Sunday, February 28, 2010

Move Over Rover.. And Let Tweety Take Over!

I pity the fool who has to clean the bird crap off these guitars everyday.

This new art installation by French artist Céleste Boursier-Mougenot consists of an assortment of plugged-in electric guitars and 40 finches going about their daily business.  According to Boursier-Mougenot, "I am not using the birds, I am collaborating with them." 


But if you ask me, this exhibit would probably do better -- and sound more musical -- if the guitars were tuned to a specific open tuning.  Maybe a finch friendly DADGAD tuning or DGDGBD and their Nashville-tuning equivalents.

The exhibit is on display at The Curve, part of the Barbican Center in London, from 27 February til 23 May.

I can almost hear yells of 'Freebird' from the gallery.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Suhr Scott Henderson Prototype on eBay

According to the seller this Suhr Scott Henderson was one of six prototypes given to Henderson to try out.  (Item #: 160405557376)

All the standard Scott Henderson accoutrements are there -- Suhr 'D' shape neck profile, 6100 jumbo frets and Gotoh 1088 steel block bridge.  Pickups are Suhr's JST V60 pickups -- this was pre-Suhr Fletcher-Landau, which are Henderson's current favorite pickups. 

Interestingly the Body Option in the spec sheet indicates alder, EXTRA LIGHT. 

According to the seller also, this guitar was eventually returned by Scott to John Suhr.  And from the spec sheet it looks like it ended up in Music Loft's inventory. 

If you're bidding on this axe for the played-by-Scott Henderson factor, do the necessary research before forking over the dough!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Ibanez 2670 Artwood Twin Double-Neck Prototype | A Reader Comments

I recently received this comment on my post on John McLaughlin's Double Rainbow from reader Jeff Saginaw who claims to have owned the original Ibanez 2670 Artwood Twin prototype!

"Hi- I owned the prototype of the Ibanez McLaughlin double neck. It was purchased by Hollowood Music in McKees Rocks, Pa at the Dallas, Tx Namm Show and flown back to Pittsburgh wrapped in a blanket in it's own seat on the plane since there was no case built yet.

I sold it many years ago when I was in Chicago and the owner will see that if he unscrews the pickups on the lead neck he will find 2 PAF's I installed from my 58 Les Paul Custom. I put DiMarzio Super Distortion pickups in the neck and bridge of the 58 (who knew) and put the PAF's in the double neck since the original pickups were (well) less than PAF's so to speak.

It was an ok playing guitar and did a few trips to Bermuda and the UK with me. It was really heavy! I bought a wide hand tooled leather/sheepskin backed strap to hold it that was later stolen in Puerto Rico. I'm Jeff Saginaw--ask anybody in Pittsburgh or Chicago about or call me."

Thanks for that slice of history Jeff!  That was pretty informative!

Here's a link to a reissue Ibanez 2670 Artwood Twin recently found on eBay.  A little less ornate than the original but still breathtaking nonetheless.

Friday, February 19, 2010

RIP Taku Sakashta of Sakashta Guitars

A piece of shockingly bad news.

Taku Sakashta, 43, of Sakashta Guitars was found slain with multiple stab wounds near his workshop at Rohnert Park, CA on February 12th. 

Sakashta, a Japanese native, was known for his exquisitely hand-crafted guitars and custom-wound pickups.  Robben Ford, most notably, has been using a black Sakashta 'Noupaul' extensively and featured the instrument on the cover of his 2007 Truth album.

Bill Krinard of Two-Rock Amplification, Sakashta's neighbour in Rohnert Park said, "The whole world will suffer a little bit.  Definitely some of the finest guitars in the world."

Police have arrested a suspect in connection with the killing.

(Story :

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Tyler Psychedelic Vomit #5 On eBay!

Here's a rare axe sure to make any Tyler guitar fan reach subconsciously for his pocketbook.

