Monday, November 30, 2009

Orianthi Plays Eddie Van Halen's Beat It Solo

Here's a vid of Orianthi Panagaris playing Eddie Van Halen's iconic solo from Beat It.

Following in the footsteps of Michael Jackson's previous touring guitar veteran Jennifer Batten, Orianthi was all set to embark on Jackson's This Is It comeback tour before the singer's untimely demise.

A PRS Guitars endorser since 2004, Australian-born Orianthi has drawn accolades from no less than Steve Vai and Carlos Santana.

On the PRS website, Carlos is quoted as saying, "It's not cute anymore. It's seriously ass-whupping. If I was going to pass the baton to somebody, she would be my first choice."

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Yngwie Malmsteen Double-Neck Signature Model Stratocaster on eBay

Hot on the heels of my previous post comes this eBay listing for a Yngwie Malmsteen 12-and-6-string doubleneck. (eBay Item #: 130346760016)

According to the seller, this guitar was produced by the Fender Japan Custom Shop between '93 and '94, with less than 200 made.

Both the 12 and 6-string necks have scalloped fingerboards , vintage-style Kluson tuners, Dunlop 6100 jumbo frets and DiMarzio HS-3 stacked-coil pickups in the neck and bridge positions. The center pickups on both necks are stock Fender Japan single-coils.

In lieu of a 6/12 neck selector switch, a 'balancer' pot is situated on the 12-string side allowing the player to dial in the relative volume output for each neck. The body is basswood as is commonly used on most guitars in the Fender Japan line.

Check Out More Yngwie Stuff Here!

Yngwie Malmsteen's Personal Signature Model Stratocaster on eBay

Here's another one for Malmsteen fans. (eBay Item #: 200408261129)

According to the seller this is one of Yngwie's personal signature model Stratocasters. You might remember a previous eBay listing by this seller for Yngwie's #3 Strat.

Looks like Yngwie is using guitars from his personal collection as currency to finance his ever growing stable of Ferraris. Smart man.

This guitar comes with a Certificate of Authenticity signed by Yngwie J.

Check Out More Yngwie Stuff Here!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Jimi Hendrix -- Birthday Tribute

Born 27th November 1942 in Seattle, Washington, Johnny Allen Hendrix was to become one of the most iconic figures ever to be associated with the electric guitar.

His father, Al Hendrix, who had not been consulted about the naming of his son, officially changed young Johnny's name to James Marshall Hendrix on 11th September 1946.

Noticing that the young boy had a penchant for strumming on a broomstick -- for a while in fact, Jimmy and his broom were inseparable, he even took it to school -- Al relented and got him his first acoustic guitar for five dollars.

Jimmy was strumming away, teaching himself to play. He soon started hanging around the porch of a local bluesman who lived nearby, picking up whatever he could. This mysterious guitar-slinging bluesman no doubt had a great impact on Jimmy.

After playing for a couple of years and hankering for an electric guitar, Jimmy persuaded Al to get him a white Supro electric guitar. Soon he was playing at local gigs and parties around Seattle.

Joining the army for basic training in 1961 as part of his duty to the country, Jimmy eventually got posted to the 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. It was in the army that Jimmy was to meet fellow serviceman and bassist Billy Cox. The two put a five-piece band together and, as the King Kasuals, started entertaining soldiers in the Service Clubs, with the occasional gig around town.

After 14 months, a broken ankle and a feigned back injury got Jimmy out of the paratroopers in 1962.

Moving to New York's Harlem district, Jimmy took on the stage name Jimmy James. Times were lean and Jimmy took whatever gig came his way. In 1964, Jimmy was offered an audition with The Isley Brothers after being spotted at a club where he would often beg to sit in with the resident band.

For the audition, Jimmy was so broke that he didn't even have a full set of strings on his guitar. As part of the agreement for Jimmy to come for the audition, Ronnie Isley would have to buy him a set of strings.

