Tag Archive | Musical Instruments

Eye On Design: F-4B Electric Bass By Born To Rock

F4B Aluminum Bass Guitar
Photos By Gail

The Born To Rock F-4B Electric Bass (1995) has a patented design with the following specifications:

Hollow aluminum-tube-frame body

One piece ‘headless’ Plexiglas neck and fingerboard

34 Inch scale

Precision bass-style split coil-pickup with volume and tone controls

The bass relies on a lightweight frame that holds the strings at tension over a tension-free neck, which avoids the warping associated with wooden instruments. Since the open, skeletal design has no conventional headstock, the tuners are mounted below the bridge at the bottom of the body. This bass guitar belongs to Steve Miller.

Photographed as Part of the Exhibit Play It Loud: Instruments of Rock & Roll at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

F4B Aluminum Bass Guitar Installation View
Installation View

Eye On Design: Keith Emerson’s Moog Synthesizer

Keith Emerson Moog Synthesizer
Photos By Gail

In the mid-1960s, electric music pioneer Robert Moog created modular synthesizers using transistor technologies. His early synths featured modules that generate and modify the pitch, timbre, and volume of sounds when connected, or “patched” by cables. This allowed for unprecedented control of sonic parameters but made it difficult to replicate the same sound twice. Moog’s inventions came to the attention of the rock world when they were demonstrated at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967. The following year, Wendy Carlos’s album Switched-On Bach became the first chart-topping hit utilizing a Moog synthesizer. The instrument has its performance debut at a 1969 concert in the Sculpture Garden at the Museum of Modern Art in NYC, where Moog introduced a quartet of synthesizers built specifically for live events.

Inspired by Wendy Carlos, Keith Emerson of the then-new band Emerson, Lake and Palmer sought out one of the synthesizers that Robert Moog had built for the 1969 concert at MoMA. The band’s 1970 hit single, Lucky Man,” with an expansive Moog solo by Emerson, helped to establish the synthesizer as a lead instrument in popular music. Emerson collaborated with Moog to expand the synthesizer and optimize it for live performance, adding additional components and preset modules that recall sounds.

Hammond L-100 Organ with Moog Synthesizer
Installation View: Moog Synthesizer with Emerson’s Hammond L-100 Stunt Keyboard (Left

Photographed as Part of Play It Loud: Instruments of Rock and Roll, on Exhibit at The Metropolitan Museum Art in NYC Through October 1st, 2019.

David Gilmour’s Guitar Collection Going Up For Auction at Christie’s!

David Gilmour Guitar Collection at Christies
All Photos By Gail

In a career spanning more than five decades — as guitarist, singer and songwriter of Pink Floyd, and in his solo recordings  and collaborations with other artists — David Gilmour has created a body of work that cements his legacy as one of the most influential rock musicians  of all time. If you’ve ever wondered what it might be like to play one of Gilmour’s guitars, wonder no longer. Christie’s is preparing to bring to auction highlights from David Gilmour’s personal guitar collection on June 20th, 2019 in New York. Comprising more than 120 guitars, Gilmour’s collection focuses on a selection of his preferred Fender models including Broadcasters, Esquires, Telecasters and Stratocasters, led by a guitar as iconic and recognizable as the historic performances for which it was used – the 1969 Black Stratocaster (estimate: $100,000-150,000). Detailing the musical history of one of the world’s most influential guitarists, the sale will be the largest and most comprehensive collection of guitars to be offered at auction. Sale proceeds will benefit charitable causes. Estimated final sale prices range from $300 to $150,000, appealing to a wide spectrum of guitar aficionados, fans and collectors alike.

Electric Guitar Trio

Ovation Preacher 12 String Electric Guitar 1978
Ovation Preacher 12-String Electric Guitar (1978). Final Sale Estimate $2,000-$3,000

A global tour of the guitars arrived in New York City on June 14th for six days of press and sale previews, and I was lucky to be able to view highlights of the full collection on Monday, June 17th.  As a fan for over 40 years,  it was a thrill to be able to see these historic guitars up-close, to read their stories and to enjoy audio and visual clips of David Gilmour in action, provided by Sennheiser, which completed a full sensory experience.

