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Friday, February 10, 2017

Tony Iommi and the Gibson Tony Iommi SG Guitar

Heavy Metal Pioneer - Tony Iommi

Tony Iommi and one of his Gibson SG guitars.

Black Sabbath - With Ronnie James Dio

Black Sabbath (original lineup)

Tony Iommi signs a Gibson SG

Tony Iommi - Heavy Metal Guitar Pioneer

It is impossible to think of heavy metal music, and most especially, heavy metal music in its early stages of development, without thinking of Tony Iommi. Oh certainly, the first heavy metal band, or who recorded the first songs which could be called heavy metal, that's some bit of debate; as what the defining characteristics of the genre are - mostly depend upon who one is speaking with. Some say bands such as The Who were responsible for the first heavy metal songs, I can't argue; but The Who was certainly not a heavy metal band. Some other folks think Led Zeppelin, though not a heavy metal band, recorded some of the first heavy metal tunes. No argument from me there either. Others will mention Ritchie Blackmore and Deep Purple. No doubt at all from me a lot of Deep Purple's music was heavy metal. Deep Purple as a band, however, probably wouldn't qualify as a pure heavy metal band.
When one brings up Black Sabbath, well, that's a different thing altogether. I think it is probably most true to say Black Sabbath was the very first pure heavy metal band, and Tony Iommi's guitar sound was a dominant thing in that band. When a musical historian looks into heavy metal, he won't likely ever say Jimmy Page was a heavy metal guitarist, Page and others may have recorded some things which were heavy metal,but they were not metal guitarists or in metal bands. No one will likely every be able to argue whether or not Tony Iommi is a heavy metal guitarist, he is the definitive guitarist for that genre of music in its early stages. I'm going to call it here as I see it, Tony Iommi was the first true heavy metal guitarist. He set the stage, he defined the genre, he's the godfather of heavy metal guitar.
Born on the 19th day of February in the year of our Lord 1948 in Birmingham England, the world was gifted with it's first true heavy metal guitarist. Tony nearly gave up guitar after losing the tips of some fingers on one hand while working in a sheet metal factory. He had good friends though, and they encouraged him by turning him on to the music of Django Reinhardt, a Gypsy guitar whiz who only had full use of two fingers on his fretboard hand. Tony's injuries, though severe, weren't anywhere nearly so severe as were Django's for a variety of reasons. Soon enough, Tony snapped out of his reluctance and depression, and went on to become the genre busting guitarist we still know and love today. For a more full biography of the great Tony Iommi, you can click here and read it on his official website.
After an exceedingly brief stint with Jethro Tull, Tony would return to the band Earth, the band which would become Black Sabbath. Not just Tony's guitar sound would be unique in Black Sabbath, but also the subject matter and lyrics of the band. Occult themes, political corruption, the darkest ends of substance abuse, horror themes and apocalyptic visions of doom with faint hope of redemption filled the albums of Black Sabbath; there'd never been anything like it before, but since then, untold hundreds or thousands of bands have attempted to make records in the style of the music and content of the great Black Sabbath.
From 1968 all the way to now in 2014, Black Sabbath is and has been a major touring act and creative engine of a band, churning out more and more heavy metal music. In recent years, after decades solo, Ozzy Osborne has returned to the band which made him famous; in fact, the original lineup of Iommi, Osborne, Butler and Ward is the current one. According to Wikipedia, Black Sabbath has sold over a hundred million records to date worldwide.

