Yesterday I met up with Berlin-based Argentinian luthier Leo Lospennato, and it was a nice meeting. I first noticed Leo when I saw is book 'Electric Guitar & Bass Design' in Steward-MacDonald's catalogue, and I was very interested as it's quite an unique book!
The dominant opinion about guitar design being "we already have Les Pauls, Telecasters and Stratocasters, why invent anything more?", it's refreshing to find someone who made the effort to gather and share knowledge about guitar design, and proposes creative tools to expand it. Leo kindly offered me the book and I will avidly read it in the coming days - and probably review it here.
I was happy to discover on Leo's website that 1) he's living and working in Berlin and 2) he's giving guitar-making workshops, something that I'm willing to do to reach another level. Not that I want to become a pro guitar maker myself, but I still would like to collaborate with a luthier or a company to have some of my guitars built, and I need to master more the subject to do that. I still have to decide if I will take his workshop in Berlin over the next few months or go to France to have a 10-day intensive one next summer with luthier Xavier Petit, but during our one hour meeting, Leo gave already interesting insights about guitar design and building - a.o. how to vectorise my sketches to rework them on my computer in scale one.
On sunday I saw the Horrors, and I'm sorry to say that it was quite a disappointment. I'm probably partly responsible for this, because I expected something like their debut album Strange House, the thrilling tongue-in-cheek faux-garage-goth I enjoyed so much when it started to be visible on YouTube (one of my favorite way to discover new bands, always more interesting live than in studio) and didn't listen to the following albums.
Well this is not the same band obviously, not the same music, not the same spirit - the musicians look bored - not the cool blasé look of wannabe idols they sport on earlier videos, but more going-to-the-factory-to-earn-the-daily-bread bored. Most of the audience was bored too actually, if you except a bunch of drunk over-excited teens who could have been in front of Justin Bieber (to be honest, I don't know Justin Bieber's music, I just noticed his hairdo on top of pimpled faces), bawling the single's words. The music is mostly layers of synths with cheesy factory sounds covering the rest (but the drummer - Spurgeon was super sharp and prevented me from falling asleep).
Badwan's voice matured nicely and he has now some late Peter Murphy vibes, but with their current music it's just a waste. At some point I realized with horror that this music reminded me one of the worst band I've ever heard: Simple Minds! At least when Kaiser Chiefs are pillaging the Boomtown Rats, they have the good taste to steal interesting music. Only the last song was a little bit exciting, with a chaotic and noisy guitar and a long crescendo, but I felt too frozen to enjoy it, it was too late. No songs from Strange House, no Sheena is a Parasite, no She's the New Thing, alas...
Let's still talk guitars: Hayward plays Jazzmasters and Jaguar - Fenders and an unidentified copy - and a AFS Ibanez semi-hollow (with tape on the headstock, maybe Ibanez isn't cool enough, but for me their semi-hollows are highly desirable), and plenty of effects. Webb plays a precision bass with a cool metal pickguard - I liked him much better playing organ and leaving bass work to Cowan and his Dan'o Longhorn... If someone's interested, here is a pic of Hayward's pedalboard.
They could have been cult, they will just be successful, the Horrors have lost their mojo!
A man my age should have a proper pedalboard, thought I last week, mostly because I'm fed up loosing 20 minutes unpacking, plugging, unplugging and repacking my pedals each time I go to the studio to rehearse. Because I never have enough unachieved projects, I started working on one right away, with two constraints: keeping it as cheap as possible, and as light as possible (these are not gratuitous constraints I'm afraid), but still make a nice object.
I settled for aluminium mesh with wood structure, and I still have to decide if it should really fit in the case I planed to use, because it's on the edge of no room enough. These are the pedals I use for my current music project, though I have to admit that the Wrong Side of Uranus and the Rat are a little too new to have found their definitive place in my rig and my sound yet - but they will, I'm working on it... And I have a few pedals that I will want to use some day - the rehoused-to-be Rocky Road, a reverse delay also by Danelectro, my DYI fuzz box... And I will need a few more - a MXR equalizer, a EHX Freeze, a Chi-Wah-Wah... (and one day I will replace the Boss Fuzz by a real Fuzz Face because that's the only sound I use on it).
Is it vain to have a personal guitar blog - one more guitar blog? Probably...
But when I started to pay more and more attention to my guitars - lifetime companions and much more than mere working tools -, I've been quite happy to gather information on the net, on blogs, forums, fan sites, etc... So maybe some people will benefit in a way or another from this one.
And maybe also one day someone will see and appreciate my design work and ask me to design guitars for his project or his company - feel free to contact me if you're interested!
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A sunburst Stratocaster walks into a bar, orders a beer and takes a stool next to a hot-looking Les Paul Goldtop, who's sipping an umbrella drink. The Strat leers at the Les Paul for several minutes and then says, "Hey, that's some set of humbuckers you got on you, darlin'."
"You're not getting any feedback off of me with a pickup line like that," the Goldtop says indignantly.