Collectible Guitar Magazine :: Then and Now - Jan/Feb 2016

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Two ‘54 Teles: Affirming the Anomalies PRODUCT REVIEWS • Izotope Nectar 2 • “Resonate” - Republic Guitars • TWA Triskelion PedaL • Lewitt DGT 650 • Rockn Stompn Model RS-4 Power Sequencer JAN/FEB 2016

FEATURES • Tom Hemby • GEORGE GRUHN • Selling Lennon’s Gibson J-160E

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Tips for Shopping on Reverb Hey Friends, many of you are most likely already aware of the guitar selling website, Reverb. For selling guitars on-line there are the normal suspects (ebay, G-Base, your own web store, etc.) but for the last few years Reverb has joined the party. What I like about the Reverb format is now you have a very easy to navigate platform for hosting your own sales shop and you can buy guitars there just as easily. Their smartphone interface works good too, plus the customer service has been top drawer for me (not to mention that the fees you pay for selling on Reverb are about ½ of what ebay may cost you). I have been buying and selling for over a year now and I have a few tips I’d like to share with you that might make your experience a little better than it already is. And no, I don’t have stock in the company, but I have done some really good buying and selling on Reverb! 1) Check it often. If I have a guitar in mind that I am looking for I will type it in the Search Bar and then hit the Most Recent filter. I have actually seen guitars before that were just listed oneminute before I checked. This really does give you an advantage. “The early bird gets the worm,” so to speak.

2) When you find a guitar you like, study the photos carefully – they can tell you a lot. Read the description a few times through – sometimes the excitement of the hunt takes over and you skip right over the part that says something crucial to understanding

doing business with them. The guitar arrived and it is a winner!

the price point of the guitar. If it seems way lower than you might expect read through the description again and maybe this time you will see the comment about “professional neck repair”. Ah, that is why it is priced so low…

5) Consider bundling. I found a 1948 Gibson L50 that I was interested in. I went to the guy’s shop page and he only had one other guitar… a CA Composite Cargo guitar. Those are actually cool guitars. A strategy developed in my mind. I totaled up his asking price for both guitars and then offered him a price for both of them at 25% lower. He said, “Yes” and I got two good guitars both at a good price! He was happy to sell out his store too.

6) Think Win-Win when you are negotiating. Like I have said before 3) Use the “From the price guide” sec- – a good deal is when both parties tion if they have it on the guitar you are are happy. If you want to have good looking at on the right side of the page, long lasting relationships then follow the Golden Rule and also look at “See recent sales”. and treat others You can learn important insights and like you want to discern trends in past sales amounts. be treated. This 4) Read the seller’s return policies. works folks! This is important. Check their comI hope this helps ments and ratings from other buyers, you in your onand lastly – go to their Reverb shop page and look around. It pays to get to line guitar quest adventures. know something about whom you are buying from. I bought a 1973 Gibson Dove from a married couple that, once I read about them in their shop description, I had a lot more confidence in

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Tom Hemby: It Runs In The Family by Alison Richter

George Gruhn reflects on dealing and collecting guitars since 1963 by Eric Dahl


Two ‘54 Teles: Affirming the Anomalies


by Joe Riggio


cover photo by Joe Riggio


The Personal Side of Selling Lennon’s Gibson J-160E


by Gabriel J. Hernandez

10 Quirky Vintage The Wandre Spazial by Bob Cianci

18 All About Amps Q&A by Skip Simmons

12 The One That Didn’t Get Away Andy Parypa’s 1962 Fender Precision Bass – “The Sonics” Bass by Rick King

30 The Fretboard Less Traveled Combining Blues Scales (A, F# & E) by Rich Severson

14 State of the Union The Fender Telecaster: History and Reflections by David Belzer

38 Pedal Snapshot by Phil Traina 40 View of the Day Mu:Con in South Korea by Dave Cleveland


George L’s Cables: A Family Tradition by Eric Dahl


8 Izotope Nectar 2 by Michael Hodge

47 TWA Triskelion Pedal by Phil Traina

26 “Resonate” - Republic Guitars by Paul Clark

51 Rockn Stompn Model RS-4 Power Sequencer by Doug Doppler

42 Lewitt DGT 650 The Mobile Recording Studio by Michael Elsner



Izotope Nectar 2 by Michael Hodge

Whether you are making big budget records, demos, or stems for your band, Vocal production is going to be one of your highest priorities. It takes the right combination of skill and plug-ins to make your vocals compete with the pros. Izotope Nectar 2 is an all-in-one Vocal Processer (sweetener) used by top Grammy Award winning engineers like Tony Masserati, Vance Powell, and Dave Pensado. OUT OF THE BOX: Nectar 2 software comes in a downloadable format, and requires authorization online or with an ilok Key. It’s compatible with Windows: XP, 7-10, and Mac: OS X 10.6.8–10.11. It’s available in all the current formats: AAX, RTAS, VST, VST 3, and AU. Nectar2 works all the current popular DAW’s including Pro Tools, Ableton Live, Logic pro, Cubase, Studio One, and several others. Nectar 2 has a number of updates including a bigger GUI and a redesigned user-friendly layout. A CLOSER LOOK: The gold toned interface is elegant and well thought out. There are 11 processor modules: Gate, EQ, De-Esser, Pitch, Dual Compressors, Limiter, Saturation, Harmony, FX, Delay, and a Plate Reverb. The plug-in has two main pages. The Overview page shows which processors are engaged, and the Advanced page shows the individual processors and their controls. The Plug-in comes with 200 presets including Genre specific ones like Pop, Rock, Hip Hop, Indie, Jazz, and Voice Over. They’re a great starting place and range from subtle to wild. Lets take a look at some of the individual processors inside Nectar2. They can be in any order by dragging them into place, making for some quick and interesting options. EQ Module: First up is a nice spectrum overlay of

the vocal EQ curve that is zoomable and scrollable. I like this because I can see right away what’s going on EQ wise in the vocal performance. Included are 8 EQ nodes with six shapes, including Elliptical, Bandaxall, Butterworth, and Pultecs. I love the Alt-Solo feature that solos the Frequency spot under your mouse, making it real easy to find troublesome frequencies. This is a very versatile EQ.

all the features you need, plus the Visual Trace that lets you “see” the Gate doing its thing. What’s great about all these Visual Traces are that you can easily tell if you are overdoing something to mess up the signal, and it’s a great learning tool. Saturation Module: Modern recordings use Saturation, which brings out harmonic structure to enhance and increase the individual sound’s signature. This module has five nodes: Tape, Tube, Warm, Analog, Retro, and a High Shelf feature to protect you from too much of a good thing. My favorite is the Tape and Tube settings on Vocals. They’re all useable though. Again, the visual display is genius to show what happens to the EQ spectrum as you add different types of Saturation.

Compression Module: This is actually a two-stage compressor that can be set in Parallel mode, and models Digital, Vintage, Optical, or Solid State circuits. I find that two compressors working together helps keep the Vocal in the mix where you want it, and the Parallel mode allows some Transients to pass so it sounds natural. There are the usual Threshold, Ratio, Attack, and Release settings, with a visual Knee. Addition- Harmony Module: ally, it has a cool visual Gain Reduction This is one of the most exciting features Trace feature that helps you to see what of Nectar 2. Up to four-part harmony you are doing to the signal. It’s a great can be generated with this module. It feature. automatically detects the key signature of the song, or you can select your own De-Esser Module: key and scale. There is individual PanThe De-Esser is modeled on the clas- ning, Level, overall Pitch variation, and sic DBX 902 De-Esser. It’s friendly to Delay of each Harmony part. Right the first time user, and I really like this away I knew I’d heard this “sound” bevisual Trace that lets you “see” when fore. Without naming artists, let me just the De-Esser is engaging the detected say there are a ton of creative possibilisibilance. I have used several De-Essers, ties here. The harmonies can also be asand this is one of the best. signed to midi notes on a keyboard, and Gate Module: Gates, in my opinion, you can get great results on BGV’s like can be kind of boring, but this one has continued on page 16


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The Wandre Spazial

We call this column Quirky Vintage, but sometimes I think we should change the name to Absolutely Weird Vintage, for this installment’s featured guitar is all that and more. The Wandre Spazial is one of the most unusual guitars this writer has ever encountered. Just look at the shape for starters; it’s either a huge teardrop, or a precursor to Kim Kardashian’s infamous posterior. Take your pick.

running the full length, making it a slim hollowbody. The top is concave, and sports a unique tremolo system with a half circular aluminum cylinder underneath that supports the unit. It’s topped with the initial “W” that closely resembles the old Willys automobile logo from the 1950’s. As you might guess, use of the tremolo knocked the guitar out of tune after a few light bends, so dive bombing is not an option. The top and back are finished in a combination of orange and a randomly applied “ash” black, with a cream white center. I was told the black was actually candle smoke burns applied to the body. The colors appear to have been baked into the finish itself. Two gold plastic channel strips surround the body and one of them is loose, a problem often seen on Italian guitars of this period. The sides look like a Formica countertop in a swirly black and gold finish.

But before we get into specifics, let’s zero in on the company that made this instrument and the eccentric genius who designed it, Antonio Wandre Pioli. Pioli was born in 1926 in the Reggio Emilia region of northern Italy. Antonio, who went by his middle name (pronounced (Von-dray) all his life, was a rebel, an artistic soul, a free thinker, a Bohemian, and an iconoclast who made a name for himself as a young man fighting in the Italian underground resistance during World War II. After the war he worked as a masonry supervisor and began pursuing a life of artistic endeavors. In 1959, after making approximately sixty guitars for a company called Fratelli Meazzi (Meazzi Brothers), Wandre moved to the town of Cavriago, built a round factory, and began producing his self-designed guitars in earnest. Wandre guitars have been called everything from “Musical sculpture,” to “The most eccentric European guitars of any period in guitar history.” By the early ‘60’s, Wandre’s best known designs were in place, and it is possible that he was the first guitar maker to use aluminum necks, which he first covered in wood, then in plastic.

