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Thread: Roy Buchanan: PBS Greatest Unknown Guitarist In The World

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    Ultimate Tone Slacker Lewguitar's Avatar
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    Default Roy Buchanan: PBS Greatest Unknown Guitarist In The World

    IN 1971, we all gathered around my little black and white TV set in my apartment in Ann Arbor, Michigan and prepared to be blown away. And we were.


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    Ultimate Tone Slacker Lewguitar's Avatar
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    Default Re: Roy Buchanan: PBS Greatest Unknown Guitarist In The World

    Inspired by this show, I found a 1951 Fender Telecaster for about $175. and switched from playing Les Pauls to playing Fenders.


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    Ultimate Tone Slacker Lewguitar's Avatar
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    Default Re: Roy Buchanan: PBS Greatest Unknown Guitarist In The World

    I have an old VHS of this show.


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    Fuzzy. Guitars the guy who invented fire's Avatar
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    Default Re: Roy Buchanan: PBS Greatest Unknown Guitarist In The World

    Lew,

    To your knowledge was Roy playing that old SF Vibrolux Reverb that far back??
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    Ultimate Tone Slacker Lewguitar's Avatar
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    Default Re: Roy Buchanan: PBS Greatest Unknown Guitarist In The World

    When this show ended, I remember my buddy Ed Jackson just slowing settling back in his chair as if he'd seen something unbelievable. It sort of was. None of us had ever seen such a virtuoso guitarist before. I'd seen Beck and Clapton. And they were virtuosos in their own style. But Roy Buchanan seemed to be able to play any style! And in 1971 I'd never seen any other guitarist capable of doing that. Especially on a Telecaster - a guitar I'd never been able to coax a pleasant, let alone great, sound out of.

    The British sound, Cream especially, suddenly sounded plodding, cliched and one dimensional to me. And it wasn't long before I quit playing my 50's Les Pauls and switched to Strats and Teles and started playing other styles besides what Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck were doing: American styles and American roots music.

    Clapton changed too, after hearing Robbie Robertson in the Band. He quit playing Gibsons through cranked Marshalls and started playing a Strat through small Fender amps.
    Last edited by Lewguitar; 01-06-2013 at 07:19 AM.

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    Ultimate Tone Slacker Lewguitar's Avatar
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    Default Re: Roy Buchanan: PBS Greatest Unknown Guitarist In The World

    Quote Originally Posted by the guy who invented fire View Post
    Lew,

    To your knowledge was Roy playing that old SF Vibrolux Reverb that far back??
    I think it was a blackface Vibrolux Reverb back then. And he used to sometimes turn it around so that the audience was hearing the back of speakers so that he could crank it up and get some sustain without blowing the audience away with volume. But I'm not certain - especially since when I saw him play I couldn't see the amp from the front. He had it turned around.
    Last edited by Lewguitar; 01-06-2013 at 07:25 AM.

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    Fuzzy. Guitars the guy who invented fire's Avatar
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    Default Re: Roy Buchanan: PBS Greatest Unknown Guitarist In The World

    Right...I've seen lots of clips and in every clip I've seen it's backwards and he most often just tossed an old EV mic in the back of the cab!!!

    I've actually never heard or seen mention of a BF Vibrolux but that doesn't mean there wasn't one...
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    Ultimate Tone Slacker Lewguitar's Avatar
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    Default Re: Roy Buchanan: PBS Greatest Unknown Guitarist In The World

    TGWIF knows this, but Roy's Tele Nancy is named after his wife and is a '53 blackguard. Danny Gatton played a '53 also. I play a '54.

    My '51, which I sold because the neck twisted and the action became so high it was no fun to play, never did sound like Roy's.

    I can believe Roy's pickup used different magnets than my '51. Supposedly those early 50's Tele guitars used alnico 3. But I'm sure my '51 used alnico 2 and that became the tone of a great Tele for me.

    Seymour apparently felt that alnico 2 was the tone for him as well.

    I now use Seymour's custom shop alnico 2 Tele Hot Tapped '53 pickup in my Strat, and Seymour's custom shop alnico 2 Jerry Donahue in my Tele and both respond and sound like my old '51.

    This was Doc Barlo's suggestion back when I first became a forum member.

    I know there's lots of data insisting that alnico 3 is what's in those old guitars.

    But alnico 3 never did give me the sound of my old '51. Alnico 2 did. And Seymour seems to agree because that's what's he put in his Tele too.
    Last edited by Lewguitar; 01-06-2013 at 08:22 AM.

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    Mojo's Minions ItsaBass's Avatar
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    Default Re: Roy Buchanan: PBS Greatest Unknown Guitarist In The World

    The first part is great. The music is mostly really lame, though, especially that horrible white funk **** with Nils Lofgren. Best part of that jam was Roy finally having enough of Lofgren's **** and cutting the song off by starting to make some noise of his own with his tuning pegs.
    Quote Originally Posted by LesStrat View Post
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    I do a few chord things, some crappy lead stuff, and then some rhythm stuff.

