My names Kevin and I don't have a problem

ESBlondeESBlonde Posts: 980Member
edited December 2019 in Personal Diaries
My names Kevin and I don't have a problem.

My Guitar history goes back to about 1971 when as an eleven year old I was asked what I wanted for my Birthday. I hadn’t a clue but later I watched TV and a band called New World came on and played guitars.
That was it, I’d have a guitar. Well it was in the days of few cheap student guitars of quality so I ended up with a Hohner acoustic which was shyte, only I didn’t know any better. Traditional cheese grater action and poor construction. The front sank as the neck pulled up and then the bridge popped off. But I loved it and persevered none the less. At school our woodwork teacher gave informal lessons one lunchtime a week,( Paul Constantine I owe you more that I could ever tell you at the time). A school classmate had a Top 20 electric guitar and a valve radiogram converted to an amplifier, He never played it as a spoilt little rich kid but was kind enough to loan it long term to me.
I eventually saved up enough to buy my own ‘electric’ guitar from Woolworths. After a year I bought an amp from them too. Here is an identical guitar to mine when new

I modded the guitar putting one of the single coils in the middle and adding two cheat humbuckers and taking out the trem spring.
Here it is with our first proper gig at sound check.

Next I got offered proper gigs when I started work because I had transport, so I needed a real guitar and in 1978 the best I could finds was the Aria PE1000 so I bought one.

And I needed a proper amp, the rhythm guitarist was older and had several amps so he sold me his (then) 10 year old Marshall 50w plexi head.
I still have both of these and gig them all the time.
After a couple of years I needed a commercial tone (it was 1981) I needed a strat, So I hunted for the one that suited and bought this.

A hardtail 1976 CBS era 3 bolt microtilt that weighs a ton. But the neck was comfortable and the previous owner had added a DiMarzio in the bridge position. It was chipped a little even then and I hated the colour but it suited me to play. I still have this guitar and with a 5 way switch added it is otherwise original. I set it up with a fret level, neck set and nut jobbie to play like butter. This guitar is still with me and has probably done more playing time than the Aria over the decades. Here are some pics.

Anyway during the late 80s early 90s the band were doing some Go West and such like so I needed a whammy equipped guitar to be Alan Murphy and I bought an Aria Wildcat in black. I can’t find pics of mine but one of these.
Nice enough but It didn’t last more than about 3 years.
I wanted acoustic on stage and didn’t fancy a bowl back so got one of these.
Washburn SBT21 in white
It played easy enough and little to worry about in the feedback stakes, alright for strum along in a band context.
But I decided to go for a real looking acoustic and sold the Washburn to a folk singer !!! and bought this.

It’s an Epiphone PR350s (passive) electro acoustic which for the time sounded OK unplugged and pretty good into the PA too. Decent headstock shape and a solid top.
Then I settled down had kids and got married so the guitars remained PE1000, 76 Strat and Epi. I also gave up bands for about a year when the youngest was in gestation etc. Then I got a call to join an 8 piece soul band who only planned gigging one or twice a month, Think Commitment/Blues Bros etc.
Well I joined them for the next 18 years (phew) a bit more regular work once we got going, but 4 and 5 part harmonies, 2 girl vocalists and a horn section driven by an Ex Army Sgt Maj drummer was bloody great If I say so myself. Line up changed over the years so that in the end just bass and myself were original lineup. By this time I was happily singled again. I lost my singing voice (bummer) and consoled myself with a brand new 2006 Gibson ES335 TDN

Took a while to bond and I had Martyn Booth run his hands over it once it was about a year old and nicely settled.
Final purchase was A like Ashe telecaster, Always wanted a Tele and these were highly rated.

I’m not over struck on the modern neck/frets so it will go on the block one day when a used 52 Reissue Blackguard comes my way.
Amp wise the Marshall Plexi has always been my gigging amp, most of the last 25 years through a pair of JBL 12s.

