Thursday, August 30, 2007

They Say It's Your Birthday

Those who know me best -- by which I mean several contributors to Eschaton who I have never met personally -- are aware that I have been known to opine that the most beautiful sound on God's green earth is that of a Rickenbacker 12-string guitar well played . My old friend Tony Forte is the proud owner of one that's just turned forty (sort of). And he plays it like a master.

"The Rick I bought in spring '67 from a penthouse atop a luxury high rise in
Fort Lee. It was made in April '66.

Originally a 360 deluxe, I sent it to the plant in the early 70's for factory
modification -- pickup #3 and new guts, including master volume.

Roger McGuinn personally advised me on the transition, which included
changing machine heads to Grovers and Schaller mini's.

Remember when i asked him what made him pick the one with 3 pickups (ie, the SOUND!!!)and he said- "i dunno, it looked cool."

Tony's a brilliant musician and songwriter and if there's anybody alive who can do the whole jingle-jangle guitar thing better than him I've never encountered them (full disclosure: I played in a succession of bands with him back in the day).

He also rants very entertainingly; check out his podcasts at Oh, Don't Get Me Started.


Kid Charlemagne said...

I love the Rick o' sound too! That's a pretty sweet guitar fer sure!

Cleveland Bob said...

I've always loved the Rickenbacker sound as well. A buddy of mine once had a red Rickenbacker bass we dubbed "Little Ricky".

On another note, today is also my wife's birthday and while older than Tony's guitar, she too, when properly strummed, emits some very melodic sounds.

Kid Charlemagne said...


Your buddy looks a little like REM's Peter Buck.

steve simels said...

Back in the day he was a ringer for Ron Wood.

Ironically, he played Keith in the number three Stones tribute band in New Jersey.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of buddies with 12 string guitars, my friend has one of these.

TMink said...

I never owned a Ric guitar, but I had a nice, heavy stereo bass for awhile. Great instrument! The best, most outlandish Ric 12 I ever heard was McGuin doing 8 Miles High live and solo. It was mind bending in every sense of the word. How the hell he made those sounds come out of that guitar, I have no idea.


steve simels said...

I'm a mad fan of the Byrds and McGuinn, obviously.

McGuinn played on an Elvis Costello record -- I think it was "Veronica" -- and Costello said that McGuinn had by the far the hugest instrumental sound of anybody he ever worked with.