Monday, November 17, 2014


This is the awful truth and only guitar lovers will really be interested.

At the end of 1987 I bought my first electric guitar with help from my Mum. It marked the start of a lifelong obsession and passion.

Below are some notes about all the electric guitars, amps and pedals I have owned. It's a bit scary looking back and I don't know all the dates but the chronological order is about right... (asterisked items are the ones I still have)

  • 1987 - first guitar; red "Applause" brand Stratocaster copy*. Purchased with my Mum at Northern Music Centre, Porirua, NZ.
    • this guitar has been rewired a number of times. For ages it had a Seymour Duncan Hot Rails pickup. Nowadays it houses genuine Fender Noiseless single coil pickups.
    • it's comfortable to play and seems bulletproof.
    • for a "cheap" guitar people are always surprised by how good it feels and sounds.
  • 1987 - first amplifier; Ross Fame 10 watt solid state. Purchased at Northern Music Centre, Porirua, NZ. Sold when I bought the Crate amp.
  • 1988 - first pedal; Boss OD-2 Turbo Overdrive*. Purchased with my Dad at Allan's Music in Melbourne CBD. Modded and upgraded in 2014 by JK Pedals.
  • 1988 - pedal; Rocktek Flanger.* Purchased by my Dad so that I could do spacey sounds for a school performance!
  • 1990 - pedal; Boss DSD-2-  Digital Sampler/Delay. Sold to Graeme from "The Entwined".
  • 1991 - amplifier; Crate G160XL solid state. Purchased at a guitar shop in Morwell, VIC. Traded.
  • 1991- guitar; Gibson SG 1976. Purchased with Sutto at Downtown Music, Annandale, NSW. Traded.
    • and herein begins my problems with these guitars. I'd love to have one but the necks are all too wide for my hands. Note that I don't give up on Gibson as time goes by.
  • 1991 - pedal; Marshall Guv'nor overdrive pedal. Purchased at Pro Audio, Canberra. Sold for peanuts. What a twit.
    • these days the Marshall Guv'nor pedal is very much sought after and expensive. I found the sound a bit harsh compared to the borrowed Boss Super Overdrive I was using at the time.
  • 1991 - reverb/delay unit; Yamaha R100*. Purchased at Pro Audio, Canberra.
  • 1993 - guitar; Washburn 335 copy; Purchased at Pro Audio, Canberra. Traded.
    • This guitar sounded great plugged in or not. Probably the best guitar I've ever owned for writing songs on for some reason.
  • 1993 - amplifier; Marshall Valvestate 8080, Purchased at Better Music, Canberra.Traded.
    • Great clean and crunch sounds but the lead channel never thrilled me.
  • 1994 - pedal; Morley Wah. Purchased at Better Music, Canberra. Sold to Ron from "The Sly Dogs".
  • guitar; Gibson SG 1972. Purchased at Better Music, Canberra. Sold to the band "78 SAAB".
    • another go with an SG but in the end the same neck problems got me.
  • 1994 - guitar; Fender USA Telecaster 1992. Purchased with Alison in Melbourne VIC. Sold.
    • I sold this because I wasn't playing much. It was a mistake as this Tele was a great guitar and fun to play.
  • guitar; Peavey Telecaster copy with two humbuckers. Purchased at Better Music, Canberra. Sold to B.
    • a fine rock and roll machine. Simple and effective.
  • pedal - Zoom. Purchased with Alison at Northern Music Centre, Poririua, NZ. I forget but I think I sold it.
    • I had a lot of fun with this and it was great for playing through headphones.
    • The Zoom lasted a couple of gigs with DVoB but I really only used the tremelo style sounds as the rest were tinny when volume was significant.
  • amplifier - Laney VC-30 valve amp with matching extension cabinet. Sold.
    • Laney's version of the classic VOX AC-30.
    • A big, fat sound. I could use one of these at the moment!
  • guitar - Samick TV-20. Purchased at Pro Audio, Canberra. Sold to G from DVoB.
    • an ugly guitar with a great sound.
    • you can probably pick these up for a song nowadays so I must look.
  • 1998 - guitar; Epiphone Korina Flying V. Purchased from Pro Audio, Canberra. Sold.
    • For years this was my main guitar. I upgraded the bridge pickup to a Gibson JB. The V always turned heads. More Gibson neck size issues finally forced my hand.
  • amplifier - Ampeg SuperJet 12R. Purchased from Pro Audio, Canberra. Traded.
    • this lasted a couple of rehearsals and one gig.
    • good little amp but little was the issue at the time.
  • 1998 - amplifier; Marshall JCM2000 50 watt valve head with 1936 2 x 12" cabinet. Purchased from Pro Audio, Canberra. Traded.
