Sunday, 1 July 2018

Bulls Head Bob July 2018 - Bob's Dirty Weekend. Drum Corner..D J Fontana. Bulls Head Bob Out of Tune? Gibson GForce Tuning System.

Hello Brummies,

Sizzle sizzle, burn burn so to quote Stevie Wonder its as Hot as July.
It appears we have left the "Balls off a brass monkey", beast from the east,
winter and arrived in the middle of the Kalahari with soaring temperatures that makes our normal sickly white skin crisp up a treat.

Sales of Calamine lotion, to soothe the excesses of overdoing it in the sun, have gone through the roof.  It will probably become known as the Great Calamine Rush of 2018.  Me and Mrs Bob are not going to be caught out though so with one eye on the purse strings and being a bit canny, we make the journey to Weston-Super-Mare for the weekend, where you can liberally cover yourself in the free mud of the beach....I ask you, Who wouldn't want to be there?  

I've always found it strange that its mostly Brummies there and no overseas visitors but if it keeps the Belgians away it can only be a good thing.  If the EU people had got a whiff of "Le Mud" they'd defo want to tax it and then use it as a leverage point in Brexit Negotiations....Les Tosseurs.

I mean not only does it prevent sunburn but has an original aroma that will certainly make you the centre of curiosity and attention.  We even take some mud back to Brum as a gift for our close friends Nogger and Lucy, they use it as a salad dressing.  In the picture Mrs Bob can be seen in her element wallowing away and I'm on hand pushing her in a bit deeper whilst she stuffs some extra mud in her pockets for later on in the hotel, it really adds something to the concept of a dirty weekend?

I am not too proud to admit that once in a while I make a mistake....
and this is it:

Dear me,  I had so much hope and faith that this would work for me and I tested it thoroughly when I first bought my 2015 Double Cut, a couple of years ago when it arrived at my house, special courier.   The guitar is fab, I have no issues at all with that, its a pleasure to play and I love it's no nonsense approach.  When I first got it I thought the tuning system was fine and it is, if you are in your living room noodling about, thinking to yourself as I did "Wow this is great, what a time saver, press a button, strum once and your guitar will put itself into concert pitch tuning.  Couldn't be easier.

There must be something in the electronics though that says to itself "Just you wait till you get on stage!!".   In fact, I found that, in my case, the moment you leave the confines of your living room it becomes a wild child and does "what the fuck it wants to".   I always take 2 or 3 guitars to practise to refine the tones of one or the other and I kid you not, when I take this guitar it gives the band an immense amount of pleasure to see me struggle when, for no sane reason at all during the advertised  "Strum Once and play" my B string de-tunes a couple of octaves.  It's not only the B string but it does have a liking for this tonal area.  I used it on stage once and it was a nightmare because not only did I get the random de-tuning episode but also, I found out that if you haven't got a mini lighting system on the back of your guitar, you can't see the push buttons to operate the thing!!  

My eyesight is shit without my glasses so I felt like Mister Magoo holding the headstock two inches from my nose so I could see what to push as it went into "Random mode".
The others in the band were all looking over at me and I could see their shoulders moving up and down with internal laughter as my Joe Cool image melted through the floor and I turned into Napoleon Dynamite, in the end I gave up and put it back in the case...some members of the audience clapped with relief as my machine heads whirled around hither and thither doing nothing constructive.
I think they were those who too, had bought a guitar with this system and felt sorry for me.

selector buttons on right.
It's said the beauty of this system is that you can use the setting to change tunings between conventional and Drop D for instance with the push of a button and back again.   I haven't made any journeys into other tunings because I have no need of this function with rock and roll guitar, so it intrigues me why it should want to whizz my B string up and down like a whores drawers? but I guessed it was because no-one really likes 'B' do they?

Blog mate, Tony Russell bought the same Gibson as I and like me, likes it apart from the tuning system.   

I shall be removing it when I have saved up enough to buy some decent and appropriate manual tuners.  It has occurred to me to use it on one of my acoustics where it wont be subject to lots of string bending which I imagine is a contributor to the frailty of this system or I might sell it on but whatever choice I make I know that I wont be buying another of these.   I was dead wrong in my initial assessment.
With a tear in either eye we say farewell to the great D J Fontana, drummer for Elvis Presley at the beginning of all this rock and stuff.

This groovy picture says a lot about how music was recorded and a lot about what you did with a limited supply of played it well.
Fontana was invited to join The Blue Moon Boys which was Elvis, Scotty Moore and Bill Black and when Elvis took off, this band played on all the early hits eventually winding up in 1958 with Moore and Black leaving over their salary. However, Fontana continued to work with Elvis for another 15 years in some shape or form.  

Some of the sharp eyed will notice that, in this picture Elvis is holding a "singers support rail" it must have been some ancient recording device 
designed to keep his swivelling hips in check.
He is also a long way back from the Microphone, so he must have been really giving it some.

D J Fontana IS an iconic drummer and he fuelled the dreams of up and coming drummers of my generation.  The reason for his success was his simplicity and his syncopation he had formulated as the resident drummer for the American show 'Hayride' and to quote DJ "It was so simple and effective no-one could mess with it" and he was right.  Ringo Starr who obviously would have listened and copied the Elvis songs and therefore, the drumming style of Fontana's on classics such as Heartbreak Hotel and Jailhouse Rock famously became the chosen drummer for The Beatles for that very same reason.   He did a lot with a little and made it count.

I listened to some early Elvis records whilst doing this and it whisked me back to the front room of our house as a sproglet in Brum gathered around the record player and jiving and then again years later around the record player learning those same songs on guitar and playing them in the sixties.  As soon as the music started my head started bobbing along to DJ Fontanas snare drum so simple, so effective, no effects apart from some filters or compression or shit like that just real music that would have sounded the same when it was live..... hauntingly beautiful in a rock sense.  It kind of reminded me that he along with those other early pioneers standing behind Elvis were too, my biggest influences on music style without really knowing it.

DJ has left the planet but will always be in our musical memories.  The beat goes on.

A tit-bit to cheer you up.  Morrisey has cancelled his July tour of the UK!  I can't believe my luck.   A sad day for wimpy men though who want to be "miserable now".

I'm not being suckered in to all the world cup mania malarkey.  I've still got a wardrobe full of England kits we bought for all the other world cups we didn't do well in.   However, it would appear that my physique has altered in shape a tad since then so instead of actually wearing it, I tie it onto the dog.

Holiday times are upon us so try not to get too stressed with all these traffic and travel restrictions involved in getting to your destination.  Because once you arrive you can get your feet up, become a wine expert on your Bodega visit, eat as many all day breakfasts as you like and forget your worries for a short while.

"I can smell the sea"

Tara a bit,

Copyright:  Bulls head bob


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