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Smitty Custom Guitars
Nov11

Smitty Custom Guitars

Smitty ‘Custom Classic Extreme Relic’. Eric Smitty is a fine guitar maker and repairer based in The Netherlands. http://www.smittyguitars.com/ Share...

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Joe Bonamassa plays Rory Gallagher’s Stratocaster
Jan03

Joe Bonamassa plays Rory Gallagher’s Stratocaster

Old news, but I only just came across this video of Joe Bonamassa playing Rory Gallagher’s legendary battered ’61 Stratocaster at the Hammersmith Apollo back in October. It seems the best way of this happening to you is to be a bit of a guitar legend in your own right and have a girlfriend who is aquatinted with the Gallagher family and is looking out for a novel birthday/Christmas present for you. According to Bonamassa himself, his girlfriend Sandi Thom (fine singer/songriter in her own right), who is friends with Rory’s brother Donal, promised him something special as a birthday/Christmas present – wow, did she deliver! Share...

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The scary thing is …
Oct22

The scary thing is …

… performance. It doesn’t get any easier. From my first school play through weekly rep. at Frinton-on-Sea to playing John Proctor in Miller’s ‘The Crucible’, the “why am I doing this?’ terror does not go away. For me anyway – and, I suspect, the majority of stage actors. I haven’t been on the stage for a long time. Not as an actor, anyway. The last time for me was in the understudy run of ‘Skylight’ for the National Theatre. I was understudying Bill Nighy. I never had to go on during the run but the statutory internal understudy performance was still scary, though. The two of us (it’s a two-hander) had invited friends, agents, casting directors etc. to fill out the auditorium of the Vaudeville Theatre on Shaftesbury Avenue for the event. We did our bit to make our show a meaningful event and very fine it was too, by all accounts. But that was fifteen years ago. Performing for television or film doesn’t quite have the same quality of scariness as does the bungie jump ‘now or never’ moment of making a first entrance on a first night in the theatre. If working with the camera is scary, it’s more of a kind of private frisson than the full-on shared experience of theatre, which bears more resemblance to going over the top to face the bullets and shells of battle in a close company of soldiers – with no disrespect to those who do that for real! Filming is more like going into hospital for an operation. You trust in the calm professionalism of all those around you and privately hope that you’re not the one that fucks it all up. That said, THE most scary “beam me up Scottie” experience of my professional career was in a TV studio. There is a form of television that, for the performer, exquisitely combines both forms of scariness mentioned above into one – The Sitcom. In 1994 there was a Granada TV sitcom called “The House of Windsor”. This short lived series was set behind the scenes at Buckingham Palace. I played a character called ‘Sir Robert Butlers’. I have never been so terrified in my life. As I said, sitcom combines all the fears associated with live performance (sitcom audiences are actually quite large), with the more subtle terrors of causing the complex machine of TV production to grind to a halt if you cock it. Take it from me, it is a heady mix. I don’t remember ever feeling quite so ill waiting for my call. On the other hand, one of the most pleasant and unthreatening professional experiences I ever had...

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Metallic Green Stratocaster by Sanferan
Jun22

Metallic Green Stratocaster by Sanferan

A green Stratocaster … nothing to say, really. Just love the paint job and concept of this Strat … By artist/photographer Hans Werner Schneider – http://www.sanferans-art.com/ Share...

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Abel Axe aluminium guitars
Mar10

Abel Axe aluminium guitars

According to a page on the Delaney Guitars website, the aluminium Abel Axe is about to be revived. “The Abel Axe, popular with guitarists in the mid to late nineties, is back with a vengeance. From shredders to jazz masters, to fusion aficionados, to Vai and Satriani wannabes, all loved the unique, powerful sustain and tone they got from their Abel Axe. Now they are back. Jeff Abel has teamed up with Mike Delaney of Delaney Guitars to custom build the Abel Axe of your choice. From the T-6 Billet Aluminum bodies to the custom neck and electronics, these guitars will be built to order in Jeff ‘s and Mike’s shops in the Bitterroot Valley in Western Montana.” The idea doesn’t rock my boat but clearly there’s something unique and appealing enough about aluminium guitars to warrant continued production. At time of writing there is no live official dedicated website (although there is a splash holding page here). The following is from the Abel Axe Guitar Fansite should you wish to know more right now: Abel Axe guitars were designed by Jeff Abel1 of Wyoming and manufactured by Abel Axe LLC between 1994 and ~1996 and again in ~2001 with body slots instead of holes. Less than 250 1994-1996 Abel Axe guitars exist -if even that many. Specs can be found in their brochure with the following additions from my own observations and from conversations with Jeff Abel: Body Styles: Small Strat-type body with holes available with a trem or fixed bridge. You’ll notice subtle differences in hole beveling, spacing, and drilling depth if you examine the pictures closely. There was a single humbucker Abel Axe made with slots instead of holes (see Gallery). It appears to have come with a 21-fret Strat-head neck and a Kent Armstrong pickup. I don’t know how many of these one-hums comprise the ’94-’96 run. Pickups: The very first batch (a dozen or so less) were released with DiMarzio humbuckers: PAF Pro in the neck position and Tone Zone in the bridge position. These were replaced almost immediately by Kent Armstrong pickups (at one point manufactured by Sky pickups): HRE-1 in the neck position and HSDE-1 in the bridge position. These pickups are now called WPU10CLOSE|CLOSED COVER/BLACK and WPU11CLOSE|CLOSED COVER/BLACK and are sold through www.wdmusic.com. Nut: I’ve seen graphite, bone, and the locking nut that goes with the Kahler trem. Tuners: Sperzel Trimlok locking tuners. Frets: Dunlop 6100 or Dunlop 6105 equivalent, nickel silver composition. Bridges: The vibrato bridge was a Kahler flatmount (also called Kahler pro) patent number 4457201 DS. The fixed bridge was model WD101 sold by WD Music Supply OR...

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