1. At the Long & McQuade store in Mississauga (a suburb of Toronto).  This incredible ES-175 has been there a few months now, but I just had to post some more shots of it.  

    I “like” the 175 model enough, but It’s not a guitar that made me go weak in the knees…until I saw this beauty!  The colour, the figured top, the fancy trapeze tailpiece, the split parallelogram fret markers…and best of all it cost the same as a “regular” 175…which is still bloody expensive…but as you know, as fanciness increases linearly (is that a word??), price usually increases exponentially!

    (fanciness) * x = (price) * x²

     

  2. As you may know, my cousin and I go guitar shopping at least once per week…just to see what’s new and exciting in the local shops.

    This week we were at Long & McQuade in Mississauga (a suburb west of Toronto) and there were a whole bunch of fun things to look at and try…

    1. American Vintage ‘52 Telecaster
    2. Jeff Beck Signature Strat in a very cool colour (surf green I think…but I get easily confused in the wide world of Fender greens and blues!)
    3. Ah, poor little Starla…no one wants thee.  This gaudy (but cool!) guitar has been sitting on the rack for at least 2 years now.  I must be really weird because I LOVE Starlas - and I have owned TWO of them - but no one else seems to like them at all.  :( 
    4. Now that I am learning about Firebirds for the first time in the book about Gibson that I am reading, I’m starting to feel like I may just need to own one very soon…
    5. Fender “Select” Telecaster.  A little more expensive than the new AVRIs, but 10 times the fanciness!  Check out the Strat-like strumming-arm-comfort-contour (yes, that IS the official Fender name for it*) on bass side of the lower bout!
    6. Here is something I am starting to see more of out in the shops - a “CIJ” reissue Tele.  When I was a lad, the ONLY non-USA Fenders were made in Japan.  Then I took “a break” from guitar between 1995 and 2010…and when I came back there are Mexican Fenders, Korean Fenders, Indonesian Fenders, and even Chinese Fenders…but no Japanese Fenders!  Nice to see them back.  Oh, and this reissue was less than half the price of the USA-made American Vintage line.  So that’s cool too.

    * No it’s not.

     

  3. 1998 Fender Custom Shop ‘60 Custom Telecaster “NOS”.  

    I call it an “NOS” to differentiate it from a “Relic” in the current context of Fender finishes, but I am not at all certain Fender designated it as NOS back when it was made in 1998.

    Back then, the “Relic” finish was a new idea and Fender didn’t even do it (the “relic-ing”) in-house yet - instruments were sent out to be relic-ed (you may have heard the Cunetto name?  I think he was the guy they sent them to to be relic-ed!).  So what we would call the “NOS” finish nowadays was probably just called…well…nothing…in 1998!  There was only one finish…i.e. shiny and new!  

    Don’t quote me on this though…I am notorious for reading a snippet here/hearing an anecdote there, and then synthesizing all these various and disparate tidbits of unrelated information into my own sort of fantasy understanding of reality…which often-times is waaaaaaay off from the actual reality! :D

     

  4. Fun at Folkway Music, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, about an hour northwest of Toronto.

    Check out that 1935 Gibson Nick Lucas Special Custom (in black with white pickguard).  I was chatting with the salesperson and he pointed out that the shape of this guitar is unusual for the year it was made…by 1935 Gibson stopped making this shape…their guitars had morphed into the more modern shape (like the one just to the right of the Nick Lucas in photo number 1) we’re more familiar with. 

    Based on the FON (Factory Order Number), they are able to confirm that it was definitely made in 1935, but because the shape is an older one - no longer in production by 1935, they figure it must have been a special order specifically built for a customer!  Fascinating.  

    I won’t tell you how much this one costs.  You will just cry.  However, if you are really curious, you could always go to Folkway’s website and find out for yourself

     

  5. Sometimes you go guitar shopping and you think to yourself “god help me, but if I see one more Les Paul or Stratocaster I am going to go postal, right here and right now!”

    And then other times, you go guitar shopping and you see a bunch of things that you have never seen before and you have literally NO IDEA what the heck they are?!?  Case(s) in point:

    Photo 1:

    • This ES-335 is hollow…but it has no F holes (or G holes or H holes for that matter…).  Also…notice the single, uncovered pickup, trapeze tailpiece, black hardware, and lack of any binding on the body or neck!  What the heck is this thing?!?
    • Also, check out the Epiphone behind it!  Never seen one of these before either!  The cutaways look like a Gretsch.  Very pretty, but I still don’t know what the heck it is!

    Photo 2:

    • A solid body ES-335?  Wha?!?

    Photo 3 and 4:

    • A Les Paul Studio right?  No big deal. That’s an easy one.  Wait…it’s about half the thickness of any Les Paul I have ever seen (including Juniors and Specials!).  WTF is it?!?

    Photo 5:

    • OK, this one isn’t too weird…it’s an “LPJ”, one of the “Year of Les Paul celebrations” according to Gibson.  These are supposed to be quite inexpensive (for a Gibson!), but I didn’t look at the price tag because, frankly I was still freaking out after that super thin Les Paul Studio in the previous photo!  ;)
     

  6. My currently for sale(hint…hint! ;) 2011 Gibson USA SG Junior 60s.  I gotta sell SOMETHING to help pay for the 1961 Les Paul SG Junior I just got!

