Gibson ES-335 Semi-hollow body bass

It’s the bass player who makes your girlfriend dance! That is why I love the bass…  Today I went into the vaults of Château PGC and discovered this beautiful Gibson ES-335 bass guitar from 2013. Memphis made and Brussels played! 

The Gibson ES-335 is a modern (?) take on the legendary Gibson EB-2 bass that was in production from 1958 to 1972. The EB-2 was a short scale bass, the ES-335 has a full 34 inch scale which nowadays is the standard in bass guitars. Today’s 335 has a vintage and tight sound delivered by two humbucker pups. The neck pickup was moved to the middle position (aka P-bass) and another one was added to the bridge. It delivers a punchy and balanced tone. It features a 3-way toggle switch and the regular tone and volume controls for each pup. 

These instruments don’t pop up very often and I am surprised it had such a short production run. Gibson is always associated with guitars and is not the bassist’s favorite brand. I think this bass deserves more love. It is a great instrument and at a very good price point. At the time you could pick one from the shop at prices below €1,500.00. Today the sell second hand way over €2K.  A future collectable? 

Here are the specs: The ES-335 four string bass has a laminated maple body and top. Rosewood fingerboard and a maple neck. The headstock sports four open “clover” tuners and pearloid inlays. The neck and body have bindings and the guitar has a nitrocellulose lacquer finish to add some vintage mojo to the instrument. 

The ES-335 is a great player, the center-block body is well balanced and the action is perfect. The 3-point bridge is easy to adjust and can be set to your preference in a jiffy. 

It is big, it is cool and it sounds like thunder. I can’t wait to get some flatwound strings on it and “jazz-up” the weekend!  

Cheers, ‘till next time…

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I came from Alabama with …?

zithar banjo

..a banjo in my trunk! Euh, actually it was not Alabama. I acquired this piece of antique from JnR Music, Hasselt (www.jnr.be). When you buy the Pete Seeger -“How to play the banjo”- handbook , you might as wel go for a banjo! Master Luthier John Joris introduced me to the five string chick’n-pick’n-twang’n-pluck’n banjo sling’n! Thanks John, I hold you responsible for a new addiction: bleeding fingers!

New instrument on our block is the W. Dennis 4477 Zither-banjo. The oldest instrument in my collection. More antique instead of vintage… William Dennis (°1864 – Hampstead) was the English instrument maker who conceived this instrument somewhere between 1890 and 1895. The name of the luthier is stamped in the headstock and on the fretboard near the pot along with the model number 4477.

banjo

The Zither-banjo is the English cousin of the American banjo. A zither-banjo has a wood backside which acts like a “resonator.” It is a bowl-shaped back a bit wider than the head of the banjo. This allowed the sound from the back of the banjo’s head to come out the front of the instrument. The resonator increases the volume of the instrument remarkably.

The English banjo makers used the same gauge string for the fifth and first string. The drone string was not fixed to a tuner on the neck but it was “tunneled” behind the fifth fret. The drone string dives into the instrument neck and comes out at the peghead near the sixth tuner.

The headstock has six tuners. One is a faux tuner. All tuners have knobs made of horn. The neck is made of mahogany and the fretboard is ebony with pearl inlays. The pot is a nice solid dark piece of rosewood with pearl inlays on the rim. The heel of the neck carries a nice abalone ornamental inlay.

Overall a nice piece of “antique” that will still be in use after 130 years! No shit, no pills, no coke! … my friends are into hiphop but I am into folk!

Gibson LP Standard CS Splatter

Gibson Les Paul Splatter

Another beauty from the Gibson Custom Shop! A 2011 Gibson Les Paul Standard one-off guitar in a striking “Splatter” finish.

I don’t have much information on this one. It resembles most a ’57 ebony but with a slightly thinner neck. The headstock has the vintage style Kluson tuners and a pearloid logo inlay. Rosewood fingerboard and 22 frets. Not sure what pups are in this but to my ears it sound like 57 Humbuckers.

Gibson Les Paul Standard CS Splatter

If you want to get noticed on stage, this is your guitar! Look at the striking color of the top. It is an ebony guitar splattered with a sort of “watered down” green ink and covered with a gloss finish. The weight of this Pauly is very comfortable, it might have some sort of chambering or not… I can’t “hear” any cavity when tapping the top or back. The action is low and the playability is superb.

But who cares about the specs? This is a guitar you play to get noticed and to look cool. Plug it into a Marshall and you are ready to rock! Under a stage light it will make you shine like a Chevy on snow chains in a tunnel! It will turn heads, even by those who don’t like… how Rock’n’Roll is that!

Would you rock this guitar? Let me know!

Fender Classic Player Rascal Bass

In 2013 Jason Smith from the Fender Custom Shop created an oddball!  A bass guitar with everything from somewhere else. The headstock of a Fender Coronado, the bridge from a Guild, Pickups from a Danelectro… combined with an offset Bass VI body. The Fender Rascal is the “Frankenstein” among bass guitars.

