Vintage Fender Strats, Custom Shop & Boutique S-types, Guitar Parts, Auctions & Sales!


Custom Strat Pickguards With Classic Pin-Up Girls & More!

Guitar Decals - Water-slide & Static Cling

vintage pin-up girl,

pin-up decals for guitar pickguards
Just like the gals Grand pappy flew into WWII with! Dressing up your pickguard with a fine waterslide decal is one of the most inexpensive ways to give your axe a fresh look!

Vintage Pin-up Decals - Directory for classic waterslide decals, including How-To links for applying decals, graphics and refinishing your guitar.

Pimp Your Strat Directory -Mods, wiring diagrams, tips, tutorials and hardware upgrades suppliers.

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The Juju Behind Billy Gibbons' Hat

Bamileke Cameroon, ZZ Top memorabilia

Billy Gibbons' HatIt's wild enough that he's actually playin' a Strat in this photo!

But ever wonder about Billy G's hat? (I know we're used to the hat-- way more than the Strat, but...)

During a ZZ Top tour in Africa, Billy was introduced to a chief of Cameroon's Bamileke tribe. At the time, Billy was wearing a ten gallon Stetson, but it seems the chief wanted that Stetson very much. Billy was urged to promptly give his Stetson to the chief. However, Gibbons had them let the chief know that back in Texas there is a custom of "horse tradin'". The chief was more than happy to respond by presenting Billy with his own hat that we are so used to seeing Billy with today.

So although Billy's hair loss could also be a factor, his hat certainly has some deep roots.

See this video clip to get the story straight from the Reverend's mouth! 

RES-Limited-Editions has Bamileke "Nudu" beanie hats just like Billy's.

Also check: 

eBay listings for Camaroon, Bamileke, Nudu hats

Billy Gibbons African Hat

image: RES Limited Editions
Pale comparison to the Rev. 

How did the ZZ Top name originate? Find out HERE.

ZZ Top Auctions & Memorabilia

If you didn’t read this at Guitar Blog, it’s been bootlegged! ©2006 - 2013 JP Holesworth. All rights reserved. This article may not be reprinted, distributed or duplicated without author’s written permission.

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DIY Guitar Effects Pedal & Amp Mods Kits Resource Directory

DIY, Guitar Gear, Schematics & Amp projects

BYOC Wah Pedal Kit

 (photo: BYOC Wah Pedal Kit - Gear Gas Store)

The DIY revolution is coming to guitar, effects pedal and amp modding! Time to spiff up your basic electronics knowledge and soldering skills! This looks like the next big buzz out here in guitar land as the prices on boutique gear climb higher & higher.

If you can already re-terminate a cable or re-solder your guitar jack's twisted off connections, chances are you can also save BIG $ by modding your own guitars, effects pedals and amps. After getting your feet wet with some small basic projects, you might then try building your own pedals and eventually even your own amp!

Note: No attempt to oversimplify here or insult the skilled professionals who design, build and market fine gear. This isn't Lego's folks! But those with the aptitude should be connected with the ever growing number of resources available both for learning & obtaining kits & components.

Below is an ongoing directory of suppliers and resources for guitar gear mods and projects.

Electronic Projects for Musicians by Craig Anderton - The classic pedal DIY book we've seen for decades by GP mag's legendary pedal geek. This link takes you to Amazon where you'll see other Craig Anderton DIY books on digital effects, multi-effects and studio gear DIY projects.
5 Sweet Amp Mods I Wish I'd Thought of Myself  - Resource article Huge free DIY resource site for all guitar gear. Includes discussion forum.

DIRTBOX - Resource site for pedal geeks. Includes forum, reviews & good DIY stuff!

Wiring Tools ref. Items you'll need in addition to small screwdrivers, needle nose pliers & side cutters. - The absolute BEST tutorial videos on soldering and de-soldering techniques. Fill any gaps in your soldering savvy!!!

Geargasstore - Parts, Kits and cool boutique pedals. Some of the wildest pedals out there!

Pedal Hackers Tone Center "We take your average effects and distortions and tweak them into something better. Kits are available for sale or we can mod your pedal for you. You can always contact us with any questions you may have." (check all their pages)

LuciBox "We stock Effects Pedal Parts, Guitar & Amp parts & EH Effects Pedals. Fasel Inductors, Potentiometers, Capacitors, Vintage Transistors, LEDs & Holders, LuciBox Swirl Painted Effects Pedal Boxes, Plain boxes, Knobs, Feet, Grommets, Logos, Upgrade kits, Switches, Jacks, Jack Plates, Footswitches, etc."

