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665943 Posts in 26707 Topics by 3825 Members - Latest Member: beach bird January 26, 2021, 06:43:41 PM
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1  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: Al, Y-Day at the Hollywood Bowl, and a mysterious Gibson SG... on: Today at 10:38:31 AM
Sure, the "Lost Concert" closed-circuit performance was a great Fender ad, but how about when the #1 album in the country, Beach Boys Concert, features not just a Fender-heavy cover photo in color but also multiple color photos of the band playing their Fender gear, including two flagship models (Strat and P-bass) along with the new entry in the Fender line (Jaguar), and that great backline of brown tweed piggyback Fender amps:

That's incredible advertising for an instrument brand, especially when all the instruments are in a matching color, on an album that was #1 for, like, a month. What a great look for a stage band, and I've read other players from back in the day say that covers like that were what made them want Fender gear when they "made it" or could afford it. It just looked cool! Same with the early Ventures covers before they switched to Mosrite.
2  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: Beach Boys History In Boston? on: Today at 10:13:09 AM
It's been years since I've been back - I mean properly staying in and exploring the city. The last time was a road trip for Brian's Smile performance, which was overwhelming and unforgettable. But from what I've heard, many of the places I used to know back in the day are gone, and a lot of the areas with some original gritty character left standing when I was there have been given a shiny corporate makeover, and sadly that included getting rid of many if not all of my go-to bars/pubs and late-night junk food hangout haunts.

Beach Boys connections? The one most obvious:

And anyone should do what I did on an earlier 2003 road trip return to Boston: Park illegally on the street, jump out and snap photos, and get back in the car!  Grin
Having lived there for 7-8 years both at Berklee and working there in town afterward, I realized I had never gotten a photo of that iconic statue, even though I was previously a member of the MFA and would go there regularly with my pass. So I said now's the time, and drove the car up there leaving town after the BW gig to snag the photos. BTW just down the road from MFA, close to Northeastern was a favorite pool hall where we'd go to shoot some stick and hang out...I'm sure that's gone now too.

Almost 18 years later and 25-30 pounds lighter:

Then there was the warm June night in 1999 when if you were standing in the right place you got to see this musical genius walk by on a side street just off Mass Ave, smiling and waving to a group of fans:

I'm still not fully over that experience, at Symphony Hall no less, and it truly was the impossible becoming a reality. I've written about it before, but here's what another audience member Al Kooper had to say about it:

Yes, it was that good.

Bonus points for identifying yet another place and time when someone in the right place could grab a candid shot of that musical genius entering a stretch limo at night after a gig:

Any guesses where that was taken?  Smiley

Going back to the old places that no longer exist, a lot of venues where the Beach Boys played have been torn down or replaced, so I don't know how much of the old history still exists. The outdoor gig in the 70's, anyone can go to the Commons to walk around but it really isn't BB-specific other than that they played a big show there.

Then there's David Marks and Berklee, his apartment has already been listed but at that time David was attending, Berklee I believe had taken up residence mostly at 1140 Boylston for classes and recitals, I'd have to research when they took over 150 Mass Ave as dorms, classrooms, and the Performance Center (BPC), but I think it was a few years after David had left, in the mid-70's.

Sorry I couldn't give more specifics, all the record shops I used to go for the good unreleased BB session material on CD and dubbed cassettes are probably gone too and not BB's related anyway, but I'm curious to see if you can dig up more!

3  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: Al, Y-Day at the Hollywood Bowl, and a mysterious Gibson SG... on: Today at 09:29:09 AM

Were Brian/Al/Carl ever using picks onstage at this point (and what brand)? Or just finger picking/strumming?

Brian used his thumb on the bass, Carl and Al used picks. You couldn't play surf guitar from this era without a pick!  Smiley  (tremolo picking a la Dick Dale, and the muted picked sound was what made the characteristic pings and boings pop out even more through the Fender reverb tank).

For those with a Fender reverb tank or a simulation/copy...dial in "666" for the tone. Not my favorite but apparently the 666 was the go-to setting for the surf sound in some circles.
4  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: Al, Y-Day at the Hollywood Bowl, and a mysterious Gibson SG... on: Today at 09:22:42 AM

Those are some of the photos exhibited at the Fender museum, showing Carl touring the Fender factory...some say 1964, some say 1965. Anyway, I'm sure there is more info on this visit, but it would make sense that a series of photos would be taken if Carl were going to be a Fender endorsed artist in an ad campaign and other marketing. I don't know if these photos help pin down when that happened, exactly, but it shows the relationship and also worth noting the Boys got a Fender endorsement and visited the factory again several years later during the Blondie/Ricky years, and those photos appeared in Guitar Player magazine.

