Guitars, basses and other noisemakers

mjp

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#1
Split off from here.

I guess I really wanted to know about that guitar, because I ended up emailing the singer (who I thought was the guitar player, but wasn't - you can see him standing there in the video while the guitar player sings Black Betty) and he replied:

"In the video, Bill Bartlett is playing a 1952 gold top with an ebony fret board, a stop tailpiece replacing the trapeze tailpiece, and 1971-1972 Gibson engraved PAFs. He had a custom headstock made after the original headstock broke (a design flaw that Gibson didn't fix before late in the 60's)."​

But when I looked up Bill Bartlett I found an article about a Mosrite guitar where he briefly mentions the Les Paul and says it was - and this is the painful part - a 1954. So he turned this historic thing of beauty into that FrankenPaul you see in the video:

1954-les-paul.jpg


But a lot of people did that in the 60s and 70s. Those guitars weren't valuable collector's items like they are now (and they are so valuable now partly due to the fact that so many people did chop them up).
 

Skygazer

And in the end...
Over 500 posts
#2
“I’m not precious about it,” White says of the ’57 goldtop Les Paul he’s relied on for the last 41 years. It’s been rewired and refretted, and the bridge and tuners have been switched out when necessary, but its checked and battered finish bears the battle scars of innumerable gigs. Photo by Snowy White

StreamImage.jpg


To drool upon:
 

mjp

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#5
I don't believe in being "precious" with musical instruments either. At least modern ones. But when I modified 1950s Les Paul Juniors to make them playable, I always did it in a non-damaging way and kept the original parts so it could be made "stock" again at any time. Because they are pieces of history and some people want to keep them exactly as they were made.

The goldtop Les Pauls aren't all that coveted anyway, since they had a lot of issues that make them difficult to play (compared to a modern electric guitar), and when you get right down to it, a lot of people find the gold finish tacky and cheap looking. It's the '59 and '60 sunburst finish Les Paul Standards that sell for a million(+) dollars.
 

Skygazer

And in the end...
Over 500 posts
#6
Maybe not, but I would argue, for me anyway, that the most classic song for the gold top - Layla- tacky, no way, iconic yes.

 

mjp

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#9
the most classic song for the gold top - Layla...
You might want to specify that it was Duane Allman playing the gold top, since I think most people these days assume only Eric Clapton played guitar on that.

---

Okay, you beat me too it.
 

Otto jr

Over 100 posts
#11
Most people also don't realize that it was Clapton (on a goldtop) who played the solo on "while my guitar gently weeps."
I love my goldtop. A '56 converted to '57 specifications (PAF humbuckers replacing the original P-90s).
 

mjp

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#13
PAF humbuckers replacing the original P-90s
I'll give you a hundred bucks for those P-90s. They're just sitting in a drawer, right?
Here's the rest of my D'Angelico...
Must sound bitchin' thorough a Big Muff!

I'm always threatening to get a semi-hollow, but I'm not man enough for a big jazz box like that.
he briefly mentions the Les Paul and says it was - and this is the painful part - a 1954.
And through the magic of modern science, here is Bill Bartlett playing the guitar before he snapped the headstock off and it was still a '54 goldtop (skip to 1:05 unless you dig the song, baby):

 

Otto jr

Over 100 posts
#15
[Pictures gone, death by photobucket.]

There's my '56/57 goldtop and another guitar. The P-90s are long gone. I think I sold them for $300 each. the plastic covers sold for around $150 each. I once had a set of double white 1959 PAF humbuckers...sold them for $10k! this shit is getting ridiculous.

I love that D'angelico, Stickpin. That is a work of art. I'm trying to get an early ES-335 or 345 semi-hollow right now. Those things sound like no other guitar. Can kill a Les Paul in the tone department. For me though, nothing beats the tone that can be found in most 1950's Gibson Les pauls. Too bad the prices went so ballistic so quickly. Most of them are out-of-reach.
 

Otto jr

Over 100 posts
#16
A few notes for the Buk forum record, and for the edification of the Les Paul Goldtop here in this bastion of the literary minded (not everyday one's two greatest passions intersect): the goldtop was introduced in 1952 as an answer to Leo fender's wildly successful Broadcaster (later known as the Telecaster). The Les Paul had a "trapeeze" tailpiece which rendered it unplayable. It is thought that Gibson factory workers simply misunderstood the concept suggested by Les.

