’s loud!”

Mondo and His Makeup,” an ear-stinging garage send-up from El Khatib’s Savage Times Vol. 3, is a case in point. Tracked on a 1963 Danelectro 4021 Batwing guitar, with shades of Maestro fuzz driving a vintage Fender Princeton Reverb and solid-state Alamo amplifiers, the song sounds like it burst right out of a Laguna Beach garage jam circa 1966. The song’s fly-by-night video, shot at a magically gaudy Mexican restaurant in L.A., is a post-modern take on the multi-cultural fabric of the southland.

As for the guitars, El Khatib has run the gamut. “I’ve been listening to garage for forever,” he says, “and there are inherent sounds that just feel right. My main guitar for years was a ’64 Silvertone—a model H that looks like a Jaguar, with dual pickups like those DeArmond Kleenex boxes. That dictated my sound early. When I started recording with Dan, I realized that making a record and performing live don’t have to go hand-in-hand, so I opened up and started playing Teles. He even had a Strat that we used for fuzz leads. I would never in a million years think I would play a Strat, but after recording with it, I was like, ‘Oh shit, I want a Strat in the studio!’”

 

When the White Stripes burst on the scene with their eponymous 1999 debut, frontman Jack White made the all-but-forgotten Airline Res-O-Glass “JB Hutto” model a hot item practically overnight.

At the same time, El Khatib began to notice many of his peers were stocking up on guitars that had been oddball novelties when they were first produced, but were now ultra-fashionable. “I love to play out with the off-brand stuff—the Teiscos, Kays, Nationals, or Airlines or whatever—just because of the sound. But everyone started going that way. They were straying from the Mustangs, Jaguars, and Jazzmasters. So I thought the opposite of that would be to get a Gibson Black Beauty [laughs]. It was like, ‘Okay, let me play a real guitar that the greats played.’ Not that the others aren’t real, but I wanted to mess with the sound. I put a Bigsby vibrato on it and took it on the road with my ’78 Marshall, which has a modded master volume, and it became the guitar for me.”

Meanwhile, on the other side of the pond, garage rock has enjoyed its own sustained renaissance in England. From the unvarnished scuzz-punk of the Kills (based in London and Nashville) to the soulful lo-fi pop of Little Barrie, the DIY spirit is alive and well—and getting louder.

In the seaside town of Brighton, the Wytches have been making noise since 2011. In fact, they literally recorded demos for their first album in a garage. After the release of Annabel Dream Reader in 2014, they met Jim Sclavunos, well known for his long stint in Nick Cave’s genre-busting band the Bad Seeds. As it happens, Cave is also a resident of Brighton, and Wytches lead singer and guitarist Kristian Bell is an avowed fan of Cave’s first band, the Birthday Party—particularly the warped, freewheeling guitar attack of the late Rowland S. Howard.

“I can identify with his playing a bit more because it doesn’t seem very technical,” says the 23-year-old Bell. “It’s more like a feeling, rather than having loads of knowledge. He’s playing simple riffs, but they’re also really good, and with a lot of feedback. He’s probably my favourite guitar player—one I’ve tried to emulate now and then.”

The Wytches’ latest album, All Your Happy Life, delivers on the promise. For most of the sessions, Bell plugged into a Vox AC30 with his trusty Fender Classic Player Jazzmaster, cutting loose with a jagged, angular attack on the tripped-out single “C Side,” which pretty much encapsulates the trio’s sound: aggressive and combative, but still melodic as hell. He channels a stereophonically wide-angled crunch on “Bone Weary” and Dumb Fill”—both tracked on a tweed Fender Blues Junior, once again making the case that, in the studio (as opposed to onstage), massive volume is often just a matter of perception.

The Blues Junior is quite limited, but it does have a really nice natural distortion,” Bell says. “And I think there’s a lot to be said about trying out things without reverb, because the guitar seems to do some crazy things when you take that away. I used to just drown everything in echo, and it sounds cool for some parts, but for a lot of the heavier playing on this album, I just left it dry and distorted, which I’m glad I tried out. It works better.”

