Guitars, basses and other noisemakers

Skygazer

And in the end...
nooooooo!... I'd like to credit him with inventing spaghetti bolognese too!

it was the paulverizer I was meaning and well. I love Les Paul, so.... there, then!:)

Also, I meant to get back about the Gold Top, I do kind of agree about it looking tacky, although, I was defending it's honour at the time, it is sort of the Dolly Parton of Guitars (debatable) but as she would say, it takes a lot of money and effort to look this cheap,
the sound is pure golden honey.
 
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mjp

Founding member
Everyone loves Les Paul. Look at him, what's not to love?

But as long as we're dispelling Les Paul myths, we may as well talk about "the inventor of the electric guitar," a title people often bestow - incorrectly - on Les Paul.

In 1931 George Beauchamp and Adolph Rickenbacker invented the first electromagnetic pickup that allowed steel guitar strings to be electronically amplified. They put the pickup into a lap steel guitar (or as they called them at the time, Hawaiian guitars), but without the invention of that pickup, none of what followed in the next couple decades could have happened.

Ten years later Les Paul attached a pickup to a 4"x4" hunk of fence post and did some "electric guitar" experimentation, but it wasn't until Paul Bigsby built a solid body electric guitar for Merle Travis in 1947 that we had anything that looked like what we now know as an electric guitar.

travis.jpg


In 1950, a few years after the Travis Bigsby was made, Leo Fender started producing the Fender Broadcaster (later named Telecaster) and the modern age of electric guitar manufacturing started. The Gibson Les Paul would come onto the market two years later.

So that's where all this shit started.

Another thing that added to the mix was the way music was changing at the time, which contributed as much as anything else to the creation or popularization of the electric guitar, but that's a whole different story.

You can also throw world war II in there...a lot of things were happening back then, and they all lead to where we are now, as far as guitars are concerned. What's funny is electric guitars haven't fundamentally changed from Bigsby's Merle Travis guitar to today.
 

Skygazer

And in the end...
I know!!! and I do love the Rickenbacker, need to see some examples here please:)
but not I Want to Hold Your Hand: The Beatles.
 
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Skygazer

And in the end...
So what is your most favourite Rickenbacker track, guitar or bass, can be either, I'm not fussy:) or ideally - both!
 

Skygazer

And in the end...
Nice...:) Mine would be an all time favourite, pretty obvious really, Lemmy and the Ace of Spades.
I think my computer is about to die on me here, having lots of problems! Thanks for the pics Purple Stickpin - great.
He saw the Beatles live at the Cavern so, maybe that influenced his choice - who knows.
Like this for the musicians - him, Slash and Grohl, (Slash was born in Stoke-On-Trent too)

 
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mjp

Founding member
Taken from The New Yorker in an article about some kids who sell Stradivarius violins - they could be talking about "collectible" guitars in much of the article...

While the six hundred or so Strads that survive are prized by musicians the sound that a stringed instrument makes is among the least important determinations of its market value. Dealers and auction houses price instruments according to their visible condition, their state of preservation, and the desirability of their dimensions.

And:

The common exalting of Stradivari and other old violins over modern instruments is regularly brought into question. Recently, Claudia Fritz, a French professor of acoustics, published a study indicating that violinists themselves could not tell whether they were playing on a Stradivarius or on a modern violin when the identity of the instrument was obscured.
 
But how do you feel knowing that the instrument in your hand is a Cremona violin from the 18th century? It inspires the player beyond what another violin might.
I was involved with one of those experiments where players from around the world played 'blind' either one of three Strads (including the famous Red Violin) and other newer instruments. Much like players of vintage Sunburst LPs, the participants claimed to feel a higher level of inspiration due to the feel as well as the reverence toward the legend of the instrument.
When it comes down to what we hear, a professional can pick out an older more valuable model by ear less than 40% of the time; lay people, people in the audience, they don't know or care who made an artists instrument.
When it comes to guitars, as soon as the drum and bass line kicks in, there's no way to distinguish between two humbucker guitars or two single coil guitars.
In defense of Lester, he invented the concept of "sound on sound." The layering of one sound from one tape, played in correct pitch and time over the sound on another tape, in conjunction with the playing that is being done live. Looping is a natural innovation on this concept.
He also got involved in the concept and design of the electric guitar long before his model was released in 1952, before Leo came up with his broadcaster, but MJP is correct: Rickenbacker/Bigsby came up with the first electric guitar. See Rickenbacker's frying pan, also see Les Paul's "Log."
 

