Claescaster

Month: July, 2013

Movie of the day

crosby, stills and nashMy girlfriend Araceli and I watched two great BBC documentaries recently that I can highly recommend. Sweet Home Alabama: The Southern Rock Saga and Hotel California: LA from The Byrds to The Eagles.

Sweet Home Alabama: The Southern Rock Saga (2012)

Hotel California: LA from The Byrds to The Eagles (2007)

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Martin D42/D45 Made in Japan copy

Alvarez Yairi 5070

I’m after a Japan made Martin D42/D45 copy. If anyone happens to see one for sale, please let me know. It doesn’t have to be a Alvarez or Yairi, Morris, Mountain, Suzuki, Aria and pretty much anything else would do as long as it’s made in Japan in the 1970’s or early 1980’s. However, it has to have the hexagon inlays and binding around the top and soundhole.

Levin De Luxe 1938

Django Reinhardt
Django Reinhardt is playing Fred Guy’s Levin De Luxe backstage at the Aquarium in New York City 1946. © William Gottlieb

I really love my Swedish made Levin LT-16 from 1966, it’s without any doubt the most comfortable acoustic I have ever played. I tend to keep an eye out for another Levin guitars on eBay but they always go for stupid amounts of money, around £400-1000 depending on the model. Yesterday I came across one of the more famous Levin guitars, Fred Guy of the Duke Ellington band’s 1938 Levin De Luxe which is up for sale on eBay for $200,000. Here is the story how he originally got it. Taken from Vintage Guitars Stockholm, they have more photos as well.
While visiting Göteborg during a tour of Sweden in April, 1939, Fred Guy, guitarist in the Duke Ellington Orchestra purchased a Levin De Luxe at Waidele. This is the guitar that Django Reinhardt is playing in the famous William Gottlieb photos. They were taken backstage at the Aquarium in New York City when Django was on tour with the Duke Ellington Orchestra in 1946.

Fred Guy, Levin De Luxe
Fred Guy with his 1938 Levin De Luxe

Here is the background info from the eBay listing.
Recently returned from France – as it was being shown in a Django Reinhardt Exhibition for 3 months (see picture above). Also seen in the 2011 issue of the July / Aug / Sept edition of Guitar Aficionado magazine (Find section). This is the Levin Guitar previously owned by Fred Guy of the Duke Ellington band – during the 1940’s era. This is also the same guitar that Django Reinhardt is holding in the picture above when he was in New York City, backstage with the Duke Ellington Orchestra in 1946, and on the cover of Acoustic Guitar Magazine, Feb 1996 edition. The guitar was given to me by Fred Guy’s ex-wife Dorothy Guy Lynch about 30 years ago. The Levin guitar is in its original case, and the guitar itself has some small cracks in it. If you love Jazz, and want to own a piece of jazz history, this is a rare opportunity for the serious guitar collector. This is the real deal. Serious inquiries only… If you want to view the guitar, I will be glad to set up a time to do so (the guitar is being stored off premises in a secured site so arrangements will need to be made in advance).  I have relisted this guitar over and over because I received many responses that provided me with additional information about the guitar, and a trip to France to show it at the Cite de la Musique for their Django Reinhardt Exhibition this past year (see picture above). So I am thankful for the opportunities! You can check out the article in the 2011 edition of Guitar Aficionado magazine.

Fred Guy Levin De Luxe 1938

Fred Guy Levin De Luxe 1938

Fred Guy Levin De Luxe 1938

Guitar of the day

Rory Gallagher's 1961 Fender Stratocaster

Rory Gallagher’s 1961 Fender Stratocaster with the serial number of 64351. Bought on credit from Crowley’s Music Store in Cork in 1963 for £100, this is the guitar that formed the bedrock of Rory’s sound and became synonymous with the bluesman. It was also possibly the first Fender Stratocaster to reach Ireland. Almost all of the original finish is gone, due to the heavy use, and a medical condition that caused Rory’s sweat to be acidic, which would wear away the thin nitro finish.

Rory Gallagher's 1961 Fender StratocasterRory Gallagher's 1961 Fender StratocasterRory Gallagher's 1961 Fender Stratocaster

Hondo II P-bass

Hondo II P-bass

My friend Dani bought himself a Hondo II P-bass copy the other week, well I had to buy it for him since he doesn’t have a eBay account. I took it home and spent my Sunday morning with her,  it wasn’t much work needed. The electronics are pretty old but it works and sounded pretty cool so I think we should keep it as it is for now. However, the actions was extremely high so I had to first adjust the trussrod a bit and then put in a shim in the neck pocket to get the angle of the neck right. Now it’s as low as it can go without any buzzing and it feels really nice to play.

