Collectible Guitar MayJune16

Page 1

Joe Satriani 2016 G4 Experience Signature Guitars + Vintage Gear

Daryl Stuermer Fender The Edge Strat + Deluxe May ď Ź June 2016

US $5.95 Canada $6.95


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TECHNOLOGY IS BEAUTIFUL. Guitarists appreciate the sound of a great played-in vintage acoustic. Takamine got together with some scientists who developed a process of heat-treating the spruce top of a guitar. The result is a brand new instrument that sounds like it’s been played for decades! The feel is dynamic, punchy, and full of soul. We call them the Thermal Top, or TT Series. These guitars are remarkable and beautiful, much like the EF450C TT shown here. Try the new TT Series at your Takamine dealer today.

THE LEGACY CONTINUES

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www.knaggsguitars.com

www.mo-ka.net (House of Blues Las Vegas, photo Wayne Posner)


CONTENTS

ON THE COVER

20 | JOE SATRIANI

Satch dishes on the G4 Experience camps, signature guitars, and vintage gear

INTERVIEW 32 | DARYL STUERMER Another Side of Genesis

FEATURES 4 | CG MOBILE MARKETPLACE powered by Sweetwater 12 | WHAT’S NEW: Layar + Short URLs 13 | GEAR GIVEAWAY 40 | DOS AND DON’TS of the International Dallas Guitar Show 2016 48 | THE TOP 20 (+3) BOOKS FOR AMPLIFIER ENTHUSIASTS 50 | A BEGINNERS GUIDE TO SHOPPING FOR A LES PAUL

BUILDER PROFILES 16 | BROWNBOX 34 | TODD SHARP AMPLIFIERS

8

May  June 2016

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FROM ONE COLLECTOR TO ANOTHER... PIVOTAL… You’ve most likely noticed a different look on the cover of this issue of Collectible Guitar

COLUMNS

magazine. Yes, we have a new logo and yes, we have a new layout, but the changes we’ve made go far beyond the look and feel of the magazine. We’ve introduced a range of interactive elements that transform the printed pages into a digitally enhanced environment that is designed to come alive for our readers. Layar is a free app for iOS and Android, and functions like face recognition software for print pages. Once you’ve downloaded the app

18 | ASK SKIP

(see Page 12 for details), simply scan pages

27 | KEEP IT SIMPLE: FENDER CHAMP AMPS

where you see the Layar icon to reveal the

38 | PEDAL SNAPSHOT

eye. From product demos, to gear reviews, to

42 | QUIRKY VINTAGE

experience into a rich media extravaganza–

layers of content that are hidden to the naked guitar lessons, Layar turns the traditional print thanks to the mobile devices our readers tend

52 | FRETBOARD LESS TRAVELED

to have nearby as they read our magazines.

54 | PAWNSHOP PRIZE

We’re also excited to announce the Sweetwater Mobile Marketplace, which provides an appfree digital alternative to connect with the

GEAR REVIEWS

second largest MI retailer in America. This page features photos and short URLs to the respective product pages for all the gear that Sweetwater carries in each issue of Collectible Guitar. What won’t be changing is the enthusiasm and commitment of our staff and writers to share our passion for the gear and music we get to make with it!

10 | AMALFITANO PAF PICKUPS

Lord Bless Ya!

14 | FENDER THE EDGE GUITAR + AMP

Bruce & Judy

The Cast Publisher + Editor: Bruce Adolph Vice President: Judy Adolph Layout + Production: Matt Kees CTO + Art Director: Doug Doppler Customer Experience: Brian Felix Director of Advertising: Steve Sattler Advertising Sales: Drew Adolph

The Details

©2016 Collectible Guitar published by Adolph Agency, Inc.

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REVIEW AMALFITANO PAF PICKUPS: NEW NAME, PAFS DONE RIGHT Bob Cianci 

Today, the field is crowded with contenders

would certainly like the tight bottom end and

Enameled 42 Gauge Magnetic Wire

trying to duplicate the mojo of old Gibson PAFs.

rich harmonics. With the tone cranked down,

Hardwood Maple Spacer Blocks

But what is the definitive PAF sound they’re

one can achieve a very convincing vintage

Alnico 2 Magnets

searching for? The sound of a great old PAF

Clapton “Woman Tone.”

Nickel/Steel Base Plates

was one of harmonic complexity and balance;

The bridge pickup was pure sonic joy; crisp,

Single Conductor Shielded Lead Wires

strong, bright, chiming highs, solid, beefy mids,

clean and smooth, with plenty of top end

and well defined lows. It’s an evenly balanced

sparkle and with pleasing harmonic complexity.

Pickup maker Jerry Amalfitano doesn’t believe

sound that’s pure, and lacks the muddiness of

While it certainly didn’t approach Telecaster

much of the hype and marketing voodoo that

certain lesser quality humbuckers.

territory, the Amalfitano PAF was perhaps the

Key Features

surrounds the products of some of today’s pickup makers.

liveliest, brightest PAF style humbucker this In the way of technical information, Amalfitano

writer has ever experienced.

PAFs are comprised of vintage enameled 42 “There’s no magic to making great guitar

gauge magnetic wire, hardwood maple spacer

Kicking on my J. Rockett Archer OD, the bridge

pickups,” he said from his home in Keller, Texas.

blocks, Alnico 2 magnets, nickel/steel base

pickup had sweet, singing sustain, and the neck

“A pickup is just wire, magnets, wood spacers,

plates, and single conductor shielded lead

pickup had the same qualities, but of course,

bobbins and a base plate. The magic is in the

wires. If those ingredients sound familiar, they

with less brightness. Adding compression

way they are wound. I think most people know

should; they’re what Seth Lover used on his

lengthened sustain on both pickups. With my

that. I scatter wind pickups, which is the way

original Gibson PAFs.

Earthquaker Hoof Fuzz, the guitar snarled like

they were made in the old days. That’s the secret.”

a beast and pinch harmonics were effortless. I installed the Amalfitano’s in my recent issue Gibson Les Paul Sunburst Standard, and for

The only downside was a bit of squealing

Amalfitano began experimenting with pickup

this test, used an American-made Fender

feedback produced when sitting close to the

making several years ago. A jet engine

Hot Rod Deluxe, along with my pedalboard,

amp. Both pickups are unpotted, like original

mechanic and tester by profession and a

in order to test the pickups with combinations

PAFs. Fortunately, when I moved away from the

native of Brooklyn, New York, Jerry had a

of compression and a variety of overdrives.

amp, the squealing stopped, and left me with

’79 SG with a dead neck pickup. Utilizing his

Played clean, the Amalfitano’s were everything

nothing but classic PAF goodness.

technical knowledge, Jerry took on the task

I expected and then some. The neck pickup

of finding the problem and fixing it, and was

was muscular, yet clear and full, with bottom

No doubt, there are many variations of the

happy with the results. Through word of mouth

end that never grew muddy or less than well

legendary Gibson PAF on the market by

and his website, the buzz about Amafitano

defined. While it’s somewhat doubtful that a jazz

manufacturers large and small. Guitarists would

pickups has spread, and now Jerry keeps busy

player would find the Amalfitano neck pickup

be well advised to look into Jerry Amalfitano’s

in his off hours, winding pickups for boutique

ideal for his or her purposes, a rock guitarist

take on this immortal design.

guitar builders and individual customers alike, including Aerosmith’s Joe Perry. It was a YouTube video demonstration of his PAF style pickups that attracted this writer’s attention.

Amalfitano PAF

10

May  June 2016

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WHAT’S NEW Layar + Short URLs

We’ve Gone PRIGITAL! Layar is a free app for iOS and Android that reveals layers of digital content on the pages in this magazine. Once you’ve downloaded the app, view our bonus content by simply scanning pages where you see the AR icon. • • • •

Artist Videos Lesson Content Gear Demos Enter Our Gear Giveaways

Featured Artists

INTERACTIVE PRINT

Check Out New Gear

Download the free Layar App

Learn Songs + Techniques

Scan this page

Free Download CGmag.info/iOSLayar 12

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Discover interactive content


GEAR GIVEAWAY In Partnership With

DREAMCATCHER EVENTS

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Win a Pass to G4 EXPERIENCE 2016 at Glen Cove Mansion in Glen Cove, NY August 8-12

SCAN WATCH ENTER 

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13


REVIEW FENDER THE EDGE GUITAR Doug Doppler 

Key Features Quartersawn “C”-shaped Maple/Maple Neck ‘70s-style Headstock Locking Tuners Two-point Trem with Pop-in Bar Hardshell Case included $1,799.99

When done right, signature gear bears more

amplified… this is a sensational guitar. The

than just the artist’s name, it carries the years

mojo of the ‘70s style headstock, C-shaped

of experience that the artist amassed touring

quartersawn maple/maple neck and contoured

the globe instrument in hand. While The Edge

heel make playing this instrument a dream. This

has used a number of instruments over the

is one of those instruments that begs for you to

years, none remains as iconic as the black Strat

keep playing it.

immortalized on songs like Sunday Bloody Sunday in the U2 Live at Red Rocks: Under a

The five-way pickup selector toggles between

Blood Red Sky film.

two Fender Custom Shop Fat ‘50s single coil pickups in the neck and middle position, and

14

Fender’s The Edge Strat embodies everything

a DiMarzio FS-1 in the bridge. The second

we’d hoped it would. From the great feel,

tone control works when using just the bridge

natural

pickup which is one of our favorite “mods”.

acoustics

May  June 2016

and

big

sound

when

CollectibleGuitar.com


REVIEW FENDER THE EDGE DELUXE AMP

Key Features Four Inputs 12 watts 1x12” 15-watt Celestion Blue Speaker 2x 12AX7 Preamp Tubes 2x 6V6 Power Tubes $2,399.99

The Edge Deluxe amp is equally engaging. This 12-watter has all the silkiness you’d expect from 6V6s, with all the Tweed growl you want when turning it up. While each of the four inputs provide a massive sonic range to choose from, we preferred using Mic Input 1 and jumping the channels from Mic Input 2 to Instrument Input 1. Blending the single tone and dual Volume controls made it easy to craft a massive range of classic tones to taste. The Standby switch and tightened bass response are huge improvements over a number of the vintage counterparts we’ve played. While this amp sounds great with a Nash Tele, Les Paul Junior and various Gretsch guitars, it really delivers when paired with the Edge Strat. From rock to funk to R&B, this setup delivers the goods. At higher volume backing off on the volume control cleans things up just right and the natural amp compression make this a rig that would rock a full range of gigs.