The Gibson SG Tony Iommi Signature Guitar

Tony Iommi and the Gibson SG

The band Black Sabbath will always be synonymous with the guitar work of Tony Iommi. Of course he's hardly the only member of the band; and for some, Black Sabbath will always bring to mind Ozzy Osbourne, as most of the great Black Sabbath albums featured him as vocalist. Black Sabbath, however, has had other vocalists, other terrific vocalists too; what they've never been without, for one, is the guitar work of Tony Iommi. Tony Iommi has nearly always been associated with one specific make of electric guitar, the Gibson SG. Only Angus Young of AC/DC can be associated as closely with that specific instrument as is Tony Iommi. It's little wonder Gibson guitars decided to honor Tony, as he's sure honored them, with a Gibson SG Tony Iommi edition instrument.
The Gibson SG Tony Iommi signature guitar is all in black, and has a gothic heavy metal d├ęcor, just as you'd expect. There is also a less expensive model produced by Epiphone, a company aligned closely with Gibson guitars. Essentially the Gibson model is a Gibson SG, it is the same as any other Gibson SG except for the custom silver cross fretboard positioning markers, as the members of Black Sabbath are forever wearing crosses around their necks, it's a trademark for them.Now don't think this is standard inlay, it's not - the silver cross positioning markers are of sterling silver 
The other major difference is the humbucker pickups are specifically what Tony Iommi uses, rather than the standard ones. These humbuckers are specifically called Iommi high output pickups. Tony is certainly a high output performer, and has been for so many years his music won't soon fade from the minds of humanity, as it resonates deeply within some of us, and I'm certainly one of those. This Gibson SG Tony Iommi signature guitar isn't easy to find. The much more affordable Epiphone instrument will always likely be available. For a player or collector of fine Gibson electric guitars though, this Tony Iommi SG is a sure win. Are those angel's wings, or devil's horns the body shape embodies so wonderfully? That's something truly for you to decide for yourself. Let's hear it for Gibson and Tony Iommi! I think we should certainly hear some of both here too.

The Epiphone Tony Iommi SG

The Tony Iommi Epiphone SGs.

For those a little lighter in the wallet, Epiphone also makes a signature series Tony Iommi SG guitar. These have the humbucker pickups designed by Tony in them, and they are available, of course, in either right handed or left handed models.
Epiphone proclaims Tony as the Godfather of heavy metal, so there's where they stand on the argument. An SG guitar is always heavy on the mid-range in the sound spectrum. This is due to the size and shape of the guitar, and to the all mahogany body of the instrument. Certainly, every tonality of electric guitar you hear on any Black Sabbath song is as a result of the construction of the SG guitar, slack tuning, and loud loud amplification. This is a power chord monster's dream.
I'm pricing these guitars on the web new at around $800 bucks. You may be able to score a used one in good condition for half that. The crosses as fret-board markers, and the all black Gothic looks are the hallmarks of these guitars. These guitars are also known as Tony Iommi G-400s. So if you are using the web to search for them, be certain you also use that in your web-searches.
What does SG mean? It simply means solid guitar, and these certainly are. Solid in construction and play-ability and tonality too. The cutaways are either angel wings or devil horns, depending on how you choose to see it.
If you watch the video below you will hear Tony tell you there have been more than one model of Tony Iommi Epiphone SG. So some will be different than others. I can tell you the 24 fret guitar is going to sound and play a bit differently from one with fewer frets and a shorter scale, so be sure you think about those things in regards to what you want when you shop for these guitars.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

David Gilmour and the Fender Stratocaster

David Gilmour with Pink Floyd and playing a Fender Stratocaster

David Gilmour and Pink Floyd

So initially the story wasn't pretty. There was a man on his way to superstardom, a creative genius, and he became a casualty of Lysergic acid diethylamide; or that is how the story goes. Perhaps LSD had nothing to do with it, and the man was headed towards being incapable of functioning as a musician anyway. It doesn't matter now either way. What matters is that it happened, Syd Barrett was out, David Gilmour was in.
He'd been an underwear model, and hey, that's not a bad gig for folks who can get it. It's just not something that much allows you to express yourself, and David Gilmour had a lot of creative expression bottled up inside him, waiting to come out. Thank God for that. I do.

In the end everything worked out beautifully for David Gilmour, for Pink Floyd, and for all of us who love the music. There's only a short list of bands who can rival what Pink Floyd did during the time period they were recording, and who knows, it's possible there will be another Pink Floyd album sometime. I hope so.
The music came to us as if it were from another dimension, another world. We can still hear the music, but it is sometimes hard to re-inter the frame of mind we had when we first heard it. Hard to go back in time, hard to feel the same sensations we'd once felt. We all owe a big thanks for almost all of it to Mr. David Gilmour.

