Flynn Amps and the value of enthusiasmK is for Knopfler, MarkM is for Modes

Friday Facts

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As a teacher you pick up a lot of things. Here’s some bits of information given to me by students this week, which I can’t seem to disprove!

1. The Gibson 335 is so called because it cost $335 when it was first released!

2. Creed has sold more records in America than Jimi Hendrix. Depressing eh?


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Buying a new guitar
October 28, 2011

We all love the feeling. Walking into a guitar shop knowing that somewhere in here a gleaming new toy with your name on it. Rushing into it can be a very silly idea though. And going along without any research or know how about what you’re about to do is also daft! So here’s my guitar buying 101.

Firstly: Do not work with your pre-conceptions. If you go in so damn sure you want a certain model that you only play them and nothing else you may well end up wondering what might have been. I’m not saying don’t buy your dream guitar but the rule of thumb here is, if it has strings, play it. Secondly, don’t dismiss so called ‘budget’ brands. Once upon a time it was a reputation that was earned. Nowadays you’ll find a lot them have the same build quality as their more expensive stalemates. Some are even made in the same factories!

Checking little things is vital too. Make sure each and every one of the machine heads fits and is smooth, they get easily banged being on show. Make sure you play each and every single fret. And I don’t mean some kind of Bill and Ted moment in the middle of Guitar World on a Saturday afternoon. What I mean is checking to see that every fret plays and sounds nice with no hint of rattle or a dead note. If you find one, put it down, and walk away. Second to that, even if you don’t hear anything make sure you look down the neck, from the bridge to the headstock to check the fretboard. Any hint of sideways roll of twisting or too much curve and again, just don’t go for that one.

Go with your gut. If you pick up a guitar, even if it’s 100 miles away from what you thought you wanted and it makes you feel like a hero, seriously consider it. But not before you play all the others! There’s a guitar out there that just suit you and there isn’t a better feeling than finding one. One final point though, if after a whole afternoon of driving salesmen utterly mad by repeatedly asking to see the next one, you still can’t choose, then don’t. Leave, try another shop, go home and think, even just over the road for a coffee and to collect your wits. Impulse buying is not your friend here.

Good luck!

Harry


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Morning all,

We know Epiphone well these days, subsidiary of Gibson and a maker of Gibson style guitars. It was not always so. The company was founded in 1873 in the Ottoman Empire, by a Greek gentleman called Anastasios Stathopoulos. He made his own fiddles, lutes and ouds. No guitars yet! Thirty years later in 1903 Anastasios moved to America and when he died in 1915, and his son, Epaminondas, took over. Just after the end of the first World War, the company, now known as The House Of Stathopoulos, started making banjos. By 1924 the company had produced its “recording line” of banjos and was now known as the “Epiphone Banjo Company”.

It was 1928, over fifty years from the humble beginnings that Epiphone made their first guitar, and by 1957 they had been bought over by Gibson.

Origins are funny things.

/harry


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A little late today chaps, I’m sorry! Life got in the way. Good luck to those of you still awake.

I was examining custom guitar shops today, and dreaming about axes I cannot afford. I brought up the subject with a drummer friend of mine and he said he had no idea what woods would do what to the sound of the guitar in question. I asked around and this seems to be a popular idea, that this is some kind of witchcraft and only geeks can hear the difference!

I should say it’s fairly simple. If you want a bright, clear tone (classic Fender Telecaster for example) you want to find a wood that is light, supple and not very dense. Ash is commonly used. If however, and like me, you prefer your guitars with a lot of bottom end grunt (such as an ESP M-200) you should pick something dense, hard and heavy. Mahogany is a very popular choice here.

You cannot remove things like pick-ups, amps, strings and playing style from the equation but the single biggest factor is the make up of your neck and even more, your body.

Go buy a custom!

/gearhead out


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Hi everyone,

The origins of the guitar are far too big a subject for a quick Friday Fact to set up your weekend but it’s what I’ve been reading about anyway so here’s a snippet.

The man mostly credited with creating designs that influenced classical and acoustic guitars for the past one hundred and seventy years is a Spanish chap called Antonio Torres Jurado. He is first recorded making guitars from his own design in Sevilla in 1852 and the oldest known surviving instrument of his is dated at 1859. He didn’t however sign his instruments and many clever and well built forgery’s were created so we cannot be sure.

What we can know is his influence is still seen in body shapes and neck dimensions in Spanish guitar factories and all over the world.

Have a good weekend!

Signing off to gg read more!

/Harry