Ted McCarty (Gibson CEO and brilliant instrument designer in his own right) came up with a solution in early '53, he changed the goldtop from a trapeeze tail to a one-piece wrap-around tail piece (wrap-tail) upon which the strings wrap over the bar (as seen above on the '54). This configuration is considered among the best for playability and intonation. The early '53-early '54 wrap tail was still slightly problematic until mid '54 when McCarty realized that the guitar needed a steeper neck-angle, like a violin (if you notice, any Les Paul after early '54 can not be laid flat on a table).

In 1955 McCarty added the ABR-1 Tune-o-matic adjustable bridge with a stop-tail piece (as seen on my guitar above), the last change coming in mid 1957 with Seth Lover's brilliant invention of the 'Humbucking" pick up. The Les Paul and every other electric guitar had single coil pickups which were succeptible to picking up the 60 cycle hum in the electric circuits of a home or concert venue so that while not playing a note, the guitar is still humming loudly. In 1957 Seth Lover invented the humbucker with two coils wrapped 'out of phase' with each other thus cancelling out the hum. Many people to this day prefer the aggressive growl of the single coil P-90 pick up, while others prefer the lush double-tone and harmonic resonance of the humbucker.

The decade-long evolution of the Les Paul Standard happened when the only option was goldtop paint. When the evolution was complete in mid '57 with the addition of the humbucker, the color remained gold for almost a whole year. In mid 1958 with lagging sales, McCarty decided to make the Les Paul look more traditional by changing the gold opaque top finish to a tranparent sunburst finish which highlighted the beautiful flamed maple which had always been present. He said that he wanted the top of the les paul to look like the back of the more expensive hollow-body jazz guitars of the day, as well as the back of Stradivarius violins which also had center-seam two-piece tiger-striped maple beneath a sunburst translucent finish.

This did not help sales, so in mid 1960 the Les Paul was discontinued until late 1968 when suddenly the guitar had found its true identity in the hands of people like Eric Clapton, Mike Bloomfield, Jimmy Page, Peter Green, and several others who had discovered that by playing these guitars at extremely loud volume through an over driven tube amp that it would produce a rich, pleasing sound rich in harmonics and double note breakup almost like a reed instrument. From 1968 on gibson has mas produced these guitars (often at far less quality than the 1950s models) making the early ones very desirable to collectors and musicians.

Today those sunburst models from 1958-1960 sell anywhere from $150,000 to $500,000 each. The lowly goldtops are now selling anywhere from $12,000 for a '52, to $30,000 (1954), $30-45,000 (1956) up to $85,000 (1957 humbucker model).

It should be noted that Les Paul introduced another variation of his name-sake guitar to Gibson. It was known as the Les Paul custom. This guitar was introduced in 1954 (already with the ABR-1 tune-o-matic bridge/stop tail configuration) and was known as the Black Beauty or the Fretless wonder (due to its very low frets made for jazz playing).

Les' concept for these two guitars was that gold should be the color for the standard, because, well, gold is the best, right? And his Custom (Black Beauty) was made for guys playing in clubs wearing a tux. He wanted everything to be black and elegant so all the audience would see were the "flying fingers" of the player. The Les Paul custom also came with single coil pickups until mid '57 when it, too, came equipped with humbucker pickups.
 

Otto jr

Over 100 posts
#17
The evolution of the Les Paul Goldtop: http://www.lespaulforum.com/forum/showthread.php?t=89408&highlight=goldtop evolution

This is for you Skygazer: http://www.lespaulforum.com/forum/showthread.php?t=188745&highlight=snowy

For all of us: http://www.lespaulforum.com/forum/showthread.php?t=131147&highlight=goldtop

For those who don't go to the link...

[Photobucket pic dead.]

L to R: '52, early '53, late '53, '54, early '55, late '55, '56, '58.

Changes didn't take place on Jan. 1st, so to collectors it would generally be accepted as this:
L to R: '52, '52, '54, '54, '56, '56, '57.


Ok, now who do I have to kill in order to be promoted from "prospect."
 

