IT's guide to Britain's premier guitar show!
This year's Barbican Guitar Weekend (November 14th, 15th & 16th) will be the biggest yet. It's your ONLY chance to see nearly all Britain's specialist guitar, pickup and accessory makers in one place, plus many of the major overseas names. ITs Barbican Bonanza previews the line-up.
Offering FREE entry, the Barbican Guitar Weekend runs from Friday Nov. 14th to Sunday 16th. The show opens on Friday from 6.30pm—10.30pm, Saturday 10am—9pm, and Sunday 12 noon to 8.30pm. The Barbican Centre, in London EC2, is easy to reach by public transport and has plenty of on-site car parking. By Underground, go to either Moorgate or Barbican stations and follow the yellow lines which lead you to the Barbican itself.
Classical, acoustic, electric, basses, mandolins — just about every member of the guitar family will be at the Barbican Guitar Weekend. Last year's event took everyone by surprise, in terms of the thousands of musicians who attended and the quality of the instruments and equipment displayed. In fact so many players attended that overcrowding was a major problem; something which won't happen this year as the amount of space has been considerably expanded.
What makes Guitar Weekend unique is that it's the only show where you can see nearly all the major British instrument makers in one place. Even better, you can buy instruments from the stands — your only difficulty is going to be making a choice! Obviously, having all these luthiers present makes Guitar Weekend the perfect place to discuss and plan having a one-off instrument made. And of course some of the major international names in the guitar world will be there too, along with string, pickup, amp and effects producers. There'll be playing demos, spares, repairs and setting up specialists on hand, plus other exhibitors offering services of every imaginable (and unimaginable!) kind. Your IT team will be on hand in the Level 5 Foyer Concourse with a stand groaning under the weight of back issues, binders, IT pens, IT Cat T-Shirts, IT Cat badges - and maybe even the fabulous fearsome feline himself! Guitar Weekend is an event you really shouldn't miss!
(detailed information where provided by exhibitors.)
Conservatory Terrace (Level 9)
One of the UK's longest serving guitar makers. Electrics and basses.
Labtek will be the focus of a lot of attention, as they've just launched Seymour Duncan strings (see this issue's exclusive special offer). Labtek also handle Seymour Duncan pickups, which you'll be able to try on quite a number of the craftsman-made guitars on display elsewhere at the show as well as on Labtek's own stand. Also new from Labtek will be introductions to Arlen Roth's Hotlicks cassette and video teaching tapes, plus Kords instrument and mike leads. Finally, look for a brilliant newcomer — Tek ultralightweight PA enclosures with polypropylene casings. Amazingly easy to carry, they have a great sound, too.
FRANK LEMAUX - BOOGALOO GUITARS
Boogaloo will be specialising in the brand new Flaux acoustic guitars. These feature a one-piece carbon fibre composite shell, designed to fit the natural shape of the human body (not our Ed's! —The IT Cat), and are said to be as easy to play and handle as any electric. Fitted with Ashworth transducers and 3-channel active electrics, prices start at £599, including gig bags. Frank Lemaux also offers electric models with carbon fibre/exotic timber composites, and Boogaloo Guitars will be at two show sites — acoustics at Prompt Corner and electrics on the Conservatory Terrace.
Star exhibits on Jerry's stand will be his fabulous exotic versions of 'familiar' American shapes; and with their beautifully figured woods and inlays, Bix guitars are visually stunning. Expect also to see Jerry's HM specials, the Ptera range, and his straight-through necked active bass. He'll be offering some special show prices too!
ELLIOTT GUITAR PARTS
Cornwall-based Elliott supply a huge range of DIY guitar parts, most notably necks which can be fitted to home-produced guitars or (for example) to the bodies of existing bolt-on necked instruments. John Elliott offers bodies too, ready-routed to take a variety of different pickup and control options, and you can even have a body band sawn to your own design from as little as £45! Elliott's prices are particularly impressive — they offer Strat and Tele replacements with low camber ebony fretboards and wide oval frets for just £85. Complete assemble-it-your-self guitar kits start at £200 — and there's no surcharge for lefthand models!
Refurbishing and re-finishing service.
Staccato guitars and basses are no strangers to our pages, their magnesium alloy bass, particularly, proving a best-seller overseas. Watch out for the guest appearance of the Staccato 'Ace Bass', or 'Son of Lemmy Special'. based directly on the original 'Orgasmatron'! Now finished in polyester. Staccatos are unique, and 100% British designed and made. Rule Britannia? Certainly!