Non standard name plate and one changed valve holder but otherwise original right down to the vinyl cover. So reliable over the decades (not withstanding valve changes as required).
I bought a marshall AVT20 combo for house use in the 90s and later added a Tiny Terror for a year or so.
I got rid of the Tiny Terror a couple of years ago and bought a fender Hot Rod Deluxe because I found out the potential value of the Marshall and decided that wouldn’t go to some jams/pub gigs any more.
So I’ve been bandless now for just over a year and as I approach 55 I don’t find that daunting for the first time in my life. This week I am again doing 7 nights solid in the theatre orchestra pit playing for a panto which is great fun and discipline. I do the odd dep gig and I’m happy with my gear, I have bought wisely or been lucky andmost of my stuff is keeper. Like I said the Tele will be traded up to a Vintage 52 Reissue at some stage but otherwise I’m all gassed out (famous last words).



I'll stick this on the end, last gig of the soul band Aug 2011


  • HobbioHobbio Posts: 21Member
    That's some post mate! Welcome to the diary section lol.

    I'll have a proper read after a meeting I'm just about to go into, and I'll check the vid links at home later smile
  • HobbioHobbio Posts: 21Member
    Very good read mate, my Mrs wants me in the band loft next year for the panto she MD's. I'm not sure I have the desire to play in public though, but maybe that'll have changed by later on in the year.
  • Jon van derlimJon van derlim Posts: 170Member
    Great post
  • LesterLester Posts: 1,730Member, Moderator
    Kevin, that's a brilliant write-up of a musically busy life. Thanks for letting us get to know ESBlonde a bit better. Let's hope that you haven't hung up your gigging shoes for good.
  • ESBlondeESBlonde Posts: 980Member
    Just Completed a week of Panto. Used The marshall plexi into the JBLs on quite mode crazy. Pedal board but used selectively, and the 335 interspersed with the strat for a few numbers. Severn days of work plus the evenings makes a middle aged guy very tired so I took thursday morning off for a lay in. All done though so soon my head will stop singing those same songs over and over eek

    P.S. Just as a point of interest the panto had a song about Bread and Butter (Yes really, Oh yes it did) and one of the characters in the performance was the former guitarist with Paul Young who played on the hit 'Toast' and was in the video for it too. He still has his 70s Tele but rarely plays it these days. As you were.
  • ESBlondeESBlonde Posts: 980Member
    So Saturday morning I get a call from an old friend/drummer. He has a wedding gig available in 5 weeks time. So I'm introduced on line to a singing bass player, 24 hours later the band is formed and the set agreed with all material via a dropbox. We will meet Wednesday evening (for the first time) to make sure it all works and might meet again the week before the wedding to polish top and tail the numbers.
    Drummer runs a shop and teaches drums there and at a local college. I have donated my fee to him so he can support a couple of budding drummers who are not blessed with loaded parents. I feel privileged to be able to do the wedding and bring on raw talent in my spare time whilst feeling no pressure other than doing a decent job.
    I hope this doesn't come across to sanctimonious. Get out of your bedrooms people and make a difference.
  • MegiMegi Posts: 7,207Member
    It all sounds very efficient re the arrangements for the gig ES, which is obviously good. I have played with bands fairly recently where things are less-good - a rehearsal takes place before gig, but the time is used inefficiently, and that doesn't allow all the pieces to be played to be checked through. So then at the gig there is a certain amount of "playing it by ear" to get through some of the numbers. But I'm still not complaining (much lol grin ) and I agree that getting out there and playing live, and with other musicians is a great thing - it's both exhilarating, and improves us as musicians.
  • JockoJocko Posts: 7,107Member, Moderator
    I played at a works charity gig back in the 90's. We met at work to form a band and decide on what we wanted to play (no instruments), then met up in a local studio the night before the gig to "rehearse". We went through the set once to make a final selection then played right through them all a second time to get a running time. The gig went brilliant.
    Oh. And we have never played together since!!!
  • Mark PMark P Posts: 2,314Member
    Originally Posted By: ESBlonde
    Get out of your bedrooms people and make a difference.

    I'm sure it would make a difference if I did - but maybe not a difference for the good though - probably be as popular a move as when the poll tax got introduced in Scotland. grin
  • martinsmith99martinsmith99 Posts: 390Member
    I've just watched the vid. That's a great version of Love Shack.
  • ESBlondeESBlonde Posts: 980Member
    Interesting event. Last night sitting having my tea and watching the tennis when there is a knock at the door. A old friend (see the drummist in the first group photo above) has dropped in for a chat. We ended up revisiting a couple of the songs I wrote for that band all those years ago. He remembered the format of one better than I did blush

    He still gigs occasionally but is more occupied with his new project in the music business, he make the drumport.

