Mike Watt’s Les Paul Signature Bass

26 04 2010

Les Is More. The Mike Watt Les Paul Signature Bass.

Every now and again, when he’s not on tour, my old friend Mike Watt either goes flying down the steep hill in front of my pad ringing his bicycle bell while simultaneously shouting my name to see if I’m home, creating a wild swirling Doppler Effect….or sometimes he’ll just foist and come up to the door and we’ll drink coffee and I’ll be served a history lesson of all things from Pelicans to the Indigenous Indians who inhabited San Pedro before the Spaniards killed them off.  History Lesson Pt 3?  To the point.  He’s been busy touring with Iggy & The Stooges in France and soon the rest of Europe.  In the mean time I’ve been entrusted to bring his Mid 70’s Les Paul Signature Bass up to running order.  This thing has been bouncing around his practice pad for at least nineteen years without a case and has a multitude of rattles, bowed neck and a tailpiece that’s just about as tight as a prick in a shirtsleeve.  No problem, I’ll fix her right up!  We’ve decided to go with a Hipshot 5G400C replacement bridge that requires no modification and has better features all around including individual saddle height adjustment!  How novel is that?   Normally I’m not one for aftermarket parts but the original OEM Bridge leaves a lot to be desired.   After figuring out where some of the rattles were coming from, ie:  loose truss rod, the low impedance electronics hanging loose beneath the selector knob and worn out bridge saddles with lateral (sideways) movement.  ( I forgot to mention this rare guitar has two outputs.  One for Low Impedance for recording and a High Impedance for live applications.)   The rattle continued and after much head scratching I found that all of the washers under the tuner ferrules were loose from the ferrules not being flush with the face of the headstock. It was maddening because the rattle caused by these washers seemed to transfer down the neck to the body.  You could put your ear to the body and it sounded like the rattle was coming from within.  Anyway, I think I’ve got it licked.  Two more things of mention…the pickup bezel is not original to this guitar.  When Mike bought it, the original was cracked and he asked me to fabricate something…I chose a piece of Mahogany and it’s been installed there ever since.   The autograph at the tail end is none other than the man himself, LES PAUL, who duly imparts the message…”To Mike,  Keep Pickin’,  Les Paul”.   Lester Polfus, Rhubarb Red, Les Paul… Rest In Peace and Keep Pickin”!

(Click on the photo for super fun detailed action…)





Man oh Man, what a Mandolin!

13 01 2010

Here’s an odd one.  I found this along with a violin in a local Goodwill Shop years ago. It was made by a local builder. His name and date of completion are burned into the wood on the inside. L. Cooper, Long Beach 1937. I wish I had kept the violin but sold it to some crazy old lady that claimed she knew the guy who made it. This thing has the perfect Wabi Sabi* vibe that I just love in old acoustic (and electric) instruments. The Varnish has gone through some changes and looks like it’s been in a fire but this thing sounds fantastic and plays great! Styled after a Gibson F Bodied Mandolin with the exception of a shorter neck to body joint, it nails the wide open tone of seasoned woods that sing a la early 20th Century Lloyd Loar craftsmanship. Is that too much guitar-speak for everyone? I wish the whole instrument was in the photo but I like the detail shown. Thanks to Ian for sending his photo version of this gem for this post.

*Footnote…Wabi Sabi is a Japanese term used to describe the natural beauty of decay or impermanence. Something in this age of built-in obsolescence is sadly missed for those of us who like the look, feel and taste of rust.





Merry X-Mas & A Happy X-Year

25 12 2009

Good morning! Yup, it’s that day again. Wake up and fill your sack full of eggnog and sausage. Rip some paper from a box or two and throw it in the trash but make sure it makes it to the recycling bin! It’s such a nice sunny day here. I really hope we won’t have a terrorist attack today…that would be kinda lame. I’m on full-tilt X-Mas Red & Green Alert! My sweet Gal just wandered out of the bedroom and sang me a Psychobilly song that she whipped up in her half asleep state. “I Don’t Want To Drink Alone”. She actually sang some of it to me right off the cuff. It’s like wakin’ up with Reverend Horton Heat on this, the most important Ancient Pagan Holiday that was hijacked by you other folks…you know who you are. What’s all this nonsense in the Bible about it being a sin to place an icon like a tree in your home at this or any time of the year? What Hooey! I dare you, read it and weep. I don’t care either way. Ahem, Amen and Amon Duul II!  Google my ass up!…Now I’d like to take this opportunity to reach out to all of the sad Republicans and offer them my condolences for this wacky Heath Care Reform dealio. I think it’s pretty damn cool that Health Insurance companies can legally operate in collusion (it’s on the books Baby!) when any other type of business would be sued so fast it would make your head swim. Then you’d really need a Doctor! It’s like Disney getting a special extended copyright license protecting their crap from becoming Public Domain and guess what? No one else gets that Government Sanctioned lolly-pop! I know, I know, it’s lame that Democrats came up with stupid stuff like Medicare and Social Security. Who would ever want or need anything like that? Not me. No way! I’m planning on being very healthy and super rich until forever comes a-knockin’…and that ain’t never gonna happen! I want the Government out of my life once and for all! Don’t fix the roads, no schools, pollution, LAWS?!??!?!!! Are you kidding me? I’m so fed up I could tea-bag myself…but,  Hey! Look what I found under the tinsel tannenbaum this morning!

