All posts in October 2014

500 Words with Adam P Hunt- Jack Bruce

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Adam P Hunt is a freelance writer who has previously written for The Library Journal and Premier Guitar Magazine. We are so happy to have him join us here at Guitar Radio Show.com.

 

500 Words about Jack Bruce by Adam P Hunt

By now you may have already heard about the passing of former Cream member Jack Bruce. There’s also a good chance you may have already read several tributes to him by former band mates and people who are famous fans.
Even though John Symon Asher Bruce is best known for his short tenure with (arguably) the first “super group”, Cream, Bruce was somewhat of a musical prodigy prior to joining Cream having won a scholarship to the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama due to his early mastery of the cello.
Bruce later would fall afoul with the school administrators due to his love of jazz. As a contemporary music listener it’s hard to appreciate how radical and challenging jazz was to the stayed and regimented world of classical music academies.
Like a lot of young English jazz musicians during the early sixties, Bruce found himself being increasingly pulled into the burgeoning R&B scene. Bruce would filter through a number of outfits including Blues Incorporated, led by “the founding father of British blues”Alexis Korner, and the Graham Bond Organization, both of which included Ginger Baker.
Although largely forgotten by contemporary audiences Blues Incorporated was an incredibly important figure in the British blues scene and at one point or another Blues Incorporate would include Charlie Watts, and Graham Bond. Blues Incorporate also attracted and occasional stage jumpers such as Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Brian Jones, Rod Stewart, John Mayall and Jimmy Page.
In 1965 “God” (Eric Clapton) got tired of his of the pop direction the Yardbirds were going with their psychedelic hit “For Your Love” he decided to ventured out on his own. After a brief tenure with John Mayall Clapton again was looking for another gig.
On the behest of Ginger Baker invited Clapton to join a new group Baker was forming, the Cream. Clapton asked Bruce join as bassist but unbeknownst to Clapton Baker and Bruce were engaged in a long simmering feud that would lead to often volatile stage performances and a short life for Cream.
If airplay were any indication, Jack Bruce’s career started and stopped with Cream, but Bruce would record fourteen studio albums including the instrumental jazz “The Things We Like” with John McLaughlin, “Harmony Row” (Bruce’s favorite), and several albums with another short lived power trio West, Bruce and Laing.
Even though it did not chart well “The Things We Like” should be required listening for any fan of Miles Davis era John McLaughlin. Bruce had the ability not only to reign in but to play off of McLaughlin too. “The Things We Like” compositions ranged from bebop to free jazz proving that Bruce was every bit as good of a jazz player has he was a rock player.
Throughout his career Bruce would also play with Rory Gallagher, Gary Moore and Robin Trower.
Bruce also found a place in Ringo Starr’s touring and recording band and would eventually form one more super group with Vernon Reid, Cindy Blackman and John Medeski.
Bruce lived an excessive life. Eventually that excess would lead to a liver transplant shortly before Cream’s final reunion shows at Albert Hall and Madison Square Garden in 2005.

Episode 41- Grant Stinnett

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Are you ready for this? One of the most talented bass guitarists since Jaco sits down with us to discuss his unique approach to the instrument and the music he makes. don’t miss this one!

Download his latest release free here-

http://www.grantstinnett.com/#!free-download–support/cfu3

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500 Words with Adam P Hunt- In Defense Of Relic Guitars

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Adam P Hunt is a freelance writer who has previously written for The Library Journal and Premier Guitar Magazine. We are so happy to have him join us here at Guitar Radio Show.com.

 

500 Words by Adam Hunt In Defense of Relic Guitars

Contrary to popular belief the whole “relic” guitar thing didn’t start off as a request by Keith Richards. The story has been repeated enough times that it’s taken on a life of it’s own but again, the story isn’t true.

The truth of the matter is that artificially aging an instrument predates Antonio Stradivari and was done for the same reason why people like a “lived in” looking guitar, it has mojo.

