Friday, April 30, 2010

Jeff Beck's Studio Guitar Session for Jon Bon Jovi

Whoever thinks studio guitar work is easy had better check out this clip.

And as Jeff Beck will probably readily testify, it's hard work that stretches every fiber of the creative imagination.  And guitar god or not, there's really no such thing as " I'll leave the car engine running while I nip in and whip out 20 perfect seconds of pure guitar magic."

In this rare clip of Jeff Beck's guitar session for Jon Bon Jovi's song Blaze of Glory from the Young Guns II soundtrack, we see Jeff really being put through his paces.  Almost everything he plays is perfect, from a technical standpoint.  Great tone and intonation with the notes just blooming out of his Fender Stratocaster.  All the amazing Beck inflections are there.   It's enough to make a grown man weep.
Except for one thing.  It doesn't 'sit' in the track well enough.  Yet. 
Of course we've all heard the final outcome (some of us might even remember seeing the movie, but we won't go there) and marvelled at Jeff's uncanny abilities, thinking, "Bloody hell, that Jeff Beck!"  But this is the grit and determination it took to get to that point folks! 
So if you've ever found yourself in a recording situation, and after many takes plopping yourself on a seat and rolling a Drum cigarette in frustration, take heart.  It's happened to the best of them.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Duane Allman's '57 Goldtop Les Paul

I just came across this very cool site about a '57 Goldtop Les Paul, serial number 7 3312.

Originally owned by Duane Allman who played it on a number of recordings including Statesboro Blues and Layla, Allman swapped this Goldtop for a '59 'plain-top' sunburst Les Paul model in 1970.

The guitar resurfaced in 1977 when it was traded in at a music store, stripped of its goldtop to a laquered natural finish. 

It was purchased by Scot Lamar and Peter Young who saw the instrument's intrinsic value, although the fact that the guitar was owned by Duane Allman apparently did not factor into the music store's asking price!  I'm guessing they would have pretty much paid the standard going rate for late '50s goldtop Les Pauls at the time, which would probably have been anywhere upwards of $3000 or even much less, considering its delapidated condition replete with tooth marks on the headstock where it was chewed on by a previous owner's puppy!

Rightfully, the guitar was restored back to its former golden glory by Gibson finish guru Tom Murphy in the late 90's.

One of the current owners, Mike Boulware, has this to say about the instrument and its link to Duane Allman:   

"I think the reason is that, like many great players, he, as a man, came through stronger than what instrument he played, with one notable distinction... when he played slide on the Gold Top, the universe held it's breath to listen."

Apparently the owners are now selling the Duane Allman Goldtop. The asking price? A cool $1.1 million. 

Check out a detailed history of this amazing axe here:

Monday, April 26, 2010

Fender Furniture | Fender HotSeat and Stratocaster Tables!

Outfitting that newly refurbished den or basement jam room?  Think out of the IKEA box for a bit and consider these.

With designs licensed from Fender, Overkill Design LLC is producing a range of HotSeats and Fender Tables.  

The HotSeats are designed to mimic the look of a Fender combo amp in either Tweed or black Tolex. A cool feature is the strategically placed volume knob that releases the seat cushion allowing access to storage space within the HotSeat's cabinet.  Great for stashing cables, pedals and other contraband.

Measuring 13" long, 13" wide and 19" tall and weighing 22 lbs. these HotSeats would be difficult to move around were it not for the amp handles, accessible through the clever cut-out on the seat cushions. 

Overkill's Deluxe Stratocaster and Telecaster Tables are solid maple, custom tinted and lacquered for a vintage look.  Six tuning peg caps made of chrome plated steel disks are mounted flush to the table surface while the Fender logo and lettering are silk-screened and laquered over to stand up to everyday use.  Chrome-plated legs and a unique stamped serial number complete the package.

I'm totally digging that natural wood and detailed lettering.  I mean, seriously, wow..

Overkill is also producing a Standard Stratocaster Table made of a varnished wood composite with a vintage tint, silk-screened tuning peg caps and Fender lettering with silver powder-coat legs.

I've never wanted a piece of furniture so much in my life.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Steve Vai and Orianthi on American Idol!

