Tools of the trade… wood choices in Strat-land.

The two "chosen ones".

The two “chosen ones”.

 

 

After owning a few “uber” vintage Strats, I’ve found a couple of great guitars that sit with the “good ‘uns”, and I think that my ears have really become sensitive to the differences between individual guitars of this particular model – now that I’m a Strat Cat again. A big reason for the re-visiting of my once favourite model, is that I now have the tools in the amplification department to get good gain at lower volumes – pretty much any sound that I want (thank you, Two Notes Torpedo and QSC!) – handy, or even necessary, in a 3 piece setting.

I have owned a couple of real ’56 Strats in the last few years, and while both were magical guitars, they were a little strident – in fact, they could shatter glass if you cranked ’em up. My beloved 64/65 Strat, which now resides with my best pal Pete F., on the other hand, was balanced across the range. Why was this so?

The beloved 64/65 "Troiano" Strat

The beloved 64/65 “Troiano” Strat

Well, the acoustic properties of an electric guitar are well known to us all – that’s why YOU could hear the difference between a guitar with a loose truss rod and the same guitar with a straight fingerboard and a tight truss rod – yes, you could! So to over-simplify a bit, maple board Strats are brighter and thinner sounding than rosewood board models… often clearer and more articulate too. Ash bodies are also brighter – and if they are light-weight – thinner sounding. An Alder body has a more even tone, with lots of mid-range and smooth highs and big smooth lows. Sure there are other woods, but these are the typical configurations.

Maple Neck / Alder Body

Maple Neck / Alder Body

So what I didn’t like about the ’56 Strats was the ash body/maple neck combo. Not to run that sound down – a killer tone you’ll hear on many records – but not MY sound. And it certainly works for Teles!!! In early to mid ’56, the bodies changed to alder, and to me, the ’56s with an alder body and a maple neck sound killer! I have this combination in my current maple neck Strat – and while it’s articulate, it has a smooth top end. My LSL Rosewood board “Strat” is a bit different… it has a gorgeous rosewood neck with rolled edges – a very similar neck to the 64/65 – but a little bigger… however, it has a lightweight swamp ash body that helps give the guitar it’s 6.7lb weight. This guitar rings! I swear you can hear the trem cavity / springs / control and pickup routes … very nuanced, very lively… real “cluck” and just killer… and the rosewood neck tames it just enough! This guitar “talks”! I LOVE it!

LSL Saticoy "Strat" gut shot

LSL Saticoy “Strat” gut shot

One last thought… well, two actually… I’m a big fan of a slightly hotter bridge pickup in a Strat. It takes the edge off and balances well with lower output N and M pickups – 6.5k – 7.5k is ideal. The “Troiano” has that ( a lucky accident?) and so do my Strats featured here. Secondly, I always wire a tone control to the bridge pickup… like a Tele… and just as usable!

 

Stratocaster® Setup Part 2

Sherwood Green Metallic Sounds Best!

Sherwood Green Metallic Sounds Best!

Thanks to Alex D. for alerting me to the Carl Verheyen Strat Trem setup… Here’s the Dean Markley © C.V. setup off their Balanced Bridge string pack:

Carl Verheyen Stratocaster® Full Floating Tremolo Bridge Setup. For the last 30 years the Fender® Stratocaster® has been my main guitar. When working with the bridge setup I always strive for the most musical and in-tune mechanical operation I can find. I’ve asked hundreds of players about their setup and over the years I’ve come up with my own method that always returns to pitch and has many musical benefits as well. The method described works best when the tuners are working properly, the nut has been properly cut so strings don’t bind,  the neck truss rod properly adjusted and the six (or two) mounting screws that fasten the bridge plate provide proper freedom of movement. At the heart of the setup is balancing spring tension with string tension by adjusting the two long spring tension adjusting screws at the “claw” to which the tremolo springs are attached to the steel tremolo block. Use three springs from the tremolo block to the claw: furthest position left, furthest position right and center; do NOT set the outside springs at an angle. 1. Begin by adjusting the two screws of the claw so that when you pull UP on the tremolo arm and the bridge is in contact with the body the G string pulls up a minor 3rd.This will make the B string rise a whole step and the E string a half step. The mechanics of the system should first make musical sense. When done correctly, you will end up with an “Angled Claw”—which is exactly what you’re looking for. (Balancing the Tension.) 2. You may have to go back and forth a few times between the two adjusting screws until the bridge is stable and the intervals described are true. And you’ll need to correct the intonation by adjusting the bridge saddles. This takes a bit of time. But when done properly, you will enjoy it. 3. When all is right and balanced between springs and strings, the Am7 barre chord on the 5th fret should sound like it is descending musically to an Abm7 when the bar is slightly depressed. It won’t be perfect but it’s a very musical sound you’re after and should achieve.This effect is ideal for “shaking” chords and applying a manual tremolo to your voicings. 4. An important point is to lubricate string contact points. I use a Teflon® lubricant by Dean Markley (Dean’s Tuba Luba) under the strings at the nut slots and where the strings contact the string tree(s).You only need to use a little lube; wipe away any excess. 5. I try to use the minimum windings on the string posts, preferring just one if possible. My bass strings leave the post at the top; my trebles wind down and leave the post at the bottom. 6. There is a short video of me explaining the whole process at: http://www.DeanMarkley.com/QR/WB.html All the best, Carl Verheyen Fender® and Stratocaster® are registered Trademarks of Fender Musical Instruments Corporation. Teflon® is a registered Trademark of DuPont™.

