Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Guitars I've owned...

Inspired by Wil's recent post.

I don't have the prices like he did... I'll give rough guides where I can... all prices in GBP btw.

  1. Tata Classical Guitar - my Mum and Dad bought it for me when I was about 11 after my continual whinging I wanted a guitar.  Then my Mum insisted I had "proper" lessons and soon I was off learning classical guitar Grade 1 etc. from Pam who was an old school friend of my elder sister.  Price - no idea probably about £15.   Traded in when I got my FC40 - actually saw one recently at a second hand stall in Whitstable might have been mine... you never know.
  2. Old Italian Mandolin - I inherited this from my Great Aunt.  Not in great nick, the bowl back had a crack in it the neck had been repaired and the tuners were a mismatch as a result of that repair.  I tried to learn for a few years in my teens but it ended up being thrown away - which on reflection was a travesty I should have tried to repair it better.
  3. Columbus Strat Copy - a three tone rosewood board Strat Copy.  £75 from my Mum's mail order catalogue I paid back £1.50 a week for a year!  Sold to second hand shop in Gillingham in bits about 20 years ago after having a humbucker inserted in the bridge position way before that was a cool thing to do.
  4. Fender Classical FC40 - from Unisound in Chatham.  About £70 I think.  Still own it. Mum got it when Pam (see above) said I needed to move on to a new teacher at the Kent Music School.
  5. Eko Ranger 6 - about £60 from Simpson's in Gillingham.  Used for years as my acoustic at home.  Sold for a song stupidly at a charity auction at my son's old primary school... still regret letting it go really!
  6. Nunostrat - my home assembled dual humbucker strat - started with my Dad in 1981 and over many years many mods.
  7. Squire JV 1962 Strat - about £210 from Boogie In Charing Cross Road (I think, might have been Denmark St) bought this in Aug 1983 and still own it and use it - see previous post - great guitar.  I've fitted USA Strat electric in it in the 90s (one with the TBX tone control) and locking tuners as well.
  8. Peter Cook Axis 6 String - bought in the early 1980s from Andy's in Denmark Str - about £200 I think.  Not used too much these days but I love it as a guitar - frankly would cost a big figure to replace with similar quality
  9. Gordon Smith GS1 - bought from Richies in Gillingham for about £175 I think.  Great one pickup guitar - my plan then was to just buy a collection of British guitar makers - I still would love an original Jon Birch.  Sold some years ago back to Richies.  Again a regret!
  10. Peter Cook Axis Bass - bought for about £160 from Unisound in Chatham.  Great great bass - recently featured in Guitar and Bass magazine - sold onto Flat Eric to add to his collection after I'd had it about 15 - 20 years.
  11. Yamaha LL11 - about £200 from Acoustic Guitar Centre in Wapping.  Terrific guitar - love the sound of it still to this day.  
  12. Yamaha 12 string - about £130 I think from Sharon Music in Gillingham.  Still own it but hardly ever used now.
  13. Gordon Smith Graduate 60 - terrific guitar, looks like a Les Paul sounds like a PRS and much lighter than either.  Gordon Smith's can be erratic in terms of quality I was able to try several in Music Ground in Denmark Street before buying this one. I think it was about £700 at the time I got it.
  14. Crafter bowl back acoustic - I wanted an electro for some gigs I was doing and bought this for about £150 from Socodi in Canterbury - frankly, not the best guitar I ever owned, fretting was rubbish about the tenth fret, buzzes, uneven etc. and the amplified sound level was never constant.  Sold on to someone in a pub one day!
  15. Gibson Les Paul Special - in worn faded cherry finish.  I thought I needed a P90 guitar in the collection so bought this from Peter Cook's Guitar World.  Nice guitar but never really did get on with the pickups in the end I sold it to a friend who was stepping up from a tele copy.
  16. Ibanez 5 String bass - bought from a guy who'd wanted to try a 5 string but found he couldn't cope in terrific as new condition about £160 I think.  Simply my bass I drag out to add bottom end to my recordings but it is nice enough.
  17. Gibson Les Paul Custom.  I'd always wanted a proper Les Paul since being a kid - when I bought the Columbus there was a Saxon (I think that was the brand) Les Paul Custom copy on the same page that I couldn't afford and a friend had a Columbus one etc.  I bought this via the USA - about £1750 which was a bargain frankly.
  18. PRS CE 22 - saw this up for only £650 in Mid Air Music in Chatham.  It wasn't in great nick needing a good clean up and reset up and for some reason I couldn't fathom someone had swapped off the PRS tuners for some non- locking ones, I got some PRS ones refitted.  Really versatile, to be honest my "go to" guitar for any gig really as it'll just cope with anything you chuck at it.
  19. Yamaha CPX500.  I wanted an electro (the LL11 wasn't until I fitted a permanent Fishman pickup to it only last year) to play live solo gigs.  about £170 from Mid Air Music again
  20. Vintage Gordon Giltrap 12 striing - to replace the Yamaha where I'd tried to fix the bridge raising on it with limited success and that wasn't an electro.  Terrific sounding 12 string. From Ivor Mairants about £400
  21. Home Built Tele - my home built Amber - kit was about £100 and then I spent about £60 on pickups.
  22. Vintage Gordon Giltrap deluxe 6 string - having loved the 12 string I was planning to get the 6 string to match when they announced this deluxe upgrade and I bought that too from Ivor Mairants for about £620.  Great sounding guitar esp unplugged - plugged it has the fisman unit which I liked so much I fitted a similar into the LL11.
  23. Stagg Mandolin - my second attempt to become a mandolin player - cheap A style mandolin Mrs F got me as a present
So that is 23... of which 8 have left at some point.  Leaving 15.