mjp

Founding member
I was involved with one of those experiments where players from around the world played 'blind' either one of three Strads (including the famous Red Violin) and other newer instruments.
How did they do that? I wondered about that, because I'm pretty sure I could feel the difference between a '58 Junior and a 2014 Junior without seeing them. I know I could smell it. Old Gibsons have a very distinctive aroma.

I like old instruments, don't get me wrong. I just think our own preconceived notions and prejudices create a lot of their value, when objectively, I'm not sure those differences are so great. Stradivarius violins didn't get their reputation because they're old...if I'm not mistaken they were prized instruments when they were new. And you can fall in love with a cheap instrument too. I suppose all instrument preferences are subjective on about a hundred different levels.
 
I remember reading about that blind study. They actually accounted for the sense of smell by taking some measures (short of smearing salmon mousse all over the Strads and the new instruments). I can't remember what it was. And yes, I have a fairly cheap Made in Mexico Fender Jazz that just feels perfect in my hands; as good or better than a '63 jazz that has 1,000,000 miles on it that I played a year or so ago at a local store. The '63 looks much cooler, though.
 
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hoochmonkey9

Art should be its own hammer.
Moderator
Founding member
Behold the Bundy Selmer, designed by Vincent Bach. Made in the good ol' US of A.

It's a mighty fine root-tooter.

trumpet 002a.jpg


trumpet 003a.jpg
 

mjp

Founding member
Now that's cool, baby!

Do you know how to play that thing, or do you just carry it around to get chicks?

In grade school I played a B♭ coronet, which is similar but not as loud. That's my technical comparison of the two instruments anyway. I could probably still play one, but any music reading ability I might have had is long gone.

We should start a band.
 

hoochmonkey9

Art should be its own hammer.
Moderator
Founding member
I play it badly. But it gives me an excuse to wear a beret and grow a soul patch. So....
 

mjp

Founding member
Behold the B9 Organ Machine from Electro-Harmonix:


I'm not one for subtle effects, so that thing is right up my alley.

I used one of the first Electro-Harmonix LPB-1s back in the 70s, the one that plugged right in to your amp input jack - ha. I've always liked the oddball shit they do, but I really have to thank them for this:

HumDebugger.jpg


If you have a guitar with buzzy, fuzzy, hummy single coil pickups in it, this thing will kill the noise. And I mean eliminate it completely. It works spooky good.
 
So is that electro-harmonix stomp box a filter that removes all of certain frequencies from your sound, or does it just reduce the hum from a 60 cycles or other hum-generating frequencies? In other words, is it Dolby-esque or a truly cool hum eliminator that doesn't mess with your low/mid/high settings?
 

mjp

Founding member
So is that electro-harmonix stomp box [...] Dolby-esque or a truly cool hum eliminator that doesn't mess with your low/mid/high settings?
It doesn't change your sound at all, that's the spooky part. They decline to say exactly how it works, but the prevailing speculation is it does some sort of analysis of the line voltage (you have to plug it in to a wall converter, you can't run it off batteries) and removes the hum (by removing harmonics) based on what it finds there.

Every other method I've tried to filter 60 cycle hum over the past 35 years has had a negative effect on the sound (if they worked at all, which many of them didn't), but this thing is really transparent. There are reviews (this being the Internet after all) that say the thing is awful, and created some sort of "robotic" overtones. I don't hear that at all, and I was listening for it, based on those reviews.

Jordan heard it last time they were here, if he sees this maybe he can give his opinion. But to my ears there is zero signal degradation.
 
How did they do that? I wondered about that, because I'm pretty sure I could feel the difference between a '58 Junior and a 2014 Junior without seeing them. I know I could smell it. Old Gibsons have a very distinctive aroma.

