Mike Overly's 12 Tone Music News

The Latest Guitar and Bass News from around the World Wide Web . . .
December 13, 2018
In This Issue

Imagine the iconic wartime image of Rosie the Riveter-her hair up in a kerchief and a rolled-up sleeve displaying a muscular arm-except she is wielding a beautifully crafted guitar whose mysterious history would almost be lost to later generations of collectors and scholars.

John Thomas, author of Kalamazoo Gals: A Story of Extraordinary Women and Gibson's "Banner" Guitars of World War II, calls her "Laura the Luthier", a name that speaks for the hundreds of women behind the Gibson walls who were building guitars during the war.

In January of 1942, a month into U.S. involvement in the war, factories turned their manufacturing capacity over to government war contracts. Rickenbacker in Santa Ana, California and Gretsch in Brooklyn, New York stopped instrument production entirely after, respectively, eleven and nine years of producing guitars.

In Nazareth, Pennsylvania, C.F. Martin & Co., the first guitar manufacturer in the U.S. in 1833, remained in production during the war and had four female employees at its modest North Street plant.

According to Kalamazoo Girls, while production was slim across the board, the guitar factory with the most female employees-over 200 between 1942 and 1946-was Gibson Guitar Corporation in Kalamazoo, Michigan.  
These women were hired to make munitions, but they also clandestinely created the line of "Banner" guitars.  
The Gibson Banner flattop acoustic guitars had a gold banner on the headstock with the slogan, "Only a Gibson is Good Enough."  They were discontinued at the end of the war and only resurfaced as reproductions in the '90s.  
The six original Banner flat top models are still highly sought after by collectors: the J-50, J-45 Jumbo, LG-2, LG-3, LG-1, and the SJ Southerner Jumbo.
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Here is another top-five countdown. This time, it's the five worst guitar paint jobs of all time. A couple of these instruments are signature models. "When guitarists are given the chance to design their own guitar, the results are often less than subtle. But the list also includes over-the-top designs from a street artist, and graphic finishes that were most likely dreamed up by clueless marketing executives." Take a look, and see if you can think of anything else that should have made the list. 

Fender has just released the Flea Jazz Bass Active. It's Fender's second collaboration with notorious Red Hot Chili Peppers bass player was designed to complement Flea's beloved, vintage-style recording bass - a Shell Pink Flea Jazz Bass Fender reproduced with him in 2016. This new active model is hyper-modern and represents Flea's energetic on-stage preference and style.

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Order Guitar EncycloMedia or Bass EncycloMedia now through December 20, 2018 to receive 25% OFF. Only available from the 12 Tone Music store. No coupon code needed. Domestic orders only.

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www.guitartruth.com and www.basstruth.com are subsidiaries of 12 Tone Music Publishing, LLC.
Even though the Beatles hired a film crew to document the 1969 recording sessions for what would become their final album, 1970's Let It Be, it's uncommon to see studio footage of the band at work before that time. Which is why this 1968 official "Hey Bulldog" music video is so unique.   
Four Misused Amp Phrases

Numerous terms related to guitar amp construction, features, and history are commonly misunderstood and misused. In fact, there are so many that it will take more than one Circuit column to cover just the ones that are most important to amp collectors. Let's start with the following four...
MESA reports the new WD-800 is in direct response to player feedback and the longstanding demand for a more powerful version of their original WalkAbout bass head. Their design objective was to create the ultimate lightweight hybrid by combining the warm, soulful sound of their former WalkAbout tube preamp section with the musical Class D output power used in their award-winning Subway D-800 and D-800+ bass amplifiers.
With nearly six decades in the business, Buster Williams has just about seen it all. He's worked with some of the world's best instrumentalists (Herbie Hancock, Miles Davis, Sonny Stitt, and Gene Ammons to name a few) and the world's best vocalists (Nancy Wilson, Sarah Vaughan, Dakota Staton, and Carmen McRae, to name a few). As you can imagine, he's got some great stories to tell. Lucky for us, Williams is the subject of an upcoming documentary by filmmaker Adam Kahan entitled Bass to Infinity. The film covers his beginnings in Camden, New Jersey - where his multi-instrumentalist father taught him the bass - through his current work and everything in between. It includes incredible animated stories as well as interviews and jams with fellow musicians. The film is currently raising money to finish the editing process via Kickstarter.

Order Guitar EncycloMedia or Bass EncycloMedia 
through December 20, 2018 to receive 25% OFF.
Available only from the 12tonemusic.com online store.
No coupon code needed. Domestic orders only. 
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www.12tonemusic.com * frets@12tonemusic.com * 1-937-256-9344  
  www.guitartruth.com and www.basstruth.com are subsidiaries of   
12 Tone Music Publishing, LLC.