And yes, Carl was one of the first prominent players to be seen using the Jaguar early in its history, sharing it with Al on stage. And album covers like "Beach Boys Concert" were some of the better advertising shots Fender could have asked for, I'm curious if at that time the band had an endorsement which would explain such photos prominently displaying Fender gear OR if the endorsement came as a result of such photos.
5  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: Al Still Talking 60th on: Today at 08:42:20 AM
Well, McCartney did a pretty fine job recording on his own while in isolation.  Smiley

But as I said earlier in this discussion, as far as a tour, I could care less. And as far as a true collaboration, I just have visions of Mike bringing in nostalgia-soaked lyrics chock full of lines like "remember when we had fun fun fun", "still feelin' the good vibrations", etc. The whole let's-look-back-on-the-old-days trip. I don't know what kind of market they'd find with that kind of deal, and again it's all hypothetical but at this point entirely possible. Or some half-assed remake featuring the singer from Smash Mouth, Stamos, McGrath, and a rap verse from Vanilla Ice.

How about just writing a solid song and leave the nostalgia behind? I digress.
6  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: Al, Y-Day at the Hollywood Bowl, and a mysterious Gibson SG... on: Today at 08:36:26 AM
Question which is perhaps relevant:

When did the Beach Boys (and Carl specifically) get their endorsement from Fender and when did they start appearing in ads for Fender gear? I do know that Carl has been cited as one of the first prominent players to endorse the Jaguar, but can't think of when that first happened or if it was more of Carl being seen playing a Jaguar on stage than him actually showing up in ads for the guitar.
7  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: Al, Y-Day at the Hollywood Bowl, and a mysterious Gibson SG... on: Today at 08:33:00 AM
The SG is fretless??

That seems...very unlikely.

Also this still doesn't explain why Al still has the guitar a couple weeks later at Loyola.

'fretless wonder'

Note the single quotation marks. Possibly this was a nickname or something similar that we just don't understand. Clearly it is not fretless and I'm sure Brady is well aware of this  Grin

It's not a fretless guitar - Not knowing this man or that specific guitar personally, I do know that I've heard other players use that term to describe the playability of a guitar and its neck especially one with a "fast" neck, low action, and a certain fret height or setup. For the players who use a light touch and prefer very low action, you barely have to touch the strings and it plays, and add the slim "fast" neck from this year SG, combined with the fret height and style, and you have that description of a guitar neck feeling like it's fretless. Another term is that the guitar "plays itself" for the same reasons.

Unfortunately the SG from those years looked terrific, but that vibrato tailpiece was sh*t, the construction of the neck joints and the headstock design caused notes to sag/drop when you played AND it caused the headstocks to break often at or around the neck and need repair, and the awesome looking gold plating on the pickups had a bad tendency to wear off way too soon considering the price.

Anyway...they looked cool and sounded great when they were in peak playing condition.  Grin

And YES times a still doesn't answer the question about that guitar showing up weeks later played by Al at a BB's gig.

8  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: Al, Y-Day at the Hollywood Bowl, and a mysterious Gibson SG... on: Yesterday at 07:43:46 PM
Two points on that, Al is wearing the same matching stage clothes as the other guys, so that kind of rules out Al showing up just to hang unless they all wore the same clothes off-stage lol.

Craig (S.)'s point was that Al might have already been there for his normal-at-the-time rôle of stage bassist.  So he would've been prepared to play--Bass, not guitar.

Either that or, since it was a local gig, Brian planned to play it all along, and maybe Al showed up just to hang, and they all expected Dave to show. Either way, Al had to borrow someone else's guitar and plug into Carl's amp at the last minute.

My reply was to Al showing up just to hang - Not unless he always wore the BB's stage clothes!  Grin
9  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: Al, Y-Day at the Hollywood Bowl, and a mysterious Gibson SG... on: Yesterday at 07:41:45 PM
That's from Getty, and there are others. Same amp lineup as "Lost Concert"
10  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: Al, Y-Day at the Hollywood Bowl, and a mysterious Gibson SG... on: Yesterday at 07:40:59 PM
Craig (C.) - you say you have seen that Ampeg elsewhere?  I couldn't find another shot of it on the Gigs site, but I may have missed something.  Late 62 has all of them playing Fender piggybacks, and then lost concert era is pretty slim pickin's photo-wise, and by 64 they're already starting to move on, Amp wise, to the blackface Fenders...

11  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: Al, Y-Day at the Hollywood Bowl, and a mysterious Gibson SG... on: Yesterday at 06:44:36 PM
And the "owner" of the SG is shown stringing it while sitting in a Fender guitar case, not a Gibson case.
12  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: Al, Y-Day at the Hollywood Bowl, and a mysterious Gibson SG... on: Yesterday at 06:43:23 PM
Perhaps the answer to "why" is this:  Dave has said that he announced his intention to leave sometime before he actually did, but the other guys didn't believe him (possibly Murray, neither). So maybe Al showed up, expecting to play bass like he usually did. Meanwhile, the Wilson clan realized Dave wasn't bluffing, forcing Brian to go to the gig and play bass at the last minute. Either that or, since it was a local gig, Brian planned to play it all along, and maybe Al showed up just to hang, and they all expected Dave to show. Either way, Al had to borrow someone else's guitar and plug into Carl's amp at the last minute.

So cool that we have documentation (photos AND an audio recording) of the first appearance of this new/old lineup...

Two points on that, Al is wearing the same matching stage clothes as the other guys, so that kind of rules out Al showing up just to hang unless they all wore the same clothes off-stage lol.

