February 21, 2010

Nicolai Foss

Finally — a worthy use of myspace.com. Posting pics of Epis, of course. Here (HTto Frank Frank).

Just in” at archtop.com. The leading internet archtop, archtop.com offers a new batch of mouthwatering beauties, including no less than two very pretty Epi Devons and a blonde Spartan.


Europe’s Best Archtop Vendor

February 14, 2010

Nicolai Foss

… may well be “Vintage Instruments,” 19, rue de Douai, Paris. Check out their amazing stock here. Unfortunately, prices are not listed.

Howard Roberts Clip

February 6, 2010

Nicolai Foss

There is surprisingly little footage around of the great Howard Roberts, arguably the most under-rated guitarist in jazz history. Here is the only footage available on YouTube, with Howard playing “Star Eyes.” I think this is from the mid to late 197os. I saw Roberts perform in Jazzhouse Montmartre in 1982, and I remember him looking a bit older than in this clip.

Wolf Marshall’s New Barney Kessel Transcriptions

February 6, 2010

Nicolai Foss

Many, perhaps most, practicising jazz guitarists are familiar with ├╝ber-transcriber Wolf Marshall. Thus, Wolf has brought Grant Green, Pat Martino, Wes Montgomery, Charlie Christian, George Benson, etc. transcriptions to the jazz guitar community.

A new set of Wolf Marshall transcriptions is a major event, and such an event has recently transpired with Hal Leonard’s release of Barney Kessel: A Step-by-Step Breakdown of His Guitar Styles and Techniques.”

Arguably, the notions of styles (in plural) in the subtitle is a bit exaggerated, for virtually all of the transcriptions are from Kessel’s first three recordings as a leader, Easy Like, Kessel Plays Standards, and To Swing or Not to Swing, whereas the change in Kessel’s playing which began around 1960 with the latest of the Pollwinners albums to an even more bluesy, stomping and loose style isn’t really represented here. In fact, many think that Barney’s first recordings as a leader are also his finest, and Wolf has transcribed classics like “Salute to Charlie Christian” (my personal favorite early Barney number), “Easy Like,” “Indiana,” “Speak Low,” and of course done so with his usual precision and empathy. Great work, Wolf!!

25,000 Guitar Players Say Gibson Should Reissue Classic Epiphone Archtops

January 24, 2010

Nicolai Foss

Now, here is truly a cause worth joining!! You must have a Facebook account to join. Here is the group description:

The Emperor, Deluxe, Broadway, Trumph, Zephyr Deluxe, and Zephyr Emperor Regent. These classic Epiphones of the period 1935 through to 1965 have long been out of production. Join if you think Gibson or Epiphone should reissue them once more!

Check out the fantastic photo gallery with mouth-watering Epis.

Jimmy Wyble Passed Away Yesterday

January 17, 2010

Nicolai Foss

… according to this forum post. I haven’t been able to verify the info yet. Wyble was born in 1922, began in western swing, and is perhaps best known in jazz for his association with Red Norvo. There is a small handful of Wyble videos on YouTube, for example, this one, or this clip from some silly movie, featuring Wyble with Norvo.

The New D’Angelico J.Geils/Gerry Beaudoin Signature Model

January 14, 2010

Nicolai Foss

The most popular posts on this humble blog are those that concern the Charlie Christian pickup. Apparently, there is a strong interest out there. Perhaps it is not so strange: Combine the CC pickup with a small, slightly over-driven tube amp and you’ve got a sound that cries Barney Kessel, early Tal, and, of course, Charlie Christian! Yes, the hum is unavoidable and probably worse than with any other pickup — but it is worth it! Not surprisingly, CC pickups have been applied to all sorts of archtops; I’ve even seen a Super 400 with a double (!) CC pickup.

J. Geils and Gerry Beaudoin, of New Guitar Summit fame, have placed a CC pickup on a D’Angelico to arrive at their own signature model. The first of them, the prototype if you like, is offered here at the very reasonable buy it now price of 1, 999 USD. Check out the text to the auction which gives a lot of interesting detail.

Billy Mackel

January 10, 2010

Nicolai Foss

Billy Mackel’s claim to fame is essentially that he was “Lionel Hampton’s guitarist,” for about 30 years after joining Hamp in 1944. Mackel’s simple, robust and hard-swinging style fitted the bandleader’s approach very well. Here is a site dedicated to Mackel, put together by Mackel’s son, Avon Mackel, and Hans Bebop (!). And here is a representative YouTube clip.

DeArmond Craziness — Cont’d

January 10, 2010

Nicolai Foss

I have often noted the absurd prices that the fine, but not extraordinary, DeArmond pickups are offered at. This offer exceeds anything I have seen yet: a “sofort kaufen” price of 950 Euros for, no, not an 1100, but a simple FHC pickup! If you want one of these, check out American ebay, where they can often be purchased at less than 200 USD.


January 9, 2010

Nicolai Foss

Vintageguitars.co.uk (the main link doesn’t seem to work at the moment) has plenty of yummy stuff. Here is their page with catalogue scans of, for example, the Epiphone 1961 catalogue and various Gibson catalogues from 1958 and up through the 1980s. They also got Gretsch and Guild catalogues scanned. Great stuff for the archtop lover.