I’ve owned or have played many vintage guitars throughout the years but nearly every one of them had issues. Issued that ranged from miss matched parts, like my ’59 ES 125 some one unceremoniously replaced the P90 with a ’72 “Gibson” humbucker, to structural issues like the pre War Martin that was constantly needing to go under the knife every couple of months in order to keep it in working order.

Don’t get me wrong when the pre War was working it was magic but it was also a money sink.

It seems to me that people get hung up on the six “pres” when it comes to vintage guitars:

•Pre WWII CF Martins
•Pre CBS Fenders
•Pre 1964 Gretsches
•Pre Norlin Gibsons
•Pre factory PRS
•Pre Kaman Hamer

There are plenty of fine examples of vintage guitars out there… for a price. Just recently I swung over to Ghrun Guitars to see what an early Fender Esquire would set you back, $28,000.

According to CNN Money the average household income for 2013 was $56,000.

That ’52 Esquire isn’t looking so good now is it?

For a 1/10th of what the ’52 would set you back there’s plenty of people who make vintage replicas.

Including Fender.

What I think gets up in the nose of vintage snobs is they fear that a modern reproduction will somehow affect the price of vintage originals. Historically that hasn’t proven to be the case so don’t loose any sleep over that particular issue.

The other criticism is that somehow a relic reproduction is cheating. If a relic guitar plays great, sounds great, and you don’t have to worry every moment you’re playing it because you are afraid you are diminishing its value, perhaps a relic may be viable alternative.

Sure, there are a good number of musicians who made vintage guitars the objet de desir they have become. The fact of the matter is many of them don’t tour with their vintage guitars and often times they have relic reproductions made just to use on stage.

Or, as in the case of Eric Clapton or Jeff Beck, they use modern guitars.

But even with a top dollar relic guitar it will never sound like a vintage original unless and until you play it through an all-original vintage amp with a vintage chord.

Period.

For me as a player the things I look for are playability, tone and reliability and if I can get those things through a relic guitar, awesome.

David Grissom teaches us all a lesson

Here’s a short clip of the great David Grissom  ripping it up at the Saxon Pub in Austin TX this past week. Great tone, impeccable playing. When we posted this to our FB page it blew up and continues to  spread all over the planet! Enjoy!

Check out the link below to see the performance.

David Grissom

Episode 40- Killer B Guitars

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Kevin Butts from Killer B Guitars joins us to discuss guitar building form Memphis TN. and the beauty of Pine!

Got to http://killerbguitars.com/  for more!!!!

 

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500 Words with Adam P Hunt- Alternative Woods

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Adam P Hunt is a freelance writer who has previously written for The Library Journal and Premier Guitar Magazine. We are so happy to have him join us here at Guitar Radio Show.com.

 

Adam P Hunt 500 Words on Alternative Woods
“Alternative” material guitars aren’t anything new. George Beauchamp’s 1927 Dopyera Brothers made resonator guitars were made out of plywood, aluminum, brass and steel, and Beauchamp’s 1931 “Frying Pan” guitar was made from cast aluminum plus who can forget the 1959 fiberglass bodied National Glenwood “Map” or the 1969 Ampeg /Dan Armstrong “Plexi”?

More recently there has been a lot of anger and confusion concerning both the Lacey Act of 1900, European Union Timber Regulation (EUTR) legislation and Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) regulations and what that means to guitar builders, traveling musicians, and collectors. While I don’t seek to delve into either of those issues rightly or wrongly they do have an affect what you may or may not build or may or may not buy.

Increasingly guitar makers, large and small have been searching for ways to make high quality, tuneful guitars that will appeal to players. While it has been an uphill battle some of the majors have stepped up to the plate.

In the late Seventies Gibson launched walnut bodied version of the Les Paul simply known as “The Paul” and in 1990 CF Martin has made a line of Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified guitars.

In 2013 article on the greenbuild.org site called “Making Music the Sustainable Way” the author listed a wide range of materials that contemporary builders are experimenting with, “Species such as: cherry, claro walnut, redwood, bay laurel, cedar, blackwood, sycamore, myrtle, koa, and maple” and stated, “These species come from a wide variety of sources including: wood reclaimed from building demolition, trees damaged from forest fire, driftwood, trees that have already fallen, and stands that are to be cleared for agricultural use”.