This bass is now for sale.

Hondo II P-bass I love the wood grain, really beautiful. We bought the bass from a UK seller but it seems to have been sold in Canada originally.

Hondo II P-bass Pretty descent wood, good weight and really solid. I’m not really sure what type of pickup that is but it works and sounds good. I folded a business card and used as a shim to get the neck right and to lower the action. I couldn’t find any markings anywhere so we are still not 100% that it is made in Japan, it could be Korean made. Anyway, it feels really nice and seems to be pretty good quality so it doesn’t really matter.

Francisca Montserrat, Barcelona

Francisca Montersat Barcelona
Francisca Montserrat Barcelona, Spanish guitar 1960’s

The crisis has taken hard on the Spaniards and I think especially here in Barcelona you can really see the difference between the people with and without jobs. I have never seen so many men rummaging  through the rubbish bins and collecting things to sell, ideally scrap metal. At the same time I have never seen so nice things being thrown out like they are worth nothing just because they are old. A couple of month ago my friends and I passed a guy with a shopping trolley full of scrap metal and an old guitar on top. I stopped him and asked how much he wanted for the guitar, without actually having any idea what it was or what shape it was in. He said 10€ and I bought it straight away. It was very dirty and in bad shape but after a bit of cleaning and new strings it turned out to be an amazing sounding and very easy to play little Flamenco guitar. I’m just happy that I managed to save a really nice guitar from a faith that could be way worse than being cherished and played by me and my friends.

Francisca Montersat BarcelonaFrancisca Montersat Barcelona

Fender Japan TN72G-FT/MH SWH

FENDER JAPAN TN72G-FT/MH SWH

We went and saw Crosby, Still & Nash when they played here last Monday. They were like I had expected, old. Crosby and Nash did pretty well but Stills has lost the plot completely, but I think he did that 40 years ago with his cocaine fueled hubris. He can’t sing any more, which could happen to the best of us, so he decided to just play endless guitar solos instead. I’m not sure if he is in to free-jazz but the solos sounded horrible and they seemed to never end.

Crosby, Stills & Nash Setlist at Jardins del Palau Reial de Pedralbes, Barcelona, Spain 2013-07-08
They looked a bit like this

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10151824462428714&l=994714882144620479
And they sounded a bit like this, without Stills of course. Please excuse the shaky hand of the camera man, he was trying to drink bourbon out of a hip-flask at the same time.

It was nice to see a couple Gretsch White Falcons on stage though, which reminded me of a pretty awesome new Japanese Telecaster I saw a few months back. The Fender Japan TN72G-FT/MH SWH, a Telecaster version of a White Falcon. I guess it could be a bit much for a lot of people with all the gold but I love it. However, I’m not sure if I’m willing to pay ¥230,000 for it, it’s about $2,270. They seem to be pretty hard to find in Europe but here is an eBay seller that sells them for 1740€ plus shipping and import taxes. I guess I have to wait a few years until they appear second hand for hopefully a bit less.

Fender Japan '72 Rissue Telecaster TN72G-FT MH

Fender Japan TN72G-FT/MH SWH

FENDER JAPAN TN72G-FT/MH SWH

We went and saw Crosby, Still & Nash when they played here last Monday. They were like I had expected, old. Crosby and Nash did pretty well but Stills has lost the plot completely, but I think he did that 40 years ago with his cocaine fueled hubris. He can’t sing any more, which could happen to the best of us, so he decided to just play endless guitar solos instead. I’m not sure if he is in to free-jazz but the solos sounded horrible and they seemed to never end.

Crosby, Stills & Nash Setlist at Jardins del Palau Reial de Pedralbes, Barcelona, Spain 2013-07-08
They looked a bit like this

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10151824462428714&l=994714882144620479
And they sounded a bit like this, without Stills of course. Please excuse the shaky hand of the camera man, he was trying to drink bourbon out of a hip-flask at the same time.

It was nice to see a couple Gretsch White Falcons on stage though, which reminded me of a pretty awesome new Japanese Telecaster I saw a few months back. The Fender Japan TN72G-FT/MH SWH, a Telecaster version of a White Falcon. I guess it could be a bit much for a lot of people with all the gold but I love it. However, I’m not sure if I’m willing to pay ¥230,000 for it, it’s about $2,270. They seem to be pretty hard to find in Europe but here is an eBay seller that sells them for 1740€ plus shipping and import taxes. I guess I have to wait a few years until they appear second hand for hopefully a bit less.

