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Thursday, December 27, 2012

New Years Break



I will be off to Lebanon tomorrow, so don't expect any updates (unless there is something worth posting) until the 4th of January.

I wish everyone a bluesy 2013!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

How I Feel Kuwait is Like Now


34th Blues Music Award Nominees Announced




The Blues Foundation  has announced the nominees for their 34th annual Blues Awards, set to take place in Memphis, Tennessee on May 9, 2013.

It's a huge list so bear with me here, after the jump.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Blues Christmas!


Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all you
Blues fans, from me and Speakin' the Blues

'Christmas Christmas Blues' - Charley Jordan 



Sunday, December 23, 2012

'You's a Whiskey Headed Woman'


Don't you hate it when your woman can handle whiskey better than you?

Another pre-war blues, 'Whiskey Head Woman' was performed by country blues great Tommy McClennan in 1939. His songs such as "Bottle Up and Go" and "Cross Cut Saw" became blues standards and covered by artists such as Albert King.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Cover Art for my Next Single 'Snake Oil Blues'



Look out for the next Avant-Garde-Music-Projects & Household Productions collaboration on 'Snake Oil Blues', coming out January 2013.


Design by Bachir Najjar.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Riot in Cell Block Nine - The Blues Brothers


"Scarface Jones said It`s too late to quit 
 Pass the dynamite, don`t you give me any shit"

This is one of the ultimate kick ass blues songs, originally written by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller in 1954, reaching No. 1 in the RnB charts by The Robins.

This version by The Blues Brothers features the sneering vocals of Dan Aykroyd (as Elwood Blues) with the usual New York horns and the Southern rhythm sound of the band.

Have a good weekend!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Where did the Blues Come From?


That was the question blues pianist Otis Spann asked in his song, "Blues Never Die".

His answer?

From the lowlands... the Mississippi Delta.

He also says  in the song:

"When you're in trouble
the Blues is a man's best friend
Blues ain't ask where you goin'
and it don't care where you been"

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

More Pre-WW2 Blues to Satisfy your Soul: 'Poor And Ain't Got A Dime'


Floyd Council was a great bluesman of his time and ours.

By the way, did you do know how Pink Floyd got their name?

From Floyd Council, and Pink Anderson; both blues musicians. Take their first names and you got it. So you can already understand the greatness of Floyd. (Now you know which one is Pink... get it?!)

Here's an old song by Floyd from 1937 called " Poor and I Ain't Got a Dime"

The Dubai Jazz Festival Continues to Disappoint



Not much has passed since I wrote about the 2013 Dubai Jazz Festival. Deep Purple are headlining the event, and I was skeptical.

Well, somehow my pessimism has come true (for once).

So far, along with Deep Purple, 3 Doors Down, One Republic, and The Script (just announced  have been confirmed to perform.

Just by looking at the above bands, you know what direction this is going.

Not only are they some of the most un-jazz performers, they are not even remotely close to be even considered "guest material" for such an event.

Not only that, but the official Twitter account of the festival are arrogant enough to say this:


There has been a huge backlash against the organizers, whose headline as per their homepage is:

Emirates Airline Dubai Jazz Festival® ROCKING THE CITY



If this is not a sign of things to come, then I don't know what is. Unfortunately what was considered (perhaps until a few years ago) a great event where fans can come and listen to all sorts of JAZZ music, the paradigm is to sell as many tickets by using non-jazz artists as headliners.

I will be following this closely and keep you updated.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Happy Birthday Paul Butterfield!



Today in 1942, blues vocalist and harpist Paul Butterfield was born in Chicago.

Paul picked up the harmonica and started hanging around the famous bluesmen at the time, including Muddy Waters and Howlin' Wolf, the latter which took him into his band for a while. After that he started his own blues band which indlucded guitar great Mike Bloomfield, and the 1965 debut album "The Paul Butterfield Blues Band" is considered of the best albums of all time according to Rolling Stone magazine.

He played at the Woodstock Festival in 1969 with his band, and also performed on Muddy Waters "Fathers & Sons" album, which also featured Buddy Miles, Mike Bloomfield, and Donald "Duck" Dunn alongside Muddy's band.