And the question for me that's bothersome (mostly for reasons of the value of that SG in 1963) is the later photos showing Al playing that guitar October 31 at Loyola - Were Eddie And The Showmen sharing the bill at that gig too? And by then, wouldn't Al have gotten a guitar of his own as I mentioned above?
13  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: Al, Y-Day at the Hollywood Bowl, and a mysterious Gibson SG... on: Yesterday at 06:15:18 PM
A few quick items first:

Watch "The Lost Concert" footage at the beginning, when they walk on stage Al switches on the standby switch on the Fender Bassman head, and Brian goes over to the Ampeg to make some adjustments. Brian's bass was going through the Ampeg B-15 "Portaflex" bass head, Al was playing through through the Fender Bassman head and one of the two Fender reverb tanks on stage, Carl through the other reverb tank and the Showman. The Ampeg B-15 was, I believe, Brian's road bass amp, and you can see it in those "rehearsal" photos as well.

What I don't understand, or can't comprehend, is that SG. That particular model SG, white with gold hardware and custom 3-pickup design, was like the Cadillac of Gibson solidbody guitars at that time. They cost what a lot of people made in salary for a month, and I can't understand how one would be loaned out that way *unless* the same bands were playing the same bills. Was that the case with Eddie and The Showmen and The Beach Boys where photos were taken beyond the Bowl gig? You wouldn't let such a guitar be loaned out or borrowed without guarantees or money, you wouldn't spend time restringing it before a gig only to let such an instrument go on its way afterward, and I'd think someone who owned it would remember loaning it out! Again, a younger guy could buy a decent used car for the cost of that particular Gibson SG at that time.

And what's also odd is The Showmen favored Fenders most often, as did many surf bands from California in 1963, and also The Beach Boys by that time could have easily bought Al a Fender from any shop like Wallich's if needed, or could have made a trip to the factory (note Carl's Jaguar) to get something as they would soon have matching white Fenders on stage anyway.

Too many questions lol

14  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: Al, Y-Day at the Hollywood Bowl, and a mysterious Gibson SG... on: Yesterday at 05:29:31 PM
By the way Carl was always careful about his onstage image but there a lot of photos of him smoking backstage-as you can see he started young-he was still 16 when they played that gig

Reminds me of Davy Jones. There are many candid and off-set photos showing him to have been a heavy smoker at his young age too, but his public image and any controlled photos never revealed it.
15  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: Mike's buddy Trump gives BBs collaborator Toby Keith National Medal of the Arts on: January 22, 2021, 10:23:41 AM
Without getting into the actual politics or ideology involved, I think there was some damage done or perceived that would be done to the "brand" and the impression of that brand and legacy due to Mike's actions and associations with politically-charged events. Otherwise, Brian and Al would not have issued public statements distancing themselves from Mike's activity. In the case where you have a band making a group decision to publicly support a cause or play a charged event, the band can vote as a democracy and say yes or no as a group. In the case of Mike and the Beach Boys license, the other voting members of the corporation which owns and licenses that name and brand had no say in the matter, and as founding Beach Boys Brian and Al got dragged into a political shitstorm on multiple occasions without having a vote, or in some of these cases not even being made aware of what Mike was doing until it hit the press. That's not just sloppy, it's disrespectful. And again if it were no big deal, "oh, that's just Mike doing his thing again", there would not have been public statements made distancing the real Beach Boys from what Mike was doing with the name. If Mike wants to act as the representative of that name and legacy, his actions will be representative of that name for a majority of the general public especially when he's doing events using that name. Was it mere coincidence that he played that most recent political event without the usual "Beach Boys" billing?

As I've said before, when it comes to bands being political, it's often best to just play the middle of the road and not get involved in the battling ideologies of politics. Some bands are known for their politics, but those bands also are not embroiled in the kind of naming rights issues and member splits as the Beach Boys, nor do many have the legacy of success on their resume. I just don't understand why you'd risk offending half your audience by attaching the band name to such divisive events unless your band is known as a politically-charged band (and brand).
16  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: Al Still Talking 60th on: January 22, 2021, 10:09:09 AM
I found it odd to see a "TV special" mentioned, because since 2012 and especially since 2020 the viewing habits of at least American audiences has changed radically. I'm taking a wild guess here, but how many people watch regular network TV anymore? I definitely don't, and neither do most people I'm in regular contact with. Unless it's a major sporting event, it feels like most are watching on-demand or streaming channels, and even that landscape has changed dramatically to where you'd need to subscribe to at least a half-dozen streaming services to cover the usual bases of program selections, and by that point you're paying more than you would subscribing to cable which is the cut-the-cord mentality where most of this streaming trend started!

So yes, it's just talk at this point, but if the Beach Boys were to be part of a "TV" special it will be interesting to see on which platform they'd be showing it. I can only see offering it to Netflix or Prime, which I think are still the two main services, being the best option. The days of tuning into NBC Thursday at 9 to catch a special seem to be gone, and I'm wondering if that old-school mentality will be in place as they're throwing around this hypothetical idea for a TV special.