The neck is a soft V shape and its aluminum core is encased in, you guessed it, plastic. The neck is dead straight due to the aluminum center section. The nut is also aluminum, and the open headstock features a wooden centerpiece that’s surrounded by an aluminum frame that is fastened to the neck. Two large bolts attach the neck to the body. The tuning the Scarabeo model for instance, will pegs feature black plastic housings and pearloid buttons that are surrounded by convince you of that fact. And now, let’s look at the Wandre Spa- a thin metal ring, a unique, artsy, and zial, Italian for “spatial.” While doing classy looking design. online research, I discovered that the The electronics are simple by today’s name Spazial was applied to another standards; one volume and one tone, a model Wandre guitar, and that the mod- slide switch pickup selector, and a quarel I tested was supposedly called the ter inch jack, all mounted on a rectanSelene. However, the name Spazial was gular metal plate on the lower right side clearly spelled out on the test guitar as of the body. It’s impossible to use both a fretboard inlay. Given the esoteric na- pickups at the same time; it’s either neck ture of Wandre instruments, anything or bridge, and this leads us to this guiis possible. Perhaps the model name tar’s best feature, the large, single coil changed at some point. For the record, trapezoidal Davoli pickups, with the we’ll call the object of this article the distinct “Davoli Made Italy” stamped on the metal cover. After only a few Spazial. As mentioned earlier, the guitar has a minutes of playing time, I realized that distinctive teardrop shape with a cut- these were some of the nicest pickups I away horn on the upper right bout. The have ever heard on a Euro guitar; clean,

Before we go any further, may I recommend you do some Google research on Wandre guitars by visiting the website, which features extensive photos of the various Wandre models. You will have to manually translate the text from Italian to English, and you may be stunned and amazed at what you see. To put it mildly, there was nothing that came close to the oddball designs of Wandre Pioli. One look at body is made of plastic with a metal bar 10 :: JAN/FEB 16 :: COLLECTIBLEGUITAR.COM

continued on page 16


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Andy Parypa’s 1962 Fender Precision Bass – “The Sonics” Bass

photo by Joe Riggio

Outside the Crescent Ballroom, Tacoma, WA

I live in Tacoma, WA, and I am proud to say it’s my hometown. Local legends, Girl Trouble, sum up my feelings exactly in their song, “My Hometown”. I know what you’re thinking… at the bottom of this article is a photo of me and a bio stating that I live in Gig Harbor. My good friend Gary puts it best when he says that I live in Gig Harbor 70% of the time. I love everything about Tacoma, I

love the people, the architecture, the restaurants, and most of all I love its rich tradition in Northwest rock. From the Fabulous Wailers to Nirvana, Tacoma has produced some amazing music. I don’t recall my earliest memories of the band I cherish the most, The Sonics. When I was a little kid, I vaguely remember hearing “The Witch” and “Psycho” on our local radio station KJR. When my interests turned to punk music in the late 70s and early 80s, I began searching for their records, which were impossible to find. Sure, you could find a 45 of “The Witch”, but that was about it. In 1984 I met a local record dealer named Al Hess and told him of my desire to buy all things The Sonics. He had a massive collection and he was very generous. I acquired quite a few 45’s on the Etiquette label, which released two amazing albums: “Here are The Sonics” and “Sonics Boom”. I believe I got a copy of “Here are The Sonics” from him, and it took a few years later to get “Sonics Boom” from another source.


Rick with Andy

Around this time, during summer break at the local college, University of Puget Sound, a group of us became DJ’s. When the kids went home for summer, there were no DJ’s to run the station. My friends Bill and JS and I would take over. This was the height of synth powered “New Wave”. We were required to work off of a play list, but we would not. The shifts were 3-4 hours and I recall on many occasions throwing the set list away and playing only The Sonics music, which didn’t consist of a lot of options. Sometimes I would play “Cinderella” or “Strychnine” 5 times in a row. It was amazing that no one complained, but to be honest we also didn’t think many people were listening at that time. All through the 80s I perpetuated, what I felt, was the ultimate advertising scam. I would advertise in the “Little Nickel” want ads, wanting to buy vintage guitars. You could advertise on the front page, in bold type, for $25 per week. The only stipulation was that the ad could not come from a business. I was working at my dad’s marine supply

I got a call one day and a man asked if I sold amplifiers. I asked him what he meant and he said that in the 60s he owned a Magnatone amplifier, and he really enjoyed the vibrato. With that statement I knew he was legitimate. I had just purchased a nice Magnatone amp the day before, and asked him if he wanted to come by and look at it. I can’t recall if it was that day or a few days later that a man showed up at my doorstep with a baseball cap that said S & S Paving on it. I welcomed him in and he said his name was Gerry. He asked me if I played in any bands and I asked him the same question. He said that he been in one a long time ago. I showed him the amp and he told me he played organ through a Magnatone amp. After about 30 minutes, I asked him and he stated his last name was Roslie. I cried “THE GERRY ROSLIE?” He looked at me with a strange look on his face and said, “I am the only one I know.” “GERRY ROSLIE FROM THE SONICS”? He said yes and kind of looked down in disgust. I told him that I thought that The Sonics were the greatest band in the world and was currently playing their music on the college radio station. I showed him my records and I had him autograph the local Rocket music magazine that had done a feature on them. We had a great time that day, to spite many that called Gerry a mysterious recluse; he was very kind and giving. It was a day I will always treasure. In September of this year I received a call from a lady named Kathy Hope from Seattle. She had been referred to me by Buck Ornsby, the bassist for The Fabulous Wailers and one of the original founders of the Etiquette record label. I got back to her while vacationing with my family in Hawaii. She had been cleaning out the basement at the house where she and Andy Parypa lived. Andy, with his brother Larry, are the founding members of The Sonics. She told me that she wanted to sell Andy’s 1962 Precision Bass. She ex-

plained that Andy had bought it new in 1962 at Barks House of Music in downtown Tacoma. Andy had used this bass on all of The Sonics recordings and used it in all live performances until 1968. I knew I had to have it. She emailed photos and documents authenticating the bass, which was originally sunburst, but Andy had stripped the finish off about 40 years earlier and stained it dark brown. This was a very popular thing to do in the “natural” 70s. When I returned home from vacation on a Friday, I immediately emailed Kathy to see if I could come over on Sunday to look at the bass. Kathy emailed back and said that she was sorry to say that her rule from Andy was that she could not have any one over to the house, and she thought that she would put it on Andy & Kathy

photo by Joe Riggio

store at that time. I was not a business, I was a collector…... I would get an occasional call with someone asking if I sold guitars. I would tell them no, that I only collect them. I assumed that it was someone from the “Little Nickel” following up on their policy restrictions.

ebay around Thanksgiving through a local Seattle guitar shop. She doubted that she would get her reserve, but she would let me know. I called Kathy and pleaded my case about being a local Sonics enthusiast, and that the bass needed to return home to Tacoma. I made her an offer and she and Andy agreed to sell it to me! We set an appointment to meet at my recording studio and she and Andy drove down from Seattle. What I thought would take 30 minutes turned in to 3 hours, with Andy and Kathy sharing their memories with me. Like my time with Gerry, it was another moment I will never forget. Such great people! The bass now lives at my recording studio, which is about 6 blocks from where it was originally purchased. It will definitely be used on future recordings. Thank you so much Andy and Kathy! Rick King is the owner of Guitar Maniacs in Tacoma Washington. He lives in Gig Harbor with his wife Sheila, two dogs and a cat. Contact Rick:


STATE OF THE UNION by David Belzer

The Fender Telecaster History and Reflections

Did you know the first Spanish guitar stock and the other being the guitar does produced by Fender was a single pickup not appear to have a 3-way switch, but Esquire? rather a push button, similar to the push That’s right. In catalogue #2 of “Fend- buttons used on Fender lap steels. Also er Fine Line Instruments” published in the of note is that these early Esquires did spring of 1950, it was the only guitar not have a truss rod. Shortly after, Leo offered in the catalog and there was no Fender added the truss rod with the inmention of a two pickup version. A few troduction of his two pickup blond colweeks later, the black Esquire was on ored Broadcaster, which is considered display at the 49th annual NAMM show the first production Fender guitar made in quantity. held in July of 1950.

There are many little nuances throughout the Esquire/Broadcaster/No-Caster/Telecaster evolution and if you are interested in the specifics there are several good books available as well as lots of information on the Internet.

When I moved to Los Angeles in the late 80’s, one of the first guitars I purchased was a 1950 Broadcaster from the original owner. Unfortunately, he had painted the body red with a paintbrush These early Esquires are unquestionin the mid 60’s but other than that it was Yes, I said black. The bodies of the ably the rarest of Fender Telecaster style all original and weighed in at an incredvery first models produced were done in guitars and speculation is that maybe ibly light 5&½ pounds. black lacquer and trimmed with a white three to six were produced, as well as a pickguard. This was the beginning of my learning few with two pickups. curve on vintage Fender Telecasters and The earliest picture of the Esquire feaIn all my years of dealing in the vinI have to say it was not a bad place to tured in the 1950 catalogue showed two tage guitar market I have only known of start. Shortly after I acquired the guiinteresting features; one being the abone of these black Esquires to come up tar I remember bringing up the subject sence of a string tree guide on the headfor sale. It came out of hiding about a of Broadcasters to George Gruhn at a dozen years or so ago and in a blink of guitar show. George acknowledged the an eye was acquired by a private collec- historical importance of the Broadcasttor for a six figure sum. er but he summed it up with five words The earliest Broadcasters I have come “’53 Tele’s sound the best”. 53! Reacross had neck dates starting in Octo- ally? “Why?”, I asked? George looked ber of 1950. There may be earlier ones at me and said “Roy Buchannan’s was a but that’s as early as I have found. The ’53”. Wow. Well, I couldn’t argue that latest ones I seem to remember coming one with him. Roy’s guitar sure sounded across were dated Feb of 1951, which incredible and I surely didn’t have the would go along with Fender drop- experience at that time to start a debate ping the name “Broadcaster” in early with George Gruhn on Tele’s (or any1951, following a request from the Fred thing else vintage for that matter). Gretsch Mfg. Company that the name It was shortly after that talk with be changed, due to the fact that they George that I had the opportunity to already had a series of drums under a show a sunburst Les Paul to Mick Ralph similar name, “Broadkaster”. of Bad Company fame. Before Mr. The name request did not halt produc- Ralph had been in the band Bad Comtion of the Broadcaster. Leo simply had pany, he was in a band called Mott the the disputed name clipped off the head- Hoople, who at least for me, put out one stock decal. These 1951 guitars with just of the great rock-n-roll albums of the the Fender name on the headstock took 70’s called Mott featuring the song “All on the nickname “No-Caster” by collec- The Way From Memphis.” At one mintors. Early No-Casters retained many of ute 48 seconds into the song, Mr. Ralph the Broadcaster features while the later brings out one of the greatest guitar harones shared features of the first 1951 monics I’ve heard on record. A simple Telecaster labeled models. By 1952 the single note, that has stayed with me for Telecaster appointments and features forty plus years and still makes the hair were set and remained that way un- on my arm stand up. I highly recomtil cosmetic and a few minor technical mend checking out the album “Mott” by Mott The Hoople. That ‘54 Esquire changes in 1954-1955 came about. is all over that album. 14 :: JAN/FEB 16 :: COLLECTIBLEGUITAR.COM

Well, naturally, I had to ask Mr. Ralph about that note. I still remember his expression as a smile came across his face and he said, “It was a ‘54 Esquire and I should never had sold that guitar” and although he laughed, I could tell he was serious and he truly regretted letting that one go. I spent the next 20 some years looking for the right 1954 Esquire, one that just might have that note inside her. The ‘54 pictured to the left is the one that destiny finally brought to me, and yes, it has that note and a few more, which brings me back to George Gruhn and his ‘53 Tele theory. I can say now after 25 more years of experience and endless Fender guitars under my belt, that George knew

what he was talking about back then. I’m not sure why this guitar sounds like it does. It could be because the pickups are wound a bit hotter or more consistently. It could be that many of the ’53 and ‘54 Tele’s and Esquires that I have come across are for some reason made with one piece bodies compared to the usual pieced together ones Fender did. I don’t know what it is, but I do know that of all the black guard Telecasters and Esquires I’ve come across, the years

’53 and ‘54 as a whole… seem to have something special. David Belzer is one of the top vintage guitar authorities in the world, with over 30 years of experience in vintage. His knowledge of vintage guitars is only exceeded by his passion for playing them. For more information or to contact him directly, visit


“Izotope Nectar 2 Review” cont. from page 8

Oohs, etc. It’s not perfect, but in a mix it is really modern sounding. On the visual side there’s an EQ spectrum with High and Low shelves, allowing EQ control on how the harmonies sit in the track. I recommend you check out the Pro-Tools-Expert demo on YouTube. Reverb and EFX Modules The Reverb module is based on the classic EMT 140 Plate that is the “go to” Vocal verb for many top engineers. To me it’s warm, and sounds as good as the individual EMT Plate plug-ins I have from other manufacturers. Included are good selections of EFX in

