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I started a quest to find terrific blues music and incredible musicianship when I was just a little kid. I also have a tremendous appreciation of fine musical instruments and equipment. One of my greatest joys all of my life was sharing my finds with my friends. I'm now publishing my journey. I hope that you come along!

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Showing posts with label Gear. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Gear. Show all posts

Sunday, April 15, 2012

How Guitars - Ladder Braced Grand Concert 00/Parlor

John How builds superb vintage style instrument inspired by the old Oscar Schmidt guitars. This one is a ladder braced Grand Concert that is the size of an L-00 Gibson. It has the wonderful woody sound that ladder bracing provides and it excels at blues, rags and bottleneck slide. For this one John How chose premium Curly Koa for the body and Lutz Spruce for the top. It sports a mustache bridge and Curly Maple bindings on the body, neck, and slotted headstock.

Model: Ladder Braced Grand Concert (00)
Back/Sides Wood: Curly Koa
Top Wood: Lutz Spruce
14 3/4" wide
25.4" scale
12 fret dovtail neck
1 13/16" nut
2 5/16" saddle
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Sunday, January 29, 2012

Bman's Birthday Report

Most of you don't know because this is my first birthday writing my report but I have a tradition of going home (to Pennsylvania) to see my parents (now parent) on my mothers birthday which is only a few days before my own. Today is my birthday and in rural Pennsylvania away from the city you visit family and such stuff. One of the things that I have always loved to do is visit some of the small town antique stores as I love old stuff. I'm not really an antique guy... in fact my furnishings are more steel and leather but I have a real fondness for old stuff. Old tools, old pieces of wood and steel, old photos but especially old gear. I came across (or received) 3 really cool things while here in small town USA. First I received a photograph of a childhood friend who died many years ago. I'll tell you why this is so unusual. My friend was black and born in the 19th century. One of his family friends had heard that I was looking for a photo of him and now I have it. It's one of the reasons that I so love the interviews with the southern blues men. I don't know exactly where Mr. Coalman was born but it had to be Louisiana or Mississippi. When I hear the interviews with the older guys it brings back great memories. I don't have a scanner on the road with me so I photographed it. I was told that "Mr. Coalman" was the small toddler in the photo but upon examination of the photo I spied my friend standing behind the toddler. I was confused at first because everyone in the family photo was so dressed up and I thought for the time looked wealthy. I then realized that the photo had to be taken in the 20's and looked again at the men in the photo and there he was. Now I didn't know Mr. Coalman until he was well retired but there he was. What a terrific gift! Nothing can top this!

But the rest of the weekend has been great as well. Yesterday I purchased an old Kay archtop in it's original simulated alligator case and leather strap. It is almost remarkably new (first few frets are worn and the action is slightly high) but it is sweet and loud...and really really clean! The one in the photo and the video are slightly different (and not nearly as clean) from mine.

Today I went to an antique mall just to get out of the house for an hour. After walking around one guys shop where there was just a ton of old electronic gear an old album jumped off of the shelf at me... Now I rarely ever look at LP's anymore, I have about everything... but I found the original 1964 recording of the Preservation Hall Jazz Band with Sweet Emma Barrett! It was calling my name. Needless to say I paid the full asking price of .50 and went merrily on my way (the cover is much nicer that the one shown that I plucked from the internet). Tomorrow I hop a plane back to sunny AZ and back to work for me. Thanks to you who have offered birthday wishes. I hope I can continue to find entertaining music to share with you.


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Friday, January 20, 2012

Tech Talk - ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons Rig Rundown

If anyone likes guitar gear more than's Billy Gibbons. Here's a rare chance to look at a bunch of Billy's current gear. Elwood Francis who gives us a look at ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons' array of guitars, including the famous fur guitar, and lets us in on how Billy has everything set up for their tour.
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Thursday, November 17, 2011

Tech Talk - 1960 National 1210 Twin-Tone Amplifier Demo

The Valco 1210 is a simple 3 tube amp (5Y3, 6V6, 12AX7) with volume and tone controls, 3 inputs, and a pair of Rola 6" x 11" speakers. While about comparable to a Fender Champ in wattage, the Valco built amp has significantly more grit and growl thanks to a Grid leek bias design. The 4 ohm speakers are wired in series which offers a lot more power handling than you'd expect to find in a small amp. Sure, you'll need to mic it for band volumes, but if you're looking for killer small amp tone for guitar or harmonica this on is a perfect choice.
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Sunday, November 13, 2011

Tech Talk - Linda Manzer luthier

Today I was told that there was a rumor that world renown Canadian luthier Linda Manzer has gone out of business. I am happy to report that she is alive and well and still has a closed waiting list.

