Archive for May, 2007

Some Nice Epis on Ebay

May 31, 2007

Nicolai Foss

There haven’t been many Epis on Ebay recently, but this may be changing. Here is a nice natural finish Blackstone (starting bid 795 USD). Although “student models” (to use snob-guitar-connaisseur lingo) these are excellent archtops, often with that huge Epi voice. Here is a 1951 Triumph Regent. And here is what looks like a 1940 Electar. (The seller notes that “I don’t know the model, but I’m relatively sure that it’s a guitar”!!).

Advertisements

Gypsyguitars.com

May 31, 2007

Nicolai Foss

This is the site of the arguably premier dealer of gypsy guitars (the archtop.com of the monde jazz manouche). This is where to go if you are interested in a Selmer 1946 (offered at the bargain price of 26,500 USD). Check out the beatiful DiMauro gypsy archtop design, Chorus, and the Cousnon copy of that design (priced at less than half of the original).

Lorenzo DeStefano’s Tal Farlow

May 30, 2007

Nicolai Foss

During a recent stay in Paris I trawled Gibert & Joseph’s jazz section for jazz guitar recordings. I didn’t find any interesting ones, but in their DVD section, I found Lorenzo DeStefano’s 1981 documentary, Tal Farlow. It sells on American Amazon for around 18 USD. At 20 Euros it is somewhat more expensive in Europe.

There is, of course, plenty of music in the film, including rehearsals with Lenny Breau, Tommy Flanagan and Red Mitchell, and concert footage with the same personnel. There is also extra footage of Tal jamming with Breau. However, the film is as much a story about Farlow’s contemplative approach to life as it is about his music. Farlow is calm, modest, and warm, but also in his own way extremely ambitious. His wife, Tina, recalls how Tal would occassionally become “despondent,” claiming that he hadn’t accomplished anything in life. So, being the World’s perhaps best bebop jazz guitarist isn’t an accomplishment?

Johnny Smith Remembers

May 28, 2007

Nicolai Foss

Here is an excellent feature on jazz guitar great Johnny Smith from csindy.com Among many other things, it recounts the extreme workaholism of Smith during his New York days:

In addition to playing in as many as 35 radio (and later television) shows a week for NBC — including Highways in Melody, The Arthur Godfrey Ford Road Show, Star Time with Benny Goodman and Frances Langsford, The Patrice Munsel Show, The Dave Garroway Show, The Ed Sullivan Show and NBC Fireside Theater — Smith played engagements with the New York Philharmonic under Dimitri Mitropoulos, with the Philadelphia Symphony under Ormandy and with the NBC Symphony Orchestra under Arturo Toscanini, and did increasing numbers of gigs on the side in Manhattan’s world-class nightclubs.

Apropos Toscanini, Smith remembers the peculiar Toscanini approach to orchestra management in the following way:

Toscanini was a genius, but he was a tyrant with a nasty temper,” Smith recalls. “He’d fly into towering rages. One time in rehearsal he jerked his beautiful gold watch from out of his vest pocket and slammed it down on the podium, sending parts spraying all over the stage. I walked on eggshells playing under his direction. I was very, very careful not to set him off

More CC Pickups

May 28, 2007

Nicolai Foss

Suddenly there are archtops with Charlie Christian pickups all over the place. Here is an example of the short-lived and rare Gibson ES-130 with a later CC pickup addition. And here is a very clean ES-175CC.

Great Ted Greene Site

May 27, 2007

Nicolai Foss

Jazz guitar certainly has its legends. In particular, reclusive behavior may well make you a legend (that is, if you have demonstrated talent). Think Billy Bean or Tal Farlow in the 1960s. Another legend was the late Ted Greene (1946-2005) who apparently very strongly under-achieved in terms of recording relative to his immense talent. Here is a very impressive site dedicated to the man and his works. In particular, be sure to check out the video section with clips of Ted doing standards fingerstyle on his favored telecaster, getting that chime-like sound.

Charlie Christian Bio on YouTube

May 26, 2007

Nicolai Foss

Here is a brief bio of Charlie.

HT to Garry at the Charlie Christian Yahoo group.

Busato on French Ebay

May 26, 2007

Nicolai Foss

While Selmers are undoubtedly the reigning kings of gypsy guitars, Favionos and Busatos are right next in the hierarchy. Here is a nice example of the seldomly traded Busato guitars. Note the back. There are 8 days left. I would be surprised to find it trading for less than 3,500 Euros.

UPDATE: It ended at 1,905 Euros. Somebody made a bargain!

Gibson ES-175CC

May 24, 2007

Nicolai Foss

In 1978 and 1979, Gibson produced a batch of ES-175s equipped with the famous Charlie Christian blade pickup. I know that diehard purists (i.e., those who will only play a 1938 ES-150) dislike the ES-175CC, but from the examples of its sound I have heard it sounds great (the examples being the CDs in various licks books by Wolf Marshall, e.g., this one).

ES-175CCs are rather seldom offered for sale. This is only the second I have seen over the five years I have checked archtops on ebay.

Here is one more, offered at the rather reasonable price of 2,5k pounds sterling. And here is one that is even cheaper.

Does anyone out there know how many Gibson produced of these guitars?

DeArmond Craziness

May 20, 2007

Nicolai Foss

So, what is the current market prize for a DeArmond 1100 Rhytm Chief (gold plated)? A whopping 2, 550 USD!!! These are surely great pickups, but are they that much better than a more modest DeArmond FHC pickup, which can still be bought at less than 200 USD. I think not!