DANDELION of Huddersfield, tucked away in the heart of swinging Kirklees, have literally been invaded by musical personalities over the last month. Billy Fury drove up in a big limousine and sent a couple of the band in to collect some slave amplifiers for their local gigs. Jeanney Denver of Yorkshire Rose album fame, and a major hit at Wembley, is recording locally at Look Studios. She called in to see Dixie for a Traynor P.A. set-up and some additional Peavey stage gear.
Mother Superior, a local all-girl band called in to sample Dixie's wares, and we are told that they went away satisfied.
Bill Clarke of Box studios, who formed Arkwright and recorded them for Jonathan King's UK records, stopped in to see about some equipment and Driftin, a band produced by Clarke, were in to see Dixie for a Gretsch kit.
John Verity of Argent, Jenny Hahn of Babe Ruth and Bill Nelson of Be-Bop De Luxe were all in the shop during the last month.
Showband pedal steel guitars are selling very well and bands in and interested in them lately include Santa Fe Connection, Ralph and The Rednecks, and Muttonchop.
New lines now on sale include Rickenbacker twin-neck guitars, Gauss speakers, Harmony Opus guitars, and the latest Marshall solid-state guitar amps.
STEPHEN DELFT and Partners, London SE1 are perhaps one of the most unusual retailing concerns in the country. The atmosphere at the Cable Street shop is quite informal and one can discuss problems or requirements literally across the wood shavings on the bench of expert guitar maker Stephen Delft.
Discerning professional musicians are not perturbed by informality and considering the list of talented professionals (such as Paul Simon, David Johnson from The Elton John Band, Mike Silver, Mike Moran, Kiki Dee and bands like Safron) who have used Stephen's services one way or another they seem to enjoy the set-up. Stephen specialises in fretted instruments and amplification systems and does not handle large percussion set-ups and brass instruments generally speaking. Custom built acoustic or solid guitars can be built to order or even a medieval lute if required. Repairs to instruments and electrical equipment are also carried out. Quality microphones by Beyer and Calrec and amplification by Davoli and H/H are in stock. Interesting hand drums from Turkey and Morocco compliment the percussion range.
New acoustic guitars stocked at the top end are Guild, John Levoi steel string jumbos, Ramirez classics and at the lower end Landoia from Finland and Saez from Spain, recommended to young students of the guitar, in the solids Dan Armstrong, Guild and Dan Brown high quality custom built guitars are available from stock and at the lower price bracket Gherson guitars are recommended.
One of the principal features of the shop is the tremendous choice of fretted instruments. Bouzoukis, mandolins, mandolas from Sicily, mando-cellor and folk lutes from East Germany, Bandurrias from Spain, English Vihurias and violas-da-Gamba are just some of the exotic instruments you can examine. A fine range of antique guitars, Victorian classics, pre-war American and European acoustics, and 1950 period American electrics are also in stock.
FARMERS of Luton are equipped to handle anything that local bands and musicians might require. The first floor showroom is packed out with instruments and amplification from brass and woodwind instruments to leading brands of amplification, percussion, Fender and Gibson guitars and keyboards. The keyboard section is in an annex on the same floor, but conveniently away from the amplification.
The talented team at Farmers is led by John McCann, a musician with seven years of experience working in the London music scene. John is ably assisted by Tony Sprinks the drum man and Steve Watkins, a specialist in guitars. Together their professional experience is a great help to local bands and musicians who are mostly amateur.
FENDER SOUNDHOUSE, London W1 has been the centre of great activity over the last month. The Soundhouse normally stays open until 9 o'clock every night of the week including Saturday, but due to the recent demand for equipment inspired by the Budget they have been staying open until 11 o'clock each night. A couple of great keyboard clinics were held recently in the Soundhouse theatre; The Gordon Beck trio demonstrated the Fender Rhodes range and Alan Townshend did a synthesiser clinic.
Among many of the celebrities coming into the store recently were Bad Company, Roy Wood, and The Shadows — who required some custom work on their Fender guitars.
Amongst the lines doing exceptionally well at the moment is the Fender fretless bass with the maple on rosewood neck.
A special area on the first floor has been set out for the big P.A. systems and a big increase in keyboard sales seems to be the result of the new keyboard display area on the same floor.
EDDIE MOORS of Bournemouth, must be one of the most specialised music stores in the whole country with a truly incredible range of orchestral instruments as well as a large selection of guitars, amplification, drum kits and keyboard instruments always in stock. Mr. Eddie Moor mentioned to us that they see principal players such as Ray Carpenter, Frank Holsworth and other leading musicians in the shop weekly due to the tremendous range of handmade quality instruments that they have available. Many of these fine instruments can take as long as a year to obtain due to the skills and hand craftsmanship required to make them. At least four hundred brass instruments and a minimum of five hundred woodwind instruments including the most celebrated Mura Matzu flutes, Puckner bassoons and Alexander French Horns are in stock now. Eddie is also building up a large selection of the finest quality string instruments.
Group equipment is stocked in depth and one can choose from over one hundred and fifty Fender Gibson and copy guitars. On the amplification side they tend to specialise mainly in H/H, Fender and Traynor equipment.
Melondians, accordions and studio 49 percussion instruments are well represented.