In terms of a 60th live reunion tour or shows, I could care less. That ship sailed back in 2012. It wasn't "the band" who didn't get it together, let's be honest. Three members out of the four originals wanted to explore other possibilities, and Mike put the kibosh on that. Mike got exactly what he wanted, or what he said he wanted, and has been doing it for 8 years. Fans of his defended his choice, while most other fans of the band still can't believe how it all went down so negatively after a triumphant run. And Mike himself has pretty much been negative about the 2012 reunion across the board, where the tour, the album, and other aspects of it did not meet with his approval, yet hundreds of thousands of fans who bought the albums, the DVD's, the merch, and tickets for the reunion tour thought it was great. There is a wide disparity between how Mike thought it all went, and how fans thought it went...and I get the impression Mike would have wanted it under his full control and decision-making and may still feel that way today for any future plans. Just check out those comments about his "plans" for a 60th reunion posted here last year, and you'll see a blueprint of remakes/rerecords, guest artists singing "classics" with him, "greatest hits" style comps, and other stuff that looks suspiciously similar to what Mike himself has been doing with his career over the past decade.

It's hard to be upbeat about something that already went so sour after what most (excluding Mike) thought was a positive return to form for a classic band. Maybe I'll be proven wrong. But 2022 is definitely not 2012 and the prospect of hearing Vanilla Ice or Mark McGrath tackling Beach Boys tunes alongside Mike doesn't fill me with a lot of positivity.  
17  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: Beach Boys Gear on: January 21, 2021, 01:16:14 PM
Rearding what kind of strings the Boys used, here is David talking about it shortly at ca. 7:36 mins.

Beach Boys: David Marks Guitar Clinic Part 1

Skipping ahead a bit because David Marks naturally covered one of the main topics on the list to consider!  Grin

Confirming the issues about the "stock" string sets available and how they did not allow the kinds of bends players would hear and want to do, players like Carl and David who were learning Chuck Berry and T-Bone Walker and James Burton licks would either need to do the hack I described above where you'd get a thin high E from a banjo set and move the other strings one over, or compensate like George Harrison did playing those licks by sliding or doing a half-step instead of a full step bend.

Enter Ernie Ball, and a very big factor in a lot of these histories and backstories: Timing AND location.

Ernie Ball had been trying to get manufacturers to make an actual string set to match what the players had to do with banjo gauges and existing sets. None of them wanted to do it and rejected Ernie's ideas, so he found a factory who would make string sets to Ernie's specs.

Ernie had a music store that only sold guitars and accessories, and that shop was in the same area as the LA session players and The Beach Boys. This was before Ernie became a brand that stocked other music stores, and he sold these strings out of his shop to the "local" players as word spread of his light gauge bendable strings.

So The Beach Boys were not only in the same general area (relatively speaking) as the Fender guitar and amp factory, but also relatively close to the one guy who was changing the string industry by selling actual string sets that previously were not available unless players did the banjo hack.

I don't believe Ernie's "Slinky" strings went fully national as a brand until the later 60's (fact check?)  but he and his strings were available to Carl Wilson and David in his early days, so they could get the bendable Ernie Ball light strings as well as guitars, basses, and amps fresh from the Fender plant, for a terrific matching backline of white guitars and basses (along with Fender piggyback amps and reverb tanks) of the type young players would covet when they saw the cover of "In Concert" and other photos/films.

Location, location, location. And timing too. Those are often the key factors in which players used which gear at a given time.
18  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: Beach Boys Gear on: January 20, 2021, 10:51:09 AM
Now onto guitar strings of the era, maybe part one of a few explorations because it's literally impossible to nail down minus a few broad generalizations lol. If it would help I have a collection of Guitar Player magazines from 1967 (first year) going into the mid-70's which would feature ads and interviews and the like, but unfortunately before Guitar Player hit the stands there really wasn't a publication specific to guitar players which would list this info.

Just to put another angle on the issue of what strings certain players used, or what sets and gauges of strings, I'll list a few of my own examples. I use a D'Addario hybrid set called "light top heavy bottom", and have been for years if not 20 years on my main instruments. But in the past 5 years, I've been replacing the 10 gauge high E with an 11 gauge. I found it cuts through better, intonates better, and has more heft due to the tension, and does not break as easily especially on the Telecaster. So I buy these sets and then have to buy individual 11's separately for when I change them. On my Jazzmaster, when I first got it new, the factory had either 9's or 10's on it. And to be honest it kind of sucked. The bass E string would constantly pop off the saddle, and due to the fact I got that guitar specifically for 60's style instrumental and surf sounds this was a pain in the ass to constantly lose my bass E string during a song. What I found out was that two major things were wrong with the new models and the setup. First, the originals were designed for jazz guitarists and came from the factory with heavy strings, either 12's or 13's, and also from what I understand again due to the target audience of jazz guitarists they came set up with flatwounds. The neck on the Jazzmaster is a longer scale, and with lighter gauge strings, the unusual tension on that long neck caused the lower bass strings to not sit on the saddles with proper tension so they would ping out if you played harder like I tend to do on the instrumental surf material. As soon as you restring it with the *original* heavier gauges for which the instrument was designed in the late 50's to hold, it helps relieve that issue of the bass strings slipping out. The other issue is the neck length requires a special case to hold the guitar, as normal gig bags and hard cases won't fit the extra length, and it's literally an inch or so difference. Another pain in the ass, but I bought a special case for it and it works fine now.