Pink Floyd Video

Pink Floyd Video

Installation View

Fender EC 1989
Fender Stratocaster Eric Clapton Signature Model in Custom Color Daphne Blue (1989). Final Sale Estimate $3,000-$5,000

Solid Body Electric Resonator Guitar (1991)
Solid Body Electric Resonator Guitar (1991). Final Sale Estimate $1,500-$2,400

Quote from David Gilmour: “These guitars have been very good to me and many of them have given me pieces of music over the years. They have paid for themselves many times over, but it’s now time that they moved on. Guitars were made to be played and it is my wish that wherever they end up, they continue to give their owners the gift of music. By auctioning these guitars I hope that I can give some help where it is really needed and through my charitable foundation do some good in this world. It will be a wrench to see them go and perhaps one day I’ll have to track one or two of them down and buy them back!”

Installation View

Gretsch Solid Body 6129 Silver Jet (1957)
Gretsch Solid Body Electric Guitar, 6129 Silver Jet (1957). Final Sale Estimate $6,000-$8,000

Kerry Keane, Christie’s Musical Instruments Specialist: “For the last half century David Gilmour’s guitar work has become part of the sound track in our collected popular culture. His solos, both lyrical and layered with color, are immediately identifiable to critics and pop music fans as readily as the brushstrokes of Monet’s water lilies are to art historians.

Dusty Rose Stratocaster Plus
Dusty Rose Fender Stratocaster Plus (1987). Final Sale Estimate $1,500-$2,400

These instruments are unique in that they are the physical embodiment of David Gilmour’s signature sound throughout his over 50-year career. Like palette and brush, they are the tools of the trade for an iconic rock guitarist.”

Ampeg Dan Armstrong Lucite Body Electric Guitar (1969)
Ampeg Dan Armstrong Lucite Body Electric Guitar (1969). Final Sale Estimate $2,000-$3,000

Two Guitars with Gilmour Backdrop

COLLECTION HIGHLIGHTS

David Gilmour Black Strat

Leading the Collection is David Gilmour’s 1969 Black Fender Stratocaster, purchased in 1970 at Manny’s on West 48th Street in New York (estimate: $100,000150,000). The Black Strat quickly became his primary performance and recording instrument for the next fifteen years and it was extensively modified to accommodate Gilmour’s evolving style and performance requirements. The Black Strat was played on Money, Shine On You Crazy Diamond and the legendary solo on Comfortably Numb. It was key to the development of the Pink Floyd sound and was instrumental in the recording of landmark albums such as Wish You Were Here (1975), Animals (1977) and The Wall (1979), and of course Pink Floyd’s seminal 1973 masterpiece The Dark Side of the Moon, widely regarded as one of the greatest albums of all time. The guitar can also be heard on Gilmour’s critically acclaimed solo albums including David Gilmour (1978), About Face (1984), On An Island (2006) and Rattle that Lock (2015). After a period of temporary retirement while on semi-permanent loan to the Hard Rock Cafe, Gilmour reclaimed The Black Strat for Pink Floyd’s historic reunion concert at Live 8 in London’s Hyde Park on July 2nd, 2005, reinstating it as his guitar of choice for the next decade and firmly establishing its place in rock’n’roll history.

The White Strat

Another important guitar offered is Gilmour’s 1954 White Fender Stratocaster #0001, which has become one of the instruments synonymous with his long artistic career (estimate: $100,000150,000). Gilmour acquired The #0001 Stratocaster in 1978. Its use on several recordings, such as Another Brick In The Wall (Parts Two and Three), and on the concert stage, make it readily recognizable by both fans and connoisseurs.

