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The Carrots of Empty Nothing

I have been playing guitar for 35 years man and boy (did I really just use that expression?). In that time, I have played and written music with a large number of people, both as an amateur, semi-professionally, and professionally. I wanted to write a little about a certain type of 'musician trap' I have been lured in to many many times, and hopefully give some advice to young musicians, in the hope that they might avoid this phenomenon at least more often than not, as well as learn to take the positive out of a bad situation. First some set-up: If you took up an instrument in your teens, the chances are good that you also joined or formed a band, or many bands. I certainly did. The most sig

Fender - Trapped by Tradition

My first guitar was a Fender. In 1985, I was bought a Fender steel strung acoustic (dreadnought type) for my fourteenth birthday. That was the first and last Fender I ever had until the middle of last year (2015), when I felt obligated to buy a Telecaster to use in a Northern Soul band I had begun playing with. Full and nauseating details on this acquisition and others can be found in the forthcoming SIXTH part of my Blog series 'Benny's Guitar History', so I won't go in to excessive detail here. Suffice to say, that first Tele was an FSR (Factory Short Run) Thinline Deluxe (made in Mexico), and very lovely it was too. I now have a 2016 Elite Thinline (made in the USA). She is called Elsa, a

Benny's Guitar History - Part Five

So after my interesting, musically worthwhile, yet quite bizarre experience with H-Pisces, I entered a period where I was somewhat dormant musically, especially from a live performance point of view. By 2008 I made the decision to sell my beloved Universe Super Custom. My beautiful wife gave me one of those handy reality check talking to's that galvanized me into action, as it was silly to keep it the way had been. Basically, although I had used the Super Custom during the H-Pisces stint; that band had basically started out acoustically i.e. we rehearsed and performed a host of Radio spots and live gigs as an acoustic act before gradually transitioning to a full on electric act. This means t

Benny's Guitar History - Part Four

So in part three, I really only talked about the Jem 555 and the slightly peculiar means by which I arrived at buying it. So let's pick it up right there in 1995 and forge ahead a little. At this time, I was a 3 axe dude, no more, no less. I had the workhorse Jem 555, the now very unloved (and somewhat forlorn) Yamaha RGX, and my trusty old 1985 Fender acoustic. For acoustic sessions and performances I also had a cheap 'Encore' electro/acoustic (it was a poor copy of an Ovation bowl-back, but it had a nice tone, played like butter and recorded really well). Technically it wasn't mine (it actually belongs to my brother), but I had it on permanent brother loan for years, and used it extensiv

Benny's Guitar History - Part Three

So, back to Axe Music I went. Note: Musicians in general I think, but Guitarists for sure, we like to develop a solid relationship with a reliable, honest vendor. I had that with Axe Music for a time. Alan was a good bloke (although I did later fall out with him), but Matt was a diamond. He was one of those guys who just made you feel really valued, both as a customer, and as a player. Great guy. Moving on. 1995 - Ibanez Jem 555BK - During '95 (after sessions for the TUT TUT album were complete), I traded my RG360 in at Axe Music and bought a brand new Ibanez Jem 555BK If any Jem fans ever read this, i'll already be in trouble!! as the model generated...let's say 'mixed' reaction in fans

Benny's Guitar History - Part Two

Aah, the Yamaha.... To continue this pointless trip down Axe lane, and to pick up where we left off; I seem to remember convincing my ma to help buy the Yamaha. If memory serves, this was just after coming home from college. 1993 - I had by this time decided not to see a bit of the world before growing up properly, and joined the Funk/Rock group 'Tin Lily' instead. I had been a fan of the band's previous incarnation, and they were good friends, and seemingly going places (I may well write a specific Blog about all that some time). I played pretty hard in those days, used ultra light .008 gauge strings, and solid brass plectrums which meant I really had a talent for string breakage. I soon

Benny's Guitar History - Part One

It is 1983 - My good friend Adam Climey teaches me 'E' 'A' and 'D7' on his older brother's Yamaha SG2000. This guitar had such a lovely tone, we used to spend hours jangling away on it. Adam almost knew 'Freebird' and could play a few Jam songs too. He was great actually; a really nice bloke. Note: I later mentioned him on the sleeve-notes of the TUT TUT album, but I was not in contact with him to let him know. I do hope he would have been pleased to see the acknowledgement. 1984 - Along with further chords from Adam, my brother returns from his travels abroad and also teaches me various bits and pieces. he had a cream 1978 Fender Musicmaster electric, and a beautiful steel strung acoust



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