David Gilmour Then and Now with his Fender Stratocaster

It's transcendental, really, the music of Pink Floyd. David Gilmour's mind has been some places where the rest of us would love to go and visit. He's a transcendental person, a transcendental guitarists, and all of that without passing through plate glass windows, for God's sake.

Oh I've seen Pink Floyd in concert. I drove hundreds of miles to get there, I attended the only Pink Floyd show in their history which was rained out. It was spectacular while it lasted despite the bunk LSD I'd purchased, and despite the cop that grabbed my by my collar, yanking me out of my chair, telling me to not make things so obvious. You're obviously a big deal when you've sold out Rice stadium, but everyone knows about Pink Floyd and the show they put on. I'm a dreamer, and I dream we get the Pink Floyd we all want back someday. Maybe Roger and David can work things out.

David Gilmour and Roger Waters

David Gilmour was playing guitar from an early age, and his parents had encouraged him to do so. He'd met Syd Barrett and Roger Waters by the age of eleven, so wonderful to have such creative, imaginative friends at such an early age. David didn't enjoy school a lot though.

He'd been involved in his first recording in 1962, but spent most of the next five years busking and travelling to France. He'd get arrested, and later have to get treatment for malnutrition. There were lackluster reviews of David's performing ability, and then his equipment would be stolen. Poverty wouldn't last for David, and just prior to the turning of the years to 1968, David would be approached by Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason about joining the band, but soon it was as a replacement for erratic Syd Barrett who's mental condition was not conducive to working with others. The rest, as they say, is history.

From the timeless albums like Dark Side of The Moon, Wish You Were Here, The Wall and the others we true fans also know and own David Gilmour did all the guitar playing and sometimes most of the singing too. Of course in the end David and bassist, lyricist, singer Roger Waters had a falling out. David has recorded some solo albums, and then took off heading Pink Floyd without Waters. While playing guitar in Pink Floyd, he mostly always played the Fender Stratocaster.

David Gilmour Signature Stratocaster

The Guitar Playing of David Gilmour

Pink Floyd was never a group like Led Zeppelin or Deep Purple, or anything where the focus of the music seemed to be the guitar; but at the same time David's guitar playing was always essential to the sound of Pink Floyd. Sometimes his guitar solos are so soulful they sound like someone singing, or maybe crying in despair. Comfortably Numb would be a prime example of a guitar sounding like someone talking, crying, and singing all in the same song. David's guitar playing is showcased on the tune beautifully, and it's something resonating with guitarists all over the English speaking world so thoroughly it's ranked in polls as having the 4th greatest guitar solo of all time.

David, of course, owns a lot of guitars, and why wouldn't he? He is mostly associated with his black Stratocaster, clearly, it is his favorite electric guitar. The instrument is a 1969 model. Like those owned by Eddie Van Halen and like Eric Clapton's "Blackie," this instrument has been modified quite a lot to better suit it's owner.

One of the most peculiar and distinctive things about David's guitar playing is he literally has never seemed to want to show off his chops in any way. David isn't the slightest bit interested in being fast or fancy, he's seemingly only ever interested in making his guitar sing blues in technicolor. The following description I've lifted from David's Wikipedia page because I can't say it better than it's already been said here.

