Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Guitar Shots

Speaking of real guitars, the light hit my guitar stand well yesterday so I took pictures of everything.

The original. Applause Ovation copy. $169 from King James Music in Brooklyn, 1989. I learned how to play on this thing and played it half to death. I played at my first show (the Cathedral talent show). There's chips in the headstock from multiple doorways and a crack in the finsh from playing in Central Park on the anniversary of John Lennon's death. I often think of taking it in for repairs but I know the cost will outweigh the original value.

2004 Martin 12 string. A xmas gift from Renee the year we got married. I record with this a lot and it's come with me to a few bar sessions and one rooftop gig. Truthfully, I don't play this enough but then again, I don't play acoustics enough anymore.

1968 Gibson acoustic. Looks fantastic, feels good but the bridge came up after a month or so. Had it fixed and it's not quite the same. I keep wanting to play it more and I keep putting it down.

1991 Tele Plus. Bought from Sam Ash on 48th St in 1992. Those are Lace Sensor pickups which a coil tap switch for the humbucker. My only electric for ten years. It's taken some major abuse from both the grunge era and my twenties. Still sounds great, still too heavy.

2006 60th Anniversary start. Bought from Matt Umanov Guitars in 2007 on my way from jury duty and to a comedy open mike. This has become the project guitar. That's the Tele's locking tuners and bridge in there. Rewired it to turn the neck pickup on and off and combine the middle and bridge pickups into one humbucker. Comfortable to wear and shreds my wrists every time.

2001 Les Paul. 30th birthday present. You've seen this before and you've seen the P-Rails I put in last year for my 37th birthday. A completely versatile LP. My #1 and my only audition guitar.

Rickenbacker 330/12. First guitar I ever bought from craigslist and a phenomenal deal. This was a lifelong dream come true. I started playing on an acoustic 12 string in the chapel at high school (the choir had one lying around)and after hearing "Full Moon Fever" I knew someday I'd have to have one. Adore this guitar and the vintage pickups pushed it higher up my list. Just wish I had more songs to play it live.

Gretsch 2001 Tenessee Rose. First ebay purchase of a guitar after two amps and many pedals there. The owner refinished it in a burst and added a midrange control under the pickguard. He also painted the pickguard gold, which I hated. I got this when I moved to Chicago as the owner of the guitar store here is a big fan of hollowbodies. Realized I didn't have one. Also realized I didn't have a great acoustic and I figured this could do both. This will be jam session bar guitar whether it's in a band or with me on a stool.

2005 Musicman Axis. Used from I played an EVH at King James in 1991 and it instantly became another "someday" guitar. When Eddie Van Halen left Ernie Ball, this became the Axis with almost no design changes. I always wanted a light, fast modern shredder guitar. I've also been curious about owning a Floyd Rose as I started playing when they were all the rage. It's tight and loud and so small it fits my 5 foot 7 frame better than my other axes. Took this one down to Puerto Rico and it was so easy to tweak with the climate change it remains my #1 traveling guitar.

Epiphone Hofner bass copy. On sale at Guitar Center. I borrowed Matt Kinkel's Ibanez Precision copy about 15 years ago and when I moved, it was time to give it back. Stopped by Guitar Center during their Memorial Day sale and got this for less than $200. It's only for recording but it sounds great running direct. And you never know when you'll need a bass.

My newest and quickly becoming my new #1: 1984 white Gibson SG. I've wanted one since 1988 when I first saw "This is Spinal Tap". When I got my Tele Plus it was a white SG I was going for. Found out the color is rare, with Gibson only producing them eveyr five years or so. In 2002 I bought a black Epiphone SG and gave it away a few montha later, once I had a Les Paul. SGs are so thing and light that they get top heavy and you spend most of your energy holding it up. I've tried Gothics, Fadeds and signatures and hated them all.

Then I saw this guy on ebay. Turns out the seller owns a store in Lincoln Park so I waited the auction out, offered him $300 less than he was asking and picked it up to avoid shipping charges. It's amazing, balanced and sounds the way I always thought I sounded. I've had it a month and have already taken it to band practice more than my Les Paul. I'll definitely be gigging with it.

When I lived in my parents' basement apartment, I converted that living room to a rehearsal studio. Apart from my two guitars and one amp, I covered the walls with Guitar World centerfolds. There was Eddie's frankenstrat, Jimmy Page's Les Paul, Clapton's psychedelic SG, McCartney's Hofner all on that wall. It's taken twenty years and four addresses but I've finally assembled that collection for real.

There's an old joke among guitar players when asked how many axes they need. "Just one more." I think I'm good now. But there is that Rickenbacker 360 at the store...

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