May  June 2016

CollectibleGuitar.com

15


PROFILE BROWNBOX Bruce Adolph 

I was interviewing the legendary guitarist Phil

me with some great guitar players for us to

regional line wall voltage, in bypass mode. All

Keaggy about his new electric guitar /vocal

interview in the future). I was curious about

other selections are reduction levels that you

album (burning guitar solos) and he told me

his background so I asked him, “I’ve been

determine which sound best for your amp.

that the BrownBox literally gave his old 1960’s

an avid player /amp builder for many years.

Vox amp new life. In fact, he uses it on all of his

And having an electronics/electro-mechanical

Remember tube purist out there… no pedal or

amps now. I said, “What is a Brown Box?” You

background with U.S. Navy aircraft missiles,

attenuator can replicate that response of dry,

may be asking the same question. Let’s find out

it wasn’t to difficult for me to take up amp

purely saturated tubes. Pedals and attenuators

together right from the horse’s mouth.

building as a hobby”. That led to the obvious

have their place of course, but keep in mind

follow up question of how did that lead you

that they color your tone… they do not

Pat Geraghty is the inventor and says, “The

to the BrownBox? “That took a while actually,

create it.

BrownBox was created to provide a safe range

because I (like many others) got caught up

The BrownBox sports an easy to read, back

of voltage reduction levels for vintage tube

in the MOD obsession before coming to the

lit L.C.D. display enabling real-time voltage and

amplifier designs. The same, era-correct voltage

realization… and the underlying fact, that all of

amperage monitoring which is also useful for

levels that the amps were designed around.

these amp circuits were designed to operate

diagnostics. The big benefit here is that earlier

The dynamics of a vintage amp supplied with

and were voiced by the engineers with specific

tube saturation equals earlier break-up at lower

the proper line voltage are optimized and will

voltages. So, if you don’t regulate your line

usable volume levels.

sound and respond as originally intended,

voltage coming in, the MODs are pretty much

revealing the circuits true harmonic content.

an act of futility. Because you’re voicing mods

Other players, you may be fans of, using the

This is the starting point, the basis of the signal

will change with the variable voltage levels. I

BrownBox (in one or more of it’s configurations)

chain, and where serious musicians begin

found through research that so many of todays

are Brad Whitford (Aerosmith), Joe Walsh, Brad

creating a signature tone”.

(and yesterdays) guitar heroes were all using a

Paisley, Kenny Vaughn and Buddy Miller.

test bench device called a Variac. I also used The gist of it seems to be that most vintage

those throughout my career and knew right then

Pat offers several models – Brown Box,

tube amps respond more harmonically and

that there needed to be a safe and professional

Brownie and Backline. BrownBox is completely

touch sensitive with optimized voltage. Placing

grade alternative that anyone could use.

proprietary in design and function and comes

these circuits back into balance reveals the

with a lifetime warranty with normal use.

authentic tone fundamental of the amp… tone

The BrownBox is not a Variac. Unlike a

that can truly blossom.

Variac, BrownBox cannot accidentally harm

Prices range from $219 to $2,100.

or destroy your amplifier. The maximum input

www.BrownBox1.com

䘀爀漀洀 猀琀甀搀椀漀 琀漀 猀琀愀最攀Ⰰ 眀攀 栀愀瘀攀 琀栀攀  ⌀㄀ 瀀漀眀攀爀 猀漀氀甀琀椀漀渀 昀漀爀 礀漀甀⸀ I found Pat to be super friendly (even connecting

䈀爀漀眀渀䈀漀砀 16

voltage available using BrownBox is your

䈀爀漀眀渀椀攀

䔀砀瀀漀爀琀 ⠀䨀愀瀀愀渀⤀

May  June 2016

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ASK SKIP VINTAGE TUBE GEAR Skip Simmons 

Hello Skip,

owns a bunch of vintage guitars and amps.

It is a common problem since wall voltage can

He told me to buy a voltage regulator, and not

and will fluctuate. For instance, when the club’s

I have two vintage amps, a ‘74 Marshall 50

a cheap one either. I bought FURMAN M8x-AR

ice machine kicks on, the wall voltage that your

watt and a ‘65 Deluxe Reverb, and from time

and have been using it faithfully, and I must say,

amp is using may drop to 110. Another instance

to time, something just wasn’t right at certain

I notice a difference in the consistency of my

is the backyard party where the PA, the bass

venues. Sometimes the amp would sound

amp’s performance and I don’t have to worry

amp, and the guitar amp are all plugged in to

great at the beginning of the night, then get thin

about voltage spikes destroying my prized

the same 100-foot extension cord. Probably

and wimpy. Come back from a break, it would

possessions. Is it in my head or in my ears?

the worst are situations where a generator is

sound great, then wimp out again. I’d spend

What’s your take on this subject?

the power source. Count yourself very lucky if

most of the gig turning knobs and just couldn’t

your rig sounds great in this situation.

figure it out. Then I read an article in which

Thanks,

Neil Young could guess the voltage of the

Billy J.

A couple of other factors should be mentioned

venue by the way his vintage Fender tweed

that actually are in your head! First, it is well

amp sounded. His tech would sit there with a

Billy, it is not in your head. One interesting thing

known that our ears “adjust” a bit when

voltmeter in the receptacle and Neil would say,

about old tube gear is that it will work (although

exposed to loud music for a long period of

“that’s about 114,” and he was usually within

not as well) even when the wall voltage dips far

time. After a couple of hours of loud playing,

a couple of volts, according to his tech. So I

below normal. The amp will sound as if it has

your ears just don’t hear things the same way

consulted a guitar picker friend of mine who

lost some power, but will basically still function.

they did when you started. High frequencies

18

May  June 2016

CollectibleGuitar.com


are the first thing to go, and your ability to hear

SKIP’S TIP: Well, all you nice people out there

a brighter and thinner tone. Let’s turn that thing

them will be noticeably reduced as a long, loud

know that I don’t mess with newer amps

permanently “off” instead!

night rolls on. Finally, the all-important human

too much, but I have always said that the

factor; we all tend to turn up when we can’t

Fender Blues Junior offers amazing sound

Have your tech open the amp up and look at

hear ourselves, and it is very easy for a band

for the money. Recently a harmonica-playing

the circuitboard. Right next to the input jacks

to creep up in volume over time. To our ears,

customer brought a Blues Junior, along with a

you will see a small disc capacitor clearly

both of these factors can sound just like your

vintage amp, and asked me if I had any easy

labeled “C-3.” Snip one lead at either end of the

amp is losing power or tone. That low-wattage

suggestions for harp mods. At first I said lower-

cap and check out the tone. MUCH better for

amp that was rocking two hours ago can

gain preamp tubes, or perhaps a different

harp and, in my opinion, a lot of guitar players

start sounding pretty distorted when everyone

speaker would be the only things I would

would agree. The only potential problem in my

decides to crank up.

suggest. In my world, those fragile printed

mind would be that the extra fatness could be

circuitboard amps are no fun to modify!

considered too “muddy” by players who use lot

I don’t think that the average player needs

of distortion and, yes, it can be a royal pain to

to run out and get a voltage regulator, and I

I got to thinking about it a little and took a look

re-solder the cap if you don’t like it because the

certainly wouldn’t suggest that a certain wall

at the schematic. I noticed that the Blues Junior

leads are very short.

voltage is essential to get “your tone.” Also, it

has a “bright switch” (as used on most vintage

is very unlikely that a voltage spike would harm

Fenders) that is turned permanently “on.” If

I’m sure that others have figured this out before

a sturdy Fender or Marshall as long as you are

you have ever played through an older Fender

me, but I just want to make sure that people

using a proper fuse in the amp, and I would

with a bright switch, you know that it makes

are aware of this mod. If you play harp or blues/

say it’s a non-issue for most players. On the

the amp sound a LOT brighter, especially at

Americana guitar through a Blues Junior, give

other hand, a consistent source of AC will make

low volume. How does it work? Basically, the

it a try.

for a more consistent tone, and a regulator

switch connects a small capacitor across the

may make good sense for gigging musicians,

volume potentiometer, which allows the high

Email your questions to

especially if you play in wide variety of venues.

frequencies to by-pass the pot. The effect is

SkipSimmonsAmps@gmail.com


20


Joe Satriani Iconic is perhaps the best word to describe Joe Satriani. His recordings have sold over ten million copies, he’s toured with Mick Jagger and Deep Purple, and taught the likes of Steve Vai and Metallica’s Kirk Hammet. We caught up

2016 G4 Experience Signature Guitars + Vintage Gear interview by Doug Doppler

Joe just after the conclusion of his “From Surfing to Shockwave World Tour”… COLLECTIBLE GUITAR Tell us a bit about the

G3 concert series. You want the people who

fun at the fact that sometimes specialists in any

G4 Experience and why you started it?

show up to really experience something unique

field are ridiculed for being so obsessed about

that they wouldn’t get somewhere else, and I

the details of what it is they do, and guitar

JOE SATRIANI Clinics can fall a little bit short

wanted to have the camaraderie with other

players of course get ridiculed the same way.

of their intended purpose. The artist comes in,

guitar players and musicians that you get on

People think that when we want to get technical

they play a truncated performance, they’re put

the G3 concert tours. So we figured out a way

we’re getting too technical, but in fact we deal

on the spot to do things out of their comfort

to put it together, changing the environment

with technicalities all the time. That’s our world,

zone, they take some questions, then they go.

to something extremely comfortable, casual

what kind of strings do you use, how do you

I had an opportunity to kind of fix that and sort

enough so that the artists and the students

hold the pick, what’s that cable made of, how

of remold, reconfigure the concept of a clinic.

could really hang out together. The environment

often do you warm up, how long do you warm

Calling it the experience was probably just a

had to be a kind of safe zone, it’s kind of a funny

up before a show, what kind of music do you

nod to Jimi Hendrix. Bringing in the G letter

thing to say, it’s not like there’s danger out there

listen to when you’re not working? All these that

was just a nod to the love and success of the

at clinics, but we’re using that in a way to poke

the average listener or fan is like, “Oh, I don’t

May  June 2016

CollectibleGuitar.com

21


they were created and used originally, they weren’t referred to by those names, so those names were made up at some point. When you say Ionian to a guitar player, nine times out of ten they’re like, “What?” If you’re saying, “Major scale” they go, “Oh yeah, I know that”. So it’s just a question of convenience to use the term you know is going to be a direct hit. CG Not of This Earth is kind of a quintessential statement about pitch axis and interpretation of the chords harmonically. Was that a pivotal composition for care, just play that song I really like”. Which is

person who’s doing it and the students who

way cool, but for us musicians, and especially

want to figure out how to do it like me - or in

us guitar players, these details determine so

this case Guthrie Govan, Alex Skolnick, Eric

much in our life… and they determine how we

Johnson or Steve Vai. But these questions

deliver the goods to our fans. So why wouldn’t

don’t get answered by the press anymore, and

we be obsessed with them and want to talk

that exchange for me I miss–I miss that a lot.