The first floor showrooms is set out for keyboard instruments in a very big way with grand pianos made by Ebach and Shiedmayer imported directly by Eddie Moor from Germany, organs, portable, electric pianos, down to synthesisers by ARP and Mini-Koorg.
ORANGE MUSIC SHOP stands in the heart of London's West End, and shop manager John Bates reckons that they are the busiest shop in the area. Both a Fender Soundhouse and a Gibson Star Dealer, Orange also carry a broad range of amplifiers which includes Orange and Acoustic, drums from the Orange and Ludwig stables, and keyboards which include Hammond, Fender Rhodes and Wurlitzer.
Orange specialise in professional service for a professional clientele, and recent customers include David Essex, Paul Kossoff, John Miles, Pilot and Geordie. The principal attraction in the shop now is the Orange Twin Reverb 100 watt amp.
The skilled personnel at Orange know what they're talking about, and their services include guitar repairs and on the spot repairs of amps. There are three engineers on the premises. With over £60,000 of instruments and equipment in stock and a well stocked secondhand section as well (the Orange pitch is really two shops, one new and one secondhand), Orange still reckon that they offer the best deals and the biggest discounts in the West End.
We've heard that Managing Director Cliff Cooper's lovely receptionist Jenny Murd sold a £3,000 P.A. set-up while helping out during her lunch hour.
Further good news includes the new Vako Orchestrator which is now on demonstration. This is a sensational keyboard effects unit that operates with photo-electric discs and is being used by a number of bands at the moment, Yes among them.
RHODES MUSIC of Denmark Street, London, carry a truly astonishing range of instruments and equipment, ranging from a Hammond organ at £1,400 to a 14p Kazoo, and Veronica Waters, the shop manager, is perhaps the only female music manager in Britain.
Rhodes stock a wide range of Fender, Gibson, Martin, and Gretsch guitars, as well as an ample supply of CSL copies — in fact, if you want a copy not in stock, Rhodes will get it for you. Their amps include Carlsbro and Custom, although their fine Orange range of equipment attracts most of the attention from their customers, who seem to be split evenly between professional and semi-professional musicians.
Mixers, from the small and portable to the large and quadrophonic studio models are also on display. Organs from Hammond and a wide range of portable keyboards, as well as a fair selection of drums are also on display.
TEMPO, West Ealing, London, W13, must be one of the most deceptive music shops in the business; although the frontage is small they pack a very big punch when it comes to carrying a tremendous stock of amplification and guitars.
This is a Fender Soundhouse with a difference with over three hundred Fender Guitars in stock, and more than one hundred Gibson and copy guitars to choose from. On the amplification side customers can try out Fender, Hi-Watt, H/H, Custom, Simms-Watts and WEM equipment. Tempo are H/H main dealers and Cliff Lake informed us that they have over one hundred H/H amplifiers in stock. With this sort of selection it is not surprising that bands like Sweet and Queen were in recently. All the Altec Lansing range of equipment is also on show.
Drum kits are offered at keen prices which include a good guarantee although there is little room to display them due to specialisation in amplification and guitars. A wide range of keyboard instruments with the emphasis on portables such as Fender Rhodes, Wurlitzer Crumar and Hohner Clavinets are in stock together with many effects units and accessories.
Custom-built hand-made guitars, either acoustic or solid, can be supplied and an extra special line in the Peter Cook range of custom-built twin-neck guitars.
CLAUDE VENET of Watford is a specialist extraordinaire, and in more ways than one! On the big band P.A. set-ups there are few shops north of London which can boast such a tremendous selection of mixers, graphic equalisers, amplifiers and speakers. A laboratory of test equipment and a good staff make this a unique modern music centre.
Claude also carries a good range of instruments and amps with a special emphasis on the Musique Industrie range of imported amplification.
John Verity of Argent bought two M.I. phase reverb combination amplifiers recently and an M.I. Minix practice amp. Rod Argent and Dave Hill of Slade also bought Minim amps which are pretty fantastic little amps selling for about £48.
The latest great idea in new lines is a range of speaker cabinets designs, 4x12, 2x15, and 2x12, which can be sold to musicians without the speaker drive units. The musician can then fit them to his own speaker with old or new to suit his own requirements.
YARDLEYS of Birmingham specialise in such a wide range of musical equipment that it is not really surprising to find personalities and bands from Budgie, Black Sabbath, Raymond Froggatt, to Johnny Woods, lead tenor in the Sid Lawrence Orchestra, or Jean Marie Londeix of the London Saxophone Quartet coming into the shops.
Yardleys have been in the music business a long time and are well known and respected due to the work of their managing director Charlie Hewitt who retired this year at the end of April. His position will be filled by Harry Collins who has been with the company several years and who is well known to musicians in the Midlands area. We would like to wish Charlie a long, healthy and happy retirement.
The woodwind and brass section at Yardleys is one of the largest in the Midlands and many principal players are listed as customers.
Guitars, amplifiers and drum kits are stocked in depth as well as a good selection of classical guitars. Readers wishing to discuss guitars should ask for Dave Bridge or Cliff Bennett.
Over 20 different drum kits including secondhand kits are on display in their drum showrooms around the corner from the main shop. Yardleys find that the trend locally is for the Rogers kits.
An after sales service and instrument repair service on all their equipment is provided.