Mod Kits DIY -Supplier of complete parts kits for amps, pedals and mods. See full review at
Germanium-Transistors-AC128-NKT275 Actual eBay Store name, run by boutique pedal outfit Elite Tone. Get some steroids for your Fuzz Face or DIY projects! "Welcome to Build Your Own Clone. We are the world's premier manufacturer of professional quality do-it-yourself effects & electronics kits for guitarists... B.Y.O.C. offers a full line of DIY guitar effects kits that are based on some of the most famous circuits ever conceived and use top shelf components to provide you with superb sounding boutique level effects pedals that are both fun to build and save you money." "General Guitar Gadgets - The DIY Stompbox Authority
Schematics, wiring diagrams and detailed instructions for the best DIY Stompbox Effects Projects on the internet. Ready-to-Solder PCBs or Complete Stompbox Kits are available for many of the projects. Contact us if you don't find what you're looking for. Check out our Blog Page for more "behind-the-scenes" information about General Guitar Gadgets."

JMI Music "The best guitar and amplifier parts on the planet. Authorized dealer for Seymour Duncan, Lindy Fralin, Fishman, Mercury Magnetics, Allparts, George L, THD, Weber, Mojo. We stock Tonepros, Gotoh, Schaller, Leo Quan, Celestion, Sperzel, Tung-sol, JJ, Electro Harmonix, Fender, Gibson and Bartolini."

CeriaTone Amplification "...home of quality and affordable guitar tube amp board kits. We at CeriaTone would be happy to serve your needs, whether you are a DIYer, an amp shop, or a boutique amp manufacturer. CeriaTone has classic circuits to offer, as well as custom made to clients' specifications.
We offer PTP boards, chassis, kits, and full working chassis. No order is too small for us, and we let you customize however way you want."
(supplies full chassis kits for most legendary amp designs)

AMPGARAGE.COM - The Amp Garage is a discussion forum site for amp builders. Those guys are serious over there-- all I see is TrainWreck & Dumble discussions, so if you wanna get down to the nitty gritty of how to build TONE, ya better get into The Amp Garage!

BitMo's eBay Store - Limited variety of cheaper mod kits for Epi Valve Jr. & Blackheart amps. Not so impressive but check 'em out anyway.

SOURMASH AMP CABINETS "Marshall style and custom speaker cabs. All cabs are made w/ 3/4" birch. All cabs are connected w/lap joints, glued and screwed. I'm now proud to offer WAREHOUSE GUITAR SPEAKERS in all my cabs at unbeatable prices. I also sell tolex, piping, handles, and feet." (He has Marshall type HEAD CABS to accomodate chassis builds.)

 The Musican's Hardware Store- Similar to Sourmash (above), but focusing on Fender style cabinets.

Stellartone Manufacturer of the Tonestyler direct replacement guitar tone control. These aren't simply "better pots". It's an improved design for enhanced tone variation. Visit the link and find out more about 'em. Click Here for the GP demo vid. Tonestylers swap directly with stock pots and require no batteries or added modification to your guitar. (see dealers below)

Stellartone Dealers:

Tricked Out Guitar
Providing the best parts and hardware for tricking out your Strat. Product lines include: Allparts, Q-Parts, Stellartone, Lindy Fralin, TV Jones, Seymour Duncan, Wilkinson, Mighty-Mite, Fender, Gibson, Custom Shop and more. Be sure to check out TOG's custom prewired pickguard assemblies in several yummy flavors.

Do we promote your brand, or help sell your gear?
Feel free to tip.


Pimp Your Strat Directory Find Strat wiring Diagrams, parts & upgrades suppliers and other similar links.

Tubes & Amp Parts Directory Find new and NOS tubes, switches, pots, knobs, bulbs, boards material and other components at low cost.

More resources coming-- be sure to bookmark/add favorites!

Disclaimer: Stratoblogster will not not be responsible for the above merchants with regard to product quality, trademark or design patent issues.

If you didn’t read this at Guitar Blog, it’s been bootlegged! ©2006 - 2013 JP Holesworth. All rights reserved. This article may not be reprinted, distributed or duplicated without author’s written permission.
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Shawn Lane's Pentatonic Runs- Key to Eric Johnson

Rich at The Guitar Channel recently did a post about Shawn Lane, who passed away 5 years ago this Friday (9/26). FOG Magazine features a good article about Lane which provides more info. about his health issues, as well as a cool retrospective of Shawn's career.

