MARMOR & STEIN

Lovepedal

October 2010

Pickle

Love this one. Although NOT a copycat of certain Shin-Ei Univibe this tiny little thingie equipped with just one chic rotary control knob is capable of producing THAT huge, swollen, swirling vibrato tone and, in addition, with its very own thick, lush lo-end throb. ‘Cause of the excellent signal/noise ratio it is suitable for lots of applications including vocals and cymbals and, hmm, well… it’s purple.

Lovepedal Pickle Vibe

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Tone vs Caster

October 2010

H44-Ribot

H44-Front

Everything was rocket, stratospheric, meteor, space-related in the fifties… So I guess Stratotone means nothing more than strato(spheric) tone… However, it’s interesting to note that Harmony invented this name and sold the H44 (1952), – 1 pickup, “Neck-through” construction “Spanish Guitar” (one piece of wood from head to tailpiece, and two added “ears” to form the body), before the Fender Statocaster (1954), so they did not copy the name as we read or hear from time to time. But Fender may have been inspired by the Stratotone… Anyway, because of its thick raw gutsy sound, the H44 has gained a cult status over the years and now, following the next wave of “vintage madness”, experiences a huge revival. My once guitar hero Marc Ribot was spotted using one since some years already and also I’ve been told that all-clean Mr. Waits now frequently noodling on the Stratotone during his recent stage shows… However, it is to point that H44’s rather unhandy small shape and FAT “Baseball Bat” neck makes this otherwise undoubtedly great instrument not everybody’s cup of tea.

Harmony H44 Stratotone

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………………………

H44-Back

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Wow…

October 2010

Wandre-Polyphon

This one is an extremely rare Wandré Polyphon (1963) with its aluminium neck through design, unique vibrato system, famous floating strings through reverse bridge construction and two Davoli pickups – hidden under the black pickguard… $50,000 anyone?

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E Chord

September 2010

Tuxedo-Cave

A number of months back, but a nice shot of Nick Cave with his AIRLINE TUXEDO. Cave’s now main instrumentalist – Warren Ellis – has also been working with the manufacturer, canadian Eastwood Guitars, on releasing the Warren Ellis Signature TENOR guitar, coming next month. AIRLINE TUXEDO is designed after the Barney Kessel model from the mid 1950’s and sold under the brands of KAY and AIRLINE. There are some pics, specs and sounds below…

[more →]

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Janglin’

August 2010

Danelectro-63c

Unlike a traditional guitar pickup that uses a plastic or fiber bobbin as a form for winding its coil, the lipstick-tube pickup has its coil wrapped around an alnico bar magnet, and then wrapped in tape, usually a cellophane-type tape on vintage units, before being inserted into the metal tube casing. The original lipstick-tube pickups were, in fact, manufactured using surplus lipstick tubes, and were featured on Danelectro, Danelectro’s Coral series, and guitars that were later marketed through Sears, Roebuck and Company department stores under the name Silvertone. Most vintage Danelectro guitars had their pickups mounted using spring-loaded brackets underneath the tube casing, which could be adjusted for height by means of screws located on the back of the guitar body. Vintage Danelectro lipstick-tube pickups are quite wide, at 3.22 in (8.18 cm) overall. They CANNOT be retrofitted into a Stratocaster or similar guitar without removing plastic from the pickguard or wood from the guitar body. The Fender Telecaster’s neck-position pickup, despite its appearance, is NOT a lipstick-tube pickup. It is a traditional single-coil pickup under a chrome-plated cover.

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Percolator (update)