I like old instruments, don't get me wrong. I just think our own preconceived notions and prejudices create a lot of their value, when objectively, I'm not sure those differences are so great. Stradivarius violins didn't get their reputation because they're old...if I'm not mistaken they were prized instruments when they were new. And you can fall in love with a cheap instrument too. I suppose all instrument preferences are subjective on about a hundred different levels.
Absolutely true: there is no accounting for taste. So many excellent guitars are being made today. But for me: the feel of a vintage instrument is instantly familiar; they feel comfortable, broken-in, natural, while the new re-issues have those sharper edges on the fret ends and the "fit and finish" just makes you aware that they are perhaps not constructed with as much care as they once were.
I admit to being a vintage guitar snob. But only because I've been lucky enough to play many of the finest models from the golden era, while owning only re-issues of the same guitars. In my experience it was a revelation; like night and day, and whether or not the older ones sounded better, I couldn't care less. To me the feel in my hands translates to my ears through my fingers and the way I feel I play when using an older instrument. I traded all of my reissues for one vintage Gibson and never looked back.
You nailed it with the smell. There is nothing quite like the vintage smell. They can make very good forgeries, but anyone who knows that smell will never be fooled, unless the forgers figure out how to replicate it. As soon as you open the case on a golden-era Gibson or Fender, you get that sweet aroma instantly.
The Strad test I participated in was done at Cooper Union about five years ago. As far as I recall, the players were not the control group because they were aware (by the sight and feel of each violin) which ones they were playing. I believe the control group were some of the attendees. These people were also music professionals and were supposed to determine by using only their sense of hearing which ones were the Strads.
We have had this done at the LPF with Gibson guitars. I will find the link and post it here.
I remember reading about that blind study. They actually accounted for the sense of smell by taking some measures (short of smearing salmon mousse all over the Strads and the new instruments). I can't remember what it was. And yes, I have a fairly cheap Made in Mexico Fender Jazz that just feels perfect in my hands; as good or better than a '63 jazz that has 1,000,000 miles on it that I played a year or so ago at a local store. The '63 looks much cooler, though.
Those MIM fenders are some of the best ones being made today. I've heard nothing but good things about them.
 
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mjp

Founding member
the new re-issues have those sharper edges on the fret ends and the "fit and finish" just makes you aware that they are perhaps not constructed with as much care as they once were.
There isn't a lot of fit and finish to the Gibsons that I like (the slabs - Juniors and specials), but I did have an '06 Junior that I had to file the fret ends on, but I also have a Special here that's only a couple of years old that didn't have that problem. Or any problems, really. It's a great guitar and I think I paid $550 for it. Maybe when there's no fret board binding the fret end finishing kind of goes out the window at Gibson. No reason for that except speed, I suppose. They are sending 1000+ guitars out the door every day, and it's a miracle to me that they can even do that, so...

There's also the fact that in the not too distant past - before guitars were commodities like microwave ovens - few guitars ever went directly from the factory to the player. Every shop had a guy and a bench and they usually tweaked the guitars that came in before they went out on to the floor. So it could be that some of these issues have always existed, we just never noticed them.

When I was playing a reggae band in the late 80s I kept trying to get the singer/rhythm guitar player to use my 1960 Junior when we were in the studio. And every time he'd say, "Nah man, I'm afraid to touch that thing!" Which in retrospect, the way he abused guitars, was probably a good thing. But it just goes to show you that some people think they are just valuable relics that shouldn't be used. Like many of those violins or Les Paul bursts that just go from collector to collector, rarely being played.
 

jordan

lothario speedwagon
i've been resisting posting in this thread for weeks now, and i'm breaking my self-imposed moratorium on posting to add my two cents to this discussion.

i've never really spent any significant time with a vintage guitar, although i did play a few when i worked at guitar center (the store i worked at had an impressive vintage department). my issue with vintage instruments is that my taste in guitars is so particular that i'd end up changing a bunch of stuff, and the guitar wouldn't be vintage anymore. i'm no great fan of either gibson or fender as brands anymore - the quality is just too hit-or-miss, even on premium instruments. i played my favorite production guitar at guitar center recently, and the intonation was way off - plus, the fret edges were really sharp, and one of the pots felt loose. this is on a brand new guitar that's one of Fender's nicest USA models, too! i prefer companies like G&L or Music Man - did you know you can call Music Man and give them your serial number, and they will tell you when your guitar was made and the name of the tech that signed off on it? I think that's neat. And G&L's facebook page is full of pictures documenting guitars as they go out the door, at least creating the facade that they give a shit about the instruments and don't just ship them out by the truck load.