Although much of the guitar community is familiar with Shawn Lane as perhaps "the ultimate shredder", many aren't aware of how musical and bluesy he could be. There are many more dimensions to Shawn Lane's musical legacy than just fast shred guitar.

Youtube's Shawn Lane channel MyShawnLaneVideos is loaded with a number of surprises, including the above clip of Shawn covering the Eric Johnson tune "Trademark" in 2000. Shawn & EJ have some history. Eric Johnson fans, working on playing in this style can also find pieces of the puzzle in Shawn Lane's techniques. Same goes for you Scott Henderson folks.

Click Here for a brief clip of Paul Gilbert demonstrating Lane's pentatonic runs, similar to some we also hear from Eric Johnson.

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A Strat for Friday #94 - Fender- DeMarco 'It's Floodin' Down in Texas'

Thanks to Dave at Sans Direction!

Virtual Vintage Guitars currently lists this SRV dedication Strat for sale on their website. The guitar is a one of a kind piece originally created for an exhibit at the Oceanside Museum of Art in San Diego. It was also exhibited in the Fender Museum of Music and the Arts. Fender built the guitar in '01 and it was sent to California artist John DeMarco, who painted a Texas Flood* on the front and a portrait of SRV on the back. There are also song lyrics, assumably in SRV's handwriting, transferred onto the pickguard.

Click the above image for more & better photos. A closer view of the neck shows a serious piece of maple!

DeMarco features the Strat on his website labeled "SOLD". VVG purchased it from DeMarco in 2002 for their private collection, and has been the sole owner. Now they are listing it for sale. The guitar comes with special cert. from the artist, also the case. Contact VVG HERE for more info. I also strongly urge you to take a look around John DeMarco's website as he has a lot of very nice musician themed artwork on display.

*Notice all the telephone lines are down.

more Friday Strats
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Who Reads Stratoblogster #3 - Sarah... or is it Tina?

(satire- best read aloud in Fargo accent)

"Ya know, up in Alaska, when we're not huntin' the moose ya know, we're spendin' a fair amount a'time on that internet ya know. That is, when we're not ALSO playin' our guitars and just bein' hockey moms.

So when I put my Strat down ya know- and this gal plays a real Strat, just like a man too, and not a pink one either - I dial up the Stratoblogster on my internet ya know! Gosh, any hockey mom who plays guitar oughta be readin' that Stratoblogster ya know! He's just the cat's meow alright!

I plan to provide a new guitar for every Alaskan man, woman and child, once I get that oil flowin' again! And I have Stratoblogster to thank for helpin' me tap into the perfect guitars to withstand our cold Alaska climate- both indoors and outdoors too, ya know. You betcha!

Gosh! And ya know that kinda revenue means we can afford 'em too by golly! Can you spell "innovate"? How 'bout backwards? b-a-c-k-w-a-r-d-s -- you betcha!

So, you just take it from me see, a mom who knows, and listen to that sweetie Stratoblogster. Even Hillary and Condoleezza too, agree with me on at least one thing... that this guitar bloggin' fella here knows what he's talkin' about ya know! Gosh!

more Who Reads Stratoblogster?

real Strat-o-Sisters!

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Steve Vai's New Ibanez Jemini Distortion Pedal

Remember, that's Jemini with a "J"! Christmas must be just around the corner, because both Steve Vai and "guit-preneurial" pal Joe Satriani have new products on the market. Both items are gain-distortion pedals with similar two stage features. In the above vid, Vai along with handy Vai clone provide a humor filled thrill ride demonstration of the new Ibanez Vai Distortion Pedal. Kooky video by two wild and crazy guys!

Satch's recent offering, is The Satchurator- built by Vox- recently reviewed by Guitar Gear Blog .

Both ignoring the current Green Standard for OD/distortion pedals, the Vai comes in trademark psychedelic finish, and the Satchurator is a hot, angry red, offset with vintage white chicken head knobs.

These are dandy stocking stuffers, so shop early and avoid the rush!

Compare Jemini and Satchurator at these fine merchants:

Musician's Friend
American Musical Supply

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Time For a Tele Break With Keef!