A 2014 article in Musical Merchandise Review titled “Perfecting the Sustainable Guitar” site, Taylor the small Walden Guitars “hempstone” “Madera”, and the Finish Flaxwood as companies as being on the cutting edge of sustainable materials practices.

Petros has made some highly collectable “Tunnel 13” guitars made from reclaimed railroad tunnel material and Rick Kelly of Carmine Street Guitars has made a name for himself by making pine bodied Telecaster variations out of timber salvaged from a loft owned by film maker Jim Jarmusch.

If you are a working musician chances are you probably don’t want to perform without your favorite instrument, even a vintage one. In the post 9/11 world traveling internationally has become a huge pain in the rear, so much so that even seasoned road dogs like Eric Clapton are deciding throw in the towel.

But if you do travel internationally it’s probably best to leave your prized vintage favorite at home and buy a modern CITES compliant second best version (read; leave your ’59 Les Paul at home, take your Korean made Epiphone Les Paul with you).

With a little digging around I did find a 2014 article in the Official Journal of the American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada called, “Urgent Call to Action: Register Your Instrument to Help Avoid Interrupted International Travel”. The author, Alfonso Pollard suggests you immediately “obtain a US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) traveling permit for your musical instrument. You should apply as far ahead of your trip as possible because government processing time may be unpredictable”.

Episode 39- Travis Bowman

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500 Words with Adam P Hunt- Ted Newman-Jones III

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Adam P Hunt is a freelance writer who has previously written for The Library Journal and Premier Guitar Magazine. We are so happy to have him join us here at Guitar Radio Show.com.

 

Adam P Hunt 500 Words on Ted Newman-Jones III

Ted Newman-Jones III is somewhat of a shadowy figure. The Nashville based guitar builder was the man who was responsible for putting together Eric Clapton’s famous “Blackie” Stratocaster in 1970. Soon there after Ted Newman-Jones made his way to France when The Stones were recording “Exile on Main Street” and talked his way into working on Keith Richards’ guitars. Ted Newman-Jones would serve as Richards’ guitar tech from ’72 to ’79.

There are builders to the stars and there guitars of the stars. Just as some companies become so associated with a particular recording artist it’s hard to separate the two. Even though Jimi Hendrix is best known for playing a Stratocaster he played guitars from Danelectro, Epiphone, Gibson, Gretsch, Supro, Martin, Mosrite, and Zemaitis.

Other builders become inextricably linked to a single artist. Doug Irwin made a handful of guitars (Eagle, Wolf, Tiger, Rosebud, and Wolf Jr.) for Jerry Garcia and as a result he had written himself into music history.

Some builders like Tom Anderson, John Bolin, Kris Derrig, Roger Fritz, Roger Giffin, Dennis Merrill, Danny Ransom, and Paul Reed Smith have made guitars for major artists made to look like models from big name companies.

Ted Newman-Jones built a handful of guitars for Keith partly to replace some recently stolen ones and partly to allow Keith to take advantage of his newfound love for open G (G-D-G-B-D) tuned five stringed guitars.

A sharp eye will spot that Keith using an unusual guitar on The Stones’ ’73 tour. The ‘73 guitar looked like mixture between a Les Paul Recoding model and an hourglass designed by Salvador Dali.

Keith can also be seen in a fairly recent Mesa Boogie catalog standing in a field holding what looks like mixture between a Les Paul Standard and an SG. The guitar is quite possibly an earlier Newman-Jones than the one used on the ’79 New Barbarians tour.

The exact number of guitars that Newman-Jones made is a not clear from what I can tell the numbers range from three to five.

At a certain point Newman-Jones set up shop in Austin Texas and made guitars for Joe Ely, Tom Petty, Bob Dylan James Honeyman Scott (The Pretenders) and possibly for Lucinda Williams.

In the late eighties/ early nineties there were a variety of Newman-Jones design “Austin Special” guitars built by California based Chandler guitars including a baritone model, some basses and a handful of five string guitars.

