Durban Guerrilla Part 2: Pig In Mud

Guitarist’s Dave Durban is a musician on a mission. He is searching for a sonic grail: the ultimate guitar tone and he’ll stop at nothing to get it. During his quest he will encounter all manner of wonders and obstacles: gigs in far flung places, studio sessions, guitar mods, amp tests and sea monsters.

Welcome to the world of a dedicated gearhead, the Durban Guerrilla – and this week he's got stuck in the middle of a muddy field…

Beware of mud.

Last week I revealed how I was facing the challenge of my first festival gig as a bass playing guitarist. Does that make sense? Basically I’m winging it. The trouble is the biggest challenges I faced on the weekend's show were completely unexpected ones.

By the time the festival came around on the weekend the wonderful Summer rain has already begun to work its magic on site: big time. The band I’m currently playing in were playing on the Sunday but as the festival is close to my home, I headed down on the Saturday and found that the ocean of mud there was already sloshing about with glee.

Mud I can cope with but the next day that was the least of my worries…

Things went wrong not long after I arrived. Having driven round the whole festival site to park my car on Sunday morning I got stuck in the mud. I was just yards from the artist load in area so quickly became the source of mockery from the other musicians and techs watching me desperately trying to unload a mud splattered vintage Fender Bassman head.

That would have been ok but it then started raining; in a mad dash to get my gear to safety I managed to lock my keys in the car.

To cut a long, frustrating story short, the angel of mercy from the sent from the AA managed to break into my car to retrieve them did it just in time. Literally as the keys were placed in my hand it was time to run to the stage to join the band for our slot.


Snatching victory from the jaws of defeat, the show went well and everyone – despite the relentless rain – seemed to enjoy our set of alt country Americana.



On the gear side of things, the old Silverface Fender Bassman (pictured onstage at the festival above along with my new wellies) I’m currently borrowing from a studio friend is sounding great. It has a wonderful musicality to it; a characteristic I’ve found a lot of vintage amps have. Almost pre-empting the notes with a ‘been there, done that’ attitude that makes it so effortless and comforting to play through.


Yes, I’m turning into a vintage snob.

True to my reputation as a tinkerer of gear I’m thinking of upgrading the Jazz’s pickups for something with a little more output. It’s a shoot out between a Lollar jazz set, Lindy Frailins and Seymour Duncan Antiquities… I will keep you updated.

But enough about bass, I want to talk about a new guitar mod project.

The next issue of Guitarist (issue 308 – on sale 29 September) features three excellent Squier models up for review:
A 50s and a 60s Vintage Vibe plus a 50s Vintage Vibe Tele.




My plan with the lovely looking Squier Stratocaster ‘60s Vintage Vibe shown above is to upgrade the instrument from being an amazing first time buy into an intermediate instrument. Strat's are very mod friendly guitars and I'm going to add my own personal touch by replacing the components Squier cant supply with the guitar due to its very competitive price points.

I’m going to town with this Strat.

I will be using parts readily available, whilst also trying to keep cost down and show you some to pictures of the mods in progress. Maybe you can get some ideas for your own mods from my experiments to find the perfect combination.

Hopefully we can kick it all of in the next two weeks and get it all together before the Christmas issue.

Watch this space…

Now I’ve got to put my bass hat back on and head off to London for gig at the famous Troubadour, It’s where Hendrix and Dylan [played in the sixties but I’m just as excited that there’s food on the rider.

Until next time…

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