Wayne Guitars – formerly Charvel, now it is Wayne’s World!

These guitars are made by Wayne Charvel, who has had a long and successful history of working for many guitar builders, including the very successful Charvel guitar company. These days he’s selling his guitars direct, and has quite an impressive roster of endorsees and customers. Most of the designs are too pointy for me, but I do like this One of a Kind Exotic Rock Legend.
There’s also an interesting series of videos which show Wayne building a guitar step by step

Wayne Guitars: Handmade in the USA

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Ozone guitars – pickup assemblies

For months and months now I’ve had some pickups that I want to put in my Koreacaster, but haven’t had sufficient time between gigs to take the guitar to a shop to get them installed. Hopefully Steve at The Menders will take a look at the pickups once he has fixed my guitar. I’ve been thinking, for the same amount of time, about the best switching arrangement to have – I saw a DVD of Phil Lesh & Friends with Larry Campbell on guitar and noticed that his strat didn’t have the usual 5 way selector switch – he had 3 mini switches, one for each pickup. Now I think his switches are simply on/off, but I’m hoping to have three coil-tappable pickups on my guitar, so 3 three-position switches (Off/Tapped/Full) seems a logical switching arrangement. This also would allow me to have, for example, the neck and bridge pickup on at the same time – as well as several other options. This pickguard assembly by Dave Schecter of Ozone Guitars takes the switching to the next logical step, with the first switch being the coil tap switch for every pickup, and the other 3 simply being on/off switches. I wonder if Steve at The Menders could work out this wiring arrangement?

Fender Aerodyne Strat

Borrowed guitars
While my guitar is at The Menders, I’ll be using various borrowed guitars for the gigs we have lined up. On Friday I used a Japanese Fender Strat (thanks Alex), which had some kind of wiring mod to enable the bridge pickup to become a humbucker by use of the tone control. It was difficult playing a different guitar, particularly because the action was set so low compared to the way I have mine set. But, being a true professnial, I soldiered on bravely. I have to say that the sound of the strat, however, was great and made me realise that I need to get my pickups sorted out – I currently only use the neck pickup on my Koreacaster due to imbalance issues. In fact, Peter, our bass player, commented on how suited the sound was to my amp and my playing. So maybe after the guitar is fixed, I’ll get the pickups sorted.

Fender Aerodyne Strat
When I first realised that my guitar was damaged, half of me went into “I need a new guitar” mode, commonly known as GAS (Gear Acquisition Syndrome). Now, I’ll never get to see or play most of the guitars that I post about here. As I was idly wandering the internet, thinking about what guitar I might get given a budget of, say £500 (anybody can raise £500, can’t they?) I came across these Fender Aerodyne Strats. And boy, do they look good! They’re made in Japan, have all of the classic strat sounds, but have a look which is slightly different – in a very good way – the body is contoured differently, and the finishes are great – with a nice cream edge-binding too. I really really like the look of these, the black one without a scratchplate looks very classy and the natural/amber with the maple showing through is great too. They are available around the internet for between £430 and £500.

So, is this something to strive towards that might just be achievable? I think so. I don’t, of course, have any money. I ‘m going to need some careful planning and try and save some gig money as well as liquidate various guitar bits I’ve got lying around (nothing too exciting really, but the sale of them would help). Unless any of the retailers who have this in stock want to sponsor me?

Here’s a video of Doug Kinnear putting an Aerodyne Strat through a workout

The Aerodyne Stratocaster guitar is truly a next-generation instrument! Combining classic Fender style with new and innovative designs, it features a carved-radius top with cream-colored binding, a maple neck with a rosewood fingerboard and 22 medium jumbo frets, three Fender direct-mounted single-coil pickups and traditional five-way switching. Unique and beautiful!

Fender Aerodyne™ Stratocaster® specifications:

Model Name
Aerodyne™ Stratocaster®
Model Number
Special Edition Series
(506) Black,
(Polyurethane Finish)
Basswood (Carved Top)
Maple, “C” Shape,
(Polyurethane Finish)
Rosewood, 7.25″ Radius (184mm)
No. of Frets
22 Medium Jumbo Frets
3 Standard Strat® Single-Coil Pickups
Master Volume,
Tone 1. (Neck Pickup),
Tone 2. (Middle Pickup)
Pickup Switching
5-Position Blade:
Position 1. Bridge Pickup
Position 2. Bridge and Middle Pickup
Position 3. Middle Pickup
Position 4. Middle and Neck Pickup
Position 5. Neck Pickup
Vintage Style Synchronized Tremolo
Machine Heads
Fender®/Ping® Vintage Style Tuning Machines
3-Ply Black
Scale Length
25.5″ (648mm)
Width at Nut
Unique Features
Carved Top,
Cream Binding on Top of Body,
Black Plastic Parts,
Dot Position Inlays,
Matching Painted Headstock,
Silver Applique Logo