In past interviews, Bell has referred to his band’s sound as “surf doom,” with a nod to Duane Eddy and Black Flag’s Greg Ginn—two key influences who couldn’t be more vastly different. It’s become an identifying factor among scores of young bands today that embrace the garage blueprint: The cross-pollination of styles doesn’t matter. Besides a guitar, an amp, three chords, and the truth, as long as you also share the commitment, comradery, and the burning desire to make noise together, then you’re playing in a garage band.

“To me, a band is a mystical thing,” says Lenny Kaye, summing up his own history with the Patti Smith Group, still going strong after more than 40 years. “It took me a long time with Patti to get my thing together. I was not the greatest guitar player—I’m still not the greatest guitar player—but you do learn your craft over the years. In our early years, people would say, ‘Well, if you had a real band, instead of this haphazard group of musicians who are straining to figure out who they are …’—but it wouldn’t have been what it became. And that’s one of the important things. You look at all these bands, from the garage era on up, and you can feel their unity.”

At a recent New York tribute to the Shaggs—yet another band of almost-forgotten outsiders who had the distinction of being sisters as well as self-taught musicians (and who counted Frank Zappa and Kurt Cobain among their fan base)—Kaye elaborated further on the mystique behind the music.

“Sometimes it’s hard to play simple, to take those two or three chords and turn them inside out and find a sound that attracts the ear. I mean, ‘Pushin’ Too Hard’ [by the Seeds] is just a great, crafty song. One of the myths of the garage bands is that they’re untutored and unschooled, and somewhat less musicianly. But some of these songs are not as simple as they seem. There are little guitar phrases, a second guitar adding this, the chords going strange—like most music, it’s not as easy as it looks.

“And I couldn’t let this go without mentioning the national anthem of garage rock—[Them’s] ‘Gloria,’ y’know? All over the world, whatever band happens to be up there, if they want me to jam out, I say, ‘Okay, E-D-A, just follow along.’ And they know it! And it’s always different, but it makes everybody stand up, and that’s what a national anthem should do.”

Image may contain: one or more people, people standing, tree, shoes, plant and outdoor

This extraordinarily pleasant, restful film is essentially the digital equivalent of hanging out in the Manhattan shop of the title, a Greenwich Village institution of sorts where master craftsman Rick Kelly and his young apprentice Cindy Hulej make and sell guitars. At one point early on, Hulej puts down her blowtorch and brushes and steps back to photograph her latest creation for Instagram, assigning the label “#guitarporn” – really, that could just as easily been a title for the whole film. It is 80 minutes of pure woodwork-musicianship-upcycling erotica for a very specialist but passionate market.

If, like me, you love watching video footage of people making stuff, the you’ll probably swoon most over the bits where Hulej and her sensei Kelly saw and chisel or just talk about the objects they create: electric guitars carved from wood recovered from New York’s oldest buildings. They’ve been known to scrounge joists from burnt-down churches, reclaiming timber from the 19th century that Kelly describes as “the bones of old New York City”.

Once the centre of the New York bohemia, Greenwich Village is now home to lux restaurants, and buzzer door clothing stores catering to the nouveau riche. But one shop in the heart of the Village remains resilient to the encroaching gentrification: Carmine Street Guitars. There, custom guitar maker Rick Kelly and his young apprentice Cindy Hulej, build handcrafted guitars out of reclaimed wood from old hotels, bars, churches and other local buildings. Nothing looks or sounds quite like a Rick Kelly guitar, which is the reason they are embraced by the likes of Bob Dylan, Lou Reed, Patti Smith, Jim Jarmusch, just to name a few. Featuring a cast of prominent musicians and artists, the film captures five days in the life of Carmine Street Guitars, while examining an all-too-quickly vanishing way of life.

Thanks to partly their craftsmanship and partly the crystallised resin in the material (impossible to replicate for guitars made from fresh-cut wood), the instruments have a uniquely beautiful tone. It also helps to hear them played by the various friends of the store who walk through the door for a jam, a natter, maybe even a purchase (this is shopping porn too). Musicians featured include Christine Bougie of Bahamas, the Fiery Furnaces’ Eleanor Friedberger, jazz greats Bill Frisell and Marc Ribot, Jamie Hince from the Kills, Lou Reed’s guitar tech Stewart Hurwood (who put on an installation in Brighton with guitars built by Kelly for Reed), Patti Smith’s guitarist Lenny Kaye, and longtime Bob Dylan collaborator Charlie Sexton. And there’s a visit from film-maker/musician Jim Jarmusch, who is also described in the credits as the film’s “instigator”; his involvement seems inevitable, even though it’s a very self-effacing appearance given over mostly to a discussion of types of wood. If a film had a smell, this one would be of sawdust, varnish and pure love.

