Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Old Style Inspiration Part 2

J.J. Cale's heavily customized Harmony flat top. Some amazing footage of the guitar can be seen in this youtube clip. Cale once remarked that tooling on guitars was his "golf" and this one seems to represent all 18 holes, well played, complete with water hazards, sand traps, and a flask of Cutty Sark. Certainly one of the funkiest guitars on the planet. A whole lot going on. In the video clip, Cale flips over the backless guitar and you can see the turnbuckles that hold it all together!

Cale on his Harmony, from the Gibson website:

It's pretty much inoperable now. The airlines messed it up pretty badly. That was one of the reasons I kept modifying it, or trying to fix it. In those days I didn't know as much about modifying guitars. I took the back off it, because an airline had crushed it. Also, it was an acoustic guitar, and we were starting to play bigger gigs, and I needed to play louder. This was before piezo pickups. When I put a magnetic pickup on it, I would get up to a certain volume level, and then it would feedback. In those days there wasn't a good way to prevent that. One reason I took the back off the guitar, and put a rod through it, was so it wouldn't generate feedback any more. (Full interview here)

Other implied guitars: any number of Eddie Van Halen's home made guitars , The Les Paul 'Log', and Brian May's 'Red Special' or 'Fireplace.'

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