Durban Guerrilla Part 3: Small World

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 every week he’ll be sharing his candid journal with you. This time he’s found that the Guitarist magazine family is never far away, wherever you are…

My adventures as a convert to the bass continued last week with a gig at the Troubadour. It went well but I was about to discover how small this gigging community of ours really is...

Hanging around as one does before taking to the spotlight drenched stage. I got talking to a female guitarist who was playing in the band before ours.

We chatted for a while about gear and guitars and it turned out she was testing a couple of things from Fender to take away with her on an up-coming tour. I then ask what her name is, she replies “Rachael Wood.” Yes, the Rachel Wood who contributes to our rock licks section every month in Guitarist magazine. How I didn't spot that I will never know but boy I am glad I didn't use the whole, “Hey, so I work for a Guitar magazine” line...

Have you ever bumped into someone unexpected at a gig?

Rachel’s now off on an Eur tour for more gigs supporting the mega-selling Katie Melua as part of Andrea McEwan’s band.

Now it’s time to start my new guitar mod project…

Durbinating the excellent new Squier 60s Classic Vibe Stratocaster and making it into an intermediate instrument worth selling your soul for.


After a brief chat with guitar tech extraordinaire Simon Law, I have settled on the final ideas that I believe will improve the guitar’s already impressive tone and gigging performance for reasonable outlay. You can do this by using a mixture of new parts and bits you may find lying around yours or a friend’s house…

…Or if you’re not a gear obsessive like me and my friends, a shop





1.Upgrade pick-ups with a mixed set of used Amalfitano and Lindy Frailin's.

2. The bridge; now, export guitars i.e. Japanese, Chinese Korean are tricky because very few standard American parts do not fit onto or into the routs and shapes of them. Although there may be a solution: Callaham produce an export model stainless steel bridge which should improve the string resonance and overall tone of the guitar.

3.Take lacquer off back of neck – I like the played-in feel of unfinished wood.

4.And last but not least an aged scratchplate if possible.

I’m going to get started on the weekend so will have more to say next week. Cheers for now and everyone go check out the clip of Doyle Bramhall II below: that guy can play the geetar!













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