Jimmy was hired and recorded the single 'Testify' with the band. A tour immediately followed and Jimmy found himself playing before stadium-sized audiences. On a tour back to his hometown of Seattle, Jimmy missed the bus back to New York and also had his guitar stolen. Once back in New York, he purchased his first Fender guitar, a Duosonic, from Manny's Music on 48th Street.

Quitting the band in 1964 -- Jimmy felt the Isley's had too many rules, especially when it came to dressing and choreographed dance routines -- he found himself drifting once again. Changing his stage name to Maurice James (!), Jimmy eventually found himself in Little Richard's backing band.

Jimmy soon realized that he had stepped into another regimented musical outfit, worse than his experience in The Isley Brothers.
Little Richard was a star, and he did not like to be outshone, let alone by his own sideman. Jimmy's flamboyance onstage, coupled with his wild hair and colorful dress-sense made for an uncomfortable situation in the Richard camp.

While on a break from Little Richard, Jimmy did some gigs with Ike and Tina Turner. Ike too saw that Jimmy was stealing the show and dropped him. By this time Jimmy had also been fired from his gig with Little Richard.

Arriving back in New York, Jimmy wrote this piece of prose:

I was just a little square
Like the cat with unconked hair
Now I'm hip to the chicks
And far from a drip
The cats on the square
Call me Joe Ad-Lib

Joe Ad-lib, it would seem, would be discovered while playing to an empty house at the Cafe Wha? in Greenwich Village by the ex-bassist for The Animals, Chas Chandler. Chandler had just just gone into the management business and was looking for new talent to boost his music management portfolio. Signing on Jimmy, Chas brought him to England on 24th September 1966.

With only a Fender Stratocaster and a change of clothes, Jimmy descended on London's bustling music scene. In a very short time, Jimmy's name became a buzzword, and rock's royalty -- Eric Clapton, Paul McCartney, Mick Jagger, Brian Jones, Pete Townshend and Jeff Beck -- had been won over and become ardent, although sometimes begrudging admirers.

Chandler's business associate, Mike Jeffery, recruited guitarist Noel Redding to play bass in Jimmy's fledgling trio. Georgie Fame and The Blue Flames had just broken up and their drummer Mitch Mitchell was also invited to audition.

When Jimmy came to London he had reverted to this real surname. It was Chandler's idea to change the spelling of his first name to Jimi to make it unique and memorable.

With the trio of Jimi Hendrix, Mitch Mitchell and Noel Redding, the Jimi Hendrix Experience was born.
Happy Birthday Jimi. In one short lifetime, you taught us several lifetimes of lessons.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Guitar Lesson -- String Muting 101

I just received an email from one of my former guitar students, Guru, who is presently serving as First Engineer on the ship M.T Torm Tevere that is presently somewhere between the North and Baltic Seas!

Dear sir,

Hope this one finds you in good health and spirits. I write to you in total distress I confess. I just can't get a hang of my new guitar. Any string I bend to the full, it gives massive feedback when I let it go.
I hope you can imagine what I'm talking.

Say I bend the B string at the fifteenth fret, the G string gives out a feedback at the slightest of touch and I've found it impossible to mute the adjacent strings. I have this problem even when I strum a single note on any higher string and then move on to some other string for the next note.

In a nutshell.. I get feedback on every string when i release it after strumming a note. I don't really know what's causing this problem. I never seemed to have it on my Les Paul and I can't imagine my technique could be so flawed overnight.

This guitar by the way.. it's a Cort EVL-X5, paid around 800S dollars in India. Has EMG HZs(passive) on bridge and neck and a single coil EMG in the middle. It has coil tap and the works.. but I feel the volume and tone knobs are placed in a hopeless position. It comes right in front of the picking hand.. has taken a while to get over the tendency to roll back the
volume knob as I played along. That problem has been sorted out.. but I'm just too stressed out with this new thing that has crept up into my playing.

I'd be so grateful if you could help me out of this. I understand it's hard over email.. yet I know you can find a way around that. Am willing to call if you have the time.. say around ten days from now.