My Danelectro 6-string bass came with factory roundwounds, and it gets all the classic tones you'd want. A lot depends on the way you dial in the tone on the guitar and amp, moreso the amp because it's best to max out all the tone knobs to 10 for the full voice of the lipstick pickups. I have the "baritone" strings on it, usually tuned A to A. I don't know about the bass 6 set's makeup, the octave under guitar string set, but I assume these have been roundwounds as well going back to at least the later 60's. I could be wrong.

To conclude this part, relating it to the Beach Boys and the musicians on their records, I have no doubt Carl's Jaguar fresh from the factory would have been strung with 12's or 13's and flatwound too. I believe that's how they came because again Fender was going after a jazz market and that was the setup for those specific guitars. As far as the Strat, it could have been either. Some guys say flatwounds were king in the early 60's, others say they used banjo strings or roundwounds.

What is known is all electric guitars up to the late 40's or 50's were roundwound strings. The instrument was still new, as was the technology of designing pickups to best amplify the strings. Some players were using acoustic string sets on electrics, and all acoustic strings were roundwound. When flatwounds did hit the market, it became the primary choice for jazz guitarists, and is still considered "the sound" for classic jazz guitar tone. But the early pioneers like Charlie Christian were using roundwounds, specifically Gibson "mona-steel" because that's what came from the factory. It's no wonder Charlie's devotees like Barney Kessel used those same setups - They were following what their main influences were known to use. Whereas followers of Wes Montgomery and 50's era jazz players would want that tone, so they used flatwounds. I think Chet Atkins always used roundwounds too, but knowing Chet (and Les Paul) they'd experiment with anything to try different sounds.

Then there's the whole issue of "ground-wounds", where the winding of the string would literally be ground off and polished for a flatwound feel. There's no way to know who did what in that regard, only that some companies would advertise "ground" strings which they'd actually grind and buff for customers. That's close to what we know as the half-round strings today, and I really haven't known many players who use these in modern years.

Just to sum up that part of it, we can assume players getting a guitar factory fresh in the late 50's and up to the late 60's would get heavier gauge strings averaging 12's or 13's for the gauge, and I can only assume given the model or the brand, some would be shipped with flatwounds and some with roundwounds (nickel).

The era in terms of replacement strings and parts for guitars in general was far, far different than we've had it since the 80's. There were simply no choices in brands for replacement strings like we have today. If you needed a new set of strings, in the US the main if not only choice to buy locally on a budget would be Black Diamond. And those would be whatever gauge the store would happen to have in stock, again usually 12's or 13's and they were not player-friendly. If you lived near a Fender factory or Gibson factory or were a sponsored player artist, you could get more specific with what you wanted, and they'd send test sets for you to try and give feedback.

But for the most part it was heavy gauge, somewhat difficult to play sets like Black Diamond or LaBella if you needed replacements up to the late 60's. Unless you ordered other sets direct from Fender or Gibson.

I'm talking mostly electric...acoustic strings were a whole other deal in terms of design and material/construction.

So the main developments in electric strings came from blues, country, and rock players who needed strings they could bend. You can't bend a wound 3rd string more than a half-step.

James Burton was perhaps the most prominent innovator who didn't invent the practice but made early rockabilly hits when he was a teenager with Dale Hawkins like Suzie Q, where those records featured string bending that was beyond what the available string sets would allow.

Very, very important thing Burton did, as well as others like Eddie Cochran who took it to UK players when he toured there...You'd take a standard string set, replace the high E with a super light banjo string at an 8 or 9 gauge, and simply shift all the other 5 strings over one peg. So the heavy A string became the E string, and you had a light gauge set adding that high banjo string...with an unwound G string as a result.

That was the ultimate trick or hack, right there. Many electric players did it, and it left a lot of excess heavy low E strings sitting unused in cases and boxes as a result. So there was no standard string set or even brand that offered these light gauge setups for players who needed to bend their G string like Burton and others. Prior to that, the best you could do would be a half step G bend or fast slide, which is why you hear players like George Harrison on the early stuff sliding those licks rather than bending.

I believe the first company to actually offer a light set which did not have to be cherrypicked from other string gauges was the Ernie Ball "Slinky" set in the late 60's. All other companies followed suit because of the popularity and demand from players, and heavy strings as the standard fell out of favor to where now almost all electric guitars are factory-shipped with 9's or 10's and have been since at least the 80's. Unless you are playing a specific jazz guitar model.

That's just one rundown of how strings are known and accepted now as standard setups versus how the original "vintage" instruments when they were new were actually strung and set up. It's pretty fascinating but at the same time nearly impossible to pin down because so many players did their own hybrid sets, and after Burton (among others) scored those hit records with that wild new bending sound for its day, the game was on as far as players doing their own stringing setups to access those same sounds and techniques.