Like all things Newman-Jones things get a little murky and there seems to have been a falling out between him and Chandler. While the company no longer makes the “Austin Special” their website clearly shows John Entwistle playing one.

Even more mysterious is Newman-Jones stint in jail during the late nineties. Not much information on the subject other than he seems to have been cleared of all charges.

Newman-Jones’ guitars continue to have a polarizing affect amongst guitar aficionados. Some people love them, others don’t. But for those who can’t wait to own a true piece of rock ‘n’ history Ted Newman-Jones can be reached at:

Ted Newman-Jones Guitars
975 Burgies Chapel Road
Dyersburg TN 38027
cjp@cableone.net
Please include the word “guitar” in the subject line of the email

500 Words with Adam P Hunt- Standel Amplifiers

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Adam P Hunt is a freelance writer who has previously written for The Library Journal and Premier Guitar Magazine. We are so happy to have him join us here at Guitar Radio Show.com.

Adam P Hunt 500 Words on Standel Amplifiers

No doubt you’ve walked into a guitar shop and have seen an array of amplifiers kicking around, Fender, Marshall, Vox, Randall, Egnater, Orange, Peavy, you know, the usual suspects.

If you’re lucky you’ll run across something either exotic or obscure such as a Fuchs, Red Bear or even a Diaz. A while ago I was taken aback when I walked into one of my favorite consignment shops and I ran into a Standel.

Of course I had heard the name before because Standel amps due to their link to Chet Atkins but this was the first time I had seen one in the flesh.

Standel may be less familiar to some contemporary players but at one point they boasted an enviable roster of players who played them including Merle Travis, Joe Maphis, Speedy West, Grady Martin, Hank Thompson, Wes Montgomery and Cliff Gallup.

According to guitar wiz Deke Dickerson Standel began when in 1952 electric guitar pioneer, Paul Bigsby approached electronics engineer, Bob Cooks, about developing a Bigsby amplifier. With a fifty-dollar advance Cooks made a working prototype. Initially Cooks was pleased his results but when Bigsby brought over one of his steel guitars the outcome was less than stellar.

Cooks and Bigsby went back and forth a couple more times until Bigsby eventually abandoned the project. After many hundreds of hours more work Cooks eventually came up with a design he was happy with and name the company San (for standard) el (for electronics).

Bob Cooks then hit the local music circuit to drum up some business. Cooks eventually convinced Speedy West to try his amp in a live setting. West was so impressed with the amp’s performance he became Cooks’ first paying customer.

The first Standels were all custom but by working with performers Cooks developed what would eventually become the 25L15 model.

Standel eventually ventured into making guitars and basses. Initially the designs were developed by Simei Mossely but were manufactured from 1961 to 1967 under the Harptone name by Billy Lynch in Alabama.

Like a lot of amp companies Standel switched from vacuum tubes to a solidstate format in the sixties and due to reliability and performance issues they turned out their lights in 1972.

That’s where the story could have ended but like Paul Bigsby’s Crocker Motorcycles Standel has risen from the ashes. In 1991 a Standel enthusiast named Dan McKinney had purchase the remaining back stock of an extinct electronics firm called Quad-Eight and launched a high-end point to point wired recording consul company named Requisite.

As a child McKinney’s stepfather had been a Standel dealer and gave the young Dan McKinney a Standel. Years later McKinney was dropping his daughter off at school and remembered that the old Standel factory was just around the corner. McKinney decided to visit the now closed facility and after a quick visit became fascinated by the idea of relaunching the Standel brand.

McKinney tracked down both Bob Cooks and the company’s former head of PR, Frank Gralock, and expressed his interest in bringing the company back from the dead. Both Cooks and Gralock had said they had tried several times to resurrect Standel but no one was adept at point-to-point wiring as McKinney.

By 1998 a new Standel 25L15 had emerged and debuted at that year’s NAMM show.

Today Standel once again stands proud and is still made in southern California and produces not only a modern version of the 25L15 the EL84 based two channel Switchmaster series and a variety of speaker cabinets.