He was known for his distinctive harmonica playing and passion for the blues. Regretfully he died in 1987 on drug and alcohol abuse.

Here's one of the tracks performed at Woodstock 1969; have a great one Paul!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Albert King Inducted to the 2013 Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame


[SOURCE]

Albert King, the blues guitar legend, has been inducted to the 2013 Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame, alongside Rush, Donna Summer, Quincy Jones, Public Enemy, Randy Newman, Heart, and Lou Adler.

This is a great addition, as Albert King was one of the pinnacles of the blues. He joins the current rank of bluesmen in the Hall of Fame, such as Muddy Waters, T-Bone Walker, BB King, Howlin' Wolf, Robert Johnson, and others.

Congrats to Albert King... I think he was not born under a bad sign afterall!

Here's a live vid of King:

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Historical Jazz Club, Lenox Lounge, to Shutdown.



The series of sad news in jazz keeps coming; the Lenox Lounge, a historical jazz club frequented by many greats including Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Billie Holiday and more, will be shutting down after 73 years in business. This New York bar in Harlem was a monument to the city's culture.

It has also been featured in several movies, including American Gangster and Shaft.

It's always sad to see historical music landmarks being shutdown due to high costs.

Here's a live jazz video from the Lenox Lounge:



[SOURCE]

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Read my Article on Kuwait-Music.com!



I have written another article for Kuwait Music, and I hope you guys voice your opinion on the matter :)

The link to the article is below. Thanks again for the great team over at KM for their support and good work!

Kuwait's Music Scene: On Final Breath?

Monday, December 10, 2012

Happy Birthday Guitar Slim!


Today in 1926, Eddie "Guitar Slim" Jones was born.

He didn't have a long career; (he passed away at the age of 32 in 1959) however short lived it was, he did make a name for himself.

After leaving Mississippi and going to New Orleans, he recorded "The Things That I Used to Do" in 1954, which became a number one hit (famously, Stevie Ray Vaughan covered this song).

He became an alcoholic and unfortunately died of pneumonia. He is still remembered for his guitar tones, which were distorted enough (remember this was the 50's) to cause a ruckus. Jimi Hendrix and Buddy Guy really learned a lot of Slim.

Here's a song fitting to tell the tale of Guitar Slim, called "Bad Luck Blues".

Sunday, December 9, 2012

The 2013 Grammy Awards: The Blues & Jazz Nominees




Another year, another Grammy Award Ceremony. On February 10, 2013, artists will be awarded for their achievements in the various genres of music.

As usual, I'll only be bringing you the blues & jazz nominations.

If you remember, there were some changes to the awards last year (see my previous post on this [here]), and it continues to this year, where the awards for the jazz and blues categories were downsized dramatically.

Anyhow, here is the list for the 55th annual Grammy Awards. See the entire list [here].


Best Improvised Jazz Solo 
Cross Roads
Ravi Coltrane, soloist
Track from: Spirit Fiction
Hot House
Gary Burton ; Chick Corea, soloists
Track from: Hot House
Alice In Wonderland
Chick Corea, soloist
Track from: Further Explorations (Chick Corea, Eddie Gomez & Paul Motian)
J. Mac
Kenny Garrett, soloist
Track from: Seeds From The Underground
Ode
Brad Mehldau, soloist
Track from: Ode (Brad Mehldau Trio)

Best Jazz Vocal Album 
Soul Shadows
Denise Donatelli
1619 Broadway: The Brill Building Project
Kurt Elling
Live
Al Jarreau (And The Metropole Orkest)
The Book Of Chet
Luciana Souza
Radio Music Society
Esperanza Spalding

Best Jazz Instrumental Album 
Further Explorations
Chick Corea, Eddie Gomez & Paul Motian
Hot House
Chick Corea ; Gary Burton
Seeds From The Underground
Kenny Garrett
Blue Moon
Ahmad Jamal
Unity Band
Pat Metheny Unity Band

Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album 
Centennial: Newly Discovered Works Of Gil Evans
Gil Evans Project
For The Moment
Bob Mintzer Big Band
Dear Diz (Every Day I Think Of You)
Arturo Sandoval