  • Carmine Street Guitars is available on digital platforms from 26 June.

SQUIER GUITARS

Posted: July 21, 2020 in Uncategorized

 

Squier Classic Vibe 70s Jaguar

Squier CV Jaguar

Retro styling is the name of the game for the Fender Jaguar. Sharing many cues with classic automotive design, the Jaguar features sleek lines yet sports a rough and ready feel. Fender-Designed alnico single coil pickups and a 24” scale length set this guitar apart from the rest of the lineup.

Squier Classic Vibe 60s Jazzmaster

Squier CV Jazzmaster

A faithful and striking homage to the iconic Fender favourite, and also available in a rare left-handed edition! Undeniable Jazzmaster tone thanks to the pair of Fender-Designed alnico single coil pickups, and a slim, comfortable playing experience. There’s also the classic vintage-style tremolo system for expressive string bending effects.

Squier Classic Vibe 60s Mustang

Squier CV Mustang

Another favourite for the fans of alternative guitars, the Squier Classic Vibe 60s Mustang pays tribute to the offset stars of the 60s. With its dual Fender-Designed alnico single coils, 24” scale length and comfortable neck, players of all ilk will enjoy the Mustang.


Bass Guitars

Squier Classic Vibe Bass VI

Squier CV Bass VI

Grabbing headlines this year is the return of the Squier Bass VI! The secret weapon of many a daring producer and sonic pioneer, this beefy instrument gives an extra octave below a standard guitar. It’s certainly a true hybrid; bassier than a guitar yet more guitary than a bass. Thicken out your recordings and enjoy the quirky experience of the Bass VI.

A guitar used by Prince on his ‘Purple Rain’ tour is expected to fetch over £1 million when it goes to auction next week.

LOT386 OF 805:PRINCE OWNED AND PLAYED ORIGINAL CLOUD 2 “BLUE ANGEL” GUITAR, 1984 – WITH ROADCASE, MAGAZINE AND PHOTO

The custom electric blue instrument was one of four ‘cloud’ guitars used between 1984 and 1985 in support of the ‘When Doves Cry’ hitmaker’s seminal sixth studio album.

It was also used throughout the ‘Parade’ tour in 1986, the ‘Sign o’ The Times’ tour in 1987, and was the primary guitar Prince used throughout the ‘Lovesexy’ tour between 1988 and 1989.

The guitar was thought to be lost when it disappeared in the 90s until it was found last year. The owner was given it by Prince but was not aware of its exact history.

A description on Julien’s Auctions site reads: “The guitar, currently painted an electric blue finish, has been refinished a number of times, but began white. The guitar has also been painted and used by Prince as peach, light blue, and yellow. The guitar neck is cracked from between the 6th and 7th frets up to the headstock.

“From 1984 until the time that Andy Beech began making Cloud guitars for Prince in 1993, this was Prince’s primary performance Cloud guitar. The Guitar is accompanied by a custom purple Calzone case with stenciled labeling identifying this as ‘C1’ and listing the address for Paisley Park.”

Martin Nolan of Julien’s told Fox News: “The owners of the other three Cloud guitars won’t be selling soon so this opportunity may never come up again.

He added that he expects it to fetch over $1million when it goes to auction, but “there is no ceiling to how well it could do.”

As for the whereabouts of the other three ‘cloud’ guitars, one was handed out as a prize in a competition, one is privately owned and the other sits in Smithsonian Museum in New York.

As the highlight of Julien’s Auctions ‘Music Icons’ auction taking place June 19th-20th, Prince’s ‘cloud’ guitar can be bid on here.

The guitar, currently painted an electric blue finish, has been refinished a number of times, but began white. The guitar has also been painted and used by Prince as peach, light blue, and yellow. The guitar neck is cracked from between the 6th and 7th frets up to the headstock. From 1984 until the time that Andy Beech began making Cloud guitars for Prince in 1993, this was Prince’s primary performance Cloud guitar. Guitar is accompanied by a custom purple Calzone case with stenciled labeling identifying this as “C1” and listing the address for Paisley Park.

