the great other


A ban on the use of steel string guitars in British jails has been lifted due in part to an initiative led by guitarist/songwriter Billy Bragg. According to Uncut:

The campaign was also led by Cardiff West MP Kevin Brennan … Musicians including Radiohead’s Ed O’Brien and Philip Selway, Elbow’s Guy Garvey, Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour and Johnny Marr also supported the campaign to overturn the ban.

And Bragg himself notes:

As an incentive to engage in rehabilitation individual access to steel strung guitars can really help the atmosphere on a prison wing.

Read more at Uncut.

Right here.

From the nylon string hollow body to the overdriven Les Paul, all guitars—and musical instruments—operate according to the principles of physics. Physicist and guitarist Dr. David Robert Grimes, a postdoctoral researcher in Oxford University’s Department of Oncology, has applied the science of his day job to the techniques of the guitar in a new article published in the journal PLOS ONE. How devoted to the study was he? Here’s Dr. Grimes, via the Dublin City University website:

I took one of my oldest guitars down to the engineering lab to one of the people I knew there and explained that I wanted to strip it down to do this experiment. We had to accurately bend the strings to different extents and measure the frequency produced. He was a musician too and looked at me with abject horror. But we both knew it needed to be done – We put some nails into my guitar for science.

Read more at DCU’s site.

Right here.

It’s amazing what you can buy if you have piles of money. For example, a Martin D-28 that once belonged to Elvis Presley will go to auction in Memphis next month. The guitar is currently owned by Greg Page, founder of the children’s group The Wiggles and mega Elvis collector. Despite the fact that this item and the others to be listed don’t originate from the Presley estate, they’ve all been verified as legitimate. According to Today.com:

Everything up for sale has been given the stamp of approval from the new Graceland-affiliated authentication and appraisal service, Graceland Authenticated.

Read more and take a look at the Martin at Today.com.

Right here.

In an Onion-worthy parody of overzealous gun nuts, a Dallas man has founded the first ever Open Carry Guitar Rally. Guitarist—and gun owner—Barry Kooda (!) says what started as a joke has turned into a real thing. From the Huffington Post:

(I) went on to Facebook and made up a bogus event without a time, date or location. It quickly took on a life of its own and I’ve been playing catchup ever since.

He goes on to explain the concept:

The idea of desensitizing people to the sight of someone walking (in public) with an automatic rifle is not good. “I figured that guitars would be a better choice to carry in public and somewhat less dangerous,” Kooda told the Dallas Observer. “Why not poke a little fun and make a little sense at the same time?”

Kooda’s expectations of the turnout are realistic: He expects “between 10 and 700 guitar players will show up” to demonstrate.

True patriots.

Read all about it at Huffington Post.

Right here.

England’s Coventry University has named Tony Iommi Visiting Professor of Music. The institution, which in 2013 awarded the Black Sabbath legend an Honorary Doctorate Of Arts degree, is thrilled to have him. Via Revolver:

Dr. Geoff Willcocks, Coventry University’s Director Of Arts And Culture, said, “To watch Tony interact with the students was an absolute privilege. (He) is without doubt a rock icon and he’s an inspiration to so many people around the world. It’s wonderful to have such an important and respected international figure working with us.”

No word as to whether Dr. Iommi’s syllabus will include analysis of the cultural impact of such songs as “Digital Bitch” and “Sabra Cadabra.”

Read more at Revolver.

Right here.

Guitar World is running a new survey of exploratory sounds, “Top 10 Weirdest Guitar Sounds Ever Recorded.” In addition to such expected parties as Adrian Belew and Steve Vai, also represented is Fred Frith:

On his 1974 album Guitar Solos, (Frith) pioneered the concept of “preparing” guitars: tuning them to unorthodox pitches, attaching alligator clips to the strings, and playing them by any means other than picking. This particular track sounds like a drunken ghost talking.

And, of course Tom Morello. Regarding the Rage Against the Machine track “Revolver:”

The intro sounds like R2D2 on a bad trip, while the start of the solo calls to mind a factory treadmill. (Morello) can make all the same noises as a turntablist – and then some.

Check out the entire list with audio and video samples at GW.

Right here.

And speaking of Vai, jump back to 1984 for his Weird Noises guitar lesson.

Right here.

A theft in progress was apparently halted by Boston police who spotted a group of men in pursuit of an individual. According to MyFoxBoston:

(O)fficers learned that one of the men in the group had been sleeping in the park, when the man being chased stole his Rogue String guitar in its case. (T)he men say they spotted the other man carrying the instrument out of the McDonald’s on Tremont Street by the Common.

Not really sure what a “Rogue String guitar” is.

At any rate, read more (if you dare) at MyFoxBoston.

Right here.

In case you missed it, this just in: Guitarists’ brains are not like those of everyone else. In 2012 researchers in Berlin conducted experiments that presumably resembled a P-Funk show, neurally scanning guitarists while they played. And wouldn’t you know it—guitar players sometimes check out while improvising. Via PolicyMic:

Researchers found that, when a guitarist shreds, he or she temporarily deactivates the brain region that routinely shuts down when achieving big-picture goals, signalling a shift from conscious to unconscious thought.

Was there ever any doubt? Read more of the science behind the story and get introduced to the great story of Pat Martino over at PolicyMic.

Right here.

On the eve of KISS’ Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction there’s plenty of chatter from former band members. But none from onetime guitarist Vinnie Vincent. He seems to have gone off the grid following years of professional and personal turmoil, possibly culminating in the January 2014 death of his wife Diane Cusano. From a new Rolling Stone article:

Vincent’s fans and former bandmates have different theories about his current whereabouts: He might be in Nashville, with family in Connecticut, or with some sympathetic female Kiss fan. Wherever he’s gone, believes (promoter) Phil Elliott, Vincent will make his presence known once the bills start to pile up. ‘I don’t know how he’s going to stay afloat,’ Elliott says. ‘When he’s desperate enough, he’ll come out of the woodwork.’

Read more of the (somewhat spotty) profile and see a pic of Vincent’s seemingly abandoned house at RS.

Right here.

Guernsey’s auction house will host a sale of nearly 300 vintage archtop, flattop, and classical/flamenco guitars from a private collection in April. Guitar connoisseur Hank Risan began amassing his impressive arsenal in 1970, according to a new article in Guitar Aficionado. As he told the publication, “I wanted to buy a 1929 000-45 more than anything, and that set me on my journey. I probably bought and sold more than 10,000 instruments putting my collection together.”
Get a load of the available assortment, via GA:
The selection of instruments is staggering, consisting of various D’Angelico, Epiphone, Gibson, Gretsch, Larson, Martin, National, Regal, Stromberg, and Washburn guitars from the 1890s through the Fifties as well as classical/flamenco guitars from master builders like Antonio de Torres, José Ramírez, Manuel Ramírez, and Ignacio Fleta.
Read more and see photos at GA.

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