Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Pretenders In The Gulag

My trip to Gallins has prompted another post. When the shop was Fretted Instruments there was a range of guitars of many brands and I could browse and nod thoughtfully for many a 15 minutes during my occassional walks at lunchtime. But Gallins are slaves to the Gibson grind, to wit the front is filled with Epiphones and the rear is filled with Gibsons.
I don't think Silky will mind me saying that my eyebrow was raised by Jorma Kaukonen getting a signature series (the quality of the guitar seems top notch) but by itself it is not worthy of comment. Though he may not be first in the list of the axemen that...well any list of axemen (I even looked up Finnish axemen and he didn't figure), time has accorded him, along with album sales a certain cred that makes the signature model the next logical step.
However, Epiphone seem to give signature models to ANYONE. I first humphed at sighting the Noel Gallagher as he is a strummer first and foremost and his piss-weak solos have always made me whince. His song writing certainly is super catchy and he has far outsold even the mighty Jefferson Airplane (even if you include the Starship years) but the axework is more than unremarkable. He would have been kicked out of any band were he not the writer of songs that make drunk englishmen sing and cry at the same time.
Next was the one that actually made me laugh out loud...dear readers everywhere I give you the VALENSI! Verily, 'tis the guitarist from the Strokes. The hippest one-album rich boys this side of Albert Hammond jnrs solo career. Surely he is no one's guitar hero? Style hero? fine, maybe 5 years ago. Lovely chap? I do not doubt it for a second. But do we really want to buy a guitar set to Nick Valensi's exacting specifications so we can reproduce his "signature sound". Yes everytime Valaensi strums an open chord the charisma and personality come flowing out...HIS SOLOS ARE HIS TRADEMARK!

I am of the firm belief that if you haven't had a ghost written by-line in at least one guitar magazine you cannot have a signature model. Step forward Ace Frehely! Right this way Kirk Hammet! Sit right down George Benson! Can I get you a drink Dimebag Darrel! Perhaps some wine with dinner Eric Clapton!

Don't get me wrong, this is nothing personal against Noel or Nick but they just aren't guys that inspire you to become a guitarist...they may inspire you to pick up a guitar and become a song writer but you aren't going to try and nut out any of their solos note by note.




****************Update******************
Silky, a gent to the last, rather than rip me to shreds on the blog in the same way Axl once did to popular music magazine executives instead chose to walk me through the highlights of Jorma's career on the telephone. These highlights included Hot Tuna and his recent stewardship of the Adelaide Guitar Festival...surely being the headline act at a guitar festival is the next level up from having your own ghost written byline in a guitar mag. I shall spend the remainder of the year attempting to claw back some credibility.

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2 Comments:

Anonymous Jimbo said...

Conspiracy theory: I suspect the Valensi was going to be the Valens until legal representation for the dead man's estate got wind of it. Rather than rebrand it, they got a package deal on some "i" stickers. I further suspect the Strokes could do with a boost at the moment, especially since previously (even with guitar solo) they rarely crack 2min/tune.

18/7/08 11:11  
Blogger silky-D said...

He also has his own learn to play guitar website.

I have scoured youtube looking for a hot tuna song worthy of covering. Alas, I have wasted my morning. Here is a taste, though.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mjfhsLuOEWI&feature=related

Paddy take note of some exciting new ideas for Bass player costume and look.

18/7/08 11:46  

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