Fred Gretsch White Penguin

An additional collection highlight is an incredibly rare Gretsch White Penguin 6134. With only 50 models ever produced, the White Penguin is one of the rarest America vintage guitars to exist in the market. Gilmour purchased this guitar (pictured above) for his private collection July of 1980 (estimate: $100,000150,000).

1984 Red Strat

Further Fender highlights include the 1957 ‘Ex-Homer Haynes’ Stratocaster, with gold plated hardware and finished in the rare custom color of Lake Placid Blue (estimate: $60,000-90,000); a Candy Apple Red 1984 Stratocaster 57V (estimate: $15,000-25,000), which became his primary electric guitar during the 1980’s and 1990’s, used during recording and touring of the Pink Floyd albums A Momentary Lapse of Reason (1987) and The Division Bell (1994): and an exceptionally early 1954 Stratocaster, (estimate: $50,000-70,000), believed to be one of a group of Stratocasters produced by Fender prior to its commercial production release in October 1954.

Acoustic Guitar Trio

Echoing Gilmour’s early musical influences of the Everly Brothers and Bob Dylan, the collection offers several acoustic guitars. Examples include a 1969 D-35 Martin purchased on the streets of New York in 1971, and used as both Pink Floyd and David Gilmour’s main studio acoustic, notably on Wish You Were Here (estimate $10,000- 20,000); and a unique Tony Zemaitis (1978) custom acoustic bass guitar (estimate $15,000-25,000).

Installation View
David Gilmour Guitar Backdrop

Update: To read an article on the results of this auction click Here!

Sergio Romagnolo’s Red Plastic Drumkit

Red Plastic Drum Kit Front View
All Photos By Gail

It’s been nearly ten years since my gig writing for Modern Drummer magazine came to an unceremonious end, but I still get nostalgic when I see a work of art that pays homage to the drums. Check out this crazy kit by Brazilian artist Sergio Romagnolo, which is made from hand-molded, headed plastic.

Red Plastic Drumkit Side View

Here’s the kit shot from an angle that let’s you see the finer sculpture details, as the plastic dripping down from the rack-mounted toms onto the bass drum.

Red Plastic Drumkit Rear View

The full sculpted kit is comprised of a kick, or bass, drum, two rack-mounted toms, one floor tom, one snare drum, what is either meant to be a ride or crash cymbal, and one hi-hat cymbal, both on stands. The only crucial thing he left out — besides the hi-hat and bass drum pedals —  is the drum stool. Perhaps that feature was omitted to keep would-be drummers from sitting down and trying to play it!

Sergio Romagnolo Red Plastic Drumkit Detail

If you look closely, you will notice that Sergio has added small Red Rose, which is visible between the two mounted toms! In fact that is no accident, as the official title of the piece is Drums With Flower (2019). This artist prefers to create sculptures that explore the urban and industrial universe, such as cars, buildings, airplanes, cameras, and trash cans.

Red Plastic Drumkit Installation View

In the above installation view, you can see works by two other Brazilian artists: a painting by Jose Leonilson on the wall, and a reflective sculpture by Vanderlei Lopes on the carpet, foreground.

Photographed at the Frieze Art Fair, 2019, in the Booth for Galeria Marilia Razuk of Sao Paolo, Brazil.

Red Drum Kit

 

The Wonder Morton Organ Console at Kings Theatre

Wonder Morton Organ Console
Photos By Gail

This is the restored console of the Robert Morton Organ originally installed in the Loew’s Kings Theatre in 1929. The design is one of the flagship models of the company, which collectively became known as the Wonder Mortons, because they were all installed in the five Loew’s “Wonder Theatres” built in the New York City area toward the end of the 1920s. The striking decoration and design of this console is not unique to this particular instrument, but it is a consistent feature of the Wonder Mortons.

The Robert Morton Company  was the second-largest producer of theatre pipe organs in the United States. Although their larger instruments have not fared well over the years, many fine examples still exist. In a relationship similar to that of the Fox Theatres and the Wurlitzer Company, the Robert Morton Company provided pipe organs to both the Pantages and Loew’s theatre chains, therefore when the Loew’s Company set about creating the biggest and best theatres in their system, they asked the Robert Morton Company to create the biggest and best organs for these theatres.

