INTERVIEW: Thomas V Jones of TV Jones, Inc

TV Jones, Inc was formed 1993 by guitarist and luthier Thomas V. Jones in Whittier, California. Now based out of Poulsbo, Washington, the company is known for their brilliant recreations of classic Gretsch Filter’Tron pickups in the form of the TV Classic, as well as more modern variations on the theme, like the TV Classic Plus, Magna’Tron, Power’Tron, Power’Tron Plus (developed with Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top) and Super’Tron. They do plenty more too: for the full range check out TVjones.com

How di

d you get started? Did you follow the classic ‘accidentally destroy a lot of cheap guitars as a kid’ route, or more traditional luthiery?

As a kid I took my guitars apart out of curiosity. Later on I did many repairs and even attempted to build a double neck electric guitar (6 string and mandolin). Around 1990 I decided to become more serious about guitar repair and construction, so I got a job at a violin shop called The World of Strings in Long Beach, California. I worked in the guitar department for almost three years, and learned to repair and construct stringed instruments based on orchestral instruments. So I got started as a luthier.

What is it about the FilterTron tone that is so magic for you?

The growl, clarity in the bass, and compression –– it is magical.

I imagine you must have disassembled, analysed and reassembled quite a few vintage pickups over the years – what have you learned from this process? Was there as much variation between FilterTrons as there was between classic-era PAFs?

I learned that it’s not just the coils, or coils that make a great pickup, but the combination of superior materials that make a great pickup. Most vintage pickups were made with high quality materials –– that’s all there was. We choose to have our components and materials made in the USA –– the birthplace of the electric guitar pickup.

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INTERVIEW: Cold Chisel’s Ian Moss

Cold Chisel are one of a kind. Their music is equally likely to appeal to the guitar nerd down the street as it is to the guy who fixes the hole in the roof, the lady who makes your coffee, your doctor. Yet somehow the band never seemed to make it big outside of Australia. Maybe it was just a case of wrong time, wrong place. But perhaps the democratisation of music will open new doors for the reformed band. Perhaps new album No Plans will be their big chance to show the rest of the world what they’re capable of: soul and blues-tinged rock with the powerful vocals of Jimmy Barnes [geo-out country=”Australia” note=””]- you might know him from the band Living Loud with Steve Morse, Bob Daisley and Lee Kerslake – [/geo-out]and the brilliant guitar work of Ian Moss. Produced by Kevin Shirley, No Plans must be a difficult album for the band. It’s their first in 14 years, and the first without drummer Steve Prestwich, who died in January 2011. One of his compositions, “I Got Things To Do,” is on the album, along with some new tracks played on the band’s record-breaking Light the Nitro tour of 2011. “In late 2009 the five of us made plans to record together again and do a tour,” As Barnes says. “After lots of twists and turns that’s exactly what we’ve ended up doing but due to Steve’s passing those plans changed a lot along the way. The last two years have reminded all of us that sometimes life deals up things you don’t expect. You can’t take anything or anyone for granted. Sometimes it’s best to have no plans.”

I Heart Guitar: No Plans is a pretty diverse album. It goes through a lot of different moods. Was that the plan? 

Ian Moss: I guess it’s hard to be objective. I was kind of hoping it’d seem like more of a unified record, so it’s interesting to hear that there are lots of different styles. I guess over and above, we were trying to achieve raw power.

Well the title track, which starts the album, definitely does that. It kicks off very strongly.

Yeah! The distinctive tones of Barnes. The first thing you hear is Barnes. And hopefully that edge. Because there were really no overdubs. We went for it. We’re all in it together here and we played til  we got it right. That gave it a bit of oomph.

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NEWS: New book on Paul Bigsby

Let me preface this by saying Twitter is such a great way of disseminating information. I’ve seen this one tweeted and retweeted by several users in the past day or so. CLICK HERE for the Shadrick Guitar Blog’s article about guitarists on Twitter.

So, on to the news. The Story Of Paul Bigsby – Father Of The Modern Electric Guitar is a new book about one of the coolest, most daring guitar designers ever. No, I’m not talking about Young Einstein. As a Bigsby vibrato fan I’ve simply got to get my hands on this book. When I do I’ll post a review.