19  Non Smiley Smile Stuff / General Music Discussion / Re: Harrison's 𝐴𝑙𝑙 𝑇ℎ𝑖𝑛𝑔𝑠 𝑀𝑢𝑠𝑡 𝑃𝑎𝑠𝑠 turns 50 on: January 20, 2021, 09:23:55 AM
This was posted on a George Harrison Facebook group page this week, all credit to them. It's a letter sent by Phil Spector to George with comments about the songs and early mixes on All Things Must Pass. It gives a neat inside look at what Spector brought to the process and how he and George worked as producer and artists. And it also shows Phil's producer's ear in terms of specific mix issues and what seemed to be Phil wanting to give George more confidence in his lead voice, suggesting on multiple song mixes that George's vocals be emphasized even more.

Enjoy if you haven't seen this:

August 19, 1970
From: Phil Spector
Re: George Harrison LP
Dear George:
I have listed each tune and some opinions on each for you to use, as I will not be in London for some time. In general, I feel the remixing of the album requires a great deal of work or at least a few hours on each number. I feel it would be best if we saved all remixing until I return as a great deal of the mixes should be done with a fresh approach. Though the following looks like a book, it is just because there are so many songs and opinions.
The mixes I heard had the voice too buried, in my opinion. I'm sure we could do better. The performance probably will be okay, unless you really think you can do it better. However, as I said above, I think a lot of it is in the final mix when we do it.
The mix I heard also had the voice too buried. Performance was fine. It also should be remixed when the entire album is remixed.
Same comments as "IF NOT FOR YOU"
I'm not sure if the performance is good or not. Even on that first mix you did which had the "original" voice, I'm sure is not the best you can do. But, perhaps you should concentrate on getting a good performance. I still prefer the horns out on the intro but that is a remix decision which should be done at that time. Also the voices in the bridge (Eric and Bobby) sound flat, and should be very low in the final mix. This particular song is so good that any honest performance by you will be acceptable as far as I'm concerned but if you wish to concentrate on doing another then you should do that.
The eight track I heard after it was bumped had the electric guitar you played bumped on with the rhythm guitars. I personally feel you can make a better bump with a bit more rhythm guitars. The electric guitar seems to drown them out. Perhaps you should do another bump with more rhythm guitars, or seriously consider taking this one to Trident Studios using the original eight track and avoiding bumping, as each track we used is important and vital to a good final mix.
6. ISN'T IT A PITY (NO. 1):
Still needs full string and horns. Naturally, performance is still needed by you. I think you should just concentrate on singing it and getting that out of the way.
7. ISN'T IT A PITY (NO. 2):
Still needs full or some type of orchestration. Performance seemed okay, but needs to be listened to at the end.
This side needs an excellent and very subtle remix which I am positive can be gotten and it will become one of the great highlights of the album. Believe me. In listening I find it needs an answer vocal from you on "Let It Down" parts. I'm not sure about this next point, but maybe a better performance with better pronunciation of words should be tried at Trident without erasing the original which did have much warmth to it. Perhaps you could try this at Trident. The vocal group (Eric and Bobby) on the "Let it Down" parts sounded okay. The Moonlight Bay" horn parts should be out the first time and very, very low the second time they play that riff, I think. Perhaps at the end, near the fade, a wailing sax (old rock and roll style) played by Bobby Keys would possibly add some highlight to the ending and make it totally different from the rest of the song. It's hard to explain, but some kind of a screeming saxophone mixed in with all that madness at the end might be an idea. Anyhow it's something to think about. Even though everything is not exactly as we had hoped (horns, etc.) I think it will be great when it is finished. Everything on those eight tracks now is important and vital to the final product. I know the right mix and sounds even on the horns can be obtained in remix. The only other thing the horns could have done is what they play originally on the "Let it Down" parts, only more forcefully. However, I still think it's all there and there's nothing to worry about on that number.
This still needs backing vocals and also an opening lead vocal where you didn't come in on the original session. The rest of the vocal should be checked out but a lot of the original lead vocal is good. Also an acoustic guitar, perhaps playing some frills should be overdubbed or a solo put in. Don't rush to erase the original vocal on this one as it might be quite good, since background voices will have to be done at Trident Studios, any lead vocals perhaps should be done there as well.
11. WAH WAH:
This still needs some bridge, and perhaps a Bobby Keyes solo. Also needs lead vocal and background voices.
The band track is fine. This needs a good performance by you and proper background voice. It should be done at Trident Studios if further tracks are necessary.
Still needs horns or other orchestration. The vocal should be checked out to see if it is okay in performance and level.
This mix seems to be okay as is.
Maybe the vocal performance can be better. I'm not sure. Also, the mix may be able to be better as well. The voice seems a little down.
George, on all the 18 numbers I just mentioned, this is what I feel are the most important items on each. Naturally, wherever possible, of main importance is to get a good vocal performance by yourself. Also, if you do any of the background voices, you should spend considerable time on them to make sure they are good. In practically every case, I would recommend that you use Trident Studios for overdubbing voices, lead or otherwise, so as not to bump tracks or go eight-to eight, and also to be able to do as much an possible before reducing everything back to the original eight track. This would probably be an easier way to do it and would also insure the best type of protection for our original eight tracks when it comes to remixing, as most of those tracks are presently very good and I'd rather avoid going eight-to-eight and further bumping. Also, in many cases one erases a performance before comparing it to the new performance, which would not have to happen on a sixteen track.
I'm sure the album will be able to be remixed excellently. I also feel that therein lies much of the album because many of the tracks are really quite good and will reproduce on record very well. Therefore, I think you should spend whatever time you are going to on performances so that they are the very best you can do and that will make the remixing of the album that much easier. I really feel that your voice has got to be heard throughout the album so that the greatness of the songs can really come through. We can't cover you up too much (and there really is no need to) although as I said, I'm sure excellent mixes can be obtained with just the proper amount of time spent on each one. When the recording of the album is finished, I think we can get into it better on a remix level if we just devote time to it and thereby we will make a much better album since we will be concentrating on one thing at a time.
George, thank you for all your understanding about what we discussed, I appreciate your concern very much and hope to see you as soon as it is possible.
Much love. Regards to everyone. Hare Krishna,
Phil Spector