Here's a clip from Wednesday's American Idol episode featuring Mary J Blige backed by Steve Vai and Orianthi Panagaris

Watching Vai fingerpick his way through the acoustic guitar bits of Stairway To Heaven was kind of cool in a 'ok, now we've seen everything' sort of way.  Funky half-acoustic/half-electric Ibanez doubleneck too. 

Orianthi does her own take on the classic Jimmy Page solo at 2:17-2:39, modernizing it with a barrage of pentatonic flurries.

She must have some mighty calluses from all those hammer-ons and pull-offs she does.  Anybody have a picture?

Check out Orianthi's take on Eddie Van Halen's Beat It solo

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Gibson Howard Roberts Formerly Owned by Steve Miller on eBay

Here's an early version of a Gibson Howard Roberts guitar on eBay, formerly owned by Steve Miller of Abracadabra and Fly Like An Eagle fame. 

Howard Roberts wanted an instrument he could really hear acoustically when he designed his namesake instrument, and decided on the oval soundhole instead of traditional f-holes.  In fact, the first batch of Howard Roberts guitars made by Epiphone, Gibson's sister company, were very acoustic in nature, featuring both the oval soundhole and a carved solid spruce top

According to Howard Roberts himself, these Epiphone models were "a little too expensive and a little too fragile."  The subsequent versions by Gibson, like this Steve Miller-owned piece, had bodies made entirely out of maple.

In addition to the standard volume and tone controls, a mid-range roll-off control was also standard on the Gibson Howard Roberts, but many players didn't find it useful and ended up disconnecting it from the circuit.
I thought it was pretty cool that Gibson decided to retain the elaborate Epiphone-style pearl inlay on the Gibson Howard Roberts headstocks -- there's some fine, old-world craftsmanship for you! 

This guitar comes with documentation from Guitar Showcase in San Jose stating it was consigned from Steve Miller's collection as well as a purchase receipt from the Gibson factory indicating that it was made for Miller.

eBay Item number: 120559295205 The complete home study jazz guitar course

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Bo Diddley-Owned 100w Marshall Super Bass Amp on eBay

According to the owner this Marshall Super Bass amp was owned by Bo Diddley and was last gigged in 2001 before it was sold to a music store, Mancini Music, GA.

This red 100w Super Bass head and 4 x 12 slant cabinet is apparently from 1969 or 1970, and bears Bo's signature on the head's top.  

At a Buy It Now of a buck shy of 10 grand, this amp is being priced as an authentic piece formerly owned by a rock n' roll legend and Hall of Famer.

But Bo Diddley and other guitarists of his generation used to play on a lot of rental equipment on the road.  And you don't want to be saddled with what could possibly be just a rental amp that bears his signature.  Ask for the necessary letters of provenance before committing.  I'm just sayin'..

Item number: 180496455182

And check this 1966 Marshall Super Lead Plexi head owned by Eric Johnson

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Orange Amps Announces.. The Personal Computer?

Orange Amps has announced the first guitar amp that incorporates a PC.  Or is it a PC that incorporates a guitar amp? 

Now which wise-acre thought this one up?   Looks like guitar amplifiers are going the one-year-to-obsolescence route too.   This one is anyway.

And if computer hardware specs get you goin',  the Orange Personal Computer is "a fully fledged computer with 4GB DDR2 RAM, 500GB Hard Drive, Intel chips, Windows 7 x64 home premium, 8 x USB2.0 ports, is Wi-Fi enabled and has an integrated GeForce 9300 graphics card with an optional dedicated ATI 5670 512MB card."

Using the included yet-unspecified music software and modelling technology based on Orange amps past-and-present, the user can record and playback directly from the in-built PC. 

Ok, we've had this technology for about a decade now, albeit in separate, individually upgradeable components.  Nothing bad about that. 

Computer acting up?  Get it fixed, or ditch it and get a new one.

Digging the latest amp simulation gizmo?  eBay the old one for a few bucks. 

Craving the latest music production software featuring Quantize templates based on the rhythmic feels of Eddie Van Halen, Mike Landau and Bo Diddley, zero-latency effects plug-ins, and 200 tracks with 900 levels of Undo?  