 

The Strat Whisperer?

Da New Aquisition

Da New Acquisition

I’m a bit of a “punter” when it comes to guitar repair. Don’t let me touch your frets with a file…  But I do have a good “feel”, as a player, for assessing a Stratocaster (I’m back into Strats in a big way!) very quickly, and with a bit of intuitive information becoming available to me. So today I got this 50s style Strat… rings really well with it’s Alder body and overall weight of just under 7-1/2 lbs. – a perfect weight for an Alder Strat. But more than that, this is a NICE piece of wood! With the right pickups (I haven’t plugged ‘er in yet) this will be a killer Strat!

So the next question is (here’s the voodoo): “how does the Tremolo WANT to be set up?”. I play the guitar – never plugged in at this stage – and try the Trem. It can feel stiff or loose, stay in tune or go out of tune… all relating to the type of bridge, action height, setup of 6 bridge screws, # of springs, lubrication, position of the Trem claw… this is all after I have lubed the nut and stretched the strings – the #1 cause of tuning issues for a Stratocaster. I play with these variables. Some guitars seem to play, sound and feel best with a floating bridge – and some are best with the bridge flat on the body. Sometimes I use 3 springs, often 4, and rarely, 5. There are different ways to set the springs on the claw. There are some different and unusual ways to set the depth of the 2 claw screws… it goes on and on! Of course these “best” ways for a particular instrument are just my opinions, and it’s really a subjective thing. But for sure, once I have set up a Strat the way that it feels right to me, I never seem to have to fight the guitar or the tuning when I play it live.

There are a few other things I do with a Strat – even a vintage guitar. One trick is that I always flip one wire on the switch so that the 2  Tone controls function on the neck pickup and the bridge pickup. The middle pickup is straight through, with no Tone control. I used to hook it up with the second Tone control functioning on both the middle and bridge pickups, but now I like the middle pickup to be straight through – it works really well when you use the notch position between the middle/bridge pickups. PF and I did a Strat shootout recently and we found that the Tone control on the bridge pickup in some configuration is really a “must” when you get used to having one and hearing the strident tone of even the best Strat bridge pickups when played straight through.

Flip that Middle Pickup Tone to the Bridge Pickup!

Flip that Middle Pickup Tone to the Bridge Pickup!

Since I am a bit of a “hack”, if I detect some binding in the nut after I have properly lubed it, I take it to a luthier. Same with fret issues…

Here’s some eye candy for you… David W.’s ’65 Strat that I owned for many years…

WILCOXBEST

 

 

Rig Rundown 2016… Digital? …maybe, just a little…

Da Rig... Ignore the Z cab.... it's just a stand!

Da Rig… Ignore the Z cab…. it’s just a stand!

Last night, I had the opportunity to hang with my dear friend Ronnie Douglas and his peeps on the occasion of his birthday, and I got into a little discussion with my pal and monster player, Ian Ross. Naturally, we were talking about gear – guys talk about gear, ladies talk about the family – we did a little of both! But then, my lovely wife was present to ensure the latter.