Best Latin Jazz Album 
Flamenco Sketches
Chano Domínguez
¡Ritmo!
The Clare Fischer Latin Jazz Big Band
Multiverse
Bobby Sanabria Big Band
Duos III
Luciana Souza
New Cuban Express
Manuel Valera New Cuban Express


Best Blues Album

33 1/3
Shemekia Copeland

Locked Down
Dr. John

Let It Burn
Ruthie Foster

And Still I Rise
Heritage Blues Orchestra

Bring It On Home
Joan Osborne

Again, the blues category is slimmed to only one, mixing both traditional and contemporary blues. The jazz categories are also slimmed out to only five. It's nice to see Ravi Coltrane (son of John Coltrane) in the list, as well as hard hitters like Chick Corea and Pat Metheny.

I'll be posting the results when they come out!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Jazz Legend Dave Brubeck Dead at 91



Story Link]

Dave Brubeck, the famous jazz pianist, composer and band leader, most know for his groundbreaking track "Take Five", has died yesterday Wednesday Dec.5, a day before his birthday (today). I was looking forward to write a happy (in a literal sense) birthday, but it was never meant to be.

 Brubeck was known not only for his great sense of music, but also for his universal approach to composition and experimentation with different meters. He was also the first ever jazz musician to have an album sell one million copies (the seminal "Time Out" from 1959), is was the second jazz musicians to have his face on the cover of Time magazine after Louis Armstrong.

 He also broke the barrier of racism, where he would employ African-American musicians to perform with him, despite anger from society at the time.


 He carried on playing through the 60's all the way till 2011, where despite old age, managed to wow the crowd at every occasion.

 Here's his classic, undying track called "Take Five", which is in 5/4 time. Rest in Peace Dave...




Monday, December 3, 2012

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Ruthie Foster - 'Runaway Soul'


I heard this song on internet blues radio... and damn this woman got a kick ass voice!

Ruthie Foster has gone far since her debut in 1997.  At the 2010 Blues Music Awards, Ruthie won the award for Contemporary Blues Female Artist of the Year.

I love the raw power of this track... listen to it loud!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

56 Years Ago, Muddy Waters Records 'Got My Mojo Workin'



Muddy and his ever famous blues band recorded one of his signature tunes, Got My Mojo Workin' today in 1956.

Muddy Waters was at his peak during this time, scoring multiple chart hits, and this would be one the four songs of his that was inducted to the Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame's "500 Songs that Shaped Rock n' Roll".

Here's the original 1956 version, and below it the earliest live video version from the Newport Jazz Festival in 1960. Now I'm gonna go back to Louisiana;







Happy Birthday Jaco Pastorius!


Today in 1951, John Pastorius, also known as Jaco, was born.

He was the prime influence in bringing electric bass to the forefront of music, and in his case, jazz-fusion / electric jazz.

His favorite bass, the Bass of Doom as it's called, is a 1962 fretless Fender Jazz Bass, and his "growl" was done by using the bridge pickup only and playing over the bridge, creating a nasal, almost voice like sound. Topping it off with some serious skills and bass was changed forever.

His influence has reached to all bassists, including Marcus Miller, Victor Wooten, Steve Bailey, and many many others.

Unfortunately he died at a young age of 35 in 1987 due to a fight with a bouncer at a club in Florida.

He is the only electric bassist to be inducted at the Down Beat Jazz Hall of Fame.

Here's an early live solo with the band Trilogue... enjoy and have a great one Jaco!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Day We Rocked Dubai

In 2008, our band The Lounging Criminals submitted a few original songs to compete for the Shamal Battle of the Bands.  The winning band would open the 2008 Dubai Desert Rock Festival, that year being headlined by Muse and Korn.

We got the call that we were chosen to compete. It was a great trip with the guys (Aziz, Fawaz, Yousef, and myself), rented a villa, did all kinds of crazy stuff; and most importantly, on March 6, we rocked the house with our original music.

 At the end of the day, we didn't pull off the win (we got 3rd place, out of 11 regional bands), but we did get to see Velvet Revolver and attend the show.

 Here are a few pics of that night, and of course I was repping the Blues!




JLP's 'Through the Looking Glass' - A Documentary



JLP, a local act from Lebanon, are currently on a roll.