Selected Custom Models

Pikasso | The Bear | Endangered Species Model | Sitar Guitar | Little Manzer | All Custom
This custom instrument was created for Pat Metheny in 1984. Linda and Pat collaborated on the design together. Featured is the original version of The "Wedge" ©™ 1984.
See/hear Pat Metheny playing the Pikasso Guitar live in concert in Warsaw with Anna Maria Jopek & Friends.
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In 1984 Pat Metheny asked me to design and build a guitar with "as many strings as possible." The resulting collaboration was the Pikasso guitar. In 1992 I was asked by the late Scott Chinery to build a strictly acoustic version of Metheny's Pikasso. Thus, Pikasso II. This second Pikasso was recently on display at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts in a show called "Dangerous Curves".


Indian Rosewood Back and Sides, German Spruce top, Mahogany Necks, Ebony fingerboards, bridges and face plates, Pau abalone decorative trim Boxwood, Rosewood, Abalone Rosette Brass insets for mounting on stand.


Four necks. Two sound holes. Two access doors; one on the upper player's side and one at the tail block (based on a panel door design by the brilliant -Abraham Wechter).
The "WEDGE" (TM 1984) is a special feature I designed specifically for this instrument. The body is tapered so that the side closest to the player is thinner than the side that rests on the players knee, thus leaning the top back towards the player for a more aerial view. This is also more comfortable under the player's arm. This feature is available as an option on all my flattop guitars. This instrument was outfitted with a complete state of the art piezo pickup system (designed and installed by Mark Herbert, Boston). This included a hexaphonic pickup on the 6 string section that allowed Metheny to access his Syclavier computersystem thus triggering any sound including sampled sounds. (Saxophone sampling can be heard on the song "Mob Job.") Two mounting holes on the treble side (knee side) are such that the guitar can be mounted on internal brass insets attaching to a stand, leaving hands free for playing or viewing. Brass side bridges were made by Linda and machinist Bruce West.
This instrument took 2 years to build (approximately 1000 hours), and when the 42 strings are tuned to concert pitch, the Pikasso is under approximately 1000 lbs pressure. It weighs 6.7 kg (14 3/4 lbs).
Anna Maria Jopek and Pat Metheny Metheny Trio Live - "Into the Dream" 2001
Metheny/Jim Hall CD - "Into the Dream" - 2000
Metheny "Imaginary Day" CD - "Into the Dream" 2000
ALSO: Pat Metheny / Ornette Coleman "SONG X " (Geffen 9 24096-2) Cut: Mob Job, Pat Metheny "
Secret Story " (Geffen GEFN-24468) Cuts: Finding and Believing, Rain River, As the Blossom Flowers (I will Come to You)
Pat Metheny with Kenny Garrett "Pursuance" Cut: "After the Rain"
PMG Netcast:
A Pikasso poster is now available. Email for details.

Linda ManzerE-mail
Linda says... "I've been making guitars for over 30 years. I love what I do. The most important thing to me is that the player is inspired by the guitar. And plays it."
According to Wikipedia...
Linda (Jane) Manzer, b Toronto, is a Canadian luthier renowned for her archtop and flat-top acoustic guitars.
She received her training from Jean LarrivĂ©e between 1974 and 1978 and later with Jimmy D'Aquisto in New York. Her greatest claim to fame is that she has and still does build many custom guitars for renowned jazz musician Pat Methenyincluding the Pikasso which has 42 strings and three necks. Carlos Santana, Stephen Fearing, Julian Lage, Henrik Andersen, Liona BoydHeather BishopBruce Cockburn, Mike Francis (Pepe), Marie Lynn Hammond, Sherry Shute, John McGale and Gordon Lightfoot have to be mentioned as special customers too.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Tech Talk - Fender Bandmaster (1965)

Model/Circuit Number: AB763

Era: Blackface
Configuration: Piggyback (reviewed with alternate speaker cabinet)
Controls: Black forward facing w/ white labels
Knobs: Black skirted w/ chrome center, numbered 1 - 10


