Tuesday, December 2, 2014
Friday, September 19, 2008
1952 Gibson Les Paul Gold-Top with flying trapeze bridge and 2 P-90 pick-ups. The first year ever made, this guitar has no serial number! It's a prototype whose future was yet to be known. Played by Les and Mary Ford, in a few short years, these mahogony/maple-top heavyweights were to become the classic rock axe. Sustain galore and heavy in comparison to the competition, these solid-bodies were built initially for primarily jazz usage. The gold-top finish checking and cracking only slightly, adding a sense of history to its overall appeal. The tone is big coming out of the P-90's with a distinct Les Paul sound apparent with the later use of humbucking P.A.F.'s. Just a fraction thinner sounding, yet just as meaty, this 40-something year-old has plenty of tone to go around. The honky nasal combination of both pick-ups activated simultaneously emits an early Page crunch ala "Out on the Tiles". The neck position by itself is very fat and warm with a smooth agedness whereas the bridge is unusually brite yet characteristic of a PAF with fullness of tone. High dome knobs larger than its offspring and that bizarre bridge give this guitar a look both unique and special to its heritage. Truly a first in the line.
Specs: 1952 Gibson Les Paul Gold Top w/ no serial number. 2 P-90 pick-ups, 22 frets, flying trapeze bridge.
Tone: Similar to PAF's though slightly thinner and funkier. Great, versatile sound machine with classic sustain and warmth.
Look: Totally funky bridge, worn-in mother-of-pearl in-lay, desirable cracking and checking in gold finish, mahagony back unfinished.
Feel: Fast frets on a fat bodied Gibson give this thing a feel of the past, yet similar to a modern version.
Needs/wants: aspirin supply for back pain due to weight load on players back.
Quirks: Less a players guitar than a collectors with the bridge (discontinued late in '52) that obstructs natural picking stance. Palm-muting is all-but impossible.
History: Where it all began
Desirability: 1st year Les Paul with classic tones and a great look in gold, a 10 by all means.
This is a really my dream guitar an 52' if you got one, you are very lucky... this is one my dream guitar,
fyi the 52 doesnt have any serial number. cool right ??
The '59 Dano features professional level playability, intonation, and electronics and is entirely road worthy. The four finishes were inspired by classic car colors and convey a truly retro vibe. Comes with the familiar side binding tape running around the edge of the guitar. The tape has been lightly treated with a shellac to enhance the vintage look. The tuners are die cast and hold the tuning well.
An aluminum nut contributes to its unique sound.
The '59's lipstick style Alnico pickups provide that distinctive Dano twang. A warmer wind on these pickups increases the output while producing a less high-end tone. A beefy 3-position (on-on-on) toggle switch and rugged volume and tone knobs stand up well to aggressive playing. By the way, the playability is one of the most impressive aspects of this guitar with low, buzz free action. This is a quality guitar with plenty of sustain, great tone and it will give you the feeling that you are playing a much more expensive instrument.
Sunday, March 16, 2008
After 40 years of producing guitars, Korean musical instruments manufacturer Samick hired industry veteran Greg Bennett to give their guitar line a radical makeover, with the goal of improving appearance, sound quality, and build quality. About Greg Bennet Guitars. Greg Bennett Guitars. Retrieved on 2007-05-05.
Greg started redesigning the instruments at his studio in Nashville, Tennessee, after which the search for the electronics and woods took place. The new Samick guitars, now under the name of Greg Bennett Guitars, possess a wide array of professional level parts including pickups designed by Seymour Duncan, machine heads from Grover and bridges by Wilkinson. The new woods used in the production are also high quality; the search for distinctive tonewoods ranged world-wide, netting woods such as ovangkohl and ebony from Africa, rosewood from India and rock maple from North America.
Greg Bennett Guitars manufactures a range of stringed instruments including electric, acoustic and archtop guitars, electric and acoustic basses, and mandolins, banjos, ukuleles and Autoharps.