Rest is all fine. Spending my days in total darkness these days.. as it's
winter here in the North and Baltic Sea. I miss Singapore weather I tell
you. I now know why there are so many songs written over sunshine. Hope to
hear from you soon.
First Engineer
M.T.Torm Tevere.

Without watching him play, I sussed out that Guru was having a problem with string muting -- a problem that has been brought to the fore with the sensitivity and high-output of his new EMG-equipped Cort guitar.

This was my reply to him:

Hi Guru,

Good to hear from you!

First off, if your guitar is feeding back like crazy, your gain is probably too high.

As far as muting -- which is very important in keeping the strings you are not playing quiet, especially for soloing or single-note playing -- using a combination of left hand and right hand muting is an absolute must. At high-gain/high volume levels, muting becomes absolutely critical to ward off extraneous string noise and feedback.

Think of using the left hand index finger as a general mute.

If you're playing any note on the sixth string (low E) your first finger should be resting on and muting strings 1 to 5. When playing string 5, the side of the index finger mutes strings 1 to 4 and the tip of the index finger mutes string 6.

Note that when playing strings 4 to 1, right-hand palm-muting comes into play.

So when playing string 4 for example, the side of the left index mutes strings 1, 2 and 3, the index tip mutes string 5 and the palm of the right hand mutes string 6!

In short when playing string 6 use the side of the left hand index for muting. When playing string 5, use the tip of left hand index for muting string 6 and the side for muting strings 4 to 1. When playing strings 4, 3, 2 and 1, right hand palm muting comes into play to stop the low open strings from ringing and adding noise and generating unwanted feedback.

Apply the same muting procedure for the remaining higher strings.

It's good to practice at feedback inducing levels because this will train your hands to mute strings efficiently. I used to practice in the kitchen of my old house in the early 80s at very high volumes everyday after school, while wrestling with the exact same problem you talk about. Somehow, after a while your hands will just know what to do and you won't even think about it anymore, and string muting will have become second nature.

Hope this helps and take care out there my friend! 
Clinton The complete home study jazz guitar course

Bob Moog Foundation eBay Auction

The Bob Moog Foundation will be auctioning Moog Guitar serial #005 on eBay from 7th December til 17th December.

According to Michelle Moog-Koussa, the foundation's Executive Director, “The Bob Moog Foundation is deeply grateful for the support of Lou Reed and Moog Music. The funds raised from this auction will be of great assistance in expanding our Student Outreach Program, the program in which we bring Moog instruments in to the schools and teach children the science behind the sounds of electronic music. This program, even in its infant stages, has opened children’s minds and engaged their spirits to explore the extensive sonic possibilities that Moog instruments offer.”

Donated by Moog Music Inc. this particular instrument has been signed by Lou Reed and was played by him on the David Letterman Show in 2008. Reed's control labels are still attached.

(Pic source and quote from

Check Out More Moog Instruments Here!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Gibson Les Paul BFG Zakk Wylde And Gary Moore Models

Perusing I noticed that the company is producing BFG versions of a couple of their artist models, namely the Zakk Wylde and Gary Moore Les Paul BFG's.

The original BFG's were stripped down Les Pauls -- no fingerboard inlays, chambered bodies, unsanded carved tops that showed a patina of tooling marks, a killswitch where the 3-way pickup selector would be, mildly 'distressed' hardware, and volume and tone knobs milled from hardwood. The satin nitrocellulose finish was as thin as could be, allowing the grain of the wood to be felt throughout the instrument.

The pickup choice for the BFG model was just as unusual -- a P90 in the neck position and a Burstbucker 3 in the bridge. Oddly enough, this combination works.
I find that I have to dial in a compromised amp setting with traditional dual humbucker-equipped Les Pauls -- get a good tone on the humbucking neck pickup and the bridge pickup sounds too bright. Get a good tone on the bridge and the neck sounds too muddy. It can be a real juggling act.
With the P90 at the neck there is less of that woofy neck pickup tone. And the slight sparkle from the single-coil P90 balances nicely with the bridge pickup so there's less of a culture shock when toggling between the two pickups. The only difference is a volume drop in the neck position.

