Posts Tagged ‘guitar’

Guitar alterations

June 2, 2020

Blackmore Newcastle 1980.jpg

This photo has been floating about on the web for some time, but thanks to Mike Richards we can locate this to Newcastle City Hall on the 1980 Down To Earth tour. This is mainly because he spotted a mate in the balcony in the pic he went to school with! It was taken by another friend, Andrew Sokell, so he says it’ll be nice to see the picture properly credited at last (Andrew did him a print as a souvenir).  Rainbow were in such demand by this time that they played two nights at the City Hall, on Feb 19 / 20. fronted by Graham Bonnet (we think this is where the story about Graham getting his hair cut to annoy Ritchie happened, details in his biography!).  Anyhow, it will bring back many memories of Ritchie’s often precarious end of show antics as he debates whether to trash yet another balcony (I think we’ve posted one of Simon’s photos of Liverpool Empire getting similarly knocked about in the past. We have, here it is). Interesting to note the PA speakers have been strapped together in anticipation. Our thanks to Mike for the loan of the pic.

Signed off…

May 26, 2020

I assume we’re not the only ones to have used some of the current lockdown to do a bit of tidying.  Simon tells us he found three dust masks in his shed while he was having a good sort out over Easter, the first time he’s been able to tackle this for over a year, so a bonus for our times indeed.  However Steve D. wrote in to describe something a tad more interesting he found while he was giving his home studio a good fettling the other day…  and here’s the photo he sent!

Deep Purple signed guitar.jpeg

We had to ask him to explain how this all came about.

“This guitar has a good story behind it. On January 17th 2006 Deep Purple played the Astoria in London on the Rapture of The Deep tour (this was the first night of the tour and the band trailed a few new songs. Ed). I queued up at the door for 12 hours to get to the front. In the afternoon Roger Glover turned up to soundcheck, but no sign of the other band members at this point. I left my spot at the front of the queue (being minded by a friend) and asked Roger if he would sign my guitar if I fetched it from my hotel – he said fine, but couldn’t say whether the other band members would do the same.

In actual fact I had no guitar in my hotel! Instead I hot footed over to the nearby world famous Denmark Street and found a guitar shop in which I duly purchased the above guitar. I then ran back to the Astoria and thrust it into Roger’s hands and he signed it. A short while later a silver minibus with blacked out windows arrived and went around the back of the Astoria. It was Deep Purple’s and so I managed to get Ian Gillan and Ian Paice to sign the guitar. Up to this point I did not see Don Airey or Steve Morse, but now knew I had a mission to complete! However they did not appear at all (or maybe they did do the soundcheck but somehow sneaked passed me). 

Eventually we got in to the gig and I managed to get right in the centre in front of Ian Gillan for the show (and get my face on a bit of footage which later made that “Highway Star a Journey in Rock” Ian Gillan DVD released later).

During the show I held onto the guitar all the time and then at the end of the show I made my way into the foyer where a security guard was ushering everyone out. When she approached me I just said we were waiting to see the band as guests of Don Airey (I was improvising!). She said “OK hang on” – and made a radio call. A few minutes later a lady came downstairs and approached me and asked who had invited me, I said Don Airey. She told me to follow her and took me upstairs and into a bar which was full of people drinking and hanging around – including Deep Purple. Don Airey’s brother was there, Doogie White too and a few other familiar faces. I spent sometime chatting with all members of the band and finally got Don and Steve to sign the guitar. I remember Ian Gillan’s wife kept asking him to leave because they had to go shopping in the morning!  All the band were very gracious as we know they are. Sadly The Astoria is no more as we know, but some great memories. 

The story doesn’t end there as you can see from the photograph.  Steve managed to get it signed two years later at a convention by the band’s other two bass players Nic Simper and Glenn Hughes. While I was queuing Glenn announced “Stand back everyone – this guys a policeman,” to my high embarrassment – I had met him several times before (I am since retired).

I later attached two plectrums that were caught at gigs later on. I don’t play this guitar as I have others and don’t want to damage the signatures!”

Great story Steve, and that would look really good hanging on a wall. We recommend keeping it out of daylight as the felt pen might not be as lightfast as “permanent” marker always claims to be!  Let us know if you have any other nice souvenirs. We will not include your full name for obvious reasons, though in this case as Steve is a retired copper he probably knows all the dodges.

Highway Star at 16 rpm

August 29, 2014

It’s all rubbish, all you need to play the solo are these two fingers…

Mention of the Learn The Highway Star Solo in Two Years book (see below)  prompted John Tucker to send in this quote from another aspiring guitarist trying to get to grips with the solo, which comes from Brian Tatler’s autobiography (the guitarist of influential NWOBHM band Diamond Head – Dave is his older brother):

 “I would borrow Dave’s Linear Concord 30 watt amp and plug it into a three watt Cellestion speaker that I rescued from an old gramophone. I soldered a jack plug onto it, not having a clue about ohms or impedance, so the speaker would distort horribly, but I liked it. At fifteen I took up the guitar seriously and became obsessed with it. It took me about six months to master the basics, pestering Dave to show me how to play things I didn’t know. I would play every night after school and at weekends, Dave reckoning now that I would sometimes practice six hours a day. I really wanted to be able to play the guitar solo in Deep Purple’s ‘Highway Star’, but I had no idea what Ritchie Blackmore was up to. I would be upstairs in my own little world, slowing the records down in order to learn the licks. The record player had a 16, 33⅓, and 45 rpm turntable speeds so I could put an album on at 16rpm and it would be approximately an octave lower and half the speed. We also owned a reel-to-reel tape recorder so I could tape a solo at 16rpm then listen to it over and over again on the tape recorder, stopping and learning a little piece at a time. It did, however, take me years to realise that the ‘Highway Star’ solo was in fact double-tracked, and so was impossible to play with one guitar anyway!”