And now for something completely different. Let's chill awhile, doncha think... Somebody uploaded this "select-a-stone" clip from a Stone's DVD. I can watch the Keef attitude all day long. The little bonus surprise is the Tom Anderson headstock logo! Keef can play anything he wants!

F_ _ _ _ _ don't own this Stone.
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Blogging Performance Enhancement Product #1

Crackheads CandyYesterday's Tone Post was brought to you by Crackheads, White & Dark Chocolate Covered Espresso Beans. Remember to ask for them by name! "CRACKHEADS PLEASE!" Yeah, they're yummy & much safer than actual crack too. I like that! And if your favorite candy store or coffee shop doesn't carry Crackheads, you just tell 'em "Stratoblogster says GET SOME!!!"

Stratoblogster Labs
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Good Guitar Tone in Your Hands? Still Waiting?

September's Premier Guitar issue features a thought provoking article by George Ellison entitled "The Replacements". It's good reading amongst the zillion other things in each issue of PG-- that zine is stuffed!

Ellison's article is part of a continuing series about how to choose replacement pickups. He makes many good points on how various factors & components contribute to tone. If you're on the quest for guitar tone, click the above link and read his article before reading on here.

Did ya read it? Yeah, whatever...

Although I don't really disagree with Ellison at all, in a broader- beyond guitar- sense, it seems we guitar players can get pretty ridiculous when it comes to all this tone stuff.

Consider my own following ridiculous musings:

So is it wood or isn't it?? Or is it the weight of the wood?

If Duane Allman had switched from an LP to a Tele would he have then become unrecognizable?

Do jazz pianists have to switch from Steinways to Bosendorfers when they want "Chick Corea tone"?

Do cover band singers need different mics when switching from a Steven Tyler vocal to a Doors tune?

If good tone comes from your hands, why hasn't somebody come up with a tone hand lotion product for guitar players? Ya know some of us would buy it! (Remember, you saw it here first.)

Ok, so it makes good sense to back up and stress the importance of your hands over gear. The lotion idea was stupid-- wanna buy some? Even a perfectly tuned & intonated guitar (Buzz Feiten'd even), will sound OUT if the player's fretting pressure isn't right. Especially with big frets or a scalloped neck.

But what puts the tone in your hands? Well, that's partly figurative of course, because it all starts in your mind, heart, soul, spirit, brain, beingness; I'll leave which term up to you, but it's in that general area. You started playing guitar inside before ever picking one up. Next, there's a monitor loop you establish between your consciousness, your ears and your hands. When those three parts agree to coordinate, you then set about controlling your gear the best that the gear can be controlled. To the degree it doesn't control YOU, you're getting somewhere.

From that point, there are infinite avenues to pursue in terms of taste and sounds. If you play a lot of covers and want to nail sounds from records, you should probably invest in a multi-effects station. There's a broad range between Angus Young and Steve Vai. Angus has always been at home with his SG and a Marshall Plexi with only a cord in between. While Vai on the other hand...

People are doing many different things with guitar. Electric guitar is the ultimate synthesizer, as proven by the enormous number of guitar, effects and amp manufacturers there are. No other instrument comes even close to rivaling the guitar in terms of performance enhancement support products available. The modeling software thing is just exploding!

The irony is that many players seeking to cop guitar tones from 40 years ago are still looking for gear that hasn't been invented yet. And that statement is the crux of the biscuit.

The truth about tone which nobody is telling you, because it might be bad for business, is that fundamentally you need a decent sense of pitch, a decent guitar that is set up and intonated correctly and the willingness to keep it in tune. Too often, players start out with instruments that even seasoned musicians can't tune and would find difficult to play.

Developing the skill and conditioning to play guitar is tough enough, without having to wrestle some dissonant table leg with strings. Unfortunately, low cost, entry level guitars usually fit the aformentioned description. Some players quit, and a small few overcome to even excel out of high desire, determination and very good ears.

A significant 3rd group continues to struggle on, representing most of the gear acquisition syndrome GAS market. The evolution of this player involves the continuing quest of trying to feel good about his/her playing by adding enhancements to unknowingly compensate for a weak ear and/or poorly set up & intonated instrument which can't be tuned. Hence the gazillion different distortion pedals on the market.

Nothing wrong with overdrive, gain and playing dirty. But remember one important thing-- You can't polish a turd! In other words, a well tuned & intonated guitar of decent quality with proper relief and action will have pleasant tonal, harmonic and sustain characteristics when CLEAN, which accentuate themselves even better when overdriven. The WRONG thing to do is try to fix a poor, badly intonated instrument by adding more distortion and other effects. This is what is known as polishing a turd. Can't be done-- it's a universal law that even Tenacious D recognizes.

