Hi Shoppers, this page is dedicated to my guitars (past and present) and related stuff. As you may have worked out by now, I’m a great fan of the guitar whether they are acoustic, or solid or hollow-body electric. I’ll do more work on this stuff soon including tests and reports on reasonably priced instruments, amps, etc. in local music stores. I did have photos of my own guitars on this page, but decided that just one guitar at a time is a better thing to do for now.
There are often a couple of guitars for sale on this page as well, so if you’re interested, please contact me
Firstly, amps: I used to play through a Marshall JCM2000 TSL100 head with two quad boxes. Aside from being way too loud in most situations, the whole rig was just more trouble than it was worth. My prefered amp at the moment is an Orange TH30, and I use an Orange OR15 for smaller gigs. For very small solo gigs, I sometimes use a Vox DA20 which is digital but small and has a mic input and an auxiliary input, so it works well for those few occasions where the main requirement is to keep the volume down.
Click on thumbnails to see full size pictures.
Tobacco – Ibanez SZ320MH Custom, Seymour Duncan 59er in the neck position makes this guitar awesome, not that it was ever bad in any way. She’s loud though. I’ve had Tobacco for years now, she’s showing the miles but only gets better. It’s a little sad that there is significant wear on the back of the neck which resulted more from the case than playing. These guitars have a 3 piece laminated mahogany neck, set into the carved mahogany body. The fretboard is rosewood with 22 jumbo frets. The inlays are paua (or some similar shell). Original pickups are “Duncan design”, I’m still not sure what that means, but the original neck pickup is now in my Telecaster. I replaced the neck pickup with the Seymour Duncan 59er, and then realised that the original pickup was wired incorrectly – I bought this guitar second hand and it may be that the alternative wiring suited the original owner, while to me, it just seemed too thin. In the telecaster, the original pickup (wired correctly) sounds fat and smooth. I never considered replacing the bridge pickup because it just sounds so good! My one gripe with this guitar is the bridge. It’s raised maybe 1.5mm above the actual string saddles and because the bridge is fairly chunky, muting is not as accurate as with a standard tune-o-matic bridge. As with most Ibanez guitars, Tobacco will often stay perfectly in tune when put away in the case. The timber and construction is extremely stable and the guitar has no negative quirks at all. I use 11-48 D’Addario strings on Tobacco.
At the moment, this guitar is tuned to open D and used for some old slide Blues
I must put my Gibson ES137 Custom on this page soon. It’s an interesting beastie, quite pretty from a distance (if a little broad in the beam), and offers amazing tonal variation. I’ve been playing it at solo gigs lately and it’s working well. The ebony fret board reminds me of the guitars I had as a young bloke, and it feels great! My big bug-bare with the thing though, is the incredible lack of attention to detail. There are file marks all over the fretboard and the binding doesn’t fit anywhere near well enough. I can say without a doubt that the quality control on this guitar is lower than on any other guitar I own. You can feel the binding while you’re playing, which is not a good look for a guitar with a RRP of around $4800. Having said that, it is pretty, and it does have the ledgendary name on the headstock. It’s warm and playable and something to be proud of (just as long as admirers don’t get close enough to see the imperfections). I did get it for… hmmm, let me see – I think it was a USA standard strat, 2 squire classic vibe strats, and about $1200 cash. It came with an awesome case and a wrench for adjusting the truss rod.
My advice to you is, if you want an expensive guitar, make sure you can live with the imperfections first. I mean, if this guitar cost $500, I probably wouldn’t notice that I can feel the joins all over it or that the finish has cracks everywhere that there is a join in the timber.
So, I forked out 3 good sounding guitars and a significant amount of cash for the ES137. Call me stupid if you like, but it really is a nice guitar to own! I’m even thinking of buying an SG now, but that’ll have to wait, I’m skint!
Added a black Epiphone Les Paul Custom to the collection – far more mellow than my ’59 reissue Les Paul, and has an ebony fretboard which feels awesome These two Epiphone Les Pauls are perhaps my favourite guitars. They are very different yet both very cool in their respective ways.
And let’s not forget the Gibson Les Paul Gold Top – Hubert Sumlin played a vintage Gold Top, he was a great player and sadly missed
-I’m also very fond of my G&L Comanche. It’s a “Tribute” model, made in Indonesia. I can’t fault it in any way, it has a great neck, flawless finish, and great hardware including USA pickups and a very heavy knife-edge tremolo tail-piece. The body is ash and the neck rock maple and rosewood. It’s a lot fatter sounding than a strat, and has huge sustain, but it also has bass and treble controls, so if you wind off a little bass, you get a sound very close to a strat. For an inexpensive guitar, it’s amazing! There is no way that I would consider swapping it for a USA standard strat (unless said strat was previously owned by Jimi Hendrix or someone). The Z-Coil pickups are hum-canceling which is a huge advantage.
My other strat is a Warmoth. Built in 1991, and seriously road-worn, Seymour Duncan pickups which have a very bright top end and a fat low end, the sound is quite traditional. This guitar has a very light alder body, it’s been through the mill and still going strong. The frets are a bit worn, and the fretboard is quite knocked about, but the sound only seems to get better. I don’t recommend building a guitar from parts like this though, it’s an expensive exercise and it is cheaper to go into a store and find a guitar that suits you. Most important, you know what it sounds like before you pay for it. Building a guitar is like a lottery. You put the money in long before you know whether or not it’s a winner.
Now, in the summer of 2013, things are changing once again! I’m playing a lot of home made guitars! Some are rather shabby, others are flash as! But the idea is, that when anyone plays guitar, it is an expression of self, and so I am building the guitars I use to express myself. I am currently building two strats, two plank guitars, and one cigar-box guitar. I have a collection of 23 pickups, 6 necks, 4 bridges, and misc extra parts. It’s fun! I no longer use a commercially available speaker cabinet for guitar, after a lot of messing about, I’ve come up with a cabinet that suits my sound and my Orange amps. I’ve made two so far, they are easily better than your average store-bought item, and they look much cooler with the natural wood finish that takes a bit of a pounding from transport to gigs.
I’ve sold around six guitars recently, just so that I could get enough materials to make some new instruments… So many instruments to build, so little time!