This is an early Tyler Psychedelic Vomit #5, signed by Mike Landau.  (eBay Item #: 320488572980)

As the seller points out, the early Psychedelic Vomit's had a 'cloud-like' vibe to the color swirls in the finish.  And this one looks very similar, finish-wise, to Psychedelic Vomit #1 which I had the chance to check out when I visited Jim Tyler's shop in 2000.  The more recent PV's have swirl patterns with more defined edges.

As per Landau's specs at the time, this guitar features a Mamywo body (Tyler-speak for Malaysian Mystery Wood), maple neck with maple fingerboard and a 'block-saddle' Wilkinson VS100 tremelo bridge.

The electronics are pretty straightforward -- two Seymour Duncan Classic Stack pickups in the front and middle positions and a Seymour Duncan Hot Rails at the bridge with a standard 5-way selector switch.  On later editions, Jim Tyler went with custom-wound Seymour Duncan Little '59 stacked single-coil-sized humbuckers in the bridge position.

We'll probably not see another one of these early Tyler guitars for a very long time!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Dunlop Billy Gibbons Custom String Set

Dunlop will soon be launching a Billy Gibbons Signature Series string set as part of the new 'Rev. Willy's Mexican Lottery Brand' line. 

Or is that 'lineup', pardner? 

As is his preference, Billy's custom gauge set will include a very skinny .007" gauge first string. 

I'm guessing Billy needs his strings to really give under the attack of that Mexican peso he customarily uses for a pick. 

Other than Billy's own ultra-light custom gauge set, Rev. Willy's Mexican Lottery sets will also be available in regular gauges.

¿de dónde parque i mi mula?

GraphitALL Guitar Lube by Rene Martinez

Rene Martinez is a star guitar tech in the League-of-extraordinary-gentlemen-who-crouch-behind-amplifiers-waiting-for-the-next-onstage-guitar-emergency. 

And no wonder.  After a long tenure with Stevie Ray Vaughan, his credentials as guitar tech run the gamut from Mick JonesPrince, Carlos Santana, Jimmie Vaughan and, most recently, John Mayer

So when Rene Martinez tries to sell me a product, I'll listen.  Heck, I'll even buy it.

Rene Martinez' GraphitALL is a graphite-based guitar nut lube that prevents the strings from hanging up at that critical area and going out of tune.  I also use a little of it at the string-to-bridge-saddle contact point on all my guitars, and occasionally, around the six trem screws on my Fender Strat for a little extra insurance. 

Another good thing about GraphitALL is that it is white.  So if you've been running black 2B pencils over nut slots for the graphite, GraphitALL leaves no black stains on otherwise white bone nuts.  Good stuff.

Check out Rene Martinez' blog at: where he also gives a video demonstration of how best to apply GraphitALL.

Warwick Thumb Bass SC | Single Cut-Away

For your perusal, this is the new Warwick Thumb Bass SC, Single Cut-Away.

Every once in a while, a new bass catches my attention and which I just have to feature here on The Guitar Column.  Okay, this is actually the first bass I'm featuring on TGC, but who's keeping track, right?  Let it be the first of many firsts..

The original groundbreaking small-bodied Warwick Thumb bass has been around since the mid-80's and has won its share of players and fans.  Its clear, hi-fidelity tone, active electronics and use of exotic woods like African wenge and bubinga really turned the bass world on its ear.  These basses were also precisely set-up out of the factory with low action, allowing even a guitar player like myself to fake some Stanley Clarke runs with minimal effort.

But a common gripe with the original Warwick Thumb bass was that the size of the small body and close positioning of the strap buttons made reaching for that low F on the 1st fret (or low C on a 5-string) something of a stretch.  Great for players 5'10" or taller with long arms, but not so good if you were a little guy.  

On the new Warwick Thumb Bass SC, the front strap-button is moved further up to around the location of the 13th fret, which helps with the instrument's overall balance and solves the stretching dilemma mentioned earlier. 

Oh yeah, and no surprise that all that extra wood attached to so much neck area is a great tone and sustain enhancer as well.  If you ask me, the Warwick Thumb SC actually bears a striking resemblance to Fodera's design.  Hope we won't be looking at another Gibson guitars vs PRS Single-Cut debacle.