Fender Japan '72 Rissue Telecaster TN72G-FT MH

How to… change pickups

Morgan Telecaster, Claescaster

Last Sunday I decided to change the pickups on my old Claescaster. I had ordered a cheap $24.00 set of Artec ones, just regular Alnico V pickups from EY Guitars. I also ordered a new Wilkinson vintage bridge, without any doubt my favourite Telecaster bridge, since I took the old one and put on the new Claescaster. It was a pretty straight forward procedure as usual, I didn’t even have to check Seymour Duncan’s wiring diagram this time.

IMG_9082 copy
The old stock pickups and bridge from my Morgan Telecaster, aka the old Claescaster

IMG_9084 copy
The new Artec Alnico V pickups in gold, mounted on a Wilkinson WTB bridge, in gold of course

IMG_9085 copy
I got 3 Meters (9.8 Feet) of wax coated cloth wire, 22awg, for $1.70, that’s about a tenth of the price here

IMG_9078 copy
I changed the pots a while ago to nice full size Alpha 250k audio pots. I should probably get a new switch as well but the old one is still working fine

IMG_9090 copy
Since the new Artec pickups came with cloth wire I thought I should change all the old crappy pvc wires for some fancy 22awg cloth wire, not sure why I chose yellow though. I stuck to the old 50′s vintage wiring like I had it before

I haven’t tried them properly yet, just plugged them in to see if they worked, well I did a quick little sound clip just to see if there was any difference. I really like the bridge sound of the new ones, really twangy but the neck might be a bit too muffled. I’m rehearsing tonight so then I will get a chance to play loud and see if it was worth $24.00 or not. Hopefully the neck pickup will sound less muffled when I play it through my Fender Blues Deluxe which tends to make even humbuckers sound clear and crisp. Please don’t judge my guitar playing too hard, it was after all a Sunday morning after a long weekend. I think you can hear both my cat and my woman going about their business in the background.

Claescaster Morgan stock pickups (Neck, middle, bridge)

Claescaster ARTEC pickups (Bridge, middle, neck)

Update 2013-07-12I might have got a bit too carried away last night because the two sound clips I recorded are very LOUD. I guess I had more fun with my new pickups than I expected. I think they sound pretty good, I’m not the worlds greatest guitar player but to me they sound way better than the old stock pickups. The neck pickup didn’t sound muffled at all through my Fender Blues Deluxe, and the middle sounds sweat like hell, well worth $24.00.

Claescaster ARTEC pickups with Fender Blues Deluxe (Bridge, middle, neck)

Claescaster ARTEC pickups with Fender Blues Deluxe (Bridge, middle, neck)

Fernandes The Revival RST-50 ’57

Fernandes The Revival '57 Stratocaster
Fernandes The Revival RST-50 ’57 Stratocaster
Made in Japan, 1988

We were up in Vitoria last weekend for the Azkena rock festival, I had to see The Black Crowes, and I managed to find this little beauty in a Cash converter. It’s a Fernandes The Revival RST-50 ’57 Stratocaster made in Japan probably in 1988. It’s a bit of detective work left to do, I’m still not sure if these were made in the FujiGen or the Tokai factory. It’s most likely made in 1988, well if you can trust Guitar world crazy in Japan, but he seems to know his stuff. The number on the back plate has nothing to do with the year but the first digit of the number stamped on the neck seems to indicate the production year, at least during the 1980’s. Mine has #Y80801 and ’57 stamped and the heal so that should be a Fernades RST-50 ’57 Strat from 1988. However, this guy on eBay claims that Fernandes changed from the proper Fender head to a sharpier head in 1986. He claims that mine should have been made between 1982-85 since it has “Electric Sound Research Group” under the Fernandes The Revival logo on the headstock. I think I’ll go with the Guitar world crazy guy, he seems to know a thing or two. We can be pretty sure that the material is the following, both Guitar world crazy and Music-Trade Japan says the same. The RST-50 ’57 were made between 1981-90, came with Revival Logo, had a 3-piece alder body a Small head and a 1-piece maple neck, poly lacquer, L-5000 Vintage Arched PP Gray Bobbin pickups, separate Diecast & FSRG Press saddle. However, then it says that from 1984 the pickups changed to VS-2 and the saddle to non press marked which is weird since mine clearly has “Revival F.S.R.G” stamped on them. It has quite a lot of fret wear but since the neck felt so amazing I couldn’t resist. Now I finally have an awesome “Blackie” copy so you all can call me Claes Clapton from now on.

Update 2013-07-06
Fernandes have found a new dad. She got adopted this Saturday by a lovely sound engineer, that happened to live two streets away from me, so she could be the jewel in his growing collection of Japanese guitars. I wish the best to both of you.

Fernandes The Revival '57 Stratocaster

Fernandes The Revival '57 Stratocaster

Fernandes The Revival '57 Stratocaster