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    Ultimate Tone Slacker Lewguitar's Avatar
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    Default Re: Roy Buchanan: PBS Greatest Unknown Guitarist In The World

    Quote Originally Posted by ItsaBass View Post
    The first part is great. The music is mostly really lame, though, especially that horrible white funk **** with Nils Lofgren. Best part of that jam was Roy finally having enough of Lofgren's **** and cutting the song off by starting to make some noise of his own with his tuning pegs.
    That's 1971 for you. Roy's bands were never the greatest. However, my brother, Bad Bobby Walker, knew Roy well and gigged with him for quite some time. Bobby, like my brother Bruce, is a drummer. Bobby has nothing but praise for Roy, says he never saw any manic episodes or anything, and says they had a great band. I never got to see them play together.
    Last edited by Lewguitar; 01-06-2013 at 09:07 AM.

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    Fuzzy. Guitars the guy who invented fire's Avatar
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    Default Re: Roy Buchanan: PBS Greatest Unknown Guitarist In The World

    I love getting into the old blackguard Tele discussions and Roy's "Nancy" has always been a great debate topic since there is a lot of mystery there!

    The Blackguard/pickup/magnet debate is a funny one.

    Seymour used alnico II magnets in the bridge pickup he rewound for Beck that he used on Guitar Shop and the pickup was pulled form a 1953 Telecaster but wasn't originally alnico II.

    He also uses alnico II magnets in the JD pickup.

    However no vintage Blackguard Tele's (or any vintage Tele for that matter) used alnico II magnets and I've always wondered why Seymour went to alnico II for so many pickup.

    In fact if Evan or anybody sees this thread I would LOVE some info on Seymour's use of alnico II for "vintage style" Fender pickups!!!
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    Ultimate Tone Slacker Lewguitar's Avatar
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    Default Re: Roy Buchanan: PBS Greatest Unknown Guitarist In The World

    Quote Originally Posted by the guy who invented fire View Post
    I love getting into the old blackguard Tele discussions and Roy's "Nancy" has always been a great debate topic since there is a lot of mystery there!

    The Blackguard/pickup/magnet debate is a funny one.

    Seymour used alnico II magnets in the bridge pickup he rewound for Beck that he used on Guitar Shop and the pickup was pulled form a 1953 Telecaster but wasn't originally alnico II.

    He also uses alnico II magnets in the JD pickup.

    However no vintage Blackguard Tele's (or any vintage Tele for that matter) used alnico II magnets and I've always wondered why Seymour went to alnico II for so many pickup.

    In fact if Evan or anybody sees this thread I would LOVE some info on Seymour's use of alnico II for "vintage style" Fender pickups!!!
    You know, Seth Lover says it's not the type of alnico that matters - it's the strength of the magnets.

    IMO, alnico 2 sounds like, and just as importantly, gives a sound and response that feels like the pickup in my '51.

    That guitar was only 20 years old when I bought it in 1971 so I doubt the magnets had aged appreciably.

    I searched for another Tele pickup for years and years that sounded like it and never found it until I used an alnico 2 Tele pickup from the Duncan Custom Shop.

    Now, alnico 2 is what I use in all of my guitars.
    Last edited by Lewguitar; 01-06-2013 at 09:20 AM.

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    Fuzzy. Guitars the guy who invented fire's Avatar
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    Default Re: Roy Buchanan: PBS Greatest Unknown Guitarist In The World

    I have read what Seth said about magnets but Seth has made mistakes before so I don't know that he is 100% correct.

    I also know that there are differences in bar magnets and rod magnets.

    Speaking to the strength I have heard/read that the strength (called Gauss) of a magnet often reflects the grade of that magnet...I do not know if that is true or not but I have read it more than one place

    The interesting thing about Blackguard era Tele bridge pickup magnets and alnico III magnets in general is that alnico is made of up Aluminum, Nickel and Cobalt BUT...alnico III magnets have NO cobalt in their makeup.

    To date there has not been a single Blackguard era Telecaster found with even a trace of cobalt in the bridge pickup magnets meaning that so far all Blackguard Telecaster bridge pickups have been Alnico (or Alni as it maybe) III magnets.

    The earliest Tele's found with Alnico V magnets in the bridge pickups date form 1955 and were transitional as they were flat pole pickups made just before the switch to staggered magnet pickups.

    Another thing I find very interesting about this is there is lots of proof that some 1954 Strats were made with the same alnico III magnets...
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    Ultimate Tone Slacker Lewguitar's Avatar
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    Default Re: Roy Buchanan: PBS Greatest Unknown Guitarist In The World

    Quote Originally Posted by the guy who invented fire View Post
    I have read what Seth said about magnets but Seth has made mistakes before so I don't know that he is 100% correct.