Front: Normal: In, In, Bright Sw, Vol, Treb, Bass - Vibrato: In, In, Bright Sw, Vol, Treb, Bass, Speed, Intensity - Pilot Lamp
Rear: AC Outlet, Ground Sw, Fuse (2A), Power Sw, Standby Sw, Speaker Jack, Ex. Speaker Jack, Vibrato Jack

Dimensions: Head: 8'' x 24'' x 9''
Hardware: Head: Chrome Corners, Large Chassis Straps 5 5/8'', Side Bar Clips. Cabinet: 16'' Tilt-Back Legs, Black Strap handle, Thumb screws, Thumb screw receptacles
Handle: Black strap handle
Feet: Glides
Corners: Chrome Corners with Lip
Tolex/Tweed: Black Tolex
Grill Cloth: black white silver grill cloth

Logo: Grill mounted, raised, chrome & black, script with tail
Weight: 49.5 lbs.

Effects: Tremolo
~Watts: 40 watts
Pre amp: 2 x 7025 and 12AT7
Power: 2 x 6L6GC

Bias: Fixed bias adjustment pot
Rectifier: Solid State
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Sunday, November 6, 2011

Tut Taylor Instrument Collection - II

Ok Ok...I'm a gear head but I just find this stuff really interesting... and the fact that it's Tut Taylors!

Tut Taylor (November 20, 1923) is an American bluegrass musician.

Taylor played banjo and mandolin as a child, and began playing dobro at age 14, learning to use the instrument with a distinctive flat-picking style. Taylor was a member of The Folkswingers in the 1960s, who released three LPs; he recorded his debut solo effort in 1964. Later in the 1960s, he played with the Dixie Gentlemen and in John Hartford's Aero-Plain band.

Taylor became a local Nashville, Tennessee fixture. In 1970, he co-founded the instrument shop GTR there, soon after releasing another solo album. He also co-founded the Old Time Pickin' Parlor, a Nashville venue noted for performances of old-time music, as well as Tut Taylor's General Store.

In a March, 1992 interview, Neil Young reported having bought Hank Williams' Martin D-28 Guitar from Tut Taylor.

At the Grammy Awards of 1995, he was awarded the Grammy Award for Best Bluegrass Album for his work on The Great Dobro Sessions with Jerry Douglas.
“Like” Bman’s Facebook page. We use Facebook to spread the word about our blog. We will not hit you with 50 posts a day. We will not relay senseless nonsense. We use it only to draw attention to some of the key posts on our blog each day. In this way we can get out the word on new talent, venues and blues happenings! - click Here

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Tut Taylor Instrument Collection

I know a lot of you are musicians and love the technical stuff that I have presented. Tut Taylor as I have posted in the past is possibly the best Resonator (Dobro) player on the planet. He has played on numerous recordings along with his own. We are fortunate that he has made a few videos illustrating his collection. I really dig this! I hope that some of you do as well

“Like” Bman’s Facebook page. We use Facebook to spread the word about our blog. We will not hit you with 50 posts a day. We will not relay senseless nonsense. We use it only to draw attention to some of the key posts on our blog each day. In this way we can get out the word on new talent, venues and blues happenings! - click Here

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Leo Fender's Telecaster Promo - Documentary

(DVD) Leo Fender launched his Broadcaster guitar later named the Telecaster in 1950. Little did he realize that his invention would forever change popular music. This 2-DVD set features interviews with some of the world's finest musicians, including Albert Lee, Steve Cropper, James Burton, GE Smith, Keith Richards, Jeff Beck and many others, plus noted Fender experts and historians such as Tom Wheeler, Richard Smith and Mac Yasuda. Filmed in the US and Europe, this in-depth documentary includes previously unavailable footageof the Fender production line in the 1950s, as well as up-to-date factory and custom shop tours in the Corona, CA facility. Disc One = 83 min, Disc Two = 76 min.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Tech Talk - Masco MA-17N PA System (1950)

PA amps are the hidden gold of amplifiers. Old Marshall PA amps as well as Hiwatt PA amps are the steal of the century. Here we have a Masco PA and we know how I feel about Masco!
17Watts 2x6L6 Power Tubes
2x 10" Jensen speaker

