I know the blog has been quiet for a while and I’m sorry about that. It’s because of my family situation, I’m trying to raise two small kids, so I haven’t had much time for buying, restoring and selling guitars. I’ve done what I could to get rid off what I had lying around the house to make room for the kids and just kept my favourite Levin guitars. Hopefully things will change when the kids gets older and I will have time to work on guitars again. For now you can enjoy this music video I recorded over the weekend with Laura Pacios on fiddle for Gems On VHS for their #GemsInTheRough2021 contest. I’m playing my trusted 1968 Levin LT-18, my favourite guitar and the video was recorded on Montjuïc, Barcelona.
If you like old documentaries about life, music and culture I can highly recommend Folkstreams, A National Preserve of Documentary Films about American Roots Cultures. There are a couple of documentaries by Alan Lomax that are pretty interesting.
Sigma DR-41 Made in Japan 1980, now with a LR Baggs Lyrics installed
As I mentioned before I ordered myself a LR Baggs Lyrics a couple of month ago and finally got around to install it in my Japanese Sigma DR-41 from 1980. I couldn’t really decide which guitar to put it in that’s why it took so long to get it done. The actually installation was very straight forward and easier than I expected. I just drilled a 13 mm hole in the end block, installed the endpin jack, stuck the microphone to the bridge plate inside the guitar and then just fitted the volume control at the sound hole and the battery pouch to the neck block. I did two tests to show the difference between my old LR Baggs M1 and this new LR Baggs Lyrics. I thought it would be a great idea to keep both systems in at the same time so the clips would be identical and easier to compare, but ended up getting quite a lot of noise. I’m not sure if it was a dodgy cable or if the systems interfered with each other, perhaps the magnets was causing havoc? Either way, neither sounds like this on their own. I played some nice chords in the first example and the normal things I play in my Youtube videos in the second, plus some little blues licks in the end. You can really hear the limitations of the M1, even though it has other advantages like the fact that it never feedback. I have a feeling that this Lyrics might be more sensitive for that on stage. I have to say that I really like to woody and open sound of the Lyrics and it seems to handle my attack as well when I play licks. Overall, the best and most natural sounding pickup system I’ve heard so far. I understand why Sturgill Simpson is using it.
My new country favorite, Sturgill Simpson is finally coming to town. He’s playing Sala Rocksound here in Barcelona on Thursday 21st of January 2016. I was damn jealous when he was gigging around Europe last year but never came to Spain. I think it’s a solo show, which is a shame it would have been nice to see his band too. Having said that, I’m pretty sure Sturgill’s voice and guitar is enough to fill the room. If you want to learn more about Sturgill you can listen to this interview.
I’ve just ordered myself a LR Baggs Lyrics, mainly because I needed a second pickups system but also because I thought it would make me as awesome as Sturgill Simpson. Either way, I needed something new and felt that the Lyrics sounded way more realistic than my old LR Baggs M1. My friend Wolf and I recently installed a LR Baggs iBeam in his Luxor Dove copy and that sounded great. I still haven’t decided if I’m going to install the Lyrics system in my new 1982 Sigma DR-41 or the 1973 K. Yairi YW-1000.
As mentioned before, there are two guitars that I really would like to own. The first would be a Gibson J-50, ideally from before 1970. The Second would be a mid 1970’s K. Yairi YW-1000, the most beautiful Martin D-45 copy ever made. Having said that, I might have to add a third guitar in my list of holy grails, a Grammer Guitar. Imagine to find an original, before Ampeg took over, The Grammer Guitar RG&G, built by Billy and the boys in Nashville, Tennessee. Here you can read the history of the Grammer Guitar, it’s a pretty interesting story, especially if you like country music as I do. In the mid 1960’s Billy Grammer, a musician himself, decided to make an affordable flat top guitar for his friends in the Country music business. He took a Gibson J-45 and a Martin D-18 apart, studied their bracing pattern and how they were built and then made a copy with the best of both worlds, The Grammer Guitar. Maybe the reason I like them so much is because they remind me of my big headed Levin guitars from the 1970’s.
The Last Grammer Guitar made by RG&G, built in 1968 on 715 Poplar Avenue in Nashville, Tennessee
I’m not much of a Joe Bonamassa fan but he plays a 1969 Grammer Johnny Cash model, I mainly respect him for taking his vintage guitars on tour and using them instead of just collection them. The Guitar Of The Week part on the Joe Bonamassa’s site is well worth a visit if you like old guitars.
Joe Bonamassa’s 1969 Grammer Johnny Cash model, here is a Youtube clip of him playing it live
Here is Billy when he was young and awesome
And here is Billy when he is old and blind, but still kind of awesome
Daniel Romano last night in Sala Rocksound Barcelona
Araceli and I finally got to see Daniel Romano last night. It was my wife’s birthday so it was a pretty good ending to her special day. The gig was great, the sound was good and the band was awesome live. The only let down was perhaps that Daniel Roman wasn’t wearing his awesome cowboy suit, but what can you do on a Tuesday in small venue in the north of Spain after a long European tour. I got a chance to say hi to him after the gig and managed to ask the question that has been nagging me since the first time I heard him. What Gibson model is his awesome sounding acoustic, the one with the Daniel Romano inlays over the freatboard? My guess was a re-issue Gospel and it turned out I was right, it’s a 1995 Gibson Gospel.