Skygazer

And in the end...
Over 500 posts
#18
Thanks for the link Otto - I was just thinking what a small world it is reading that the current bridge on his Gold Top was given him by Peter Green (another Gibson Les Paul fan).
Given all it's history I wonder what it will sell for?

Plus, I think that's about all I can contribute in this thread from here on in! I'll just enjoy reading proper posts by you all in the know. :)But I love the thread.
 
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Otto jr

Over 100 posts
#19
I agree with the assessment in the thread. Unfortunately Snowy's name is not historically linked with the vintage Les Paul like Jimmy Page or Eric Clapton. His guitar will sell for a bit more than a similar guitar not owned by somebody famous because it has provenance (being that you can trace it's lineage through Snowy to a time before there were expert forgeries). I think it will sell between $70,000 and $80,000. If there's a HUGE Snowy White fan out there with deep pockets, then perhaps $95,000 to $100,000 at the very most. If he gets the $90k he needs to RUN not walk to the deal and shake on it quickly.

The whole Peter Green story is so unfortunate. He basically gave away his iconic '59 sunburst to Gary Moore in the early 70s and Gary sold it for somewhere in the $300-500k range to a guy I know. It has since caused lawsuits and controversy to the point that the guitar seems to be cursed. Mick Fleetwood bought another 59 burst for Peter in the 90s (for $80k) hoping to revive Peter's interest in playing, Peter took the guitar, walked into an elevator at the same hotel and let a young fan talk him out if it. He promptly handed the guitar over to the guy and walked away.

If you're interested I can link you to some real sad shit related to his most famous guitar. It's an ongoing saga that keeps getting worse and worse. The guitar itself was insured recently at over a million dollars, but due to the shenanigans surrounding it, is hard pressed to garner any offers over $250,000. That guitar is in need of a new home and some karmic cleansing.

Read it and weep Sky...
http://www.lespaulforum.com/forum/showthread.php?t=188038&highlight=Greenie greeny
http://www.lespaulforum.com/forum/showthread.php?t=188796&highlight=Greenie greeny
http://www.lespaulforum.com/forum/showthread.php?t=185883&highlight=Greenie greeny


You don't have to be drunk to play a '52 goldtop until your fingers bleed.
The trapeze tail would do that for you all by itself.
 
#20
Must sound bitchin' thorough a Big Muff!
You know I did run it through my Fender Stage 185, which is just about as good a solid-state overdrive as you can get. Tried that once, just for kicks. I didn't get any. I am very fortunate however, because my Father-in-Law ran a music store for years and he once took in an old amp in trade and recently gifted it to me. It's a December '64 Fender Princeton; one of the few Fender tube amps that runs clean all the way up to 10. Not that 10 is very loud, but with my Avatar extension cabinet, it makes for a perfect jazz rig w/ the D'Angelico.

Here's an uncommon relic I've been slowly getting back to (near) stock over time. When I got it, it had a Coronado I neck and completely different bridge and tailpiece. Thumbrest and tugbar were missing. I've got the original wiring harness and I may not bother changing the pickups back to stock unless I can find them on the cheap (there's literally no way to make this bass worth $1,600 short of putting $2,000 into it, so it's a labor of love more than anything). 1967-'68 Fender Coronado II bass:

DSC01866.JPG
 

mjp

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#21
Ok, now who do I have to kill in order to be promoted from "prospect."
You're almost there...well, "almost" being open to interpretation...
Today those sunburst models from 1958-1960 sell anywhere from $150,000 to $500,000 each. The lowly goldtops are now selling anywhere from $12,000 for a '52, to $30,000 (1954), $30-45,000 (1956) up to $85,000 (1957 humbucker model).
I think that price disparity is evidence that Gibson finally "got it right" with the bursts. If guitars were like a lot of other "collectibles" the '52 would be the most valuable. But (most) guitar collectors are also guitar players, and that wrongheaded trapeeze... (And the god-awful finish -- I know, I know, it's a matter of taste.)

What's funny about the whole thing is that they kind of accidentally "got it right," and then promptly stopped making the model for almost a decade. Gibson accidentally produced a lot of iconic things, but they rarely seemed to notice until players told them.
The P-90s are long gone. I think I sold them for $300 each. the plastic covers sold for around $150 each.
Yeah, I was kidding anyway. Kind of. You never know when someone might be feeling foolish generous.