Friday, July 22, 2011

Tech Talk - Fender Bassman 5E6-A (1956)

Model No: 5E6-A (55-57)


Control Panel:
Chrome top facing w/ white screened labels, controls numbered 1-12

Conrol Layout:
Ground Sw, Fuse (3A), Power Sw, Standby Sw, Pilot Lamp, Presense, Bass, Treb, Vol, Vol, Normal In, Bright In

Black pointer

Narrow panel, closed back w/ 2 ports, 23" x 22½" x 10½" (58.4 x 57.2 x 26.7 cm)

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Thursday, July 21, 2011

Tech Talk - Fender Super Amp (6G4) (1960)

Model No:


Control Panel:
Brown forward facing w/ white screened labels, controls numbered 1-10

Front Conrol Layout:
6G4: Normal: In, In, Bass, Treb, Vol - Bright: In, In, Bass, Treb, Vol, Speed, Intensity - Presense - Pilot Lamp

Rear Conrol Layout:
6G4: Ground Sw, Fuse (3A), Power Sw, Standby Sw, Speaker Jack, Vibrato Jack

Brown round

18" x 24" x 10½" (45.7 x 61 x 26.7 cm)

Cab Covering:
Pinkish Brown Tolex

Cab Hardware:
Brown strap handle, 5½" chassis straps, glides


Grille mounted, flat, chrome & black script "Fender"

47 lbs (21.3 Kg)

2 x 10"/4 ohms (8 ohms each in parallel)

Speaker Model:
Jensen P10R, Jensen P10Q or Oxford 10K5


40 Watts

Normal: 7025
Bright: 7025

6G4: 2 x 6L6GC

Fixed Bias, nonadjustable


Phase Inverter:
7025 (long tailed)

Tremolo: 2 x 7025 (6G4) or 12AX7, ½ 12AX7, and 7025

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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Tech Talk - Kinder HarpKing 4X10

70 watts of pure Blues tone
54 pounds
23 ¼" tall
3-12AX7 pre amp tubes
2-KT-88 power tubes
4-10" Eminence speakers

Color choices: Red, Purple or Blond new with matching silk-screen on faceplate. All of the HarpKings come with gold sparkle grille cloth

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Tech Talk - Brunetti Singleman (2010)


BRIGHT manual switch
SMOOTH, FAT TWEED manual switch
BOOST manual switch for medium frequencies
AMPLIFIER: class A 16W (6V6GT tubes) or class AB 35W (6L6WGC tubes)
POWERLIMIT®: FULL, MODERATE, QUIET manual switch which operates
on the final stage reducing power to 1/4 and 1/16
REVERB: Accutronics spring, excluded by remote switch
EFFECTS LOOP: send return suitable for rack/stomps, could be excluded by manual switch (true bypass)
LOUDSPEAKER: 12” cone Celestion V30 (16 OHM)
EXTERNAL SPEAKER: rear output, 16 Ohm for add-on speaker
TUBES: 2X 12AX7/ECC83 + 2X 6V6GT (autobias) or 2X 6L6WGC (trimmed bias)
STRUCTURE: chassis and panels iron/stainless steel laser cut
ELECTRONICS: “Red Series” MKP WIMA capacitors, sealed relays, low noise film resistors
OVERALL DIMENSIONS: L 465 mm, H 500 mm, D 270 mm - L 18,3”, H 19,7”, D 10,6”
WEIGHT: 18 Kg - 39,7 lbs
BOX CONTENT: power cable, reverb switch, owner’s manual, and waterproof cover

Monday, July 18, 2011

Tech Talk - Multivox Bass Amp #45

MODEL # 45
SPEAKER CODE PA-12-8,2857644

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Tech Talk - Sonny Jr. 410 (2006)

# Raw explosive power, punch and volume without feedback
# Bench tested at 45 Watts
# 55 lbs.; 22.5W x 23H x 9.5D
# Unique speaker blend for a wall of tone–4x 10″
# Stock gritty, nasty tone–no need for tube subs
# Same pure tone at all volume levels
# Crystal mic hot input
# Unique paper-in-oil capacitors
# Bias pot for perfect idling of the power tubes
# Gorgeous seven-layer tint with clear coat tweed with sturdy, thick leather handle
# Available with 120V / 240V power transformer at no extra charge