The neck-through Thumb SC comes with Warwick's proprietary height-adjustable nut, 2-piece bridge, passive MEC pickups and active electronics, flame maple neck, tiger-stripe ebony fingerboard, American swamp ash body and a Bubinga Pommelé top.  The Warwick Thumb Bass SC is also available in fretless and 6-string versions. 

See for more details.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Budda Amplification's MN100 Amp Head | Custom Italian Leatherwork

The new MN100 three-channel tube amp head by Budda Amplification promises boutique Budda tones with a boutique appearance to 'boot'. 

Featuring 100-watts of all-tube power, separate channels for Clean, Rhythm and Lead, user interchangeable 6L6GC or EL34 power tubes for true Fender or Marshall tones, and Resonance, Presence and Reverb controls on each channel.  A revolutionary built-in PowerPan rectifier control knob allows the player to dial in any ratio of full-tube to diode rectification allowing the very character and feel of the amp to be tweaked, anywhere from 'spongy' to 'hard'.  A versatile beast!

Budda Amplification also appointed shoe and boot-designer Mark Nason to create custom leatherwork for the MN100 head and MN412 4x12 speaker cabinet!

Now, is it just me or does the fit of the leather around the MN100 head and cabinets look a little loose?

(More details here:

Joe Satriani Talks About Experience Hendrix 2010, New Live DVD and Chickenfoot

In the first segment of this interview, our favorite alien Joe Satriani talks about how the various artists on the Experience Hendrix roster are selected to perform together and also mentions that his 'back-up band' for Experience Hendrix 2010 will be none other than Living Colour!   Joe Satriani going toe-to-toe with Living Colour's Vernon Reid will be an awesome spectacle indeed!

Satch also talks about his new DVD 'Live In Paris', songwriting with Sammy Hagar and future plans to record new demos with Chickenfoot

Talk about having his work cut out for him!

Experience Hendrix 2010 Tour Dates Announced

The Experience Hendrix 2010 tour is set to kick-off in March with an all-star lineup including Joe Satriani, Jonny Lang, Eric Johnson, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Brad Whitford, Doyle Bramhall II, Ernie Isley, Living Colour, Double Trouble's Chris Layton, Billy Cox, Sacred Steel featuring Robert Randolph, Susan Tedeschi and David Hidalgo and Cesar Rosas of Los Lobos.

The following tour dates and venues have been announced with some already sold out!:
  • March 4th - Arlington Theater - Santa Barbara, CA
  • March 5th - Gibson Amphitheatre - Universal City, CA
  • March 6th - The Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel - Las Vegas, NV
  • March 7th - Ikeda Theater - Mesa, AZ
  • March 9th - Table Mountain Casino - Friant, CA -- SOLD OUT
  • March 10th - Warfield Theatre - San Francisco, CA
  • March 11th - Warfield Theatre - San Francisco, CA
  • March 12th - Silver Legacy - Reno, NV
  • March 14th - Paramount Theater - Denver, CO
  • March 15th - Stiefel Theatre For Performing Arts - Salina, KS
  • March 16th - Uptown Theater - Kansas City, MO
  • March 17th- Orpheum Theatre - Minneapolis, MN
  • March 18th - Chicago Theatre - Chicago, IL
  • March 20th - The Fox Theatre - ST Louis, MO
  • March 21st - Riverside Theatre - Milwaukee, WI -- SOLD OUT
  • March 23rd - Civic Theatre - Akron, OH
  • March 24th - Wellmont Theatre - Montclair, NJ
  • March 25th - Count Basie Theatre - Red Bank, NJ --  SOLD OUT
  • March 27th - The Fox Theatre - Atlanta, GA
  • March 28th - Durham Performing Arts Center - Durham, NC
Check out for more details and artist performance roster.

What Six Real Guitar Heroes Have To Say About Guitar Hero The Game

With the debate going on about the educational merits, or lack thereof, of Guitar Hero, here's what six of our real guitar heroes have to say:

Jimmy Page:
"Obviously, there have been overtures made to Led Zeppelin, but if you start with the first track on the first album, Good Times Bad Times, and you think of the drum part that John Bonham did there -- how many drummers in the world can actually play that, let alone dabble on a Christmas morning?  There could be a lot of alcohol consumed over Christmas, and you still aren't going to get it."