I own one of these in a 'goldtop' finish. It's a raunchy sounding guitar.

And there is a spot on the top where I rest my picking hand that has worn away revealing a surprisingly flamey grain underneath. Hmm..

The Zakk Wylde Les Paul BFG features the same rough-hewn carved top as the original but with an ebony fingerboard with acrylic inlays, chrome hardware, EMG pickups and the standard Les Paul array of controls and available with either the Buzzsaw or Bullseye graphic. Yowza!

The Gary Moore Les Paul BFG is almost exactly the same as the original BFG's except for chrome hardware, a Lemon Burst finish, signature trussrod cover and an odd mismatched combination of Gibson 'top hat' knobs for the volume and tone.

Check out the very reasonably priced Gibson Gary Moore Les Paul BFG on Amazon here!

(Pic Source:

1960 Gibson Les Paul Standard on eBay

Here's another vintage beauty put up by Norman's Rare Guitars on eBay. (Item#: 180433734696)

This 1960 cherry sunburst Gibson Les Paul comes with all hang-tags and paperwork intact and in dead-mint condition. The guitar appears to be in pretty good shape too!

The nitrocellulose finish appears unmarked and pristine -- except for a little finish wear on the top edge of the back of the headstock, there appear to be no finish checks, belt-buckle rash or other wear spots from looking at the pics.

And the red pigment in the sunburst paint-job hasn't faded at all. This guitar has probably not seen much light of day in its 49 years -- a closet classic in the truest sense of the phrase.

This guitar doesn't come cheap. And that's an understatement considering the Buy It Now price of $325,000.

But this could be one of the most sound investments one could make, if this Guitar Trader ad from 1979 is anything to go by.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Arlen Roth's Guitar Lessons At

Born 30th October 1952, Arlen Roth grew up in New York's Bronx district. The son of famed New Yorker magazine cartoonist Al Ross, Roth took an early interest in the blues guitar stylings of BB King, Buddy Guy and Otis Rush.

Attending the High School of Music and Art as an art and photography student, Roth was soon gigging locally. In 1971 he moved to Woodstock and started playing with John Sebastian and Paul Butterfield.
It was Butterfield who immediately noticed a stark similarity in Roth's playing style with that of Mike Bloomfield, his former guitar-playing partner in the Paul Butterfield Blues Band.
In the mid-70's Roth was active in the New York session scene and toured with Art Garfunkel and Phoebe Snow. Roth made enough of an impression on Garfunkel to be invited to join the Simon & Garfunkel reunion tour in 1983.

Perhaps one of Arlen's more unusual gigs was as guitar coach for actor Ralph Macchio for the 1985 film Crossroads, where he helped Macchio to convincingly mime his guitar parts for the movie.

But Roth's greatest claim to fame has got to be his groundbreaking Hot Licks series of instructional tapes.

What started out originally as a series of Roth's own lessons on cassette tape in 1981, the Hot Licks catalog soon grew to include players the caliber of Albert Collins, Steve Morse, Tal Farlow and John Entwistle.
Check out the tres cool National 'map-shaped' guitar Arlen is holding in this early Hot Licks ad from 1981!

Soon Hot Licks was producing lessons on videotape, allowing mere guitar mortals a peek at the genius and dexterity of players like Joe Pass, Eric Johnson and Vinnie Moore. Hot Licks single-handedly spawned the instructional video industry that fluorishes to this day.
Arlen contributes a Lesson Of The Day column at Gibson's website here:

He also maintains a blog at Gibson's website which you can read here:
(Arlen Roth with Gold Top Les Paul Pic Source:

Check Out More Hot Licks DVDs Here! The complete home study jazz guitar course

Friday, November 20, 2009

StageTrix Pedal Fasteners -- Why Didn't I Think Of That? #4

A high quality hook-and-loop fastener, StageTrix' Pedal Fasteners are designed to precisely fit the ubiquitous Boss pedals, as well as pedals in the Ibanez and Maxon range with a similar footprint.