EALING GUITAR WORKSHOP
Fancy carving a body and fitting hardware, but don't reckon your skills with necks, truss rods, fretboarding and fretting? Just contact The Ealing Guitar Workshop and they'll offer you anything from a complete DIY guitar or bass kit to whatever parts you need. They do a range of complete hand-built guitars, too!
High tech, basses and custom building.
Not only are UKG's Peter Cropley and Barry Cheeseman the organisers of this remarkable show, but they'll also be demonstrating their UKG pickups on their own stand. UKG offer a staggering range of extremely high quality replacement units, and are also the people to talk to when you're after specialised pickup wiring systems.
Handcrafted acoustic and electric guitar, basses etc.
Brynn Hiscox has two strings to his bow — however many he has on his guitars. Probably his best known line is his 'Liteflight' guitar cases. IT's been testing one for several months and we've found it unequalled for structural strength and ability to withstand the worst abuse (cat's claws, editor's size 15s, etc.). Now, Brynn's replaced the outer fibre-glass shell with an ABS plastic which absorbs even more shocks than the original did! Hiscox cases are (in our view) perhaps the ultimate instrument housings.
Brynn also produces exquisite round-backed all-wood acoustic guitars. They sound as good as they look, and a player wanting the finest quality acoustic must check them out.
Apart from producing beautifully finished custom guitars (see their 6000 Series and our Issue 2 review). Chandler are retailers/importers of some fascinating products, including Paul Reed Smith guitars (beloved of Carlos Santana & Al DiMeola) and Paul will appear in person at the show. Also from Chandlers come Pro-Co 'RAT' distortion units, as used by Jeff Beck, plus a wide range of retail lines which will be on their stand.
PRO GUITAR WORKSHOP
Hitchin-based Keith Thompson will be showing his range of Paul (C) guitar necks and bodies from the USA. They'll supply these either in kit or ready-made versions with a wide choice of pickups. Also available is the USA handmade 'All Tube Distortion/Driver' pedal (literally what its name implies — no kidding!).
Irish luthier Chris Larkin will be on hand with his beautiful and exceptionally well priced electric guitars and basses (see Issue 9's review). This year Chris will be showing his Reacter, ASAD and Razer models, and will also be launching a new 5-string bass with on-board active electronics. Chris says 'Exotic materials and traditional techniques endow a Larkin with uncopiable personality' — and we can only agree with that!
Paul Richardson, the man behind Fingerbone, is one of Britain's fastest-rising guitar craftsmen. As well as many custom options, Fingerbone's own-design Fastback Guitar will be on show in its various versions — Standard, DeLuxe and Vintage. Their Fleetwood bass will also be on display, but pride of place will go to the Fastback bass, making its debut at the Barbican. With a slim 2-octave neck, balanced offset body shaping, twin Kent Armstrong pickups and a selected Mahogany/Maple/Ebony construction it looks like being a winner.
Prompt Corner Foyer Area (Level 5)
Immediately outside the Prompt Corner room you'll find a bunch of half-crazed idiots (only half??!) giving away free magazines, tempting you with back issues, binders, pens, badges and T-Shirts. Beware a large furry object with a distinctly cat-like appearance — you have been warned!
PART & PARCEL
Newly moved to Gloucestershire, Part & Parcel offer probably the widest range of guitars and bass spares and accessories available, all via their huge mail order catalogue. A new edition of this will be available, as will their newly launched Trolley Buss system for home recordists (see this month's NewsXtra for more details).
THIEFCHECK INSTRUMENT REGISTRY
Thiefcheck is a new service planned to help recover stolen musical instruments and equipment, and run by Northampton-based Milton-White, Woodard & Partners. For a relatively small fee, musicians (and manufacturers) can register their property on the Thiefcheck computer. If that gear is ever stolen, Thiefcheck will notify dealers and air-and sea-ports on the UK mainland and alert them to the theft. Any dealers offered that equipment will then know that it's been stolen, and can call in the local police. According to Thiefcheck's George Milton-White, virtually all stolen group gear is sold to innocent dealers who are unaware that the goods are stolen. A small remainder is taken abroad and sold.
All new JayDee and Fingerbone instruments will henceforth be registered with Thiefcheck and we hear that other manufacturers might soon be offering this useful bonus. Registration prices vary depending on equipment value, but registry for an average guitar is around £5. Sounds like excellent value!
