Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Billy talks about one of the first S.P. guitars

Billy talks about one of the first S.P. guitars

I bought this guitar around 1989 or 1990 because I needed a spare for playing live, and wanted an almost identical sound to go with my main one at the time which was an early 70's Strat (yellow that I hand painted). THAT guitar was the featured guitar on Gish and was probably my favourite guitar ever. It was stolen in 1992 out the back door of St. Andrews Hall in Detroit and has never resurfaced. I would still pay good $ to get that guitar back, no questions asked. So THIS guitar is the last remnant of that period of my life, and I really cherish it. It was painted ala Eric Clapton's cream era guitar by my friend crazy Nick. As you can see it's taken a bit of a beating back from a time when I used to throw my guitars around like candy. The history of this guitar is its a 1978 'bullet' Strat with the flat pickups (as opposed to the staggered pole pieces). I preferred these pickups at that time because it allowed for maximum gain by running the pickups up really close to the strings. This guitar does have some recording history of note, as it was the guitar I would use for solos as it seemed to just have more cut than the main one. So all the solos on Gish were done with this guitar. It has a vicious attack as you can hear on songs like 'Tristessa', 'I Am One', 'Rhinocerous', and 'Siva'. I'm fixing this guitar up now and I hope to use it again soon. I've started using more old-school amplification, like my 1969 Marshall Super Tremolo head (currently ailing) so guitars with this kind of cut are what I'm looking for. It makes me laugh that I'm sort of back to where I started when it comes to gain and attack. I see the BC Dimarzio pickups as more the modern application of gain, and the older type pickups as a more vintage approach to the use of gain.


Scroph said...

great story ! thanks to you KB and Billy to bring it to us !

hope we will soon hear this amazing sound again !!!

Menrad said...

It always a pleasure to read those updates ! Thanks again !

MelRoberts said...

What a coincidence, I'm listening to Gish right now, haha! That's really cool man, thanks for posting guys =]

As someone who writes about music, it's always cool to learn about how different guitars and other equipment have different ways of getting notes across, I think I'm learning a lot just from stuff like this =]


Jombles said...

What a classic guitar! It would be interesting to hear a mix or blend of your modern and vintage gains. Cant wait to hear more!

Rose Moon said...

wow, that guitar looks amazing. I hope it returns home one day!
The colors are amazing on it.
Great story

Allison Claire said...

Very cool, love to hear these fun stories! :)

Nobodie Everknew said...

I LOVE reading these "tech" type updates. Thank you.

Jamie said...

Would be cool if Fender created a repolica of it maybe as your next signature? ;)

Anonymous said...

This is one of my favorite posts so far. Very cool to see and hear the story of this special axe. It is nice to see Billy using some of the old tech to create new sounds. Can't wait to hear the new music and maybe see this legendary guitar out on the road in a live setting again.

Fuzz said...

This strat looks amazing!

Thanks for sharing this!

Anonymous said...

It's nice to read! Thank you, Kerry and Billy! :)
I guess, story about equipments stimulates boy fans, story about dolls stimulate girl fans? Yes, I am a boy fan!

Is this that stolen yellow guitar?

Madseason said...

Thanks, cool history story! hope that stolen guitar surfaces for you someday.

MonteLDS said...

So Billy is now blogging on the site. i like!

cjp said...

Interesting to hear the history of the songs and what guitar was used. Wondering if you might also enlighten us with info about your effects units too from that era?

Thanks and keep creating!

Myopia2020 said...

Great story, Billy! I love the psychedelic paint job. Does this guitar have a pet 'name'?

Keith Stenson said...

Such a beautiful guitar, I always loved clapton's SG. Love the post, keep them coming!

dmaietta said...

Thanks Billy and Kerry! This blog is great to have...

I just had a thought, and I apologize if this is a bad place to post it. I was thinking about how I am digging the "studio beard" and then realized that if Billy isn't shaving his face, why would he be shaving his head? Which is probably why all studio photos (at least lately) have billy with some sort of head gear on (hoods, beanies, caps, etc)

I can't be the only one who'd be curious to see some photos with a scruffy side-hair Billy :)

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

can you amend the post with a photo
of the mighty yellow gish-era guitar?
It would be epic to recover this for these
sessions, and the world is smaller than ever

chris said...

Figures your guitar was stolen from St. Andrews Hall, I'm from the Detroit area and have been to St. Andrews many times. I swear I didnt take it. I would have been 10 years old at the time. :) If I find the punk that took it, I would get it back to ya...for no money.. You already have done enough with your inspiring music. Thanks


EasternMind said...

To Kerry and/or Billy,

I was wondering what you used to paint your guitar? Is that nail polish? I'm thinking of painting one of mine, and I really like that glossy finish!

Really cool blog! It's really nice to see Billy posting something here as well. I had no idea as to what kind of gear you used back in the day.