A detailed timeline of this guitar and its many finishes is provided below. It is important to note that this is the only Cloud guitar that was painted the lighter blue/teal color giving it the nickname “Blue Angel.”

  • The guitar was created for and used throughout the Purple Rain Tour (1984-1985)
  • Used throughout the Parade Tour (1986)
  • Used throughout the Sign o’ The Times Tour (1987)
  • Appeared in the 1987 music documentary “Sign o’ The Times” and it is featured on the poster for the film
  • It is the primary guitar Prince used throughout the Lovesexy Tour (1988-1989)
  • Prince played this guitar on September 24, 1989 when he appeared on the Saturday Night Live 15th Anniversary Special and performed “Electric Chair.” The guitar featured Batman fingerboard decals at that time.
  • Appeared on September 1991 Spin magazine cover, a copy of the magazine is included with this lot.
  • Used at the September 5, 1991 MTV Video Music Awards when he performed “Get Off.”
  • September 9, 1991 Prince appeared on the Arsenio Hall show for a now legendary performance of five songs on stage for over 20 minutes throughout the show. He played this guitar for the opener “Let’s Go Crazy,” “Cream,” and “Purple Rain
  • Used in the music videos for “Get Off” and “Cream”
  • Used throughout the Diamonds and Pearls Tour (1992)
  • It is not simply a play on words to say that the history of Prince Cloud guitars has, to this point, been a bit nebulous. This is due in large part to the many conflicting and inaccurate accounts floating around the internet.

There were a great number of later copies of the Cloud commissioned by Prince that, to the casual observer, are a close match to the originals; by design. It doesn’t help that Prince was a perpetually evolving artist whose instruments are reminiscent of the Emerald City of Oz horses of a different color that cycled through the colors of the rainbow.

All of this is set against the background of a virtual revolving door of guitar techs who worked with Prince throughout his long career. Unlike some prominent guitarists who employ one guitar tech for decades at a time, techs generally didn’t last long with Prince. One story relayed by a former tech tells of hash marks on the warehouse walls to mark the number of days each tech would last, and some reportedly chalked up only one mark. Therefore, there is no single person with continuity from the time this guitar was made until this guitar has come to market that can trace the entire history of this instrument from start to finish.

A teenage Prince shopping his demo tape around New York City in 1976 to an artist that had not only secured a record deal, but an artist that had already released five albums, For You (1978), Prince (1979), Dirty Mind (1980), Controversy (1981), and 1999 (1982), all achieving critical and commercial success. It was on the wave of this success that Prince embarked on his most ambitious project to date, Purple Rain. The script called for a guitar in a shop window that would serve as “The Kid’s” object of desire. For this, Prince enlisted the help of legendary Minneapolis guitar shop Knut Koupeé Music. According to all accounts, Prince brought his Sardonyx bass, and explained that he would like to commission a guitar version of the instrument in white, with EMG pickups and gold hardware for use in his upcoming film.

Prince very clearly understood the fact that this guitar would become an iconic symbol of his brand with the release of the film, and he sought to protect it, reserving the right to own the design and trademark for himself. With this legal document in place, Knut Koupeé set to building the second Cloud guitar. This guitar was again built from parts purchased from the O’Hagan company, but this time an O’Hagan Nightwatch would become a Cloud.

Fender announced today the release of a new signature reissue of Jimmy Page’s fabled 1959 Telecaster. While most commonly associated with Les Pauls, Page used this guitar during his time with The Yardbirds, for the recording of the first Led Zeppelin record, and in many other instances in the years since that initial release.

The guitar was originally given to Page by Jeff Beck in 1966. In a short teaser video released on Fender’s YouTube channel today, Page said, “It comes from Jeff and goes through the whole of the first album. … I wanted to recreate the original guitar so that it would travel beyond what it originally was.”

While the guitar was in its original blonde finish for the early years, Page redecorated it at two different points, once with a set of mirrors applied to the body and later with a hand-painted dragon design.

When the opening riff of “Good Times Bad Times” came through the radio in 1969, everything changed. In that moment Jimmy Page cemented his legacy and altered the course of popular music with a single guitar: his Fender Telecaster. The Fender Jimmy Page Telecaster is an homage to that guitar, which began life in its factory White Blonde lacquer finish, then became the “mirror guitar” before taking on its final form – a magical one-of-a-kind instrument, hand-painted by Page himself, that would go on to produce some of the most iconic riffs of the 20th Century.

