Saturday, November 11, 2017

J. Geils Guitars From His Estate Are Being Auctioned

J Geils

On Sunday, November 19th, 2017, the Fine Musical Insturments department of Skinner Auctions, will be offering the remaining guitars and musical instruments from the estate of J. Geils.



J Geils
John Warren Geils, better known as J. Geils passed away on April 11th of this year. He had sold off much of his collection of vintage guitars and amplifiers prior to his death. His collection of vintage Italian sports cars was auctioned off earlier this year.

The New Guitar Summit

Though he is best known for his guitar work in the J. Geils Band, Geils went on to play Jazz guitar in the Boston area. He was part of the New Guitar Summit with Duke Robillard, and Gerry Beaudoin.



J Geil's Italian sports cars at KTX

In addition to his musical career, Geils also owned and operated KTR Motorsports, a business that serviced Italian sports cars. He also had a degree from the Worcester Polytechnic Institute in mechanical engineering.


D'Angelico Excel



The upcoming auction at Skinners features some of J’s favourite guitars; including a beautiful 1940 D’Angelico Excel Archtop model, that is expected to fetch between $6,000 to $8,000.




Stromberg Master 400



Also featured is a rare 1940 Stromberg Master 400 archtop guitar, that has a price tag of $8,000 to $12,000.





1954 Fender Stratocaster



An original sunburst 1954 Fender Stratocaster (the first year this guitar was offered) is being offered at a price of between $25,000 to $35,000. This guitar is in pristine condition.





1952 Les Paul



A 1952 Gibson Les Paul gold top guitar that has the original P-90 pickups and trapeze tailpiece is among the items being sold. This guitar is expected to fetch between $8,000 and $12,000.





Gibson Nick Lucas



Geil’s 1929 sunburst Gibson Nick Lucas Special acoustic guitar is being offered for $5,500 to $6,500.





Ignacio Fleta guitar




His rare handmade 1976 Ignacio Fleta classical guitar is being offered for $20,000 to $30,000.





Lloyd Loar Mandola



J. Geils also owned an original 1924 Gibson Lloyd Loar H-5 Mandola. This is the larger version of the F-5 mandolin. It is being offered at between $35,000 to $55,000.






Fagnola Violin



While they are not guitars, the upcoming auction also features a fine Italian violin ascribed to maker Annibale Fagnola that has an estimated worth of between $10,000 and $15,000.





Pedrazzini cello
His cello built by Italian maker Giuseppe Pedrazzini that is expected to sell for between $25,000 and $35,00 along with a gorgeous silver-tipped cello bow made by Christian Welhelm Knopf that will sell for between $1,800 and $2,400.

For those of us that would like to own a guitar that belonged to a music legend, but can’t ante up a lot of money, do not despair. Some of J’s less valuable instruments are on the block, and the bidding for these instruments starts at just $20 USD.

Vega Duo-Tron


This 1950 Vega Duo-Tron electric archtop guitar is being offer for a bid starting at $20. The volume and tone controls are mounted on the guitars trapeze tailpiece.






1940 Vega Electric guitar




Also offered is a 1940 Vega electric archtop with a unique slanted pickup. This is reminiscent of a similar Gibson model of the same era. 




Harmony Monterey




A 1955 Harmony Monterey archtop guitar, with an added DeArmond pickup is offered as well.



Stella Guitar




A 1965 Harmony Stella guitar is also offered, that will certainly sell in a low price range.






Gibson EH-150 Lap Steel



J’s 1937 Gibson EH-150 lap steel, along with its original case is being offered. It is in pristine condition.






Broken 1977 Les Paul Double


I’d love to know the story behind this next guitar being offered. It is a 1977 Les Paul Special. The neck is broken in half, and all the parts are gone.






Two vintage guitar amplifiers are also on the block.

Epiphone Electar Amp


One is a gorgeous 1939 Epiphone Electar Zephyr that has a stylized wooden cabinet, with a large wooden E design over the grill.






Supro Amplifier



The other amplifier up for bid is a 1949 Supro model 1600U amplifier.