Well, you get the idea.

This thing looks to me like more landfill fodder.  Leave a comment and tell me what you think.

The OPC is due for a June 2010 release.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Bireli Lagrene At Age 12 | Early Footage

My last post on young virtuoso Andreas Varady reminded me of this clip of Bireli Lagrene at age 12 -- already a monster player, but somehow seemingly unaware of the depth of his talent.  Growing up in an isolated mountainous region where almost everyone is an amazing guitar player will do that to you..

Larry Coryell had this to say about his first encounter with the young Bireli Lagrene in 1978, at about the time of this video clip.

"Before the gig they brought this kid in. He was awkward-looking and kind of homely - this was before he had his teeth fixed.  And he was real small, really dwarfed by the guitar. His dad was there -- I remember he was drunk. But Bireli took out his Django-style guitar and started to play, and I couldn't believe it. He sounded exactly like Django Reinhardt. It was incredible. I was traumatized."

The complete home study jazz guitar course

12-Year Old Guitar Prodigy Andreas Varady!

Born in Slovakia, Andreas Varady is of Gypsy descent and sounds like he's been playing guitar for 25 years -- except that he is only 12 years old!  No repetitive pentatonic noodling or SRV-style posturing for this kid.   

I think it would be safe to say that we haven't seen talent of this caliber at this age since 1978, when a 12-year old Bireli Lagrene emerged on the scene with a fully-formed technique in the Django Reinhardt tradition.

And like Bireli, Andreas also started playing the guitar at the age of four, under the tutelage of his father.

Now residing in Ireland, Andreas Varady is just getting known outside of his adoptive country, and it's just a matter of time before he gets onto the international music festival circuit.  This kid is well on his way to a busy musical life. 

Andreas has a bunch of clips on YouTube, and I am checking out each and every one.

Talk about an old soul.

The complete home study jazz guitar course

Monday, April 12, 2010

Jeff Beck Insures Fingers After Kitchen Mishap

After accidentally chopping off his left hand index finger tip in a kitchen mishap last fall, Jeff Beck has upped his insurance from £700,000 per hand to £700,000 per finger. 

Beck was apparently slicing carrots for a stew at his home in Surrey when the incident happened.

"We had these massively long carrots," he says. "For some stupid reason, I started slicing them lengthwise. I got a bit lazy, and I put full force on the carrot, and it slipped over. Next thing I know, I'm on my knees, going, 'Oh, dear, that's the end of me.'  Or words to that effect." 

Although surgeons managed to successfully sew back the fingertip, Jeff still had to finish recording and go on the road to promote his new album Emotion and Commotion.

But injury be damned -- knowing Jeff Beck, he'll still be pulling out some pretty ethereal sounds out of his signature Stratocaster on his tour.


Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Ibanez Universe UV77MC Owned by Steve Vai on eBay!

Hot on the heels of my last owned-by-Steve-Vai post comes this Ibanez Universe UV77MC!  This road-warrior was one of the main axes used by Vai on his 1990 Slip Of The Tongue world tour with Whitesnake and, according to the seller, even bears the same strings from the last show!

Dagnabbit, I can't get my strings to last two weeks, let alone 20 years.  I always knew those string companies were making the good stuff only for their star endorsers.

This guitar also comes with the original neon-green DiMarzio strap locks, yellow custom-wound Blaze DiMarzio pickups which replaced the original green ones, and Steve's custom pickholder -- sticky tape attached to the bottom of the headstock

And I'm especially digging the extensive belt-buckle rash at the back of this guitar that goes right down to the wood grain.

The vid below features Steve Vai playing The Star Spangled Banner on this very same Ibanez Universe, before hurling it at least 10 feet to his roadie at the end!

As usual, do the necessary research before committing.  eBay Item #: 290421721490

Steve Vai Owned Ibanez RG550 on eBay | JEM Prototype?

This eBay seller lists this Steve Vai owned Ibanez RG550 as a JEM prototype.  While we can't be absolutely certain about the prototypical history of this instrument without dropping an email to Mr Vai's camp and hoping for a response, Steve Vai memorabilia collectors will probably get a kick out of the owned-by-Steve factor alone.