Yngwie Malmsteen:
"I actually think it's a good thing. I do. I think because it introduces kids to music. I was sitting in the airport in Miami, I don't know, a couple of months ago. We were flying somewhere, and me and my drummer and my bass player or somebody, probably my singer too, we were sitting at this restaurant waiting and this little kid, he couldn't have been more than eight or nine years old, and he looks up at us and goes, 'Hey, are you guys in a band?, We go, 'yeah.' 'I want to be in a band!' And this was so cool because a few years ago that wouldn't be happening. Plus, I see in the audience when I play now, every night there's very, very young kids. This is a great thing."

Carlos Santana:
"If you're going to spend that much time and energy, get yourself a real guitar.  I'm not into virtual anything, if it's not the real thing."

Steve Vai:
"Now I can jam with people in the comfort of their own plastic!"

Joe Satriani:
"I've stood at the end of the aisle at Best Buy and watched eight-year-old kids completely dominate the game, but I haven't played. A couple of my songs are featured on the games, so they've sent me the console. But I've never opened the box. I don't think it would be any fun for me -- there are only three or four buttons. Plus I seriously thought I'd mess up my head. One night onstage, I'd be looking for the green and yellow buttons and it would just be strings and frets and I'd be confused."

Jeff Beck:
"Who wants to be in a kid’s game, like a toy shop?  There’s just this mad avalanche of material that’s available, so it’s so hard for aspiring young players to find where they should go (and) not be enslaved to yet another tool or device."

Thanks to Stratoblogster's Jeff Beck article for inspiring this one!

Friday, February 12, 2010

John Denver's Ovation Adamas 12-String On eBay!

Here's an eBay listing for John Denver's Ovation Adamas 12-String (Item #:  110489680149)

According to the seller, this Ovation Adamas guitar was used by John Denver from 1979 to 1983 on records, world tours and television appearances.   

This is an early Adamas 1 model.  Introduced in 1976, the Adamas was produced by the Kaman Corporation as a flagship model to their popular Ovation range and was the first acoustic guitar to be produced with a carbon-fiber and birch veneer composite top.

Charles Kaman also owned Kaman Aerospace which was producing, among other things, helicopter rotor blades.  And it was Charles who was inspired to incorporate carbon-fiber aerospace technology into a musical instrument for the first time.  Good enough for helicopters, good enough for guitars.  

And in his own quiet way, John Denver inspired a whole generation of guitar pickers. And even if you didn't dig his stuff, you were at least aware of it -- Denver was a huge star who was all over the airwaves in the '70's.  Chances are that it was this particular Ovation Adamas you were listening to.

But don't take my word for it -- do the necessary research before plonking down the moola!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Medeski, Martin and Wood To Headline Bonnaroo Music Festival 2010

More music festival news.

Medeski, Martin and Wood are slated to be one of the headliners for the coming Bonnaroo Music Festival to take place June 10th to 13th in Manchester, Tennessee.

I first became aware of Medeski, Martin and Wood through the album they recorded with John Scofield, A Go Go, in 1998.  I'd always been a Sco' fan but A Go Go really put his playing into perspective for me.  And the support from the organ, drums and bass trio of MMW was nothing short of refreshing.  Earth, funky and totally analog.  (Thanks for the CD and for hipping me to these guys, Stu!)

Plus the static chord vamps made it a great way to cop some Scofield licks, especially his more outside lines. 

In this vid, John Scofield and Medeski, Martin and Wood perform the title track to A Go Go. Skip ahead to get past the concert impresario's spiel to where the music starts at 1:25.  Scofield makes interesting use of the Whammy pedal for the organ-like octave jumps which he intersperses into his double-stop lines at 3:58 to 4:07. 

Go to for more festival details.