Anyway, I just sold yet another great amp yesterday – my wonderful 1966 Fender Princeton Reverb – one of the best Fender amps I have ever played (don’t worry, be happy, Brent B.!). And I am kind of getting down to a single, solitary setup for da band. In fact, given that I play in a “3 piece”, and having pretty much given up on Strats as being “too thin sounding”, I’m now back into Strats in a big way due to this latest rig! I had tried the Axe FX in it’s most up-to-date incarnation, and while it was amazing, and while it covers so much sonic ground, it was just too complex for a 3 knob guy like me. Plus, you really need to spend a lot of time tweaking and thinking about it – not my “thing”. Two of the huge byproducts of the Axe, are the ability to play with any tone at any volume, and the ability to simply use the P.A. for one’s signal path. What I have found, that solves quite a few issues, as well as these two, is the Two Notes Torpedo Live. This one rack space box (the other box in the rack is a Furman Power Conditioner to plug everything into) emulates a speaker cab, specific speakers, and a carefully placed mic or mics. You use a simple one screen piece of computer software to set up the cab in a room while you play. As you move the mic around with the mouse, the sound changes as you play your guitar. When you’re happy, you save the setting. Although it does come with lots of factory presets. I have created a very nice Marshall style 2 X 12 that is mic-ed with a virtual ribbon mic, off axis, to give a nice big, but smooth, tone. You can save lots of different cab setups and easily switch between them with one knob on the Torpedo. The second knob on the Torpedo allows me to run my Friedman Smallbox 50 at any level, while controlling the output level – and thus solving problem #2 – any tone at any volume. The attenuated output then goes to my powered QSC K10 monitor, and from there, on to the P.A.

Two Notes Torpedo Live

Two Notes Torpedo Live

I did some A/B-ing and I found that the best tone, for me, comes out of that QSC K10. Heck, I even prefer the emulated cabinet/K10 to using a real cabinet, in terms of what I am hearing. I had an Atomic powered wedge monitor – and they are great – and probably the best thing with an Axe FX, but I honestly preferred the tone of the QSC K10 and K12 monitors with my rig. I chose the K10 because it was a little smaller than the K12, and while ever so slightly less “open” sounding, there was very, very little difference in tone. The K10 also had the advantage of being slightly “tighter” sounding. Another thing is that I can still run my pedals with this rig – and they sound great! Running my pedals with the Axe FX was a bit “glitchy”, plus it added yet another layer of complexity to an already complex situation. So now I’m back into pedals!!!

Pedal board as it has evolved

Pedal board as it has evolved

QSC K10 1000 watt powered speaker

QSC K10 1000 watt powered speaker

The end result, as I sit and play “Third Stone From The Sun” on my Stratocaster, is that the dogs don’t even flinch! The tone is so “right” and I’m a happy camper. You can buy the Two Notes Torpedo Live for under $1500. I got one from my pal Andy Cherna at Diffusion Audio. I don’t work for Andy, but I’m sure hoping that “the cheque’s in the mail!” 🙂 Not!!!

 

 

 

The Mexican and the Fishman… A Proverb

Fishman Fluence Single Width

Fishman Fluence Single Width

 

It’s been a while since I have been so “chuffed” (if you’re not English, look it up!) with a guitar, and I haven’t been able to put this guitar down over the holidays! You may know the Strat – a Mexican Stratocaster that was re-fretted in stainless 6100 wire by Ronnie D. – and generously passed on to me as he continues to engage in Grissomesque PRS tones. I loved the Mojotone Steel Pole pickup assembly (with Blender pot) that Ronnie had in there, so I have left it intact for future use. Added was a gold anodized aluminum pickguard with the new FISHMAN FLUENCE SINGLE WIDTH pickups. I first heard these pickups when the wonderful Greg Koch did a clinic in our town (yes, Greg, you did make a splash in Barrie, Ontario!!!). GK pretty much uses these pickups exclusively, and there’s good reason. For one, they are completely silent – NO NOISE! Another fab thing is that they have a pull pot that changes the pickup voicing – not just superficially – but by accessing a different wind in the coils. You get a very natural Strat tone, and then a beefier, more mid-rangey tone when you pull the bottom tone pot. The magnets are “normal” Alnico IV, but the coils are printed on multi-layered circuit boards that give a very consistent result from pickup to pickup, as well as many tonal possibilities. I found that wiring these pickups was pretty easy when I allowed lots of time and followed the YouTube video step-by-step. I wired the Tone controls with one on the neck pickup and one on the bridge pickup – as I always do. I also employed the 250 hour battery backplate that you charge with your computer (or into the wall) … these pickups are “active” – although you’d never know it!

