the great other


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.

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.

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