J Geils Estate Auction


There are many other items offered at this auction, that include Senhheiser and Beyerdynamic microphones, a group of speaker cabinets and amplifiers, guitar cases, speakers, awards, photographs, gold and platinum records, road cases, recording equipment, tour jackets, and tee shirts.

And trumpets; J played the trumpet and collected them.

Check out the online catalog.

Click on the links below the pictures for sources. Click on the links in the text for further information.
©UniqueGuitar Publications (text only)




Sunday, October 22, 2017

Gibson Memphis Guitar Factory Is Up For Sale

Gibson Factory in Memphis
Gibson Guitars has put their downtown Memphis facility up for sale.

In a press release, the company implies that the Memphis factory is not closing, or leaving Memphis, but looking for a smaller space the the almost 128,000 building they currently occupy. Asking price is $17 million dollars, including a 330 space parking lot.

Gibson has been a Memphis fixture for the past 18 years. When it was built it had a large entertainment facility that has not been used in the past few years.

Unconfirmed source state the Gibson Brands Incorporated has accrued considerable debt.

Inside the Memphis Plant
The agents handling the sale stated, “They are definitely going to stay in Memphis, but when this venue was built it had a large entertainment venue (that) hasn’t been utilized in a couple of years,” he said. “And that’s approximately half of the building.”

They go on to say that the Memphis plant will not be closing anytime soon. It is estimated that it will take 18 to 24 months to find a new home.

Gibson Memphis Plant
Gibson has three factories that produce their instruments. The facility in Memphis builds the ES semi-hollow body electric guitars and all of their custom instruments. In Nashville, Tennessee, Gibson’s solid body guitars are produced, and in Bozeman, Montana, Gibson’s acoustic guitars are created.

Gibson Brands CEO Henry Juskiewicz
In a press release, Gibson CEO Henry Juszkiewicz states: “We are extremely excited about the next phase of growth we believe will benefit both our employees, and the Memphis community. 


I remember when our property had abandoned buildings, and Beale Street was in decline. It is with great prid that I can see the development of this area with a basketball arena, hotel, and a resurgent pride in the musical heritage of the great city of Memphis. We continue to love the Memphis community and hope to be a key contributor to its future when we move nearby to a more appropriate location for our manufacturing based business allowing the world the benefit or our great American craftsmen.”

Epiphone Les Paul Standards.


In addition to the Gibson brand name, Gibson also owns the Epiphone, Kramer, Maestro, Kalamazoo, Dobro, and Valley Arts brand names for guitars.



Baldwin Piano


The company owns the Slingerland Drum Company, as well as the Baldwin, Wurlitzer, Chickering, and Hamilton piano brand names.



Slingerland drums are no longer being manufacutred.  Some of the other guitar brands are no longer being made, while others, that were once American brands, are now being outsourced to Asian manufacturers.

Gibson Innovations products
Surprisingly, Gibson Brands largest business in not in guitars, but in its electronics and audio businesses. Gibson Innovations is a licensee of Phillips brand audio, Gibson also owns the Onkyo Corporation, which produces Onkyo and Pioneer brands.

Teac Mixer
They own both the Tascam and Teac Corporation, including their Esoteric brands. Gibson owns Cerwin Vega, Stanton, KRK Systems and the software company; Cakewalk.

Click on the links under the pictures for sources. Click on links in the text for further information.
©UniqueGuitar Publications (text only)




Saturday, October 21, 2017

Carvin Audio Closes It's Doors After 71 Years Of Business

Carvin Audio


On October the 11th, the owners of Carvin Audio announced that after 71 years of being in business they are closing.




LC Kiesel demonstrates
a mandolin pickup and an amplifier
Carvin guitars and amplifiers is a company started by Lowell C. Kiesel in San Diego California back in 1946. At that time Mr. Kiesel had created a stringed instrument pickup. This was at a time when the steel guitar was very popular, especially for Country and Western bands that were spring up in Southern California.



LC Kiesel playing steel
 on a Martin guitar


Kiesel was an accomplished steel guitar player.

