Weird Jack and a life with Guitars
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I've been playing the guitar ever since I got an old Gibson "Co-Classical" from a pawnshop when I was 16. Before that, I had learned the basics on a baritone Uke (tuned like the top four strings of a guitar). ...... When I was 17, I caught a one-way ticket to Australia. On my back was another acoustic guitar, my companion over many thousands of miles of hitch-hiking and motorcycle riding in Australia and later in New Zealand. There is not much that can compare with the freedom of walking down a backroad, heading nowhere in particular, picking tunes on an old guitar. The photo on top is me years ago leaving Ohio for Australia. Photo underneath is me playing guitar on a train somewhere in Tasmania. In NZ, that well-travelled guitar was traded in on a gorgeous EKO 12-string...I wish I had a picture of the EKO to show you. But I left it with a friend in NZ when I headed back to the States. ...... Back in the USA, after another year or so of travelling around the lower 48, I picked up a nice Epiphone 12-string acoustic. Then around 1976 I traded the Epiphone in on a Gibson "Gospel" model acoustic 6-string...a FINE guitar! I played that Gospel guitar exclusively until late in 1977 when I was asked to be part of a newly forming band. This necessitated me buying an electric guitar for the first time in my life! You see, I had been doing an acoustic folk/rock thing until this time with acoustic guitar and harmonicas on a neck stand. Okay, at first I borrowed a cool little Gibson "Melody Maker" electric guitar, then used an Ovation Deacon for awhile. Then I bought the Starfield "Les Paul Custom" model guitar which served me so well over those years (and still serves today!). It was run through a lovely old Peavey "Classic" 2x12 50 watt tube amp. Anyway....in the late 70's and early 80's, I fulfilled a dream of mine by playing as a profession in the band called "Hosanna" (yeah, we all met in church). After four years of that however, I altered my course away from music as a profession, eventually ending up in the engineering position I have today. Now I play guitar and sing with an electric blues band.
This is the rock band "Hosanna" in the two incarnations of which I was a part.
A great bunch of guys, excellent musicians (far better than I ever was or will be). The two photos at the bottom show
the original lineup from 1978(left to right in the bottom left photo): Don Day [lead guitar], Chuck Watts
[keyboards/violin], Jack Stinson [rhythm guitar], Marty Evans [bass guitar], and Rocky Evans [drums].
You can still catch Rocky Evans and Don Day today playing in the Bill Foley Band. Once on the Foley webpage, click on the "more photos" link under Bill's picture, scroll through and you'll see Rocky and Don.
The photo on the left side is Hosanna in it's second incarnation as four pieces around 1981.
To see some photos of the early Hosanna click here.
The Blues and RootsRock band I currently play with.
You can see the current lineup on our website, along with some demo MP3 files, a song list, and gig photos. Check out the web site for the ALTAIR FOUR
Ibanez AF105FNT jazzbox
Now and then, Ibanez puts out a guitar that just begs me to play it! I've been looking for a proper jazzbox for awhile now. Ibanez put out two of them for 2005; one with a pair of humbucker pickups like I have on the AM73 and AS75T...and another with one small floating humbuker pickup and the volume/tone knobs on the pickguard. All flame maple in it's natural state...Ooooohhhh!
Ibanez AF84EDVS non-cutaway jazzbox
Only offered for a few months, in 2005 Ibanez put out a non-cutaway jazzbox that screams vintage 1940's!!
I am so glad that I bought one while they were available. This has the same electronics and single mini-humbucker pickup as the AF105FNT. Flamed maple sides with vintage violin finish spruce top and full matching pickguard. I love it!
I love it when my wife says, "Go buy whatever guitar you need."....