     

  7. Faltwounds on a wrap-around.  

    2011 Gibson SG Junior 60s with a set of D’Addario XL Chromes Flatwound .010s (with a plain G substituted).

     

  8. Success!  The giant inflatable purple gorilla in photo #1 is chuffed!

    I received my order from Stew Mac today and the thumb-wheel posts I need fit my SG Std. P-90 perfectly and I have successfully replaced the stock “Nashville” bridge with a much nicer-looking “ABR-1”  (Click here for more context).

    To summarize:

    • I bought a Gibson ABR-1 a couple of weeks ago.  
    • I tried to install it on my 2012 SG Standard P-90, but failed!
    • The stock posts on the SG, designed to support the modern “Nashville” bridge, were too thick for the ABR-1…and so it was not possible to simply swap the Nashville for the ABR-1.  
    • I found Stew Mac sells a post that LOOKED like it would fit the existing holes in the guitar AND had posts on top small enough to fit the ABR-1.  I placed an order.
    • Order arrived today and they worked perfectly!

    Photo 5 illustrates the issue.  On the left you can see the stock “Nashville” bridge, and beneath it the stock post it fits on.  On the right is the new ABR-1.  Notice the smaller hole?   Way too small for the stock post (on the left) to fit!

    The post on the right is the part I just got from Stew Mac - you can see the bottom thready part is the same size as the stock post AND the top part of the post is the same size as the holes in the ABR-1.  The post in the middle is the one that came with the bridge.  - too thin to screw into the existing post holes on the guitar.

    The last two shots show the “before” and “after”.  Nashville bridge on the left, ABR-1 on the right.

     

     

  9. I ordered this book from Amazon, judging by the title that it would improve my knowledge of guitar electronics.  

    Nope…  :\

     

  10. We made a trip to two stores I had never been to becuase they are on the other side of the city…and it’s a pain in the but to get there!  here are some shots from the Long & McQuade stores in Oshawa and Pickering Ontario, just East of Toronto:

    1. Ibanez makes some pretty fierce looking basses!
    2. April showers.  No wait…it’s June!  WTF?!?
    3. Third guitar from the right on the bottom of the rack is an Epiphone Nighthawk.  $410 brand new…what a value.  I had one but sold it when I got my Gibson Nighthawk in New York last year.
    4. Lefty American Standard…every time I see a lefty Strat I think about how much fun it would be to buy it and flip it over for a “reverse Jimi Hendrix Experience”!  ;)
    5. Another cool-looking Ibanez bass.
    6. Haha…believe it or not this is NOT a Hofner!  It’s an Epiphone!
    7. Limited edition 50th anniversary Marshall 1 watt amplifier.  This is the 80s or 90s tribute model…I have one of the 60s tribute models and I love it.  Pricey but great!
    8. I like Larrivees in General, but I go absolutely apesh*t when I see one of their “P” (as in “parlour”) models.  This one is a P-05 - the first one I have seen in a glossy finish (which I like better than the usual “satin”, but it was about $300 more than the last non-glossy P-05 I saw.
     

  11. So I have never really liked the action on my upside down lefty American Standard Strat.  But the saddles were almost as low as they could go…and and the neck had virtually no relief, but STILL the action was too high.  

    And then I remembered something I read on the M&M Guitar Bar blog (if you don’t already follow them, I highly recommend you do…they are experts in the guitar field and have taught me a TON of stuff!) about shimming the neck pocket which tilts the neck back ever so slightly to improve the string height.   So I thought I would give it a try!

    Long story short: it worked VERY well!  The action is now extremely low…I might even have to raise the saddles slightly!

    Oh also: only AFTER I took of the neck did I remember that most, if not all Strats since the 70s have a little screw you can access through the neck plate which pushes up on the back of the neck - basically doing the same thing as a shim but with no need to remove the neck!  This was called the “Micro-Tilt” system and it was one of the last things Leo Fender designed before leaving the company.  I can never remember the name “Micro-Tilt” though.  I always call it the “Tilt-A-Whirl”…

     

  12. I was at the 12th Fret in Toronto yesterday and saw these two late 50s Jazzmasters.  

    • Left: 1958 Jazzmaster, paint stripped:  $3,000.
    • Right: 1959 Jazzmaster, original sunburst finish: $6,000

    So: 50% of the value got “stripped off” along with the paint!  

    This is a good practical lesson on why you should NEVER refinish your guitar!  :D

     

  13. 2010 Gibson Custom 1960 Les Paul Special Doublecut + and older gentleman (a farmer presumably!) who I got stuck behind for about an hour on the Raglan Road northeast of Toronto!  He about 90 years old…but was driving at 50% of the posted speed limit!  See, I would have thought if you only had a limited time left in your life, you’d want to drive as FAST as you possible could…but apparently not.  ;)

     


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    Interesting new instrument alert!

    A Fender Select Jazzmaster at Cosmo Music in Richmond Hill (a suburb to the north of Toronto), Canada. 

    Read More

     

  15. Bargain alert!

    I was at the Long & McQuade store in Burlington (near Toronto) yesterday, and I saw this interesting 1991 Fender Strat Plus.  Lace pickups, roller nut, and some nice natural wear and tear.  The neck has a nice tint - it looks like it has naturally darkened over time (rather than it being artificially tinted at the factory).  This guitar has definitely been played for a living but doesn’t look like it has been abused.

    Best part of all?  The price.  $699!  What a deal.  700 clams would be a good price on a used American Standard, let alone a 22 year old premium model like this one.  I should have bought it…damn…but I need another Strat like I need a hole in the head, what with the ten other Strats I have lying around the house!  Damn this compulsion to collect!  :\