The Story of Paul Bigsby
Father of the Modern Electric Solidbody Guitar
Written by Andy Babiuk – Available February 2009

“The history of the solidbody electric guitar has been documented many times, and important early innovators include George Beauchamp, Adolph Rickenbacker, Doc Kauffman, Lloyd Loar, and Paul Tutmarc. It’s widely accepted that Les Paul and Leo Fender were responsible for sparking the electric guitar revolution and making invaluable contributions. However, their work might not have been possible without the man who had designed and built the first modern solidbody electric guitar.”

“That man was Paul Adelbert Bigsby. He made the first modern solidbody electric for musician Merle Travis, completing the instrument in May 1948. Nothing like it had been seen before. Every electric guitarist today should be grateful that Paul Bisgby did what he did back then. He changed the look and sound of the guitar forever.”

This untold story of Paul Bigsby is documented for the first time and will also tell how Bigsby, using his engineering mind and problem-solving skills, designed and developed a revolutinary guitar vibrato that is still considered by many as the best type ever built-the Bigsby True Vibrato.

Book features include:
Deluxe, well-illustrated coffee table book with over 300 color and black-and-white photos
Many unpublished photos of over 50 actual Bigsby instrument photos
An audio CD of Paul Bigsby himself, recorded in the late 1950s, telling stories about his business

A special, deluxe collector’s edition features a black leather cover and clamshell slipcase.
Pre-Order your Collector’s Edition now at Gretschgear.com!
(Ships in February 2009)

NAMM 2009: Taylor T3


Last year I reviewed one of those awesome new Taylor solidbody guitars for Mixdown magazine. Its Gretsch-inspired pickups sounded so great that they prompted me to order the similarly-voice Dimarzio EJ Custom pickups for my custom Ibanez project (which I still haven’t finished, boo). Anyway, my point, even though it’s taking me a while to get to it, is that Taylor’s electric guitars are amazing.

Press release time.

Following the success of the T5 and SolidBody models, and born from a love of innovative design and classic electric tone, Taylor Guitars is expanding its electric line with the company’s first purely electric semi-hollowbody guitar, the T3.

Melding the sleek lines and shape of the T5 into a semi-hollowbody, the T3 features an expertly crafted body of sapele, topped with quilted maple. A svelte neck of tropical American mahogany sports heftier fret wire for a truly electric feel, while brilliant chrome hardware adorns the T3 for a ready-to-rock look that screams electric, vintage and cool.

While the T3 offers plenty for any player on its own, the designers at Taylor decided to take the new line up a notch in a variation, the T3B. Marking a first for the company, the T3B includes an authentic Bigsby Vibrato (model B70). The T3B incorporates a roller bridge for high performance, allowing the player the independence in setting the intonation of each string and eliminating the “dragging string” sound so commonly found in fixed bridges. The standard T3 model comes with a stop tailpiece.

“This is one rockin’ guitar that produces sounds our SolidBodys and T5s don’t have. When you do something that looks good, that’s one thing, but when cool sounds start coming out, you go, ‘Man, that’s just it.’ We knew this guitar was too good to hold back,” shares David Hosler, lead designer.

The new model includes Taylor’s Style 2 humbuckers which are specially positioned to capture the T3’s fidelity and range of tones. A three-way switch covers three standard configurations of pickup switching and as an added twist, coil splitting is available for both humbuckers by pulling up on the volume knob.

“The way I describe it is, imagine you have a guitar with two humbuckers and a three-way, and you have a guitar with two single coils and a three-way, which gives you that really cool, ‘bitey’ sound,” adds Hosler.

The control knobs, located in the traditional electric position below the bridge on the lower bout, function as push-pull pots. Pulling up on the volume knob activates a coil splitter, which turns the humbuckers into single coils. The tone knob is also a pull switch, which when pulled engages a second capacitor.

Hosler explains, “In the down position, one capacitor punches up the mid tones. Then when you pull the knob up, it adds another capacitor on top of it and uncorks a warm, fat, mellow old-school jazz tone. In between these two voices, this guitar spans the spectrum from traditional, hard rock to jazzy fusion. Even when overdriven, the air, articulation and distinction of all notes are there.”

The T3 is available in a high gloss finish to highlight the naturally lustrous color of the quilted maple or in a variety of sunburst colors. Strung with Elixir light gauge electric strings with NANOWEB® coating (” target=”_blank” ref=”nofollow”>), the T3 comes ready to gig in a hard shell Taylor case.

The T3 and T3B will be available domestically in mid-February and internationally in early spring 2009.