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My Bands and Guitars
Last Update -
04/04/2017 04:34 PM Under Construction
Note: This is a long post! You will note that I can't remembers certain facts and people's names. Well, I am an old guy ya know!
I got my first guitar while in Air Police Tech School at Lackland
AFB, Texas in 1961. It was a $40.00 Alamo white electric
guitar with no case. That was a lot of money for me back then,
since I was only making $88.00 a month as an Airman Basic (no
stripes). After Tech School I shipped out to Wiesbaden,
Germany for a three year tour. I was never really in a band
while stationed there and just had jam sessions with other AF
members who were musicians
This photo would
have been sometime in 1963. This is my 3rd guitar, a light
blue colored 3 pick-up Hofner. Wasn't a bad playing guitar,
especially compared to the Alamo, whose string action was about 1/2"
off the fret board (at least it felt that way). Still had my
Silvertone amp, which I had the speaker re-coned several times.
I don't remember what happened to the Alamo or Hoff guitars. I
must have sold them.
In June 1964, I was
shipped to Holloman AFB, New Mexico (Alamogordo, NM). Got in
my first band there which started with a young kid on lead with a
Fender Stratocaster and a Fender Bandmaster Amp. His younger
brother was the drummer and the bass player was another AF member
from the base. We weren't very good, but played a few gigs
around the area and the Airman's Club on the base. Sorry, I
can't remember anyone's name.
I can't find any more pictures of that little group, but I included these two photos to show that by this time I had acquired another Sears Silvertone amplifier. Don't remember the model number, but it was a piggy back style and had two 10" speakers. It is shown in the right side of the picture above and on the left side of the photo. There was a separate picture of me, but I can't find it. You can see the head stock on my Fender Jazzmaster. I bought the Jazzmaster while stationed at Holloman AFB.
I bought the Jazzmaster new, in 1965, from a guitar store (don't remember the name) in El Paso, Texas, while I was in the USAF stationed at Holloman AFB. Didn't realize it at the time, but the guitar hung in that guitar store for three years before I bought it, because the guitar is a 1962 model.
I don't have any more pictures from that period, but I played rhythm in that 4 piece band until I shipped out to Kunsan AB, Korea in 1966. I didn't play much while stationed in Korea because I had no amplifier (had to leave it at home) but I did try to learn while I was there, just strumming in the barracks with no amp.
In 1967 I was
shipped to George AFB, California (Victorville) and finally got in a
rock 'n' roll band, "Forth Coming", in late 1969, playing rhythm. In 1970 I bought my
Fender Silverface Bandmaster Amplifier. That was a great day!
I loved that amplifier.
Above are some of the first photos of my 1962 Jazzmaster and my Bandmaster that I can find. I have more photos from this band, but they are of poor quality. In the photo above, you can see that we had a blackface Bandmaster as a P.A. amplifier and were using the Dynacord with the P.A. The P.A. columns were actually home made by our lead player and each cabinet contained one 10" and two 8" speakers, all of which were removed from a single Shure Vocalmaster P.A. speaker column. I think they looked very nice and they sounded pretty good too.
In late 1970 I joined a Country/Western band (Country Roads) and
that's when I became a bass player. I played
them until 1971. I bought a Fender Coronado
Bass Guitar and two 15" CTS bass speakers from a Fender dealer and
installed them in my Bandmaster cabinet. Can't remember the
drummer's name, me, Ron Parker (rhythm/vocals - also the local disc
jockey on the local country FM radio station) and Joe Brewer
(lead/vocals). Joe was left handed and played right handed.
He was a good country picker.
The 15" CTS bass
speakers installed in the Bandmaster cabinet. This photo is
just before I installed new JBL D140F speakers.
In 1971, I was
shipped to Mons, Belgium, home of Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers
Europe and worked at the residence of the
Supreme Allied Commander, Europe. I was a still a Security Policeman
attached to the 16th MP Detachment.
We provided security for the Supreme Allied Commander's residence. We formed another country/western band (New Country Roads) while I
was there and I still played bass and usually let one of the other
guys play my Jazzmaster (far right in the photo). Can't
remember most of these guys' names except the guy with the mic next
to me is Mick, who is a Brit and a pretty good country singer.
He really liked Hank Williams.
I know there are
folks who think refinishing a real Fender guitar is blasphemy, but hey,
it's my guitar.
