Guitars

Japanese Vintage guitars – the situation in the late 70ies /early 80ies

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When I started playing the guitar in 1979 (after hearing a certain Mark Knopfler playing Sultans of Swing) I wanted a Strat of course. At that time Fender made exactly one model – the “Stratocaster”, no Deluxe, Standard, Hot Rod, Super, Extra, and the like – only and simply the “Stratocaster”. On the other hand you had Japanese copies by a zillion of manufacturers it seems. At that time nobody knew that there were actually only a few Japanese companies who produced them and that they were marketed under many different names here in Germany or in the rest of the world. My first Strat was a 2nd-hand Fender Stratocaster from 1976 in sunburst with a black pickguard and white knobs. It was very heavy […]

Guitar in general

How to avoid RSI, carpal tunnel syndrome, wrist pain etc. when playing guitar extensively (part 1)

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RSI – the nightmare of musicians, even a Mark Knopfler got RSI problems on a tour a few years ago. RSI is a relatively new expression for a relatively new kind of health problem. RSI stands for ‘repetetive strain injury’, which means “any of a loose group of conditions resulting from overuse of a tool, such as a computer keyboard or musical instrument or other activity that requires repeated movements. It is a syndrome that affects muscles, tendons and nerves in the hands, arms and upper back.” (from Wikipedia) Repeated movements are nothing really new, I guess a smith did repeated movements quite a lot when hammering on a piece of steel, even hundreds of years ago. I think the reason why a smith can […]

Guitars

Detail pictures of 1936 National Style-0

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One of Mark Knopfler’s most famous guitars is surely his National Style-O (read “style – oh”). This is the guitar on the cover of Brothers in Arms. AFAIK he bought this guitar from his buddy Steve Phillips long before Dire Straits, it was his second National (the first was a Tricone from the late 20ies which he bought from an old man in Wales). What makes a National unique is not only the metal body but the resonator – something like a mechanical loudspeaker so to say. The first National appeared in the 1920ies, at a time long before electric amplifiers were used for guitars. The resonator increases the volume of the guitar so that it was ideal for street musicians or everyone who had […]