In 2006, writer for Guitar World, Jimmy Brown described Gilmour's playing style as "characterised by simple, huge-sounding riffs; gutsy, well-paced solos; and rich, ambient chordal textures." According to Brown, Gilmour's solos on "Money", "Time" and "Comfortably Numb" "cut through the mix like a laser beam through fog." Brown described the "Time" solo as "a masterpiece of phrasing and motivic development ... Gilmour paces himself throughout and builds upon his initial idea by leaping into the upper register with gut-wrenching one-and-one-half-step 'over bends', soulful triplet arpeggios and a typically impeccable bar vibrato." Brown described Gilmour's sense of phrasing as intuitive, singling it out as perhaps his best asset as a lead guitarist

The Fender David Gilmour Stratocaster is NOT a cheap or inexpensive instrument, in fact, it's one of the more expensive signature series Strats there are. I'm pricing these guitars at over five thousand dollars on the web, and sometimes closer to six thousand. This is definitely an instrument for someone who's been well informed concerning its specifications, and knows they want what they're purchasing for having studied such things and played other instruments and then decided upon this one. It's a true professional's guitar, and the specifications are as follows:
  • Color: Black over 3-color sunburst
  • Body: Alder, nitrocellulose laquer finish
  • Neck: 1-piece straight-grain maple, 1983 thin-shouldered "C"-shape
  • Neck finish: Dark tint nitrocellulose laquer
  • Fingerboard: Maple, 7.25" radius
  • No. of frets: 21
  • Neck pickup: Custom Shop Fat '50s Single-Coil Strat
  • Middle pickup: Custom-wound Single-Coil Strat
  • Bridge pickup: Seymour Duncan SSL-5 Single-Coil Strat
  • Controls: Master Volume, Tone 1 (neck pickup), Tone 2 (middle pickup)
  • Switching: 5-way blade, mini toggle (addds neck pickup in positions 1, 2, and 3)
  • Bridge: American Vintage synchronized tremolo with custom-beveled tremolo block, shortened tremolo arm
  • Case: Custom hardshell case included
  • Accessories: Evidence Audio guitar cable, custom leather strap, DG pick, David Gilmour's 3-disc Live In Gdansk CD and DVD package, a copy of Phil Taylor's The Black Strat book, polishing cloth, and certificate of authenticity

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Eric Clapton and the Fender Eric Clapton Stratocaster

Eric Clapton with his famous Stratocaster "Blackie."

Eric Clapton - the original electric guitar "god."

The list of guitarists who play the Fender Stratocaster guitar is very very long. Wikipedia's page about the Stratocaster shows a picture of Buddy Holly playing one in the late 50's. Probably there were big names playing the guitar earlier than that; but to cut to the chase, Hendrix made the guitar iconic, then lots of others decided it best fit them and their styles of playing too. Eric Clapton is just maybe the guy who's spent more time playing a Stratocaster than anyone else, as he's never stopped recording and playing music since about the time he started; and since he's switched to the Stratocaster, he almost plays it exclusively.

Eric Clapton is a man so associated with the electric guitar at one time he was being referred to as "god," and so he's THE original guitar god; the phrase was even coined after him. "Clapton is god" predates Hendrix being known of at all. He'd also risen to fame and prominence before fellow countrymen like Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page. While some refer to Clapton with euphemisms more sedate and sane such as "lord of the Les Paul, the sultan of the SG, the sovereign of the Stratocaster," Eric prefers to be called by his name, he's so famous and known internationally, and has been for so long he has no real need for the adulation, he mostly just seems to want to play his guitar. Mostly when he does play guitar, and he does so often, he is playing a Fender Stratocaster.

Eric Clapton with "Blackie." Blackie the Fender Stratocaster is now retired, Eric Clapton, is not.

Eric Clapton on the creation of "Blackie" his famous Fender Stratocaster

Blackie the Stratocaster is one of the world's most famous musical instruments, and easily one of the most famous guitars. It's right up there with Eddie Van Halen's Frankenstrat, and like that guitar, this one is also truly a frankenstrat as well. Blackie was built from parts of three guitars. but wasn't actually even Eric's first Strat, "Brownie" was. Clapton describes it as follows:

My first Strat was Brownie, and I played it for years and years, a wonderful guitar. Then I was in Nashville at a store called Sho-Bud, as I recall, and they had a whole rack of old '50s Strats in the back, going second-hand. They were so out of fashion you could pick up a perfectly genuine Strat for two hundred or three hundred dollars — even less! So I bought all of them. I gave one to Steve Winwood, one to George Harrison, and one to Pete Townshend, and kept a few for myself. I liked the idea of a black body, but the black one I had was in bad condition, so I took apart the ones I kept and assembled different pieces to make Blackie, which is a hybrid, a mongrel.
The conclusion of the masses and of Eric Clapton is his Strat has a terrific sound. He wore the thing out completely, and has had to acquire others to replace it with. You too can own an identical Fender Stratocaster to the ones Eric Clapton owns and plays.

