SOLD: 1935 Gibson L-12

UPDATE: SOLD

So, it's come time for me to part with a guitar I really love, but just don't play enough to warrant having around: my 1935 Gibson L-12.

It's a first-year, advanced 17" Gibson with an X-braced top. It has significant play wear, but that does allow for a well-played-in sound that you just can't get any other way. I've had it PLEK'd and refretted, which necessitated new neck binding (done at Westwood Music in Los Angeles), and it plays perfectly from stem to stern. Outside of the pickguard, and the frets/neckbinding, it's all original. No evidence of cracks, or neck resets, or anything major. Bridge height has plenty of travel in either direction, and the neck angle is good. 

As far as the play wear, it's got plenty of dings, the back of the neck is well worn-in, and there's a patch of strum wear on the top hidden behind the pickguard. 

It came to me in a 1940's or 1950's Lifton Case with a crocodile pattern. I will include that as well.

The advanced L-12 was just below the L-5 in the Gibson heirarchy, with identical construction, except with a rosewood fingerboard. The L-12 had gold hardware, and fully sunburst back (unlike an L-7 which had nickel hardware and brown back). The L-12 is the first appearance of Gibson's iconic "parallelogram" inlays, and the deco headstock inlay is unique to the model. 

It's got that classic "advanced" X-braced tone. Rich, full, round, and most importantly open, with great natural reverb. 

Honestly, I'd happily keep her for a long, long time, but with a '32 L-5 around the house, I just don't get around to picking my L-12 up often enough. I'm asking $4500.

Photo Jan 11, 3 10 03 PM.jpg

The realities of playing Acoustic Swing Rhythm Guitar

The realities of playing Acoustic Swing Rhythm Guitar

Here's a collection of thoughts that are culled from a discussion that can be found here: http://www.acousticguitarforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=454453

Basically, someone (member 815C) asked about Freddie Green and whether he was close mic'd on the "Sinatra at the Sands" album. "Was he really that loud?" "Are you guys playing unplugged in a band? If So how do you mic it?"

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Chord Melody Arrangement: "Moonglow"

"Moonglow" is one of my favorite ballads, and given it's link to Willie Desatoff, it's also important to the swing dance community, particularly the balboa community. 

Personally, I doubt it's ever been played any better than by the Benny Goodman Quartet in 1936. Take a listen:

While I know I'll never come close to the magic created by Benny, Teddy, Lionel and Gene, I did want to be able to render the beautiful tune when playing solo guitar. I came up with this arrangement a while back, but there are a couple streches that have taken a while to get under my fingers. The solo section was just ad libbed as I was recording it. Anyway, I hope you dig it. 

And as requested by my friend in São Paulo, Cleber Guimarães, here's a notated version of my chord melody arrangement:

Click here to download a PDF: Moonglow - Chord Melody - PDF

FYI - I've heard some people have been having trouble with the youtube audio - I can't explain why, and there's nothing I can do to fix it, and it plays fine for most people - so I've also uploaded to Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/186495334 

Jonathan featured in Norm's Rare Guitars Video

From time to time, I drop into Norman's Rare Guitars in Tarzana. Occasionally, I buy things like my 1932 Gibson L-5. This time, they were kind enough to ask if I'd do a little video for them and one of the 16" L-5's they had in stock. Norm's youtube channel features drop ins from a huge number of world-famous guitar legends, so it's a great compliment to be among them. 

 

(Technically, I've played 4 different Stromberg Master 400's in my life, all of them in the last year, three of them were at Norm's, and 2 of the three at Norm's were there at the same time. TWO Master 400's in ONE store - jeebus!)

 

Review: Studio Slips Padded Amp/Gear Covers

About 9 years ago, I noticed how much wear and tear my 1939 EH-185 was taking, just being loaded and unloaded from my car every gig. With a bit of research found that there were any number of people on ebay that would make custom amp covers to order. But, when I found out about Studio Slips, I could tell these were another level above what I'd seen on ebay. It took me 5 months of cyberstalking their website before I finally bought one. I opted for the "Padded Slip Cover" model, with "double padding", in brown, with a pocked added to the back. Even with those upcharges, it was $115.00 plus shipping. 

I don't think I could really appreciate how great it was until now. Sure, it looked nice when I got it. fit perfectly, and was surprisingly well padded (I've always gone with the "double padding" option). But it was only today when I realized that the cover was NINE YEARS OLD that I realized how great a job the cover has done protecting my 77 year-old amp. 

This is as the amp and cover look TODAY. Other than a little fraying on the stiching of the logo patch, and a bit of dust, there's little indication that the cover has accompanied that amp from gig to gig for nine years, and it cost only a little over a $100! Wow. 

The main reason I came upon this astouding realization today was because a new cover arrived for my Vintage '47 Amps VA-185G. I went with exactly the same options, it only ran $110.00 plus shipping, and it fits like a glove. The amp was already starting to show a bit of discoloration on the tweed, so I'm stoked to have a cover for it that will keep it looking great, and provide a good bit of impact protection and shock absobtion. Of course, it's not the same as a hard-sided road case, but it also only adds a tiny bit of size to the amp itself, which for most gigging situations, is a lot more practical. (Oh, don't mind the wrinkles, I literally just pulled the cover from the box and threw it on the amp).

Now, in 2010 I order another Studio Slip case, specifically a "Briefcase Gig Bag" to carry the amp head of the EH-185 separately outside of the cabinet. This was also a great product, however I don't use it anymore. Ever since I had my amp guy reinforce and reglue some parts of the EH-185 cabinet, I've just decided to keep the head in the cabinet, so I don't need a separate case. The case is packed away somewhere, but it worked great for it's intended purpose. Heck, the only thing I didn't like about it was that I accidentally ordered one in black, and it didn't match. 

