Leo Fender, Les Paul & Paul Bigsby walk into a garage...

Discussion in 'Fred's Barcalounge' started by radd, Apr 7, 2019.

  1. Ricochet

    Ricochet I Bleed Orange

    Nov 13, 2009
    Monkey Island
    They may have been around or invented, but were they widely available in the '60s, UK?
    Say what you will about Roger Mayer. He was actually there. :)
     
  2. wildeman

    wildeman Gretschified

    May 10, 2015
    norcal
    He got that from the original blues guy's, they started doin that in the '50s.
     
  3. Sabato

    Sabato Gretschie

    419
    Mar 22, 2019
    Massachusetts
    I'm about 1/2 way through this book and it's actually making me like the two main characters LESS.
    I think Fender ripped off Bigsby on more than one occasion, and Les Paul had next to nothing to do with the guitar that they put his name on (plus he treated two wives badly). Merle Travis is coming across like a genius, as is Paul Bigsby.
    One thing that amused me was that Gretsch admonished Gibson for making a solid-body like Fender saying, if you ignore it, it will go away.
     
    Lionpotato likes this.
  4. Winnie Thomas

    Winnie Thomas Gretschie

    286
    Jun 13, 2011
    Cochise AZ
    I read it recently and found it fascinating. It was an eye-opener to discover that Gibson presented the guitar to Les Paul for his endorsement, not the other way around.
     
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  5. Sabato

    Sabato Gretschie

    419
    Mar 22, 2019
    Massachusetts
    I guess to be fair, years before, Les Paul TRIED to get Gibson to go electric solid-body but they had their noses up in the air, too good for that plank thing, takes all of the "character' out of a guitar.
     
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  6. afire

    afire Country Gent

    Chris Huston, Liverpool guitarist for The Undertakers, friend of John Lennon (the guy who installed the Bigsby on his 325) and somebody who was also there has said that he and Lennon both primarily used Gibson Monel strings in the early '60s. So, apparently Gibson strings weren't too hard to find. And considering Gibson had been offering plain G's for at least 25 years, it seems odd to think that they also wouldn't have been available.
    And I understand, that wound G's were the norm, no disagreement there. I'm just saying that it didn't take Ernie Ball, Eric Clapton, and a bunch of banjo strings to invent plain G's in the late '60s. They had been around for a long long time already.
     
    RomanS likes this.
  7. buchon2111

    buchon2111 Gretschie

    Age:
    18
    133
    Mar 26, 2016
    Way down in the boondocks
    Eddie Cochran was known to have used the unwound G. You hear him extolling its potential in the session work he did.
     
  8. Ricochet

    Ricochet I Bleed Orange

    Nov 13, 2009
    Monkey Island
    Well, that settles that part.

    So what is your take? Bogus myth alltogether. Was it laziness, or maybe de rigueur thing to do?
     
  9. afire

    afire Country Gent

    My point is limited solely to the oft-repeated story that plain G's didn't exist until the late '60s (don't get me started on flatwounds being the only option) and that you had to use banjo strings to make a set with a plain G.

    Even though Gibson obviously has had a big presence in strings forever, so they must have been pretty widely available (and Gibson wasn't the only company selling plain G sets), I certainly have no problem believing that lots of players not living in bigger cities didn't have many string options. I've heard a lot of players talk about only having access to Black Diamond (or Cathedral in the UK) strings that were like rusty bridge cables. So, I suppose many people who wanted to bend like crazy didn't have a choice but to cobble together sets with plain G's. And the other thing is that these plain G sets still might have been pretty heavy gauge. So I don't doubt that people actually did do the banjo string trick to create extra light sets before the Ernie Ball Slinky and Fender Rock and Roll strings came out.
     
    Ricochet likes this.
  10. Winnie Thomas

    Winnie Thomas Gretschie

    286
    Jun 13, 2011
    Cochise AZ
    That's true, but the guitar Les made never got past the "Log" stage. He did want a solidbody, but the fact remains that when Gibson finally saw the light it was Gibson that designed and built the guitar. We all know how many there are out there now.
     
    Lionpotato likes this.
  11. radd

    radd Country Gent

    Dec 27, 2017
    Santa cruz
    Les Paul was musician first and foremost. He understood the need for a solid body and he had a good ear and was creative in his multi layer recordings but he never designed a guitar that was produced. Even the SG was called a Les Paul at first, later named renamed SG, but again Les Paul had nothing to do with the design.
     
    Lionpotato likes this.
  12. gjohnson441496

    gjohnson441496 Electromatic

    81
    Jan 2, 2018
    USA
    I've been talking about and referencing this book for the past 2 months. So much history surrounding that timeand place and how it shaped the world. It's a MUST READ.
     
    radd likes this.
  13. gjohnson441496

    gjohnson441496 Electromatic

    81
    Jan 2, 2018
    USA
    If I'm not mistaken, according to the book it was Muddy Waters whom first used distortion via cranking his amp. Leo Fender despised his amps being used that way!
     
  14. Sabato

    Sabato Gretschie

    419
    Mar 22, 2019
    Massachusetts
    Yes, Muddy was at a Leeds Festival promoted as "screaming guitar and howling piano". People didn't expect it. He ended up turning it down, concluding that the English like soft guitar and old blues.
     
    gjohnson441496 likes this.
  15. blueruins

    blueruins Country Gent

    May 28, 2013
    Savannah, GA
    Just finished the sample and it is really well written.
    When the buy button came up I was all...
    “Take My Munneh!”””
     
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  16. radd

    radd Country Gent

    Dec 27, 2017
    Santa cruz

    You will enjoy it. I already have a list of friends that want to barrow it.
     
  17. Sabato

    Sabato Gretschie

    419
    Mar 22, 2019
    Massachusetts
    I just read the part in the book where Les Paul (and Mary) did not like the SG at all. Looks mainly.
     
    radd likes this.
  18. Sabato

    Sabato Gretschie

    419
    Mar 22, 2019
    Massachusetts
    I also was interested in the part where Dick Dale drove the creation of a higher-powered amp with two larger speakers to stand up to what he was doing in a large venue. Fender was good at making anything people wanted. The first electric bass was a real coup.
     
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  19. Synchro

    Synchro The artist formerly known as: Synchro Staff Member

    Jun 2, 2008
    Tucson
    Admin Post
    I’ll weigh in on this, as well. Back in the day, heavier strings were pretty much the rule. The plain G vs wound G holy war has been going on for a long, long time and shows no sign of resolving. Every so often, I am tempted back towards orthodoxy and put a wound G on one of my guitars, which lasts until about the second time I try to bend it HP a whole step, then I return to a plain G. But they’ve been making and selling both for a long time now, as Afire has proven.

    But, keeping in mind that fact that string sets tended to be heavier in the old days, I have heard that some players discarded the low E, shifted all the strings down and used a banjo string to fill in the gap at the high E. It makes a lot of sense.

    Ernie Ball not only sold lighter gauge string sets, but he also used a smaller core on the wound strings, making for a slinkier feel.
     
    radd likes this.
  20. radd

    radd Country Gent

    Dec 27, 2017
    Santa cruz

    I love the whole DD and surf part of the book. I was about 40 miles away as a very young teen back then and was into surf music and even body surfed the Wedge the book referenced. Fun read for me.


    DF7A5D90-C208-4860-B07B-9C0A3D31B095.jpeg
     
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2019
    Sabato likes this.
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