Within a year Kiesel moved his location and began manufacturing steel guitars. By 1949 he set up a larger facility in Baldwin Park, California  This same year Lowell changed the companies name from Kiesel Guitars, to Carvin Guitars. Carvin was an amalgamation of the names of Lowell’s sons; Carson and Gavin.

'56 Carvin #1-SGB


The companies earliest guitars, and basses were very basic, but functional. They utilized necks made by Höfner, and pickups manufactured by DeArmond. In addition to their own guitars, Carvin also offered Martin guitars, Fender guitars, and Sonola accordions. They also offered a complete line of steel and pedal steel guitars.




1976 Carvin guitars
By the mid 1970’s the quality of Carvin guitars had greatly improved, and in addition to  their own line of amplifiers, they were offering professional audio equipment.

Later in the decade they expanded into recording equipment, stage lighting, and other studio equipment.


1976 Parts and Kits



Carvin offered guitar kits as early as the 1960’s. Carvin continued to manufacture their own pickups.





'54 Carvin #3664 -
2 - 12" speakers 25 watt
s
The Carvin company began building guitar amplifiers as early as the 1950’s. The appearance of their early amplifiers were similar to Fender or Gibson amplifiers. The amplifiers were every bit as good as comparable Fender amplifiers, but were sold direct to the public at half the price as Fender amps.

1957 Model #3-SGB


Carvin’s sales were always direct to the public. This was a niche that other manufactures never pursued, but it was the key to Carvin's success. Their only stores were their own retail outlets, that were not opened until 1991. These three locations were in Southern California, and include their Escondido factory.



1956 Catalog cover



Their early catalogs were crudely done as mimeographed flyers, with descriptions of the guitars and amps. They had black and white photographs of the products.





1976 Carvin Catalog



By 1976 Carvin began offering color catalogs.








1976 Carvin CM96 guitar


This same year, Carvin guitars came with all the bells and whistles, that included pickup phasing switches, coil tap, and stereo controls. Bodies were made in the USA, the necks were made in Germany by Hòfner.





Kiesel Guitars
In 2015, Carvin split into two divisions. Their new guitars were re-branded under the brand name Kiesel. Audio equipment remained under the name Carvin Audio.


1979 Carvin Audio and Amplifiers
As best as I can tell, Carvin began offering first class audio mixing consoles, and power amplifiers in 1979. Their equipment was of professional quality. Initial offerings were from 4 channels to 16 channels with 8 outputs. Carvin also manufactured stage monitors, and professional speaker systems.

Recently they added digital mixing boards, microphones, wireless systems, in-ear monitors, and power conditioners.

Carvin Endorsements


Carvin guitar amplifiers were legendary. Steve Vai was an endorser. The late Alan Holdsworth played his Carvin signature model.


Carvin Vintage Series 16/5 watt amp



Carvin Vintage series tube guitar amplifiers were comparable to better known brands, at a much lower price.






Carvin BX 1600 bass amp


Carvin bass amplifiers, sold as the BX series and as well as their cabinets were great values. These were rated from 250 watts to 2000 watts RMS.

Carvin Audio

Unfortunately Carvin equipment will no longer be available. The website is offering remaining stock, but most stock has already been sold.


2017 Kiesel FG1
Kiesel still offers gorgeous guitars and basses, as well as guitar and bass pickups, bodies, kits, necks, and parts.

Carvin guitars and amplifiers have always been under the radar when compared to Fender, Gibson, and Vox.

Those who own Carvin products swear by them.

Click on the links below the pictures for sources. Click on the links in the text for further information.
©UniqueGuitar Publications





Thursday, October 12, 2017

Tom Petty - His Life and Guitars

Tom Petty


Charlie T. Wilbury Jr has died, and so has Tom Petty. When I think of Tom Petty, I think of one of the last real rock players. There are some others still with us; Petty was one of the best.





Tom Petty in later years
Tom Petty was a like chameleon. Sometimes his voice sounded like Bob Dylan; Sometimes he sounded like Roger McQuinn, on his song Room at the Top, he tried to sound like Carl Wilson, but most of the time Petty was at his best with his own distinct voice.