Two of those…whatchamacallits

That’s right, Satan Claus brought me a high quality photograph of some nice old Gretsch Guitars! Happy Holidays to everyone who came to my humble shop for their gift buying needs.
My X-Year’s Resolution? Keep making fun of, and providing better service than those GuitWhore Center and Sam’s Ass wannabes across town…although, through the kindness of my heart, I sent some of my customers over there who were looking for Cardboard Pink Guitars with Unicorns painted on them.
See ya’ll next year!!!!

Love,
El Jefe





Record Breaking Records

10 12 2009

It’s almost Christmas and if you need an unexpected gift for an unsuspecting family member or friend, think about buying them a hunk of vinyl that they probably got rid of years ago.  It’s like a spinning time machine. I’ve got every manner of music for sale here at the shop at unbelievable prices. Just check across the street at the Antique Mall and you’ll be amazed at my prices…I even have Beatles RED & BLUE Vinyl, cheap…while they last!
Or if you need some cash for something useful like say, food, clothing or rent, come on down and sell me your old unloved records. They need to be in pretty good shape and of supreme intrinsic value to random passersby.
Otherwise you can just have yourself a “Beatles are more popular than Jesus” record stomp and a Salem Witch Trials-style burning at the stake in the alley behind your hovel involving your scratched up and worthless Rush, Sting and Fleetwood Mac junk.  I pay good hard earned cash for your records if you want to sell them.  Bring me your JAZZ, HIP HOP, PUNK and CLASSIC ROCK! Call me before you rent that dump truck and I’ll make room. Happy Holidays to one and all!

Your Typical Mom's House





You Want It? You Got It!

1 12 2009

Now,  just posted today on Ebay!  My beloved 1966 Gibson Es 330.  I think I’m gonna cry.  Happy F#@%ing Christmas everyone!

This just in… The Holidays are coming a little quicker than expected for an old friend who just popped for this guitar.  Thanks to K.M. I know it’s going to the very best of homes!

The Real Nativity Scene?





Meaty Beaty Big And Bouncy

20 11 2009

I was digging through some old photos and found this little jem.  It’s a shot of my 1974 Hiwatt Custom 50 with matching 4 X 12 Fane Loaded cabinet and my 1963 Gibson SG Junior.  These two could really make a mess!  Louder and heavier than Hell in more ways than one.  Like a mini version of what Pete Townshend of The Who used from around 1969 to the early 80’s.  These amps are built to take a beating…and deliver one to the listener as well!  Designed by David Reeves and made in the U.K. to Military Specifications, employing the very best of components and assembled by technicians wearing white lab coats!  You probably won’t ever find one of these at the local flea market or nearby garage sale but if you do, well, consider yourself warned.  Oh by the way…I do have an early 80’s 100 Watt Hiwatt Head in the shop for sale right now…gimme a call.





NOVEMBER…AS THE CROW FLIES

10 11 2009

Good Evening.  Ahem…It’s not often that one might stumble across an original Fender Esquire, let alone an Esquire Custom.  Basically what we have here is a Telecaster with only one pick up, a different tone circuit and binding on the body.  Way back when, you could buy a two pickup Telecaster for about the same price as one of these single pickup Customs.  To most people it didn’t make much sense to spend more to get less…except for the way cool binding.  This one sports a Rosewood fretboard, which I prefer.  It reminds me of my ’63 Tele Custom…Yup, Custom.  Most guitars from the 60’s have a Maple Fretboard.  This example is from 1969 which sadly is the very last year of the original production run from the late 50’s to when this little girl was born.  I’m working from memory here but I think there were only about 12 of these made that year…at any rate not many of these guitars exist at all in stock, clean condition like this one, from any year prior to 1969. Just check the clean interior of the original case it’s standing in. Most of these were probably modified to act and look something like their sibling, The Telecaster.  I love this guitar but I’m considering putting it out there for sale some time soon, probably via the Internet.  Keep an eye out and I’ll keep you posted. Not a tease, just something for you to drool over for now.
Hope y’all have a big ol’ Turkey Day this year…Cheers!esquire1