Guitar troubles

I decided it was high time that my guitar had some new strings – it is actually overdue a change, but I needed to have a big enough gap between gigs for them to settle down. I was going to use the technique shown here, at Record My Mind. So, on Tuesday night, armed with a set of strings, a cleaning cloth and some pliers (for cutting the ends off the strings) I set to removing the old strings. I realised that I needed to remove the rear trem cavity cover to enable me to catch hold of the ball ends of the old strings. This wasn’t a problem, and I was soon slackening the strings. I’d decided to give the guitar a clean, so I removed all of the strings – something I hadn’t done before (I normally replace an old string with a new string, and alternate between top and bottom strings) As soon as I removed the last string, there was a strange noise and the springs from the trem sproinged across the room and flew hither, thither and yon. The Wilkinson trem bridge fell with a clunk on the floor and a choice selection of expletives filled the air. I gathered the springs, the bridge and my thoughts, and then took a look inside the trem cavity. I saw cracks and splits in the wood. More expletives. One of the 2 allen screws that hold the bridge in place was wobbling around. Even more expletives. I tried to restring the guitar but was unable to get the bridge in the right place- it is currently sitting at a bizarre angle, with the treble side about an inch above the body of the guitar. So, PANIC!!

I did a bit of research, and over at Harmony Central there are some reviews of this model of guitar which mention that this issue is common to these guitars. Apparently some wood needs to be chopped out and another piece fitted, in the space between the trem cavity and the humbucking pickup. These reviews also confirmed that my ears weren’t letting me down – I had thought that the intonation was out at the upper reaches of the neck. On Wednesday I went to the Guitar Loft in Durham, to see if they could help. Luckily, they could! Not only was Dave able to give me the phone number of a local repair guy, but he also offered to lend me a guitar for tonight’s gig if I couldn’t get fixed up. Very nice of him!

So at lunchtime today I went to The Menders with my guitar and spent a fascinating hour talking about guitars, amps, pedals, repairs, and gazing longingly at some “silly money” Les Paul guitars – as well as some hand built valve amps. Steve (The Mender) is a really nice guy and is sure he’ll be able to fix my guitar, though he’s going to use some strong mahogany and strong glueing techniques, so it may take some time – 2/3 weeks. In the meantime, tonight I’ll be using a borrowed strat, which I haven’t seen yet. I don’t know (yet) what I’ll be using for the other gigs we have over the next few weeks. And I’m trying really hard not to think about buying a new guitar – especially as I don’t have any money whatsoever to spend.

The best outcome, I guess, would be that my loyal reader decides to sponsor me in the shape of a new guitar. I don’t have a particular preference, though it must be a professional quality instrument. Other than that – just get in touch! (Any custom guitar makers out there who’d like for me to road test one of their latest models on a long term basis – please get in touch!)

Carl Orr and his gig guidelines

I read a review of a Carl Orr album over at Afric Pepperbird, so checked out his website. I’m gonna try and get some of his music, but in the meantime I enjoyed Carl’s guidelines for gigs.

Here’s a few from the list.

3. Keep your eyes and ears open as much as possible; actively listen to the other musicians at all times. This way, you will concentrate less on your weaknesses and play better; it also indicates respect and courtesy to the other musicians.

4. Look around the room at the audience; don’t be afraid of them.

8. Don’t assume that the audience are a bunch of idiots who are not mentally equipped to understand a “great artist” such as yourself. Assume the audience are intelligent, discriminating people (after all, they have come out to hear you, the “great artist”) and both you and the audience will have a great time.

12. If you don’t appear to be relaxed onstage the audience will also lose interest.

20. Don’t try to dazzle the audience with worked out “killer licks”. This is a guaranteed recipe for dull, yawn-inducing soloing. Improvisation is supposed to be new and surprising.

23. Remove your Bluetooth earpiece during musical performances.

24. Do not send text messages when you’re onstage except during bass solos.

25 When performing for royalty, children and senior citizens avoid coarse language unless absolutely necessary.

Walker Special Guitars



Top – Brazilian Rosewood
Back – Mahagony
Neck – Mahagony
Pickups – Lindy Fralin
– 5 Way pickup selector
– Master Tone
w/ push/pull for neck pickup
– Master Volume
– Series/split/parallel mini switches
– Effects loop bypass switch
– Mono output jack
– Effects loop stereo jack
“JangleTone” preamp
by John Cutler and CAE sound

I say:
“Holy sh*t!”

Quilted Maple Guitar

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Ninja Guitar Battle

One of my kids found this – I don’t know where or why, but it made me laugh. I can’t quite work out what the guitars are – maybe a Dean on the left? Update: I’m pretty sure the guitar on the right is a Wolfgang Eddie Van Halen model.


Remember when I posted about these guitars? Well, I found some online, in the UK and they are only £99. That is £98.50 more than I have available to spend on a guitar purchase, of course. But Christmas isn’t too far away, so if my loyal reader feels the urge to reward me for the literally seconds of mild distraction that you may find here, this would do it!

Gretsch Americana “Sweethearts” :: Acoustic Guitars :: Bruce Millers Ltd

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RS Stepside guitars

I’ve never owned a stepside truck, (not even a model of one) though I’d like to have one. I’d like one of these stepside guitars, too! I like both of the guitars shown here – I’ll let you choose which one to buy for me, then it’ll be a lovely surprise!