Nectar in parallel on a separate Vocal track that already has my normal mix chain for some extra beef, and I loved it. You won’t regret trying out this plug-in. Nectar 2 Standard edition, that I used for this review sells for $229.00 There’s a Production Suite Version that adds a great Vocal Tuning Module and Rewire Conclusion: for $299. For more information go to: Nectar 2 is very impressive. I’ve en- joyed it from the moment I first inserted it on a vocal. The new interface is very intuitive, and with all the presets and instructional videos, it’s a no brainer. Michael Hodge is a guitarist I’ve had great results on guitars too. If and producter from Nashville, TN you’re making Vocal stems for live or mixing it’s pretty stellar. I’ve also tried Nectar 2. They include: Distortion, Phase, Flange, Chorus, and a Delay/ Stutter (Shred) effect that can sync to your DAW. Again, it opens up a lot of possibilities, and I recommend trying a bunch of the included presets.

try, pop, or surf context, given that it was manufactured in the days preceding clear, and full, with plenty of sweet top the advent of heavy rock. I don’t think end jangle and no midrange mush. “Mississippi Queen” would sound very The rosewood fretboard sports several good on the Spazial, for instance, and interesting inlay shapes. One is the same forget about “Enter Sandman.” “propeller” inlay used on EKO guitars Wandre Pioli made his unique guitars of the same era. The frets are medium/ until 1968, and then turned his attention jumbo in size, an oddity on a guitar of to other artistic pursuits: motorcycles, that era. The bridge is surrounded by an and the manufacture of leather clothArt Deco plastic pickguard and features ing. He passed away in 2004. Author two height adjustment screws and six and scholar Marco B. Sharma wrote a small saddles. book about Pioli called Wandre: The Testing this guitar was an experience Artist Of The Electric Guitar that was unto itself. I had never played a Wan- released in 2014. It is available in Engdre guitar. Indeed, I had never seen one lish and online from www.anniversaybefore until recently. I plugged into a nice sounding low watt Carr amplifier, Without a doubt, the most famous strummed chords, and cranked out a few user of Wandre guitars is Americana pentatonic blues licks. It sounded great, country guitarist, singer, and songwriter but it was clear from the start that the Buddy Miller, who owns several SoloSpazial was not meant for heavy blues/ ist models, which are conventionally rock playing, and you’ll never shred on shaped single cutaway guitars with three it. This guitar would excel as a rhythm pickups. Miller bought them all at a Colinstrument in an old school R&B, counorado pawnshop in the ‘70’s for about “Quirky Vintage” cont. from page 10


$75 each. Today, certain Wandre guitars are reportedly priced in the five figure range. Wandre Pioli only produced a limited number of guitars, perhaps seventy thousand at best, and certain models are quite rare today, but the exact number is unknown. It was said that the reason the numbers are low was because Pioli found it difficult to stick to a rigid production schedule. Each instrument was a separate work of art in his eyes. My thanks to Buzzy Levine, owner of Lark Street Music of Teaneck, New Jersey, for allowing me to photograph and play this quirky vintage Wandre guitar. Bob Cianci is a lifelong musician, music journalist, and author of the book, Great Rock Drummers of The Sixties, and has written extensively for many guitar and drum publications, newspapers, websites, and fanzines. He is a working guitarist and drummer in three bands in New Jersey. His guitar collection numbers over twenty-five pieces at the moment, and is constantly evolving.

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ALL ABOUT AMPS with Skip Simmons


Hello Skip, I recently read an article in Collectible Guitar featuring some of your knowledge on amplifiers. I recently acquired a Gibson Hawk (circa 1964) and am in the process of restoring the amp. Unfortunately, it is starting to show its age. In the 1960’s I owned a Gibson Titan amplifier that had the same covering material. I have researched the covering material and was told that it was originally a book binding material, which is no longer available. It is a brown lineal grain in appearance and, to the best of my knowledge, there is nothing like it being currently manufactured. My question is, should I recover the amp in a like color contemporary tolex, with an unlike texture, or will this greatly detract from the value of the amp? I am also somewhat concerned with the integrity of the amplifier enclosure as it appears to have been constructed with a composite material rather than a solid wood or a birch ply as many of the Fenders were made of. There is also deterioration of the metal faceplate, which additional cleaning will cause further erosion of the details. Can you make suggestions or do you have any ideas? Thanks, Earle Earle, you are making a lot of ampnuts jealous. Making a vintage amp look as cool as possible is a project lots of people would enjoy doing, but doing it in a way that preserves the value of a collectible amp is a job that deserves a professional. I hate to say it, but any recovering that you do yourself will ultimately lower the value of the amp somewhat. On the other hand, if you aren’t worried about resale value, a patient and crafty person can certainly give an old favorite a facelift! Rather than recovering, my usual plan of attack would be to do the best

you can with what you’ve got. Careful re-gluing of the loose covering is a good start. I like Aileene’s Tacky Glue, which is available in the crafts section of most big stores. For cleaning I would use 409 or Simple Green and a brush to gently work the grime loose, followed by wiping with a damp cloth. Armor-All and similar products are tempting but often leave a sheen that doesn’t look quite right.

very careful.

The value and collectability of your amp won’t be improved by recovering, but on the other hand, the vintageamp police shouldn’t be too upset if If you decide to recover the amp, you decide to have some fun upgradyou can choose between a variety of ing your old Hawk, so feel free to get current-production materials, or try to find a one-of-kind treasure. Believe me, cracking! Do the best job that you can and take time to enjoy the process. As a there are some recovering materials repairman, I would also point out that yet to be discovered tucked away in an restoring the original sound of the amp old fabric store or upholstery-material warehouse. In the case of your Gibson rather than just the appearance would be a great idea. You all know, because Hawk, even a pro would have a tough I’ve said it before, knowledgeable sertime duplicating the exact look of the original covering. We are fortunate that vicing is the first step. An old Camaro a great variety of reproduction covering with fresh paint job is certainly cool, materials are available now, but almost but a smooth-running and reliable old all of them are based on the more com- Camaro with a fresh paint job is even better! mon Marshall and Fender styles. The thin covering used on your Gibson (and Skip’s Tip: One new amp that I many other brands) is a different story, can recommend is the re-issue Fender but there must be a roll of the right Bassman. Introduced almost 25 years stuff hiding somewhere, so a treasureago, these amps have held up well hunt could be a good idea! because the tube sockets, pots, switches, and jacks are bolted securely to the The cabinets of many Gibson amps chassis rather than being supported from the sixties used particleboard solely by the printed circuitboard. And construction, which can cause some don’t think it’s just a blues-guy amp. problems especially if the amp has With a couple of pedals they can cover gotten wet. If your cabinet is solid, I a lot of ground. wouldn’t mess with it, but I have had good luck with a thin-bodied epoxy wood “hardener” which soaks into the particleboard and does a great job of tightening loose corner joints. As you have discovered, it can be almost impossible to do any serious cleaning or polishing of the panel without removing the lettering. My only advice would be to clean it very carefully. I often use an automotive polish called “TR-3” with good results, but again, be


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Two ‘54 Teles: by Joe Riggio

In a world where most households have an infinite source of valuable information at our fingertips, about everything from the common to the previously unknown, it’s hard to imagine a time when it wasn’t the case. Unfortunately, for us vintage guitar enthusiasts, that time existed when all of this great stuff was designed, manufactured and sold. Records were kept by hand, if at all. In many cases records and data were only passed on and down through word of mouth, or sometimes not at all. How then can we know so many “facts” and so much information about the things we hold so dearly? How do we know that this information is true or accurate? Where and with whom does the buck stop? Who wrote the rules and how have they been proven?


Affirming the Anomalies

photos by Joe Riggio


Anomalies The photos of the two Telecasters I chose to support this article make the perfect example of the many anomalies that exist and defy or even break the rules in the common knowledge bank of vintage guitars. One might assume that two guitars made within the same model year would have to be the same in every way right? Well, the truth is that, as designs and specs evolved and changed, there are periods of time, sometimes even within the same calendar year, that combinations of specs can be quite different and not fall into what is the common belief or assumption. In the case of the Teles here, it is proven that, while the year came in using black pickguards on Telecasters and white pickguards on the way out into 1955, things can be a bit mixed up in the way these changes actually played out. Interestingly , the one with the white pickguard sports all date codes that precede those found on the one with the black one. It also has it’s serial number on the bridge plate, instead of the neck plate. This is usually a characteristic associated with blackguards. To mix it up even more, the blackguard example has its serial number on the neck plate, a feature introduced later in the year and usually associated with white guards. ..confused yet? It’s just a black and white example of what exists to overthrow what some would say is “fact”. The only fact is that there are countless examples of these anomalies found throughout the years. Authorities My main point and mission of this article is to remind us all to remain in a position of both deliberation and humility when it comes time to buy, sell or evaluate an instrument. As soon as we think we’ve seen it all or fail to give a second thought when considering a detail or authenticity of a guitar we potentially do just that: fail. In my experience, the element of wise counsel is invaluable and even essential to make the best determination, especially when something of detail or authenticity is in question. Fortunately, the vintage guitar market is quite old and there are many experienced enthusiasts and authorities to turn to, which have a depth of experience that only comes with time. It’s important to have trusted sources such as these to avoid making a rash or fatally expensive 22 :: JAN/FEB 16 :: COLLECTIBLEGUITAR.COM

decision. Find someone who has seen “much” yet doesn’t claim they “know-it-all”. Furthermore, find someone who is trusted by others as having a well-rounded retention of knowledge, as that is usually a sign of experience. It is worth mentioning that the combination of relatively shallow experience and overconfidence is deadly. Sometimes its easy to believe someone who comes across as a self-proclaimed “expert”, but I would rather work with one who is cautious, even if they’ve had less time in the business. Affirmations Surely it’s wise to heed the warnings of statements like: “That can’t be right” or “they never did that”, but when used as a knee-jerk response to an issue, one must then take action to prove or disprove the allegation. The best conclusions are made when all available sources have been utilized. When combined, physical examples and comparables, expert advice and resource material, such as the Internet and a vast library of available books will bring you the most peace, when it comes to these instances of question and anomaly. So, go I say, have fun and take the time to sleuth it out! Joe Riggio is a professional guitar repairman, technician and builder, based in Tacoma, WA. He owns and operates “Service Guitar Repair” and “Riggio Custom Guitars”. He has a deep love for vintage guitars, as well as modern and loves to share his enthusiasm with others. He can be contacted at Websites:,