A nice feature is that the rectangular center of the Pedal Fastener can be easily detached to preserve the specification sticker should you choose to affix it to a valuable pedal, like a vintage TS808 Tubescreamer. From my experience, this is more than enough hook-and-loop to solidly attach a pedal to a pedalboard.

And if you have to leave your pedalboard in the trunk of your car all day, the industrial-strength adhesive backing is guaranteed not to turn into a gooey mess up to temperatures of 200 F.

I covered another innovative StageTrix product -- Pedal Risers -- in an earlier article here:

Now I wonder if StageTrix has any pedalboards in the works..

(Pic from

Crystal Frets Vs. GlassTones -- Part 2

The Crystal Frets/GlassTones debate continues in the comments section here:

Parental Guidance Advised!

Back From Bali!

I'm back and it's good to be home!

I didn't find much by way of guitar stuff. Bali is pretty much about sightseeing, food, beaches, surfing, partying and more food.

And the scenery was breathtaking!
Sometimes it's good to get away from the guitar for a bit, commune with Nature and connect with the Universe.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Bali Guitar Finds Part 1

Ok, maybe the title of this post is a little misleading.

Day Two of my trip to Bali and the only real guitars I've found so far are the ones at the Hard Rock Cafe. And the celebrity guitars on display are showing some unusual aging.
Hard Rock Bali is across the road from Kuta Beach and the ocean. And everytime the door swings open, a gust of salt sea air swarms in, corroding every metal object in its path. Not so good for the guitars.

But Hard Rock Bali has got to have one of the most imaginative centerpiece mural displays.
And it's interesting that the 'guitar player in the clouds' is a lefty. And judging from the hollowbody axe and the minor9-looking voicing, a jazzer as well. Hmm..

The second pic gives us an idea of the scale of the giant guitar
and the mural it's superimposed against.

And I also found a tiny shop selling the biggest collection of miniature guitars I've seen so far. Including some models I've not seen before.
This is Mini Guitar Central!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Guitar Column Is Off To Bali!

I'm off for a vacation to Bali from Sunday 15th November 'til Thursday 19th November.

The hotel where I'm staying at is supposed to have internet access but in case they don't, hang in there, dear readers! You're important to me.

I'll be checking out the local scene looking out for:

  • A Balinese guitar wunderkind
  • An incredible deal on a '62 Strat or a '59 Les Paul (one can only dream!)
  • A local guitar builder
  • A local amp builder
  • Vintage guitar accessories
  • Any newsworthy guitar stuff to report

Stay tuned!

Friday, November 13, 2009

PAF Pickups Owned By Mike Landau on eBay

Here are a pair of PAF's owned by Mike Landau. (Item #: 200404684665)

L.A. Vintage Gear has been auctioning a lot of stuff for Landau recently and according to them these are from his "extensive pickup stash". The original covers and black Patent Applied For stickers are still intact.

Gibson applied for a patent on their humbucking pickups on 22nd June 1955 and were awarded the patent only on 28th July 1959.

But interestingly, from 1957 to 1962 Gibson stickered every pickup with a Patent Applied For label. It was only after '62 that the patent number started appearing.

One of the pickups in this matched set was rewound by John Suhr -- probably due to a broken coil -- while the other remains stock. L.A. Vintage Gear has taken this mod into consideration and shaved a fair bit off their Buy It Now price.

You can hear these pickups in action in the Michelle Branch clip below. Mike's rhythm tones are amazing -- gutsy and with tons of attitude. You can't put a sticker or a Buy It Now on that:

Mike Landau's Session Work On YouTube

Here are a couple of clips of session maestro Mike Landau in the studio. That tone, that vibrato, those Tylers!

In the first clip he plays a beautiful wah-inflected solo. I love the way he just nails those changes starting at 0:16!

In the second clip we see Landau using some of his 'mystery' voicings -- he seems to favor rootless chords, sus4's, add9's and the occasional superimposed triad -- processed through a rackmounted Dyno-My-Piano Tri-Stereo Chorus. Or a cheap Arion SCH-1 Chorus pedal, depending on the era in question. Based on Mike's hair my bet is on the Tri-Stereo here. Check out the spicy volume swells.