Dozens of gigs later, JLP has become a dominating force, performing cover songs from across the musical spectrum in their style.

The band is composed of my AUB buddies Ramzi, Ziad, Boudy, Ghassan, and Joe (who I played alongside with at the 2008 Dubai Battle of the Bands, but that's a different story).

They won "Best Local Cover Act" at Timeout Beirut's Nightlife Awards 2012; the Readers Choice.




What's is purely awesome is that they made a VH1 styled documentary which was beautifully made; check out the over 25 (!) minute video below; these guys are hard working and are the real deal.

If you are ever in Beirut you should definitely check them out; they are performing weekly in several pubs mostly in the Hamra area.


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Happy Birthday Jimi Hendrix!!



The man who singlehandedly revolutionized the future of rock and roll, the Voodoo Child Jimi Hendrix was born on this  day in 1942.

I mean... I could go on and on about Jimi; about his passion for music, to his guitar experimentation, the whole guitar burning ritual in the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967, Woodstock... the Band of Gypsies... the list goes on and on.

He took the roots of the blues to a whole new level, and with that changed music forever. He is repeatedly voted the best guitarist of all time, and among the most popular musicians ever.

He did it all while he was still young, and unfortunately died at the age of 27...

I will let the music speak for itself... the everlasting "Purple Haze"... now excuse me while I kiss the sky.

Monday, November 26, 2012

67 Years Ago: Charlie Parker Records 'Ko-Ko' featuring Dizzie Gillespie

Bird and Dizzy
Today in 1945, the first ever bebop song was recorded, according to popular opinion.

See, during this time, there was a ban on union musicians to record for the labels due to royalty issues; so not many records were released, and due to this it has lead this song, "Ko-Ko" to be perceived as such.

Of course, Bird, real name Charlie Parker, would create massive waves with this song, which features trumpeter extraordinaire Dizzy Gillespie on trumpet (and piano) and himself on alto sax.

This new sound, of fast solos, complex rhythm work and improv, would soon lead to other forms of jazz, including hard-bop and modal jazz.

It's interesting to disbelieve this song is actually from 1945; it still sounds fresh today, and is easily understood how this genre of jazz was the framework for the future. Interesting tid-bit; it seems Miles Davis was supposed to play the trumpet on this track but was not available, so Dizzy stepped in!

Here's the song 'Ko-Ko'; enjoy everyone!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Deep Purple to Headline Dubai Jazz Festival 2013



Now sponsored by Emirates Airlines, the 2013 Dubai Jazz Festival has been announced, with so far only one act headlining: classic rockers Deep Purple.

Aging rockers headlining a jazz festival... it's too ironic and sad to be honest. Trying to showhorn non-jazz acts just to increase ticket sales is pretty low.

I mean, last year they got James Blunt (see my 2012 Dubai Jazz Fest post [here])... they had Celine Dion open the Jamaican Jazz & Blues Fest...

It's a shame really. Even in the blues they add reggae and other styles just to broaden the audience.

I might be too idealistic but I feel it just convolutes the music.

See the official Dubai Jazz Fest site [here] and stay tuned for updates; they just might surprise us with the other acts.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Independence Day Lebanon!


69 Years and the Struggle Continues
1943 - 2012

10 Most Influential Texas Blues Guitarists


The Dallas Observer has published an article of the 10 most influential Texas blues guitarists. It's a great list (except for Dimebag Darrell... this is out of place and shouldn't be listed... he's a metal guitarist for gods sake) and there's a lot of information and videos!

The list is as follows:

10 - Albert Collins
  9 - T-Bone Walker
  8 - Lightnin' Hopkins
  7 - Blind Lemon Jefferson
  6 - Eric Johnson
  5 - Billy Gibbons (of ZZ Top)
  4 - Dimebag Darrell
  3 - Freddie King
  2 - WC Clark

and at number one... you guessed it:

STEVIE RAY VAUGHAN

So to celebrate this here's a kickass version of Tightrope. Check out the list in detail [here].

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

'King Bee' - The Final Muddy Waters Album



After a long career that lasted from the 40's, Muddy Waters recorded his last album in 1981, with the title "King Bee", after a song written by Slim Harpo, which is also the first track. This would be the third studio album recorded under the Blue Sky/Sony label with guitarist Johnny Winter (the first being Hard Again and the second I'm Ready).