Elegant names were given to every line of instruments to stimulate better product identification and also to give a more "high-end" feel. Perhaps the most common distinctive feature in all these new instruments (apart from the mandolins, banjos and autoharps) are the signature angled-back headstock. These headstocks feature the new logo right at the top and are designed small intentionally, as Greg states that bigger headstocks rob more energy from a vibrating string, causing less sustain.
Greg Bennett Guitars have gained acclaim from many performing artists. Greg Bennet Guitars - Artists. Greg Bennett Guitars. Retrieved on 2007-05-05.
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
The Fender Stratocaster, (often referred to as a Strat), is a model of electric guitar designed by George Fullerton, Leo Fender and Freddie Tavares in 1954, and manufactured continuously to the present. The Stratocaster has been used by many leading guitarists, and thus can be heard on many historic recordings. Along with the Gibson Les Paul, Gibson SG, and the Fender Telecaster, it is one of the most enduring and common models of electric guitar in the world. The design of the Stratocaster has transcended the field of music to rank among the classic industrial designs of all time; examples have been exhibited at major museums around the world.
The Stratocaster has been widely copied; as a result, the term "Strat" is often used generically when referring to any guitar that has the same general features as the original, regardless of manufacturer.
The Fender Electric Instrument Manufacturing Company (now known as Fender Musical Instruments Corporation) developed the first commercial solid-body 'Spanish' (as opposed to 'Hawaiian,' or lap steel) electric guitar beginning in 1948 - the Telecaster, a simple design whose earliest models were offered under the name Broadcaster or the single pickup Esquire. While the Telecaster and its variants were successful, many guitar players of the day used a Bigsby unit, a spring-loaded vibrato device that players use to bend notes up and down with their pick hand. Instead of adding a Bigsby, Fender decided to produce a new, more expensively-made ash or alder line of guitars with his own design of vibrato, which Leo Fender incorrectly referred to as a "synchronized tremolo" (see tremolo arm for more on the evolution of such mechanisms). His decision was also influenced by guitarists Rex Gallion and Bill Carson, who requested a contoured body to temper the harsh edges of the slab-built Telecaster; the new ash body shape was based on that of the 1951 Precision Bass.
The name, 'Stratocaster,' was intended to evoke images of new jet-aircraft technology (such as the Boeing B-52 Stratofortress), and to express Fender's modernistic design philosophy. In designing the Stratocaster's body, a significant area of the back of the guitar, and the area where the strumming arm rests, were beveled to accommodate the player's chest and arm. The upper bouts featured two cutaways, for easier access to the higher frets. The new 'Custom Contour Body' and 'Synchronized Tremolo' bridge made the Stratocaster a revolutionary design.
The headstock shape of the Stratocaster is patented by Fender.
The guitar also featured more complex electronics than the Telecaster: three single coil pickups, each with staggered magnetic poled alnico magnets (a mix of Aluminum, Nickel and Cobalt, hence the name); a three-way selector switch (five-way since 1977); one volume knob, and two tone controls, one each for the neck and middle pickups. A three single-coil pickup design was an innovation already in use by Gibson in their ES-5 model since 1949. However, Fender's pickups were much more compact.
In the book "The Stratocaster Chronicles", page 33, Mr. Fender explains how the inspiration for the headstock came from his seeing instruments played by visiting Croatian musicians. "it was originally a Croatian design" Leo Fender said. He was speaking of the instrument called "Tamburica".
Patents were applied for all these new designs, and production line Stratocasters reached the market in early 1954 for US$249.50 (approximately US$1,850 in 2007 currency). The basic production model had a two-tone nitrocellulose 'sunburst' finish, one-piece maple neck, ash body, chrome hardware, and Bakelite-like thermoplastic parts. Other manufacturers began imitating these innovations immediately. An early-model Stratocaster was a key component of Buddy Holly's signature look, along with his black-rimmed glasses, and he was among the first players to popularize the Stratocaster in rock music. Both his gravestone and his walk-of-fame statue in Lubbock, Texas feature a Stratocaster.
