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GJD at The Shows: The London Guitar Show PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 30 June 2008 22:51
londonshowlores.jpgBy Lars Mullen - GJD Contributor
London's famous Dockland area has been revamped, with many historic warehouses now luxury hotels and apartments, the River Thames plays host to a flotilla of rowers, it's easy to picture the idyllic setting, oh...and an advancing army of over 23,000 musicians and trade visitors to the first London International Music Show. The four day event, incorporated the already successful London Guitar show and Drummer Live and includes the include the Unplugged and Sound Technology shows under one roof at the ExCel complex.

But were we good?..of course we were. We respected the noise police with their hand held gadgets monitoring the sound level, until the allocated last ten minutes of every hour, when we could melt some valves and thrash some skin, then wander about dazed for the next fifty.

We had a world of musicians and drummers lined up to entertain and while Led Zep's Jason Bonham and Chad Smith from the Chilli Peppers, among others, gave superb clinics in the drum hall, your foreign correspondent (pictured with Motor Head’s bassist Lemmy and Randy Rhodes), concentrated on keeping up to date with info on some of the latest guitar products this side of the pond.

New from Burns the TV35, a 35watt 1x12in single channel combo, finished in crocodile skin (fake of course) for that British ‘60's vibe. Designed to be loud and clean, it's a great partner to the new Burns, Shadows 50th Anniversary Apache guitar.


had an enormous mock rig set up, housing their new 40th Anniversary, Custom Shop limited edition 50 watt heads, offered in four variations, each tweaked with one-off tonal circuitry. The Tiny terror mini head is now available in combo form as a nifty switchable 7-15watt 1x12in set up.

Audio Kitchen chose ExCel to launch their new range of British made, high-end valve amps, including the Little Chopper 7 watt head, covered in the same material as soft-top Jaguar cars, or if lumbers your game, choose from a vast list of exotic tone woods for amp and cab construction, complete with solid silver controls.

Several stands got warnings during the volume blackout, hope I didn't get the Peavey guys in trouble as I tried out their impressive VYPYR combos loaded with 24 clean and distorted channels of 12 popular amps. These amps sounded jolly wonderful with the company's PXD Series angry looking guitars, which will please the metal player, loaded with Peavey's VFL pickups or EMG's with the AB after burner tone circuit.

new all-valve Princeton '65 reverb combo is based on the classic '65 model, complete with a single 10in Jenson speaker, valve rectifier, reverb and vibrato, sounding wonderful when hooked up with the company's new Squire Vintage Series guitars.

It was the UK unveiling for another boutique valve company, simply called, The Valve. Hailing from the depths of Italy, this brand can offer such great names as The Bimbo. I must say, this is one of the loudest 5 watters I've heard for a while, maybe due to the amps Power Scaling Technology, where the user can achieve 100% valve efficiency at low volumes. The 15 and 18 watt models, will easily handle loud rehearsals and small club gigs.


Guitar Guru
, Trevor Wilkinson, famed designer of bridges, vibratos systems and pickups, has seen his own Fret King guitar brand soar to new heights, with the introduction of the new green and blue label guitars, following classic lines, magically breathed-over by Trevor. These guitars not only offer superb quality within construction and sound, but are offered in some stunning finishes.

The Indie guitar company are always a good stand for a journalist to make base camp. Says ‘Indie Keith,' The show has been great for us, it would seem while our guitars are full of attitude, we appeal to the player who buys the guitar he wants, not one he's told to." Hudson's brand of acoustics made a fine debut, with much interest in their playability and antique finishes, whilst catering heavily for the left handed player, we reckon these will be a big seller in the UK.

Patrick Eggel and his small team of luthiers, reside in the Welsh hills, where, on a good run, they can produce up to fifteen models a month. As always, a fine display of these exceptionally high quality acoustic guitars. Not that I had time to sit still over these four days, but it was great to relax for few minutes in the dedicated soft-chair, acoustic area and have a quiet twiddle, after trailing the halls in my new hiking boots.

Gretch fans will adore the Chet Atkins 125th Anniversary model, a limited run of just 25, built by master builder Stephen Stern. Loaded with TV Jones Classic picks and gold hardware, this G6120, glows like fury, as the transparent orange finish, has an undercoat of gold leaf. Jaguar Tan, is the choice of finish for the 125th Anniversary G6118, also with TV Jones pickups.

There was a buzz around the Overwater stand, where one of Britain's longest serving manufactures of high quality bass guitars, had some fine models on display, including the new Evolution Series built by company founder Chris May, who always reminds me of the late John Entwistle.

PRS dazzled us with a fine demo of fingerprint free guitars, including the new 22 fret, thicker bodied, Dave Grissom model and the much awaited, 24 fret thinner bodied, double cut Mira guitars.

Vox turned a few heads with the British debut of their Virage guitars. Offered in single or double cut versions, the semi hollow bodies have a host of onboard goodies, including contoured curved body styling, carved neck joint, a specially designed aluminium bridge and a versatile pickup system offering single coil, P.90 and humbucker tones all from the same unit.

Vox have also added the Black Diamond modelling combo to their successful Valvetronix Series of modelling combos. A hefty 200 watts (100 + 100 stereo) should be enough to knock the drummer off his stool. It's crammed with all the preset and user goodies which include the classic VOX logo on the front, doubling up as an onstage tuner, glowing green when pitch is reached, how cool is that?

There were some great one-offs on display, we spotted a custom paint job on a special Brian May guitar, apparently a birthday present for the Queen guitarist who also had his signature acoustic launched at the show.


But what is that weighty utterance? Either London's tiny City airport located close by has ok'd the world's biggest airbus to land it's Yngwie and a wall of Marshall stacks. Good ol' Mr Malmsteen treated us to a blistering lesson in how to play as many notes possible in a nano second and hear every one of them.

"It's a bit early for this," shouts Joe Satriani, and made sure nobody was having a mid morning sleep during his rocking set. Bassist, Billy Sheehan took time out from personal one to one tuition on the Roto Sound string booth, to also emit some serious cracks in nearby Westminster Abbey, with a stonking set accompanied by speed picker, Guthrie Govan on Guitar. Yours truly was wedged between the monitors to capture all the fret dancing action.

Each of the 12 finalists of the first, On Line Guitar competition, showed exceptional finger tip glowing skills, the winner, Brazilian Gustavo Guerra received a PRS Custom 24 in mint green.

Amongst corridors of innovative products, an attenuator from Emerson Williams had my vote, as it doesn't colour the sound, can safely send a signal to your hi fi or studio gear from your favourite guitar power amp and still sound great, available in the USA soon.

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