This weird bird was a huge success at the music trade shows and Fender decided to put it in production as part of the Mexican “Classic Player” series. It is a four string short scale bass with lipstick pickups. A bass with guitar pickups? Yes, and the sonic range is awesome!  Besides the “normal” five position switch you can expand your tonal range with another two  by pulling the volume knob.

I like these oddballs, they look cool, play great and sound fantastic! For the demo I plugged this one into a vintage (1969) Marshall SLP and a 4×12 Marshall cab. To my ears it sounded great. It has a very old skool sound, almost like an upright bass. As Antoine says at the end of the demo: “it is not a slapper bass”, … but for anything else it will do the job and make you look cool!

El Credito R – Gretsch Anniversary

El Cigar!

In 1972 Cigar Master Ernesto Perez Carillo launched “la Gloria Cubana” in the United States. Later on these cigars hit the worldwide market under the brand “El Credito”. El Credito is a strong tasting cigar with complex aroma’s.  Definitely not a cigar for beginners, be sure you grow a pair before you start smoking the El Credito series “R” (rated R – only adults?). IMG_7975

In 1968, Ernesto Perez Carillo fled from Cuba to Miami and started the cigar company and created some tasty cigars based on his personal taste in flavours. The brand name “la Gloria Cubana” was dropped due to trademark infringements and changed to “El Credito. In 1999 Ernesto Carillo Jr honoured his father by creating the “Series R”.  By now these cigars are on the market for almost twenty years and they are loved by “experienced” cigar smokers all over the world.

Filler: Dominican/Nicaragua – Binder: Nicaragua – Wrapper: Ecuador

 

El Guitar!

Every time I light up the Series R with the daphne blue cigar band I grab my Gretsch Anniversary G6118T.  In 1958 Gretsch introduced the “Anniversary” model.  Over the years the guitar underwent some changes but in 2018 the guys at Gretsch nailed it by combining old and new appointments creating a professional instrument for modern players. It has the trestle bracing, Filter-Tron pickups and a pinned rocking bar bridge. The Bigsby now has a string-through bridge so no more puzzling with the little pins and string balls as we used to do with the old style Bigsby. IMG_7987

The controls are changed too. No more “mud switch” (Who needs a mud switch?) just a pickup selector switch and four fancy chrome knobs with engraved Gretsch logo (volume pup1 – volume pup2 – tone – master volume). This instrument has a lot of brightness and volume. The G6118T sports a laminated maple body, a medium U-shaped neck with 12″ radius fretboard with pearloid thumbnail markers and 22 jumbo frets. The finish is a beautiful high gloss two-tone Iridium Silver/ Azure Metalic.

Azure is the color of the Caribbean sea, … Cuba, … and so we are back to cigars!

 

 

Gibson Super Goldtone GA-30rv

Probably the most underrated guitar amp. I own 3 of these and they are keepers! Not so successful as their smaller sisters: Goldtone 15 and Goldtone 15 RVS (stereo). The Gibson GA30RV is a vintage style amp and very very British sounding!  No wonder,  these were made in the UK.  In the late 90’s, early 00’s Gibson acquired Trace Elliot.  In fact this is a Trace Elliot. The Goldtone 15 was a straight copy of the Trace Elliot Velocette amp.  The Super Goldtone range consisted of two combo’s (30 and 60 watt) and a 30 Watt head.   I purchased these most priced amps in Ol’ England.IMG_7332

This GA-30RV is a class A two-speaker combo with a bunch of features. First thing to notice is the old style speaker configuration – a 12″ Celestion V30 and a 10″ Celestion Vintage 10.  It has a luxurious finish – thick leatherette covering, brass style speaker grills and a gold plated Gibson logo on the front.  This dark brown version has Gibson tophat control knobs. The earlier version amp in two tone brown finishing has the Gibson speed knobs and basket weave speaker cloth.

The class A circuitry features four EL34 power tubes, five ECC83 and two ECC81 preamp tubes. The long Accutronics reverb tank provides a lush reverb with individual control per channel.  The controls are sectioned in seperate preamp channels with level controls for each and a Master Volume.  Each preamp channel can be activated with the controls or the footswitch. If you can find a Gibson 5 way footswitch you can even combine the two preamps and expand the sonic possibilities of this rock- and blues machine. These rare footswiches sell for crazy prices online but if you can find a Trace Elliot 5 button bass amp footswitch it will work also, … and cheaper!

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This combo is a classic rock and blues amp. A very British tone and pairs perfectly with a Gibson Les Paul guitar. It can be clean and it can be mean. Solid as a rock, dynamic and unforgivven if you have a bad day.  It does require some muscle to carry around, … so eat your meat!