Guitar teachers should help their students with developing pitch and harmony, and provide orientation on the structure and mechanics of tuning and maintaining guitars. Instrument retailers should sell playable guitars to kids and beginners, and provide proper instrument set-up. Many parents- not being musicians themselves- need to be educated about the importance of quality instruments. Many kids quit playing, thinking they just don't have what it takes, when all along a crappy instrument is actually to blame. Parents don't want to spend a lot of money on something that the kid may grow bored with next week. Still, the same amount of $$$ that the X-Box 360 and i-Pod cost WILL procure an acceptable instrument. So what, if the kid decides not to play guitar after all? You were also willing to spend the same $$$ to zombie-ize him with video games, so at least you can say you tried in the case of a musical instrument.

What's all this have to do with TONE? Everything. Properly equipped and oriented guitar players with pitch awareness and decent guitars stand a far better chance of attaining sufficient musicality in order to overcome and transcend petty tone issues and the seeking of wrong solutions for those issues. Knowing one's ears and the condition of one's tools provides greater focus on melody & harmony instead of chasing your own tail under the guise of chasing tone.

Maybe the guitar magazines don't tell you this because they and their advertisers also rely upon the UNCERTAINTIES of guitar players, to make a living. I'm a gear pimp too, but I'm tellin' it like it is anyway. I'll never run out of stuff to blog about either, as crazy as we all are.

The unprecedented abundance of gear choices available to us is great. So is the confusion. And though there may appear to be a glut of products, there is never a glut of genuinely good products. The marketing is fierce, and I wanna hurl everytime I see the word "MOJO" used in gear ad copy. This big candy store can be fun, but guitar players chase more butterflies when they should be creating music. Anyone who's ever sat down with an acoustic guitar and totally lost track of time and space was having a musical experience, not a gear experience... though possibly an herbal experience, but that's beside the point. Playing an amp can sometimes be an evasive battle, but keep it simple because adding more junk in the chain is all too often an avoidance of a more basic situation.

Just remember to work on your ears, and keep your guitar tuned and set up correctly. Base any gear acquisitions and upgrades upon the enhancement of pitch & harmony, as opposed to muddying and masking fundamental musical elements. Tone doesn't have to be a holy grail quest, money pit situation. The real romance is music, and the only mojo is your certainty of the musical sounds inside you, and your hands, like Mr. Ellison says.

In spite of any negative points, the popularity of guitar is unparalleled by any other instrument, not even counting guitar-shaped video game controllers. Just think how things would be if we did more things right as teachers and merchants! Maybe guitar players would make the planet safe, end war, feed the hungry, stablize the climates and bring back fresh cut french fries, & big cars with fins!

I'm just sayin...

Click Here if you still need that tone hand lotion!


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This Post Has No Title...

I found this at Google Images. It's actually just a t-shirt, available from:

So don't go runnin' down to the local Borders Books lookin' for some yellowpage thickness tutorial guide!

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Keeley Pedals and Mods for TONE!

(image: The Music Zoo)
Keeley Java Boost PedalKeeley pedals, effects and mods are used by the pro's!

Besides Keeley's own product line, Robert Keeley has been modding other popular brand pedals, i.e. Tube Screamers, Boss Blue's Drivers and others.

Also check out AnalogMan for hi-end pedals and mods.


KEELEY DEALERS & Used Keeley Pedals
Tubes & Amp Parts (directory)
Pimp Your Strat (directory)

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Happy 83rd Birthday B.B. KING!!!

It's been a B.B. King day all over the Blues channels today! The B.B. King Museum in Mississippi just opened a couple days ago too. This guy is a saint-- and anyone who's seen him live, will attest to that. More than a singer/guitar player, he's a communicator who fills the room with his soul.

If you get a chance to see B.B. King perform, ya probably don't wanna dilly-dally about it!

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'Band Of Me' Video Sharing Site for Musicians!

