Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Nothing on Tele tonight!

You may (or indeed may not) remember that back in January I bought a Gibson SG electric guitar on Ebay whilst in a somewhat depressed state before a Chicago Blues Brothers gig in Weybridge. The 'accidental guitar' as it's become known (I really hadn't planned to buy it, honest!) arrived a couple of weeks ago from America- I got stung for import duty and V.A.T. but it was still cheaper than if I'd bought it over here, assuming that I'd have been able to find one as Gibson didn't widely import it into the U.K. It's an SG Classic and it's based on the guitars that Gibson were making back in the mid-late '60's (for more information on this and other similar guitars check out the frankly rather mad website listed below; the Classic is in the 'discontinued models' section) and is an interesting instrument to a guitar bore like me for any number of reasons. It's fitted with P90 pick-ups which are near-legendary among mad people like myself (again check the website below for any amount of information!) and what's often referred to as a 'batwing' scratchplate (I'm not making this up, honest!) which is clearly visible in the website photo of the guitar- I'll leave you to compare it with, for example, the Standard model if you've got time on your hands... anyway the combination of these 2 factors gives a guitar capable of some very interesting tonal variations, not least because the pick-ups are fitted to the scratchplate rather the the guitar itself which results in an almost acoustic property to the guitar's sound. Somewhat inevitably from my point of view this leads us to Pete Townshend- although maybe that should be leeds as it's very similar to the type of SG he used on the classic Who album 'Live At Leeds' which is often held up as one of the ultimate guitar sounds ever produced. Closer to home Paul Fox used an SG when I first saw him in The Ruts (to be pedantic his one was an early '60's model which had the P90's but didn't have the batwing scratchplate- told you I was a guitar bore!) which brings me to last night's rehearsal...

Ska is a type of music that from a guitar point of view is probably best played on something like a Telecaster, a guitar known for it's clean, cutting nature- so what better way to try out my SG, a guitar renowned for it's hard rock sound, than at a rehearsal with a ska band? Actually it's hard to think of a less appropriate setting for a guitar of this type, but since I'm rehearsing with Mark Wyeth and Laurie (son of Paul) Fox who I've previously played with whilst depping in Foxy's Ruts back in the summer it seems like an opportunity that's too good to miss... and yes, within a few minutes of getting together we were running through those well known ska classics 'Babylon's Burning', 'Staring at the Rude Boys' and 'Something That I Said'... we did manage to play quite a bit of Simaryp stuff too, but only until the lure of 'Criminal Mind' and 'Demolition Dancing' proved too much for us to ignore. It sounded great.

I will use a Telecaster for the gigs, honest!

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