According to some lists Eric has so far sold 79 million albums. He's an estimated net worthof two hundred and fifty million dollars, and isn't the slightest bit shy of giving back to the world where he's become such a big star. Eric is a very charitable man. He's also seemingly in great physical health, and very likely, lord willing, to continue recording and touring for years to come.

As with pretty much every guitarist, Eric owns a LOT of guitars. In his career he's played a lot of guitars. Facts are some of his most famous guitar playing was NOT done originally with a Fender Stratocaster; but after some time Eric settled on the instrument as his primary electric guitar. This, of course, doesn't mean the instrument was "better" than others, it means Eric liked it better for reasons of his own, and when a person finds the instrument that really feels right to them, they tend to play a lot better, and who can argue with Eric Clapton's playing?

Eric Clapton with one of his many Fender Stratocaster guitars

The Fender Eric Clapton Stratocaster

The Fender Stratocaster is a guitar so well known and loved, so famous, it has its own Wikipedia page, and a fairly extensive one. Well, the Eric Clapton Fender Stratocaster is also that notable, and has its own page as well. All as it should be.

According to the story we've Steve Winwood to thank for influencing Eric to use the Stratocaster. Quite obviously, Eric Clapton was rather well known as a master electric blues rock guitarist prior to this, and in fact, a lot of his most famous guitar solos were performed before he ever picked up the Stratocaster. If you're a younger sort like myself, and you've seen Clapton live a couple times, but only within the last 20 years, you most likely heard Eric perform a lot of his classic songs, and do his current interpretations of those timeless guitar solos, but you saw and heard him play them on a Fender Stratocaster, as the Strat is just a very very versatile instrument, fit for playing many a kind of music. Eric was never interested in having another Strat made until his famous Blackie was deemed completely worn out.

The Fender Eric Clapton signature Strat is readily available, but is unlike the standard Strats or other signature model Stratocasters in a lot of ways, these guitars are tailored to fit Eric Clapton, and Eric Clapton alone. One shouldn't make the mistake of thinking that simply because the love the sound of Clapton so much the guitar will fit them. Your hands aren't shaped the same as Eric Clapton's are, and you can't play just like him either. We're all unique; but if the guitar feels right to you, then by all means, it is the guitar for you!

 The Eric Clapton Stratocaster has a neck designed just for Eric and his comfort in playing. One should always play many guitars to see how they feel in your hands before purchasing, and the pickups in the guitar are quite different from other custom Stratocaster guitars as well, this guitar won't sound much like the Stevie Ray Vaughan Strat, or the Jeff Beck Strat; it's an Eric Clapton Strat, and they only truly are similar in a frontal photo appearance sort of way. The Fender Eric Clapton Stratocaster is not cheap, and neither is it inexpensive, it's a professional's or serious amateur's instrument, and that's what it will cost you, but you put your blood, sweat, and tears into the thing, you will get joy in return for it.This guitar is available in more colors than just black; but were I buying one, I'm going for the black one! Specifications are:
  • Color:Black.
  • Body Type:Solidbody electric.
  • Finish:Polyurethane.
  • Neck Wood:Maple.
  • Neck Shape:Soft "V" shape with 9.5-inch radius.
  • Body Wood:Solid alder.
  • Machine Heads:Fender / Gotoh vintage style tuners.
  • Fingerboard:Maple.
  • No. of Frets:22.
  • Position Markers: Dot inlays.
  • Pickups:Three Vintage Noiseless Strat pickups.
  • Controls:Master volume, one master TBX tone, one active mid-range boost control.
  • Bridge/Tailpiece: "Blocked" vintage style synchronized tremolo.
  • Pickup Switching:Five-position blade switch.
  • Hardware:: Chrome.
  • Case:: Vintage Tweed Case included
  • Scale Length: 25.5 inches.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Jeff Beck and the Fender Stratocaster

The seemingly ageless Jeff Beck with one of his Fender Stratocaster guitars

Jeff Beck - One of the four pioneers of the new music which became hard rock, heavy metal, and more!