Makers of the world-famous Superwound and Rotosound, James How Industries have recently added two series of bass strings to their mammoth catalogue. With gauges of 40, 60, 80 & 100, they're produced to Superwound's 'piano string' design in stainless steel, and named Rockmaster (code 606R). They also come with conventional windings as Superwound Starfire Rockmaster and as Rotosound Swingmaster. And there's also a Superwound nickel 'piano string' design bass string: the 'Three-O-Three'. Available only in Funkmaster gauges of 30, 50, 70 & 90, you can see this one show, too.
Prompt Corner (Level 5)
Run by Chris Eccleshall (see later)
FRANK LEMAUX - BOOGALOO GUITARS
DREADNOUGHT GUITAR CO.
Dreadnought's Phil York distributes the world's most prestigious acoustic guitars, Martin (see our story in Issue 10). As well as showing a wide range of Martin models Phil will also have Chris Martin IV on hand to answer any questions about this legendary guitar company. Demonstrating Martin will be New York based folk singer/songwriter Diane Ponzio.
Visitors to last year's show will undoubtedly recall the impression made by L.A. guitarist David Becker whose amplified 'acoustic with effects' improvisations were a show-stopper. David enjoyed the show so much that he's coming again just for this weekend, and at his own expense too!
Distributed by Scott-Cooper Marketing, Simon and Jonny will have their own display of fine acoustic guitars, basses etc. in a suitably quiet environment, so users can hear for themselves why this Bristol-based duo are becoming so highly regarded as instrument makers. Try their new acoustic bass, incidentally — it's fabulous!
As well as running a repair workshop throughout the weekend, Chris Eccleshall, one of the longest established British luthiers, will display his acoustic and electric instruments. He offers excellent electrics at very affordable prices, and also makes superlative mandolins - hopefully, he'll have his solid bodied electric model available. Make a point of trying this one! Chris's emphasis this year will be on a new range of guitars, basses and mandolins.
Cornwall's Kif Wood made a major impact at last year's Guitar Weekend with his astonishingly shaped acoustic guitars and basses. Kif has totally reappraised acoustic instrument physics, and the virtues of his approach are best demonstrated by playing one of his acoustic bass guitars, the resonance and projection of which are exceptional.
KENT ARMSTRONG - RAINBOW PICKUPS
The UK's best known pickup designer and manufacturer, Kent will be offering a unique service this year. Any player who brings a pickup along to his stand can have it rewound on the spot! Kent's re-winding service is one of the most popular aspects of his business, and has proved invaluable over the years. Re-winding the coils of an existing pickup is the most cost-effective way of uprating any electric instrument, and if customers tell Kent what type of sound they want, or what problems they are having, he can usually wind just what they need. Rainbow pickups. Rainbow effects and Kent's 'build and fit it yourself' ATC-2 active conversion kit will also be available.
Choir Room (Level 3)
BLUE SUEDE MUSIC
Tokai guitars and FX, Guild guitars. Sundowner amps and more.
Draig's Howard Batchen will introduce a new range of low impedance active pickups with internal battery powered pre-amps. Claimed to offer 'high output, wide tonal response, even output across the frequency range (ie with no "dead spots'), freedom from hum and noise, excellent dynamics and sustain'. Draig pickups are supplied with all pots and output jacks pre-wired. Non microphonic, Draig say their units enable instruments to be DI'd straight into mixing desks and used with extra long leads.
High quality flight and instrument cases.
Pete Tulett (who introduced Aria to Europe in 1977) has recently taken over distribution of Fernandes guitars and has, amazingly, reduced their RRPs by up to 25%! Pete tells us that every Fernandes sold henceforth will be personally checked by luthier Nick Odell, and custom set-ups will be available to order on all Fernandes models. Making their UK debut will be two new models: the FR120 bass and guitar, both featuring high performance FDGI pickups.
Another first will be the launch of pro-class Peterson amps, with solid wood cabinets and Electrovoice speakers. The 150 watt bass Peterson measures 21" x 20" x 12" yet is said to deliver an astonishingly faithful bass sound. Other models include amp tops and speaker cabs.
Hugh and Andy Manson's reputation as being among the best British guitar makers has blossomed even further since the brothers moved to Crediton, Devon a while back. So busy are they that Hugh tells us: 'What's on display is going to depend on what we can get ready — instruments are being sold as fast as we can make them!' We do know that there'll be several new Manson models exhibited, including a fabulous-looking headless bass, the Phantom. Unusually for a headless, this is all wood, which means an adjustable truss rod, and it's fitted with Seymour Duncan pickups. Also new will be 'The Manson', a 24 fret electric with either Kahler or Floyd Rose trems and Seymour Duncan pickups. You can choose one to three pickups and colours range from pink to black and white through natural wood finishes like Flamed Ash and the famous Man-son Burr Maple.
