Bill Hillman Guitar No. 17
Yamaha Black Jumbo
Serial No. 40517538
. .Ever since working with the Everly Brothers in the early '60s I have been a devoted fan of their harmonies . . . and their black Gibson guitars. Since buying a vintage Everly guitar was out of my price range, I recently did the next best thing a few years ago — I answered an add placed by a pensioner and former-jazz-player and bought his sunburst Gibson acoustic, but it really didn't look or feel much like an Everly. So, soon after this purchase I ordered a Yamaha black jumbo which looked much like an Everly Gibson -- sort of a poor man's Everly model. I have used this easy-to-amplify acoustic for most of our recent small gigs where we perform without the full band line-up.
We have done a number of folk festivals and ethnic concerts in recent years where it has been a treat to work with our kids. First born, Ja-On has played sax in rock bands and he now teaches the instrument at a local music studio. Son, Robin, besides playing trombone in the Brandon University Jazz Band and drums on many of our stage shows, also has a keen interest in Celtic music and looks forward to playing bodhran drums on our acoustic shows. Daughter China-Li, drawing from her Scottish roots, is an even more avid student of all things Celtic. Besides playing piano, synths, drums, guitar, trombone -- she is an excellent harpist and bagpipe player, and highland dancer. The booming sound of my Yamaha acoustic seems to fit in quite nicely with our Celtic explorations. In keeping with my appreciation of all things Chinese, as well as Celtic, I offset the shiny black finish of this flat-top by adding a white strap decorated with Asian characters.
Interestingly, this guitar was the one used by Randy Bachman, much of the time, on their re-union tours and TV special.
Everly Brothers: What They Play
By David Simon
Ref: Acoustic Guitar Central
When it comes to the unmistakable acoustic sound of the Everly Brothers, size matters. For their live work, the brothers lugged around a pair of mid-1950s sunburst Gibson J-200s, although Don says that a 1953 Gibson Southern Jumbo powers those ’50s Cadence tracks. "That was my first guitar," he notes, "the one my dad got for me in Knoxville. I’ve still got it right here." The SJ’s extra big box was especially handy for all those low-tech, one-mic affairs.
At the height of their popularity in the early ’60s, the Everlys designed a guitar in conjunction with Gibson that addressed some of the most persistent problems they’d encountered. First introduced in 1962, the Gibson Everly Brothers model—featuring a trend-setting black finish—was slightly smaller than the J-200 (16 inches wide instead of 17 across the lower bout), but its maple back and sides and X-braced top offered the same distinctive tone. To protect against the brothers’ vigorous strumming, Don devised double tail-fin pickguards that extended below the bridge.
Meanwhile Phil, a perpetual string breaker, suggested a pinless bridge based on the string-routing system of Fender electrics. (Phil’s wire-busting habit would ultimately lead to his 1995 formation of the Everly Music Co., an enterprise dedicated to the production of longer-lasting guitar and bass strings.)
Gibson stopped manufacturing the EB model in 1972 (although it was reintroduced in altered form as the J-180 in 1986), right around the time that Phil ran into a young luthier by the name of Robert Steinegger (PO Box 25304, Portland, OR 97298; email@example.com). Phil had been dissatisfied with a repair job on one of his EB models and gave Steinegger the chance to undo the damage. The Everlys would split shortly after Steinegger delivered the refurbished guitar to a highly satisfied Phil, but a decade later Steinegger and the younger Everly would meet again.
On the verge of the Everlys’ London reunion concert, Phil asked Steinegger if he could build a pair of new guitars based on the style of the Gibson EB. Steinegger obliged—and thus was born the Steinegger Ike Everly model. In the years since, Steinegger has cooked up some 50 Ike models (two of which currently reside in the homes of Paul McCartney and George Harrison—both recent gifts from Phil), as well as a one-shot D-50—a special version of the Ike Everly guitar made of ebony back and sides that features more than a pound of gold inlay. Phil presented this guitar to his brother Don on his 50th birthday in 1987.
Storing and Preserving Your Vintage CollectionRef: [ Vintage Guitar on the WWW - Online Articles ]
By Eric C. Shoaf
You've invested a lot in your collection of guitars, amps, ephemera, and whatnot. Maybe you have some guitars you don't play often for whatever reason, but you want to be sure that when you do open the case, the guitar is just as you left it. Just having the collection under the same roof isn't really enough, though. You need to consider the long-term effects of storage, and plan to counteract them. But caring for your vintage collection isn't hard and it doesn't require much effort on your part, if you keep several basic concepts in mind.