Fender will be releasing four different models in this set, representing both stages of these distinct finishes as regular production runs and as two as limited edition Custom Shop pieces. The Custom Shop editions are being built by Custom Shop Master Builder Paul Waller and will be signed by Page.

RICKENBACKER GUITARS

Posted: May 6, 2020 in Guitars
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The finish wizards at RIC have outdone themselves by producing these very special custom instruments to celebrate your musical spring. Now for sale in the gallery on the RIC Boutique

320 GREENGLO320 PURPLEGLO330 VP AMBER MONTEZUMA BROWN330 VP AQUAGLO

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Keith Richards – The slave to rhythm sits down for an interview at Electric Lady Studios in New York, discussing his introduction to his first guitar by grandfather Gus Dupree, a professional musician, who introduced him to the Flamenco classic “Malaguena.” In this lively discussion, Keith offers keen insights into his evolution as a guitar player. In Pt 2 ,he discusses his musical influences, the creative process, and how Scotty Moore was his idol.

Legend is a word that’s thrown around probably too much, but there’s no real other way to describe Keith Richards. What else can you even say about the Rolling Stones guitarist? The 71-year-old is not only responsible for creating some of the most monumental music we’ve enjoyed over the last five decades, but his influence—alongside the Stones—have shaped music and the world that surrounds it. Watch this episode of Guitar Moves in which host Matt Sweeney lives his dream, freaks out, and sits down with Richards himself. Ever wanted to know how Richards learned how to play the guitar? Well, it started with his grandfather..

When Matt Sweeney sat down with Keith Richards—the literal definition of a legend—the conversation was so great that we decided to split it up into two parts. This is the second part of the interview. We honestly don’t know how to describe this, because, Christ, it’s Keith Richards. Just stop reading and watch it, damnit.

Gibson announces Billie Joe Armstrong Signature Model Les Paul Junior

Gibson have just announced the introduction of a brand new Billie Joe Armstrong Signature Model Les Paul Junior. It’s based on Gibson’s historic 50’s era Les Paul Junior, built to “rock out on.” This modern take on a historic model features a single ’57 Classic Humbucking pickup, classic solid-slab mahogany body, and mahogany slim taper neck with rosewood board.

“I just think the Les Paul Junior is by far the coolest guitar on the planet.”

He says that the reason behind the simplicity of the design was his desire for kids to be able to “put their own identity to it”. Whether that be through painting it themselves, covering it with stickers or carving into it, because that’s what he always did with his guitars.

Most bands traditionally play to a drummer, but The Rolling Stones have always been different. Instead, the band follows Keith Richards, their human riff machine. Charlie Watts, drummer for the Stones, has said on numerous occasions that he and the band take all of their cues from Keith who commands the stage with his rhythm and riffs.

With a career spanning over 50 years and counting, Keith’s arsenal of guitars has grown quite massive. While reading the excellent book, The Rolling Stones Gear, which checks out  the cataloging, photographing and even playing of Keith’s guitars.

Among the most magical guitar  of Keiths collection is the Fender Blackguard Tele named Micawber – the guitar Keith received on his 27th birthday from Eric Clapton.

The 1954 Fender Telecaster first arrived in the Stones’ camp during the band’s infamous 1971 Exile On Main St. recording sessions held in the south of France. It was a tumultuous time for the Stones, as they had just left England as tax exiles.

At the time, the British government had a staggering 90% tax on earnings over £15,000 per year. Keith looked at the situation as a way for Great Britain to rid itself of this troublesome lot. “We went to France because the British government had got a hard-on about a rock and roll band,” he said bluntly.

The group made a formal announcement that they and their families were going to leave Great Britain and settle in southern France, where they planned to write and produce new material for their upcoming album, Tropical Disease (later changed to Exile On Main St.).

Keith rented Villa Nellcôte in Villefranche-sur-Mer, a low-key town on the Côte d’Azur, about four miles east of Nice and six miles southwest of Monaco. Nellcôte (nicknamed “Keith’s Coffee House”) became the group’s headquarters.