Finally, look out for a new (and patented) headless guitar with tuning on the 'head', Seymour Duncans, a Floyd Rose trem and no nut clamp. The tuning system is called The Nerve' by the way!
Currently making a bass for our Ed. (we didn't know he had such good taste!) Overwater's handmade guitars and basses are immediately recognisable by their distinctive offset shape and exotic timbers. The basses particularly have very fast and comfortable necks. On show will be the whole Overwater range including the unique 'C' bass, a four stringer but tuned from the bottom string's low C. Recent Overwater C Bass customers include John Entwistle, David Gilmour, Guy Pratt, Micky Feat and Dill Katz. There'll also be a new model, the Artisan, aimed at the slappers. Look out too for an active powered 6 string guitar with 2 octave neck and graduated fretting.
A late entrant. Expect the usual Fender fireworks!
Conference Room A (Level 9)
Richard Bartram has been producing and repairing guitars for nearly 15 years, but this will be his first major show. A selection of acoustic and electric instruments will be displayed with Richard and Dave Basham demonstrating and advising on their complete guitar and amp repair service. They're also establishing a fast turnaround mail order spares and string service at their Cambridgeshire workshop.
In addition to the well known Alright Jacks range of instrument and pro audio leads and multicore cable systems, Geoff Lowther's Musicable will show a massive selection of connectors and cables of all types. They're also happy to give advice and help on all aspects of instrument, PA and studio connection problems.
More good news is the appearance of the revamped Colorsound FX series, recently reintroduced by makers Sola Sound. Musicable promise 'feet on' experience of the new Wah Wah, Volume and Tonebender as well as the opportunity to see the excellent value Eurotec range of stands. Even better news is that guitar lead and FX pedal sales and all orders taken at the show will receive a special discount!
TOM ANFIELD GUITARS
Several of Tom Anfield's customised project guitars will be on this stand, plus the prototype of his own designed instrument with its one piece Bubinga body, Ebony fretboard, Pearl and Abalone inlays and three humbucking pickups wired via Tom's own 'Trio' system. This provides separate outputs for each pickup, with switching for Series-Off-Coil tap DPDT's and a flick switch to normal mono mode with twin-band tone filtering. Sounds tasty!
Having made guitars professionally for seven years, Bill Dinsdale now has a workshop in the Bronte-country village of Oxenhope, West Yorkshire. As well as building instruments and providing a repair and refinishing service. Bill teaches guitar technology at Huddersfield School of Music and Bradford Cathedral Centre. He'll be showing a selection of his acoustic guitars, classic steel strung designs using the finest materials. He builds instruments from traditional exotic timbers, but is also keen on using native English woods.
NIGEL THORNBORY & ASHWORTH ELECTRONICS
Joining forces again this year, Nigel Thornbory and Ashworth Electronics are showing the latest, refined, version of the Ashbory Bass (see Issue 9's review of the prototype). Launched at last year's show, the Ashbory is now undergoing initial production work at the US Guild factory, and extensive promotion is planned for this and other Guild products by this long-established guitar company's new management team.
Also displayed will be the Ashworth King amplifier, reckoned by many to be the ultimate amp for acoustic guitars. Add to these a new active tone control for electro-acoustics, plus of course Thornbory guitars and Ashworth transducers, and you have a fascinating recipe.
NEIL'S GUITAR WORKSHOP
Croydon's Neil's Guitar Workshop is a major centre for almost every guitar-related activity. Stocking a wide range of instruments, amps and accessories, they also offer a full on-the-premises repair and refurbishing service. Spares, custom cases, service, repairs, sales, custom building guitars to your specs - Neil's even offer custom built amplification!
Fibreglass bowl-backed acoustics and electro-acoustics.
A & W LTD.
Heritage guitars (from Kalamazoo, USA), Novanex amplifiers, Jim Dunlop guitar making tools, spares and fretwire, straps and more.