    I also know that there are differences in bar magnets and rod magnets.

    Speaking to the strength I have heard/read that the strength (called Gauss) of a magnet often reflects the grade of that magnet...I do not know if that is true or not but I have read it more than one place

    The interesting thing about Blackguard era Tele bridge pickup magnets and alnico III magnets in general is that alnico is made of up Aluminum, Nickel and Cobalt BUT...alnico III magnets have NO cobalt in their makeup.

    To date there has not been a single Blackguard era Telecaster found with even a trace of cobalt in the bridge pickup magnets meaning that so far all Blackguard Telecaster bridge pickups have been Alnico (or Alni as it maybe) III magnets.

    The earliest Tele's found with Alnico V magnets in the bridge pickups date form 1955 and were transitional as they were flat pole pickups made just before the switch to staggered magnet pickups.

    Another thing I find very interesting about this is there is lots of proof that some 1954 Strats were made with the same alnico III magnets...
    I had a 1954 Strat. It was my least favorite sounding vintage Strat that I ever owned. Weak sounding.

    I always assumed that the original flat poled bridge pickup that was in my '54 Tele was alnico 5. But maybe not because I don't love its tone either. Again: weak. Great for rhythm when coupled with the neck pickup but doesn't push my amp hard enough for solos.

    So I've had Joe Bardens in it for years and keep the original pickups in the case. The Bardens sound nothing like a vintage Tele pickups, but they don't hum onstage and I do like them. Especially the neck pickup.

    I also owned a beautiful Custom Shop Nocaster. Loved it but those alnico 3 Fender Nocaster pickups had to go and I replaced them Alnico 2 Antiquitys which, again, I love.

    Alnico 3 just doesn't do it for me, whether they're vintage correct or not. And alnico 3 DOES NOT give me the tone of my first Tele which was a '51. Alnico 2 does.
    Last edited by Lewguitar; 01-06-2013 at 09:57 AM.

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    Ultimate Tone Slacker Frankly's Avatar
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    Default Re: Roy Buchanan: PBS Greatest Unknown Guitarist In The World

    IFLHO, A3 is nice.

    He's a complicated character, and the clips on YouTube are not slick, but Don Mare has done some nice stuff with his Roy pickups--A3.

    Thank you.

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    Fuzzy. Guitars the guy who invented fire's Avatar
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    Default Re: Roy Buchanan: PBS Greatest Unknown Guitarist In The World

    Very interesting that the 51 you had sounded good to your ears but no other alnico III pickup does.

    The windings were sort of varied from pickup to pickup but most of them tend to be in a range.

    One thing very much worth talking when discussing blackguard era pickups is the magnet wire...

    In 1950 all Fender pickups, neck and bridge used 43 gauge wire, sometime in 1951 Fender switched to 42 gauge wire on the bridge pickups only so 1951 is the transition year for what is the biggest change in Blackguard era bridge pickups.

    Nancy for sure used 42 gauge wire and your 51 could have been 42 or 43...
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    Ultimate Tone Slacker Lewguitar's Avatar
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    Default Re: Roy Buchanan: PBS Greatest Unknown Guitarist In The World

    I'm going out now for the day Christian. But when I get back I'm going to PM Evan and ask him to ask Seymour about this and see if he'll post. Seymour is also a friend on Facebook and says "Hi" occasionally, as is MJ. I'm going to write to Seymour and see if he'll give his thoughts on this. I get the feeling Seymour has better things to do than hang out online though.

    Maybe you should PM Evan?

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    Fuzzy. Guitars the guy who invented fire's Avatar
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    Default Re: Roy Buchanan: PBS Greatest Unknown Guitarist In The World

    I'm headed to play some guitar but I'll drop a PM on my way out and see what happens...
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    Human powerplant Vasshu the humanoid typhoon's Avatar
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    Default Re: Roy Buchanan: PBS Greatest Unknown Guitarist In The World

    I think it was because the Military used alot of Alnico V actually.....If I remember correctly!?
    Love Roy by the way!!
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    Default Re: Roy Buchanan: PBS Greatest Unknown Guitarist In The World

    Seymour (yes, that Seymour) tells an awesome story about Les Paul (yes, that Les Paul), taking him to see Roy Buchanan for the first time.
    Quote Originally Posted by jon the art guy View Post
    Aceman, your advice was a rich tapestry of hard-fought research, blood, sweat and tears and the homespun wisdom we've all learned to expect and relish from our itinerant face-painted lunatic. I would like to award you a internet trophy for "best comment on a proco rat discussion". Let it be written in the annals of history; Aceman sure as heck helped.

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