Band of Me is a new video sharing, bookmarking site for musicians. Guitar oriented videos make up a large portion of their current listings. The site contains sub-category links for several genres. Check 'em out!
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Eldon Shamblin Strat in Oklahoma

Sept 15, 2008

I lost my source info. about this guitar & amp, but just had to post the photo anyway. The Strat belongs to a guy in Oklahoma, and reportedly once belonged to Eldon Shamblin of Bob Wills & The Texas Playboys. Eldon was playing Strats way before Buddy Holly, having been given an early Strat prototype by Leo Fender himself, at which time Shamblin put down his big Gibson Supers and stuck with Strats for the rest of his career. The amp looks like an old Deluxe that's seen more than it's share of trucks, trains, trunks, grange halls, brews, tar & nicotine... and loose women too.

If anyone recognizes this photo or anything about it, please leave a comment!! I'll add more details, credits & links if/as they become available.

Eldon Shamblin @ wiki
Eldon Shamblin bio video

Ed Note 2015 - Look what showed up on Youtube:

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Older, Heavy G & L, S-500 Surprise!

(photo: random internet)
G&L S-500Today I checked out an older, 3-bolt (pre-98), G&L S-500 in a small vintage & consignments guitar shop. This guitar had a red tint clear poly finish, big frets and was heavier than a boat anchor.

For some reason I sat down and played it anyway, since that seemed like more fun than joining wifey at the fabric store down the street. Lo & behold the "boat anchor" had tons of sustain and no dead spots up and down the neck. This was unplugged! So obviously, next I had to seek amplification, which also proved well beyond my expectations!

I know we talk about light=resonant=sustain. But ya never know, so it's always good to check 'em out anyway. Especially if you've got nothing better to do.

It was marked at $750 w/case, but I forced myself to walk out without haggling or getting the guitar at all, although G.A.S. pains were already kickin' in severely.

See, this guitar could still cost up to $1500, which ain't in the budget right now. Married people know how this works. Any major purchase which Mrs. Stratoblogster can share the usage of-- like say, a car, a TV or kitchen appliance, equals the cost of that single item. However, when the item purchased is NOT usable by Mrs. Stratoblogster-- like say, a guitar (random example)... Well, then Mrs. S is obliged to engage in purchase activities up to AT LEAST the amount of said guitar (hypothetical example) purchase.

So since I didn't feel quite sportin' enough to haggle the guy down to $300, I had to walk. Still, wifey and I had a nice lunch out and an otherwise normal Saturday, and the stone just keeps on rolling.

Stratoblogster's preferred G&L dealer:

GUITAR ADOPTIONS - These folks offer some sweet gear lines, good deals, plenty of inventory and the knowledgeable personal service you'd expect from a hometown guitar shop.

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Help Stratoblogster Say Goodbye to Summer '08!

This here ain't exactly geetar related, but I laughed my a@# off when I saw it. It's the top ranked video today on the youtube homepage-- which is another way of saying that I don't go searching for this stuff... But why not end this fine Summer with a Beergarita-- Texas Style!

The very last line kills: "It'll taste good... FER YOU!!!"

Who needs Food Network anyway?!

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A Strat for Friday #93 - FCS Masterbuilt, Koicaster

Vikram Hazra sent us the link to his ultimate dream Strat, featured at Strat Collector . Talk about a deep site-- this has been at the Strat Collector site since 2003, and I never found it.
That's me-- always on the cutting edge!

The Koicaster was created by Fender Custom Shop Masterbuilder Todd Krause, with the help of inlay artist Ron Thorn, who did the Koi fishies, and Dan Schultz who airbrushed the dragonflies & other accents. Talk about a deep finish! You can swim in it.

Click the photo for the very interesting build story and several more stunning photos!

Thanks Vikram! Great find!

Friday Strat Directory
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"The Nammys" Nominate Two Strat-o-Brothers!

Arizona Strat-o-Brother Sir Harrison (pictured) of Sir Harrison & the Blues Kings, let me know he's a Blues category nominee for this year's 10th Annual Native American Music Awards (NAMA) aka "The Nammys".

Another Strat-o-Brother Levi Platero, from New Mexico, is also a Blues nominee.

The NAMA website is really cool! There are several categories each with 6-7 nominees and a music player with a tune sample for each.

Categories include contemporary music, but my favorites are actually the traditional Native American ones i.e. Pow Wow, Native Church, Flute, Spoken Word and Traditional. I've been listening to this stuff all day.

Native Americans have really embraced the Blues too. So check 'em out, register and vote for someone. It's good medicine!

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Guitar Rig Hero Contest for REAL Guitar Players!