The Stones’ mobile recording unit was brought across the channel and set up at Nellcôte in June. Recording ran from early July through mid November with producer Jimmy Miller and engineer Andy Johns, both of whom had also established residence in France.

Photos taken during these Exile On Main St. sessions show Keith with his ‘54 Fender Blackguard Tele with the butterscotch blonde finish and maple neck still in its original factory stock condition – fitted with standard Tele pickups and electronics with a stock Telecaster bridge.

It was during these sessions that Keith transformed the guitar into a 5-string by taking off the low E string and putting the guitar into an open G tuning (low-high: G – D –G – B – D). He used the guitar this way during the Exile session, which yielded a double album of such Stones classics like “Rocks Off,” “Rip This Joint,” “Tumbling Dice,” and “Happy,” to name a few.

The Stones set out to promote their new record on the road with their mammoth 1972 tour. Keith used his 1954 Blackguard Tele in its factory stock condition for the beginning of the tour before his guitar tech, Ted Newman Jones III, replaced the neck position Fender pickups on the Telecasters with Gibson PAF humbuckers.

He also replaced the bridge pickup on the ‘54 Tele with a Fender lap-steel pickup, which was similar to the Fender Broadcaster’s pickup. Jones set this Tele up as a 5-string for open-G tuning, and Keith described it as, “my main Tele five-string … a ’54, with the humbucker in the front.”

In the 1980s, Keith nicknamed the guitar “Micawber” after the irrepressible Wilkins Micawber character from Charles Dickens’s novel, David Copperfield. It’s also known simply as Telecaster No. 1.

Keith, who is a self-described “voracious reader” and Dickens fan explains, “There’s no reason for my guitar being called Micawber, apart from the fact that it’s such an unlikely name. There’s no one around me called Micawber, so when I scream for Micawber, everyone knows what I’m talking about.”

Though Keith has a few very similar Teles in his collection, Micawber can be easily identified from afar by a small but obvious dimple or gouge on the front upper left bout of the guitar opposite the cutaway. Keith continued to use his Micawber blackguard Tele on countless Stones recordings and endless tours. It wasn’t until the Stones embarked on their 1981 Tattoo You tour that Keith’s next guitar tech, Alan Rogan, made another modification to the guitar. Rogan explained, “You see, I had discovered the Schecter Telecasters for Pete [Townshend], so I knew where to get a solid-brass Telecaster bridge. That was the time period of all of the part companies – like Mighty Mite – making better parts for guitars. Better machine heads, like Sperzel, for example.

The [Stones] had been rehearsing up at the Long View Farm, and I showed up for the last three weeks. That’s when I made all the modifications to the Teles so they would sound better and stay in tune. I got the bridges from Schecter and got the tuners from Sperzel. I worked on all the guitars to try to make them better for the tour.”

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For more than 40 years, Micawber has been Keith’s go-to Tele for almost any Stones song in open G tuning. As a result, it’s seen its fair share of road wear.

When recently examining Keith’s Micawber, it was interesting to see the wear on the last seven frets where the neck meets the body on the bass side. Keith aggressively strums his guitars at an angle near the bottom of the fingerboard, and you can see how Micawber’s last seven frets are scalloped from his pick wear.

The butterscotch blonde finish also shows signs of heavy pick wear, especially on the upper bout of the body. There, the finish has worn completely off – even the exposed ash wood body has been worn down considerably.

The Humbucker pickup with its black mounting ring is still in the neck position, and the worn brass bridge only has five saddles to accommodate the 5-string open G setup. If you look closely at the lap steel bridge pickup, you’ll notice that it’s mounted with only two screws.

The guitar is fitted with a new set of Sperzel tuners and is strung with a custom gauge 5-string set of special Ernie Ball “Keith Richards” nickel wound strings (.011, .015, .018, .030 and .042). The well-worn neck has very little finish on it, and the black fret marker at the 17th fret is missing.

Take one look at Keith’s Micawber today, and you’ll immediately recognize its mojo. And when you stop to think about all of the songs Micawber was used on in the studio and all of the stages around the world this guitar has been played on, its historical importance becomes overwhelmingly clear.

Other players might feel the aura around the guitar when holding it, but it is Keith’s playing that brings Micawber to life. Without him, it would be just another guitar.

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