Tuesday, 1 October 2019

Bulls Head Bob Oct 2019. Being a guitar hero on the Cheap. Fender Squier Classic Vibe Telecaster. Harley Benton.

Hello Brummies, mates, Guitarists, music lovers, my Japanese loft-boy, ex girlfriends (well some of them).

  Well welcome to this months dollop of Brummie custard with a touch of tart rhubarb.   Isn't it great to be alive, what stories people will be telling in the years to come about this BREXIT stuff that we have been living through for the past 3 years.  The end of the month was listed as "shit or bust" but is now cancelled through lack of enthusiasm.   Watching all those clowns in Parliament is like The Mad Hatters Tea Party all shouting at the same time, Boris the Bluffer, head bullshitter in Chief,  Bercow - Celebrity wannabee and bully boy who is
paid to shout "LOUDER THAN ANYBODY ELSE", 

and no guessing who the sleepy mouse is, Jeremy Al Khoorbin, has changed his whole dialogue, only a couple of weeks back everything he said was terminated by the phrase "We demand an Election" which he doesn't want now to "Under me everything is going to be free, the NHS, prescriptions, unemployment pay to rise, free this, more that, free housing for the world.  
Till all the money has gone.   Mind you he said that about Free University last time then denied saying it at all.  I know two things, none of them are acting in our interest or wishes and none of em gives a shit.  I'm not sure if, like the Author CS Lewis, they have all been taking LSD for dessert at the heavily subsidised house restaurant menu but they're all acting like it.

So the big thing for us musos Brexit-wise is that, if we buy anything from Europe it will now be more expensive without any form of deal.  Thomann, the super, mega music European store, is German so maybe you should buy yourself something you may be watching on their site whilst you can.   I did that thing this month to be a step ahead.  More later.

I have always been a fan of shopping about for cheaper instruments and kit and one the recommendations I made in 2008 was to buy the Fender Squire Telecaster Classic Vibe for 200 quid.   It is one of the models rated to be better than Fender equivalent, I don't know about today's models of the Classic vibe as being in the same category as the first run but can say that after changing the cheap electrics, it is still a great guitar with a brilliant neck that I use frequently.  Today the price for this guitar is 350 pounds and about the same in Europe, 385 at Thomann. I was given the tip on this guitar from blog reader Tony Russell and was happy to share it with the BHB readers so thanks Tony.

The whole trick about buying and using, good, cheap guitars is NOT to be obsessed about the name on the headstock if they sound good and fill a requirement   It is certainly not necessary to pay high hundreds or thousands of pounds for a guitar if you are not planning to be a Guitar Hero, however you can become a guitar hero playing a cheap, brilliant sounding and playing guitar and this fits that bill perfectly, no-one has laughed at me whilst I play it but they are amazed by its playability.   I am not a guitar hero, I play at good venues, I own Gibsons and a Fender Strat but choose to play the Tele at times for the joy of it and have never been tempted to remove the Squier decal.  A great guitar.

Just last week, from Thomann, I bought another guitar, a the type of guitar that I have wanted to own for some time but never had a sufficient amount of cash to throw at something I would play rarely on stage or not at all and if so, only for a couple of songs. 
I wanted the brand image but wasn't too worried about the logo and I wanted a Rickenbacker 12 string to satisfy my lust to play George Harrison riffs and Byrds songs or selected other numbers that fitted this iconic electric 12 string. I am not a fan of the large bodied 330/12 variety but the 620/12 would fit my bill, however, the 620/12 is 2000 pounds or more and that is the problem.  

Because of the massive cost I was tempted to go the Aliexpress chinese guitar copying sites to buy one but knew that I would be going against all my principles on this thorny issue.   I am now pleased to say, it is now a problem solved for me.
The guitar I bought from Thomann is this:

    It is the Harley Benton C612C 12 string semi acoustic electric guitar.  It is similar in shape and image of the Rickenbacker and features a nice tear drop scratch plate.  Although it has an "in line" tuner set up and, therefore, a larger headstock than its famous counterpart it doesn't detract from the overall aesthetic.   I had seen a video of a guy previewing the guitar and importantly testing the centre of balance point and it wasn't a "neck Diver" which can oft be the problem of larger headstock.  It comes in three colours, the normal Rickenbacker red sunburst, a Paisley finish with a black scratch plate and plain black with white binding which is my preference and is a real "looker" in my opinion.   It has a solid piece of wood through the body with acoustic wings. It has two pickups with independent controls and 3 way selector switch.  Jack socket on the side of the guitar.  It doesn't have the Rick "chime" as such but it certainly has the electric sound, nice and warm from the neck pickup.

It's in the post as I write.

It costs 220 pounds!!!!!!

I have no misgivings or illusions that what I have bought is a cheap guitar and there will probably a couple of cosmetic issues with it, I have had cosmetic issues with a Gibson too so will certainly not be expecting to get anything other than what I've paid for.  It is made in China but I haven't had to go through the internet to get it, Harley Benton is Thomanns own brand. so at least there is some level of their own standards and expectations for their brand guitars.   

There are always tuning issues with 12 strings but as I only intend to use it for recording or maybe even include some tunes in the set where it is likely to be OK for 2 or 3 songs and if it does start "going south" I luckily have someone who will run it through a tuner.    I have actually bought this for my Christmas present without telling Mrs Bob, as such Im not going to open it till Christmas a risk worth taking I think?

I'm so happy about this right now, if there are issues that are worth pointing out I shall certainly do so after Christmas.  Could be a good Xmas gift for someone else too!!  

So with the two models above you could have two guitars for 500 quid that are playable and stylish, why spend more when you dont have to?  Now then, Pete Townsend used 12 strings on loads of Who tracks....yummy.  I can't wait.

THE MOVE 12 String Hits.
On a Brumbeat note, a Fender 12 string electric guitar featured quite a lot in The Move's show and their records "Night of Fear""Fire Brigade" and "Blackberry Way" particularly rang with the sound of the electric 12 string. 

The Move also featured a couple of Byrds songs in their show which the 12 string came out again "Rock and Roll Star" and they normally finished their set with "8 Miles High", amid the TV smashing and Pyrotechnic explosions.   

Off to Harry Potter world with the Bobettes this weekend, it will be magic!! 

Take Care out there you guys.

Love Bob

Copyright: Bullsheadbob
Contact:  Bobsbullocks@gmail.com

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