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“Resonate” - Republic Guitars by Paul Clark

photos by Paul Clark

In the iconic summer of 1969, I floated around the countryside in my 64’ VW Camper, allured by the hope of finding answers to life’s questions from the pied piper prophets shaping the hippie culture through music, art and dance. As a budding musician, I was equally committed to seeking the time tested truth of gospel and Delta blues that was undergirding much of the renaissance. One night, awash in chaos, I was recklessly moored two rows from the stage at Memorial Hall, in Kansas City, Kansas, when Johnny Winter took the stage and parted my stormy sea. It wasn’t just the blatant visual of seeing an albino for the first time in my life that made my head spin, but the commanding authority of his talent. After two minimalistic lyric verses and the hook chorus, Johnny launched his skills with a solo that I can recall with vivid clarity to this day. Amidst the torrent downpour of slide guitar riffs, he lost his balance and fell off the stage, directly into the laps of me and my friends. Astonishingly, he kept playing without missing a beat. After we propped him up, he climbed back on the stage, belted out the last verse and chorus, dropped a few more blazing licks across the fingerboard of his guitar, and then raised the neck like a weapon of war, signaling his bandmates to thrust their weapons into the heart of the composition. Mission accomplished ….. In one song after another, the bluesman from Beaumont testified his convictions to us like a Pentecostal preacher sprinting to the benediction. Suddenly, he strutted off the platform, and like the backside of a tornado, the room was reduced to a whisper as the overwhelmed patrons stood speechless. About 500 miles south of me, another teenager, Frank Helsley was soon to be swept off his feet by the guitar slinging, Texas twister. But, the turbulence didn’t manifest through amplified lightning and thunder, but with Johnny playing an acoustic Resonator guitar. Unplugged, but not diminished in power, it

ignited a firestorm of passion in Frank dinary patinas on the copper, bronze that burned a path to the door of what and nickel bodies. In 2007, with those would define his calling… pillars in place, Frank put his stake in Fast forward to 2006; After decades the ground in the Dallas bedroom comof playing, and fueled by his annoy- munity of Rowlett, Texas and founded ance with the ever increasing prices of Republic Guitars. National and Dobro guitars, as well as his desire to bring some modern design to the classic single cone and tri-cone models, Frank began ordering sample resonators from an array of Asian and Korean suppliers. He finally found a builder that was committed to the uncompromising necessities of a quality, yet affordable instrument. Together, they not only improved the overall build strength, but were able to create extraor-


In 2009, a year before he tenaciously won the patent, Helsley fashioned a highly playable travel-sized model with a vintage look and single cut-away. It was initially going to be called the ‘Johnny Winter Special’ but rather than complicate things with formal legalities, he appropriately called it the “Highway 61” model. Akin to a Hollywood script, Johnny Winter received the first one out of the case from the initial manufactur-


nent, Frank Sr., and his wife Kathy, goes without saying that a few vintage By 2012, Frank Jr., a player himself, tightened the circle by moving all busi- KM-84 Neumann microphones running through a Neve 1073 Mic-Pre, and along with his wife, Angelique, began ness operations to Austin. to invest their time into the day to day Paralleling that time frame, while I was a Manley El-Op, can do wonders for a operations of the company. It was a recording my album, “Down At The successful recording session. But, on fortuitous move because, tragically, in Whistle Stop,” I asked my friend, Jim- the flip side, the audio heaven ascendthe summer of 2013, Frank Sr. fell on mie Bratcher, to contribute his soulful ing from the microphonic superiority of his back porch and suffered a traumatic talents to my song, “Hey Jesus.” Show- that gear can also expose the heck out brain injury. With the founder conva- ing up at my studio, he opened up the of an inferior instrument. The combilescing, the family bonded during the Feather-lite Durafoam Case and my nation of Jimmie’s skills, and his menstressful transition. In the summer of eyes fell on the retro look of his par- tioning that it only listed for $699.00, 2014, to punctuate that vital compo- lor size, single cone Republic guitar. It prompted my fingers to dash around the screen of my iPhone, with the rapidity of a Johnny Winter solo, navigating my way to the Republic website. ing run.

As the slogan “keep Austin weird” suggests, the atmosphere of this invigorating city has come a long way since pioneers settled on the north bank of the Colorado River. This past October, while on my annual migrational tour through central Texas, I was faced with the task of making three stops in a limited space of time. Being a long time fan and player of Collings Guitars, I dropped by for a quick chat with my friend, and company GM, Steve McCreary. After group hugs, an Instagram/FB photo op, and a “see you at NAMM in January” declaration, I took a left out of their awesome production facility and followed Siri’s directions, less than a mile down the road, to the industrial park where Republic is housed. I had called ahead and Frank Sr. was out front to greet me with a smile. After a few hours of “getting to know you conversation”, while he generously allowed me to test drive his entire inventory, I walked out with a smile on my face as the proud owner of a Red Copper Rust, #322, Resolian Parlor size guitar. My last stop was to see Steve Fulton, at Austin Vintage Guitars. The first thing I saw when I came in the door was a rack of National and Dobro guitars. Fresh from picking through 60 Republic guitars, I stood a few inches taller when the icons of the steel bodied niche, with a price tag five times as much as my new acquisition, certainly didn’t sound five times better. I showed “Rusty” to Steve and, after gawking over the patina, playability and sound at such an affordable price, he immediately asked me if he could get two for his store. When I called Frank Sr. to ask him, he said, continued on page 52



Combining Blues Scales (A, F# & E) ing might be just what you’re after.

Most guitar players, when playing the blues, will approach a solo using only one scale, the blues scale in the home key of the progression. This is a tried and true approach. However, if you’re looking for some fresh ideas the follow-

experienced player will add the major rd th th When soloing over a blues progression 3 , 6 and 9 for more color. Here’s an easier method to focus on these tones in the key of “A”, using the “A” Blues and add even more colors to your soloScale (“A” Pentatonic with an added ing. flatted 5th) is a common choice. A more As I said, soloing over a blues progression in “A”, the common choice is the “A” blues scale, but Using Blues Scales A, F# & E Rich Severson adding two other scales, the “F#” Solo #1 and “E” blues scale to base your ideas on will bring even more tonal colors to your playing.

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Copyright © 2015 by Guitar College, Inc.






To understand this let’s look at their makeup and define their tones in relation to an A7 chord “A” Blues = A, C, D, Eb, E, G which equals the Root, b3, 4th ,b5, 5th b7 “F#” Blues = F#, A, ,B C, C#, E which equals the 6th , Root 9th , b3, 3rd ,5th “E” Blues = E, G, A, Bb, B, D which equals the 5th ,b3, Root, b9. 9th, 4th All of the notes will sound OK over the blues progression with the exception of the Bb found in the “E” blues scale, which is just a passing tone not a target note. The secret is not just focusing on these other tones but rather using the entire scale to create melodic lines which will automatically focus on those tonal colors. So not only is the relationship of a tone to a chord important, but also the tones to one another are important. In addition, how those tones, scales and melodic lines react to the chord being played changes their tonal perspective. For instance, a C# played over an A7 chord is just the 3rd, whereas that C# played over the E7 is the 6th or 13th, the same note with a completely different sound relationship because of the underlying harmony. It’s getting a little deep so let’s move on to the music and see how this works. continued on page 52


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Tom Hemby:

It Runs In The Family by Alison Richter Woodshedding is not the first word that comes to mind when thinking about Tom Hemby. An A-list session and touring guitarist, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and producer, Hemby is widely known and respected for his many talents. But it’s near Christmas at the time of this interview, and he’s preparing for several major concerts that require a well-rehearsed repertoire across numerous genres. Hemby doesn’t mind; he’s the consummate professional and an aficionado of Christmas music. “If there’s one thing that I do love, it’s Christmas tunes, and the fact that I get to play so many different styles of music in this setting is always a treat,” he says. “I am a student of so many different types of music. Through the years I’ve learned that if you can understand, feel, and convincingly play a variety of musical styles, then you’ve exponentially broadguitarist. When did you discover the ened your chances for employment in genre? the music business.” I wouldn’t necessarily say that I’m just Are you making time for another solo a jazz musician. Country, funk/R&B, album? It’s been five years. bluegrass, pop, gospel, jazz, classical, Yes. It’s always tough to carve out time and many other musical forms have imto do your own projects when you’re pacted my taste, technique, and playing busy and working day and night for style. When I was 7 years old, I started other clients. However, I do have an EP playing mandolin alongside my dad, in the works. It’s some instrumentals who was a bluegrass picker. I was also that were recorded during seminars at heavily influenced by my mother, a very Sweetwater Sound. These are all origi- devoted Christian woman who played nal compositions. The other players are the accordion and exposed me to a lot legendary musicians: Keith Carlock on of gospel music. However, as a young, drums, Adam Nitti on bass, Michael impressionable kid, I wanted to play Whittaker on keyboards, and Mark guitar due to the fateful day that I first Douthit on sax. I have some other music heard a Chet Atkins record. I thought I was hearing two guitar players, one project ideas on the burner as well. playing rhythm and the other playing You are recognized primarily as a jazz the melody, when in fact it was Chet by 32 :: JAN/FEB 16 :: COLLECTIBLEGUITAR.COM

himself. I became obsessed with figuring out how he was doing both parts at the same time. I spent countless hours slumped over a guitar and my mom and dad’s monophonic Motorola, dropping the needle on every Chet recording that I could get my hands on. I became obsessed with fingerstyle guitar in general, which led me to discover Jerry Reed, Merle Travis, and a new Latin artist at the time, Jose Feliciano. I also loved country guitarists such as Grady Martin and Leon Rhodes, who had nice, sweet, mellow, thick tones. As fate would have it, I got bitten by the rock and roll bug. Being raised in Puxico, Missouri, a small, secluded town, I was limited in exposure to any great jazz music of that era. It just didn’t exist in my world. But I did have the radio, and in 1968, I heard a recording that forever changed my musical course. It was Terry Kath of the group Chicago Transit Authority. When I heard his soloing on “25 or 6 to 4,” I was all about it! He had an amazing, thick, distorted, vocal quality to his tone that was played with complex, jazz-sounding lines with fire and tenacity like I had never heard before. His ability to make a wah pedal talk to you or cry during his crazy solos always amazed me. Terry’s playing inspired me to seek out other jazz/rock musicians, which led me to discover Motown and R&B, which heavily influenced my playing and ultimately led me to discover jazz and jazz/fusion. Somewhere in there you can throw The Beatles and Stevie Wonder into the mix. During my late teens and early 20s, I listened to jazz musicians such as Oscar Peter-

son, Art Tatum, Joe Pass, Wes Montgomery, Miles Davis, George Benson, and The Jazz Crusaders, which led to discovering cats like Larry Carlton, Jay Graydon, Steve Lukather, Robben Ford, Jeff Beck, Scott Henderson, and Pat Metheny, who were all great jazz/ rock/pop pioneers that have significantly inspired me as a player. Let’s talk about your go-to electric and acoustic guitars. My first guitar was a 1966 Gibson SG, which looked identical to the one that Angus Young played on all the AC/DC recordings. That guitar would be later traded for a 1968 Gibson 335. Unfortunately, I have no idea where either of those guitars are now. My favorite guitar that I have ever owned and is one of my favorite “go to” guitars is a 1959 Gibson 355 that I bought in 1981 at the Pickin’ Parlor in downtown Nashville. It’s a weird and difficult thing to describe my relationship with this guitar, because it’s almost like an extension of who I am. Unlike other guitars that I play and own, everything seems effortless on my 355, and the original PAF’s are the sweetest-sounding pickups ever! I couldn’t imagine life without this gui-

tar; that’s how special it is to me. I own several other guitars out of necessity — various Strat, Tele, and Les Paul configurations — but the 355 is the bomb! I own a 1962 Gretsch Tennessean that’s special because I was fortunate enough to have the late, great Chet Atkins autograph it. You might say that this guitar brought me full circle with Chet. Many years ago, I was fortunate enough to share the stage with Chet. This was an event that featured Chet, guitarist and harmonica virtuoso Pat Bergeson, Chet’s then-protégé Paul Yandell, Amy Grant, and her then-husband Gary Chapman. I met Chet for the first time the day before the event, when we were all discussing a plan for the show. I’m sure I probably did the whole thing of being a drooling, idiot fan, and shamelessly embarrassed myself by telling him that he was the reason that I learned to play the guitar, how I spent hours dropping the needle on his records to learn how to play like him, and the whole bit. The next day, at the

show, everyone was to take a turn onstage to sing or play a solo. I happened to be sitting next to Chet when it was my turn to play. He took it upon himself to introduce me, and in his easy, gentleman-like, East Tennessee voice he said, “Well, this young feller sittin’ next to me said that he learned to play the guitar by listening to my records. Well, I guess we’re fixin’ to find out.” I went from cool, calm, and collected to total apocalyptic terror in a split second! I could not even look down at my hands, because in my mind’s eye I envisioned my hands jumping up and down in nervous fright. I could barely bring myself to pluck the first note, but when I finally Chet Atkins & Tom Hemby


did, I managed to somehow pull it together and get through the piece in one piece! After the show, Chet graciously signed my ’62 Tennessean and asked if it would be OK for him to recommend me to guitarist Muriel Anderson for her first All-Star Guitar Night at the Bluebird Cafe. Of course I treasure that guitar with his signature to this day.