Left Belgium in 1975 and was shipped to Grand Forks AFB, North Dakota. I still played bass and joined another country/western/rock band, "Stoney Road". Later on we changed drummers and added a lead guitar player. The lady in the band is Arlene Norton and the guy on the left (below photo) is Bob, her husband. Arlene was is an excellent piano/organ player, an excellent vocalist and had a Bachelor's Degree in Music. Arlene and Bob could harmonize very well and when I joined the band Arlene asked if I sang. I replied, "No", and she said, "You will". As time went on, with her encouragement and great teaching, I began to sing a few songs and by the time I left the band, I could "almost" harmonize.
We also used the Dynacord echo chamber on the P.A. system, a Shure Vocalmaster, with the short columns. Sometime in 1978, I traded in my Coronado Bass and picked up a new 1978 Fender Precision Bass. I also traded in my SF Bandmaster amp for a 1968 SF Showman Reverb amp. I played with this band from 1976 until 1979.
In the photo below,
Bob is on the left, don't remember drummer's name, me and Arlene
Photos of the Precision Bass are current (2014) photos.
In 1979 I was shipped back to George AFB, California, and sometime in 1980 I joined a rock/country band (Overland Band). I played bass with this band until March 1983. While with this band, I bought a Shure Vocalmaster P.A. system with the two tall columns (6 speakers in each column, two 10" and four 8" in each column) and had two Shure S585 microphones. We still used the Dynacord echo chamber on the P.A. system. I still have this P.A. system and it still works just fine.
Above photo was at the
NCO Club and Norton AFB, CA.
This gig was on a
private person's large ranch about 50 miles from Victorville. There were about 250 people
there and we played for six hours. It was the loudest we ever
Above photo is from a bar called, "Wanda's" in Adelanto, CA. It later burned to the ground. Lucky that we weren't playing there at the time because we used to leave our equipment there. We played there every week-end for 3 months.
I retired from the
USAF on 1 Jan 1982 and due to the job situation I had to quit the
band in 1983. I began working for Roadway Express as a code clerk
and my hours were from 8pm to 4am, Mon - Fri. So, that ended my band
playing days. From March 1983
until January of 2013, I did not play guitar or bass at all.
My guitars and amp went into the closet where they sat for the
next 30 years.
When I got out the Showman Reverb so we could practice, the pilot light and tubes came on but no sound at all. I didn't know that capacitors and resistors died when sitting for so long, plus it is a 1968 amplifier to begin with. In my quest the get the amp repaired, I ran across the Fender Forum, joined, and met guys like Arjay, aclempoppi, bluesky636, BMW2002Ti, shimmilou, tbazzone, and T2Stratman, to name just a few. These fine and very knowledgeable folks helped me get my Showman Reverb back to pristine operating condition. My great thanks goes to Arjay and BMW2002Ti (for their vast knowledge and help). Turns out BMW2002Ti, who knows Fender amp and tubes inside and out, lives not too far from me and took on the task of repairing my Showman. He practically re-built the amplifier, gave me constant updates and repaired my amp, which now works just like new. If you want to know more, read more about the re-build with the links below:
During my 30 year absence from guitars, amps, etc., I didn't even realize that Fender CBS had been bought by the current owners and didn't even know that Fender products were produced in Japan, China, Korea and other countries.