20  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: Beach Boys Gear on: January 20, 2021, 09:04:05 AM
Answering this question about strings defines the term "Herculean task" lol. You can sometimes narrow it down using specific info from factory shipments and anecdotes from individual players, but it has to be remembered that each of what we'd call the most well-known players were experimenting and changing setups constantly, and what one guy did in 1963 was not what that same guy did in 1967. The specifics we do know are more general overviews than individual standards, unless the info comes directly from a certain player saying "I did this on that record".

Having said that, we can clear out the easy ones.

No electric bass part recorded on a standard electric bass of its day prior to the mid-to-late 60's was played on roundwound bass strings because they didn't exist. Rotosound developed the first set in the mid-60's, and it still took years for them to catch on. Players across the span of musical styles used flatwound strings on electric bass, and in the 60's it was John Entwistle who I believe is still credited as the most prominent player to openly use and endorse roundwound Rotosound strings.

In terms of studio use in the 60's era, it's a bit of a no-brainer: The players and producers wanted to avoid excess string and finger noise, simple as that.

And something to consider relative to the guitar discussion to come in a bit, many bassists *never* changed their strings. Two of the most recorded electric bassists of all time, James Jamerson and Joe Osborn were famous for never changing their bass strings, and all of their famous #1 hit records pretty much featured the same bass with the same strings dating back to the early 60's when they first got their instruments. The only "hack" I believe they did to clean the grime off the strings was to boil the strings in water and baking soda to remove the crud. I've done that - it works to a degree. But a lot of these guys never changed strings, and the sound of a sparkling new set of roundwound strings really didn't come into vogue until the late 70's or early 80's. I personally can't stand the sound of bright new roundwound strings on a bass, but if you're doing 80's and beyond styles and need that sound, there's the quick hack on how to get it - Put new strings on the bass lol.

So I'd say simply if you want "that sound" from the 60's era (into the 70's), put flatwounds on a P or J bass. If you want it further, play with a pick with light muting at the bridge. If you want it further than that, play through either a real or virtual Fender tube guitar amp like a Super or Twin, with a touch of reverb and slap echo. Boom, there it is, literally. If you want more of a Motown sound, play through a real or virtual Ampeg style bass amp for more low-end thump...

...even though at the actual Motown sessions the majority of both bass and guitar tracks were recorded direct into the board with no external amp except for a multi-channel amp thing set up by the engineers so the players could hear themselves on the studio floor. Barely any actual free-standing bass or guitar amps were used at those sessions.

But that's pretty much it for bass strings in this 60's era, unless you played bass for The Who or got a set of Rotosounds you were playing flatwounds through a tube bass amp. Most players used what came with the instrument until they wore out or broke, and others just bought whatever set of strings was available short of going to the factory or having a sponsorship.

More to come on guitar strings.
21  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: Question about Don't Hurt My Little Sister on: January 19, 2021, 09:53:48 AM
Trying to analyze and pin meanings to lyrics is a slippery slope that usually ends up saying more about the opinions of the person analyzing them than the actual songwriter(s) who wrote them. In this case, yes indeed PopMatters has a rather checkered history with the Beach Boys and Brian in particular, as outlined above and also shown in full light when one of their writers came to this board and proceeded to create some craziness (I'm being kind there...).

I agree with the comments above - Not only was the song created with the specific Phil Spector sound in mind, and offered to the Ronettes, but Brian has also talked about its origins and inspiration. If others who most likely have never spent a minute with Brian want to attach other meanings or inspiration to those lyrics, again it probably says more about them than the actual story being reported. That's one of the reasons why I generally steered clear of Smile lyric interpretation for the better part of the past three decades. While some of the analysis is interesting to read, I cannot read an observer's opinion and attempted connections to this or that historical or philosophical concept to the point where the opinion of those meanings becomes argued as fact.

In this specific case, I'm not surprised some deeper layer of such interpretation gets picked up by other writers and commentators and repeated to where the narrative becomes "dark" - That sells ad revenue and generates views/clicks. But it doesn't make it any more than a writer's opinion. And to be more blunt, the art of lyric writing can also be a case of pure luck, basic surface-level expression devoid of any deeper meanings, and sometimes a case of finding lines which work well together and rhyme.