ing able to go from a clean channel to a crunch to a heavily distorted sound with one click of the footswitch, which is very useful in a live situation. Plus, 100 watts of power gives you plenty of headroom. Being a studio musician for many years, I have collected quite a variety of amps for different musical situDo you still use Bogner amps? ations. The 3rd Power HD 100 deserves Yes. I love the voicing of the Bogner an honorable mention. It is built here in As far as McPherson acoustics, they Ecstasy 101B. I own a couple of them. Nashville by tube-amp guru Jamie Scott. can be best described as the marriage The coolest feature of that amp is be- He builds incredible-sounding amps. of superior tonewoods with cuttingI have also owned a few different Bad Cat amps that have tone to die for. Of course I have some industry standards, such as Vox, Marshall, Fender, and others. The most revolutionary thing that has come along in the world of amplification is the Kemper Amp Profiler. This thing is so Star Trek it’s unbelievable! The short version is that you can actually do a digital snapshot of your amp sound and within seconds have a clone of your existing amp captured in the Kemper format. I’m telling you, it will be identical to the sound you just profiled! This unit is so handy for fly dates, quick demo sessions, and even master recordings. In the studio, I sometimes prefer this over the real amp because the sound is already dialed in and ready to go. I would challenge anyone to tell the difference between the real amp and the profiled amp. edge technology. They are some of the best-sounding and most evenly playing acoustics on the market. I own several with different wood combinations, but my favorite is the combination of Adirondack spruce top and Brazilian rosewood back and sides — my baby!

What is on your pedalboard? I have owned many different effects pedals through the years, so it would be difficult to list all that I have, but I always have them laid out in the same sequential order, starting with a buffer into a wah, into distortion/overdrive section, followed by a volume pedal that sets in the chain before modulation and delay effects. What are some of your preferred recording techniques? On tracking dates I usually left any miking techniques up to the engineer. I would say that 90 percent of the time it usually involves close-miking the cabinet with a Shure SM57 and/or some type of ribbon microphone, generally a Royer 121 or 122. Occasionally I put up another mic in the room, if I am looking for a more ambient sound to mix in with the others. Of course there is always room for experimentation of various microphone combinations with differ34 :: JAN/FEB 16 :: COLLECTIBLEGUITAR.COM


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Play it. Love it.

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ent preamps, limiters/compressors, etc. The trick is to attempt to capture what the human ear is actually hearing if you are standing in front of the amp. Sometimes this is a little easier said than done, but a good ribbon mic will usually accomplish this when placed properly in front of a speaker cabinet. You moved to Nashville in 1978 with The Imperials, toured with them, and guitar on records, but I wasn’t sure how became an in-demand session player. When did your phone start to go about it. One day, some demo opportunities came my way, and from ringing? there I began to get occasional recomTouring with The Imperials was a mendations for recording dates. My real wonderful experience for me as a young break came in 1984, when I was asked man. I was bright-eyed, with no certain to tour with Amy Grant. She was an upexpectations about what I would be and-coming artist who began selling out doing in the music business for years huge arenas and was in high demand as to come. I always dreamed of playing a Christian-music pop artist. During this

time my phone started ringing for session work, and in no time my reputation as a guitarist in the recording world began to snowball. At first I was playing on many of the contemporary Christian music projects in the late ’80s into the ’90s. Before I knew it, I was playing on pop and country records for artists such as Kenny Loggins, Michael McDonald, Peter Cetera, Faith Hill, Barry Manilow, Charlie Daniels, Brian McKnight, Glen Campbell, Wynonna Judd, Donna Summer, and countless others. The one thing I learned from all of this is that the recording business is pretty much a “who you know” and “word of mouth” business, where you work hard to build a great reputation to help ensure that you’ll get that callback for the next recording date. Your daughter Natalie is a successful songwriter. Obviously, you’re very proud of her, but did part of you want to shelter her from this industry? Oh my gosh, yes! I’ve tried very hard to shelter her from the potential evils of this fickle industry! When Natalie was in junior high, she came home from school one day and announced that she had decided to become a dentist. I remember shouting, “YES! Thank God!” But something happened and she decided to pursue a career in the music business instead. At risk of hypocrisy, I was in no position to tell her not to go for it, since I was already in the middle of it myself. At first it was double the heartache for me, because I had already experienced some of the pitfalls and disappointments that I knew she would potentially face. Whenever she would hurt, I would hurt double. But now, with five No. 1 hit songs, including ACM Song of the Year this past year, and many cuts by many other artists, I can breathe a sigh of relief. And yes, I am very proud of her. So all is well that ends well. I’m now beginning to think that I should’ve been more serious about songwriting instead of being so serious about playing the guitar! — Alison Richter


PEDAL SNAPSHOT by Phil Traina Earth Drive $195 I have had the pleasure of playing quite a few great lower gain overdrive pedals over the years. I must say the Earth Drive is one of the favorites. The Earth Drive is set up like a familiar friend with tone, gain, and volume controls. At lower gain settings it adds harmonics and complexity to the tone that is very pleasing to the ears. There is a lot of nuance that shines through with this pedal. I was trying out the Earth Drive at home at lower volumes and was able to get the amp to react like it was at the Gurus Echosex2 Street $399

Gurus 1959 Double Decker Street $437

When we think of Italy we may think of classy fast cars, great architecture, and pasta. Now we can add great effect pedals to the list. The Binson Echorec is definitely an iconic delay unit. It seems as though this style of delay has come back into the mainstream as of late. Gurus, out of Italy, has taken this pedal idea to the next level. The Echosex2 is not your typical stomp box delay unit. Right off the bat a couple features stood out to me. This pedal has a tube preamp. This warms up the tone and really channels the Binson tones. Also, the “Age of Damage” knob is very useful. One of the defining features and unique qualities of the original Echorec’s were the different ways the mechanics of the unit would wear. This random wearing would make each unit unique in its delay tones. The “age of Damage” knob lets you dial in the wear and tear in one easy turn. The other controls are Echo (length of echo), 60660ms, Volume Echo (Wet/Dry mix, Length of Swell (Feedback) and Bass/Treble. The dip switches come in handy if you want your delayed tone to trail or you need a boost or cut on the signal. Overall with the Echosexy looks and tones to match, the Echosex2 is

edge of breakup. The EQ on this pedal is very true and there is no mid hump like we see on many overdrives today. Even at the highest gain settings on the Earth Drive the clarity from string to string is still intact. Running the pedal as a boost or an overdrive with singing sustain while adding warmth and body was a treat. If you are looking for a true overdrive that adds great complexity to your base tone and still acts like your amp, the Earth Drive may be what you are looking for. Brad Sarno has a winner in the Earth Drive.

a great addition for anyone looking to get that vintage warm Binson Echorec echo tones. One thing that left me wanting more was the fact that Gurus did not have the multi-head option incorporated in this unit. You never know what the future holds…I hope that Gurus adds that to this pedal. Even as a single head echo unit, it soars!!


The guys at Gurus have taken the Marshall style pedal to another level. In a sea of overdrive pedals the Double Decker can go from bluesy to hard rock in one box. Put it in front of your favorite amp or DAW. The Double Decker has 2 independent channels with full eq, gain, and volume. The boost function can be used independently or with either channel engaged. The Tube effects loop can be run in series or parallel. I like single channel amps with no effects loop, so I was able to run my delays and reverbs in the loop and the functionality was flawless. With remote outs for using switching systems and the balanced/unbalanced D.I. outs and speaker sim, it was great for direct recording as well as direct into the PA live use. If you are looking for convincing Marshall style tones spanning the best years of tones this pedal may be for you. I found it performed better when the volume was turned up on the pedal. It liked to be hit with a strong signal. Overall another great offering from Gurus.

Phil Traina, The Gear Concierge Helping guitar players get the tone they’ve been looking for. Living the dream in Northern California with his wife and kids.


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#mypedaltrain pedaltrain USER PHOTO CREDITS : left to right / top to bottom



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VIEW OF THE DAY by Dave Cleveland Mu:Con in South Korea

I’m so excited to share with you this instalment of “View of The Day”! I was recently in Seoul Korea at a conference called Mu:Con. They bring in Producers, Musicians, and Music Industry people from all over the world to work with and teach the artists in South Korea. I was fortunate enough to work with a band called A-Fuzz. They are an all girl jazz/rock band comprised of incredible musicians. We worked together on a song I wrote called, “Leaving The City”. The band did an awesome job! My friend and engineer, Daewoo Kim, did an excellent job capturing the sound of the band and mixing the project. I can’t wait for you to hear it!

ture...! DC: Very nice collection of gear! I really enjoyed the tone you got with the Nash S-81. Would you share a little about your band, A-Fuzz? JK: Our band, A-Fuzz, is a Korean all-female fusion jazz band. Our sound is based on Jazz, but we also play like funk music, as the name hints. You can expect the powerful sound and great playing of four dedicated musicians. Our 1st EP album, ‘Fading Lights’, was released in March, 2015. We were named a ‘EBS space gonggam Hello Rookie’ finalist, ‘K-Rookies’ hosted by Korea Culture & Contents Agency finalist, ‘Musistance Independent Artist Project’ finalist. We are an instrumental band, no vocal, trying to collaborate with other musicians in other formats.

While I was there, I took a few minutes to talk with Jinny Kim about being a guitarist in South Korea.

DC: Well, you are certainly making an impact on the music scene there. I came out and watched one of your concerts and was really impressed with the musicianship and the energy you all play with. The crowd loved it as well! Is it hard to make a living as a musician in South Korea?

I hope you enjoy a little of her story.

photos: junefilms - dirertor/junhee lee

DC: Jinny, thanks taking time to share your story with us. What got you into playing guitar? JK: When I was 15 years old, I enjoyed watching TV shows, especially music programs. And one day I saw rock bands playing. I really don’t know what the guitarist was playing, but it just looked so cool. So that’s why I started playing guitar.