about them? And why wouldn’t we need a safe

It’s slightly cathartic in a good way to finally

place to exchange all the information about it,

get back into an environment where people

where we leave no stone unturned, and no one

are asking me the heavy, important questions

can ever feel embarrassed to ask any technical

about melodic structure, harmonic movement

question? Nor would any G4 star feel put out to

and how it is applied on the instrument and

be asked or to reveal such a thing cause that’s

what kind of gear I use to get it done… without

exactly what we’re there for? We’re there to

framing it in a commercial way. Which is kind

reveal everything and the students are there to

of like the way the press often does things

ask everything as well. These are the things that

now, because the celebrity has become the

make the G4 Experience so uniquely different.

important thing, not actually the essence of the

In a way, explaining it gives you the reason I did

music.

and teaching for so many years, and being able to apply it in a way that was tangible musically? JS Absolutely, it starts off bam-bam-bam, it says it right there in the first three chords. The main shocking message from the chord progression hits you right at the top with nobody else in there. The arrangement is also very stark because I felt that there is so much music that is very often weak and cloaked in ridiculous amounts of arrangement. Something happens when you strip away the idea that you’re seeking commercial acceptance, and you say to yourself, “What would I do, if I was somebody else who wasn’t looking for that hit song, how would I go about writing something?”

it. Once you say it out loud, you go of course, why wouldn’t we all want a place like that?

you in terms of being able to express the theory that you’d been studying

CG Why do you prefer to call the I and vi-

This thought process was important after I

Modes Major and CG Does the G4 Experience fulfill a need in you

Minor

to teach?

and Aeolian?

JS If you go back twenty five years, thirty years,

JS I was taught

being interviewed by a guitar magazine meant

in

fielding very serious questions about music and

those names were

non gear-related technique. Today, you never

postulated

get that question about the unusual harmonic

Swiss

movement in a chord progression - never.

hundreds

This leaves a bit of a disconnect between the

years ago. When

22

vs.

Ionian

school

that by

a

theorist

May  June 2016

of

started writing the body of music that became

I made sure that I never applied some of those weaknesses I accrued during periods of being a well-behaved professional musician, which is to get in line with everybody else and do what is expected. CollectibleGuitar.com

that album. I made sure that I never applied some of those weaknesses I accrued during periods of being a well-behaved professional

musician,

which is to get in line with everybody else and do what is expected.


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It was rather intoxicating to just say, “No, this

JS I would say both is the answer to that, and

you’re working on a particular song about a

chord structure is unusual, and it sounds great

maybe there’s a third reason, which is just

particular subject, or person, or something and

in my mind and I know it’s never been done

gear neurosis. You walk into a vintage store,

all of sudden it comes over you what you really

before. I’m not going to use any convention

or you’re looking at eBay or Reverb and you

need to make your performance work. It may

of substitute chords or anything. That came

see something that for some weird reason

not be the thing you use on stage. It might be

straight from the heart and then my brain

resonates with you. You say, “I always wanted

something that is just for this particular part.

came in with this great “I can do whatever I

one of those, I never had it, I heard that so-

Whatever it might be, if you’ve got fifteen,

want!” attitude because I decided not to seek

and-so used this with great success on a

twenty vintage amps out there, there’s a good

commercial acceptance. As you said, that song

particular record”. You dive

expresses an introduction into those attitudes

in and pick one up. I think

in a pretty stark and striking way. It’s really fresh

that Fender Champs are like

in my mind now because we played it every

that, we hear all these stories

single night on stage on this last tour.

“the whole record was done with a Fender Champ”. But

chance that one of them is

I think that Fender Champs are like that, we hear all these stories “the whole record was done with a Fender Champ”.

going to do the trick. It’s like what you and I were doing that day when we were just plugging into all of them and listening to the differences.

CG Your long-time co-producer / engineer

ultimately it’s got to resonate

John Cuniberti was kind enough to provide

with you. A good reason for

us with some photos of the vintage amps

collecting, if you can afford

you brought in for the Shockwave Supernova

it, is to recognize that we

sessions at 25th Street Recording. Do you tend

change from time to time, even day to day

bridge or something and you go, “I know what

to buy these amps based an immediate need,

when you walk in the studio. One day you do

this needs, it needs amp number seven I was

or do you have them in your arsenal for when

feel like a Champ, the other day you feel like

just goofing around with the other day”. Maybe

and if a need arises?

a Marshall stack. I have found that very often

because it uses 6L6s and the plate voltage

that’s the case with me, you get in a state when

is high, you’ve got more headroom and this

24

May  June 2016

It’s great to know what they do because you might be sitting in the control room, your hearing a part for a

CollectibleGuitar.com



particular part needs headroom. You might say, “I want it to sound small” so maybe you reroute the amp to go into a smaller cabinet. Who knows, it might be the opposite? You kind of never know until the track is built. But let’s say you’re not even making a record, let’s just talk about inspiration. I think very often switching into an entirely different amp that you don’t use, is like taking your buddies car for a spin. It’s gonna give you a different experience and change your attitude a little bit, or improve your vision about the world of amplification rather than just sticking with what you know. That’s really important. Most of the time my vintage stuff stands

were used. In my case, Mike Manning (Joe’s

pedals in front of it, or what mics were used.

idle with the covers on. I try every six months to

tech) and I write everything down that we use

It’s kind of mind blowing when you think about

turn them all on and play them a little bit. It’s an

in the studio, so I’ve got these books that go

what we achieved with such a huge variety

important thing to stay in touch with them so

back to the first record, even before Mike was

of amps. You’d think sometimes that it was

you don’t forget why you fell in love with them in

working for me. I’ve got notes about what amp

just small handful, but in fact it’s quite a large

the first place and you remind yourself how they

I used for what part, how it was used, if we put

continued on page 44

26

May  June 2016

CollectibleGuitar.com


COLUMN KEEP IT SIMPLE: FENDER CHAMP AMPS Dave Belzer 

In 1970, at the ripe old age of eleven, my dad

an issue, and new amps were as expensive as

they came to an agreement and shook hands.

took me to the local music store to purchase

a guitar, the storeowner made a suggestion.

Somehow my dad had convinced the owner to

my first electric guitar and amp. That day still

He had a very good condition used black face

not only lower the price of the guitar a bit, but

remains a vivid memory in my over 40 plus

Fender Champ for $50. Ah, yes! Those were

he also got him to throw in a case, a strap, a

years of what I like to refer to as GAS (Guitar

the days!

guitar stand, mic stand, and a discount on the

Acquisition Syndrome). I had been taking

mic itself. Needless to say, I was one beaming

lessons at the store with an inexpensive nylon

Now, this is where things got interesting. I only

eleven-year-old with guitar, amp, and mic in

string classical guitar and now, after saving up

had so much money and I was pretty sure, or at

hand. It was many years later that I put two

some money and a lot of pleading, the day had

least had a feeling, that my dad might help me

and two together and realized the lessons of

finally come.

out some. How much? I had no idea.

negotiation my father instilled in me that day.

I knew exactly what guitar I wanted. I had

My dad was not a musician. As far as I know

recently watched a PBS documentary on my

he never played a note on anything in his life.

black and white TV of the final Cream concert

He did have a great love and appreciation of all

Of course, the Kent ES 335 didn’t last long.

held at the Royal Albert Hall. For most of the

forms of music and passed that on to me from

It was too big for me to begin with, and then

concert Eric Clapton played his famous painted

an early age. I did learn that day what my dad

there was having to carry it around in, what

SG Les Paul, which, even through my TV,

was good at: the art of negotiation. While I was

seemed to me, the biggest case of all time. So

sounded awesome. At some point, he switch

sitting in the store, enthralled with my guitar, my

off it went. The first of my trade ups (or downs,

to a single pickup Gibson Firebird 1 that really

dad was talking to the owner. The next thing I

depending on the trade). The one thing that did

didn’t sound very good or very much like Eric

know the owner brings out a guitar case, then

stay with me for sometime was that mid 60’s

Clapton. Then, in a flash (or some abrupt film

a guitar stand, and then a white plastic case

black face Fender 
Champ. I used that amp

edit), he appeared with his famous 1964 cherry

containing a Shure Unisphere mic with a cable,

in my very first jams and earliest bands. That

red ES 335 to finish off the concert. Wow! Not

mic clip, and a mic stand to go with it.

is, until it became obvious it was not going to

Those lessons have served me well over

only did that guitar look good, but it sounded

the years.

cut through over the drums or rest of the band,

incredibly good too. It seemed like he and the

Wow! What was going on and who was going

even if I did have my blue/orange Univox Super

guitar were almost one as the documentary

to pay for all this?

Fuzz cranked!

away on his red 335. That final scene stuck

My focus went from the guitar I was playing to

I can’t remember how many larger amps I went

with me.

my Dad and the owner, who were going back

through in those early teen years, but I always

and forth talking numbers. All of a sudden

seemed to hang on to that Champ. I’m not

ends with Clapton staring up to heaven, wailing

Now, I had saved a little money, but nothing near what it would take to buy a ES335, or any real Gibson for that matter. The little music store I went to really didn’t carry expensive guitars like Gibson and Fender, but they did carry a lot of affordable Japanese copies of those guitars which were quite popular and plentiful at the time. There, hanging on the wall, was my guitar, a red “Kent” (yes, I said Kent) ES 335 copy, made in Japan. It didn’t matter to me that the guitar was totally inappropriate for an elevenyear-old, but we live and learn. What hadn’t occurred to me was an amp. I never really thought much about that. Since money was

May  June 2016

CollectibleGuitar.com

27



SUN 1 8 15 22 29

MON 2 9 16 23 30

MAY 2016

TUE 3 10 17 24 31

WED 4 11 18 25

THU 5 12 19 26

FRI 6 13 20 27

SAT 7 14 21 28

MON 6 13 20 27

SUN 5 12 19 26

JUNE 2016 7 14 21 28

TUE

WED 1 8 15 22 29

THU 2 9 16 23 30

FRI 3 10 17 24

1959 Gibson Les Paul Jr. 1959 Fender Champ

SAT 4 11 18 25


sure if it was because it was my first amp, or

radar are the 1963-64 models that still maintain

because it always worked and sounded great.

the 50’s chassis with the controls on the top,

Then, one day, someone made me an offer I

but were covered in the new black tolex. They

The Champs pictured are my personal ones. All

couldn’t refuse. $100. Wow! That amp cost me

have a unique look and they sound great.

narrow panels that range from 1958 to 1964

50 bucks five years ago, and now someone

tube amp.