August 2010

Travis_TBS

To avoid misunderstandings, Mr. Albini rarely uses Harmonic Percolator and it is NOT responsible for his clanky guitar sound. What actually seems to be a major donation to it is Travis Bean TB500, sort of bizzare aluminum neck guitar manufactured by Travis Bean Guitars in Sun Valley, California from 1974 to 1979. The Travis Bean factory developed four guitar models (TB1000S, TB1000A, TB3000 and TB500) all produced in limited quantities. TB500 was to be the “budget” model (compared to the ”uptown” model 1000S) equipped with single coil pick-ups and a “strat” type body. These guitars are often, ironically, the Holy Grail of Travis Bean guitars, mainly because they have a very aggressive bite to their tone. Travis Bean guitars are equally sought after by vintage guitar collectors as well as musicians looking for the specific “Bean” sound. Due to the limited number of guitars produced ( just 351 of TB500 for example) the cost of the instruments are slowly on the rise and are generally hard to come by. The good news for all price conscious collectors, Shellac admirers and simply leftfield vintage gear jerks is that nearly entire Travis Bean product line is now reissued by travisbean.de (custom guitar company strangely enough located in Bogen, Lower Bavaria in Germany) and, despite pretty ridiculous price tag (3503,00USD* without VAT incl. Shipping, *+ US Import Tax) and the fact that aluminum necks are only available for the custom shop models for even extra charge, they are claimed to be a real deal. There are some pictures and specs of  the “new” Travis Bean TBC Custom (a Bavarian take on a TB1000A classic) below.

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Percolator

August 2010

HP-1

The Harmonic Percolator is a distortion pedal that was created by Ed Giese of Interfax Electronics in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in the 1970’s. It used a silicon NPN transistor and a germanium PNP transistor in a design that passes even order harmonics while suppressing odd order harmonics. These even order harmonics are more pleasing to the ear than odd order harmonics. At low settings the Harmonic Percolator will give added sustain without ‘coloring’ the sound. Higher settings will give a mean distortion that performs well with multiple notes. Legendary guitar-abuser Steve Albini (Big Black, Rapeman, Shellac) uses a Harmonic Percolator for some of those Guitar noises he gives birth to…

Interfax HP-1

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Salzburg with Cyrill Protsenko

August 2010

Salz1 [more →]

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Fenton Weill

July 2010

Fenton-Weill

The grandaddy of all British pickups – with its roots going right back to the begining of UK solid body guitar production. Not only used on the pioneering early Weill instruments but also supplied to most of the major UK manufacturers of the late 50s and early 60s. Used either individually, or multiple units wired up in series – these pickups love pushing tube amps into smooth, compressed, saturated overdrive – full of Cello, Violin style warmth.

1. Clean

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2. Pushing Mullards

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die Akzession

June 2010

Longhorn

Back in ‘58 Danelectro invented the Longhorn… triggering a stampede of sorts, as artists rushed to record with this funky new guitar. Hundreds of 60’s era records feature it signature sound. Think Link Wray and you’ve got the idea…

In 2006, Danelectro again turned its attention to one of its maddest guitar designs ever. And now there’s a bass, a baritone and this guitar, one of the company’s trailblazing designs which in fact was the brainchild of Duane Eddy back then.

Body construction is identical to the updated Dano 56-U2, with a laminate frame capped with Masonite (hardboard) top and back. Although the addition of a five-way pickup selector might hint at a certain Stratocaster-ish character, the combination of a shorter scale length and series ‘in-between’ positions makes for a different animal indeed. The addition of the middle Lipstick single-coil gives access to one of the most pleasing sounds in the Danelectro catalogue. Recalling the sound of a single pickup double-cutaway Dano as wielded by a certain Mr Page, the middle position on the five-way blade selector is a percussive, bright-yet-full voice which works very well indeed for rhythm guitar across a broad range of musical genres (with the possible exception of death metal).

Danelectro Longhorn

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In 2006, Danelectro again turned its attention to one of its maddest guitar designs ever. And now there’s a bass, a baritone and this guitar, one of the company’s trailblazing designs which in fact was the brainchild of Duane Eddy back then.
Body construction is identical to the updated Dano Pro, with a laminate frame capped with Masonite (hardboard) top and back. In terms of balance, it’s a little neck heavy, but in all honesty a Danelectro Longhorn is never going to excel in this area; a unique guitar such as this will inevitably require some concessions in practical terms… Although the addition of a five-way pickup selector might hint at a certain Stratocaster-ish character, the combination of a shorter scale length and series ‘in-between’ positions makes for a different animal indeed. The addition of the middle Lipstick single-coil gives access to one of the most pleasing sounds in the Danelectro catalogue. Recalling the sound of a single pickup double-cutaway Dano as wielded by a certain Mr Page, the middle position on the five-way blade selector is a percussive, bright-yet-full voice which works very well indeed for rhythm guitar across a broad range of musical genres (with the possible exception of death metal).
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