Young Tom Petty

Petty had a rough childhood with an abusive father.  By age 11, he knew what he wanted to do with his life, when he had a chance meeting with Elvis Presley.  In 1961, Tom's uncle owned a film developing company in Ocala Florida, the same town where Elvis was shooting the movie, Follow That Dream. Young Petty was asked by his aunt and cousins if he would like to go watch the action.


At age 11 Petty met Elvis

Petty was dumbfound when the King climbed out of a white Cadillac and walked over past the crowd to speak with his aunt, cousins, and him. While his family recalls that moment as a special event, for Tom Petty this was life changing. After that he quit going outside, content to stay inside and listen to music all day. He even collected Elvis 45 rpm records.



The Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show
In 1964, when The Beatles were on the Ed Sullivan Show, Petty knew that he wanted to be in a band. Eventually he learned to play guitar. And of course, if you played guitar, you needed to sing. His first guitar teacher was Don Felder, who went on to become one of the founding member of The Eagles.

Petty's First Band
He formed a band called The Epic, which later named themselves Mudcrutch. By 1976, the band had gone their separate ways after a recording they made called Depot Street failed to chart. Mike Campbell, Benmont Trench, decided to stick with Petty, who had decided on a solo career.

They were later joined by Ron Blair, and Stan Lynch and became the first incarnation of The Heartbreakers.

Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers




The band’s first album enjoyed more success in the UK than in the United States.






Damn The Torpedoes



But their second album, Damn The Torpedoes, sold over two million copies and had hit songs on it like, Don’t Do Me Like That, Here Comes My Girl, and Refugee.




Stevie Nicks with Petty
Subsequent albums were also hits, and lead to Petty recording with Stevie Nicks, and being asked by Bob Dylan to join him on tour. The Heartbreakers even played some dates with The Grateful Dead.  The groups 1985 album was produced by Dave Stewart of the Eurythmics.

The Travelin' Wilbury's
with their Gretsch guitars
In 1988 Petty was asked by George Harrison to join his group, The Traveling Wilburys. Along with Petty, and Harrison were Roy Orbison, and Jeff Lynne. This lead to several albums. Petty incorporated The Wilburys’ songs into his live shows.

Jeff Lynne and Tom Petty


Petty collaborated with Jeff Lynne on one of his best songs; I Won't Back Down.

Petty and the Heartbreakers had initially inked a deal with Shelter Records at the start of their career. Shelter Records was later sold to MCA, which upset Petty. He felt that he and his band were being treated like a commodity.

To thumb his nose at MCA, he financed next record and ran up a bill in a recording studio costs of over $500,000, then he refused to release the album. In a legal move, he declared bankruptcy to force MCA to void his contract. He then resigned with MCA on more favorable terms.

Tom Petty Hard Promises
His album, Hard Promises was to be sold at $9.98. Petty once again argued with executives at the company that the price was too high and he refused to allow the album to go forward. The record company relented and dropped the price a full dollar. Petty’s legal maneuvering led the way for other artists to take back their music and receive respect from the record companies.

The Traveling Wilburys were signed to Warner Brothers Records. Petty later signed a contract with this company under a better arrangement then he had with MCA.

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers - last concert September 25, 2017
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers continued to tour and played his last concert at the Hollywood Bowl just a week before his untimely death on October 2nd.

The guitars that Petty used are too numerous to mention them all. He was a collector and owned some exquisite instruments.

Petty - 1964 Stratocaster



One of his favourite guitasr was a sunburst 1964 Fender Stratocaster.





Petty with vintage
 Rickenbacker


He played quite a few Rickenbacker instruments, including a 1965 Rose Morris, and a 1987, and 1993 reissue of the Rose Morris. For those that do not know, in 1965 Rose-Morris Music was chosen to be the official distributor of Rickenbacker guitars.





Petty with Rickenbacker 330/12


Petty also owns a  1967 Rickenbacker 360/12.





Tom Petty Rickenbacker 660/12


He plays a 1989 Rickenbacker 660/12TP, that was designed by the company as an artist model for him. Petty had input in the design of this guitar's neck. He had them build the neck so it was slightly wider than other Rickenbacker 12 string guitars.