I really hope someone returns your original guitar! Such a bummer...

Anonymous said...

Billy, have you never had any trouble with stability regarding the 3 bolt system on the seventies strats? Mine is crazy-bendy in all the wrong ways!

Brock said...

Thanks for posting this! I have a similar attachment to my blue Mexi-strat that I've had around for over ten years. It glimmers and shimmers, even after the abuse I've subjected it to :)

joaopedro7 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jon Hobbes said...

Neat. Seeing the old and new equipment and recent photos makes the recording process enjoyable for a fan. We used to wait and wait, and that was fine -- but now we're connected to it a little more, we have a relation. People used to relate to a DJ, for finding the good stuff and playing it; or to a club for booking the right acts, and that stuff would tie you to the artists you learned about and to the places where you first heard it. Those things, sadly, have seen better days ... but this, I think, is a better alternative. Now we have a relation to the music - rather than only the music having a relation to our lives, which I'm sure will still remain. Thanks.

Unknown said...

These kinds of updates are awesome! Thanks for your time!

gty said...

Gish is my favorite... so these news make me super excited!! To see that guitar in action one day would be a dream come true to say the least!! Sounds like recording is going well.

much love,

themadcaplaughs said...

Awesome guitar...was that the one you can see Billy playing on "Slunk" on Vieuphoria? Anyway, those solos on Gish are so badass,I cannot wait to hear what's in store for teargarden.

DavidZwan said...

For me that guitar is definitely the "Slunk" guitar Live In Japan as viewed on the Vieuphoria DVD...the gain is indeed amazing...and the look..perfect!!!...Can't wait to see you back in Montreal Mr. Corgan..had the night of my life back in 2007 at Osheaga festival..(I came only to se you an Jimmy)..and the way Superchrist sounded as the closing song...and seeing people leaves all mixed up..That night was a Free rockin night- a rock show is about freedom of the soul and I was on my ass too..!!..Inspiring...utterly inspiring....cheers mate..

PistolPete said...

I think this is the guitar in action, but I'm not sure.


Unknown said...

Guys, obviously the red flowery strat isn't the one that was stolen. He's playing it in studio! Hello??

Secondly, note that he says that he would run the pickups as high as possible to the strings, but in the photo the middle pickup is actually flat to the pickguard? I seem to remember reading somewhere that Billy would do that so he could use the humbucking positions to kill noise and still get mainly the same sounds as the outside single coil positions without the usual quackiness from those positions.

Davin said...

you tell 'em, brendo.

Unknown said...

I'm really happy to hear Billy's going back to using vintage equipment as I think the high end fuzziness which so much defined the SP sound for me was kind of lacking in the last record (due to the use of more modern-voiced amps like the Diezel).

Those older Marshalls just have nice creamy sound to them that I was missing.

leroy said...

I have a 76, flatpole, 3 bolt neck strat... and it screams like death melting neon lights over truckstop brothel...you can have it if you want.

Unknown said...

Leigh: I'll take it! You paying shipping to Australia?

Unknown said...

It shows Billy had something right back in the Gish days. Very right. Not that the rest of the catalog is wrong... haha

I LOVE Tristessa <3

ps. DiMarzio I've heard is a shitty company (from someone who visited the factory), and it's dissapointing to see BC working with them. Duncan is much better.

rayson_detre said...

thanks very much for posting.

Tiago said...

I don't think people really get the picture of how it hurts to have a guitar stollen. My deepest feelings for your lost my friend. Just bear in mind it is in "guitar heaven" now alongside so many others where distorsion is free and the cables are never too short.
Don't worry, one day you will find (her?) again.
Big Up!
Tiago from São Paulo

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Ramble start: I played GISH to my kids last night (age 1, and 3), trying to explain the age of the music and its relevance to today. It’s interesting to observe the reaction, which is pretty basic, generally based on tempo or volume vs. their movement… and of course they where into it…(pretty hard to put them to sleep after:) where am I going with this….? The smashing pumpkins was the first band that I was into that I grew up with…before that I was (like most of genX) I was into Zeppelin, Hendrix, Sabbath, doors, beatles etc… there is something to be said about living in your bands era seeing them live and waiting for their new work/ideas to surface. This blog is incredible in that, we see almost day to day the progress, the details, the mechanics of why? How lucky are we? How do you offer gratitude for something like this? Thanks? Ramble complete: bye.

Unknown said...

Sometimes I wonder if Billy ever got this guitar back if it would be as amazing as he remembers it being. Strats are some of my favorite guitars personally, but it happens very often that you remember somethig sounding better than it does to you later on after you've developed more as a musician.

theburningdisc said...

I wonder when we're going to hear the first song.

Dave said...

can't wait for any news or updates. i check this blog at least every other day :)

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