It's funny that so many Gibson players go on and on about TONE yet turn their noses up at the P-90, which is a pure little slab of tone. I grew up on humbuckers, but the first time I played an old Junior I was like, "Oh shit - so this is what an electric guitar sounds like!"
You know I did run it through my Fender Stage 185, which is just about as good a solid-state overdrive as you can get.
:rolleyes:
there's literally no way to make this bass worth $1,600 short of putting $2,000 into it...
That's the case with a lot of good old guitars. But it's usually worth the effort (and money) if you're going to play it.

I bought that pink thing above with the intention of cleaning off the ink and flipping it, but the ink is there to stay, so to flip it for any profit I'd have to sand off the ink and get the body resprayed. Which, with a color match and everything, would cost as much as the "profit" would have been. So it looks like it'll be around for a while. Which is fine since it's fun to play.
 

Skygazer

And in the end...
Over 500 posts
#22
Otto - yes I did know about Peter Green selling his to Gary Moore and the subsequent controversy. I love Peter Green, he did a great job in John Mayall's Blues Breakers when Clapton left. The Supernatural is probably my most favourite instrumental (Les Paul).

I also love this, Clapton with his ?Sunburst PAF thing in the Blues Breakers before he left. Promise I won't post again!

 

Otto jr

Over 100 posts
#23
You're almost there...well, "almost" being open to interpretation...
Damn, I was hoping the promotion would be easy. Like stealing a set of hubcaps or cutting somebody's throat.
What's funny about the whole thing is that they kind of accidentally "got it right," and then promptly stopped making the model for almost a decade. Gibson accidentally produced a lot of iconic things, but they rarely seemed to notice until players told them.

It's funny that so many Gibson players go on and on about TONE yet turn their noses up at the P-90, which is a pure little slab of tone. I grew up on humbuckers, but the first time I played an old Junior I was like, "Oh shit - so this is what an electric guitar sounds like!"
Gibson also "got it right" with the Korina models in 1958: Explorer, Flying V, Futura, and Moderne...and then promptly discontinued them.

Many people have a complete revelation when they get their hands on a P-90 LP Jr.
That's exactly the way I felt when I got my TV Jr. It was a '58 double cutaway, basically the bottom of the barrel, but that P-90 blew me away. It was like a humbucker with a freight train running right through the middle of it.
Otto - yes I did know about Peter Green selling his to Gary Moore and the subsequent controversy. I love Peter Green, he did a great job in John Mayall's Blues Breakers when Clapton left. The Supernatural is probably my most favourite instrumental (Les Paul).
Keep posting Sky. I can see that you know your shit. You know the one thing about the 'Beano' album that all guitar people know: Eric Clapton used his famous, long lost...stolen...coveted, revered, PAF '59 sunburst LP on it. The guitar was stolen months after he used it with his Marshall 2x12 combo amp in the studio at stage volume, mic halfway across the room. The engineer almost shit himself. He had never seen or heard an electric guitar played at feedback volumes and he was certain that the mics and other gear was going to break. What they achieved there in 1965 was the sound that defined the next several generations of music. That sunburst LP has never surfaced. It is the holy grail of holy grails. There are only a few black and white photos of Eric holding the guitar. There may or may not be an identifying feature on it. To this day, whenever another 58-60 sunburst surfaces, the first thing an enthusiast will do is to check it against those pics. It would be the first no-doubt, million dollar LP on the market. All we know is that it's a late 59 or early 60 because the pups are double-white in the neck and double black in the bridge position.

There's a guy in NYC named Dirk Ziff. He's the billionaire heir to the Ziff/Davis publishing empire. He has a vault with over 130 sunburst LPs. They are hidden from the public because it was discovered that he had Ed King's (Lynyrd Skynyrd) burst (which was stolen at gunpoint). Ziff bought the guitar in Hollywood and had nothing to do with the robbery. Ed King got his burst back through legal channels but Ziff will never allow anyone to photograph his collection. I bet the Clapton Beano burst is in there too.

My favorite Peter Green is "Jumping at Shadows."
 

mjp

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#27
Loopers (or a digital delay set to repeat infinitely) are certainly noisemakers, so I suppose that's appropriate here.