From the late 1960s the English speaking world saw the emergence of a new kind of music, a kind of music which would change popular music forever, and is nowhere near done doing so. This new music was based in the electric guitar, and primarily, there were four major individuals involved in it all - but of course there were also a lot of others. My perception of the matter is the four primary guitarists were Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, and Jimmy Page. Of those four Hendrix is gone forever, but we've still got Clapton, Beck, and Page with us today.

The four guitarists, all from England save the black American one who dominated them all during his lifetime, all made music rooted deeply in African American blues music from the Southern United States, at least for a time. Hendrix died, the others lived on and their music evolved. Of the three, Jeff Beck evolved the furthest. Jeff Beck would go on to make music far removed from heavy blues. Jeff Beck would become a true fusion guitarist.

I'm incredibly jealous of persons such as Jeff Beck. I'll tell you why. A story on his Wikipedia page tells a tale of Jeff at six years of age hearing an early Les Paul song. He'd asked his mother what that strange sound was, and his mother had told him it was an electric guitar, and the thing was nothing but tricks. Jeff was reported to have said, "that's for ME." Well, it certainly was for him. How amazing to know what you wanted to do in this world, or be known for at a young age like that!

Jeff Beck with a yellow Fender stratocaster.

Jeff Beck switched to the Fender stratocaster, and now uses one almost exclusively

The Yardbirds wasn't Jeff Beck's first musical group, but it is the first significant one he was a part of, and most of the notable songs by The Yardbirds were written during Beck's tenure with the group. Jeff Beck wasn't a particularly happy camper with The Yardbirds, however, as he was then known to have an explosive temperament, and was forever bent on perfection with his playing. He didn't control the band, and didn't have as much influence as he would have liked, as he wasn't an original member, he wasn't even first choice to replace Eric Clapton in the band. Oh for a short while both Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page were both in The Yardbirds together. For a time Page played bass, and then for a time both Page and Beck were on guitar, and I bet those concerts were fun to see.

Only Jimi Hendrix was truly forever associated with the Fender Stratocaster as a guitarist. Clapton, Beck, Page, they all played both Fender and Gibson guitars at some point or another, and other makes of guitar too. Page mostly settled on the Les Paul, Clapton and Beck mostly settled on the Stratocaster, as Hendrix had. Oh some of Jeff Beck's most known and loved music was originally recorded on a Les paul, things like the album Truth, and Blow By Blow were dominated by Beck's Les Paul, but when Beck went into full on fusion with the Wired album, he switched to preferring the Fender Stratocaster forever.

Another of the great bluesmen, a true one instead of an English import, was Buddy Guy. Buddy Guy has been playing stratocaster guitars since before they were so commonly used. Buddy Guy and Jeff Beck will be touring together here in 2016. Expect a great musical evening, and go see the two legends while you still can.

Jeff Beck and the Fender Stratocaster

While Jeff Beck has never used the Stratocaster exclusively, the fantastic 1976 album, Wired, shows he'd switched to the instrument as his preferred guitar; and from there on out he'd most often perform and record using one. One of the more unique things about Jeff and his guitar playing came about at some point during the 1980s. Jeff stopped using guitar picks or plectrums, doing all the work with his fingers while still playing the same large body of songs and styles as before.

In 2007 Fender guitars honored the legendary Jeff Beck with their Jeff Beck Artist Signature series Stratocaster. This guitar features some specific specifications which Jeff uses to make the amazing variety of styles and sounds only Jeff Beck can seem to produce. You can still purchase a new Jeff Beck Strat, and of course there are some on the used market as well. This particular model of instrument is often in surf green or Olympic white, but it need not be, one can custom shop order the guitar in the color of their choice.