In the first part of 2013, through all my reading on the Fender Forum, I learned about the discontinued G-DEC 30 modeling amplifier. I became interested because of the features of the amp to play simulate amplifier tones and playing backing tracks and uses an SD card. So I found a practically new amp for a great price in April and bought it. For what it is and does, I am satisfied with the amp. It is fun to try and play lead along with the backing tracks. If you want to know more, you can read about it in the link below:
I have always like the Fender Super Reverb amplifiers. So, my Guitar Acquisition Syndrome (GAS) attacked in July 2013 and I started looking for a decent vintage SR. With Arjay's help I found what turned out to be a 1969 SFSR on Craigslist for a reasonable price and I knew it would take some work to bring back to presentable condition. I received much help from Arjay on finding vintage parts for this amp and he sold me some nice items he had on hand. Again, BMW2002Ti agreed to take on the task of going through the amp. Again, he did an outstanding job of bring the amp back to blackface specs. The amp really sounds great. I can't thank these guys enough for all their help and advise. Here's what it looked like when I brought it home:
My desire for another guitar arose (Guitar Acquisition Syndrome = GAS), so I thought I'd try one of the Squier models. In July 2013 I bought a J Mascus Jazzmaster from a Guitar Center in San Bernardino, CA. It was a nice reasonably priced guitar. Turns out that I did not bond with it as it had jumbo frets and I only kept it for a short while. If you want to know more, you can read more about it in the link below:
I returned the J Mascus to Guitar Center and ordered the Squier VM Jazzmaster. This is a nice guitar for the price. I am still not in love with the medium jumbo frets, but I like the Olympic White with the tort pick guard. You can read more about this guitar in the link below:
GAS attacked again and I've always wanted a Stratocaster. I found this little Squier model in a local pawn shop. Still had the plastic on the pick guard and I walked out the door with it for $80. I'm sure a real made in America Strat would feel a lot different, but for what it is, it's not a bad little guitar. It also has the medium jumbo frets and I'm still not liking them very much. Playing a Strat is a lot different from a Jazzmaster. I can't get used to the volume knob being so close to the lower E string. Anyway, here's a photo:
I was never really happy with the refinish on my Jazzmaster from Belgium, so I finally decided to get it refinished back to the original sunburst. Found a luthier in Apple Valley, CA, J.C. Harper. He did some set-up work on my Squier Jazzmaster and Squier Strat so I had him refinish the Jazzmaster. I just got the guitar back today (July 14, 2014) and I'm extremely happy with J.C. Harper's work. Here are the photos:
These are the before photos:
On with the refinish
Initial clear coating:
Painting all finished! Final sanding and buffing done and
ready for assembly.
I'm very pleased with the finish on my guitar, it looks like a brand new guitar and it will give me pleasure until I am so old that I can no longer hold a guitar in my arms. Then, it goes to my granddaughter. I told her she call sell it if she wants but she has to wait until she is 60 years old, that way the guitar will be 100 years old.
Update 28 Mar 2017: After all these years of not really being able to get my bridge properly set-up by using the original bridge and a "Staytrem" bridge, I finally bought the most expensive and allegedly best bridge for a Jazzmaster, the "Mastery". I gotta say, it is great. Popped in on and only had to adjust bridge height - string height and intonation was almost perfect right out of the box. I like this bridge.
GAS again. I've always wanted JBL speakers for my Showman amplifier and finally decided to pull the trigger. Recently picked up used ones, one on e-bay and one on Craigslist:
Got the newly re-coned
JBLs back from Orange County Speaker Repair. I think they look
I still have to get around to replacing the grill cloth. I'll post photos when I get that task done!
Since getting back into guitar playing, I've kinda always had a desire (GAS) to own a Telecaster. Well, I finally bit the bullet and bought one. I bought a "rear" Fender this time. The "Squier" models are o.k. for the money but I wanted the real deal.
I ordered a new Fender Deluxe Telecaster, Olympic White, alder body with tort binding, from Guitar Center in Palmdale, CA. I specifically wanted the Deluxe model because is has a contoured heel (like a Jazzmaster and Stratocaster). I have played Telecasters a few times at guitar stores and did not like the feel of sharp edge of the heel on a standard Telecaster.
It arrived on Feb 3, 2015 and I picked it up. This Telecaster feels a lot different than a Jazzmaster or my little Strat. So far, I am really liking this guitar.
In May 2014 I was browsing on Offsetguitars Forum and ran across a 2014 Squier Jaguar that a guy wanted to trade for a Squier Jazzmaster in Olympic White. Well, just so happens I had one and since I've never owned or played a Jaguar, I jumped on the deal. It was a straight across trade other than I paid the seller $40. because he had put a MIJ tremelo on the Jaguar. Well, I didn't like the tremelo on my Squier Jazzmaster so i told him to leave it on. I think we were both pleased in the trade and playing the Jaguar is definitely different but not bad. So, here is what the Jaguar looks like:
GAS attack again! In early December 2015, I saw a new guitar advertised on the Fender website and decided I wanted one. So, I decided to sell my Deluxe Telecaster to get the funds to buy it. Listed the Telecaster on Craigslist and Reverb.com. Got several low ball offers and one day a guy offers to trade me his guitar Gibson Les Paul Classic for my Telecaster, well . . .
Two new guitars in three days! Definitely a first for me! Received my new Classic Series '60s Telecaster® with Bigsby® on Tuesday (8 Dec) and today (10 Dec) went down to Colton, CA where I picked up a 2007 Gibson® Les Paul Classic Antique in trade for my Deluxe Telecaster. Here's the photos: