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!



Best Amp On The Planet?


I should actually say: “Best REAL Amp On the Planet” because I am still enjoying the tones that come from my Axe FX 2 XL. But let me tell you that the Bludo Drive amplifier (this is the 70s voicing with optional FET channel) has been in my peripheral vision ever since my pal PF got one a few years back. The Bludo really came into focus for me a couple of weeks ago when PF and I had a few “Lugtreads” and proceeded to audition a few special guitars thru his Bludo.

A few years back...

A few years back…

Traditionally, when I start “the hunt”, everything becomes tunnel vision towards the new piece of sonic glory – and this time was no exception! I was fortunate enough thru a happy coincidence and the positive energies of some guy named Todd and some guy named Brandon, to acquire my Bludo Drive amplifier and Loopalator almost immediately! Good karma! Last night, my pal PF jumped in his Prius and headed for the Rancho (more good karma – thank you PF!) – mainly so he could show me the “ins and outs” of both the amp and the Loopalator.

Now these amps already have a huge reputation – you’ll see Santana with a couple, Larry Carleton loves his… there’s a long list. The Bludo Drive amps apparently were inspired by those “D” amps – made by the eccentric and brilliant Howard Somebody… or was it Alexander? I actually played a 100 watt “D” and wasn’t smitten – but, to be fair, I didn’t spend more than a few minutes with it. Back to the Bludo… this amp is like no amp I have ever heard – and I have owned 100s! Even when heavily over-driven, there is a depth of tone, complexity, and a big sound that you don’t hear in other amps. Most amps flatten out and become less-dimensional, smaller, as you increase the amount of distortion – not so with the Bludo. The cleans are also spectacular and very big, with no tendency to be “limited”. The FET channel adds an FET pre-amp and it makes the tone a bit “tougher”, brighter, and more focussed. A nice option. When I got the amp, I immediately flipped the 1/2 power switch to 50 watts, and all my auditions were done at 1/2 power. The 100 watt setting is obviously a tad “bigger”. The Master Volume works exceedingly well too – and I would have no problem using this amp in a small pub. The Loopalator is an impedance matching device that has a 12AX7 tube in it. I makes the amp sound ever so slightly fuller, and the effects loop is killer, I have never heard my delay pedal sound so good. Now I know why I don’t like the sound of my delay on my pedal board “in front” of the amp! This Bludo Drive amp is completely in a class of it’s own… best amp ever? Quite possibly!

So I guess there will be some amps for sale! maybe I’ll keep my Black Face Princeton Reverb, my Divided By 13 LDW (for Marshally tones), my Tex EF 86, and, of course, my custom Funk Farm “Hughbie” amp… hey, if you had a model of your own, you’d keep it too!