the great other


As I’ve noted variously at the Pointy Guitar Facebook and Twitter pages, the most viewed ad in the site’s history is one for the Washburn Wonderbar Tremolo System, as scanned from Guitar for the Practicing Musician, October 1985. I cracked wise in the original post that “Mssrs. Rose & Kahler had the last laugh at this ad,” but it seems Washburn’s device has a devoted underground following. In fact, PG reader Steve Sparks operates a site devoted to the tremolo, “a place to host the docs/pics I’ve found,” as he puts it.

So, take a look at some schematics, fan photos and Mr. Sparks himself rocking an ’85 Washburn at washburnwonderbar.com.

Right here.

The Paul Reed Smith factory in Stevensville, Maryland is now offering public tours. From a press release, via Guitar Noize:

(V)isitors will get a firsthand look at PRS Guitars’ processes, instruments, and amplifiers from raw wood or blank chassis form to finished guitar or amplifier. The guided tour, which lasts approximately 90 minutes, takes scheduled visitors through the electric guitar manufacturing line, amplifier department, and acoustic shop.

Read more and see pics of PRS guitars in various states of completion at Guitar Noize.

Right here.

The famed 1954 Les Paul Custom “Black Beauty” formerly owned and played by the man himself sold at auction for $335,500 this week to Indianapolis Colts football franchise owner Jim Irsay. Irsay’s “guitar curator” Christopher McKinney placed the bid and came away with the iconic instrument. Speaking to the New York Times, McKinney summed the guitar up as follows, via Michael Molenda’s blog at Guitar Player:

We know the importance of the guitar historically. This guitar was used by Les in recordings, in television. It was his main guitar for innovations. It shows his thinking and progress as an inventor. A lot of the things that were done to this guitar went on to become industry standard.

Read much more, including the tale of the guitar’s controversial legacy, at Guitar Player.

Right here.

Singer-songwriter/producer Radney Foster has had ten guitars stolen. He has posted a list of the instruments and their serial numbers on his Facebook page. They include:

1958 Gibson Les Paul Jr. (Single cutaway sunburst)
serial #8-4239
This belonged to one of my dad’s best friends. He sold it to me, only after I promised to love it and play it on a record. 

1948 Martin 000-18 Acoustic
serial #111-578
This belonged to my cousin’s husband. She wanted me to have it, so that it would be played and loved again.

Familiarize yourself with the missing gear at Foster’s page.

Right here.

Guitarist Chris Stein was making more art than just Blondie records during the 1970s, as the new book Chris Stein / Negative: Me, Blondie, and the Advent of Punk shows. From Smithsonian.com:

After attending art school in the late 1960s, Stein was drawn to a fertile downtown music scene of New York City. Sonically creative as well as visually, he met his musical soulmate Debbie Harry … The rising new wave/punk scene of that time provided ample subject matter for Stein’s lens. He had special access to his fellow musicians, shooting portraits of performers including Joey Ramone, Iggy Pop, Joan Jett and of course, Debbie Harry.

Read more, including a conversation with Stein, at Smithsonian.
Right here.

 

 

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.

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