Ahhh, Frank Out

Made this today for a friend who's going to see Nile Rodgers in December, I thought it would be good to pre-empt the occasion by dusting off a few of my favourite guitars with one of my favourite riffs.

Casio MG510

Yes, it's another new (old) guitar. This one has been a "Holy Grail" guitar for me for a long time. I used one back in the 1990s in a studio in Newcastle and I always remembered it being a great guitar. Turns out they were built for Casio in the Japanese Fuji-gen Gakki plant that made the Japanese Fenders of the 1980s and the neck contour is exactly the same as my E-series MIJ Stratocaster.

Unfortunately, someone's done amateur repairs to this and soldered it up with jam and a hot spoon so the MIDI circuit is dead as a doornail and not coming back. No matter, I may even retrofit a Roland GK kit into this and have the world's coolest 90s tech guitar.

Fender GC-1 Stratocaster - Powered by Roland

This is an interesting Fender oddity, a Mexican Stratocaster body with a USA made neck and incorporating Roland's GK hex pickup to drive guitar synths and processors like the GP-10 or the VG-99.

The GC-1 had a fairly short production run in the early 2000s and is out of production now, probably due to the apparent reluctance of guitar players to fully embrace hex pickup technology. This is a pity as it is capable of stunning effects that can't be achieved on any other guitar such as baritone guitar, 12-string simulation and programmable pitch shift per string which allows for alternate tunings at the press of a button. The GP-10 also lets you do string bends from a footpedal, creating impossible multi-string bends and pedal steel effects.

Here's the GP-10 and GC-1 doing some of that stuff. First off, the GP-10 is set to play an open E minor chord and the expression pedal bends strings up and down to make an open A minor chord. Hit a few harmonics and the thing warbles into a sound vaguely reminiscent of a pedal steel but with a far more modern edge to it.

It does straight tuning transpose too, here's a baritone guitar effect.

And it's handy for recording demos if you can't be bothered to pull more than one guitar off the stand. This is the GC-1 standard magnetic pickups mixed with the modelled sounds to provide electric, acoustic and 12-string sounds as well as an open G slide part.

The Creamcaster

The latest (and probably last) guitar arrival is ... yet another Stratocaster. This is another partscaster, made from a Jeff Beck Strat body with a US Standard neck. Pickups are by The Creamery - a Baby 71 humbucker in the bridge and Alt 64s in the neck and middle positions.

The Baby 71 is the reason I wanted to build this guitar. It's a reproduction of the old Fender Wide Range Humbucker, a really great-sounding low output humbucker with extended highs. Works beautifully with single coil pickups, something like the Fender Shawbucker but with a chiming character all of its own.

This video was shot as soon as I'd thrown the guitar together so the intonation wasn't right and the strings were choking on a few of the bends but you get an idea of how good that bridge and middle sound is.

The Baby 71 and Alt 64s are available from Jaime at The Creamery and highly recommended.

From the dawn of time

Only about half a dozen people will know where this riff comes from. Recycled from my old indie pop band of the 1990s, embellished now with analogue synths, baritone guitars and drums that stay in time.

Oh yes, and a quote from Wagner's Gotterdammerung at the start because I'd been watching Excalibur that day.