I listen to "Last Train To Clarksville" regularly - It's a brilliant AM radio pop record, the Monkees' first #1 single that hit the air before the show premiered. A classic record with Louis Shelton's stellar overly-compressed Telecaster blasting through the speakers and a great Dolenz lead vocal. But I doubt anyone who hears it would immediately hear it as an anti-war song, which is essentially what it is. It's about a soldier ready to ship out to Vietnam trying to meet his girl one last time because in his words as narrator "I don't know if I'm ever coming home". Heavy stuff for 1966, but seriously, who hears it that way minus knowing the backstory from the writers?  That's the converse of the over-analysis effect mentioned above: A song which has a meaning on full display which very few catch because it's wrapped in such a radio-ready hit-record package. Hey this guy wants to meet his girl at a train station...we can relate to that! But the actual meaning of it went beyond that scenario. In that case the writers had a definite inspiration and outlined it in various interviews, but the general public may have interpreted as something far less heavy or relevant to the times of 1965-66.

Back to the Brian track: Do we accept as fact rather than opinion that the track came from something darker or more insidious than what was said between Brian and Diane Rovell when Brian was dating her younger sister? The inspiration for the track was stated pretty clearly by one of the authors, and the genesis and intent for the track has been documented as well, which included Brian meeting Spector at a hotel to offer the song to The Ronettes. It's pretty much on the table, anything else beyond that in terms of analyzing a deeper or darker meaning is whatever narrative someone wants to proscribe to the existing facts.

Just to close with one other example from 1966. This was the Beatles press conference at Capitol, summer '66 during their final tour, the one where you see David Crosby hanging around in the shadows offstage with Brian Epstein and the same one where they're asked who are their favorite American groups and Paul replies "The Beach Boys". The following question and answer exchange took place:

- "I'd like to direct this question to Messrs. Lennon and McCartney. In a recent article, Time magazine put down pop music. And they referred to Day Tripper as being about a prostitute and Norwegian Wood as being about a lesbian"

Paul - "Oh yeah"

- "I just wanted to know what your intent was when you wrote it, and what your feeling is about the Time magazine criticism of the music that is being written today"

Paul - "We were just trying to write songs about prostitutes and lesbians, that's all."

A great answer to a magazine article whose authors interpreted the lyrics in a certain way in order to push their narrative of criticizing pop music and in order to sell magazines. However in the case of Day Tripper they were partially correct... Grin

22  Non Smiley Smile Stuff / General Music Discussion / Re: New Radicals / Gregg Alexander on: January 18, 2021, 01:18:35 PM
I just heard this announced a few hours ago on WXPN too, and was just as shocked. Definitely did NOT see this or any kind of "reunion" of the New Radicals coming! I'll also be interested to see and hear this after all the years. The story told on WXPN was how Gregg's song (and biggest hit with the group)  "You Get What You Give" became special to the Biden family when Beau Biden was battling brain cancer and they used the song for inspiration.
23  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: BeachBoysTalk Tonight on Twitch - 8pm EST! on: January 13, 2021, 08:34:37 AM
Unfortunately I had to work last night (well not unfortunately, because I still have to pay bills lol), but I caught the last minutes of the show and wanted to say well done on the first outing! Kudos on the Rickenbacker and Jaguar hanging on the wall BTW. From what little I saw and heard, it looks like a show worth following!

Just a suggestion - As I'm not familiar with the Twitch platform and have never used it before last night, could you post a quick overview for dummies like me who haven't used it, in terms of how to register, how to use the chat function, or just the bare bones to get started so fans interested in your program can get engaged with all the features? Maybe it's as simple as logging in or starting an account but maybe it would be helpful for those unfamiliar with a Twitch program.

24  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: Feel Flows box set on: January 13, 2021, 08:30:39 AM
BTW, looking on Tidal, details say ”copyright 2020 Iconic Artists Group, LLC”. I’m beginning to doubt that this is an official release... No sign of UMG/Capitol anywhere.

The plot thickens.

Granted, anyone can paste a copyright or ownership tag on anything posted online, the more dubious the more likely it can be done, HOWEVER:

Take a look at this discussion which fell off the radar here a few months ago:,27459.0.html

"Iconic Artists Group" is under the same umbrella of LLC's and business entities as "Iconic Brothers LLC", which is - as you can read at that link - The LLC listed June 26, 2020 that acquired the BB's song titles from Mike's interests. Again, read the link. "Iconic Artists", "Iconic Brothers"...those company names are attached to multiple interests sharing the same corporate address as Irving Azoff's various interests, as Azoff is a co-founder and owner of "Iconic Artists". For those unaware of who Irving Azoff is, google the name.

So if this dump of live material is listed to "Iconic Artists Group LLC", it connects directly to the group of interests and LLC's under the "Iconic" umbrella of holdings and Irving Azoff's interests, and that signing over of Mike's interests in the songs listed in the public documents at the link above into "Iconic Brothers".

That's all I'll post about it, but for those interested in going down the rabbit hole and some truly inside baseball, the links to start with are there.

That is, unless someone just felt like tagging "Iconic Artists Group LLC" onto a collection of bootlegged live tracks ripped from other sources...but I doubt that's the case.

Happy digging.  Smiley
25  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: Feel Flows box set on: January 12, 2021, 08:37:57 AM
Correct, please don't post direct links to download that kind of thing here.
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