except, of course, the Super Champ. This

was offering me $100. I was playing a 100-watt

I do have to mention one later model that I have

particular Super Champ came from a friend of

Marshall at the time, so it seemed a no-brainer

become very fond of over the years: the “Super

Paul Rivera and I was told was a prototype. It

to sell the Champ. It was at that moment that

Champ”. In the early 80’s, Paul Rivera designed

has a metal mesh grill and an unusual rubber

something clicked in my small teenage brain:

a number of new model amps for Fender. One

covered on/off switch, as well as the standard

“Maybe there’s something to buying and selling

model that really shined was the Super Champ;

Fender 1/4 inch speaker jack input in the back,

musical gear!” I never seemed to really lose on

a small, very potent tube amp with reverb and

as opposed to the hard wired speaker used in

anything I bought or traded for, and if I hung on

channel switching. These Super Champs came

the production ones.

to it long enough, I could actually make money.

in a few configurations. It could be ordered

Wow! What a concept!

with a 10” EV or the standard Fender specially

And just for fun, I had to throw in the Selmer

designed speaker, as we’ll as a limited version

“Little Giant” in the lower left corner. Not only

that had a wood cabinet and the EV.

do they look awesome, but they sound like

So, for a number of reasons, the memory of that Fender Champ has stuck with me.

a killer tweed Champ, only with that added

So much so that a while back, after letting a

Over the years I probably had a half dozen of

compressed sweetness that comes with

number of my larger amps go, I began focusing

these, although I have never come across one

British amps.

on smaller combos, especially late 50’s, early

with the wood cabinet, so I can’t comment

60’s tweed Champs. I love all the various

on how those sound. I can tell you from my

Writing this article has given me a chance

Champ configurations and you can find lots of

experience, the ones with the Fender specially

to reconnect with my past, as well as an

info on all of them. My favorite ones (or what

designed speaker sound the best to me

opportunity to dust off my Champs and take

I consider to be the best sounding ones) are

and have the most authentic Fender sound.

them for a test drive. Each one has its own

the late 50’s thru the early 60’s tweed models

Although the EV will give you more power

unique tone and vibe. There really is something

with the controls on the top. Collectors refer to

and headroom, it will also add a lot of weight

to having just having one knob to turn. I really

these as “narrow panel” models.

and take up every inch of the inside of the

like the combo of a Les Paul Jr. and a Champ.

cab. Dollar for dollar, I’m not sure I have ever

Only 3 knobs to worry about. Just turn it all the

come across a more compact or versatile small

way up and work the volume control on the

Some of the models that have gone under the

guitar. Need I say more? In my eyes and ears no other amp embodies the term “keep it simple” quite like the tweed Fender Champ does. This article is dedicated to Mr. Al Licausi, the man my father negotiated with almost fifty years ago. It recently came to my attention that Mr. Licausi passed away in 2014. Mr. Licausi started Farmingdale Music Center in 1945 in the original house his parents moved to in 1923. It is Long Island’s oldest music store and has been run by Al’s son Frank since 1982 when his dad retired. The store is still in its original location, and children who once took lessons there now bring their children and grandchildren for lessons. Rest in peace, Al. 30

May  June 2016

CollectibleGuitar.com


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DA RY L S T U E R M E R Another Side of Genesis Making his Tacoma Guitar Festival

CG: Which pedals do you always

debut, Genesis/Phil Collins guitarist

travel with?

Daryl Stuermer will perform with his keyboardist, Kostia, and what he

DARYL: I have specific pedals that

good-naturedly calls “my Macbook

are on all my pedalboards. I use

Pro band” — bass tracks that he

the Radial Tonebone Hot British

recorded and drum tracks that

Distortion as my main distortion

he

accompany

pedal. That’s part of my sound

their set. The duo will showcase

and the one I’m comfortable with.

original music, Genesis songs, and

It has a tube in it, and I really like

some of the cover songs that will

that. I have a Fulltone OCD. I like

appear on his upcoming album,

the DigiTech Whammy, that specific

Breaking Cover, which features his

sound, for certain melodies. Delays

instrumental renditions of classics

and choruses I can change up very

from The Police, Jeff Beck, Eric

easily. So those are the three pedals

Clapton, Steely Dan, and others.

that I have to have that will make

programmed

to

me happy. I’ve done shows without COLLECTIBLE GUITAR: Guitar

them, of course, but I prefer to have

festivals are dangerous territory for

them if I can.

gearheads. Are you leaving your credit card at home?

CG: You have quite a few guitars in your online gear list. Do you consider

DARYL STUERMER: I’m bringing

yourself a collector?

one guitar, but I’ll probably end up bringing two home. It’s so tempting!

DARYL: The stuff on my website is gear that I use, and I’ll be updating

CG: Which one are you bringing, and

the pedalboards soon. Stuff I don’t

which pedalboard?

list is stuff I’m not using unless I’m in the studio. I might bring an old Nady

DARYL: I’m bringing a scaled-down

distortion I’ve had since 1975, or a

pedalboard because I’m flying, and

TC Electronics chorus. I have a home

I’m bringing my Godin LGXT, but

studio with a shelf full of old gear.

I modified it myself. I took out the

Every once in a while you’re doing a

synth and the transducer pickups that are

pickups. Also, Godin made me a guitar. They’re

record and you think, “That one pedal will sound

usually for acoustic. I changed the tuners and

calling it the DS-1, and it’s based on this guitar

great.” I have stuff I haven’t used since the ’70s.

knobs and I put on a Strat tremolo. It’s a cross

that I modified. It’s a simpler version of an LGXT.

It looks cool and retro, but I don’t use it much.

between a Les Paul and a Strat, and that’s

No synth, no acoustics, but the same body, the

It’s not gear you want to take on the road. A

what I like about it as my main guitar.

same pickups, and the addition of the HDR —

lot of old gear has buzzes and things you can’t

the High-Definition Revoicer. It enhances the

control in a live situation. The new gear is built

sound a little bit. It opens it up more and boosts

better for the road, and the grounding is better,

your tone and your level. They are going to do

but there’s a unique sound to the old stuff.

DARYL: I have one LGXT that has everything.

a limited edition of it, probably next year. I have

What’s in the pictures is what I use live. I have

This one has the original body, neck, and

mine now and it’s the first one.

a really nice Gibson 335. In 1999 or 2000, Phil

CG: What’s left of the original model?

32

May  June 2016

CollectibleGuitar.com


Collins did a couple of little

Les Pauls, and this Godin is

tours called The Phil Collins

in the middle. The amps I use

Big Band. It was like a jazz

all the time are two Mesa/

band. We backed up Tony

Boogie Mark 1’s. I use them

Bennett. Quincy Jones was

for a straight sound. I don’t

the conductor, and we did

use the distortion channel;

it in Europe with only a few

any distortion or effects are

dates in the United States

done with my pedals. I like

because it’s not the kind of

a warm, clean sound, and

thing that sells well here. It

that’s what I get out of the

was Phil Collins and Genesis

Mesa/Boogie Mark 1.

music done in a big band style with legitimate big band

CG: Your working relationship

arrangements. I used my 335

with Genesis has outlasted

for that because it’s more

most personal relationships.

of a jazz guitar. Otherwise,

What makes it work?

I would not use that guitar. I have some old acoustic

DARYL: I’ve done the job

guitars, not super old, but

they want me to do and I

older Takamines. There’s a

have not let them down. I

lot of stuff back there that I

think they know that. I’ve

should probably sell because

been a consistent player,

it accumulates and I’d rather

playing

have someone use it. There’s

especially, and then playing

always the main gear you’ve

in Phil Collins’ band since

used for the last ten or twenty

1981. He trusts me and he

years that you hang on to.

knows I’ll be there for him. Of

live

with

them

course you have to be there CG: Is there one that got

musically, but you also have

away?

to be there personally. I like being on time and I come

DARYL: Yes. I was about

prepared. I’ve been married

16 and I had 1960 or 1962

since 1978 and have two

Fender Strat. This was in 1969 and I was in a

time. I can imagine how these things would

girls, all the guys have two or three kids, our

band. I have pictures of me playing it. I sold it

sound and feel today.

families know each other, and we are respectful

for $125. Now I wish I had that guitar! It was the

of each other’s lives. We don’t see each other

one with the three-way pickup selector, not the

CG: Could you get by with one guitar and one

often, but when we do it feels like we’ve been

five-way that we have now. It sounded great

amp, and if so, which ones?

only apart for a few months. I think we’re all

and it played great. At the time you think, I want

on the same page and we have the same

to get a new guitar, so I’m going to sell this,

DARYL: Right now I’m using the Godin guitar

goal. When I was 16, I had a band, played out,

and $125 meant a lot. Today it would probably

and I can do it all with that one. But if someone

had a good time playing with my friends, and

go for quite a lot more huh? That’s one that

said, “From now on, the only guitar you’re

I’m still doing the same thing. I’ve never had

got away. There are probably other ones, but I

ever going to play …” I think a Strat would be

another job. I found something I love doing and

don’t think about it because I don’t like having

the one. It’s easy to play, it’s a good feel, but

it became my career. I think everybody in the

regrets. That one comes to mind because

I would have to have a Strat with single coil

band is the same way. This is all they’ve ever

I have pictures and a recording of that band.

and humbuckers. That’s what I like about the

done, it’s what they love doing, and it’s what

I was playing it through a Super Reverb with

Godin: the humbucker pickups. They’re thicker-

holds everybody together.

10-inch speakers. That sounded nice and it got

sounding. But you can also switch to single coil.

away too. I sold all that stuff around the same

So I would have to have that. I love Strats, I love May  June 2016

CollectibleGuitar.com

~ Alison Richter 33


PROFILE TODD SHARP AMPLIFIERS - A NEW DIRECTION IN TONE? Eric Dahl 

“After a 40+ year playing career, and 20 of those

through a five-position selector, while the Bite

years with my nose pretty deep into just about

switch provides first stage hi-mid frequency

Input 1 for Single Coil & Input 2 for Humbuckers

every guitar amp there is, it’s just the natural

edge. Low cut has 6 positions to choose from,

progression. It’s also another form of creative

and a high cut with a 6-position output stage.

Attitude Adjustment for Gain

expression for me.” Discussing why his amps

The Reverb unit has three controls: Drive, Tone,

Bite Switch for Hi-Mid

are different Todd says, “I think my experience

and Level, while the Tremolo has two controls:

as a guitarist and as a confirmed amp nut

Speed and Depth.