Rock On The Range 2010 Lineup To Include Slash

This year's Rock On The Range will take place on May 22nd and May 23rd at Columbus Crew Stadium in Columbus, Ohio and promises to be bigger than ever.  The fourth year of the annual festival, this year also marks the debut of Slash at Rock On The Range.  Fans can expect the top-hatted one to play some new material from his upcoming solo album.

Here's this year's Artist Lineup:

  • Godsmack
  • Rob Zombie
  • Three Days Grace
  • Limp Bizkit
  • Rise Against
  • Seether
  • Slash
  • Deftones
  • Papa Roach
  • Five Finger Death Punch
  • Coheed and Cambria
  • Bullet For My Valentine
  • Mastodon
  • Killswitch Engage
  • Theory of a Deadman
  • Puddle of Mudd
  • Sevendust
  • Drowning Pool
  • Skillet
  • Apocalyptica
  • Halestorm
  • Airbourne
  • Mushroomhead
  • Adelitas Way
  • Helmet
  • Escape the Fate
  • Cold
  • Anberlin
  • Nonpoint
  • 2cents
  • Violent Soho
  • Janus
  • Shaman's Harvest
  • Year Long Disaster
  • Taddy Porter
  • Like A Storm
  • Noise Auction

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Jackson Custom Shop Steve Vai 'Crossroads' Replica Guitar On eBay!

If, like me, your first visual introduction to Steve Vai was in his role as the Devil's guitarist in the movie Crossroads from way back in 1986, then this Jackson guitar will surely bring back fond memories.  (eBay Item#: 290399667260)

A replica of the axe that Vai shredded, teased and strangled in the movie in a 'guitar duel' with the hapless Ralph Macchio, this Jackson guitar is apparently a one-off made in the US Jackson Custom Shop.

According to the seller, this particular axe features an oil-finished early-80s style Charvel neck (read: wide and flat but not too skinny at the back) with a compound radius fingerboard with rolled edges, ash body, Seymour Duncan JB and '59 humbuckers and a Floyd Rose trem.  All topped off with a stunning Candy Apple Sparkle finish. 

Is it time to air out those leather pants or what!

Now I've sworn off Floyd Rose bridges for the last 15 years but this Crossroads-inspired Jackson Custom Shop has piqued my interest in a locking-bridge axe again.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Steel Inserts For Bolt-On Necks On eBay

Steel inserts for bolt-on necks are not a new idea, but they serve their purpose nonetheless.  (eBay Item #: 220544764793)

The Fender Japan Yngwie Malmsteen Stratocaster features steel inserts in the neck as a stock feature on the high-end model. And virtuoso country guitarist Jerry Donahue has used these to faciltiate repeated dismantling of his Telecaster as he packs the neck and body in between clothing in his luggage, which he reckons is a safer way to check-in his guitar. 

Finally, these steel inserts are available as an after-market item.  And with airlines really clamping down with even more limitations on carrying-on your prized instrument , installing a set of these steel inserts would give the travelling guitarist the option to 'do like Donahue does'.

The seller claims the supplied stainless screws will not strip like conventional wood screws allowing the neck to be torqued for maximum neck to body contact and sustain.  The outer threads of the steel inserts also feature an epoxy thread-locking compound which sets immediately upon installation, ensuring that the inserts are permanently secured.

Just bear in mind that modifying that original '58 Stratocaster with steel inserts in the neck will seriously depreciate its value!

On a remotely related topic, Stratoblogster has a wickedly funny post about disembodied guitar necks that could probably benefit from these steel inserts here.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Win A Private Guitar Masterclass With Slash!

Courtesy of Ernie Ball strings, twenty guitarists will have a chance to win a private guitar masterclass with Slash, a long-time Ernie Ball endorser.

Just like the Golden Ticket in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, twenty gold guitar picks have been concealed in packs of Ernie Ball strings -- find one and you qualify for the Slash guitar masterclass, with flight ticket and hotel accomodation thrown in to sweeten the deal. 

Willy Wonka would have been proud.  I just hope that Slash doesn't off his masterclass attendees one by one like Wonka.