They remind me of the old Heil Talk Box though (think: Rocky Mountain Way). The first time you hear one you think, "Wow!" Then the next time: "Okay." And finally: "Enough already, put that thing away." In other words, "the "magic" (e.g. monotony) of looping gets old really fast.

I'm not surprised that they have become so popular though, since a lot of young musicians don't seem to care for dynamics. Their music is the sound of turning on a few blenders and singing over them, then turning them off when the song is finished (to be fair to the kids, Phil Collins perfected that style of song decades ago). One straight line, one dull rush of everything at once. Instantly forgettable because there's nothing to remember.
 

esart

esart.com
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Over 500 posts
#28
I am guilty of recording tons of hip hop loops for my clan of peeps back in the day, so it's funny when you say us "kids," and even funnier that you mention Phil Collins. I think one of the first "samples" I recorded in the 1980s was from his Lonely Man (there on the corner) song. I "lifted" a drum track from the song and looped it into one of mine my own. I, of course would have never been able to do this had it not been for my friend Jonathan Nesmith - who I saw as something of a recording and musical genius at 15 years old, a whole five and a half months older than lil ole me. He made it possible for me to make my own samples and loops, because I certainly didn't know how to do any of that.

But I think all of this experimentation did me a world of good because later in life I would need these special "skills" to be able to play with loops in both recording sessions and live situations. I'd often have to play live and "sound" like a loop, too (if you can imagine). I actually was hired for jobs because I was really very good at this "skill," and I put quotes around skill because, to me, it was just "fun" - like practicing to a metronome that had soul.

That was the purpose of using loops rather than using a drum machine. You could capture the basic groove of humans and loop it to another groove, then loop that together and open your options with how you presented the music, the beat, or the feel of the song, or even how you designed the main hook.

And I'm not talking about sampling other people's music here, BTW. I'm talking about the sampling and looping of your own, original tracks. But also, since I am an old hip hop grandma, I obviously have no problem with using and sampling the tracks others' or anybody's music - no matter what. I mean, you can't publish it if you don't get permission, but that doesn't stop you from being creative and playing around with whatever is out there. The sky is the limit.

I hate to disagree with my dear mjp, but sometimes we definitely have our differences in musical tastes. Luckily for the most part, and fundamentally, we do not. :)
 

Skygazer

And in the end...
Over 500 posts
#29
Loopers (or a digital delay set to repeat infinitely) are certainly noisemakers, so I suppose that's appropriate here.
Also put it in because there is the link between Les Paul credited with being the inventor of the looper? Since it's all been about Gibson Les Paul so far. Also KT is pretty damn great at using the pedal live, so really... that's my excuse.:)

More famous for the Stratocaster perhaps? but he did use a gold top on some songs, very tenuous link here for a bit of guitar porn, look away now if your not a Gilmour or Snowy White fan.

 

mjp

Keep my good eye on the beat
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#30
That was the purpose of using loops rather than using a drum machine. You could capture the basic groove of humans and loop it to another groove, then loop that together and open your options with how you presented the music, the beat, or the feel of the song, or even how you designed the main hook.
There's a big difference between using loops or samples in a studio setting and doing it live. That was one of my points but I cut it out of my original post:

It's like any other sampling, only you're doing it on the fly, so you can't do much more than sample, repeat, sample, repeat, sample, repeat and let it all go on forever. It's like mixing all the colors of paint together because you think, "Oh, it'll be cool, I'll get a complex color that no one has ever seen!" but all you get is dark grey sludge.
When you're recording you can control when multiple loops are heard and create some intricate sounds. In a live setting where you're stepping on pedals, those loopers just create monotony, and are usually used as a gimmick, like the video posted above.

Also put it in because there is the link between Les Paul credited with being the inventor of the looper?
On the Internet he may be credited with the invention of the looper, but then on the Internet guitar players credit Les Paul with inventing everything but spaghetti bolognese.

He did not invent a looper though. He did a lot of pioneering work in multi-track recording and tape delay, but never worked with tape loops. I mean, I have to assume he made some tape loops at some point just because he was an inquisitive, experimental son of a bitch, but it's not something he was known for.

At one point he had a box screwed onto his guitar that controlled a tape playback. He called it the Paulverizer, and a lot of people assumed it was some electronic genius that he had come up with. But it was really little more than a big PLAY button to control prerecorded tapes.

Paulverizer.jpg
 
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