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pippy

Jan Akkerman.

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Continuing on from the Hi-Jack over in the beat-up LP thread...

 

Here's J.A. in the studio of the BBC's 'Old Grey Whistle Test' back in 1972 playing the Filter-Tron-in-the-neck-equipped LP Black Beauty as mentioned in post #35 over in the last thread.

Intrestingly Thijs van Leer wishes us all a Merry Xmas and a Happy New Year so it's rather apt!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-v7LzOeTkfM

 

I originally thought, because of the wear underneath the p'ups, it was the same BB as shown in one of pauloon's earlier posts in a different incarnation but it's a different one entirely.

 

P.

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I remember watching that with my brother....blew us away....

Not many people had heard of Focus at that time,i seem to remember the record company saying they had to go into mega production mode of ''moving waves'' the day after that whistle test,every press they had was chugging out copies of ''moving waves'' to meet the demand.

 

I saw them three or four times in their early ''golden period''...one was the day after Kossoff died :( at Newcastle mayfair...great gig.

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"I got the Gibson Les Paul in Focus just before Moving Waves. I saw Clapton play a Les Paul but when I lived in the Indonesian quarter in Amsterdam we all knew about The Tielman Brothers. That was in 1955 or 56 and they played the Black Beauties already. It was used as a blues instrument, then of course Bill Haley used it as a rock instrument in "Rock Around The Clock". But you didn't have an idea of where to get this instrument or how to get it at that time. And then I saw Clapton with one and I thought "Hey, this thing is in England" not realising that they imported them from the States."

 

"I liked the sustain, the humbuckers don't have much treble but I worked my way around it again. For me, to get that clarity of the Telecaster I bought this thing in London called Color Sound for eleven quid. I screwed up about forty Leslies every night because of it . It was a treble booster, so you could get a single-coil pick up sound."

"The Focus thing was recorded with the Fender amp and the Color Sound in between. It gives it brightness. I like that. Actually before anyone thought of using a preamp I used that as a preamp. I wasn't one for effects pedals. I used wah-wah on Brainbox "Amsterdam, the First Days") and it was a great gadget but once was enough!!"

 

"I modified this guitar myself to start off with. I put a Gretsch pickup in the neck position and kind of screwed up the wiring. Not realising that I'd hooked it up in and out of phase probably - that gave that special tone to it. That triggered that whole DiMarzio customising thing. Get the front Humbucker out! I like the one near the tailpiece that's a very good pick up.You get the clarity and special tone from the Gretsch pickup."

 

 

 

 

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Here's (the studio cut of) 'Sylvia' with some footage with Akkerman playing his LP Personal before he removed the low-impedance p'ups; but notice he's already modified them! Pole-pieces?!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OznS7X9BOxs#t=27

 

Incidentally 'Sylvia' was the first track by Focus that I ever heard - in the studio of the Language Lab technician in my school - and I still absolutely love it.

In fact before I got my iphone I always had the opening sequence as my cell-phone ring-tone.

 

P.

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Thanks for posting that one.

Jan Akkerman is just a tremendous guitarist.

Somewhere I have the copy of Guitar Player where he was talking about his 200 Watt Marshall stacks and they asked him if he wasn't getting carried away.

His reply was something like that's exactly the idea!

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......they asked him if he wasn't getting carried away.......His reply was something like that's exactly the idea!

That's just too funny for words! Perfect!

 

Thanks for sharing that, SteveFord. I don't know you (yet) but I like you already!....

 

[thumbup]

 

P.

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Thanks for posting that one.

Jan Akkerman is just a tremendous guitarist.

Somewhere I have the copy of Guitar Player where he was talking about his 200 Watt Marshall stacks and they asked him if he wasn't getting carried away.

His reply was something like that's exactly the idea!

 

Ha! Not an Akkerman fan at all, or Focus, just enjoying reading you Akkerman Nerds, but I do remember that also!

 

rct

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In his Focus time, Akkerman became known for using very thin strings on his electric guitars, something that contributed to his unique sound. Despite having suffered from RSI on his left hand in recent years, he's now using a slightly heavier gauge. "My E-string was an .008 when I was with Focus, with low E being .038. The .008 didn't exist yet in those days, so I needed to use a banjo string. We didn't have a singer in many of the bands I played in as a teenager, so I had to play the melody, and with the high E being the melody string, it became very important. I had to play it very sensitively, almost like a violin, moving my hand parallel to the neck for vibrato.

 

Now I think it sounds like jangle, but it did what it had to do. These days, I use 9s or 10s for the high E and my strings are Elixir. They remain in tune for a long time and don't break easily.

 

''The sound is a little less, but the tone has to come from my fingers anyway, so it's not a big deal." (should be of great interest to a certain member).

In stating that his sound comes from his fingers, Akkerman places himself in the go-easy-on-the-effects corner of the guitar community, and it's not surprising that he travels lightly. "My guitar sound is straight ahead and I don't like to put rubbish in between my hands and the amp. I use a valve Tube Technology amp and then into a Line 6 POD XT, and from there into two cabinets. I used a Leslie in the past, but the Line 6 Leslie effect sounds excellent.".

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