I needed a nice acoustic guitar with onboard electrics. I love the necks on my Ibanez hollowbody electric guitars, so naturally I looked at Ibanez for an acoustic. I did play a lot of other makes and models in my search. I just really like Ibanez. Finally found this one at Guitar Center one day. I played it, loved it.....kept on looking around. Came back to give it a second round of playing and it had dropped $120 in price! I walked out of the store with it that day. The photo does not do justice to the lovely flame maple top with a vintage violin finish. And I am impressed...an onboard tuner that actually works! This is the thinnest acoustic Ibanez makes...about 2/3 the thickness of a normal acoustic guitar. Still sounds nice without amplification....and the Fishman sound shaping controls really give a great amped sound. Did I mention that I really love this guitar?
Ibanez Artcore AS73
A very cool thin semi-hollow body from Ibanez. While it is similar to my AFS75T, the AS73 has double cutaways and a body shape in the styling of a Gibson 335. This gives me a little easier access to all of the fretboard. It also is a "semi-hollowbody", Which means it has a big ol' chunk of wood running from the neck to the tail....good sustain. I keep D'Addario XL110W srings on it, light strings with a wound 3rd for maintaining good tune on open chord work.
I thoroughly love Ibanez guitars! Fit, finish, feel, action, tone......they simply are very good guitars. And the kicker is that they are far less expensive than some of the others. I chose the AS73 over the Epiphone Dot, Sheraton, and Casino models because of it's feel and sound, and yet the AS73 costs less! And I swear Ibanez has the best quality assurance going these days.
This one was a surprise birthday gift from my wife and youngest son. Patty & James really know how to surprise me! Here's the new Strat (left) & me (right) in my current form.
Starfield "Custom" Les Paul
Starfield was sort of a sister to Ibanez, both companies being owned by Hoshino-Gakki. I've found no history on the net which follows the Starfield branding back prior to the 1980's. The most complete I've seen is at the Unofficial Starfield Guitars Hompage. But this doesn't include the 70's. I bought mine in early 1978. The word I hear is that Ibanez was getting it's butt sued off by Gibson and Fender in the mid to late 70's, so they branded a bunch of their clones as "Starfield" to keep selling them in the USA. Makes sense....all the Starfields I've seen from the late 70's were very good clones of Gibson guitars. And mine looks a lot like this 1976 Ibanez '59er Les Paul clone. Starfields were very good guitars back in the late 70's. In fact, I thought they were better than the Gibsons being produced at that time. For that reason, I chose the Starfield over the Gibson Les Pauls which were available then for the same basic price. This was my "work guitar". It was played 6 to 7 nights a week every week for most of the four years I played professionally. Still plays well today, even if the metal finish is a little worn. Hey, you try hanging out in clubs for 6-7 nights a week and get thrashed upon and see if you don't get a little worn also! I did replace the tuners back in 1978 with Grovers and added Gibson speed knobs. And just recently I replaced the 3-way switch with a new Gibson switch. I've always strung it with D'Addario XL 110W's.
Ibanez Artcore AFS75T
Another cool thin Ibanez big box guitar. This one is a full hollowbody, with Bigsby style tremelo. I got this one in from American Musical Supply (great place to get stuff by the way!). The sound straight from the box unplugged is wonderful, but plugged-in it's even better! The finish on these guitars is amazing too. Action from the factory was quite good, all I did was lower the bridge some to suit my taste. Great humbucker pickups for some nice tones in the three positions and a sweet action. I love Ibanez necks! I play this one a lot these days.
Epiphone Les Paul Junior
Minimalist guitar! One pickup, one tone knob, one volume knob....ya just can't much more simple. I picked this one up cheap on eBay to play around with. Takes me back to the first days in Hosanna when I played a Gibson "Melody Maker". These are nice clones of the Gibson LP Jr. The tuners could be better, but it's still fun. I'm sorta glad they started putting the single humbucker pickup on them now instead of the P90 clone. Check out the story of the Les Paul Junior and it's clones on the Les Paul Junior website.
Brownsville Reso-101 Electric Resonator
A neat little electric resonator by Brownsville. It has a single coil neck pickup and a piezo bridge pickup, so you can get both electric and accoustic sounds from it. Biscuit bridge for smooth blues sounds. I bought this one....well...just because.