A total of 1,000 Ernie Ball Slinky, Coated Slinky, Classic Pure Nickel and 7-String Ernie Ball string packs have been released, each with a gold, silver, red, black or white guitar pick.  A non-gold guitar pick wins the finder anything from a custom Ernie Ball instrument, a $500 Guitar Center shopping coupon, a signed copy of Slash's soon-to-be-released  album or packs of Ernie Ball strings.  The contest will run til April 30th.

Personally I would settle for the Ernie Ball custom guitar and wait for videos of the Slash guitar masterclass to be leaked on YouTube.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Yngwie Malmsteen Custom Winds Seymour Duncan Pickup Set For Haiti Relief

Our buddy JP over at Stratoblogster found this eBay listing for a set of single-coil Seymour Duncan pickups personally wound by Yngwie Malmsteen.  (Item #: 180462593178)

After a little tutoring by shop manager Maricela Juarez over at the Seymour Duncan factory, Yngwie produced a set consisting of 6.40K ohm vintage-voiced neck and middle pickups and an overwound, hotter 9.70K ohm bridge pickup.  Yngwie also wax-potted and signed each pickup and accompanying box labels.

Proceeds from the eBay auction of these pickups will be donated to Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), the international humanitarian aid organization that is providing aid to Haiti.

Dig deep and bid high folks.  These Seymour Duncan pickups will be a meaningful, custom addition to any Strat.  Better yet if it were a double neck Yngwie Malmsteen Stratocaster!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Dunlop Fretboard 65 Ultimate Lemon Oil | Product Review

I picked up a bottle of Dunlop Fretboard 65 Ultimate Lemon Oil today.   The rosewood fretboard on my Gibson BFG was starting to look and feel a little dry.  And since I had a gig tonight I figured I'd give it a little drink.  

Fretboard 65 Ultimate Lemon Oil comes with a Dab-O-Matic applicator built into the neck of the bottle which is a nice touch.  No disintegrating paper towels. Or cloth rags of dubious origin to deal with.  No oily spills, no stained carpets, no fuss, no mess.

Contrary to the directions on the bottle, I didn't bother removing the strings.  I just rubbed the applicator onto the fretboard over the strings making sure I got a thin, even spread on the fretboard -- the applicator ensured that just the right amount of oil was dispensed.

And boy did that fingerboard drink up that lemon oil in a hurry!  The wet sheen of the oil was thoroughly absorbed within 5 minutes, leaving a dry lustre, showing off the color of the rosewood beautifully.  

I've used Old English brand Lemon Oil in the past; you'll see a bottle on almost every guitar repairman's workbench.  Old English is much greasier and my twice yearly lemon oil treatment with that stuff usually took a couple of days to dissipate.   Fretboard 65 Ultimate Lemon Oil appears to be much lighter and more fingerboard friendly.

By the way, the directions on the bottle state that this product is not for maple fretboards.  Maple fretboards are usually hard finished and can't be moisturized with oil.  And if you've ever oiled unfinished maple you'll notice that it makes the grain on the maple stand on end, making it feel slightly rough and 'hairy'.

A final word of caution:  According to noted guitar repairman Dan Erlewine, any mineral oil when soaked into paper or cloth towels can generate heat on their own and spontaneously combust after several hours!  Dispose of carefully!

And here's my review of Dunlop Ultraglide 65 String Cleaner.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Ibanez and Steve Vai Announce Design A JEM Contest

What better way to commemorate the 23rd anniversary of the Ibanez JEM guitar than with a Design A JEM contest?  To top it off, Ibanez will custom-build two guitars based on the winning design, one of which will be awarded to the winner, with the other going to Steve Vai himself.

And with sales of the JEM and Ibanez Universe approaching 77,777 units for 2010, no wonder Steve Vai is doing a happy dance in this video at 3:13.  Take it from the top, ladies. Three, four..

So what are you waiting for?  Grab that 2B pencil and a box of crayons and have at it!  See the original Ibanez JEM guitar blueprint at right for possible inspiration.

For more details about the Design A JEM Contest, go to


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