I highly recommend Studio Slips padded covers for protecting your amp, and I've been using them for nine years. They're great!

Happy 100th Birthday, Charlie Christian - Part 2

In further celebration of Charlie Christian's 100th Birthday, I've got a couple of things to share with you. 

First, I was made aware the Leo Valdes' Charlie Christian Website, Solo Flight is BACK UP at a new web address: www.soloflight.cc - nice domain name, if you ask me! There's a bunch of transcriptions, as well as exhaustive biographical and discographical information. One thing to be aware of, Leo holds an alternative view of Charlie's fingerings and shapes, so some of the transcriptions are in decidedly different positions, than say the Garry Hansen one's (which are mostly the same as the Wolf Marshall Transcription Books available from Hal Leonard and this one)

Second, I've been talking with Garry Hansen, and there's a chance his website may be coming back as well, so stay tuned for that. 

Third, here's a bit more of my woodshedding on Charlie stuff, a bit of "'Til Tom Special": 

Again, I'm using my Vintage '47 VA-185G amp. I've been really pleased with it's ability to nail the essential character of my old '39 EH-185, while being half the weight (~20 lbs.), under $1000 new, and solid, new construction. Is it exactly the same? No. Is the circuit an exact duplicate of an EH-150 or EH-185? No. But it sure gets into that zone. 

Anyway, I'm thinking of really focusing on Charlie Christian for the rest of the year, so I hope to provide you all with more as we go along. Cheers. 

Happy 100th Birthday, Charlie Christian

This Friday, July 29, 2016 marks the 100th anniversary of the birth the "Genius of the Electric Guitar", Charlie Christian. I'm planning a great show at Clifton's Cafeteria in Downtown Los Angeles this Friday (you can find the facebook event page with details here: https://www.facebook.com/events/1202966519776658/), and in anticipation, I've been doing a lot of woodshedding. I figured I would share some of that with you guys in honor of the great Charlie Christian. (By the way, both video showcase the Vintage 47 Amps - VA-185G amp, modeled after the Gibson EH-185, used by Charlie Christian). 

"Flying Home" 

"Stardust"

I'm planning to add to this throughout the week, so check back. 

Here's the flyer for Friday's show, in case your in the area:

Happy (Belated) Birthday, Allan Reuss!

I meant to get something up yesterday, but I didn't have a chance. As luck would have it, it worked out because thanks to Matt Munisteri, who shared this yesterday on facebook, I get to share with all of you a new discovery - a great Allan Reuss performance with a great solo that's never been released on CD. And even

bigger thanks are owed to Tohru Seya who's posted an amazing collection of rare 78's, including this new Reuss solo, as well as several other great recordings featuring Allan Reuss. 

Here is the information provided by Tohru Seya:

You Know It
Corky Corcoran and his Orchestra
Mercury 1097 (mx HL-96-5A-25)
Emmett Berry(tp) Willie Smith(as) Corky Corcoran(ts) Dodo Marmarosa(p) Allan Reuss(g) Ed Mihelieh(b) Nick Fatool(d)
Los Angeles, May 15, 1946
EQ: 500Hz/-12dB


Allan's solo is first up after the head, and, wow. Classic Allan Reuss chord melody soloing. There's not much I can say, except "wow". 

Also, of note, I just picked up some Harry James airchecks from the mid-40's that, if the liner notes/discography is to be believed, features Allan Reuss taking some single-string ELECTRIC guitar solos. Also, there appears to be a live version of "I'm Beginning to See the Light" where somebody beside Allan Reuss is having to play at Allan's chord-melody interludes. I'll try to get those posted soon. 

Lastly, one of my obsessions lately, has been the brief period in 1943 where many of Benny Goodman's best almuni returned to the band all at once. Reuss, Jess Stacy, Hymie Schertzer and even Gene Krupa (following his 1943 pot bust) all rejoined the band for a short period of magic. 

Here's perhaps the most blazing performance that was captured, a redux of Fletcher Henderson's 1936 arrangement of "I've Found a New Baby". This 1943 performance is absolutely ferral - so intense!


An MP3 album, Benny Goodman - "The Forgotten Year 1943" is available from amazon.com for $7, but since it's a digital download, there are no liner notes. Also, the sound quality is fair to pretty terrible tune-to-tune. Still, several of the tunes are revalatory! 

Upcoming: Jonathan Stout Clinic on Allan Reuss

Have you been digging on Allan Reuss? Now's your chance to check out a live, in person clinic all about Allan Reuss-style chord melody and rhythm guitar playing, followed by a concert with Jonathan Stout and Casey MacGill. It's all part of our good friend Tommy Harkenrider's Blues and Roots Guitar Clinic Series. 
And we can't leave you with a little Allan Reuss to get you inspired:

Sat.Mar.19
Tommy Harkenrider's Blues and Roots Guitar Clinic with Jonathan Stout

Jonathan will be teaching and talking about chord melody/rhythm guitar style of Allan Reuss!
The Beatnik Bandito Music Emporium
417 N Broadway - Santa Ana 
$25 - 2pm-4pm
Facebook event page 

AND

Sat.Mar.19
CASEY MACGILL AND JONATHAN STOUT
Swingin' Strings at the Beatnik

The Beatnik Bandito Music Emporium
417 N Broadway - Santa Ana
$15 - 7pm
Facebook event page 

A Tale of Two "Paper Moons"

Here's just a little comparison to show the different flavors and tone colors available within the pre-WWII swing guitar range. 

Here's an example of a solo version of "It's Only a Paper Moon", in the Allan Reuss/George Van Eps-style:

And here's an example of some Charlie Christian-style electric, single-note playing on "It's Only a Paper Moon" over an acoustic Freddie Green-style swing rhythm guitar track:

Cheers.