Tech 21 Trademark 60
It became time to stop lugging 60+ pound Peavey Classic 212 amps. The older I get, the less inclined I am to keep hauling heavy equipment. I searched for awhile to find a lightweight alternative to the Peaveys I've been playing through for so many years. Yes, I looked at all the Fenders and such out there, none had the tone I was searching for...or if they did, they weighed as much as the Classic 212's anyway.
Then I started reading all those glowing reports on the net about the Trademark 60 amp from Tech 21. Aside from a few kid bozos who reported "Dis amp sux balz" because they had trouble knocking over fenceposts with power chords, everyone else seemed to really love the TM60. So I bought one. What the heck, I had 45 days to return it if I didn't like it. BUT....I LIKE IT! Shoot, I LOVE IT!! This amp is 36 pounds of amazing tone.
Once you get used to the active tone controls, it is amazingly versitile. And it is a whole lot louder than I thought it would be! I probably won't even bother buying the Powerstation60 add-on for it. It has plenty of punch for the average club gig...if I need louder I can run the XLR direct line out to the PA. Yep, I am a convert! And no tubes to replace either!
1978 Peavey 212 Classic
Ahhhhhh.....I love vintage Peavey "Classic" amps! This one I bought because I missed my old 1974 version. The 70's "Classic" has a solidstate preamp, then uses two 6L6 tubes in the power amp section to give a nice tube driven sound. It's a clean 50 watts rms into a pair of 12" speakers. Nice reverb and tremelo too! These are great club amps and are built to withstand anything short of a nuclear holocaust
1985 Peavey Classic VTX 212
Like I said, I love vintage Peavey "Classic" amps! The VTX series is a little different from it's earlier Classic bretheren. The preamp section is slightly different, which gives it 65 watts output instead of the earlier Classic's 50 watts. The pair of 12" Scorpion speakers are a bit better than the earlier square magnet one also. Still a solidstate preamp though. And the VTX still uses a pair of 6L6 tubesfor the power amp. This amp has a phase-shifter built into it, I turn that off. Great reverb and clean sounds with wonderful tone.
2003 Fender Deluxe 90 DSP
My first real attempt to find a gig-worthy amp that was lighter then my Classic 212. After a bit of searching and trying various models and manufacturers, I got a used Fender Deluxe 90 DSP. It has fairly good tone and volume, and the overdrive channel is quite useful. The only effect I use from it's bank though is reverb. It's a solidstate, 90 watt, basic gig amp wiht a single 12" Celestion speaker, and only weighs 33 pounds.
To be completely honest, I only used this amp with the band for a couple of months. I simply have not been able to get the sound I want from it. I went back to the vintage Peavey Classic 212's. The Fender is now kept around for a backup
Peavey 112 Express
Another eBay aquisition.....I needed something better than the little 30 watt practice amp I had. The Express 112 is a nice amp for home use, bare bones but sounds good. They are completely solidstate, 65 watts, with a 12" Carvin speaker (instead of the orginal Peavey), and a nice spring reverb. Nice little amp. I keep this one at the rehersal hall for practicing with the band.
BOSS ME-50 Multi-Effects unit
After lugging around the pedalboard in it's huge suitcase....loaded with individual pedals, I replaced it with a single BOSS ME-50 unit. This 8" x 15" heavy-gauge aluminum box only weighs 7 pounds and easily fits in a briefcase along with all my cables and notebook. Sounds great too!
Compare The ME-50 unit on top to my old 16"x21" effects board and case underneath it!
Current set up is the ME-50 effects, an AB-2 AB switch, and two FS-5U footswitches. Guitar goes into the AB switch, the signal then goes (A) directly into the "Series Input" of the Peavey Classic amp for overdrive, or (B) into the ME-50 effects box then into the "Normal Input" on the Classic amp. The two FS-5U switches control the compressor and tone modify effects on the ME-50, as well as scrolling through it's patch banks. A very handy and simple stage set up.