Where did your passion for guitar come from? When did this whole guitar obsession start for you? Who turned you on? What made you stop and say, “I gotta do that”? More importantly, where did you get your first guitar?
Where did your passion for guitar come
from? When did this whole guitar obsession
start for you? Who turned you on? What
made you stop and say, “I gotta do that”?
More importantly, where did you get your
I’ll go first. About a year before I was born, my mom bought my dad a cheap classical guitar. Although the folk boom was well over by this time, it still resonated in the Midwest. The plan was for my dad to take some lessons, learn from some books, and then sing stuff like “Kumbaya” and “Cockles and Mussels.”
My dad, a jazz cat, was way too cool for any of that. So the guitar sat untouched in the closet for the next 10 years or so. Enter a young me, bored and looking for something to do. At the ripe age of 10, I was a massive rock ’n’ roll fan, had been listening to the Beatles since diapers, and knew enough to prefer Sun-era Elvis over the Vegas years. So there was this guitar in the closet. I looked at the guitar, and then at a Beatles photo. Guitar, Elvis photo. Guitar, Rolling Stones pic.
I slowly pieced it together: “If I play that thing, I could be like them.” No further discussion was needed. I started strumming that nylonstring for all it was worth. I didn’t know that chords were involved, so I just strummed open strings and sang. The old strings snapped and, because I didn’t know you could buy new ones, the guitar sat for a while.
I picked guitar back up again within a couple years, and then the real passion began. My first electric was a Memphis. Then I traded some sports gear for a red Hondo II. After that, I got a sweet ’60s Silvertone hollowbody with three DeArmond pickups and a Bigsby. For my 18th birthday, my dad got me a yellow, late-’70s Stratocaster.
Left: Eric Dahl, right, and his father jamming together.
Right: Eric Dahl’s father’s original ’59 Fender Precision bass and matching Bassman combo.
Photos courtesy of Eric Dahl
I have a gear buddy named Eric Dahl who works for the WB network in Las Vegas. The story of how Eric came into music is one of my favorites. Like mine, it began with his father.
Eric’s dad grew up in Peoria, Illinois. He was introduced to music at a young age when his parents bought a brand new Hammond B-3 in 1952 and the entire family took lessons. He lettered in trombone throughout junior high and high school. After heading to college at the University of Arkansas, Eric’s dad was drawn to the blues and rock. One night in the summer of 1959, back in Peoria on break, Eric’s dad was heading home after his shift at the slaughterhouse. He made a detour and took all his earnings—$325—and bought a brand-new Fender Precision bass and a matching ’59 Bassman amplifier.
“My Grandpa Dahl thought dad was crazy for spending that much money,” says Eric. “But after I showed him how much the gear was worth in 1996, he was pretty impressed.”
Eric’s dad took his bass and amp to college with him and started playing in a popular R&B band called the Knights. “He used to tell me stories about playing two and three gigs in a night, just driving from party to party,” says Eric. The guitarist in the Knights, Harvey Hockersmith (aka “Mouse”), was a nephew to Charlie Rich. “So, whenever Charlie would get mad and fire his entire band, dad’s band would get the call to back him up at fairs and other gigs,” laughs Eric. In 1960, Bo Diddley came to town. He had blown up his amplifier at the gig before, so he used Eric’s dad’s ’59 Bassman to play the concert.
After seeing so much gear around the house, it was only natural that Eric took to music as well. He started lessons at the age of 5. There were frequent jam sessions with dad down in the basement and with several bands over the years. Eric’s dad changed amps a few times, but he never changed basses.
That original ’59 Precision fit him like glove and had his sound. Eric’s dad passed away in February of 1984, but Eric still has great memories of making music with him.
“I’m thrilled that I still have these musical artifacts in the family,” says Eric. “My plan is to pass them on to my daughter one day, along with the pictures of dad and me jamming together. Dad gave me the gift of music and I don’t think I can ever repay him for that.”
Guitar: Pass It On
Some of us get into guitar on our own. Others have it passed on to us. But all of us have the chance to pass the love and joy of being involved in the world of guitar on to someone else.
Wallace Marx Jr.
Wallace Marx Jr. is the author of Gibson Amplifiers, 1933– 2008: 75 Years of the Gold Tone. He is a lifelong musician and has worked in all corners of the music industry. He is currently working on a history of the Valco Company. He is a children’s tour guide at the Museum of Making Music, a struggling surfer, and he once hung out with Joe Strummer.
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This full-amp-stack-in-a-box pedal brings a new flavor to the Guitar Legend Tone Series of pedals, Missing Link Audio’s flagship product line.
Adding to the company’s line of premium-quality effects pedals, Missing Link Audio has unleashed the new AC/Overdrive pedal. This full-amp-stack-in-a-box pedal – the only Angus & Malcom all-in-one stompbox on the market – brings a new flavor to the Guitar Legend Tone Series of pedals, Missing Link Audio’s flagship product line.
The AC/OD layout has three knobs to control Volume, Gain and Tone. That user-friendly format is perfect for quickly getting your ideal tone, and it also offers a ton of versatility. MLA’s new AC/OD absolutely nails the Angus tone from the days of “High Voltage” to "Back in Black”. You can also easily dial inMalcom with the turn of a knob. The pedal covers a broad range of sonic terrain, from boost to hot overdrive to complete tube-like saturation. The pedal is designed to leave on all the time and is very touch responsive. You can get everything from fat rhythm tones to a perfect lead tone just by using your guitar’s volume knob and your right-hand attack.
- Three knobs to control Volume, Gain and Tone
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- True bypass on/off switch
- 9-volt DC input
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MLA Pedals AC/OD - Music & Demo by A. Barrero
Sporting custom artwork etched onto the covers, the Railhammer Billy Corgan Z-One Humcutters are designed to offer a fat midrange and a smooth top end.
Billy Corgan was looking for something for heavier Smashing Pumpkins songs, so Joe Naylor designed the Railhammer Billy Corgan Z-One pickup. Sporting custom artwork etched onto the covers, the Railhammer Billy Corgan Z-One Humcutters have a fat midrange and a smooth top end. This pickup combines the drive and sustain of a humbucker with the percussive attack and string clarity of a P90. Get beefy P90 tone plus amp-pummeling output with the Railhammer Billy Corgan Z-One.
Patented Railhammer Pickups take passive guitar pickups to a new level with rails under the wound strings lead to tighter lows, and poles under the plain strings offer fatter heights. With increased clarity, the passive pickup’s tone is never sterile.
Railhammer Billy Corgan Signature Z-One Pickup Demo
For more information, please visit railhammer.com.
Designed for utmost comfort and performance, the Vertigo Ultra Bass is Mono’s answer to those who seek the ultimate gigging experience.
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