    • I had this amp for almost 15 years. It was loud, it never had any issues. But it weighed a ton and I got sick of lugging it around.
    • Sadly, the trading of this amp ended up costing me money as the two MESAs that I went to from here were awful.
  • pedal; Ibanez Tone Lok CF7 Chorus/Flanger. Purchased from Pro Audio, Canberra. Sold.
  • pedal; Ibanez Tone Lok DE7 Delay/Echo. Purchased from Pro Audio, Canberra. Sold.
  • guitar; Maton Mastersound MS500. Purchased from Better Music, Canberra. Sold.
    • A heavy beast of a guitar with a big fat sound. Sold after being repaired when a punter knocked it over.
  • 2006 - guitar; Fender Stratocaster "Classic Players Strat". Purchased from Pro Audio Canberra. Sold. Beautiful looking guitar but the neck was horrid.
    • The made in Mexico version. Thin reedy sound but a rough neck to play was the main issue.
  • 2006 - amplifier; Kustom practice amp. Sold.
  • guitar; Gibson Joan Jett signature Melody Maker. Purchased from Better Music, Canberra.
    • Didn't sound like Joan's guitar. Harsh pickup and the ubiquitous fat Gibson neck. Will I never learn?
  • 2010 - guitar; Burns Steer.* Purchased from NZ importer. 
    • Transported to me through the hands of family and friends in Auckland, Wellington and Geelong. 
    • It's not a signature guitar but it's one that Billy Bragg made famous.
    • In terms of versatility I think it could play any kind of music well.
    • This one is a keeper for a number of reasons.
  • 2012 - pedal; MXR Black Label Chorus*. eBay.
  • 2012 - guitar; Gibson Les Paul Deluxe.* Purchased from Davis Wheeler Music, Canberra. Bridge pickup swapped to a Gibson '57 Classic Plus in 2014 for a smoother sound.
    • Aha, I hear you say...another Gibson and what about the neck? Well folks, it's a different profile neck to any Gibson I've ever played and it's as comfy as a well worn in pair of shoes.
    • This guitar went on tour as my only electric and didn't miss a beat.
  • 2012 - pedal; original Boss SD-1 Super Overdrive*. eBay.
    • Finally bought an old one of these. I used a borrowed one in my first couple of bands and it was the only drive I needed at the time. Still sounds good.
  • 2013 - pedal; Redwitch Eve Tremelo*. Direct sale from manufacturer.
  • 2013 - pedal; Jim Dunlop Cry Baby Classic Wah. Purchased from Better Music, Canberra.
  • 2014 - amp; MESA Express 5:50. Purchased from Better Music. Traded. I hated the drive on this amp.
  • 2014 - pedal; Hotone EKO delay pedal. Purchased via eBay. Sold to J. Delay is not my thing.
  • 2014 - amp; MESA Lonestar. Purchased from Better Music.Swapped.
    • A seriously expensive amp that I toured with and just couldn't love. It always sounded harsh and/or messy to me.
  • 2014 - amplifier; Jet City JCA20HV valve amp with 2 x 12 cabinet*. The answer to all my tone issues. Purchased from Pro Audio, Canberra.
    • This is a very simple amp. It has one channel and no reverb. And it sounds great. Very much a rock and roll machine. Plug in, turn up, start playing.
    • Ideally I'd like a second one beside it for a cleaner tone but I can work with what I've got.
  • 2014 - guitar; Fender Stratocaster Plus Deluxe 1990 model*. Got this one in the swap for my amp.
    • This has upgraded pickups made by Suhr (maker of all things guitar for Mark Knopfler). They are quite full and fat sounding.
    • Although I hate the 60 cycle hum from a single coil pickup all you need to do is play with the switch at position 2 or 4 and the hum is cancelled pretty much,
    • This guitar is a keeper. The only slight temptation is to put the original pickups (which I have) back in one day. Not now though.
  • 2014 - pedal; Boss HM-2 Heavy Metal*. Purchased via internet forum. Always wanted one of these as a teen/young man. Now I have one. It rocks.

The future? Well there's no doubting that there are a couple of guitars I'd like to add one day. A nice Gretsch hollowbody and a Jackson Randy Rhoads V are the two that spring to mind. I am on the lookout for a decent amp head and small cabinet that I can use beside my Jet City rig for the clean sounds but that search may take a while. I don't plan to trade or sell any of the guitars I have now, or the amp. It's taken a long time to get something coming out of the speakers that approximates the sound I can hear in my head.

Oh, but if Gibson make an SG with the same neck as my current Les Paul I will be sorely tempted.


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