Fender Custom Shop Custom Artist Series Jeff Beck Signature Stratocaster Electric Guitar In Surf Green

The Fender Custom Shop Custom Artist Series Jeff Beck Signature Stratocaster

So what's special about the Jeff Beck Stratocaster? Well, it's different from the others in a few ways, ways which please Jeff Beck. The Jeff Beck Signature electric guitar features a thinner C-shaped maple neck with a rosewood fingerboard and a contoured heel for easier access to the higher registers, and Jeff often accesses those "higher registers."

 Further, it's wired with dual ceramic Noiseless pickups and has a 2-point synchronized tremolo with stainless steel saddles, LSR roller nut, aged knobs and pickup covers, and Beck's signature on the headstock. The Fender guitar kit includes vintage tweed case, strap, cable, truss rod adjustment wrench, and saddle height adjustment wrench. Further specifications for this fine Fender electric guitar honoring a great guitarist are as follows:
  • Made in U.S.A. by Fender Custom Shop
  • Custom Artist Series
  • Alder body
  • Maple C-shaped neck with satin polyurethane finish
  • Rosewood fingerboard with 9.5 radius
  • 22 medium jumbo frets
  • 3 dual-coil ceramic Noiseless pickups
  • Master volume, 2 tone controls
  • 5-position pickup switching
  • American 2-Point Synchronized Tremolo with 6 stainless steel saddles
  • Fender/Schaller Deluxe cast/sealed locking tuning machines
  • Chrome hardware
  • 3-ply white pickguard
  • 25.5" scale length
  • 1.6875" (43 mm) nut width
  • Contoured heel for easier access to upper frets
  • LSR roller nut
  • Aged knobs and pickup covers
  • Jeff Beck's signature on headstock
  • Includes case

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Jimmy Page, John McLaughlin, Don Felder and the Gibson Double Neck SG, or the Gibson EDS-1275

Jimmy Page with Led Zeppelin, and his famous double neck Gibson SG

John McLaughlin and the Gibson EDS-1275

Jimmy Page and the Gibson Gibson EDS-1275, the double neck SG guitar, two musical icons.

It's one of the most iconic, most famous, most revered guitars in the world, right? Well, facts are, Jimmy Page used this guitar for so few songs it's hardly even notable in mentioning the thing insofar as his body of music goes. What it is, is a stage guitar, a damned good one. Page used THIS guitar every time Led Zeppelin played Stairway To Heaven live. No, Stairway to Heaven wasn't the only song page used the double-neck SG for, he also used it for The Rain Song and The Song Remains The Same.

If you ever thought about becoming an icon, a "god" of music; then Jimmy Page should sure give you some pointers on how to go about it. For starters, you have to be different. You've got to have your own thing going to where everyone identifies things with you. The Les Paul had been around for a long time, and Page was hardly the only person to play that instrument, but when he busted out the Gibson EDS-1275, the double neck SG; well, THAT thing was something which everyone identified with pretty much one musician, Jimmy Page.

The guitar itself is a 1968 Gibson EDS-1275, Page, probably the only person who served as a representative of the thing, an unofficial salesman, except I believe the amazing John McLaughlin had one too, and Page had taken guitar lessons from John once. It's not particularly important, but I own the magazine with the particular interview where it was discussed, it was Musician magazine.
MUSICIAN: "John McLaughlin gave you guitar lessons?"

PAGE: "He did, that's true. It was great. He could hear things which I
couldn't hear. He certainly taught me a lot about chord progressions and
things like that. He's fabulous. He was so fluent and so far ahead, way out
and I learned a hell of a lot. I must have been about 20."

