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”


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


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


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.


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


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!