Vai's site states that this Ibanez RG550 does not have a serial number, was used as a tester guitar for trying out different pickups (this axe currently sports BiaX pickups) and was eventually auctioned for a charity. 

Notice that this guitar was once retrofitted with a tremelo guard, a simple metal frame attached over the Edge tremelo by two screws on each side of the trem.  A feature on the original Loch Ness green JEMs -- Vai wanted to be able to rest his hand on the bridge without making it go sharp -- the tremelo guard was phased out on subsequent models. 

A JEM prototype?  I suggest getting verification directly from the Bad Horsie's mouth. 

Sorry Steve, couldn't resist that last one.

eBay Item #: 180478933455

Also check out this earlier article on Steve Vai's original Green Meanie guitar

Herb Ellis RIP | Jazz Guitar Icon Passes

Jazz guitar great Herb Ellis passed away on March 28th 2010 at his home in Los Angeles, aged 88.  Together with Barney Kessel, Tal Farlow, Howard Roberts and Joe Pass, Herb was one of the 'Big 5' jazz guitarists of his era.  

Born in 1921 in McKinney, Texas, Herb Ellis started playing at age 10.  Citing Charlie Christian as a major influence, Ellis graduated from Texas State College, where he also helped develop a jazz program, and joined the Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra in 1945.

But it was joining the Oscar Peterson Trio in 1953 that proved to be the pivotal point in his career, establishing his name in the Jazz Polls from Downbeat to Playboy

And in the face of Peterson's sheer virtuosity on the piano, Herb proved that he could hold his own even at breakneck tempos.  Using a down-picking technique interspersed with left-hand legato, Herb developed a very fluid sound. 

In a 1978 interview he explained how he had to quickly evolve his technique when he started playing with Oscar Peterson:
"Those really fast tempos were hard, and I realized that if I were to remain with Oscar I'd better get my act together.  So I practiced a lot of scales and things to build up my speed.  I don't pick all my notes, especially at a fast tempo.  I may pick about half or a third of all the notes I play.. I prefer to slur because I think it sounds more musical.  If a horn player were to tongue every note it would sound choppy, and the same goes for the guitar."

Herb's playing was a lesson to guitarists everywhere on how to play with one of the most accomplished and musically intimidating jazz pianists on the face of the Earth while keeping one's cool and keeping it swingin'.

And with all respect for the man and his memory, Herb always swung his ass off.

RIP Herb Ellis.  You will be missed. The complete home study jazz guitar course

Monday, April 5, 2010

Les Paul Owned 9/11 Gibson Guitar on eBay

This Gibson Les Paul Standard Premium Plus was donated by Les Paul himself to raise funds for the Uniformed Firefighters' Association Widows and Childrens Fund in the wake of the September 11 tragedy.

This Les Paul received a custom paint graphic by retired NYC fireman Peter Ortel and then sent to Madison Square Garden where it was displayed before being auctioned on eBay in 2002.

Depicting firefighters raising the American flag at Ground Zero, the graphic is stunning and made all the more poignant by the fact that it was done by one of New York City's Bravest. 

eBay Item #: 110503138126

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Leon McAuliffe 1950 Fender Broadcaster on eBay!

Here's a rare gem.  You don't come across too many Fender Broadcasters on eBay, let alone one belonging to a pioneering country guitar legend. 

Leon McAuliffe, one of the finest pickers to absolutely own it on both the six-string and steel guitars, was a long-standing member of Bob Wills And The Texas Playboys.  An untitled steel guitar instrumental written by McAuliffe became Steel Guitar Rag which was to be the biggest hit for the Texas Playboys. 

To add to the cool factor, the inside of the bridge cover is inscribed 'Property of W.L. McAuliffe, Bogalusa LA', perhaps by McAuliffe himself.

At a Buy It Now Price of $150,000, this Fender Boradcaster doesn't come cheap but it is in pretty good shape for a workhorse instrument that is 60 years old!  As usual, do the necessary research before shelling out the dough!

(eBay Item #:  280477417662)


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