Da Battery Pack

Da Battery Pack

 

So how do these pickups sound? Well, I compared this guitar to the “gold standard” – my 64/65 Troiano Stratocaster. Tonally, I found the “Mexican” to be very much in the same park – and that’s saying a lot! The pull pot to fatten up the pickup tone added even more color. I’d have to say that the Fluence pickups hang very well with the vintage Strat. The Fluence bridge pickup has a tad more highs, but this can be useful… and that’s why I have moved the tone control to the bridge pickup from the middle pickup. The straight Voice 1 sound is VERY vintage, very “Stratty”, and the notch positions just sing a little more than with conventional pickups. I almost tend to forget the added bonus that these pickups are dead quiet. So here we have a rainbow of wonderful Stratocaster tones, all with no noise, it’s just a revelation! Through my Friedman Smallbox 50, it’s devastating!!!

I really don’t see myself moving off these great pickups… really! The Fluence pickups come in several flavours – including a 2 voice PAF that I think sounds amazing – as well as a Tele set that was developed with the input of the Gristle King himself (no, I don’t sell these pickups or work for the company!!!). I bought my set at a “show special price”, but they are very reasonably priced anyway. They come with pots, extra color coded wires, etc. The Battery Pack – which I really recommend over 9V battery operation – just for convenience – can be purchased separately.

Twang on!!!

The "Offender"... Mex Fluence Stratocaster

The “Offender”… Mex Fluence Stratocaster

 

Can a $479 PRS Kick a 10k Historic Les Paul to the Curb???

The Korean PRS SE Custom

The Korean PRS SE Custom

 

Sometimes it’s unclear about what makes a great sounding guitar and sometimes we “listen with our eyes”, as my friend PF has become fond of saying…

So the back-story here is that I bought a cool little Korean PRS hollobody a few years back (now long gone), and after a re-fret and a few boo-teek pickup changes (I ultimately chose the stock Korean made pickups as best thing in that geetar!), I had a marvellous sounding and playing axe! The thing about these guitars is that they are built a little bit like a 335 – with a FLAT plywood top and a solid centre block… this gave it a unique and wonderful punchy tone… the guitar was small and lightweight, with a big neck too! Anyway, as I said, that guitar is long gone. When I saw another on ebay, I grabbed it. $479.00 US greenbacks. I tried to live with the frets, but ultimately I had the guitar re-fretted with jumbos (thanks, Russ), put Grovers on, and threw in a set of ’61 model Jim Rolph pickups that I had in the parts bin.

Yup, made in Korea,,,

Yup, made in Korea,,,

 

There are clearly some “offshore” aspects to the guitar… I didn’t trust the tuners, the bridge needed shimming so it wouldn’t wobble, the nut material was soft and rubbery (clearly not the “unotainium” material that Paul uses in his US made guitars)… But all stuff that I may change at some point. The effect on the playability was insignificant, in any case. But in a tone test, with the Jim Rolph pickups, this guitar sounded HUGE! Very lively. Big, tight bottom end. Smooth aggressive top end. I particularly noticed how percussive and “round” that the single note lines sounded. But “we have a problem, Houston”… rolling back the volume knob produced almost immediate “mud”. Problem #2: changing the offshore pots meant re-drilling the holes in the top of the guitar – since offshore pots have smaller shafts – a big hassle! Checking the wiring, I noticed that there was already a treble bleed cap, so this in itself should stop the volume pot from getting muddy, but it clearly wasn’t doing what I thought it might. At that point, my madcap brain remembered a small seemingly insignificant fact – that it was the recommendation of my late pal (and wiring genius… well, just GENIUS, period), Brian Miller, that a small bleed cap PLUS A SMALL RESISTOR in parallel was that best way to do this. In fact, I had a few of these parts that Brian had given me. So I soldered in the tiny resistor with the existing cap and VOILA! clear and beautiful all the way up and down the volume range. This was a bit astounding to me, but hey, I am thankful for small mercies! I plugged the guitar in… OMG, I’VE CREATED A MONSTER!!!

The Beast! Lightweight and Savage!

The Beast! Lightweight and Savage!

 

Now this guitar sounded so good… that I did an A/B with a $10,000 Historic Les Paul that I had laying around (well, not actually laying around) and, oh my! Blind-folded I might actually choose the PRS… The guitar was more lively, smoother, had more bottom end. It was punchier. It had more “bloom”. The Jim Rolph pickups in the cheap PRS – VERY highly regarded with those “in the know” (and rather expensive too) – obviously didn’t hurt the outcome either. Anyway, if you see one of these guitars around for sale used (they don’t make them with the flat top anymore), I highly recommend them as a great “project” guitar. And the stock pickups do sound excellent!