Key Features JOAT - Jack-of-All-Tones

Low Cut & High Cut Reverb & Tremolo

combine to bring a unique perspective and ability. Also, my approach to the circuit design

When I asked him why he altered the amp

Todd Sharp became interested in electronics

is definitely outside of the norm. My pursuit as

controls on the JOAT, Sharp said, “Why not?

when he was a young child, but it wasn’t

a designer/builder is about what allows me to

The tone stack is a loss circuit, so you are

music gear, it was Ham Radios. He got his first

get this sound that I get with minimal struggle.”

trading touch sensitivity under your fingertips

radio operators license at age 7 and built his

for a bass and treble pot that you never touch.

first transmitter with the help of his father, jazz

His first flagship amp is named the “JOAT”

I think my EQ is more guitar friendly. Guitar

guitarist Fred Sharp. By age 11 he “lost interest

which stands for Jack-of-All-Tones. The current

players don’t want to fight their amp, they want

in electronics” and was then bit by the guitar

amplifier line will offer three amp wattages:

to play guitar!”

bug. Sharp has forty plus years under his belt

20RT (currently available), 30RT (available June

as an award winning guitarist for Rod Stewart,

1) and 45RT (due at the end of this year). The

The current configuration comes as a head

Fleetwood Mac, Bob Welch, Carlene Carter,

JOAT 20RT (20 watts with reverb & tremolo)

with a 2x12” cabinet and you have two choices

and Delbert McClinton.

deviates from typical amplifiers in numerous

of dialed-in speakers. The Todd Sharp JOAT

ways, but especially in its approach to controls

20RT amp head sells for $3,849, and matching

He launched Nashville Amplifier Service in

and lack of a tone stack, meaning the usual

2x12” cab goes for $1,449. Production levels

1994, as he had already started repairing amps

bass, mid, and treble controls that you have on

are currently at one amplifier per week, and

for players around town a few years before

a conventional amp. Input one is for single coil

Todd maintains one full time employee and

that. When asked why he started Todd Sharp

guitars, and input two is for humbuckers. The

a part staff member to help. Since he has

Amplifiers in February of this year, he stated,

attitude adjustment handles gain and response

combined companies into one central location, Nashville Amplifier Service and Todd Sharp Amps, he has stopped touring for the moment, but he does still gig locally. Major artists currently playing Todd Sharp amps include Vince Gill, Steve Wariner, John Oates, and Mick Fleetwood. If you’re tired of the traditional amplifier offerings on the market and want to try something that

makes

you

rethink

your

approach to guitar tone, this could be the rig for you.

Todd Sharp Amplifiers are available direct at ToddSharpAmps.com.

34

May  June 2016

CollectibleGuitar.com


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䈀愀挀欀氀椀渀攀 刀愀挀欀洀漀甀渀琀 匀攀爀椀攀猀

倀䠀伀吀伀㨀 刀伀䈀 䘀䔀一一

匀唀䴀䴀䔀刀 一䄀䴀䴀 䈀伀伀吀䠀 ⌀ ㄀㘀㐀㜀 䠀䄀䰀䰀 䐀 眀眀眀⸀戀爀漀眀渀戀漀砀㄀⸀挀漀洀   ㌀ ㄀⸀㐀㘀㄀⸀㄀㈀㔀


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COLUMN PEDAL SNAPSHOT Phil Traina 

Chase Tone Secret Preamp Street $178.00

Key Features

I was recently turned on to Chase Tone by a

Sometimes simple is just better. I plugged my

few of my tone hound friends. I am glad they

Iconic Custom Guitars Strat style guitar into the

did. I reached out to Kyle (Owner/Builder)

Secret Preamp, and then into a Morgan CM50

and he said I had to check out the Vintage

(blackface tones). Right out of the gate you

Secret Preamp. What is the secret preamp

will notice how the Secret Preamp sweetens

you ask? In a nutshell it is possibly the most

your tone, adding complex harmonics and

faithful reproduction of the Echoplex preamp

touch sensitivity. Turn the knob clockwise and

circuit available in a pedal. Some of the

it gooses your signal nicely. It’s not over the top,

features of the secret preamp are NOS (New

but adds the perfect amount. My favorite way

Old Stock) components. All of the capacitors

to run it is how it was probably intended, at

and resistors are the same components as

the end of my effects chain. It took my already

the original Echoplexes. The Secret Preamp

good base tone and made it better. With the

jumps the voltage internally from 9v to 22v,

S-style guitar I preferred the darker setting, but

just as the vintage units did, which adds to the

with humbuckers the switch made it an easy

response and attack. My favorite feature is the

transition. Chase Tone nailed this effect, and I

Reproduction of the Echoplex preamp

switch on the side of the box that can go from

am looking forward to trying more in the future.

brighter, earlier, EP tones to darker, later, EP

ChaseTone.com

New Old Stock Components

tones. The one knob adds to the ease of use.

Tone Switch

Gurus Optivalve Tube Optical Compressor Price $384.50

Key Features Simple Controls: Input, Output, Tone + Ratio Use as a Compressor or a Limiter

If you have been reading my column over the

squishy effected tones. Optical compressors

past couple of issues you will know that I am

even out your tone and help give you the

a huge Gurus fan. Chicco is building some of

polished studio sound. With simple controls:

the coolest pedals out there. They are a bit

input, output, tone, and ratio, you are able

larger than most of their contemporaries, but

to dial in the perfect amount of compression

well worth the extra space. I met with Chicco at

quickly. The tube adds nice warmth as well.

the Gurus booth at NAMM, and we went over

Placing the Optivalve before my drive pedals

the whole line of offerings. The newest pedal to

gave me a flavor that most might be familiar

the line is the Optivalve compressor. Being the

with, typically that’s where most players stick

compressor junkie that I am, I was drawn to this

the compressor. The Optivalve also excelled

box. The tones I was getting out of the Optivalve

when placing it after my drives, and even at the

are very familiar. It hits on many of my favorite

end of my chain. I felt like my tone was super

famous outboard compressors, such as the

tight and, like I said before, polished. This was

Teletronix LA2A. These styles of compressors

definitely a NAMM highlight for me.

are not supposed to give you the super overly

www.GurusAmps.com

Use the “See thru Magic EYE” to view the Compression reduction level 38

May  June 2016

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CollectibleGuitar.com 40

May  June 2016

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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 www.lollarguitars.com

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COLUMN QUIRKY VINTAGE: AMERICAN SHOWSTER NAMM PROTOTYPE #1 Bob Cianci 

This month’s installment of Quirky Vintage

this example.

holds the strings in place over the nut, and

spotlights a really rare bird, the NAMM

a bolt-on neck with six screws. The scale is

prototype of what is apparently the first reissue

Rick Excellente was friends with Bill Meeker

25.5”with a 12” radius. The body is made of

of the American Showster AS-57. As any

and David Haines of the Kramer company (their

alder and features active electronics, chrome

vintage car buff will see, the body design is

twisted history is a story unto itself), and it was

strips, and a simulated tail light used on the

based upon a ’57 Chevy tailfin, making it, in

Kramer who reportedly painted the bodies

original guitar, which is non-operational, unlike

this author’s opinion, one of the coolest pointy

and entered into a distribution agreement

the original AS-57s, which featured a working

guitars ever produced. Before we go into the

with Excellente. The guitars were shown at

red tail light.

actual features, let’s look at the convoluted

the NAMM show around 1984, but not long

history of the American Showster Company

afterwards, the business deal between Kramer

A Fender-style bridge with vibrato is utilized,

that took place right here in my home state of

and Excellente went sour, and the rights to the

with three proprietary Strat-type pickups, and a

New Jersey.

design wound up solely in the possession of

five position switch, along with one volume and

Kramer in 1986.

one tone control. The input jack is located at

Guitarist and entrepreneur Rick Excellente

the bottom of the tail light assembly.

designed and formulated the AS-57 sometime

The AS-57 apparently sat dormant for a few

in the early 1980’s and was granted a license

years until making an appearance at the 2008

So, how did it play? Quite well, actually, but it

by General Motors to produce a guitar based

NAMM show in Anaheim, California. And that’s

needed a setup and neck adjustment to play

upon Chevy’s tailfin design in 1983. The details

where this guitar was displayed. Written on the

at its best, an easy fix for any qualified guitar

as to who actually built the initial guitars are a

back of the guitar was the following: American

tech. Outside of one minor scratch on the

bit murky, but most likely they were assembled

Showster, Chris Hoffschneider & Billy Meeker,

top, this axe was in near pristine condition. It’s

by David Schwab, a northern Jersey luthier.

Prototype #1, 10-1-07. My guess is, this

obvious that the AS-57 really excels as a visual

Supposedly, a woodcrafter in southern New

particular guitar was built from leftover Kramer

statement. As you can see from the photo, it

Jersey carved the first bodies, but his name is

stock, given Meeker’s involvement with that

looks absolutely stunning from a horizontal

lost in the mists of time.

company.

viewpoint. Any guitarist brave enough to strap

American Showster was originally based in

The guitar itself retains the classic ’57 Chevy

attract attention playing this instrument on a live

Maplewood, NJ, but moved to Palisades Park

tailfin appearance, and is painted in a flip/flop

gig. I can almost guarantee you’re not going to

shortly thereafter. The first examples utilized

purple and green finish that changes color,

see anyone on your local bar circuit playing

one EMG-81 pickup, but later models, such as

depending upon your eyes or movement of

one.

the one you see here, employed a Strat style

the guitar itself. It has a C-shaped maple neck

pickup layout. Excellente was enamored of the

and rosewood fretboard, twenty-two medium

Why didn’t the AS-57 catch on? Most likely,

use of metal in his guitars, a trend continued on

jumbo frets, Hipshot tuners, a retainer bar that

it was never marketed correctly and fell victim

one on would make a distinct impression and

to inept business dealings, the demise of the Kramer Company, and also by the fact that a large majority of guitarists are inherently conservative by nature and want instruments that look, feel, and sound like they were produced during the 1950’s and ‘60’s. So, there you have it; the American Showster AS-57: a sharp looking guitar styled after an iconic American automobile that never took off and has now been relegated to the world of six string oddities.