However, not everything was rosy as previous albums. By this time, Muddy's health was beginning to deteriorate and due to this, less live performances were made. This didn't fare well with his bandmates (including Bob Margolin, a great guitarist in his own right), because they needed the gigs to make money. The sessions were filled with tension, and to this, not many new songs were recorded. Instead, unused material from Hard Again were used alongside the couple of songs that were made.

This reflects the overall quality of the music, even though it sounds superb, but the rawness found in the first two seems absent. This one feels more somber... especially on songs like "Sad, Sad Day" which features an amazing guitar solo by Johnny Winter.

There's an acoustic "throwback" number as well, on "Feel Like Going Home" with Winter playing on a National Steel resonator guitar; the final result is not as tight as "Can't be Satisfied" from Hard Again. (This song was used from those sessions).

One of the new standout tracks is "Champagne and Reefer", which Muddy wrote to please the younger crowds (See the video below).

On 2004 Deluxe Edition, 2 more tracks are added being: "I Won't Go On" and "Clouds in my Heart" which add more value.

I wouldn't recommend to start your collection from here, but it's still got some great blues.

Tracklist:

  1. I'm A King Bee
  2. Too Young To Know
  3. Mean Old Frisco Blues 
  4. Forever Lonely
  5. I Feel Like Going Home 
  6. Champagne & Reefer
  7. Sad, Sad Day
  8. (My Eyes) Keep Me In Trouble
  9. Deep Down in Florida #2 
  10. No Escape From The Blues
  11. (bonus track) I Won't Go On
  12. (bonus track) Clouds in my Heart


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Cover Art: Wu Tang Clan VS Blue Note Records


No, it's not a Shaolin shadowboxing faceoff (all though that would be awesome).

Flickr user Logan Mills (akadvantagelogan) has made an awesome reinterpretation of the Wu Tang Clan (my favorite hip hop group) cover albums with the styling of jazz label Blue Note Records, whose albums such as John Coltrane's Blue Train (see below) have become an iconic style on their own.



Blue Train's cover inspired the "blue" era of Blue Note Records.

Here are a couple below, of RZA, GZA, and Raekwon, and you see the full 21 photos at his Flickr site [here].






Eric Clapton Announces US Tour & Crossroads Festival



Eric Clapton has announced a major US Tour in 2013 that will end with the 4th Crossroads Guitar Festival.

From Eric's Official Page:

Clapton and his band will visit more than a dozen cities across the U.S. beginning March 14, 2013 (see itinerary below). The tour will end with the two-night Festival where Clapton will gather the past, present and future of guitar music onto one stage for an unparalleled musical event

I expect there will be a huge roster of awesome musicians, who in the past include BB King, Buddy Guy, Jimmie Vaughan, Robert Randoph, Jeff Beck, Vince Gill, ZZ Top, John Mayer etc. The official website of the Crossroads Fest has opened; check it out [here]:

 I have the 2004 and the 2007 on DVD; while I enjoyed the 2004 concert, the 2007 however felt stale.  Here's "Sweet Home Chicago" being played by Clapton, Buddy Guy, Jimmie Vaughan, Robert Cray, and Hubert Sumlin from the 2004 festival:



Monday, November 19, 2012

'Undertaker Blues' - Buddy Moss, 1934


Another low down, dirty, somber blues today from the 30's... this time by Buddy Moss.

Buddy lived the blues... not only was he jailed and convicted for murder of his wife, but also was forgotten as a musician. He was very famous in the 30's and 40's, playing along side Blind Blake, Blind Willie McTell, and Curley Weaver.

More rootsy blues coming your way as always.





'Sugar Mama Blues No. 1' - Tampa Red, 1934



If you're feeling like an old school, low down blues, then look further than Tampa Red's version of Sugar Mama. Obviously this is his first recording, hence 'No. 1".

 This standard from 1934 was also recorded many times by other artists like Howlin' Wolf, John Lee Hooker, and Sonnyboy Williamson.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

New Sweet-ass Fender Telecaster Model



Fender has released a Factory Special Run, the Thinline Super Deluxe Telecaster. It's styling is definitely not of the standard Fender; but rather like Gretsch, which reminds me of  The Chickencaster I posted about before.