    Gratuitous plug, I don't have any commercial association etc.
  • ESBlondeESBlonde Posts: 980Member

    Well time for a little update.


    I've been without a band for over two years and actually been enjoying my weekends freedom. Still on new years eve I got a call from a couple of mates who had a gig that night and had arranged to leave their gear over to the next day and were arranging a jam for new years day lunchtime.


    So I went along for a giggle and to see some old faces etc. Ended up doing a country rock type of set with some guys. The management liked it so much they offered us a gig and so we discussed it and formed a band there and then. I'd never met the singer before and never worked with the bass or drums although those two were very familiar with one another's playing.


    So we have met at the singers flat and done a couple of acoustic rehearsals/harmony sessions and the first gig is in a couple of weeks time.


    I decided I needed a new guitar for this band so treated myself to a used fender 52 AVRI telecaster.


  • HobbioHobbio Posts: 21Member

    Very nice image


    Funny how things work out sometimes, what with the new band and everything. I bet you're looking forward to getting back into the swing of things.

  • HobbioHobbio Posts: 21Member
    Originally Posted by ESBlonde:
    I’m not over struck on the modern neck/frets so it will go on the block one day when a used 52 Reissue Blackguard comes my way.
    Like I said the Tele will be traded up to a Vintage 52 Reissue at some stage but otherwise I’m all gassed out (famous last words).

    Well, you're definitely a man of your word!

  • Chris_BChris_B Posts: 22Member

    It's fascinating to read your musical story, you've certainly had some fun along the way.


    The Love Shack cover is great.




  • JockoJocko Posts: 7,107Member, Moderator

    How I envy you.  Back playing again.  I'd give my left testicle to be back gigging again.

  • ESBlondeESBlonde Posts: 980Member
    Originally Posted by Hobbio:
    Originally Posted by ESBlonde:
    I’m not over struck on the modern neck/frets so it will go on the block one day when a used 52 Reissue Blackguard comes my way.
    Like I said the Tele will be traded up to a Vintage 52 Reissue at some stage but otherwise I’m all gassed out (famous last words).

    Well, you're definitely a man of your word!



    Ah yes, see I always look at the long game rather than a quick fix, and well spotted.


    Very much enjoying rehearsals such as they are, great bunch of guys and I might even enjoy having my weekends disrupted again. By way of compensation I decided I needed a smaller more portable pedal board, this band will be minimal gear (by my standards ;-) ). So probably two electrics and the acoustic with the Hot Rod Deluxe combo and a simple pedal board. I have bought a Roland RE20 echo (to save lugging my Roland RE501 about) and for the first time a pedal tuner (korg pitchblack). I always used my ears and a hand held tuner in the past so this is a bit different.

    I have bought some of those bicycle chain link bits to attach the pedals to the board ( I hate velcro).


    So I'm thinking my Radial Big Shot switch (keeps both guitars plugged in all the time). Tuner run off the Big shot so bypassed.

    A couple of drive pedals probably the blackstar HTdrive and Arion SOD-1 in soft mode. A danelectro cool cat chorus. The RE20 and leave it at that, maybe a compressor/gate I will see how big that makes it all.


    See I'm getting excited at the prospect of all this, I spent a happy hour or so making 4 Neutrik right angle jack leads to link the pedals the other afternoon. I must stick with my first idea of the KISS principle (Keep It Simple Stupid).



  • Posts: 169Member

    Love Shack!  Awesome song and cover and story!  Thank you for the share!


  • Kevin PeatKevin Peat Posts: 3,232Member

    Some sexy guitars there and B52s is a great choice to play at live events - very well done too.


    (Glad to hear that there's another Kevin around 'without a problem'. What a coincidence !)

  • ESBlondeESBlonde Posts: 980Member

    So I got bored and started looking for something to do, country band singer is busy with other business interests. So I found a band trying to be a function band and an Eagles tribute, but I didn't want to gig every weekend so they chose someone else (might have been my poor guitar playing though). So then I answered an advert on Join my band for a second guitarist in a band formed to do a single charity gig in August. Despite all the people involved being of a certain age and local I had never met/played with any of them. Anyway they are a super bunch of girls and guys, had a session together two weeks ago and having another tonight. 45 minuet set to be performed 24th August (might get one more rehearsal in after tonight). I'm looking forward to playing tonight.

