It’s probably fair to say that I’m a bit of a guitar anorak. I’m the sort of person who can’t walk past a music shop window without having a good look, or getting itchy fingers if someone else is playing one. I originally started learning on a Yamaha 12 string guitar which I borrowed from my next door neighbour Jaemey who was really into the smashing pumkins.
Shame really as he’s a nice bloke. The first guitar I actually bought was a really crappy Encore accoustic from Argos (that warped within about 9 months if i remember rightly) and a black squire strat that I still have in the loft which makes my fingers bleed.
Anyway, nowadays I have a really funky collection of guitars that I’m always adding to! Next is a nice accoustic, and then maybe a Gibson SG………….
Danelectro 1956 Reissue electric guitar
This is my main guitar and definately the main reason why I’ve gotten back into playing again after hardly doing so over the last 4-5 years. I purchased it for £229 and it’s the best thing I’ve bought for a very long time. It’s very easy to play, has wonderful action and a very varied and distinctive tone. I would go as far to say that this guitar is probably the inspiration that not only got me to play again, but also badger Alex into doing music again after so long.
Fender Stratocaster Electric Guitar – Japanese custom body.
Originally the property of a certain Mr A L Baldy, I always loved this guitar because of it’s funky look and indeed the very funky set up. It’s brilliant for snappy riffs and rhythm, plus it has some guts for a nice Hendrix type of sound with the right gear. I remember almost crying when Al sold this to our mutual friend Glen, who promptly used it on a couple of his tracks and sold it to me for £150. Ding dang do.
Yamaha Pacifica 12 String Electric Guitar
This was originally bought for the ‘Absurds’ (Beatles parody) recordings that Alex undertook for Jack. Git. The guitar itself is very easy to play for a 12 string, in fact you’d be forgiven for thinking that it wasn’t a 12 string at all when you play it. The tone is absolutely perfect for emulating the ‘Hard Days Night’ sort of sound the Beatles had then, or like on ‘Hey Mr Tambourine man’ covered by The Byrds. Unlike the old saying, they do make them like they used to, although having checked since they no longer produce these at Yamaha so they’re quite collectable. Spider-man tremelo bar is optional.
Kimbara Les Paul (Copy) Electric Guitar
Alex’s first guitar, sadly suffered with a damaged output jack so I got it repaired. It’s cool and sounds the nuts through a Marshall amp due to the pickups. Stupidly easy to play, nice wide neck for my small stubby fingers. The guy in the guitar shop didn’t want to give it back, so I impaled him on a poncy Ibanez. This is definately from the 1970’s as well, Japanese issue. I hope I can afford a soundproof detached house one day so that I can play this LOUD at 3am one morning when I can’t sleep.
Aria Pro II Electro-Accoustic Guitar
I bought this off of Alex for £150 back when I had my crappy Squire Strat and Encore Accoustic. It was my first decent guitar and although it needs a little fret repair now, you can still get a great sound out of it when playing open tuning and a little slide guitar. After the Les Paul copy is fixed I think i’ll get this repaired as well!
Ovation Applause Electro-Accoustic Guitar
This guitar was absolutely brilliant for putting into a desk directly and getting an acoustic sound, but without amplification it was also pretty duff compared to a dedicated acoustic guitar. So I sold it.
Art Lutherie – Cherry Red Accoustic Guitar
Al bought this lovely cherry red Art Luthrie acoustic back from a trip in Wales and for reasons unknown it was in my gig bag without a nut or a bridge saddle. I do remember buying it off of him but can’t recall how bits went missing, I would imagine though that I was put off with the idea of paying out for repair costs and just left it. I’m glad to say my mindset in that regards is quite different now, I enjoy trying to investigate and fix things so I invested in a new nut and saddle from ebay, filed and prepared them and then glued back on.So for the grand total of £5 I got the glue, nut and saddle and restored a very funky guitar! How chuffed am I!??!
MAIN AMP – 1974 Fender Twin Reverb Amp
Back when I was about 18 or so Alex and I popped to Crystal Palace in view to raiding our favourite retro guitar shop for new gadgets. Al stumbled upon this original 1974 Fender Pro Twin Reverb amp and snapped it up for a very reasonable sum indeed. Given how collectable they are, and also the qualify of sound they produce I felt very lucky having access to one when we’d jam back at Limes Road Studios.
Alex decided to sell after clearing out a load of things and I gladly took it off his hands (I always felt it’d be mine someday!!!), the spring reverb and vibrato settings give a retro sound which just can’t be reproduced unless you are using the sort of valves which are built into the amp. Speaking of which, when I brought it back from Al’s last night I had to do a makeshift fiddle/repair with one after I only got reduced power on the vibrato channel.
Marshall Vavlestate 80V Transistor Amplifier
Alex originally bought one of those a good few years ago, and I enjoyed using it so much I went out and bought exactly the same model because it meant I could practice at home and reproduce the same sound if it came to recording. You can link them up and double up the sound but if I did that at home it’d most likely blow out the windows and shatter all my glass furniture. It is a tempting thought though!. Anyway, it gives the tone of a valve/transistor amp without the usual high cost involved, with a decent guitar you can pretty much reproduce the sounds of almost any rock track, the overdrive, compression and reverb on the amp is actually good enough not to have an offensive amount of effects units everywhere. Plug in and rock.
Danelectro Honeytone portable amp.
Alex gave me this and I have to say it’s one of my favourite gadgets. It gives an amazing little tone, with a distortion setting good enough to record yet all powered off a 9V battery which means you can use it for busking, sodding around in the street or playing late at night using headphones. It’s a brilliant little gadget and I’d recommend it to anyone.
VOX Wah Wah Pedal
Currently on loan from Alex, I’ve just started using a wah-wah (never could get the hang of it years ago) and really enjoy playing some funky rhythm guitar, or just sitcking the distortion on and showing Mr Rumbelow-Brown who lives at number 6 who the daddy is. Bom Chicka Wah-Wah.
MXR PHASE 100 PEDAL
Speaking of which, this is the MXR, a VERY funky phase pedal indeed and a 70’s original. Again, something Al picked up down in Crystal Palace, and something I always wished I’d bought myself. Saying that, I had a terrible tendancy to use far too many effects back in the day so it’s probably just as well I didn’t!!! More info on the MXR here http://www.thegigrig.com/acatalog/MXR_Phase_100.html
RECORDING DESK – TASCAM DP-01FX – 8 Track Portable Recorder
I decided on the Tascam as the core of my setup because I wanted to be able to record at different locations without losing the features of a permanent recording desk set up (which Alex used to have in his set up back when we used to record originally). I’ve done a few tests on it so far and it is so easy to just plug in, get a level and record, unreal in it’s simplicity in fact.
It records in CD quality sound, allows full use of external effects units and also has a nice little array of effects built in. So all in all, not bad for £200.
- 8-track recording at uncompressed CD quality into a built-in 40GB hard drive
- 2-track simultaneous recording
- Dedicated stereo mixdown track
- Dedicated controls on each channel for volume, pan, EFX send, EQ high and EQ low
- 2-band semi-parametric EQ per track
- 2 – 1/4 ” TRS mic/line inputs
- 2 phantom-powered XLR microphone inputs
- Guitar level input
- Built-in reverb processor
- Built-in insert effects processor
- Effects send and stereo return
- RCA line output
- S/PDIF digital optical output
- Headphone output with level control
- MIDI Timecode output
- USB 2.0 port for computer backup
- Track editing: copy, paste, move, erase, silence
Should you be a total geek and want to see the manual you can find it here : http://www.tascam.com/details;9,16,34,19.html.