One other thing I've noticed... with the exception of Ivor Mairants every shop mentioned here has closed - that is a shame, many great memories of many of them.  I remember just lusting after a Gibson Les Paul Deluxe Gold Top in Unisound when a spotty teenager and them graciously letting me play a large headstock black scratchplate Strat when trying an amp out in the late 70s.... etc.

Right... to add to this... 

Amps I've owned...

  1. Audition 30w - God awful thing that I bought from Woolworths.  I had little/no money and it was the best I could get to accompany my Columbus.  The earth hum was terrible and frankly I was never sure the bloody thing was safe at all!  Sold to a friend (he may not have been afterwards!)
  2. Custom Sound Trucker - about as simple as you can get.  Input, Vol, Treble, Bass, On/off and a 12 inch speaker.  Good clean sound but no overdrive at all - I bought a Little Muff to help
  3. Carlsbro 60w 2x12 valve combo - remember very little other than given I didn't drive it was next to impossible to move about!  Bought it of my now brother-in-law and sold on via a newspaper ad to some guy.
  4. Carlsbro Cobra 60w - now we're talking.  Small portable, I could carry it on the bus! Bought from Unisound. Had a reasonable overdrive and "Suzz" sound.  Used for a long time.  part exed in when I got...
  5. Carlsbro Rebel 60w 1x12 - the upgrade really.  Sounded not bad for a solid state amp really.  Never gigged it much as I didn't whilst I owned it.  Bought from Unisound sold to a second hand shop in Gillingham when I needed some cash.
  6. Period without amp - I used a boss rack driver thing for a number of years when not gigging.
  7. Line 6 pod - ideal for home use and recording and I then used it live for some time with a Peavey 80w PA.
  8. Hughes and Kettner Dual 6l6 2x12.  Great amp I do love the sound, Fender cleans and Marshall drive.  Bought from Mid Air Music for about £700.  Only issue is that it is bloody big to cart about.  I have thought of going for a Tubemeister 36w but frankly the clean tone on the Dual keeps me stuck to it currently.


  1. The Audition amps were awful .... that's how Garage was born.

  2. Really?! Or are you making this up? I am so jealous. Nice work, though. Are 12-strings difficult to keep in tune?

    Jimmy Page will be in NYC in September to promote his new book. He's sitting for an interview at a very small theater. It costs $35. Do you think it's worth $35 to hear Jimmy Page talk? On the surface it sounds ridiculous, but it IS Jimmy Page, after all.

    1. No really - I think I've included everything... although some of the order of acquisition may be out I think.
      I'd rather pay $135 and hear Led Zep play ;-)

  3. Great list Graham, wasn't that fun? I couldn't bring myself to go into all of the stories that went along with mine, would have been a novel. Funny how many of these brands of guitars and amps I've never heard of.

    1. Well some are UK biased... Gordon Smith and Carlsbro being good examples Carlsbro were for years a budget brand of amps that many people used.

      Bit like Carvin - although recently had some more exposure in UK a shop that recently closed near me was an agent for them they are pretty much unknown here.

  4. Amazing list. Graham, have you considered writing a book? You are a brilliant storyteller with many varied and moving experiences. Just browsing through your blogs is proof of that. Good reads.

  5. This makes me want to get back into playing my guitars and mandolin. A friend of mine said I should bring a guitar to his party this weekend so we can jam, and I was like, "Uh, no. No one needs to hear my racket."

    The poor things are sitting looking beautiful in a corner of my house. :(