    Next whilst trolling through the J.My B. site I discover a band in the next county trying to find a guitarist for a funk band. So I got in contact and went to meet them. Auspicious start as the studio was without power when I turned up, but we chatter while engineers climbed the pole and connected up the mains. These chaps are getting it back on after a decade or so lay off, the drummer and bass player are indeed old school mates. First girl singer and keys player work in another function band and I'm the stranger. Anyway we get in the studio and blow through some stuff, these guys are good and I have a smile so big my jaw aches. Got the job and despite the hours drive each way to rehearse i look forward to it, last Sunday we added a second girl singer who although very young has done a winter tour in the middle east and teaches singing to kids on a Saturday. Added to this they all seem like nice people and are very generous with their efforts for the band. In a month or so we will record a demo of short track selections so I'll try and remember to post it up here.


    It seems I can't leave it alone.


  • Reg SoxReg Sox Posts: 3,121Member

    Sounds like some great activity going on there.  Any chance the charity gig band will turn into something more permanent?


    I have to say though, 45 minuets is one hell of a lot of dancing - your audience will be dead on their feet.


    I'll get me coat.......


    Cheers, Reg.

  • ESBlondeESBlonde Posts: 980Member

    Reg, minuets are light on the feet don't you know! I don't expect or particularly want the charidee band to develop really although as ever contacts are really useful and they are really fun people to be with. With the Country Rock outfit up and running (well staggering) and lots of things fermenting with the funk band (recording session booked for Sept now) I have enough on my plate just now. I even had a text from an old sax playing friend offering a second guitarist job this morning because they can't find a keys player. Had to say no but would Dep if they got in a squeeze.

    To think I had abandoned bands and gigging because I wasn't inspired by the idea after so long. Looking like that was just a jaded phase I went through.

  • ESBlondeESBlonde Posts: 980Member

    Just some snaps of my Country Rock bands first gig setup on 1st March.


    Amp and Guitars


    Whole stage (we travel light).


    My minimalist pedal board. Input switch for the two guitars, tuner, overdrive, chorus, echo and power supply.

  • MegiMegi Posts: 7,207Member

    Interesting to see those pics, cheers ES! How were you splitting duties between those 2 guitars on the stand? i.e. what sound requirements did each one cover? image

  • ESBlondeESBlonde Posts: 980Member

    The 52AVRI tele does the twang and some of the roar for the country stuff and the ES335 gives the tone and extra frets for things like Eddie Rabbit  'Rainy nights' and the Eagles 'Take it easy' and we do David Gates 'Make it with you' which it is ideal for.

    I'm afraid minimalist pedalboard has reverted to major real estate with trem, flange, comp, exciter, plus two more overdrives on it, I know I'm a gear slut.


  • Reg SoxReg Sox Posts: 3,121Member

    Hey, do you get docked a fiver in pay every time you step over the ockey to stomp on a pedal?

  • JockoJocko Posts: 7,107Member, Moderator

    Looking at that amp sets my tinnitus ringing.

  • Derek_RDerek_R Posts: 1,721Member

    Sounds like an interesting journey, ESB. Can't beat a bit of country rock :-)   It's a tough balance trying to find the right amount of gigs - as you discovered some bands want to be out every week and others might only play once a year. Sounds like you've got it nailed!

  • ESBlondeESBlonde Posts: 980Member

    Reg, if they docked me fiver I'd soon owe them (Ha Ha), actually they were a nice relaxed crowd and none of that Bingo malarkey.


    Jocko, just because it goes to '11' doesn't mean you have to use it. In the real world the volume is on about 2½ (both channels linked) and I jiggle the guitar volumes, that's more than loud enough for most venues and I would prefer to mic up after that if it wasn't. Still quite loud enough though.

  • JockoJocko Posts: 7,107Member, Moderator

    I wasn't decrying your choice of amp.  It was just gear like that, back in the day. (mostly cranked up to 11) that I blame for my tinnitus now.

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