since i played an SG for so long, i always thought of myself as a gibson person, but i'm really just a humbucking pickup person when it comes down to it. i guess i like the shorter scale, but that's only because i'm used to it, not because i prefer it. one of the things i like about my new guitar is that it doesn't really have any value to anyone but me. there's no famous brand to give it history, no famous player has ever used it, and i don't think i could resell it for even 25% of what i paid (and then, only to someone who was harvesting its organs). so whatever history it gets will be due to my abusing it, not some ascribed mythology based on a bunch of things that may or may not be true in the first place.

PS - i remember than hum eliminator, but not anything specific about it. mjp has a better ear than most, though, so you should trust him.

okay back to exile (except, maybe, from this thread).
 

mjp

Founding member
I think if it was your job in 1958 to sit at a bench at the Gibson factory in Klamazoo and do the pre-boxing finish and set up on guitars, you might have done 40 or 50 a day. But I suspect the same person sitting in Nashville today has to do more like 150 guitars a day, which is probably why many of them get to us they way they do. 10 minutes of attention vs. 3 minutes. Or whatever the real numbers are. That and the disappearance of the old-school music store setup.

There's no difference between the quality (or lack thereof) in Gibson and Fender, I think they both churn out the same number of guitars, though I believe Gibson makes more of theirs in the U.S. these days. I guess those little details never bothered be since I'm a tinkerer anyway and I take apart (and usually re-assemble) almost every guitar that comes into my hands, just for sport.

As for intonation, who cares. I'm ripping those strings off the minute I get it home anyway and putting on my own, and that would change the intonation they did with the old strings. Everyone knows how to do that themselves anyway, right?
 
...I'm a tinkerer anyway...
Same here. Mind you, don't leave me alone with a soldering iron or I'll have a melted pile of rubbish on my hands. But wood, frets (where applicable), hardware, etc. all get looked over.

Regarding set-ups; I'd prefer to do it myself anyway. I can't tell you how many posts I've read on instrument forums about "basses being set-up wrong, with nut slots too high, action too high, blah, blah." Well, you can't unfile nut slots once they're too low for someone's preference, can you? Being a double bass player, I like high action on my basses and an over-slotted nut is a piece of junk to me. So it's not wrong, dumbass, it's set-up so everyone can use it and tailor it to their preferences. It may take a bit more work for some of you, but get your head out of your spoon-fed ass and learn how to set-up your damn instrument.
[/rant]
 
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The best guitar I ever owned was a 1958 double cut TV junior. The single P-90 was a barking flamethrower. In the fifties the juniors were the "student models" but they were made with the same materials as the good stuff: Honduran mohagany, Brazilian rosewood, horse-hide glue (which dries into a crystalline glass-like substance that enhances tone), nitro finish without all the tone-killing plasticizers they use today.
The best bang for your buck in the guitar world is a vintage junior for around $3k. Those "student models" will give you better tone than any guitar made today with any pup configuration.
The best vintage PAF humbucker tone for your buck is a '58-'64 ES-345 for $9-12k.
Get one of those now and name it "burst killer." Soon, they, too, will be out of reach financially.
 
Man. If only I could get a time machine and then transfer all my currency into 1950s bills...that last photo has it all.
 
I'm always threatening to get a semi-hollow, but I'm not man enough for a big jazz box like that.
I know you're a Gibson guy, but I picked up a really solid 1967 Guild Starfire V today. It's been modded (Bigsby removed and the pickups replaced with P-90s; at least one of which appears to be of vintage similar to that of the guitar) and this baby is really tight. I put a set of 13s on it and it's quite a pleasure to play. The D'Angelico is fully hollow, but the Guild has a large center block. So, they're two very different animals.

I plugged the Guild into my '64 Princeton amp (these amps are well-known for being very clean, even at full volume; perfect for the D'A) and the P90s sounded filthy.

Aren't there any drummers around here?
Nope; just us musicians. :rolleyes:
 
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