2 Shades of Grey

Songs from the soundtrack of your life

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A fine pair of retro Squiers

I’ve slimmed down my guitar collection massively but still have a couple of Fender Squiers.

The first, the 1957 re-issue Stratocaster which I bought in 1985, is what I call my Buddy Holly guitar. It’s in sunburst and had a 3-way pickup sector switch (soon upgraded to a 5-way). It was assembled in japan with US pickups and has a lovely sound.

The second is the last of my Telecasters (Korean-made telecaster and Telecaster thin-line have gone to appreciative new owners). It’s a Cabronita vintage telecaster with a Bigsby. It has one tele pickup at the  bridge and a Gretsch-type pickup at the neck. This is a bad boy.


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Black and White Gretsch Guitars

The ad said “pick up a penguin” so I did, based on a great review in a guitar magazine. A Gretsch Penguin Rancher Parlour electro-acoustic guitar.

It has the triangular Rancher sound hole, a finish like the White Falcon, and a Fishman Isys pickup (probably why it sounds so good going through my Fishman acoustic amplifier)..

And a lovely thing it is. I feel like it’s come from Las Vegas with all the gold glitter

This goes alongside my black Gretsch Electromatic G5122 model. I bought this a few years ago in a kind of homage to my early heroes Duane Eddy and Eddie Cochran, not forgetting George Harrison. My friend bought the same model in orange.

A fine pair of very playable guitars I think you’d agree.

Music City Guitars!

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This post hits all the right spots. Gretsch guitars, Chet Atkins, and cake!

Camellia's Cottage

We’ve travelled a good bit in the last few months- in the Spring we flew Northeast to New York City, always a feast for the senses-to spend time with our friends, the Jacobs family was a real treat of the very best kind! Then we went way down as far as you can go- to our own beloved Orange Beach, right here in Alabama- white sugar sands and ate Alabama Seafood! Then Southwest to Santa Fe New Mexico, for a family vacation- a feast for thesoul! Then to the Chet Atkins Appreciation Society in Music City- Nashville Tennessee, with so many musicians- was just icing on the cake! I shared some of the sights and sounds with you-truly thought I was done with personal travel blogging for awhile… then I found a sugary marvel on Twitter- made by Southern Girl Desserts @dessertdivas! It was like a sign… I knew I needed to share…

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Ukelele sales on the up in the UK

DSC00640Sales of ukeleles increased by 1,200 per cent on Amazon last year.

The Music Industries Association (MIA) in the UK said that combined online and retail sales had doubled in Britain to about 250,000 a year over the past 5 years and in America The National Association of Music Merchants reported a 54% jump in sales in 2013.

They’re still not as popular as guitars of which 800,000 are sold each year but it’s not a bad number!

A spokesman for the MIA put it down to the Mumford effect (despite the fact they don’t play ukeleles) and schools seeing it as a cost-effective alternative to recorders.

The report in the Times says that “with four strings the ukelele’s tuning and chord shapes are different from a guitar’s“. That might be true but they are not that different.

A standard ukelele tuning is (from the bottom) g, C, E, A (small g indicates it’s tuned an octave up).

The top fours strings of a guitar are tuned (from the bottom) D, G, B, E. If you compare the tunings you can see that the ukelele has the same intervals i.e. gaps between the notes, as the guitar but 5 notes apart from the guitar notes i.e. g to D, C to G, E to B, and A to E.

What this means is that if you know some chord shapes for the guitar you know chord shapes for the ukelele, they just have different names. 

Playing a simple guitar type G chord by placing a finger on the 3rd fret of the top E string of the ukelele gives you the chord of C (G, C, E, G). Playing a D guitar chord shape on the top three strings of the ukelele gives you the chord of G (G, D, G, B). And so on.

Anyway, end of lesson. Ukeleles are fun to play and as I posted this time last year they are played by many well-known guitarists as well as the famous Ukelele Orchestra of Great Britain.


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Guitars Galore

Mike the Psych's Blog

P1010126 at the Pendle Guitar Festival at the ACE centre in Nelson, Lancashire.

P1010089Among a wonderful array of instruments I spotted this unusual Duesenberg Double Cat guitar.

Its art deco logo tops off a guitar which seems to be made up from a range of other guitar features.

The cat’s eye f-hole is a bit like a Rickenbacker but even more like a Gretsch I have with that shape of f-hole.

The fact there is only one is reminiscent of a Telecaster Thinline and the vibrato arm looks decidedly Bigsby-ish.  For all that it’s a lovely-looking guitar with a nice price tag (around £1,400).

P1010092Talking of Bigsby there was a nice display of guitars fitted with a Bigsby or similar.


John, another exhibitor, had a great collection of guitars from the sixties (bottom photos).

These included not only some lovely Telecasters but some Hofner Clubs, budget guitars probably most famous…

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