42

May  June 2016

CollectibleGuitar.com


EASTMAN

#iplay

#handcrafted

www.eastmanguitars.com


continued from page 26

like brand new guitars. You go into any music

and it never got good. But the stuff that was

collection.

store, find a popular brand, they’ve got three

good, just got better. That gray Echoplex was

CG Do you still own your Echoplex EP-2?

of them hanging on the wall and you play all

one of the winners. Even though that’s a highly

three and go, “This is the good one”. Vintage

manufactured product; it’s not something you’d

JS That thing is held together by love at this

gear is the same way, I don’t know what the hit

consider hand crafted. But that thing always

point - and some mojo. I remember being in the

or miss number is, but let’s say it’s one in ten

has a tone.

studio with John and we wanted to get some

items is the thing when it comes to something

really crazy tape echo magic. We sent the

where human hands did most of the fashioning

CG A friend of mine picked up a bunch of

already-recorded guitar part back out into this

of it - that’s electric and acoustic guitars. That

vintage gear you’ve sold through Bananas At

Echoplex so I could manually work it. We had

means that most of the old stuff is simply old

Large in Marin County. How do you decide it’s time to let something go?

this old tape that was wonderfully saturated with thousands of hours of guitar playing. It was the coolest sound of effects you could ever imagine, it just sounded so beautiful. There isn’t a plug-in or digital effect that would ever be as complex or wonderful. It always puts a smile on my face when I hear that part of the song. Sometimes the vintage stuff is just old, and other times it has the secret sauce flowing in it. With old vintage stuff, it’s very much

44

When you’re selling gear, you have to remember you just can’t keep everything. If you’re not using it – if it’s not a tool that resonates with you then you should just move it on cause someone else could really enjoy it.

May  June 2016

JS Their clientele is very intelligent, they understand that these tools formerly used by professionals show up from time to time and they’ve got scars - they’ve been through some Rock ‘n Roll battles. For me, it’s like a tool I don’t want to use any more. But for somebody else, it’s exactly what they’ve been waiting for. When I pick up a used guitar or something like that, I always think, “Why is someone selling it”? You

CollectibleGuitar.com


just know there’s gotta be something wrong

hits and misses? That is something that you

in the mid-60s, what would be prevalent even

because somebody decided to get rid of it. It

grapple with every time you sit down and try

to this day. The way that a modern guitar player

goes against logic as to why you’re interested

to design a guitar to minimize that and focus

would use an amplifier on stage, would totally

in buying it. The attitude of how you want to

more on the hits part of it. But that’s what I think

blow their minds. If you told Leo Fender, “This is

use a tool is just about everything. When you’re

modern designers keep trying to do, which is

how people are going to use your guitar. You’re

selling gear, you have to remember you just

so cool, and thank God we have people who

gonna have Keith Urban, Prince, John 5, and

can’t keep everything. If you’re not using it –

really want to pioneer that.

Bruce Springsteen, they’re all gonna be playing

if it’s not a tool that resonates with you then

your Telecaster by the way”.

you should just move it on cause someone else

We love the designs from the late 40s through

could really enjoy it.

the 50s. Those designs were absolutely

The things you learn are the obvious ones. You

amazing. They had no idea what was coming

learn about wood, the different tones you get

CG My friend also owns a Blackface Vibrolux Reverb you sold. After trying a couple of vintage Strats, the guitar that sounded best through it was a JS1200. How much have the various

刀䔀䄀䐀夀 吀伀 唀倀䜀刀䄀䐀䔀㼀

vintage instruments you’ve played and owned influenced the JS line? JS A lot. I remember owning several 50’s Strats and always coming face to face with the fact that they have serious road blocks in them for performing songs in my catalog, that stop me from using them on stage. But they have these other qualities - all guitars should be this simple and have such a big, ambient sound to them. That’s always been the cool thing about Strat’s and Teles - they pass on this ambience that translates into excitement for the audience. We know the pickups are weak and they’re almost always single coil so there’s noise involved, there’s issues right? At the same time there’s an intrinsic excitement, the voodoo part of the simple design of those guitars. They can be screwed together and unscrewed in less than

伀瘀攀爀 㘀㔀 礀攀愀爀猀 漀昀 匀吀刀伀䈀䔀 琀甀渀椀渀最 琀攀挀栀渀漀氀漀最礀 倀䄀䌀䬀䔀䐀 䤀一吀伀 䄀 䌀䰀䤀倀ⴀ伀一

twenty minutes and sound perfect every time

吀唀一䔀刀 倀䰀䄀䌀䔀匀 吀䠀䔀 匀吀爀漀戀漀䌀氀椀瀀 䤀一 䤀吀匀 伀圀一 䌀䰀䄀匀匀⸀

you put them back together. That’s a hallmark of brilliant design; you just can’t get around it.

眀䔀 䤀一嘀䤀吀䔀 夀伀唀 吀伀 䘀䤀一䐀 伀唀吀 圀䠀夀⸀

Thinking about it that way and then looking at the JS guitars and you go, “Well OK, the scale length is the same and yes it is a bolt-on neck”

∠ ㄀⼀㄀ 琀栀 漀昀 愀 䘀爀攀琀 䄀挀挀甀爀愀琀攀 吀甀渀椀渀最  ∠ ㈀㠀 匀圀䔀䔀吀䔀一䔀䐀 吀唀一䤀一䜀∡ 倀刀䔀匀䔀吀匀 ∠ 䌀愀爀戀漀渀 䘀椀戀攀爀 䌀氀椀瀀 搀攀猀椀最渀 ∠ 匀琀愀椀渀氀攀猀猀 猀琀攀攀氀 䠀漀甀猀椀渀最 ∠ 猀甀猀琀愀椀渀 洀漀搀攀 漀瀀攀爀愀琀椀漀渀 ∠ 䈀甀稀稀 昀攀椀琀攀渀 猀甀瀀瀀漀爀琀

so there are things about the guitars that are pretty similar. I’ve learned about the things that can happen with a classic design. If you’ve

⼀瀀攀琀攀爀猀漀渀琀甀渀攀爀猀

owned a hundred Strats, you’ve owned a hundred Strats that sound totally different from each other and you’ve scratched your head

吀栀攀 匀漀甀渀搀 漀昀 倀爀攀挀椀猀椀漀渀

like, “How’s that even possible?” If that first statement I said, where this design is so classic

꤀㈀ ㄀㔀 倀攀琀攀爀猀漀渀 吀甀渀攀爀猀⸀ 吀栀攀 琀攀爀洀猀 匀眀攀攀琀攀渀攀搀 吀甀渀椀渀最 愀渀搀 匀琀爀漀戀漀䌀氀椀瀀 愀爀攀 琀爀愀搀攀洀愀爀欀猀 漀昀 倀攀琀攀爀猀漀渀 䔀氀攀挀琀爀漀ⴀ䴀甀猀椀挀愀氀 倀爀漀搀甀挀琀猀Ⰰ 䤀渀挀⸀  䈀甀稀稀 䘀攀椀琀攀渀 吀甀渀椀渀最 匀礀猀琀攀洀 椀猀 愀 爀攀最椀猀琀攀爀攀搀 琀爀愀搀攀洀愀爀欀 漀昀 䈀甀稀稀 䘀攀椀琀攀渀 䐀攀猀椀最渀 䌀漀⸀Ⰰ 䤀渀挀⸀

is true, why does it provide such a variety of May  June 2016

CollectibleGuitar.com

45


out of it, and all the different combinations. You

wood. If you’re making guitars for the

sometimes I want people to be confused as to

can try to narrow it down and say, “I always like

marketplace and you’re aiming for vintage or

what instrument it is that’s making that sound.

ash over alder”, but once you really get into it

blues purists, it would be silly not to understand

Other times I want them to be bathed in some

you realize it’s just something that grows out of

wood and pickup strength because you’d be

beautiful vintage quality of the guitar. How do I

the ground and there’s no way of telling which

missing your core audience. If you’re looking to

get that and how do we pass that along?

plank of ash is going to sound exactly the way

sell guitars to people who are into Metalcore,

you want. There’s such a varying degree in

why would you even bother with all that vintage

When John Cuniberti and I started making

tonal response in every plank of wood that gets

stuff? They have other things that they need in

records, we’d had some experience in the

fashioned into a body, it’ll keep you guessing

that style of music. Those guitar players place

studio when we were recording The Squares,

for the rest of your life. But the whole idea

demands on the instrument that make sense

my band in the early 80s. As we learned about

about tone woods is a good generalization to

to address before you think of making an

recording, amps and studios together, we

an extent of how you want the instrument to be

instrument for them. One of them though, is not

arrived at a point where we wanted to plug the

used. I learned how much of what I do is based

the thing about the wood because you’re never

guitar directly into a DI, that would go directly

on the sound of the pickup and the interaction

gonna hear it. Their style of the music does not

into a vintage mic pre, and then right to tape.

of the electronics - minimal as they are coming

take those elements of the instrument and put

We were so interested in what the guitar

out of the guitar, and how they interface with the

them in the forefront of the recording. Those

actually sounded like without any amplifier and

amps. If you’re playing without distortion, you’re

things are important to know if you’re thinking

with the shortest cable. For most of the clean

going to pass on more of the elements of the

about designing guitars. I’ve always liked both -

guitar sounds you hear on those early records, that’s exactly how they were recorded. It was fascinating to take a guitar you always plugged into your Marshall turned to eight, and hear it into a mic pre with nothing on it. With no guitar amps scripts all over it, and we’d go, “Wow that’s what the guitar sounds like”. We could mold it any way we wanted it. Years later, John Cuniberti invented the Reamp so we could take those DI-recorded performances and put them back into a variety of amps in the studio. That was a very interesting step in capturing the true essence of the guitar and seeing really what is was and how it was ultimately morphed into something entirely different simply by putting it into the front end of an amplifier. People tend to forget that when they’re playing, because they’re getting so much visceral feedback as they play the guitar. It’s a very narrowly focused experience you’re having with your gear. But take a piece of music that you recorded with a DI and keep running that out into different amplifiers, you remove yourself viscerally from the equation. It’s almost like you hearing the guitar speak for itself. Then you start manipulating the amplifier in a way you wouldn’t if you were actually standing in front of it playing. This also shines a lot of light on the intrinsic qualities of the instrument coming from its design - the wood, the kind of frets you’re using, the strings, what kind of

46

May  June 2016

CollectibleGuitar.com


bridge you’ve got, what are the value of your pots, how much wiring is in the guitar, is the wood really old, what’s the finish on the guitar? All those things become much more noticeable because your not playing, when your not trying to dominate the instrument in real time with your musicianship. This kind of goes off on a tangent, but this really goes back to the idea of what you learn from owning and playing vintage guitars and how you put that into designing new gear. All the stuff I mentioned is part of the experience. If I had to wrap it up into one thing I’d say you gain experience. If you have a good memory you keep that in mind every time somebody says, “Well, we can just cut this big piece of wood out”, you might go, “Well you know, if you take three inches of wood out you might lose something. You put three more inches of wood on there and you gain something”. It can be that simple. I love playing my vintage gear, then picking a brand new JS guitar and seeing where there are similarities, where there are differences… how we solved issues with older designs that don’t interface well with modern music.

May  June 2016

CollectibleGuitar.com

47


FEATURE THE TOP 20 (+3) BOOKS FOR AMPLIFIER ENTHUSIASTS Robert Gearhart ď Ź

I have the moniker of AMPGUY, which describes

speaker choices, and information on the

pictures of many great Dumbles, and includes

my

collecting

amplifier manufacturers. Printed only in B&W.

interviews with Howard Dumble. Mine is a

amplifiers and everything related to amplifiers.