Dave Cleveland with Jinny Kim

DC: That’s a great School! Who are some DC: I think as guitarists we all have one of your favorite guitarists? of those moments where we just know we JK: Jimi Hendrix, Jeff Beck, and Stevie have to play. My moment was hearing Roy Ray Vaughan, and also Steve Lukather. Buchanon”s Second Album. I was like, “I want to do that!” Jinny, you have such depth DC: Those are all very respectable players. I definitely hear Jeff Beck in your playing. in your playing. Did you study anywhere? You have that beautiful tone like Jeff. What JK: I attended at Musicians Institute, Hol- kind of gear are you using right now? lywood, California. JK: Guitars: Gibson 57 historic reissue (this is my main guitar!), Gibson ES335, Don Grosh custom classic, Nash S-81, and a Fender Strat. Pedals: I have a Bob Burt gr8t distortion, TS808 (Analogman mod), a J-cob Overdrive made by JRmusic (music store in Korea where I go always), an Analogman delay, Xotic SP comp, Arion chorus, and a TC electronic hall of fame Reverb. Amp: Now I use Fender Blues jr., but I want to buy two rock amps in the fu-


JK: I think it’s not easy to earn money as a guitarist or musician. The Korean music industry is based more around K-Pop. But we are having success. So we will keep working hard to let people hear our music and get our name out there. DC: I’m sure you will continue to do great things there. What about any plans of your own? JK: Well, maybe I will record my own songs for my guitar album. DC: Let me know when that happens, I’ll be the first one to buy it! Jinny, you are a great player and a true joy to be around. I wish all the best to you and A-Fuzz. Hopefully there will be an American tour in the not too distant future. Thanks for stopping by and reading the View of The Day. Let me know what’s on your mind or if you have any questions. I would love to hear from ya! Best,


Dave Cleveland is a session guitarist from Nashville. He’s recorded for Miley Cyrus, Martina McBride, Stephen Stills, Judy Collins, Whitney Wolanin & Girls Generation. He recently wrote the tv theme for Mud People and Mustang Millionaire.

Heartland Tone SC-625 Pickup The SC-625 pickup by Heartland Tone faithfully re-creates the classic Stratocaster tone, but with a darker edge and fuller bass response. Slightly overwound by hand, the SC-625 has a higher output and warmer overtones than the Standard Stratocaster pickups. If you’re looking to add some thickness to your Stratocaster tones while retaining its classic vibe, the SC-625 by Heartland Tone is the pickup for you!

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$140.00 Calibrated Set (Neck, Middle, Bridge)


Lewitt DGT 650 The Mobile Recording Studio by Michael Elsner

Everything these days seems to be going mobile. Whether we like it or not, we live in a mobile world. Music creation is not exempt from that, and I’m continually blown away by the quality of products that are being created for the traveling musician. Case in point is the Lewitt DGT 650. This high quality microphone/audio interface gives music creators the ability to write and record music out on the road and away from the studio. Overview: The DGT 650 is the first in Lewitt’s Digital Series of microphones. However, this is much more than just a simple stereo USB microphone that you plug into your iPad, iPhone, or computer. The DGT 650 is a complete 24bit/96kHz audio interface for Mac, PC and iOS devices that offers 4 selectable recording modes: XY Stereo, Cardioid, Singer/Songwriter, and Stereo Line In. While XY Stereo and Cardioid are self explanatory for those already familiar with microphones, Singer/Songwriter mode allows for the simultaneous recording of a vocal and instrument line source, and Stereo Line In mode allows for the recording of a stereo instrument signal. Other features of the microphone include a -10dB and -20dB pad, an 80Hz and 160Hz high pass filter, as well as the ability to mix direct and tape return signals. The microphone features a push wheel selector switch, which makes stepping through the various settings quick and easy, and the back lit user interface provides ample light to see these settings in a dark environment. The DGT 650 also features a built in lithium-ion battery that, with a full charge, can provide over 3 hours of recording time on mobile devices.

with the included heavy-duty shock Test Drive: mount, foam windbreaker, and folding Lewitt calls the DGT 650 ‘The Mobile tabletop stand. Recording Studio,’ and that’s precisely Setup: what it is. I’ve been able to put this miEverything with the DGT 650 centers crophone through its paces in a variety around a small breakout box, which of situations, each with very successful provides all the necessary connections results. and is, in essence, the main hub of the unit. The breakout box interfaces with the microphone via an 18-pin data connector, and the computer or iOS device via a USB cable or Apple Lightening connecter respectively. Other connections include an 1/8” headphone output, 1/4” stereo line input, and a MIDI jack, because the DGT 650 supports MIDI.

I’ve used it in XY stereo mode to record everything from Podcast style audio, full band rehearsals and concerts (employing the various pads to prevent any kind of signal overload), as well as direct to YouTube performance videos with an artist I’m working with named Adam Searan. Adam and I have also used Cardioid Mode to great effect in my studio to record some of his vocals. Out on the road I’ve used singer/songwriter mode when writing ideas in the back lounge of the bus, and Stereo Line In mode to record a board feed from the live mixing console.

Connecting to an iOS device is as simple as plug and play. Connecting to a Mac requires selecting the DGT 650 as your audio input and output device in the system preferences menu, while connecting to a PC involves download- Navigating through the various paFinally, the entire unit is completed ing and installing an audio driver. rameters is as simple as pressing the se-


lector switch and rolling the wheel to the desired selection. I also have to say that a fantastic feature I didn’t realize it had until I started to take it out on the road is the internal battery power. The battery doesn’t draw power from your phone or tablet when you are using the microphone, which truly makes it a fully mobile package. I’ve found that it’s a very balanced sounding microphone and the overall sound quality is phenomenal. The stereo spread can be heard in XY mode very clearly, especially when placed in the center between two sources. I’m also extremely impressed at the results I get while tracking vocals and acoustic guitars in the studio in Cardioid mode. Vocals are very clean and balanced and the same can be said for the guitar, with the microphone picking up the subtle nuances and articulations quite well. Combining the microphone source with an instrument or line source, Singer/Songwriter mode is a godsend for those of us who are constantly writing and creating in various non-studio environments, giving clear separation between the vocal and instrument sources. Finally, Stereo Line In is ideal for recording keyboards, stereo guitars, and any other type of stereo signal.

straight to the mix engineer that night and onto the show the next morning. All I needed was my ProTools equipped laptop, the DGT 650, and my acoustic guitar. I found a quiet room at the venue, imported the files that were sent to me into my session, setup the DGT 650, and went to work. I turned the tracks in and promptly received a very happy and relieved phone call from the composer. This setup allows me to travel with minimal gear and still attain a high

quality recording that rivals the quality of gear I have in my studio’s signal chain. I’ve gotta hand it to the guys at Lewitt for leaving no stone unturned in the design of this unit and creating a very ‘complete’ recording package. Michael Elsner is a guitarist/ songwriter/producer whose written for shows including American Idol, Amish Mafia, EXTRA, The Sing Off, and So You Think You Can Dance among many others.

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Overall, the portability with the DGT 650 is about as good as you can get, essentially eliminating the need for a separate interface and mic pre. Final Thoughts: Personally, I’m all about practicality. It’s fun to discover and play with new gear, but when the rubber meets the road I ask myself, “Is this something I’m actually going to use?” In this case, the answer is a resounding, “Yes!”, and let me wrap up with a quick story to emphasize this point. I work with a number of composers quite regularly, but I also spend a few days a week out on the road with a modern country artist. While traveling recently, I received a frantic call to track acoustic guitars on a dozen or so cues. The pieces needed to be completed within a few hours as they were going

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George Gruhn

reflects on dealing and collecting guitars since 1963 by Eric Dahl In the realm of Vintage Guitar Shops and their owners few have gained greater recognition than George Gruhn and his shop “Gruhn Guitars.” From a Visa commercial in 1992, to featured magazine columns, guitar reference books, and as an epicenter for vintage musical instrument knowledge and evaluations - few compare. I have known George since the early 1980s when my parents first brought me to Nashville to the mecca of guitar shops! “Gruhn Guitars” became a landmark for musicians, tourists, and locals in Nashville TN and was located close to the Ryman Auditorium. But in 2012 George decided to sell his downtown building and move to 2120 8th Ave South. The relocation was well conceived by Gruhn, as he told me before the move, “I’m tired of selling t-shirts to tourists who come to the neighborhood primarily to drink and party. I want to focus on my real instrument customers.” Gruhn’s new facility is a spacious three level shop allowing musicians to seek out hidden treasurers clustered by brand and style of instrument. When I attended the grand opening for the new location it was no surprise to see a who’s who of Nashville musicians, including country artist Vince Gill. I had the chance to catch up with George Gruhn, the Nashville icon, after his recent 70th birthday in 2015. Eric: Now that you are 70 years old, how has the guitar business changed from when you first got into it? George Gruhn: The market is vastly different today than it was in 1963 when I started to collect guitars while a freshman at the University of Chicago.

photo by Vincent Ricardel

Martin, Gibson, and Fender, and for dealers. Fortunately for me and others in the business, the baby boomers experienced a midlife crisis starting in the mid-1980s, which played a role in revitalizing the guitar market and stimulating collecting. From 1993 onward the so-called “dot-com” boom made it more profitable to invest in the stock market rather than fretted instruments, but the vintage guitar market remained healthy. It seems clear that the same instruments which were considered golden era true collectibles in 1970 are still the gold standard today. Eric: How has your guitar list and clientele changed from 1970 to today? George: My first shop was in a rented building a couple of hundred feet away from The finest acoustic vintage fretted inthe stage door to the Ryman Audistruments of the 1920s and 1930s were torium, which was still the home of selling for no more than the cost of a the Grand Ole Opry. In January 1970 new one. I didn’t know anyone lookwhen we opened, our total inventory of ing for vintage electrics in 1963, but by used and vintage guitars was 22 instruthe time I graduated many musicians ments, and we had no new instruments were actively looking for older Telecastfor sale. Today we are in our 4th locaers and Les Pauls. When I opened my tion, fill an 18,000 square foot space, shop in January, 1970 the market had and have at least 2500 instruments in evolved considerably. Crosby, Stills, stock. In 1970 our clientele consisted Nash, & Young had an enormous of professional musicians and serious impact on acoustic and electric guitar amateur players. Being located so close sales. They caused an infusion of rock to Ryman auditorium gave us a steady ‘n roll money into the acoustic guitar stream of very fine musicians from market, which raised the value of many all over the USA, Europe, and Japan. instruments. Prices were escalating Today we get far more people through at a rapid rate of at least 20% a year the door daily, plus we have access to for prime instruments. The market the Internet and other social media for continued to grow very rapidly until outreach of a type which could not the mid-1970s when the folk rock era have been achieved during the 1970s. ended quite abruptly. The late 1970’s Eric: After the vintage instrument through the mid-1980s were a hard recession in 2007-08 how healthy is times for traditional guitar makers like



1970-76 the vintage guitar market now? George: In my opinion, the guitar market was a classic economic bubble from mid-2002 through early 2007. The growth in the market and escalation of prices during that time was unsustainable. Vintage instrument sales were under stress well before the stock market crashed in 2008 and our federal government economists declared the economy to be in recession. The market was over-inflated and due for a correction. While I do not have an infallible crystal ball permitting me to offer totally accurate prognostications, I suspect we will be on a very interesting ride for the next few years. I feel that the vintage fretted instrument market is remarkably resilient, but we face the challenges of aging baby boomers and a transition to customers with different goals and preferences. Eric: What do you consider Blue Chip Guitar investments at this time? George: The Golden era acoustic guitars of the late 1920s through the early 1940s, early 1920s through the 1930s for many banjos and mandolins, and 1950s through early 1960s for electric guitars were the most sought after models when I opened my store in 1970 and still are today. These instruments are older than they were when I first opened my store, but the Golden Era has not changed. Eric: Where do you see areas of growth as Pre-CBS Fenders, vintage Les Pauls, and prewar Martins exceed some collectors/players bank accounts? George: I am continuing to invest in the same models that appealed to me in the early 1970s. I see very few