From Fender:

Available in Black and Olympic White, its elegant appointments include a resonant semi-hollow basswood body with double binding and a single f hole, matching painted headstock, 7.25"-radius bound rosewood fingerboard with pearloid block inlays, and a scorching pair of Fideli'Tron™ humbucking pickups.

Get more details [here].

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Keep Calm and Jazz On


Record Store Owner Finds the 'Holy Grail' Robert Johnson Record



A lucky record store owner in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania has found a rare and legendary record of Robert Johnson's second recorded song, "I Believe I'll Dust my Broom", under a mess of old records. It's in prefect condition and according to experts, only between 15-30 copies exist in such a shape.

Selling price of this record could be between $6,000 - $12,000... but he doesn't plan on selling it just get! I wouldn't sell it for any top bidder... what a great find and an awesome story.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Ten Jazz Albums to Hear Before You Die

Yes, that's more than ten. Sue me.
The Village Voice (an ace website by the way) has listed ten jazz albums, that, in their opinion, you must hear before you die.

Now obviously we cannot have a definitive list, especially that ten is too small for such a historical and diverse genre... but never the less some of them are spot on.

Here's the list (the full link is [here] ) : 
10. The Shape of Jazz to Come - Ornette Coleman
9. The Bridge - Sonny Rollins
8. Head Hunters - Herbie Hancock
7. Ella and Louis - Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong
6. Bitches Brew - Miles Davis
5. Monk's Dream - Thelonious Monk
4. Time Out - Dave Brubeck
3. Ah Um - Charles Mingus
2. Blue Train - John Coltrane
1. Kind of Blue - Miles Davis
Miles Davis gets two mentions, and Kind of Blue is obviously number one... it's too important to be anything less. Nice to see Coltrane at number two, but I might have suggested A Love Supreme instead. Seeing two forward thinking albums like Ah Um and A Shape to Jazz to Come was great... Head Hunters and Bitches are tributes to a  more electric sound of jazz.

Well other than the Ella/Louis album (since I'm not really into vocal jazz) I don't think this is a bad list overall! 


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Read a Lengthy Interview with Miles Davis from 1985



Over on The Guardian, they published an old NME article about Miles Davis from 1985. It's pretty long, so be ready. Here are some highlights:

"Coltrane was a very greedy man. Bird was, too. He was a big hog."
"If you jump on a horse and see he's on the wrong foot, you keep checking him until he gets to the fence – that's what I do when I'm playing."
"When you do anything too long, you either wear it out or lose interest."
"I'd rather play something that you can learn and like that you don't know. I don't want people to know what I am."
"If I ever leave a will it's not gonna be to my relatives, it's to the people I function around best. You're around musicians all the time. You're not alone."

Read the full article [here].

Monday, November 12, 2012

55 Years Ago, Thelonious Monk & John Coltrane Live at Carnegie Hall



Although this recording was made on November 29, 1957, I am too excited to wait that long.

Coltrane left the Miles Davis quintet in April 1957, due to his drug addictions. In this time he tried to sober up, and before rejoining the quintet in 1958 (and went on to record the two important albums "Milestones" and "Kind of Blue"), he joined forces with the legendary pianist and leader, Thelonious Monk.

There was a studio album released, and several live shows recorded. This particular show in 1957 was only discovered in 2005 at the Library of Congress. It was remastered by Monk's son and released on Blue Note Records.

The album was critically acclaimed for a good reason; two jazz masters playing classic tracks, including "Blue Monk" as below, to great skill and form.

You must get this live album for great showmanship and intensity!


The US Air Force Custom Precision Bass


Over on custom guitar luthiers Doner Designs, I spotted a unique custom Precision Bass, in a US Air Force fighter jet design... full with knobs and stickers and everything!

 There are no concrete details, but what it looks to me are EMG Precision pickups, a Gibson EB mudbucker, and a Rickenbacker 4003 bridge pickup. Active/Passive switches, bass/treble/mid boost/cuts and volume etc.

I'd join the Air Force just to play that bass!