Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 22
Joe Pass, Jim Hall, Barney Kessel,
Kenny Burrell, and particularly
Wes Montgomery, who like myself
couldn't read music. I rarely play
the same solo twice - I like seeing
where the wind will carry me.
WITH ZAC CHILDS
You must've been a young
teen when instrumental rock
arrived, circa 1960.
I loved that era. It was Duane
Eddy who kick-started my infatuation with electric guitar and "Because They're Young" hit so many
spots for me. My mother bought it
when I was in bed with flu because
she knew I loved hearing it on the
radio. I made a cardboard guitar
and painted it to resemble Duane's
Gretsch. I'd mime in my bedroom
mirror. Duane's music led me
to the Ventures, Hank Marvin,
the Spotnicks, Peter Jay & the
Jaywalkers, and the John Barry
Seven with Vic Flick on guitar.
Did you ever meet Duane?
ill Nelson is one of the unsung heroes of
British rock guitar. From his '70s work
with Be Bop Deluxe through a lengthy solo
career, Nelson has delivered powerful, artistic
songs and thrilling solos brimming with taste,
chops, and soul. His latest, Songs for Ghosts,
was cut in his studio in North Yorkshire,
England, and reflects his Be Bop Deluxe roots.
You release a few CDs every year. Where
does Songs for Ghosts sit in your catalog?
It has elements from several periods of my
history; there's rock, psychedelia, instrumentals, a little jazz, some twangy stuff... I have 14
new albums waiting for release. I really love
recording. It's akin to painting with sound.
Your lead style doesn't rely on blues clichés - the interweaving arpeggios suggest
you listened to jazz.
Improvisation is very much at the heart of
my soloing. When I was very young, I was surrounded by the music of swing bands because
my father played sax and led bands in the '40s
and '50s. Later, I discovered Django Reinhardt,
I had the privilege to present
him with a Mojo magazine Icon
award a few years ago. Such a
future was unimaginable when I
was a 10-year-old kid living in a
small town in Yorkshire.
Which guitars did you use on
Songs for Ghosts?
I'm a big fan of contemporary
guitars that nod to quirky instruments from the '50s and '60s. My
Musicvox MI-6 has a retro-futuristic look, as
does my Backlund Model 100. My Nelsonic
Transitone signature model made by Campbell
American, and my Astroluxe Custom and Cadet
signature guitars made by Eastwood are on the
album, too. I also used classics by D'Angelico,
Gretsch, Gibson, Fender, Guild, and Peerless.
How do you get your guitar sounding so
lush when recording?
My most-used processor is an old Line 6 Pod
II. I don't know what it is about that processor, but it has a very nice way of dealing with
the tones I love. For gigs, I use a Zoom 9050S
digital processor and a Digitech Valve FX. My
newest is a Fractal Audio Axe FX II XL.
You're back to performing live. How are
you feeling and what are you plans?
I'm a diabetic, which affects my vision.
I'm also deaf in one ear from years of being
exposed to loud music - as they say, old age
isn't for sissies! Nevertheless, I have an absolute
and continuing love of music. It has been my
saving grace, and guitars are at the heart of
all that. - Pete Prown
The pickups on Pavel's Flying V.
I bought this Gibson Flying V FF82
and am a little confused about its
pickups. Should it have Dirty Fingers,
or some other humbuckers? - Pavel
Tim Shaw, who was an engineer
at Gibson during that era, had this
to say about the pickups in your V,
which was a limited edition built for
Musikmesse Frankfurt in 1982.
"The pickups look original, but the
covers have been removed. They look
to be the same we used on the Historic
series. They are not Dirty Fingers, as
those have two rows of pole pieces."
I'm contemplating selling a Kasuga
buitar that I bought new in 1972.
I've tried to do research it on online,
but can't find anything. What can
you tell me about it? - Josy Billing
Our import-guitar specialist, Michael
Wright was able to dig up the following:
"Kasuga was one of the oldest
guitar-makers in Japan. It was founded
in 1935 by Ikko Kasuga (1910-'89). Both
Kazuo and Sadao Yairi trained at Kasuga.
They were a major manufacturer in
Japan, making classical, steel-string,
electric guitars, banjos and mandolins. In
'72, they joined with Tokai (I think) to
form Kasuga International and began
aggressively marketing exports to the
U.S. and other countries. I believe they
were responsible for the Japanesemade Hondos for IMC in the '70s."
Zac Childs is a guitar tech in Nashville. If you
have a question about guitars, anything from
nuts and bolts to historical or celebrity-related
inquiries, drop a line to him at email@example.com
or visit facebook.com/askzac.