1976-93 fretted instruments made after the mid-1960s, which would tempt me to become a collector. Many instruments made today are the best in the past 50 years, but they have not surpassed the Golden Era originals. Eric: How has government regulation affected the vintage guitar industry? George: The Lacey Act regulating domestic interstate trade in endangered species products and the CITES Treaty (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) regulating plant and animal endangered species internationally have had a profound impact on the vintage instrument market as well as new instrument market. Brazilian rosewood, ivory, and other components which were used on vintage acoustics are not in any way harming our environment today, but regardless of the merits of the manner in which the regulations are being enforced, requiring difficult to obtain permits to legally import or export vintage instruments is a serious issue causing headaches for many manufacturers and significant losses for vintage instrument dealers.

instruments based on how they feel and sound rather than their collectability, and also by a more limited number of collectors who study these instruments in great depth and are very deeply concerned with originality and historic significance. If by “great deals” you mean instruments available today which can be bought at current market prices with the expectation that they will soon rise in value so it would be possible to hold them for a short time and flip them for a profit, I think there are relatively few such items available. Eric: Why did you move “Gruhn Guitars” away from your established location? George: While it might seem a blessing to have 500 to 1000 people a day coming through the door, it drove our primary customers away. It became virtually impossible for us to provide


Eric: Are there still great deals to be found in vintage instruments? And if so, where? George: Looking back historically, it is easy to say that prices when I started collecting instruments in 1963 were incredibly cheap compared to the present day, even inflation-adjusted, and the same was also true in 1970 and again in the early to mid-1980s. In my opinion, prices have now stabilized for a while. The market today is controlled primarily by utility tool users who buy


service to people who genuinely wanted to try out instruments after the city administration did away with sound control ordinances and permitted honky-tonks to blast sound out at full volume. Our new location gives us not only more floor space, but also a parking lot that accommodates 47 cars. It is more accessible for our customers and provides a far better experience and a better work environment. Eric: How do you see guitar-buying changing over the next fifty years? George: The baby boomers have a different perspective on collecting than most people of generations X, Y, and the millennials. Fretted instrument collecting and collecting in general was far more popular with the baby boomers and generations who preceded than the younger generations. I am finding today that many people years younger than me are downsizing their guitar collections and I’m getting far fewer calls from 20 to 40 year-olds wanting to get into guitar collecting than I am from people downsizing or selling estate guitar collections.

Eric C. Newell & George

photo by Miles Price


that be? George: In my youth I bought many guitars that I now wish I had kept. The fourth guitar I ever owned was a 1924 L-5 Gibson signed by Lloyd Loar. I know where the guitar is today, but I can’t buy it back. On the other hand, I have three excellent L-5s in my collection today. Eric: What is your favorite guitar that you currently own and play?

George: At the present time my two Eric: If you favorite guitars are a 1929 16 inch wide could have bought L-5 Gibson and a 1922 000- 42 Marand kept one tin. Both are historically interesting guitar in your past what would continued on page 54


TWA Triskelion Pedal by Phil Traina

The TWA Triskelion is a very simple yet very deep and versatile distortion box. I first came across this pedal a few years ago when I saw Dweezil Zappa using them on the road to create some of Frank Zappa’s signature tones. Since then they have updated the Triskelion. The most interesting thing about this pedal is how TWA has set up the controls, they are basically running a parametric eq with synthesizer technology to drive into distorted tones. The layout is pretty simple but as I said earlier covers a lot of ground. The Energy control, controls the amount of frequency boost or Q of the filtering, there is a ton of headroom and boost, up to +22db. Variant mass controls which frequency to be boosted. The amplitude is the overall output level, up to +18db. The energize footswitch allows you to bypass the gain and use it as a traditional eq. There are a couple internal switches that change the gain structure and frequencies as well as a trim pot to allow you to dial in your expression pedal. Which brings me to another great feature of the Triskelion is the expression pedal out. This allows you to sweep through the filtering and give you a ton of different varied tones. The Triskelion was designed to give you glassy clean tones, midrange boost, or infinite sustain. You can dial your rig to go into controlled feedback in any room. Don’t be fooled though, this box can get nasty and in your face. For the most part, the Triskelion it is not a polite pedal. I was able to dial in huge, thick wall of sound tones, even into fuzz territory. I loved how the symbol in the center of the pedal lights up

red when engaged. There is quite a bit more that I could write about this box. Overall if you are someone who loves distortion and wants to dial in tones of fun tones the Triskelion is a great box and will do the job. Have fun wailing away to some classic and non-traditional distortion tones.

Phil Traina, The Gear Concierge Helping guitar players get the tone they’ve been looking for. Living the dream in Northern California with his wife and kids.


The Personal Side of Selling Lennon’s Gibson J-160E by Gabriel J. Hernandez John McCaw with reporters after the auction

By now you’ve certainly heard that the amazing journey of John Lennon’s long-lost 1962 Gibson J160E – the one he used to write many of The Beatles’ early hits with bandmate Paul McCartney – finally ended in magnificently historic fashion on Nov. 7, 2015, when it sold to an anonymous buyer for a record $2.41 million. That’s the highest price ever paid at auction for a guitar, a position held for just three years by Bob Dylan’s 1964 Fender Stratocaster, the one he played at his first electric gig at the Newport Jazz Festival in 1965. Dylan’s guitar sold for $965,000, and a few others have sold for slightly more in either private transactions or charity auctions. But Lennon’s guitar – arguably one of the most (if not the most) significant instrument in pop music history – currently stands proudly as the pinnacle trophy of G.A.S. (Guitar Acquisition Syndrome). And unless Mark Twain’s legendary 1835 Martin 2 ½-17 parlor guitar ever comes up for sale – a guitar recently appraised north of $10 million – there’s not another guitar on the horizon that will touch it anytime soon. Of course, the chief beneficiary of the sale was San Diego, California native John McCaw, though he did work out a pre-auction agreement with Yoko Ono to donate a significant – and undisclosed – portion of the sale’s proceeds to The Spirit Foundations, John and Yoko’s charitable organization. Actually, the agreement was in place a month before Julien’s Auctions went public with news of the guitar’s existence in June 2015, a fact that was not publicized – nor noticed – until after the auction, and one that allowed cynics, pessimists and

naysayers to have a field day at the expense of McCaw, who is arguably one of the most quiet, unassuming and honest human beings one could ever meet. If Lennon himself could have chosen someone to take care of this historic acoustic for 52 years and then rerelease it to the world in 2015, he would have chosen McCaw.

But this column is not about the naysayers. No sir. It’s about the personal side of this incredible voyage. You see, it wasn’t just about Lennon’s guitar or how much it sold for. There was a personal side to this story that blew everyone away – including myself. Like the guitar, this story had a way of drawing people into it, whether they wanted it or not. Maybe it was Lennon’s guitar working its “magic” once again. After all, the guitar that was supposedly “stolen” and “missing” for 52 years was never actually lost, was it? And for the record, it wasn’t “found” either, it’s more accurate to say it was “rediscovered”. And it was “rediscovered” by McCaw and his circle of close friends. It was “authenticated” by someone who does that sort of thing for a living. But it was McCaw and his unassuming buddies who put together the puzzle long before handing it over to someone who looked over the evidence and put their stamp of approval on it.

The guitar’s backstory has been well reported. McCaw purchased it from (still) good friend Tommy Pressley in 1969 for $175 cash. Pressley had purchased it from The Blue Guitar in San Diego two years earlier. How the guitar ended up in San Diego is still a mystery, but one that will likely be solved sooner than later via a documentary currently in the works by Los Angeles filmmakers Thomas Scott Stanton and Ryan Carman. The two (Ryan is McCaw’s nephew) have followed this guitar’s incredible journey from day one, interviewing everyone lucky enough to have been a part of it. Suffice to say when the “mystery” The heart of this story is that the guiis finally solved it probably won’t be as tar was in the hands of its destined, very perplexing and Machiavellian as many worthy guardian for 47 years – a fact have attempted to paint it. made even more amazing considering the guitar was never altered in any way


during that time. Sure, the strings were changed and basic setups were done by a local San Diego luthier. But even when McCaw inquired about changing the “old rusty tuners” on it, that same luthier told him flat out, “don’t change anything on this guitar … EVER!” And so it was. From McCaw’s perspective, and that of nearly everyone he chose to share the news of his good fortune with – including this writer – everything about this story was very personal. From the moment McCaw first realized his guitar bore a striking resemblance to Lennon’s long-lost Gibson J-160E, he relied on his trusted circle of close friends and family to guide him and help figure it out. People too numerous to mention – but including Marc Intravaia, Tom Gulotta, Eve Selis, Jim Soldi, Dan Parks, Peter Seltzer, Tony Batakis, Mike Adams, TJ Klay, the rest of his friends and fellow pickers from the Pot Luck Players group that still get together every Tuesday night, and even McCaw’s wife Cathy and their two sons, Travis and Matt – all had a hand in figuring out the significance of a guitar that had hung on a guitar wall hanger in McCaw’s home for nearly 47 years. What made this story even more personal was what McCaw did with it after he figured out what he had. First, he realized he couldn’t keep it in his house anymore, so he rented a secure, storm and fire proof vault at The Blue Vault just a few miles from his house in San Diego. But keeping it there saddened him beyond words simply because a guitar so dear to him was suddenly so larger than life and so valuable that he no longer could keep it inside the home where it had been for 47 years. But he went to The Blue Vault frequently, and he did because he’d made the decision to share it with as many friends and family as he possibly could before he had to finally let it go. He continued to bring it to the Tuesday night gatherings of the Pot Luck Players guitar group. He allowed his friend and guitar teacher, Marc Intravaia, to play and record with it. McCaw even arranged for nearly all of his close friends and family to pose and take their pictures with it, many of whom have framed those same pictures to hang in their own homes.