The Big Three
The three dangers to your guitars and amps while in storage are temperature, humidity, and ultraviolet light.
Temperature is a danger and most collectors know about finish checking and its causes, but for those who don't know, checking is a reaction of the guitar's finish which occurs after the instrument has become very cold and is rapidly exposed to warm air. What happens is that the wood warms and expands faster than the finish, causing spidery cracks in the finish itself. It can be avoided by not letting the instrument become cold to start with, or if unavoidable, by letting the instrument slowly return to a reasonable temperature. Extremely cold (sub-zero) temperatures can also cause finish cracking in nitrocellulose lacquers, so you probably don't want to leave your guitar in the trunk on a cold night in Minnesota.
Extreme heat also plays havoc with your collectible guitar by loosening glue joints at the neck, rims, and fingerboard, and warping necks. Hot summer days can be tough on an exposed guitar. When considering long-term storage for your valuable instruments, consider where you are personally comfortable in your house and select an area where the ambient temperature is similar. For example, last time you went to your attic, you may have noticed it was stuffy and hot in the daytime and chilly at night. Attics are very poor storage areas for guitars. They get hot in the summer to as much as 140 degrees and they cool down at night. The heat can cause pickguards to curl, and it can damage wood and glue joints. The cold can cause cracking of plastic parts and possible finish checking. Unless your attic has heat and air conditioning, avoid putting instruments there.
Humidity and moisture are generally bad for your guitar. It causes the wood to swell and grow mildew. Since your house is probably air conditioned in summer, you are probably in good shape if you keep your guitars in and around the "people space," and your attic isn't a good storage place because of temperature and in addition anything stored there is obviously exposed to high levels of humidity.
Many houses have a basement used for storage. How does the air in your basement feel? On the cool side all the time? No fluctuations of temperature? A great place to keep you guitars and amps? Don't bet on it! Moisture migrates to lower-temperature air, so even though your basement may feel alright, you can have high levels of humidity, which is bad for long-term storage. Some basements can reach humidity levels of 90 percent or higher during the summer, whcih can play havoc with your guitars and amplifiers.
If you have acoustic guitars in your collection, you will have to be aware of the swelling in the wood that can be caused by high humidity levels, and you must be concerned with too little moisture; too much dryness in the air can crack tops or backs, narrow necks (which can cause fret ends to protrude), and can dry out the glue which secures tops, backs, and sides together. While basements are typically damp, especially in summer, some can become quite dry in winter because the heating system is often located there. Any forced air system will generate enough heat and dryness to lower the humidity range into the 70 percent area, which is bad for guitars. Unless you can control the temperature and humidity in your basement, best not to keep your guitars there.
The third danger is light. Most everyone knows how the late-'50s cherry sunburst Gibson Les Pauls were prone to fading where the red pigment gave way to an amber look. This was the result of a reaction between the red pigments and light rays, most commonly sunlight. Direct sunlight contains high levels of light in the ultraviolet spectrum. Without getting too technical we'll just say that ultraviolet rays are bad for guitar finishes and can cause fading. They can also accelerate the hardening of plastics in pickguards and bindings. While sunlight is a key source of ultraviolet rays, a far more insidious source is closer to your collection than you might think. Ninety-five percent of all households have at least one fluorescent light installed and most have more than one. Fluorescent lights, most often tubes, have several advantages, such as energy efficiency, long life, cool-burning and they are the main lighting used in most guitar shops. What many people don't know is that they are a key source for damaging ultraviolet light rays. Although it may take awhile, ultraviolet rays can and will damage your guitar if it is exposed directly to them.
What To Avoid When Storing Instruments
* Avoid heat and cold. If your instrument is inadvertently exposed allow plenty of time for it to gradually re-acclimate to local conditions.
* Avoid extremes of humidity. Dry is bad, moist is bad. Be aware of conditions when you seek storage.
* Avoid light sources such as sunlight or fluorescent lights. Standard incandescent light bulbs do not pose a threat.
What to Do When Storing Instruments
* Store your instruments in a place where you yourself would be comfortable. Purchase an accurate thermometer to monitor temperature.
* Choose an area with proper climate controls. Both heat and air conditioning will be required in nearly all locations. For many areas, a dehumidifier will be required for at least part of the year. Obtain an accurate hygrometer to monitor humidity.
* Shield instruments from sunlight. Use diffusers or special ultraviolet protective coverings on windows or fluorescent lights.
Year round temperature level: 68 degrees F + or - 5 degrees.
Year round humidity levels: 50 percent relative humidity + or - 5 percent.
Light levels: 35 foot-candles shielded light.
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