I have recently fallen in love with Daniel Romano, well not in a gay way, he just happens to do exactly what I would like to do. When I discover artists like this I never really know what to feel. Should I slap him in the face out of pure jealousy or just shake his hand and say, well done? Everything is so perfect, the songs, the band, his voice, the guitars, the suits, even down to the artwork. Well he seems like a nice guy and I really like what his doing so I have decided to just take off my hat and bow.
Gibson Walnut SG Standard made in Kalamazoo, USA in 1977
I recently had the pleasure of having an awesome 1977 Gibson Walnut SG Standard at home to play with. Well the idea was to look over the electronics and make sure it was fit to gig with for Patrycja, a friend of Verushka that I sorted the Hondo II bass for. According to The Guitar Dater Project it was made at the Kalamazoo Plant, USA on December 15th 1977, production number 103. It was great that I got a chance to play around with a Gibson Walnut SG Standard from the Seventies, that’s exactly what I was tempted to get myself, see my previous post about Gibson SG. Luckily I tried one before I bought one and I realised straight away that I still prefer Telecasters, SGs have too much neck for me. It was interesting to try a 1970’s Gibson made in USA just to compare it to all the made in Japan copies in my collection. I have to say that the feel and quality of the Japanese guitars are right up there with the American originals.
Everything seems to be original, except one pot, so I thought it was unnecessary to change the original jack just because of a bit of crackle so I cleaned it instead. I cleaned all the contact surfaces with wire wool and contact spray, it seems to be enough. I tightened the pots and all the screws on machine heads, strap buttons, pickguard, pickup rings, bridge and polished up the wood a bit.
There was a fairly nasty cut in the edge binding on the 5th fret. You could feel it when you played so I masked it off and then filled it with wood filler, that happened to match in colour, then sanded it smooth and dropped a bit of nitro lacquer over it. Unfortunately I forgot to take a picture when it was all done, the last picture is before the lacquer and the final sanding with 2500 grit.
Patrycja wanted to keep the dents and scratches to the body and I agreed, it’s nice when a guitar shows it’s real age. However, nobody likes dents in the back of the neck so I did what I could to soften them a bit. I recently learned a great way of removing dents and scratches, or at least making them stand out less. Use a soldering iron and some wet paper folded up, the steam from the iron will make the wood swell and that way make the dent less deep. Sometimes this works extremely well, especially on surface scratches, and sometimes it makes no difference at all so it’s a bit hit and miss but it’s quick and easy and therefore at least worth a try. Make sure you move the soldering iron and just hold it down for a sec to not damage the surface. The last step was to polish the frets and fretboard, put on some lemon oil and then new strings. The action and intonation was already great so I didn’t have to adjust that.
One of the most famous and highly collectable vintage guitars of all time, the infamous Peter Green Les Paul. Most Blues fans will know that as well as being revered for his amazing tone and unmistakeable vibrato, B.B. King once remarked “He has the sweetest tone I ever heard. He’s the only one who gave me the cold sweats.”, over the years Peter’s Les Paul has built up a similar legend in guitar folklore. Now in the hands of a private collector, it made it’s journey through Peter Greens hands and into the arms of Gary Moore who put it to good use on a number of his albums and live shows. Earlier on in his career, Peter Green played a Harmony Meteor, a cheap hollow-body guitar, but quickly started playing a Gibson Les Paul with The Bluesbreakers after he replaced Eric Clapton in the band. Green’s guitar was often referred to as his “magic guitar”. “I never had a magic one. Mine wasn’t magic…It just barely worked” said Green in 2000. “I stumbled across one when I was looking for something more powerful than my Harmony Meteor. I went into Selmer’s in Charing Cross Road [central London] and tried one. It was only £110 and it sounded lovely and the color was really good. But the neck was like a tree trunk… It was very different from Eric’s Les Paul, which was slim with a very fast action.”
In part, his unique tone derived from a modification to the neck pickup which was reversed and rewired, a modification made after 1967. For anyone looking to modify their guitar in the same way, we found a link to a nice blog here on how to perform the tone mod in detailed steps http://www.geetarz.org/axes/green.htm
It was in the early 70’s when Green passed the guitar over to Gary Moore. Peter was suffering from mental health problems and would put his guitar down for the best part of 8 years. At the time, the Irishman was a friend and close neighbor of Green’s in London. Green initially tried to give the Les Paul to him on the understanding that he could ask for it back when he was well enough to play again but Moore insisted on paying the £110 that it originally cost and Peter Green never did ask for it to be returned. Once in the hands of Gary Moore, the guitar went on to be used on a number of recordings, most notably the ‘Blues For Greeny’ album of Fleetwood Mac covers dedicated to the orginal owner. Green used it extensively until he sold the guitar in 2006.
Peter Green and Gary Moore with the 1959 Les Paul Standard
Gary Moore explained why he parted ways with the iconic instrument: “It’s a long story. The instrument itself was a very special instrument, obviously. But it got to the point where I couldn’t take it anywhere. I didn’t want to sell it. I had to sell it for various reasons because I injured my hand a few years ago and the insurance didn’t pay up, and I had to cover the tour costs for canceled shows with my own money, and I didn’t get paid for any of the shows, obviously, or for anything. I ended up with debt. So it was kind of a financial thing, really, and that was the quickest way to do anything about it. So I never wanted to sell it. I mean, why would I? I kept the other ’59 Les Paul and I sold that one. That guitar was played by Jimi Hendrix, Jeff Beck, Rory Gallagher played it, and I’ve played it. It was a very special instrument. Les Pauls are all so different. That one is a big old battle axe. Peter Green never really liked that guitar because the neck was too big. He wanted me to have it because he said he wanted it to go to a good home.” Taken from Interactive Guitar
The most beautiful Martin D-45 copies in the world, a 1976 K. Yairi YW-1000
I’m extremely happy with the two Morris I have and think that Terada is one of the better acoustic guitar builders in Japan. Having said that, I think everyone that is in to Japanese acoustics dream of owning a K. Yairi, at least I do. Unfortunately they are a bit too expensive for me, I’m sure they are worth it but you can get an old Martin, Gibson or Guild for that money. One thing that I really like with Yairi is that they use the year of the Emperor of Japan to determine the production year of their instruments, how awesome is that. See the list below.