Eric Clapton plays his signature model at the Tsunami Relief concert, January 22, 2005
The one-piece maple neck was discontinued in 1959. However, a maple neck with a glued-on maple fretboard was offered as an option in 1967. The rosewood fretboard over maple neck remained as the other neck option. In 1969, after a ten year absence, the one-piece maple neck was again made available as an option. The primary reason for the switch to rosewood was to meet increased demand; as one piece maple necks required more work to manufacture and more work to finish.
Since the introduction of the Ultra series in 1989, ebony was selected as a fretboard material. Guitar models with such fingerboards include the American Deluxe FMT/QMT Stratocasters and Telecasters, introduced in 2004, sporting a solid select alder body with quilted or flamed maple top, HSS (Strat) and HH (Tele) pickup configurations with S-1 switching.
Many artists (including Buddy Guy, Rory Gallagher, Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, and Mark Knopfler) discovered that the pick-up selector could be lodged in between the basic three settings (often using objects such as matchsticks to wedge it in position) for further tonal variety. Since 1977, Stratocasters have been fitted with a five-way switch to make such switching more stable. Other subtle changes were also made to the guitars over the years, but the basic shape and features of the Strat have remained unchanged. In the 1970s and 1980s, some guitarists began modifying their Stratocasters with humbucking pickups, especially in the bridge position to create what became known as the Superstrat. This was intended to provide a thicker tone preferred in the heavier styles of hard rock and heavy metal. Notable early examples of this are Allan Holdsworth and Iron Maiden's Dave Murray (also Eddie Van Halen's home made guitar, Frankenstrat, was essentially a single-humbucker Strat). The popularity of this modification grew and eventually, Fender began manufacturing models with a bridge humbucker option, denoted and separated from the original triple single coil by the title of "Fat Strat", as a reference to the humbucker's distinct sound.
Players first perceived a loss of the initial high quality of Fender guitars after the company was taken over by CBS in 1965. As a result, the late-'60s Stratocasters with 3 bolt neck joints (instead of the traditional 4) and the large "CBS" headstock fell out of fashion. However, Jimi Hendrix and many other blues-influenced artists of the late '60s soon adopted the Stratocaster as their main instrument, reviving the guitar's popularity. George Harrison used a Stratocaster in the 1971 Concert For Bangladesh, (though Eric Clapton had started using Stratocasters at this time, he used a Gibson during the concert) giving the Strat additional high visibility in rock circles. Also, so-called 'pre-CBS' Stratocasters are, accordingly, extremely sought-after and expensive due to the huge perceived difference of quality even with contemporary post-CBS models. In recent times, some Stratocasters manufactured from 1954 to 1958 have sold for more than US$175,000. Many now reside in Japan, cached away as collectible pieces of Americana.
After a peak in the 1970s, driven by players such as David Gilmour of Pink Floyd, Ritchie Blackmore of Deep Purple, Eric Clapton, and Mark Knopfler of Dire Straits, another lull occurred in the early 1980s. During that time, CBS-Fender cut costs by deleting features from the standard Stratocaster line, despite a blues revival that featured Strat players such as Stevie Ray Vaughan, Robert Cray, and Buddy Guy (a Stratocaster player since the mid-1960s, sometimes credited with influencing Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, and Stevie Ray Vaughan in their choice of the Stratocaster as a primary blues-rock guitar).
In England, The Shadows' lead guitarist Hank Marvin who got the very first Stratocaster to be exported to Europe (a '58 Fiesta Red model that started the huge success for this color's sales for Fender), played vintage Strats till the end of the 80s, then turning on his own Signature Stratocaster model.
However, when the Fender company was bought from CBS by William Schultz in 1985, manufacturing resumed its former high quality, and Fender was able to regain market share and brand reputation. This sparked a rise in mainstream popularity for vintage (and vintage-style) instruments.
Friday, February 8, 2008
Eko 400 a.k.a. Ekomaster
Eko's first solid body electric. This model made history. It triggered Castelfidardo's accordion district conversion to guitar manufacturing. In terms of cosmetics and finishing techniques it set the Italian standards for the 60's first half.