Native Instruments, the maker of Guitar Rig software for guitar & bass, is running a Youtube contest called "Guitar Rig Hero". Through September you can download a free sample of Guitar Rig, make a video, upload to Youtube and submit your link to (click the links for detailed instructions).

Sept. 30 is the entry deadline. There will be public voting through mid-October, plus a group of judges which includes: Dweezil Zappa, Brett Garsed & Stephen Carpenter will help decide the top videos. Winners will receive cool gear plus the opportunity to get some heavy Youtube traffic & exposure.

So expose yourself and your guitar playing at Guitar Rig Hero.

Dweezil's Guitar Rig demo video.

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In the Moment with Jeff Beck

"...he controls my emotions better than I can. That's real music."

(Quote from Youtube comments thread for the above clip.)

"Where Were You" from Jeff Beck's Guitar Shop

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International Guitar Blogosphere!

I'm welcoming 3 new blogs to the Stratoblogster blogroll. Thanks to Technorati, I occasionally discover blogs that have linked to Stratoblogster. The following blogs share the distinction of being non-USA guitar blogs: is a Spanish language guitar blog by Alex in Zaragoza, Spain. The content is serious guitar AND they've linked to Stratoblogster. Alex says Spain is full of guitar maniacs!

Marc's Guitar Blog is a French guitar blog with plenty of content about great players and gear.

Vikram Hazra's Blog is an interesting blog that even I can read since it's in English. Vikram lives in India, where he pursues Philosophical endeavors and plays guitar. His interesting content combines Eastern philosophy with guitar culture focusing on progressive players.

I should also mention these other international guitar blog partners we've had on board for awhile:

Here Comes the Flood is a cool music blog by Hans Werksman who lives in Holland. Flood is written in English.

String Works is a Bavarian language guitar blog. The ".ch" domain extension indicates Switzerland. A long time blogroll partner, String Works has really evolved their content and grown. Of course, I can't read it, but can tell it's a top quality guitar blog.

Record My Mind is posted by Boon in Singapore, who is a Jazz guitar freak, in addition to a Philosophy & Political Science major. This guy finds some of the best Youtube guitar videos ranging from traditional Jazz masters to Prog-Fusion and all points in between.

Korean Guitars is a recent addition who promotes the exploding guitar scene in S. Korea these days. He focuses on builders and players from that area. It's good to have a "Seoul Brother" in the guitar zone.

We also have various British and Canadian guitar blog partners led by 6 year veteran guitar blogger G.L. Wilson of GUITARZ. Please forgive me for not listing all you guys here. If I've left out any non-USA/English province blogs, please comment!

Guitar blogging is an international sport to be sure!
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Strat vs Les Paul War Wages On in Gaming Sector

As Guitar Hero & Rock Band battle it out for gaming gear supremacy, the classic Strat vs Les Paul feud sparks on in the midst of it all.

Some things never change...

What's next-- a PRS controller?

Whether or not you're into this stuff, the current scene provides a bit of comedy. Both and feature captivating copy.

Excerpt from TGR regarding a Rock Band for PS3 issue:

"...However, Activision’s refusal to allow Harmonix’s Stratocaster controllers touched off a cold war of peripheral compatibility that is just now being resolved. Thankfully, now PS3 owners who prefer the Les Paul will be able to utilize that particular plastic instrument for all their pretend-rock needs..."

Now that's some funny stuff!!!

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Tubes T-Shirt for Guitar Players

If you're looking for real tubes, check out the Stratoblogster Tube & Amp Parts Directory.

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Tone or Confusion? Line-6 Spider Valve!

Line 6 Spider Valve

The Line-6 Spider Valve, powered by a Bogner tube section, has got to be the best of all worlds but...

So after reading the recent PG review I headed over to my local GC to test drive the 112 Combo.

Here's my problem(s). I've been on the effects free wagon for over a year now-- really happy with my '66 black face Vibrolux- plus- I'm currently demoing a 7 watt/3 knob chassis from the good folks at Trillium. And to make matters worse, I just discover that prog-fusion shred master, Mattias Eklundh uses NO effects, which is a humiliating kick in the crotch.

What's God trying to tell me this week?

But anyway, back to GC... As soon as I plug in to the Spider Valve, of course I'm tweakin' massive delay on top of a Leslie setting with lots of overdrive. If you're gonna fall off the wagon folks, why not do it big time?! Did I buy the Spider Valve? No... Not yet.