http://youtu.be/ky56o9gBDR4 Good materials are hard to find so it’s better to make guitars through limited production by hand instead of mass production. Trees are very important “precious” things so we should make good use of them. Guitars made with “heart” are the best use of trees. Kazuo Yairi
When was my Yairi made? By reading the number stamped on the heel block of your Yairi, you can tell in which year it was made. The first two numbers correspond to the year of the Emperor of Japan at that time, see chart below. The second two numbers refer to the month of production. Taken from The Fellowship of Acoustics
I really like Premier Guitar’s series Rig Rundown. Well there is an awful lot of pedals and crap that I don’t really care much for but I like to see the guitars and hear them talk about their equipment, or rather hear their guitar technicians talk about it. Here are just a couple but if you search for Rig Rundown in Youtube you can find a lot more. I have to say that I never cared much for Joe Bonamassa but after hearing what he brings on tour, two real 59′ bursts, and how passionate he is about vintage guitars, I’ve changed my opinion. I truly believe that old guitars were made to be played and I really like that Joe and his crew has been invited to see and often play 75 original 59′ burst so far, apparently only 643 sunburst guitars were made in 1959 and only 53% is accounted for. It’s a weird world we live in where collectors sit on guitars that never see the light of day and real musicians are too scared of taking anything else than re-issues on tour. Hats off to Joe Bonamassa for still playing the real thing and I do understand why people come up to him and lend him famous guitars to play, like when the Kossoff family let him play Paul Kossoff’s 1959 Les Paul.
Solid hit. Gibson SG Custom and Gibson SG Standard from the 1961 catalogue, They looked a lot less evil back then
I have always had a weird love – hate relationship with the Gibson SG. Even though I really like both AC/DC and Black Sabbath the SG has kind of been ruined, or rather over exposed, through Angus and Toni. A bit like the Fender 52′ Telecaster which feels a lot like Bruce Springsteen and Keith Richards, even though neither actually plays a 52′. I have just seen too many young boys playing rock riffs on a Cherry SG Standard or SG Special for considering owning one myself. On top of that my woman thinks they look evil, EVIL I tell you. Then again, imagine an early Seventies walnut SG Deluxe or Custom in it’s worn wood colour. That’s pretty sexy, or even sexier a fancy pants white SG custom with gold hardware. The only problem is that they tend to come with 3 pickups and I can’t play guitars with 3 pickups, I end up hitting the middle one all the time. That’s why I prefer Telecasters instead of Stratocasters, even though I love the sound of the Strats middle pickup, I just keep hitting it and I it’s in the way when I’m trying to chicken / hybrid / whatever you want to call it, pick with my fingers.
An original 1961 Gibson SG/Les Paul Custom
GIBSON SG 1970 catalogue
GIBSON SG 1972 catalogue
I’ve been quite tempted for a while to get myself an old Greco, Ibanez or Tokai SG, ideally white and gold but with just 2 pickups, as explained above. The problem is that most of the Japanese SG’s that shows up on eBay are early 1970’s ones and I don’t think they will live up to my expectations. I doubt that a bolt on neck cherry Avon or Columbus SG copy will stand a chance next to for an example my Greco EG-600 Les Paul Custom from 1980, which makes it a bit silly even if you could get one for 150€.
Greco catalogue from 1972, just look at the white and gold Greco SG-400
Now we are talking, Keith and Jimi on a white Gibson SG Custom. The guys below looks pretty cool too, even if they went for the more classic Cherry instead of Walnut or white. Well I guess Eric Clapton doesn’t count since he went bananas and had someone on acid paint his.
Tonight Araceli and I are going to see the pride of Canada, The Sheepdogs here in Barcelona. We saw them at the Azkena rock festival earlier this year and they were awesome. They make you want to buy an old Gibson Firebird and move to Canada. Here you can get your tickets for tonight’s show at Sala Bikini. See you there.
After watching Kris Kristofferson the other day I got really curious and wanted to know what a Gibson Southern Jumbo really sounds like. I know that Jackson Browne plays a lot of these old Gibson guitars and they sound amazing when he plays them but what is the difference between a Southern Jumbo, J-50 and J-45? I’ve never played a real Gibson acoustic or a proper Martin and doubt I ever will in this town since people are so extremely unfriendly in the guitar shops here, that’s why I have to buy everything online. Luckily I managed to find these great demo’s so I could finally hear the difference between them all and unfortunately it’s not always a good thing. I’ve always loved the Hummingbirds and been looking for a Japan made copy for some time but it the originals sound this thin and boring then I’m not sure how good a copy will sound, even if it’s made in Japan. Maybe I have to rethink this again, I mean the Southern Jumbo sounds the best. Full and deep but not muffled when strummed like the SJ-200 or some of the other Jumbo’s. When I saw that awesome Youtube concert with Dan Tyminski the other day I thought that his 1946 Martin D-28 was the best sounding guitar in the world and wanted to find a copy of that, I doubt I can afford a real Martin from the 1940’s. I guess all guitar shapes have their purpose in life, I just need to find the one that is right for me.