Petty - Epiphone Casino

In an interview he stated that one of his favorite guitars for recording is an Epiphone Casino. Since feedback was a problem with hollow body guitars, he did not take this one on the road.

Petty '63 Telecaster reissue



On the road he played a white ‘62 Fender Custom Shop Stratocaster, as well as a sonic blue ‘63 Fender Telecaster.







Petty with a 1967 Fender Esquire


Petty also owned a blonde ‘67 Fender Esquire, and his sunburst ‘64 Fender Stratocaster.





Petty with '76 Firebird



Tom also owned a white ‘63 Fender Stratocaster, a 1960 blonde Telecaster, and a 1976 Gibson Firebird V.







Petty with his Fender XII



One other Fender guitar he owned w.as a white late 1960's Fender XII







Petty with Gretsch Country Gentleman


Petty owned and played a couple of vintage Gretsch guitars; a 1963 Gretsch Country Gentleman, model 6122, and a 1967 Gretsch Tennessean, model 6119.



Petty with Gretsch Billy-Bo


He also owned a Gretsch G61999 Billy-Bo Jupiter.





With signature model
Rickenbacker 660/12TP


We've already alluded to his Rickenbacker collection, which included His 1964 Rose Morris 12 string with a Fireglo finish. A Rickebacker 320, a 1967 Rickenbacker 360/12, a mid 1980’s Rickenbacker 620/12 with a fireglo finish, his signature 660/12TP, also done in fireglo.




Petty with his '64 Electro


He also owned a 1964 Rickenbacker Electro ES-17, in fireglo.  (There were only two models of the Electro brand was made in the USA by Rickenbacker; The ES-16, and the ES-17. In their day, these were budget guitars, but were fine instruments.)





Petty with 1966 Vox Mark VI


Petty also played a white 1966 Vox Mark VI teardrop guitar. Petty sometimes played bass guitar in the Heartbreakers.


Petty with Hòfner Club bass


His bass collection included a 1960's model Höfner Club Bass, and a 1960's model Höfner Violin bass.




'60's Danelectro Longhorn bass



He also owned and played an ES-335 Gibson bass, and a 1960's Danelectro Longhorn bass. Both were used in The Travelin' Wilburys.






Martin "Tom Petty" HD-40
six and twelve string models



His favorite acoustic guitars included a C.F. Martin HD-40 Tom Petty signature model, and a 12 version of this same instrument.





Tom Petty's Gibson Dove

Petty owned a Gibson Dove, that he used as his primary guitar to write songs. He saved this guitar from a fire that destroyed his home in 1987.


Petty's '69 Gibson Everly Brothers J-180


Other acoustic guitars included a 1987 Gibson Everly Brothers acoustic.



Petty with Gibson J-200




A Gibson Tom Petty signature J-200 Wlldflower acoustic, and a Gibson Pete Townsend J-200 acoustic-electric model that had a natural finish.




Guild D-25-12


He frequently played 1970’s Guild D25-12 string acoustic in concert.





Tom Petty Fender Acoustic-electric


Fender had designed a Tom Petty model acoustic guitar.





Petty's FenderVibro King amplifiers



His amplifier set up included two 60 watt Fender Vibro-King combos.





Petty's Amplifiers
He also toured with a 1969 Marshall JMP Plexi head, and a 1987 Marshall Vintage Series 50 watt tube head.

Petty preferred Vox speaker cabinets. He owned a mid 1960's model Vox 120 Super Beatle head.

Petty took a couple of Hi-Watt amps on the road, including a 2007 Custom 50 watt head, and a recent model DR-504 Custom 50 watt head.

'59 Bassman Reissue



In addition to the Fender Vibro-King amplifiers, Petty also used a reissue '59 Bassman. In a recent interview with Tom Wheeler, Petty states he purchased many of his guitars and amplifiers from Norm's Rare Guitars in Los Angeles.







Tom Petty 10/20/1950 - 10/02/2017



I will conclude this remembrance with some lyrics from Jimmy Webb’s song called, "All I know".



"When the singer's gone Let the song go on..."

Click on the links under the pictures for sources. Click on the links in the text for further information.
©UniqueGuitar Publications