Modern guitar Master Diego ‘El Twanguero’ Garcia demonstrates his skilled craft in this new video. His thumb and fingerpicking talent are second to none and his tasty use of the Bigsby on his vintage Gretsch DuoJet make us proud to call him a friend! Be sure to check out our Artist page on him HERE and visit his website HERE. Without further ado, please enjoy MAJOR RAG!
Our FINAL show of 2014! As the leaves change color and fall to ground, preparations are in full swing for the Great American Guitar Show! To be held at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center in Oaks, PA the weekend of November 8-9. This show will be your last chance in 2014 to take advantage of our FREE Installation or Pit-Stop. Check out the flyer HERE for details and to reserve your spot. If you’re unfamiliar with our Pit-Stop offering, it is an 8-point ‘check up’ to make sure your Bigsby equipped guitar is operating in tip-top fashion. A free service, but we do suggest that the strings on the instrument be relatively new (or bring a set & we’ll put them on) to get the most out of the Pit-Stop. We look forward to seeing you soon at the Fall Philly Guitar Show!
Check out more details on the show from Bee3Vintage HERE.
We won’t argue that the average weekend isn’t a glorious event, when it is stacked to the rafters with guitars it is downright fabulous. It doesn’t get any better than the GuitArlington show held on the weekend of October 18-19. With thousands, if not tens of thousands, guitars filling the halls of the Arlington, Texas Convention Center, nothing could keep fans away! By now you all know that this is the event that dealers and collectors look forward to as it is where the best of best is. 2014 was no exception. From the depths of a private collection, Jack Parsons Bigsby guitar stunned attendees. As you can see from the photos below, it is an incredible build as well as a piece of history.
While it certainly was the star of the show, it wasn’t the only amazing piece. From vintage ‘burst Les Pauls, Blackguards, and almost too clean original ’54 Strats, there was no shortage of eye candy. Perhaps the best opportunity most of us will get to experience these ‘holy grail’ specimens. For our part and display, we teamed up with legendary pickup guru and luthier Tom ‘TV’ Jones. Visitors to our booth got up close and personal checking out all the Bigsby vibratos, guitars, books, parts, and Tom’s famous demo guitar. Check out the photos to see this masterpiece of pickup testing and other shots from around the show HERE. Generous thanks to those who took us up on our offer for free Pit-Stops and Installations–it made it another GREAT trip to Texas! Now its on to the last stop of 2014; the Great American Guitar Show in Philly Nov. 8-9!
December 12th 2014 marks what would be the 115th birthday of Paul Adelbert Bigsby. When it comes to guitar history, names like Leo Fender, Adolph Rickenbacker, and Les Paul may be more widely known, but their work would not have been possible without the man who designed and built the first solidbody electric guitar.
A skilled motorcycle machinist—and also a music fan—Paul Bigsby got into the world of guitars in the mid-1940s when he designed a replacement vibrato mechanism for C&W artist Merle Travis’s Gibson L-10. Paul’s device set a new standard, and it rapidly became the vibrato of choice for most guitar manufacturers the world over—a reputation it still enjoys today.
In late 1946, Travis approached Bigsby with a concept for a new guitar. Travis’s rough sketch depicted a solidbody electric with all six tuning pegs on one side of the headstock. Bigsby, whose personal philosophy was “I can build anything,” immediately went to work to make the concept a reality. When the guitar was completed, Merle Travis played it on recordings, on radio, and on public performances. The revolutionary design caught the eyes and ears of guitar players and builders alike—and it changed the sound and look of guitars forever.
Paul Bigsby continued to hand-craft custom guitars and vibrato units for the next twenty years. But by 1965 health issues prompted him to sell the Bigsby name and inventory to his friend Ted McCarty. That sale that was effective on January 1, 1966. Paul Bigsby died on June 7, 1968, leaving a legacy of innovation and craftsmanship for which every guitarist today should be grateful.
Speaking of Ted McCarty, his is the other Bigsby birthday to be celebrated (what would be his 105th, as of October 10th of this year). Ted was no stranger to the guitar business when he purchased the Bigsby Company. As many know, he’d been president of Gibson Guitars since 1948, having led that company through its one of its most successful periods, often referred as the ‘Golden Era’.
When Ted McCarty took over Bigsby, he retired from Gibson. He focused on filling the demand for Bigsby’s True Vibrato, which was being ordered by virtually all major US guitar manufacturers. Of all Bigsby customers, Gretsch Guitars was the single largest, establishing a strong relationship between the two companies. That relationship led to Bigsby’s purchase by Gretsch in 1999 when Ted McCarty retired after sixty successful years in the music business. Ted died in April of 2001.
Fred Gretsch describes the care that has been taken to preserve the Bigsby heritage, saying, “Gretsch guitars have featured Bigsby vibrato tailpieces for sixty years. Gretsch and Bigsby are often thought of together, and now we’re one company. We’re continuing to manufacture vintage-style Bigsby vibratos and bridges using the same hand-made methods prescribed by Paul Bigsby more than half a century ago.”
Occasionally, one must take a step back to gain a more clear vision of a situation. In any industry, people within the field have a different understanding and perspective of those looking in–sometimes vastly different. The awe inspiring, massive display filled halls that are a trademark of every NAMM show can be overwhelming to the uninitiated. Over time, people in the music industry can become desensitized or even jaded to the incredible and unique experience. At the Summer 2014 NAMM Show, we were lucky enough to have Sam Dennis join us. Sam is a Freshman at the Dodge College of Film and Media Arts at Chapman University in California, and joined us to experience all that NAMM and Nashville had to offer. We were thrilled to have him join us and enjoyed his synopsis and photos which we posted below:
A big, brand name of a city with a small town feel is the best possible way to describe Nashville. From seeing the Parthenon and enjoying a beautiful day in the park, to taking a stroll through the Country Music Hall of Fame, to walking around Broadway for a night full of music, there’s always something fun and exciting to do. The food is authentic, the people are generous, there’s an abundance of cowboy boots, the streets are safe – and now, once every summer, you can enjoy the National Association of Music Merchants convention in the state of the art Music City Center. Talk about a great city! Artists and music lovers from all over come to the city and pack into the NAMM show. Everyone you see and meet is a character in their own right: from Heavy Metal guitarists to keyboard salesmen, the possibility of making connections and friends is endless. And travel is a piece of cake. The small, versatile Nashville airport is as simple as it gets. Going is definitely a collection of memories you won’t be able to forget!–Sam Dennis
Click HERE for more information on NAMM.
Check HERE for more information on the Dodge College of Film and Media Arts
Gibson has released the next installment of their Collector’s Choice Series; the fourteenth! This model pays tribute to session ace Waddy Wachtel! Working with a variety of artists including Linda Ronstadt, Warren Zevon, Stevie Nicks, and The Rolling Stones his original Les Paul can be heard on hundreds of recordings. Featuring the unique features of a slim & fast neck, worn lemon burst finish, and aged B5 vibrato the instrument promises to be a lead player’s dream! Be sure to visit Gibson’s website HERE for more details, and your local dealer to check out the guitar in person!