 

 

Da ‘Cheap n Cheerful’ Mexican Strat… no ’55 Tele Content!

Heavily Modded Strat from South of the Border (2 borders, actually)

Heavily Modded Strat from South of the Border (2 borders, actually)

I just couldn’t resist when my pal Ronnie Dee offered me this Mexican Strat that he modded with 6100 SS frets, Mojotone steel pole pickups, new pots, blender wired, and locking Gotohs. Just a great axe! In fact, I’ll set up a 2nd pickguard so that I can use this guitar as a platform for my Fishman Fluence pickups. I heard Greg Koch play the Fishmans in a very intimate 20 person demo, and aside from his astounding playing and marvellous/gentlemanly personality, these pickups rocked… plus there was an absurdly low “show special price”… heck I woulda bought them anyway at twice the price!

But for me, there was a “deal-breaker” with this Strat… the impossible orange Urethane neck just felt horrible… sticky, and very unfriendly. Now, being a plastic finish, the only way to deal with it is to get out the sandpaper! So I started with the 100 grit and after 2 hours and 1 water blister later, I was down to a light sanding with 400 grit. So what we have here, if I may jump the gun a bit, is a pretty authentic looking – and feeling (smooth as a baby’s bum and really fast and friendly) “aged” neck. How did I do that?…

The Impossibly orange Urethane Neck Gets a Makeover

The Impossibly orange Urethane Neck Gets a Makeover

So here’s what I did to finish the back of the neck… I went out to the “back 40” with the Strat, and grabbed some wet earth… rubbed it into the neck… then I got some dirty grease from my garage door rollers (no word of a lie!) and rubbed it in… next, a single drop of brown Stew Mac stain… all massaged into the neck. For finish, I used Tung & Teak oil from Home Depot… being careful to let it dry… and then lightly steel wooling (#0000) and polishing between each of the 5 coats. And that’s it! I think it looks pretty authentic… but more importantly… it FEELS great!!!

 

So My Accountant says: “It’s called a ‘hobby’, not a ‘business’ when you don’t make any money!!!”

 

Pete, Chris & Hugh sharing the love1

Pete, Chris & Hugh sharing the love1

Having a site to buy and sell guitars has always been a labour of love for me. I’ve met some really cool people and had a chance to lay my hands on some pretty cool geetars and amplificators, for sure. First and foremost, I have always tried to facilitate the deal – to make it happen! I experience these acquisitions vicariously through these deals… and maybe I make a little “scratch” along the way. But the big problem with this is that I love the guitars, the people, and the music they make… too much!  And I just love to play…

So I just haven’t made any money for my time and effort!

For Those Who Like To Rock...

For Those Who Like To Rock…

Anyway, I’d just love to stop and tell you about a new/old “game changer” for me, my recent acquisition, my all original 1955 Fender Telecaster, but we’ll do that in the next post. Where was I?… So anyway, once I buy boxes and pay for the website updates, and pay all the costs… ebay, pay pal, Brokerage fees, etc., I found that the balance sheet… well, had NO balance at all!!! And that doesn’t even include my time!!! So I’ve decided to pack in the sales portion of Blue Hugh Music and to expand the Vintage Gallery and Blog over the coming months… so I can still share the love! And, by the way, the email will remain active and you can still contact me at hugh@bluehughmusic.com

In winding down the sales portion of the site, I’d like to take this opportunity to thank a few people: Pete F. for the great logo, Robbie F. at Positive E (and the whole gang at Positive E Solutions) for helping me to make this site a reality… and all the “horse traders” who have made it fun… I can’t name ’em all, but I can name a few… PF, Johnny R. from the windswept prairie as of late, Nige, Ronnie D., Tony F., Chris A., Stephen S., Steve “Rigbyburst” R., Mike B. Tony F., Brian and Richard from the sandbar, Jason “Lemmy” L., Todd L’E., AD, Bill MacM., Brent B., Peeter K., Chad Underwood, Dave C., Esse, Gary C., Jordan J., Kim Lafleur, Mark G., Mike Turk, Peter Swanick, Russ L., Ron Ellis, Steve P S, Ed P., Tony B., Charlie Gelber, Matte H., Walter MacM., Claude on GC, and to James N. for that 55 Tele (I did re-fret and pot the neck pickup, Jim), and to anyone I carelessly left out: Thanks, A. Nonymous!

Now on to geetars! … I always wonder about the comparison between great old vintage guitars and amps and the quality new stuff. We are definitely in a Renaissance period with respect to “new builds” – what with all the introspection regarding pickup construction, wood and design analysis, aging techniques, etc. But, dang!, it’s hard to equal a great – should I say “magical”  – old vintage guitar for the tones they create. My personal collection is about 1/2 and 1/2 vintage to newer builds. And just in case I have to hit you with a ballpeen hammer to point you back to the top of this Blog entry to figure it out… I have recently acquired a stunning 1955 Telecaster that plays 10/10 and sounds 11/10!!! Here’s a little eye candy… and I’ll see you on the next post…

Da '55 Telecaster

Da ’55 Telecaster

Nice wiring there, Gloria!

Nice wiring there, Gloria!

 

 

 

Rare Teuffel Birdfish Sighted Outside of its Natural Habitat!

Handler with rare Birdfish

Handler with rare Birdfish

The delicate and rare Teuffel Birdfish was glimpsed last night in… Brantford, Ontario last night! 1000s of kilometers from its natural habitat of Germany!

When you can find one of these creatures, they are upwards of 10k, and we understand that the “new” price is around 20k!

New custodian, Pete F., is anxious to see if the Birdfish can deliver the goods… Although quirky, the Birdfish feels quite comfortable to play… the neck feels very vintage – rounded in profile – and not unlike the lovely Music Man necks in overall feel. The tone is bright and very “Strat-like” – the 3 pickup/5 way setup helps here… but the tone is much more articulate and percussive than many Strats – with great note separation as a consequence.

Fly on, fly on, Little Wing!…

The Railways Guitar Festival … Top 3 Funny Comments from “Lookers”

A few rarified geetars at the Railways Guitar Fest

A few rarified geetars at the Railways Guitar Fest

One of the fun things about this little hobby is when I get asked to do a mini guitar show and sale. My pal Robin Munroe – who set up the Railways Guitar Festival in Barrie, Ontario – allowed me to have a booth. Given that it was Promenade Days, there was A LOT of traffic, but the level of inside knowledge of vintage guitars was, understandably, low… of course! – just like I am lost at a car show – and I certainly can’t fault the “lookers” for their sometimes unintentionally hilarious comments.

One of the “litmus tests” that my booth secretly presented to me, was that there was a very pretty Gibson Custom Shop Reissue Aged Sunburst Les Paul that was worth a few thousand… but right there… being constantly over-looked… there was a REAL vintage 1956 Les Paul Gold Top “Conversion” with real 50+ year old PAF humbucking pickups… worth about $25,000. Only, one person recognized the REAL gold and went straight to the Gold Top that day!

1956 Les Paul Gold Top "Conversion"

1956 Les Paul Gold Top “Conversion”

So let’s get to the top 3 comments “Letterman” style… I might add that all three of these folks looked supremely thoughtful and pensive and intelligent as they made their comments – as if these pearls of wisdom deserved a lot of weight (and maybe they do – but not for the reasons intended!).

#3 Funniest Comment: A young lady walked up and stared at my Funk Farm “Hughbie” amplifier – an amp brand that my pal Pete Medvick came up with a couple of years ago for his custom made creations – just to give them a name – anyway, as she stared at the amp, she said longingly: “Funk Farm… I haven’t seen one of those in years!”. Ha! Ha! OK…

Da Funk Farm

Da Funk Farm

2. OK.. comment #2 in the list of funniest comments. A young man looked at my ’64 Stratocaster and said: “Those are worth a lot of money because they have a Jamaican Redwood neck!” I said: “You mean Brazilian Rosewood?” He thought hard for an inordinately long and awkward moment and replied: “No, it’s Jamaican Redwood..” and then walked away… Hilarious!

1. And finally, the #1 comment at the booth… Two guys about age 30 were looking at my 1956 Gibson Les Paul Special in TV yellow finish… the guitar was clearly and boldly labelled “1956” and I made a point of re-iterating it a couple of times. Now I should give you the background that I am aged 50 something… and I’ve been told that I look young for my chronological age… SO… The comment from one of the guys? With a straight face… “Did you buy it new?” Ouch!!!!!!! It’s the only time I made a comment back to someone else’s comment that day – because I could tell he was serious – so I actually said … “jeeze, man, I wasn’t even born when this guitar was made!”. But a very funny comment!!!

The "older than me" 1956 Special!

The “older than me” 1956 Special!