One can only guess how many times that I read

slipcovered hardbound example, #969 of

This includes mint examples of amplifiers,

it cover to cover. Only 64 pages.

1000. (332 pages).

amplifier logos and pins, and amplifier catalogs,

The Soul of Tone: Celebrating 60 Years of Fender

Ampeg: The Story Behind the Sound (Hopkins and

etc. I view an amplifier as an engineering marvel,

Amps (Tom Wheeler). This is the new bible for

Moore). For those that appreciate the beauty

as well as a work of art. To me, it is amazing

Fender Amp collectors, and is an amazing read

and great sound of Ampeg Amplifiers, this is

that a radio repairman in California (Leo Fender)

with beautiful pictures. It simply is a must have,

a great book tracing the history and model

would go on to create legendary guitar and

and includes two CDs that have recordings of

features through the years. For those that

bass amplifiers in almost every iteration in size,

many of the amps with both single coil and

remember, Ken Fischer worked here before

wattage, and speaker complement, influencing

humbucker equipped guitars.

Unfortunately,

he started Trainwreck Amplifiers. My copy is a

all later designs. I personally am most partial

it was published in 2007 and sorely needs

slipcovered special edition #969 of 2000. The

to the big three Fender, Marshall, and Mesa-

an update for the newer Fender Amplifiers

slipcover is covered with Ampeg blue check

Boogie, but love them all.

that have been created. Mine is a slipcovered

amplifier covering and has an actual Ampeg

What this article will describe, in my humble

hardbound limited edition, #1000 out of 1000.

metal logo. (297 pages).

opinion, are the greatest amplifier books ever

(592 pages).

OCD

tendencies

towards

miniature 9v editions, retail amplifier signs,

Blue Book of Guitar Amplifiers (Zachery R.

written, all of which reside in my collection. There are others, but these books stand out.

Fender Amps: The First Fifty Years (Teagle and

Fjestad) This book is essentially a price guide

Since no one can own an example of every

Sprung). This was one of the first bibles for

for amplifiers in various levels of condition.

great amplifier, you can own a copy of all the

Fender Amplifier collectors and still remains

It features brief histories of most amplifier

great amplifier books that describe them and

viable. It is well written and has a lot of

companies

help you understand how they work. Although I

information not found in the book above. Mine

wattage, tube complement, and speaker size

have collected some of the special editions that

is a limited edition that was published as a

for all models listed. A great reference, and

were published, standard and more affordable

hardbound, slipcovered book that sports a

perhaps the only bound reference for many

editions are readily available. As a plea to the

tweed cloth cover and is #901 of 1000. Highly

smaller amp companies. Mostly B&W, it has a

future, someone needs to write a history of

recommended. (256 pages).

16-page color section with many nice pictures.

Mesa-Boogie!

and

depicts

details

including

Another must have! My 3rd edition has 608 A Dumble Book (Schwartz). For the most of

pages.

The Amp Book (Donald Brosnac). This book

us that will never own or even play through a

deserves special mention, as it was my first

Dumble Amplifier, touted as the greatest and

The Fender Amp Book (John Morrish). Almost a

book on amplifiers. I bought this in 1989 and

certainly the most expensive amplifier ever

pocket guide, this book has a lot of detail and

that is when I got hooked. The obsession was

made (+$90K), this book may be as close

is a good reference to carry to guitar shows.

created. It discusses how amplifiers work,

as you can get. It describes the history, with

Excellent historical content. (96 pages)

48

May ď Ź June 2016

CollectibleGuitar.com


The Tube Amp Book (Aspen Pittman). Although

worthy of my collection, but the line had to be

collector this book has B&W pictures and

published in several versions, the best is

drawn somewhere. A great book and highly

specifications. There is a nice color section

the later oversized hardback spiral bound

recommended. (208 pages)

of beautiful mint examples. It also includes a CD-ROM containing the entire 1960s Master

edition. A great write-up on major brands is

Service Book in PDF. (192 pages)

complemented by high quality circuit diagrams.

The Guitar Amp Handbook: Understanding Tube

A CD included features 800 circuit diagrams.

Amplifiers and Getting Great Sounds (Dave

(187 pages)

Hunter). This is a very interesting book that

Music Man 1978-1982 (and Then Some): The

I have re-read countless times. He has

Other Side of the Story (Frank W/M Green). An

The History of Marshall: The First 50 Years (Doyle

described some of his favorite amplifiers and

interesting read, but perhaps not as detailed

and Bowcott). This is another beautiful book

their circuits. Interestingly, he has included

with specs as many would expect. But other

with super pictures of the greatest Marshall

extensive interviews with some of the greatest

than original catalogs, the only reference out

Amplifiers, showing the interior circuits of many.

amplifier designers. (295 pages)

there. (111pages)

The Book of Orange and Building the Brand (Cliff

Amps! (Richie Fliegler). This is a cool book about

Cooper). This is two books in one and is an

a lot of famous brands with a great color picture

The VOX Story: A Complete History of the Legend

oversized hardcover describing the history of

section to drool over. One of the first early

(David Petersen and Dick Denney). The history

Orange Amplifiers. It is printed in a novel style

picture books on amps, which is well worth

is covered in detail in this early 90’s B&W tome.

called Flipbook, where half way through you flip

owning. (120 pages)

This is an interesting read, but does not have

the book over to read the second book. There

the unbelievable detail, by model, of the next

are great pictures of the amplifiers and the

The Art of The Amplifier (Michael Doyle). A picture

book on the list. (168 pages)

bands that used Orange Amps. (202 pages)

book for the most part, with just amazing shots

VOX Amplifiers (Jim Elyea). This is a massive

A Desktop Reference of Hip Vintage Guitar Amps.

(2.5” thick, 9.8 lb.) oversized hardbound book

Tube Amp Talk for the Guitarist and Tech. Tube

The Peavey Revolution, Hartley Peavey, The Gear,

describing all things VOX, and depicts many

Guitar Amplifier Essentials. All About Vacuum Tube

The Company, and the All-American Success Story

of the amps in Jim’s collection, perhaps the

Guitar Amplifiers (Gerald Weber). I combined

(Ken Achard). Although not specifically an

largest collection in the world. His attention

these four books by Gerald because they

amplifier book, as it also reviews guitars and PA

to detail is phenomenal. He has even tracked

are similar in layout either written in a chapter

Systems, it does a pretty good job concerning

down the manufacturers of screws for these

style or a Q&A format. The first book has a

the amplifiers. Most of us have owned a Peavey

amps. This is another must-have for the owner

large collection of schematics that have been

in our lifetime because of their affordability,

of a VOX Amp, or one that just yearns for one.

cleaned up for easy reading. All are easy to read

good sound, and dependability. (184 Pages)

(682 pages).

and written in a style that is easy to understand.

A book to drool on, to say the least. Definitely recommended. (392 pages)

of beautiful amplifiers. (80 pages)

A lot of Gerald’s vast experience working with

Robert Gearhart

Amped: The Illustrated History of the World’s

and repairing amplifiers is in there in print. All of

After earning an MBA from Northern Iowa,

Greatest Amps (Dave Hunter). This is really a

his books are highly recommended. (507, 529,

I worked as a Manufacturers Rep for an

beautiful book describing and picturing each

537, and 513 pages, respectively).

engineered products company for 32 years and retired at 57 to pursue my passions, including

of Hunter’s favorite amps. You see amplifiers that most have never heard of. In my opinion,

Gibson Amplifiers 1933-2008: 75 Years of the Gold

he overlooked a few that I thought was

Tone (Wallace Marx Jr.) For the Gibson Amp

May  June 2016

guitar and amplifier collecting.

CollectibleGuitar.com

49


FEATURE A BEGINNERS GUIDE TO SHOPPING FOR A LES PAUL Rich Murdocco 

For

Gibson’s

ESP, the product variants of the Les Paul was

adorned with an ebony fretboard, mother-of-

encyclopedic product history and today’s

the

uninitiated,

navigating

byzantine in comparison. I was surprised to

pearl accents, and built to artist specifications.

modern variants of the Les Paul can be a

learn there were so many variants of the model

Typically, most shoppers opt for the Studio

herculean task. While the variety presented

– the Less Plus, Studio, Classic, Traditional,

models in the $1000 range, while the traditional

ensures that there is a Les Paul to meet every

Custom, all of which have differing weights,

Les Pauls with neck binding, mother of pearl

player’s needs, it can be intimidating for those

electronics, pickups, and neck profiles.

inlays, and the classic looking burst finishes sell

entering the labyrinth for the first time.

for $2,000 on up. What follows is a casual shoppers guide to

Being a first time Gibson shopper, I discovered

buying a Les Paul, written for those without

The used market for the Les Paul is robust,

this fact first hand. As a longtime player of

the time (or patience!) to dive into the different

thanks to the widespread popularity of the

Jackson and Ibanez guitars, I decided to

models available today. By providing a casual

instrument. Pricing is relatively stable, since this

broaden my horizons by going outside the

guide that will introduce what to look for, you,

popularity that makes them so plentiful on the

Super Strat realm. The newest target for

the buyer, find the right guitar for the right price.

secondary market also happens to keep them

acquisition was to be a Gibson Les Paul – a

desirable. When shopping for a used Les Paul,

bonafide American-made classic that conjures

Choosing the Model

be sure to note the instrument’s build quality,

up images of Jimmy Page cutting blues-

By choosing a Gibson Les Paul, you’re already

which has seen its ups and downs throughout

driven riffs through an overdriven Marshall.

committing to spend anywhere from $799 for a

the decades. In recent years, quality control

Accustomed to the relatively straightforward

relatively sparse faded series Les Paul Studio to

has been standardized, with 2016 being one

offerings from the likes of Jackson, Ibanez, and

upwards of $6,000 for custom shop Les Paul

of the strongest years for the brand, while the

50

May  June 2016

CollectibleGuitar.com


1980’s have produced models with a less than

hotter cousin the ‘57 Classic Plus, or the 490T

guitar is not weight-relieved, and it comes with

stellar reputation.

and R models, which allow for split coil tonal

the ‘57 Classic and ‘57 Classic Plus pickups

variety via a push/pull knob.

that pair well with the Marshall JCM 2000 DSL

Weight Relief

head it was to be played through. In contrast to

By design, a Gibson Les Paul is a heavy guitar

While pickups can always be swapped out at

the super thin Ibanez necks I was accustomed

– mostly thanks to their solid Mahogany bodies

a later date – most on the used market would

to, the 50’s neck profile of the Les Paul that I

and necks. Gibson’s luthiers offer a variety of

never swap out vintage Gibson pickups on a

bought is a welcome addition to my collection.

weight relieved models that cut down on the

Les Paul. Ace Frehley, who through much of

I’ve always read that when designing the

heft, with seemingly nominal impact to the

KISS’ early career favored DiMarzio Super

Soloist, Jackson Guitars sought to blend a

instrument’s much-sought after tone.