Wonder Morton Organ Console

The prototype of the Wonder Mortons is housed in the Sanger Theatre in New Orleans; currently dormant and awaiting restoration after the damages done by Hurricane Katrina. The first Robert Morton organ to boast the fence design that decorates the top of the Wonder Mortons is stilled housed in the Providence Performing Arts Center — formerly the Loew’s State Theatre — in Providence, Rhode Island.

It is noteworthy that this instrument is simply the console of the pipe organ. The pipes, bellows and airway infrastructure of the organ have been dismantled and removed, or have fallen victim to the damage that the Kings Theatre suffered due to leaking, while sitting vacant and neglected through the end of the last century.

Photographed in the Kings Theatre in Brooklyn, New York.

Modern Art Monday Presents: Henri Laurens, The Guitar

The Guitar
Photo By Gail

Musical references permeate Cubist painting and sculpture. The guitar, which Picasso depicted often, is one of the movement’s most recognizable motifs. Like a Cubist painting, Henri Laurens‘ painted terracotta sculpture, The Guitar (1919), blurs, even inverts, the relationship between solids and voids; solids appear to recede, while voids assume physical presence. This effect is particularly apparent in the depiction of the sound hole and strings on the face of the guitar.

Photographed in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC.

Red Grand Piano

Red Piano 2
Photos By Gail

This gorgeous Red Grand Piano can be found in the lobby lounge at the NYLO Hotel NYC, Located at 2178 Broadway (entrance on 77th Street), on the Upper West Side.

Red Piano 1

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Charlie Watts’ Ludwig Drumkit Circa 1965

Charlie Watts Drumkit Front
All Photos By Gail

If you’ve already been to the absolutely phenomenal Rolling Stones ‘ career retrospective, Exhibitionism (which, go!), you may recognize this drumkit belonging to drummer Charlie Watts, which is on display in the recording gallery. This 1965, 4-piece  Ludwig  kit in a Sky Blue Pearl shell finish with a keystone badge (indicating a drum made in the 1960s), was used from 1965 -to mid-1968 by Watts on most of the band’s studio recordings and live performances.

Charlie Watts Drumkit Side

Watts remembers that, “Everyone in the early ‘60s wanted Ludwig, so I got mine from the same place Ringo [Starr] got this, I think, which was Drum City, in Shaftesbury Avenue. Ringo’s was dark grey pearl and mine was sky blue – very camp.”

Exhibitionism continues through March 12th, 2017 at Industria, Located at West 12th and Washington Streets in the Meat Packing District. Visit This Link Tickets and More Information!

Charlie Watts Drumkit Read

Illuminated Stained Glass Drumkit

Stained Glass Drumkit
All Photos By Gail

OMG! How cool are these stained glass drums? Answer: So effing cool! While they are not playable, they sure do light up the room — quite literally! Stained glass artist Paul Heller created this gorgeous lighting fixture by emulating a four piece kit made up of a kick drum with two mounted rack toms and a  floor tom, which appears to be a stand-alone unit. Even the cymbal is glass! Sweet!

Stained Glass Drumkit Detail

Paul’s talent is far-reaching. In addition to making glass musical instruments to be used as signage in restaurants, he has also created custom glass guitars for county music artists like Miranda Lambert and Sara Evans. See more of Paul Heller’s beautiful glass art at Stained Glass Sculpture Art Dot Com!

Stained Glass Drumkit
Photographed at the ICFF Show at Javits Center in NYC.

Stained Glass Drumkit

Green Violin

Green Violin
Photo By Gail

The Green Violin (Grune Geige), 1974, was created by a collaboration between artists Joseph Beuys and Henning Christiansen. It is a multiple, being one of 293 identical pieces, and can be found in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in NYC.