Cathy & John McCaw with Gabriel Hernandez

As a result I am now very proud to call McCaw a friend today, and a person that will certainly be a friend for the rest of my days. This is not supposed to happen between a journalist and the people in the stories being written. I didn’t have to travel to California twice for this story, but I did. No one paid me to go, and the money I made to write these stories certainly didn’t match the time and effort put forth (thankfully, I have a loving wife who understood why I did it). And I don’t regret any of it. I did it because of the close, personal connection I felt to this story, to Lennon, to McCaw, to the guitar itself, and to everyone involved. Everything came full circle the day the guitar sold for its record price. That night, at Factor’s Famous Deli in Beverly Hills, 44 of McCaw’s closest friends and family – including myself – enjoyed a celebration dinner in honor of the guitar, the journey, and all the memories it made for everyone in attendance. I cannot put into words what it meant to be there, and I’m sure all of the others felt the same way. It was McCaw himself that summed it up best. “That evening, nobody really talked about what it sold for,” he said. “Everybody was just there and happy to be a part of a history-making day. Much

of the time I was watching people and what I could see more than anything were the smiles on everyone’s faces. That part of it was so humbling to me that it almost brought me to tears. “If I had to sit down and try and write the best ending to the story of owning John Lennon’s guitar and selling it, I could not have written what actually happened,” McCaw said. “Everything about it was just perfect. More than the money, I wanted it to be a part of history for everyone involved. And it happened. It was just perfect.” McCaw’s own words are a true testament to the humble human being he is, and to Lennon’s own legacy. Think about it … Lennon may have left this earth unexpectedly on Dec. 8, 1980. But it’s quite obvious that his spirit, positive energy and influence still exists in many of us today, and the story of this guitar and how it was rediscovered is just another sure sign of it. Gabriel J. Hernandez is the owner of Blues Vintage Guitars, Inc., a shop in Nashville, Tennessee, specializing in the buying and selling of vintage and newer high-end guitars and gear. You can reach him any time at 1-615-613-1389, or visit his company’s web site at



George L’s Cables: A Family Tradition

by Eric Dahl

George L’s cables were first introduced to me in the early 1980’s by my guitar teacher. It was a unique concept to see a guitar cable on a metal spool and sold by the foot, but it also had a boutique and custom feel to it. I still own that first George L cable, and it has faithfully seen me through many bands, rehearsals, and gigs. After moving to Nashville I was invited out to the George L’s cable facility to meet the owners in person and learn how the products were made here in Tennessee. The home office is located in a non-descript house in Madison TN, but inside it feels like family as everyone works to create and package the wide variety of cables that are used by Eric Johnson, the Rolling Stones, and Rascal Flatts. The original founders, George and his wife, Mona Lewis, launched their cable company in 1973. George started with Sho-Bud Steel Guitars in the early 60’s where he was involved in the design and manufacturing of their instruments. Then in the early 70’s a partnership was struck with GHS Strings and Mona ran the factory. During the GHS years George developed new innovations in the string industry until he realized the biggest obstacle facing guitarist’s sound was their

cables. GHS was one of the first string companies to offer local music stores the ability to have their stores names on the package of strings. Kimberly Lewis, George’s daughter recounts, “Dad was having a conversation with a famous music store owner in California where he was trying to determine what name to put on the strings. He said, “Oh heck George. What am I going to call them?” Dad said, “Dean, why don’t


you put your name on them?” Then Dad said, “If it was good enough for Markley then it was good enough for us!!” And thus the name of George L’s cables was born.” Since George and Mona Lewis passed away 5 years ago the company has been run by their daughters, Kimberly and Leesa Lewis. The sisters have been in the industry for 51 years and they divide up the daily company duties. Kimberly’s children, Kahler and Karrington Williams are the next generation to continue the George L’s cables legacy. As Kimberly puts it, “George L’s is the Original High End Cable and they last forever. Old fashion quality . . . you can’t get that in China!” Their cables come with a lifetime guarantee and at 19pf per ft. they exhibit no line loss or microphonics. The most popular cable size .155 comes in five different colors: black, vintage red, blue, purple, and orange. There are 45 various models ranging from instrument cables to patch cables and the ever-popular Effect Kit for pedalboards. George L’s cable plug ends are offered in ¼” straight or right angle and are attached by simply using the side mounted flat head screw on the plug. The end plugs are offered

in non-plated brass, nickel, and gold plating. Kimberly told me, “George and Mona would be very proud of the kids. Mom and Dad had no idea where we

would be today, but I tell you this: if they knew their heads would be spinning.” George L’s Cables are available at 1100 brick & mortar stores in the U.S. and 65 distributors around the world. You can also purchase them

through Amazon, Walmart, and all major chains or at In a disposable society it’s nice to see an established business like George L’s cables continue a family tradition of making great music gear!


Rockn Stompn Model RS-4 Power Sequencer by Doug Doppler

Whether you’re on the gig or in the studio, properly powering and protecting your gear is key. Rockn Stompn’s Model RS-4 sequentially powers your rig up and down with the push of a button, filters out unwanted noise, and provides superior surge and spike protection. The four pairs of power receptacles can be independently programmed to power up and down at intervals ranging from zero to fifteen seconds, thanks to the sixteen-position Delay On and Delay Off rotary switches. The “Last On First Off ” duplex is designed to prevent and protect your amp from being power cycled in the wrong order, eliminating the annoying and potentially destructive ‘pop’ we know too well. Unlike cheapie power strips, the Model RS-4 utilizes a network of nine metal-oxide varistors to protect prized gear against power surges and spikes. When the unit is on, a red LED status indicator on the end of the RS-4 provides visual confirmation that protection is in place. In the event of a

power surge or spike the unit will immediately power down to protect your gear, and the LED will turn off letting you know a power-related event has occurred. The RS-4 conveniently features four sequential modes of operation. Standard Mode is initiated via the footswitch, and the power sequence times are controlled by the rotary switches. Instant On Mode is initiated by pushing the main AC rocker switch into the On position or by plugging the RS-4 in with the rocker already in the On position. The unit will then power up sequentially per the setting on the On Delay rotary switch. To power down the unit you simply depress the main footswitch and the RS-4 will power down per the settings on the Off Delay rotary switch. The Receptacle One Always On Mode functions similarly to the Instant On Mode with the added convenience of having a surge-protected pair of receptacles available any time you have power running through the RS-4. Timer Mode

allows you to use the rotary switches to determine how many hours before your rig powers down sequentially. This feature is particularly convenient for venues. Hand-crafted in the USA, the RS-4 is built like a tank, works like a charm, and is guaranteed for life. If you value your gear, you definitely want to check one out. $379.00 List $299 Street When Doug Doppler is not writing gear reviews, the former Guitar Hero session player and Favored Nations recording artist spends his days, hours, weeks and years demoing the coolest gear on the planet for his web site


Paul with his Republic

interested in what Republic is doing in the marketplace.

“Resonate” cont. from page 28

“sure, but now you’re a dealer.” Exposure never hurts a good product. Later that evening, I posted a video of me playing it in the concert that I had just finished. I sold two more that week, and, with that, I did become a proud rep.

On December 4th, while on tour supporting his solo release, “ Pe r f e c t a mu n d o,” Billy Gibbons, of ZZ Top fame, brought the two guitars players of his opening act, Tyler Bryant and the Shakedown, out to the Republic Guitars warehouse. Before they arrived, Billy pontificated, “Boys, we’re all going home with some new resonators today.”

My serpentine story about Republic has a point. As a solo artist, it’s necessary to mix up the sonic palette during a concert. I can assure you, after that first night in Austin, “Rusty” is filling that need without the lofty reputation of his vintage royalty peers emblazoned on the headstock.

If you’re internationally famous, like Billy Gibbons, the late Johnny Winter, Joe Walsh, Bonnie Raitt, or any of the other artists from the photographically displayed list on the Republic website, or just starting your probe into the primitive roots of the blues world, you’ll be doing yourself, and your fans, a favor if you take home a Republic Resonator guitar today.

For this article, I had originally planned on talking about the characteristics of each model, extolling the patina, sound and playability. Or, describing how my “Rusty” parlor model, with the single cone, seems to have more bass, while the tri-cone has more of a traditional banjo-esque sound. The biggest truth, which I’ve proved over and over again with any instrument, is that once in the hands of the player, it takes on their tone.

For detailed information about Republic guitars visit:

Yes, I’ve been privileged to play high end instruments to be overly excited about economical over the last 45 years of my For detailed information about Paul career, and, as a longtime collector, Asian knock off instruments. But, if trader and player of such, I’m not prone you visit the Republic website, it seems Clark, visit: that, like me, there are several others “Fretboard Less Traveled” cont. from page 30

On the previous page is a 12 bar blues with a crafted solo bouncing between the three mentioned scales. Any one of those three scales will work over any one of the three chords of the progression. Some notes have to be treated as passing tones, like playing F# blues over D7, the C# should be a passing note and not a landing tone. I’m especially fond of using F# blues over the

E7 chord. I like to play this solo with a blues shuffle groove at 120 B.P.M. If you would like to see a demo video of this solo and two others, go to: http:// ComboAFESolo1.html If you would like to know more, you can purchase the complete video lesson with explanations, PDF in tab and notation, plus an MP3 practice/performance track. If you’d like to dig even deeper into these ideas, you might also


like ”The Blues Scale Potential” which extensively discusses these scales and weaving their colors into your soloing. Till next time,


Rich Severson is a guitarist, clinician, author, and former GIT instructor. To preview Rich’s music and guitar educational products go to and



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“George Gruhn” cont. from page 46

collectibles, but also superb sounding instruments, but very different from each other. Eric: Are there plans for more Gruhn designed guitars?

ing the finest vintage and new violins, violas, cellos, and basses, as well as bows. Their certificates of authenticity are still considered some of the most reliable today. They elevated violin dealing to a standard that has never been surpassed. It was my goal to achieve something similar for fretted instruments. I’m still working toward that today.

thought to establishing a guitar museum, which has the potential to keep me occupied for many years. My great uncle Otto lived to be 105 years old and never fully retired. I hope to follow his example.

George Gruhn and the shop he established in 1970, “Gruhn Guitars,” have almost a mythical status within the vintage guitar buying community. If you haven’t Eric: Do you have any plans for made a pilgrimage to the new location I retirement from the vintage guitar highly recommend it, and you are likely to business? see the proprietor wandering about talking George: My business is essentially to patrons. At 70, Gruhn isn’t slowing a hobby that got out of hand. As long down a bit. In fact it seems as though he as I’m still enjoying what I do and has a new energy and focus for his future am mentally and physically able to go creative endeavors and a guitar “hobby” onward, it is my intention to stay in this that, thankfully, continues to this day! business. I would like to devote more Eric: When you opened your first of my time to research, writing, designshop did you ever imagine your impact ing new instruments, and other creative Eric Dahl resides in Nashville TN with his wife on the vintage guitar world? work. My stepson Eric Newell is now and daughter. He is the the company president and general George: Before I ever opened the author of “B.B. King’s manager. He takes care of much of the shop I had in mind a shop modeled Lucille and the Loves Before day-to-day operations, but I am still after Hill & Sons in London. Hill had Her” and he does a weekly at the shop six days a week, Monday an international reputation for dealTV gear review show called through Saturday. I have been giving the FOX 17 Rock and Review. George: My most recently designed guitar is a custom shop Martin 0000 12 fret slot head instrument measuring 16 inches wide at the lower bout. It is a size and shape Martin had never made previously. These instruments are now available at my shop. I started designing fretted instruments in the mid-1970s. I have numerous other projects in mind and anticipate more in the future. I’m still trying to figure out what I want to do when I grow up.

the Straight Truth About Pickups by Jason Lollar The “magic” found in some (but not all) classic vintage pickups was created by accident. Don’t let anyone tell you different. And over time, some pretty stellar accidents happened. The only way to recreate that magic is to study more than a few exceptional examples of all the classic pickup types, while acquiring a thorough understanding of exactly what materials were used and precisely how each pickup was constructed and wound. Only then is the “magic” repeatable, if you are willing to spend the time and money required to chase the dragon. I am. I personally design and wind over 30 different pickup models, including all the vintage classics, many obscure works of art known only to lap and pedal steel players like Robert Randolph, and even a few of my own designs that never existed in the past. I invite you to visit our website for sound clips, videos and current product information, or feel free to give us a call. Lollar Pickups,Tacoma, WA. (206) 463-9838


History in the making Creation Series™ instruments are one of a kind never to be replicated. We look forward to building one for you. (photo: Larry Melton)

Creation Series™ serial #5 “The Mating Dance”

Over the past 100 years, the Martin Dreadnought defined what an acoustic guitar can and should be.

D-222 100th Anniversary

A Musical Icon Turns 100 (1916-2016)

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