ALBION MUSIC STRINGS
Handmade in the UK, Albion's instrument strings are one of the fastest-growing ranges in the country and have recently begun exporting. They'll be showing several new strings including the Stage Bass Series described as 'powerful, nickel-wound strings for the live performer in 4 standard gauges; also available in High C and Low B sets and as 5, 8 and Steinberger string sets'. Albion will also show their Slap Style Bass sets. Available in 3 gauges, they're said to have a faster response, allow a lower action and provide plenty of 'pop'. And look out for Studio Bass extra-smooth roundwound strings available in 4 gauges, plus acoustic and electric sets including new light to-p/heavy bottom 'hybrids'. And Albion now offer Custom sets of bespoke strings for bass and guitar players at only 10% above their standard RRPs.
Conference Room B (Level 9)
THE BASS CENTRE (Including ELECTRIC WOOD/WAL, TRACE ELLIOT & STATUS)
Britain's most famous venue for just about anything to do with basses have recently expanded their operation via a branch in Los Angeles. On their stand you'll see the fantastic Warwick Thumb bass (reviewed in this issue) plus the latest from Joe Zon of Buffalo, New York, a range of bolt-on graphite necked instruments with traditional Zon quality at more affordable prices. There'll also be Bass Centre strings, T-shirts and other in-house products.
Sharing the room with The Bass Centre will be Electric Wood (Wal), and Wal and Pete the Fish will be available to discuss and demonstrate their renowned instruments. Of special interest is bound to be the new 5-string bass which enables players to handle the current need for extended bass lines below bottom 'E'. Various 'celebrities' will be present at various times for clinics and demos, and the Trantec radio link system will be used extensively.
Trace Elliot will show their recently introduced Mark V bass amplification, and launching the brand new MP10 digital graphic equaliser programmable bass amp. With Trace Elliot will be Rob Green's Series 2000 carbon fibre Status bass, as well Series II models with the all-new Series II 5-string.
Conference Room C (Level 9)
CAPELLE MUSIC INDUSTRIES
Lag guitars and basses, Vigiers, replacement graphite necks, Europa FX, a wireless system and Design amplification products will all be in this room.
A brand new British range of electric guitars and basses.
Conference Room D (Level 9)
SCOTT-COOPER MARKETING + ALLBANG & STRUMMIT
Scott-Cooper have what must be the most impressive range of guitar related products from any one company. It's impossible to do them justice in a limited space, so we'll just list the mouth-watering array on offer! There'll be products from Kramer, including several amazingly low priced introductions, the astonishing electric-shaped acoustic Ferringtons, Aerostars, Focus models, Barettas etc.; JayDee guitars and basses (see the new Crusader reviewed this month); Acoustic amps; Floyd Rose trems; Groove Tubes replacement valves and mind-bendingly good guitar pre-amp; Tobias basses; Kinkade electrics; Morley FX; Dobro; Heavy Metal strings, and more!
In the same room, London's Allbang & Strummit will be showing those remarkable mini Gallien-Krueger amps (whose user list now includes Alex Lifeson, John Entwistle, Brian May, Boon Gould and Iron Maiden) in addition to Hamer guitars and basses and their newly introduced Bartolini pickup and active circuit range from the USA, which are featured on Zon, Pedulla, Kramer/Ripley and Tobias instruments.
Conference Room E (Level 9)
Now made in a new Northern Ireland factory, Lowden are one of Europe's best selling quality acoustic guitars. This will be their British debut.
Pilgrim's bowl backed acoustics are well known and respected throughout the UK. New this year is a two-way active electronics and pickup system, said to give considerable tonal versatility whilst still able to reproduce natural acoustic guitar sounds.
MALDEN SCHOOL OF INSTRUMENT REPAIR
Courses on instrument repair.
DDRAIG GOCH GUITARS
A new Welsh guitar maker offering acoustic and electric instruments, Ddraig Goch means 'Red Dragon', by the way.
Providing amplification for all the gigs and many of the guitar makers demo'ing their products are IT favourites Alligator. Much of Alligator's range is remarkable for its genuinely all-purpose nature - the new Ebony 100 watt combo, for example, handles guitar, bass and keyboards with equal ease, yet is exceptionally portable. Alligator's 'dedicated' amps, meanwhile, are something else again. Their 175 watt 2x10" bass combo is a monster, with a virtually bomb-proof amp stage, and speakers capable of handling 300 watts. IT's mad Editor has one of his own and won't let us share it (the swine!).
Add to this Alligator's 200 watt Simmons-eating drum combo (reviewed in Issue 11), the new Ebony 200 watt PA amp and cabs and the Black Dwarf PA range, and you can see why Alligator have been selected to provide amps for this event, we love 'em!
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