Distortions, made it a point of saying that he

Fender body with a Gibson neck, and I was

wouldn’t touch the electronics on a classic

surprised to see that the similarities between

Today, the brand offers different degrees of

Les Paul. An unaltered vintage Les Paul is

the two are striking (at least at the lower frets).

weight relief: traditional relief, modern relief,

extremely valuable, and the prices climb into

chambered relief, as well as variants of the

the stratosphere with each rarer model.

guitar with no weight relief whatsoever that

As with any large purchase, doing your research will help guide you in the right direction – but

weigh over 10 pounds. Gibson describes the

Choosing Which Model Works For You

playing the instrument (or something similar) is

middle of the road “modern” weight relief as

In the end, Gibson’s offerings have evolved

key. Assess your playing needs, budget, and

somewhere between full on chambering of the

to the point where they pretty much offer

proceed from there. Don’t need all the aesthetic

body, which players claimed was too resonant,

something for everyone. Depending on the

frills, but still want the Les Paul sound? Opt for

and traditional weight relief, which consists of

flexibility of your budget, if you want a Les Paul,

a Studio model, which was created for just that

a series of small circular holes bored into the

Gibson has a model for you.

purpose. Want an ebony fretboard? Expect

body to remove mass. Les Paul Ultra models

to pay, but there is a custom waiting for you.

are slimmer. When shopping for your first Les

In my own hunt for a Les Paul, I opted for a

Either way, Gibson has created a Les Paul that

Paul – take note of which variant you like the

simple Les Paul Traditional. At 10 pounds, the

seems tailor-made to meet your needs.

feel and sound of.

Neck Profile Once you’ve decided on the weight of your Les Paul, next is choosing from a variety of Gibson’s neck profiles. From the chunky profile of the 1950’s models to the slimmer, more modern necks, which are more aligned with variants from the 1960’s. Each player has their own preference, so always try a similar profile before buying. The Les Paul Studio, Classic, and Standard models offer a slimmer neck, while the Traditional models have the chunkier vintage profile.

Pickups While the heart of the Les Paul’s sound is found in the Mahogany, the character lies within the pickups. Les Paul’s offer anything from classic P90 soap bars, PAFs modeled off of some of Gibson’s most famous vintage guitars, to the hotter Burstbucker Pros with some extra sizzle as needed. Other options offered include the ‘57 Classic, which models the famous “patent applied for” humbuckers of yesterday, to its May  June 2016

CollectibleGuitar.com

51


FRETBOARD LESS TRAVELED COMPING MINOR BLUES Rich Severson 

Blues in a minor key is a music forum that both blues/rock and jazz players enjoy. In this article

C‹

I’m going to show the difference in how those two groups approach this song form. For our example we are using blues in C Minor. Let’s make some comparisons between the two versions. Right off the bat the rock version has half as many chords as the jazz, and uses full voicings for strumming the groove with the other players. The jazz version uses 4 note chords, is more

with a pick. Let’s talk about the chords in the jazz version, which are all initially based on the rock version.

F‹

minor. This is reaffirming the tonal center of C minor, setting up Measure 3. Measure 4, the

b &b b ? ? ? ?

as G7b9, as the bass would probably play a G here. Measure 8, the Am7b5 is a common

b &b b ? ? ? ? 9

9, the Ab7 appears in both versions; the Ab13 is used as a direct substitution. Measure 10, G7#5#9 another direct substitution; this one

8 G7

C‹ 8fr

8fr

? ? ? ?

? ? ? ?

10

8fr

11

12

? ? ? ? ..

C Minor Blues, Jazz Version Dm7b5

Cm9

G&7 5fr

b & b b .. ? ? ? ?

2

b &b b ? ? ? ? 5

A¨13

4fr

b &b b ? ? ? ? 9

? ? ? ? Am7b5 5fr

? ? ? ? 7 C‹7

G&7(#9)

? ? ? ?

Copyright © 2016 by Guitar College, Inc.

this is called a turnaround. The l,Vl, ll V chord progression is the most common turnaround. I hope this whets your appetite for more jazz sounds. I have many video lessons on this subject. Till next time. www.GuitarCollege.com

May  June 2016

4fr

? ? ? ? 11

CollectibleGuitar.com

? ? ? ? 8 Dm7b5

A‹7(b5) 8fr

3fr

10

C7(#9)

4

4fr

? ? ? ? 6

? ? ? ? C‹11

Ddim7 4fr

6fr

Gm7b5

3 Dm7b5

F‹9

Cm9 3fr

? ? ? ?

1

for the G7. Measures 11 & 12, in jazz terms

52

? ? ? ?

7 G7

9fr

diatonic substitution for the Cmin. Just like an Amin might be used for a Cmaj chord. Measure

4

? ? ? ?

6

A¨7

Measure 5, the tonality of Fm9. Measure 6, again up in Measure 7. The Ddim is the same chord

C‹

3

? ? ? ?

5

Gm7b5 to C7#9 is ll V of F minor, setting up points our ears to the C minor tonality coming

2

8fr

Cmin chord. This is called a direct substitution, Measure 2, we have ll-V of the home key of C

3fr

b 4 & b b 4 .. ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?

Measure 1, a minor 9th is substituted for the adding richer chord tones to the basic chord.

C‹

3fr

for the harmonic content than the rhythmic feel, and might be played with the fingers instead of

C Minor Blues, Rock Version

12

G&7 5fr

3fr

? ? ? ? ..



COLUMN PAWNSHOP PRIZE Roger Zimish 

1968 SUPRO S700: The Country and Western Flat Top

tones that makes it ideal for rhythm work.” Now, this Supro guitar is far from being pristine,

Inc. (the same year that their fiberglass models

This time around in the pawnshop we found a

it has been played quite a lot over its many years

debuted). Kay purchased Valco in 1967, so

rare Supro acoustic guitar. Supro is probably

and has some scars to prove it, but boy does

there are some Kay-built guitars under the

more widely known for their cool vintage amps,

she have a sound all her own and a bag full of

Supro brand name. Kay went bankrupt in 1968,

lap steel guitars, and those funky fiberglass

that mojo to go with it! The S700 Flat Top has

and both the Supro and National trademarks

guitars from the 60’s. There are not too many

a solid spruce top 15 1/2” wide dreadnought

were acquired by Chicago´s Strum N’ Drum

acoustic guitars out there with the Supro name

shape, mahogany back and sides with wide

Company. The National name was used on

on them. In the 1968 Supro catalog the S700

top and back binding, the “deluxe western”

a number of Japanese built imports, but not

was called, “An exciting new country and

large bridge with 3 points at each end that

the Supro name. Archer´s Music of Fresno,

western model flat top guitar with a special

accentuates the stunning look of the 4 point 4

California bought the rights to the Supro name

shape that accentuates the round, full bass

ply celluloid tortoise shell guard, and is just cool

in the early 1980s. They marketed a number of

to look at. It also has an adjustable

Supro guitars constructed from new old stock

mahogany 3- bolt-on neck with a

(N.O.S.) parts for a limited period of time.”

bound rosewood fingerboard with

(source: Vintage Guitar Magazine).

models began in 1962. Valco Manufacturing Company name was changed to Valco Guitars,

pearloid block inlays and nickel-silver frets, asymmetrical peghead (longer

The Supro S700 is National/Valco made. The

on bass side), and it has the original

Supro peghead shape was used from ’62 –

Kluson Deluxe tuning machines. It

‘68, with the plastic logo longer on the bass

even has the silver foil serial number

side (1955 - ‘62 earlier pegheads are narrower).

sticker on the back of the headstock.

National pegheads from 1958 – ‘68 are longer on the treble side. Foil serial number stickers

After finding this Supro acoustic

were used on Valco-made instruments from

guitar and seeing the new Supro

1964 to 1968, and the “2” prefix means it was

amp line out in the big box retail

made early-mid ‘68. So that’s the story that

music stores I did some research on

dates the guitar in the pictures.

the brand. As I said, this guitar has some mojo to it and “The Supro trademark was the

is full of dynamics, from soft finger picking to

budget brand for the National Dobro

full body strumming, reminiscent to a full body

Company,

what

Gibson. Its zero fret, thin, bolt on neck, and

was known as “House Brands”

the adjustable trussrod both help to make this

to Montgomery Ward, with Supro

guitar easy to play. The body does show its

models under the Airline trademark.

age with some nicks and scratches, along with

National offered budget versions of

some spider cracking in the thin nitrocellouse

their designs under the Supro brand

finish. With all that said, this is the best sounding

name beginning in 1935. National

acoustic guitar with a bolt on neck that I have

moved to Chicago in 1936. The

ever played. I have seen similar guitars from

Supro name was on wood bodied

the late 60’s going for up to $1500, this one

lap steels, amplifiers, and electric

is selling for around $400 without a case. So

Spanish arch top guitars. The first

check out those pawnshops . . . you never

solid body Supro electrics were

know what you might find!

who

supplied

introduced in 1952, and the fiberglass

54

May  June 2016

CollectibleGuitar.com


VINTAGE GUITARS & MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS AUCTION July 23, 2016 | Dallas | Live & Online

Seeking Quality Consignments, Delivering Results

1963 Fender Stratocaster Sonic Blue Solid Body Electric Guitar. Sold For: $65,625

1964 Gibson Thunderbird IV Sunburst Electric Bass Guitar. Sold For: $10,625

1952 Fender Telecaster Blonde Solid Body Electric Guitar. Sold For: $32,500

1953 Fender Precision Bass Blonde Electric Bass Guitar. Sold For: $13,125 1941 Martin D-45 Natural Acoustic Guitar. Sold For: $110,500

1938 Gibson Advanced Jumbo Sunburst Acoustic Guitar. Sold For: $53,775

Isaiah Evans 214-409-1201 IsaiahE@HA.com

INQUIRIES:

Mike Gutierrez 214-409-1183 MikeG@HA.com

Consignment Deadline: June 1 DALLAS | NEW YORK | BEVERLY HILLS | SAN FRANCISCO | CHICAGO | PALM BEACH PARIS | GENEVA | AMSTERDAM | HONG KONG

Always Accepting Quality Consignments in 40 Categories Immediate Cash Advances Available 950,000+ Online Bidder-Members Paul R. Minshull #16591. BP 12-25%; see HA.com. 41721



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