With its offset waist design it was also the first guitar that took inspiration from the Fender Jazzmaster, thus starting a trend that went on till the end of the decade, especially in continental Europe but also in Japan and among American minor makers. This Eko is arguably one of the most influential guitar ever.
Despite its historical relevance very little is known about this series. Most reputable guitar scholars simply ignore it. I have never seen it mentioned in any catalog or ad (if you know were to find some let me know ASAP, thanks!). Where and when was it made? No one seems to know. Even the name of the series has long remained a mystery! The actual name was Model 400, but most collectors use to call it the 'Ekomaster', a denomination that in fact was applied to a specific vibrato assembly used only at the end of the series, not only for this series (it also shows up with early 500 and 700 models), and only to a minority of instruments.
The Model 400 was mainly built in 1961. I think production started while Eko still was housed in Castelfidardo; perhaps it continued after the distribution agreement signed with LoDuca and the subsequent relocation in Recanati. In my opinion the series was launched in Autumn 1960 and the last ones were assembled in early 1962, at the time the 500 and 700 were being introduced. At any rate its manufacturing life cannot have exceeded eighteen months. In this short lapse of time five generations were issued (here are mentioned only the features that were subject to change):
. 1 - Asymmetrical headstock with 3+3 tuners, floating metal bridge, pickups are covered with a layer of celluloid matching body top finish (late 1960?).
. 2 - Fender.ish headstock with six-in-line machineheads (early 1961?).
. 3 - New pickups with black plastic top and visible polepieces (mid-1961?).
. 4 - New fixed bridge with individual string intonation adjustment. An Ekomaster vibrato begins to appear (late 1961?).
. 5 - Number of frets (zero-fret not included) is reduced from 22 to 21. Nearly all of those late 400 guitars are fitted with an Ekomaster (early 1962?).
Besides the Jazzmaster general styling, the Eko 400 shows obvious similarities with the Hagström Standard and DeLuxe series (1958-1961), as well as with contemporaneous Höfner models.
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
"In the mid 70's a Guy in Japan at Ibanez wanted to make a Japanese guitar that was a mark of Japan, something to be proud of. His idea was to build a guitar widely loved and respected, like a Les Paul or Strat. So he called a meeting with the main guitar companies in Japan. Ibanez (Hoshino) Greco (Kanda Shokai) Diawa and Fuji. They had a close door meeting and the Iceman was designed. Each company had distribution rights to it in different global markets. Ibanez for the USA."
This resulted in one of the best looking and original designs to emerge from the Pacific Rim. With the triple coil pickup and mahogany body the first series of Iceman were light weight tone giants ahead of their time. Initial sales were not overwhelming as the very conservative American guitar culture was slow to realize the quality and value of Ibanez.
The Iceman was produced from 1975 to 1983, in various bolt-on and glued-neck models. About eight different models were available at the peak of Iceman popularity in 1978-1979 (including the IC210 that Steve Miller played on the album "Fly Like an Eagle")and they retailed from $295 to $495. If you find a used early model these days, they run from $400 to $800. Early models will sometimes go for $1100 to $1700, and the 1978 PS-10 is worth approximately $2000 to $2500. 1978 - 1982 Production Numbers and Serial Number Chart are on this page.
Sales dwindled in the early eighties as the super-strats captured buyers dollars (why oh why?) and by 1983 only 2 models were offered. By the late eighties the Iceman had somewhat of a cult following and was rising in price as collectors bought them up. I used to rarely see an Iceman in a guitar store or pawn shop. When I did find one it was usually an IC50 and priced at $450. That was in 1991. Since re-introduction to the US in 1994, there are plenty of Icemen to go around. Most of the new models are made in Korea, not Japan - although exceptions can be found (like the PS10-LTD and PS10-Classic). Korean made guitars have replaced Japanese ones on the guitar-snobs shit list these days. Isn't it ironic? Don't ya think?