SXSW 2009 blog: Texas Guitar Show

Time to check out the gear

According to AC/DC, "In the beginning/There were 15 million fingers/Learnin' how to play…" And where do the owners of those fingers come when they want to buy a piece of vintage mahogany?

Why, Austin, Texas during SXSW of course because for two days, the Convention Centre is turned into a great big axe orgy for the Texas Guitar Show.


There's an awful lot of very attractive looking chunks of wood here. There are loads of classic Fenders and Gibsons, and everything is for sale - but today, I'm drawn to the curious and the kooky.

This charming Blues Line Abalone from Alden Guitars may look like a roman bath but at least there will never be any confusion during band rehearsal.


The Blues Line Abalone: Understated (ish)

The Mosrite-inspired blobby shape and off-kilter pick-ups on this hand-built Dynamico (below) make it quite an elegant if weird-looking axe. I actually managed a play on this and it sounded sweet enough on my takes of Smoke On The Water (well, when in Texas…). One to consider if you want a unique look and sound.


The hand-built and a-bit-weird Dynamico

James Trussart has been a master luthier for 30 years and his metal-crafted humdingers have been played by a plethora of famous axe-wielders, including James Hetfield, Tom Morello and Rich Robinson. They sure sounded pretty as hell when in the hands of a professional. This is the Saville Row of guitars!



You'd need a sit down too if your guitar was made of steel…

In addition to the guitars, there was a wide range of hardware and amplifiers on demonstration. Mister Ace 'The Tweakmeister' Pepper hand builds some stunning tube amps.

The craftsmanship is such that the insides are made the focal point. Ace has been building amps for over eight years and the result is an amp with a real crunch sound.



Ace Pepper's crunchy ThunderTweak amp range

If you're sittin' on your porch and you've got the blues bad but you've just laid some real nice decking that the wife's been on at you about for months and you sure as hell don't want to damage it - then I'd recommend the Porchboard Bass stomp-a-whatsit.

It'll give you that Seasick Steve hobo sound even when your sitting comfortably in your lounge.


Well, I woke up this morning… (standard hobo guitar caption no. 53)

A final hunt around the hall looking for the most expensive guitar turns up this desirable-as-hell 1951 Fender Nocaster valued at a whopping $38,750. Let's hope this baby doesn't fall into the hands of renowned guitar manglers And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead who I'll be seeing later tonight.



Buddy, can you spare a blogger a dime…

Come back later as MusicRadar winds down with our final posts from sunny Austin


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