Why I buy local…

We live in a digital age. The internet has taken over a lot of industries: travel agents, print journalism, map making, book stores, porn magazines and… music stores. The music industry has been minimized and taken over by IT companies. The internet is giving the brick-and-mortar music store hard times. It is sad to see how the local music store is struggling with the domination of the big online box movers like Thomann or Musicstore. Sure, there is nothing wrong with ordering a Gibson Les Paul from the comfort of your chair but somehow it makes me sad. Am I old fashioned? Maybe. 

Six guitar amps I ordered from several European online stores went straight back or to my amp tech. They all had issues like broken valves, torn up speakers or produced “weird” noises.  Yes, there is a 30 days or more return policy but it is never hassle free. I have to box it up again, drive to the tech or the courier service or spend an evening on burning my fingers with the soldering iron. That is why I still prefer the mom-and-pop music store. 

As a kid, I was licking windows of music stores. Take the bus to the city and getting hypnotized by the goodies at the music shop. Saving and washing dishes in a restaurant to buy that Japanese Strat copy. The offers and choices of guitars were limited but the craving and the desire to buy the instrument were considered a life goal. Now I own 100+ guitars, basses and amps mostly acquired from brick-and-mortar music stores. The online purchase of an instrument does not give me the same buyers satisfaction as an online order. 

A musical instrument store is like a museum, a coffee shop and good place to stop. You can try out an instrument or order your guitar(amp) if it is not in stock. In general the prices are the same (or better) than the online store and I get some serious service on top: free set up to my desire and a quality check. I never came home from a store with a broken amp! Nowadays it is hard to see these stores have to make a living of the repairs from stuff people buy on the internet. 

One of my favorite stores is JnR Music Center in Hasselt (B). It is run by musician and luthier John Joris. They carry a large selection of vintage and new acoustic guitars.  If you cannot find your guitar of choice, he can build you one. Over 40 years of craftmanship in guitar building and repairs. John worked for Lou Reed, Toots Thielemans, Sting and Paul Simon. 

I rather buy from an expert and not from a warehouse owner or drop shipper. Unless you like to buy the smell when opening a guitar case for the first time … buy from your local music store!

Cheers! 

PRS Standard 22 – Ron Fellows

Another one from the Château PGC vault! Today we have a 2007 PRS Corvette Standard 22 model. This one in particular is from a very limited run of less than 50 guitars. It is the PRS Corvette Standard Ron Fellows model. 

PRS Corvette Standard 22 – Ron Fellows

PRS presented NASCAR racing driver Ron Fellows with a one-off Corvette Standard 22 guitar to commemorate his career.  The guitar is painted to match his Corvette race car.  The new Corvette was unveiled at the 2007 Chicago Auto Show and PRS was there to present Mr. Fellows, who is also a guitar player, with this instrument.  After the event PRS received a lot of requests to build this guitar and they did a limited production run.  This guitar is a hard to find and highly collectible instrument.

The PRS Corvette Standard 22 Ron Fellows features a carved mahogany body, 25” mahogany neck with rosewood fretboard with Z06 inlay. The headstock is equipped with PRS 14:1 locking tuners.  Electronics: 2 dragon II pickups, volume-, tone control and a five -way rotary pickup selector. This one has a PRS stoptail bridge, some models feature an optional PRS tremolo bridge.

In the next days I will put it up for sale on Reverb. The guitar is in mint condition and comes with original hardshell case and hangtags.  

Cheers!

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!