But if YOU mainly play covers in clubs, the Line 6 Spider Valve 112 combo is ideal. The street price of $699 is $200 less than the comparably sized/powered Fender Deluxe Reverb, plus, all the effects you'll ever need are built in, with the exception of a wah pedal.

On the other hand, if you gravitate toward standard retro Blues or Country, and/or are simply trying to find your natural tonal center, Zen connection, you might wanna leave this one alone and go for something like the Deluxe.

Either way, you're on your own until somebody starts an AA type group for Gear Aquisition Syndrome victims, at which time we'll all have a buddy to call when these situations arise. Just imagine the G.A.S. Anon booth sitting in some lonely corner at NAMM.

Any volunteers? I didn't think so.

Shop & compare:

American Musical Supply
Woodwind & Brasswind


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Mattias IA Eklundh - Strat-o-Brother Beyond

Although the world seems too saturated at this point for a new stand-out guitar hero, Sweden's Mattias IA Eklundh would serve well in that capacity. Voted Best New Talent in GP's 2007 Readers' Poll, Eklundh is hardly new, having several albums with his power trio Freak Kitchen along with more than ample solo material to his credit.

Capable of serious prog fusion prowess, Eklundh also keeps things light and zany with a surplus of imagination, humor, MELODY and diverse influences. Plus, he sings and is fun to listen to. Fans of Keneally, Helmerich & Hoey will love Mattias Eklundh, but unlike the aformentioned, Eklundh keeps things concise, tight and can toss in more power pop hooks than your favorite Jellyfish tune, albeit with a severe metal edge. Zappa would hire this guy without batting an eye. I'd love to see Freak Kitchen open for Zappa Plays Zappa, or Eklundh do a G3 with Satch & Vai. Only problem is, "who wants to follow this guy?".

But it even get's wilder folks, unlike a G3 type gearhead, Eklundh isn't a G.A.S.-type guitarist. Check the following quote from his Favored Nations bio:

"...I'm from Sweden and I do everything backwards. I'm left handed and I use no effects whatsoever. The guitar itself contains so many sounds you can use..."

To be honest, I've only recently discovered this musician. I'd seen the name and photos around, but avoided him as another dark Euro-shredder. Thanks to Dave at Sans Direction blog, I took a serious listen. Dave's pretty eclectic but actually leans more towards American Roots and Country, so ya just hafta go figure.

Regular readers of blogs like: Truth in Shredding & The Guitar Channel are probably way savvy to Mattias Eklundh. I should keep up better!


Strat-0-Brothers Directory
Mattias Eklundh's guitars are made by Caparison who build his custom "Apple Horn" model.

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Ever Write Lyrics? Check Out Fleshmap Project

Neatorama recently featured a post about, a site which breaks down by genre, the body parts mentioned most in song lyrics. Notice that Hip Hop is missing from the above image, but don't be disappointed cuz the complete one is revealed at the website. If you guess "booty", you'll be right, but that's only the top item.

What kind of lyric writer are you?

Imagine a category just for Neil Peart lyrics:

Any questions?

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A Strat for Friday BEST OF - #17 Rothstein Black Burst S

Sorry to be a slacker this week. But please check out this "Best Of" feature from Friday Strat # 17.

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Stratocaster News This Week

Not much blogging this week as I've been away with family stuff.

This week's top Strat news item alerts include the following:

Burnt Hendrix Strat from London Astoria performance was finally auctioned off at $497,557.00 (equiv. to 280K pounds) to Danny Boucher, an American guitar broker. Yeah, there are guitar dealers, guitar collectors-- and guitar brokers. Wouldn't ya like to be a broker too?! Click Here for the full Boston Herald scoop.

Fender busy with 3 Harley Davidson tribute Strats commemorating HD's recent 105th birthday and celebrating the opening of Harley's museum in Milwaukee. Click Here for scoop from news. Before you double-take on the fact that all HD Strats have been made by Custom Shop luthier Scott Buehl, be aware that HD's Buell crotch rocket line is spelled differently.

Fender also releasing a Kenny Wayne Shepherd '61 Strat, according to press release references via Music Radar & I don't see anything at yet but stay tuned there too. Surprisingly, the new KWS Strat is NOT a Relic'd instrument. Reportedly available in black, white or burst-- they are clean, unaged and even sport a nifty racing stripe.

I only wish Joe Bonamassa was a Fender guy instead of with Gibson... In a perfect world I guess.

There ya have it folks.

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