21st April 2012
Photo with 2 notes
Shades & a bandanna always add attitude to guitar playing.
Part 2 of 4 finds Agnes running her scales:-)
21st April 2012
This week I decided to combine my 2 creations, Agnes (my syndicated comic strip) and reimagined guitars. Part 1 of 4, Agnes finds a guitar in the dumpster. Sometimes I do too:-)
12th December 2011
Photo with 4 notes
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8th November 2011
Link with 1 note
My search for storied guitars took an odd turn. Sometimes it’s the odd devices that get me jazzed. One guy even had a guitar with human teeth used for the knobs on the tuners. He was a professional boxing referee and collected the teeth for 20 years. Another guy once tried to sell me a hollow body Gibson that had a secret compartment fitted with poison darts and a blow gun. I don’t know why, but I don’t make this stuff up. One of my favorites is the one I have on my work bench right now. It needs a new volume pot. It’s a Strat look alike clad with aluminum from the Porsche James Dean died in. The guy I bought it from said a friend of a friend swiped a door from the car. (The car has never been accounted for, by the way.) He deskinned the door and used the sheet aluminum to shore up some bad cracks in the body of his guitar. He had documents. I believed him. Enough said.
1st November 2011
“Is this a three quarter size bass guitar?” I asked. “Yeah, got it from a dude in New Hampshire. He had a clown act he did at parties and such and a full size bass stuck out of his pants too far.” I didn’t ask for elaboration. Didn’t need it. Didn’t want it. “Thirty bucks? Why so cheap?” Oh jeez, aren’t I the master of haggle? “It’s a piece of crap,” he said. He was obviously the master of salesmanship. “Take twenty?” I waved the bill. “No, thirty, and that’s firm.” “Twenty-three?” I pulled some crumpled ones out of my shirt pocket. “Done,” he said. It was the extra 2 knobs and the little box wired to the side that caught my attention. I needed to compare it to a diagram I had at home, but it looked like a dual amber capacitor housing and, if it was, this was a very good thing. Sixteen of these were made by Robby Hubson in 1968 exclusively for the Winslow and Sharp guitar works. They never worked like they were supposed to and, even worse, no one knows now what they were supposed to do. Just as it sat, it could easily fetch a grand and, if it lit up when amped, the sky was the limit. I whistled happy happy tunes all the way home.
28th October 2011
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Buying guitars must hyperactivate your kidneys. I was making really good time home in the truck, but nature’s call had progressed from a gentle urgency to “if I don’t find a bathroom real soon, I’m going to blow bladder all over the dashboard.” I stopped at a UDF and scurried inside. After I had taken care of the situation, I grabbed 2 jerkies and a Stuarts Cream Soda. The girl behind the counter flashed a smile showing teeth that could only be called teeth in the most polite sense. “I see you buy guitars.” She motioned at my truck. “Yes.” I was trying not to look at her mole. She had a mole on her chin that looked like Abe Vigoda’s nose, only in HO scale. “I don’t have a guitar, but I have a case for one.” She gave me my change. “No market for cases. Sorry.” I smiled and hoped the charm I exuded didn’t pass for flirtation. “It’s monkey skin,” she said. “I keep it here. Mom says it’s creepy and she doesn’t want it in the house. My boss lets me keep it in the back by the dog food. She had me at ‘monkey skin’. “May I see it?” She disappeared through 2 banged up aluminum doors and reappeared before they even stopped swinging. She plopped it on the counter. Yikes! This was the most grotesque guitar case I’d ever seen. “My Uncle Donny skinned a big monkey that he found dead in his swimming pool. He made it into a gig bag for his electric guitar. See?” She pointed to a raised area. “I think that’s his nipple.” No knowing about the legality of owning such a thing, I passed. But I can give you the address if you’re interested.
25th October 2011
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I had never seen a guitar with one of these. Not in real life, anyway, only in old pictures … very old pictures. I wondered if it worked. “Peter Frampton owned it. He sold it to Jimmy Page,” the owner pleaded. “Jimmy Page sold it to Jimi Hendrix in 1986.” “I bet he hardly used it,” I said. “Only once and that was at that there big We Are The World concert,” he offered. This was fun. “Remember that?” “Oh, yes,” I said. “I couldn’t keep my foot from tapping.” I flipped the heavy beast over. ” I’ll give you 20 bucks,” I said. He looked shocked. “For a guitar that Slash himself owned? Are you nuts?” I knew who was nuts, but I wanted the pickups. I WANTED the Chambered Star and Dot lever. “Oh, did Slash buy it from Jimi?” I asked. “No, I think he bought it from Prince,” he said. “Fifty bucks,” I countered. “Last offer and I get to use your bathroom before I go. Take it or leave it.” I slung the guitar over my shoulder like a fat rifle. I gave him my best dare you to say no look. He stuck out his hand. We had a deal.
21st October 2011
The Russian guitar under the house trailer wasn’t Russian at all. It had a hammer and sickle stenciled on it and the guy claimed that a communist named Keith Richards had owned it back in the late 60s before he was a Rolling Stone. I told him, as far as I knew, Keith Richards was an avowed capitalist. “He is now,” he answered, “but this was his back when he was poor and stuff and a member of The People’s Army.” That’s when I knew the guy was delusional. He could see that I was leaving. “Then he sold it to a guy in the Yardbirds,” he tried next. “Eric Clapton!” He looked at me with one eyebrow raised. “No,” I said. “Jeff Beck?” He was pleading now. The thing was, I liked the pickups on it. I had never seen anything like them. Dark, narrow rectangles that looked like the tops of tiny ancient car batteries … and triangular magnets! Who ever saw triangular magnets? But the neck was warped like a rotini noodle and the body appeared to be a fine combo of linoleum over plywood. Junk. I flipped it over in my hands. My heart almost thudded to an elated halt.
11th October 2011
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We haggled a price for the guitar. I stowed it carefully in the truck and said a cordial good-bye. I had just pulled out of the driveway. I didn’t hit a bump. I didn’t make a sudden steering move. The radio wasn’t on. But, from behind the seat, chimed a single, slinky, skanky sounding G minor … strummed just once. Then there was silence. It didn’t do it again; not on the way home and not in my workshop later. It didn’t even do it for the lead guitarist of a very famous band (that I’m not at liberty to name here) who bought it without even trying to beat me down on price. I wouldn’t have come down on price anyway. It’s crazy, but sometimes I still hear that chord in my head. Witch wood indeed.
Why do you suppose it was G Minor?