In the third clip Mike places an Ibanez TS808 Tubescreamer at the front of his signal chain for a touch of extra gain, but decides to turn it off before he starts tracking. His sound through the Bogner amp (?) is positively huge, with a tad of harmonizer to fatten up the sound. He fluffs the descending line at 2:47 -- twice -- but what the hey, they'll fix it in ProTools.

James Taylor's live-in-the-studio Squibnocket DVD features Mike's playing extensively.

Check Out Mike Landau CDs Here!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Ibanez 2670 Artwood Twin Reissue on eBay

This is one gorgeous instrument. (Item #: 110433904762)

A slightly less ornate version of the Rex Bogue Double Rainbow that was built for John McLaughlin, the Ibanez 2670 Artwood Twin came out around 1975 and was available only on special order. This was a top-notch, no-expense-spared instrument.

Reissued in 2006, the Artwood Twin was faithfully recreated from the original blueprints by the same luthiers who built the early models. The only specification changed was that Ibanez replaced the original Super 70 pickups with Super 58's on the reissue.
Interestingly, the Tree of Life mother-of-pearl inlay on the 2670, adapted and simplified from Rex Bogue's original intricate design on the Double Rainbow, is still used by Ibanez today on their Steve Vai signature and higher-end Prestige models.

A layout of the controls and the various switching possibilities on the 2670 is shown in the diagram below. Again the 2670's controls nearly duplicate Bogue's original design sans built-in preamp.

The complete home study jazz guitar course

Monday, November 9, 2009

Birthday Salute -- Susan Tedeschi

Born 9th November 1970, Susan Tedeschi received her blues calling in her early 20's after listening to T-Bone Walker, Clarence Gatemouth Brown, BB King, Otis Rush and Muddy Waters.

After graduating from Berklee College of Music in 1991 with a degree in music composition and performance, Tedeschi bought a Fender American Standard Telecaster and took a few slide guitar lessons from a local blues guitarist.

Forming the Susan Tedeschi Band, her debut recording Better Days was released in 1995.

Her critically acclaimed 1998 album Just Won't Burn won Tedeschi a Grammy nomination for Best New Artist, the first of several nominations that were to follow in the coming years.

In 2001 Tedeschi married slide guitar virtuoso Derek Trucks.

In this Austin City Limits clip from 17th June 2003, Tedeschi is backed by a band that included drummer Jeff Sipe aka Apt.Q258, best known for his recorded work with the late progressive fusion guitarist Shawn Lane.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Birthday Salute -- Bonnie Raitt

Born 8th November 1949, Bonnie Raitt is the quintessential female blues guitarist of her generation. Daughter of leading Broadway actor John Raitt, of Oklahoma and Carousel fame, Bonnie picked up the guitar at age 10. Folk music dominated the airwaves and she was soon playing the songs of Pete Seeger, Peter, Paul and Mary and The Kingston Trio on her Stella acoustic.

At age 14, Bonnie experienced a radical shift in her musical tastes when she heard Blues At Newport '63 featuring John Lee Hooker and Mississippi John Hurt, which led her to explore blues and slide guitar.

Attending Harvard/Radcliffe college in Massachussetts in the late-60's, Bonnie started playing the blues in the local coffeehouses. After creating a buzz on the Cambridge coffeehouse circuit, it was a chance meeting with blues promoter and manager Dick Waterman that led Bonnie to the next level of her career.

It was through Waterman also that she had the chance to hang out and learn from iconic bluesmen such as Son House, John Hurt, Otis Rush, Junior Wells, Luther Allison and Buddy Guy.

In this clip, from 1996's Tribute to Stevie Ray Vaughan, Bonnie really lays it down with some mean slide guitar, backed by the Stevie Ray rhythm section of Tommy Shannon and Chris Layton.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Jim Tyler's New Blog at Tyler Guitars Website

I just looked in on the Tyler Guitars website and was pleasantly surprised to see that Jim Tyler has started a blog.

And there are some major changes happening at the house of Tyler.

