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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 realised, once I understood something of the rigours of heavy gigging; I would need a backup stage guitar in case I broke a string (which I did a lot). Floyd Rose guitars go out of tune when you break a string due to the exquisite 'zero point' balance between string tension and rear spring tension. Luckily, I found that breaking either bottom E or B strings tended to send the tuning exactly a semi-tone out, so you could in theory finish out a song just by transposing yourself on the fly (so to speak). However, super quick string changes between songs was only possible if (like me), you tended to break your strings at the bridge end, and could lay a hand on an allen wrench, get the little stabby bit of string out of the saddle without drawing blood, and then wind off some slack from the capstan, re-clamp, and fine-tune. Anyway, a second stage guitar was definitely a sensible move (I still do it today), so the Yam' was in. The trouble with the Yam' was that even though the RGX was definitely Yamaha's attempt at copying Ibanez's now ludicrously successful RG series of guitars (they kinda gave up on that idea to pursue the Pacifica range instead), it really wasn't as good. The free-art thing was fun, but the guitar lacked something. This was borne out when the band (now called TUT TUT), went into the recording studio at 'Gemini' in Ipswich in '94 and '95 to record what would become our debut and only complete studio album. I needed to use the Yam' for some lead stuff that required the 2 extra frets, but every time I swapped from my trusty RG360 (only an entry level RG, but possessing that DiMarzio 'Fred' in the bridge), the sound just thinned out and lost a ton of muscle. It also had a slightly less awesome neck profile. It was skinny, but not as flat and speedy as the Wizard for sure. Considering it was hooked up to my Marshall JCM900 SLX 100W head and 4x12 Celestion Vintage 30 loaded cab; even a 100 squid squire should have kicked more ass than the Yam seemed to. Anyway, to this day I can tell which parts are played on the RG, and which are the RGX. By the time I had a couple of years of solid gigging with the band behind me, I was about ready to move on again. Much of my style had developed around the provision of 24 frets, so I felt the Ibanez 360 needed to go (even though I still favoured it over the Yamaha for play-ability and sound). So it was back to Axe Music in Colchester to see Alan, and Matt...

Part Three coming soon

BENJAMIN J. PEGLEY

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