In the demo clip I use a CS Fender Stratocaster ’64 with lipstick pickups. Very thin sounding pups but the Super Goldtone can make it fart! More on this guitar in a next episode.  Enjoy and keep the comments coming! What is your favourite amp!

Features: Four EL84 power tubes; five ECC83 and two ECC81 preamp tubes; single input jack; preamp select switches; boost select switches; preamp one controls for volume, treble, middle, bass; preamp two controls for gain, level, treble, middle, bass; separate reverb level controls; master volume; line out; loop select; series/parallel switch for loop; separate level controls for send and return; send and return jacks for loop; three-spring reverb tank; 12″ Celestion Vintage 30 speaker, 10″ Celestion Vintage 10 speaker; footswitch jacks for preamp 1/2 Boost (two-button footswitch, included with amp).

Gibson Custom Shop Modern Double Cut Standard

Haters gonna hate but I love this guitar from the Gibson Custom Shop!  In 2017 Gibson introduced the Modern Double Cut at the CES show in 2017.  A mahogany body with a two piece maple cap is traditional Gibson, so is the nitro lacquer finish and the humbucking pickups. These instruments feature a 12″ radius rosewood fretboard with 24 frets. The Apex headstock has some kind of “volute” to reinforce the neck. A traditional Gibson neck is prone to break at the headstock, Less chance this is gonna happen with the Apex headstock.GOPR1062.jpeg

The long neck tenon drives the neck deep into the cutaway body. The pickups are placed closer to each other and it takes a while to get used to if you are used to the classic Les Paul guitars. The pickups are a pair of 57 Classic and 57 Classic Plus humbuckers and they are wired to a 500K CTS volume pot and a 500K CTS tome pot. Hand wired, no mini pcb in these guitars.

Gibson gets a lot of critique when they change a proven design but they nailed it with these guitars. Guitar players are very conservative regarding their instruments. They are a limited run and probably are going to be collectors items in the future. Excellent playability, perfect balance, tons of sustain and beautifully crafted at the Gibson Custom Shop. GOPR1065.jpeg

This one comes in Metallic Alien Green, it is an eye-catcher on and off stage. I know Gibson gets a lot of comments on their quality control and their prices but as an owner of 20+ Gibsons (and many sold instruments) I have never encountered a single problem with any of my Gibson guitars. Except one time when I got an instrument with a broken headstock due to the brutal handling by the courier service. Other than that, no problems at all. I guess it is trendy to do some Gibson bashing on youtube and social media… well I don’t care! If we all had the same taste wouldn’t we all be married to the same woman/man?

 

Guitars, Amps & Gear

Hi folks,

I am suffering a severe case of GAS! Gear Acquisition Syndrome and I know I am not the only patient struck with this disease. Guitars come and guitars go… as a collector I have  a constant flow of gear coming in and every now and then some things have to go.  Stay tuned to this site for gear reviews, demo’s and other silly stuff.  I’ll post regular updates and items I put up for sale. Please check out Pro Guitar Center on Youtube and social media:

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Gibson Les Paul – London Fog

Spring cleaning at Château PGC!  Time to get rid of the winter dust and look what I found underneath: not one but two Gibson Les Paul Traditional London Fog guitars! Nothing traditional about these. These guitars were manufactured by Gibson in 2009. In fact it are leftovers from the Gibson Les Paul Dark Fire product line destined for the Japanese market. The Dark Fire was probably the nicer version of the robot guitars that were put on the market by Gibson. The LP DF was equipped with the robot tuners and a piezo pickup system. It came in a white case and a lot of batteries and cables. I assume it was not much of a success as they had some bodies left to throw them on the market as a Les Paul Traditional London Fog. gibson-dark-fire I am not a fan of hi-tech guitars, like most guitar players I am very conservative when it comes to changing a proven design. Plug and play for me, I hate guitars that come with a manual.  In 2009 I found three London Fogs in the UK (Where else but in London?) and brought them home.  I must say! I love these guitars!

The LF is a stripped Dark Fire.  These guitars have a beautiful flamed top, ebony fretboard, black binding carbon inlays. The headstock on the asymmetrical neck carries the old fashioned “flowerpot” design inlay.DCIM100GOPROGOPR0922.JPG

The electronics are fairly simple and just how I like them. A Burstbucker Pro pup in the bridge and carbon covered P90 at the neck.

The playability is excellent. The guitar is very lightweight and very resonant due to the empty cavities and routings where the dark Fire electronics used to be. Under the bridge and the saddle you can still find the cavity for the piezo wiring.

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The color is hard to capture in a pic, it changes from “greenish” over “salmonish” to “goldish”!  The earliest one comes with strap lock buttons while the youngest of these sisters has the skinny Gibson strap buttons factory installed.  After all, not bad for a left over Gibson. I love them!

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Stay tuned for more! Anyone interested in one of these will soon find a link to my Reverb page here.

Cheers!

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