There's really no question as to who the most technically proficient guitarist is, It's John McLaughlin,Jeff Beck considers John maybe the world's best guitarist. McLaughlin is maybe the only guy who actually owned and played not just one double neck solid body, but two. He's also got a custom made one based on the design of the Gibson EDS-1275, you can read about it here. Page definitely took some lessons from John, so maybe Page got the idea to use this Gibson EDS 1275 SG double neck from John? I'd say it's very very likely.

Robert Plant and Jimmy Page at Madison Square Garden

When I was a kid, I thought of the members of Led Zeppelin as absolute gods of music. I've never been able to place exactly what it was about the music which captivated me so very much, but it's there, and though I'm quite a lot older now, I can still catch a glimpse of what I used to feel about it all sometimes. I never thought of Jimmy Page as "the best" guitarist, but I was certain he'd tapped into something in the spiritual realm or whatnot that I desperately wanted to be a part of, something very mystical, something timeless. I still think that way too. The only thing that has changed for me is I get some of those same feelings from very different artists and art forms too now.

Oh I'd watched The Song Remains The Same a hundred times or more. Loved it, but knew from things I'd recorded off of the radio it wasn't really an impressive concert for them, it was just the one that got made into a film. Their concerts were epic in scope and in length; and how drained they must have all been to have played so intensely and for so long on stage! Probably every concert after Led Zeppelin IV was produced included the usage of the double neck Gibson EDS-1275. When Houses Of The Holy was produced, well then, we've two more songs as reasons for the Gibson EDS-1275 to appear on stage, and it was good.

Musically, Led Zeppelin did a lot of very interesting things, and there were very few songs that ever sounded remotely like another song of theirs. Those four persons were and the three left now ARE highly creative musicians. The three songs Page used the Gibson double neck SG electric guitar for were all three very unusual songs; and there's little to anything you'll hear like any of them - although there are tons of Stairway To Heaven controversies. I'm not myself big into Led Zeppelin controversy, as I tend to believe all of it is based in jealousy of the band's success - and that no man or group of persons could ever own a chord progression.

Don Felder and the Gibson EDS-1275

Plenty of room at the Hotel California.
Plenty of room at the Hotel California.

The Gibson EDS-1275 Jimmy Page

So what can we say about the Gibson EDS-1275? Guitar player magazine hailed John McLaughlin's use of one through a one hundred watt Marshall amplifier as one of the fifty greatest sounds in guitar playing history. Jimmy Page's EDS-1275 though, is a bit different from John's, and others which had been produced from 1963-1968, which was the first run of production for the instrument. When Page decided he'd need a guitar like the one in question, Gibson had stopped producing them, and so he had one custom made for himself. The differences between Page's guitar and McLaughlin's are Page's has two solid mahogany necks, whereas the production guitars from 1963-1968 had three piece maple necks. Page's guitar also had the tailpieces in a different position, and this supposedly increased the guitar's sustain, and he had his made with T-top humbucking pickups.

Besides Jimmy Page and John McLaughlin, other outstanding guitarists to play the EDS-1275 are none other than Alex Lifeson of Rush, and Eddie Van Halen. Don't forget Don Felder of The Eagles, when you hear Hotel California, that is the Gibson EDS-1275! In 2007 Gibson produced the Jimmy Page signature model, and only 250 of those were produced. The guitar is available, but it is not a production instrument, it requires a special order, and if you order one from Gibson, they will gladly make one for you. Both Epiphone and Ibanez make similar guitars. Here's some specifications for the instrument:
Body & Hardware
Period-correct solid mahogany SG-style body

Dark Cherry finish with walnut filler

Chrome hardware

Chrome ABR bridge with chrome thumbwheels

Schaller Strap Locks (chrome)

Period-correct 5-ply pickguard

Neck & Headstock
One-piece mahogany necks

20-fret rosewood fingerboard

Corian nut

Period-correct headstock style for 12-string

Page profile neck

24-3/4 in. scale length, 1-11/16 in. nut width for 6-string, 1.715 in. for 12-string

Push-in bushings, double band nickel plate tuners

Page fretwire

Electronics & Strings
Page pickups

Black speed knobs with dial