First off, he's announced that the Tyler Classic is being discontinued and that he is also thinking "long and hard about the Studio Elites."
The legion of Tyler fans out there will be staring at their computer screens in disbelief, with mouths hanging open, once they read this.

Of course it is all speculation at this point. But Jim's indication that he wants to get away from building super-strats just about gives us a good hint at the new direction he wants to take in the near future.

And here are a couple of glimpses at the Tyler set-neck prototypes.
Now if we could just get a sneak peek at the new headstock under that blue masking tape..

Friday, November 6, 2009

Henry Padovani -- The Secret Policeman

Originally from Corsica, Henry Padovani came to London in the mid-70's looking to make a name for himself in the burgeoning punk-rock scene.

In 1977, after auditioning with future members of Culture Club and getting the gig, he turned the band down in favor of Stewart Copeland's offer to form a power trio with a singer-songwriter-bass player from Newcastle by the name of Gordon Sumner aka Sting.
After Copeland wore a policeman's jacket at the band's first photoshoot, the band decided to call themselves The Police.

After a year, the struggling band recruited guitarist Andy Summers and The Police became a 4-piece group. The fateful decision to drop Padovani from the band came shortly after Summer's joining.

The rest, as they say, is history.

And it was a rare treat to watch Henry Padovani tonight at The Crazy Elephant.

Performing a solo set for almost an hour and a half with just a guitar and his soulful, gravelly voice, Henry took us on an extremely personal musical journey, singing in English and French, with a repertoire that covered everything from T. Rex to Nick Cave to Edith Piaf.

Alternating between a Gibson acoustic guitar (tuned D,G,D,G,B,D) and a cherry-red Gibson ES335 through a delicate tremelo effect, Padovani proved himself to be a very capable guitarist, playing blues-tinged solos as he accompanied himself on the bass strings.

Touring in support of a film documenting his time with The Police, "Rock n' Roll... of Corse!", Padovani is nothing but grateful for being part of London's scene in the late 70's -- "It was a great time!", he told me with a wide smile.

Now living in Paris, Henry plays frequently in London with his band The Flying Padovani's, performing what he describes as 'Link Wray-type stuff'.

So how does a self-professed punk-rocker reconcile himself to singing ballads with an acoustic guitar? "You know, these are great songs. Sometimes when I play them, I go somewhere else. And when I come back down to earth, I go "where the f--k am I?"

Thursday, November 5, 2009

East UK's Tone Lifter Preamp for Stratocasters

John East, best known for his acclaimed J-Retro and U-Retro line of preamps for Fender-style basses, has come up with the Tone Lifter specifically for guitars with Strat-style electronics.

The Tone Lifter is designed to drop into any Strat-style guitar without having to modify the instrument or even having to solder the unit in place. Only a stacked knob is installed where the lower tone control of a Strat would normally be, with the rest of the circuitry being concealed in the guitars control cavity.

The upper knob on the stack controls the gain for a mid-boost or a bass/treble boost, and is active when in the 'up' position.

With the system active, the upper knob's center detent gives a flat frequency response with +2.5dB of gain. This would be the same as your Strat's passive tone, only louder.

Turning the upper knob clockwise from the center detent activates the mid-boost giving 0 - 15dBs of gain. The lower concentric knob now selects the frequency of the mid-boost. Turning the upper knob anti-clockwise gives a variable boost to a bass and treble setting, with the lower knob used to dial in the combined bass and treble frequencies.

The system can also be bypassed for a pure passive signal by means of a custom electronic relay circuit and also bypasses automatically when the battery is low on power.

The Tone Lifter's internal battery is charged by plugging a specialized jack charger adaptor into the guitar's output jack and then plugging it via a connector into an AC mains socket! No more having to remove the pickguard on a Strat to change that 9-volt!

East UK builds every product from a pro audio design perspective -- John East spent a good part of his electronics career in the design teams that created the high-end Solid State Logic (SSL) and Sony Oxford mixing consoles, de facto equipment in nearly every major recording studio.

(Pic Source:


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