Saturday, November 29, 2014

Why is it Called An ES- 175?

The ES-175 debuted in 1949, as an alternative to the expensive carved top models. The name came from its original price of $175. It was the Electric Spanish - 175. Early models came with p-90 pickups, either one or two but in the late 50's humbuckers became standard. Most ES-175's have two humbuckers mounted in the bodies. Some single pickup models were made
I love the color!
but they were less popular.
The combination of the laminated, not carved, top and the humbuckers makes for a rich tone. It is a sound that can not be emulated with a solid or thin guitar.
Nice Inlays
I first got the 175 bug by buying a cheap knock-off. I wanted to be sure I liked the body shape and size. It is a bit too expensive to just buy to try the real thing. After a few months with the knock-off I started to
A Pleck
scout our used ones but they were more used than vintage so I set my sights on a new one - and I looked for a custom shop model because of the great setup. I played several new ones that just didn't do much for me. I guess there is a lot of hand work, making each guitar different. Finally found one in Highland Park Illinois.
Mine is a custom shop model, with two pickups and the trapeze style bridge. It has parallelogram inlays on a rosewood fingerboard. The neck is a bit chunky and mahogany of a one piece design. This guitar has a tune-o-matic bridge that is set in rosewood. As you can see mine is a little more antique
finish than the stock photo above.  It is very easy to play with great action. This may be due the pleck machine that Gibson uses when setting these guitars up after manufacture. 
The model has gone through several body and pickup configurations but the two pickup model that I have is still in production. This makes it one of the longest production runs in the industry.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

More Lytro Shots

 As promised here are a couple more Lytro examples. These show how the focus can shift on an image. As you can see the focus can be on any object or place in the picture... Means thinking about images in a new way. The window shot is so much like we actually see that it is amazing.

More about Lytro from their website:

Lytro was founded in 2006 by Executive Chairman Ren Ng, whose Ph.D. research on light field photography won Stanford University’s prize for best thesis in computer science in 2006 as well as the internationally recognized ACM Dissertation award.

In 2012, Lytro released the world’s first consumer Light Field Camera which offers photographic capabilities never before possible, such as focusing a picture after it’s taken, changing the perspective in the picture and creating interactive living pictures that can be endlessly refocused and enjoyed by friends and family online. Lytro was named one of Time Magazine's 50 Best Inventions of 2011, was Popular Science's Innovation of the Year, 2011 and took home the Last Gadget Standing Award and Best of Innovations Award for Digital Imaging at CES in 2012.

Monday, October 6, 2014

So What is A Lytro Camera...

I own one and I'm still not actually sure... It takes a picture like the one below. How is this a big deal? Well, click on the kid's nose... then on the flowers in the left corner, give it a second and you will see the focus change. The picture is an image that can be refocused on demand because it is generated from a different kind of picture engine.  It is quite amazing, easy to use and hare do explain. I hope I'll do a better job after I learn how to use it.

The camera looks like this: About 4 inches long with a big f2 lens on one side and a viewfinder on the other. It has an 8x zoom and is wifi capable. Dumps the pictures to my phone and then stores them for me online if I want. the picture above is a link to their photo sharing website. Because they need software for display it may be a while before you can have them on the wall.

Lytro Light Field Camera

Want to know more? Click on the image above to go to

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

John D'Angelico's Guitar

When I was in high school I had a Gibson Johnny Smith model guitar, it was about the top of their line and in 1963 when I got it there were only a few guitars that cost more. Don't ask how I got it, its too long a story, suffice it to say my father respected my taste in instruments. The Johnny Smith Guitar sold for about one-third of what a Chevy Impala cost at the time. 

When I started looking to buy a jazz guitar about 10 years ago, I learned that the Johnny Smith guitar was actually a copy, or knockoff, of a guitar built by John D'angelico in the 1940's. He and his apprentices built about 1200 guitars of various designs. Often the guitars were custom made for specific guitar players. Johnny Smith actually had one of these.
In the 90's, I think, the D'Angelico brand and design was bought by a company and the manufacture of the guitars was moved to Japan. A company called Vestax was commissioned to build them. 
I bought this one used about ten years ago on ebay. It is the pride of my guitars, one of the best playing and sounding guitars I have. The metal is thick gold and the fingerboard is ebony with large split block inlays. They still make guitars guitars of this quality but not many and not cheap. 
This one is an NYS-2 in vintage sunburst. It is a small guitar, a 14" body. This is actually inspired by John D'Angelico because he never made a 14" guitar.  It has a single "Johnny Smith" style humbucker attached to the neck, not the body. 
The pegboard inlays are intricate and beautiful. There is even an inlay of pearl on the back of the pegboard. The classic stairstep design is featured in the tailpiece, truss rod cover and pickguard.
The guitar has worn particularly well, it has a beautiful finish, slim neck and a great sound.

More about John D'Angelico on Wikipedia

Saturday, May 17, 2014

A New Guitar With A Fine Pedigree

Ok, so my dear wife is driving down the road and sees a sign that says Guitar Outlet. She tells me and we take a little field trip. I've been stuck in the house for a couple of weeks because of my back surgery and this was one of my first days out.

The storefront is Dean Zelinsky’s Guitar Factory Outlet at 3080 Skokie Valley Road in Highland Park, IL. First, if you have not heard of Dean then you don't play guitar. He is a guitar innovator and has a long history of designing and making great, interesting instruments. Dean guitars was born with his name. DBZ guitars was also his product line. These guitars a beautifully made and have extraordinary playability and sound.

DBZ Imperial
So how did I pick a guitar. It was a snap. Dean designed a guitar that is incredibly thin and has an amazing sound. This solid body guitar is 5/8" at the edges and no more than an inch at its thickest. Its a set neck guitar with a stop tailpiece that is set farther down the body giving the guitar a great feel and lots of sustain and I think a very mellow tone. All the components are top notch and the finish is incredible. Metal is gold and the fingerboard and fret work is as good as any guitar I've played. It reminds me of my custom shop Gibson that was Pleked at the factory. This guitar is so beautiful its really a work of art. Oh, almost forgot. Its light as a feather, well, maybe half the weight of a Les Paul.

Click above to learn more about Dean's Private Label guitars.

Or read about Dean at Wikipedia

Monday, April 21, 2014

A New Fender..........

Fender keeps coming up with these reissue guitars from the 60's and 70's and I am such a sucker for them. As the Fender website says:

The Starcaster® guitar is back. Virtually fabled since its original mid-to-late ’70s tenure, the seldom-seen Starcaster occupies a special place in our history as Fender’s one and only offset-waist semi-hollow electric guitar. Prized decades later by a new generation of adventurous guitarists with a flair for appealingly unconventional Fender style, the Starcaster now returns in fabulous new Modern Player form with greater sound, build and beauty that’ll have you seeing stars.

The Fender Starcaster guitar’s thin semi-hollow offset body has a bound maple top and back, with stylish bound f holes. Its “C”-shaped maple neck has a 9.5”-radius maple fingerboard with 22 medium jumbo frets, black-dot inlays and the distinctively curvaceous Starcaster headstock. Other premium features include full-voiced dual Fender Wide Range humbucking pickups with three-way toggle switching, three-ply black pickguard, four skirted “amp”-style control knobs (volume and tone for each pickup) and an Adjusto-Matic™ bridge with anchored tailpiece. In Aged Cherry Burst gloss finishes.

Pictures? I thought you'd never ask: