The Brian Jones replica Teardrop Guitar.
Manufactured by Hutchins Guitars (http://www.hutchinsguitars.com)
Designed by Pat Townshend (http://www.staccato-art.co.uk/guitar_frame.htm) to Brian Jones original specification
Strictly limited to only 250
The body of this unique instrument is constructed from gellatong (basswood) with a 25½” scale length maple neck and rosewood fingerboard. Each guitar is delivered individually tuned and ready to play.
There is no more iconic image of the 1960’s than that of Rolling Stone Brian Jones performing on stage with his unique Vox VI Teardrop guitar. In the minds of many, this image personifies what Brian represented – a master musician adapting his instrument to his own specific needs.
The factory standard production Mark VI Teardrop had a natural varnished maple neck, rosewood fretboard, three single coil pickups, three control knobs, three-way pickup selector, cluxon tuners, bigsby type trembler bridge assembly and black scratch plate.
Brian’s customised specification included having the headstock and neck finished in white making his instrument unique to him. Other modifications he insisted on were: two single pickups with the bridge pickup mounted right next to the early Fender Stratocaster bridge with pressed steel bridge saddles, a tone and volume knob for both pickups and a three way Fender type pickup selector switch. He also changed the black scratch plate preferring a chromed finish – possibly to reflect the theatre spotlights back into the audience hence, as if needed, drawing more attention to his unique VOX.
As many of you will know, Pat Townshend is quite unique in his own right. His engineering design and technology skills, a key part in his early career in the motor racing Formula 1 world of the 1960’s adapted easily to his revolutionary drum and guitar designs; with his unique brand – Staccato – attracting the attention of luminaries such as Keith Moon, John Bonham, Bill Wyman - and even the brothers Jagger with whom he eventually went into partnership with to produce his solid body guitars.
Pat’s modification of the Hutchins ‘Ministral’ guitar to meet Brian’s specification is now available – a collectable limited edition instrument to enhance any enthusiast’s memorabilia collection. An instrument that performs as did the original, you won’t be disappointed. Order yours now.
OWN YOUR OWN TO PLAY OR DISPLAY
DISCOUNTED PRICE FOR BJFC MEMBERS
Retail Price: £499.00
Brian Jones Fan Club members: £399.00
Postage, packaging and insurance at cost.
Layaway plans available, please enquire for details
For further details please contact email@example.com or telephone +44 (0) 2476 735978
Each guitar delivered with its own individual Certificate of Authenticity.
On Sunday 19th October, BJFC member signature Teardrop guitar from Pat Townshend at Luton Airport.
Olle (pronounced Ulla) started his flying career in 1972 and since his promotion in 1993 Olle has been a Captain with the Swedish airline TUIfly Nordic AB – one of six airlines belonging to the TUI Group. He currently flies Boeing 757 and 767’s between Sweden and the Mediterranean area and to Florida, Venezuela, Cap Verdi Islands, Canary Islands, United Arab Emirates, Mauritius, the Maldives, Thailand and Cambodia.
However, on this particular day Olle, along with his co-pilot and flight engineer were scheduled to fly the company’s recently acquired Boeing 767 from Luton back to Stockholm, an ideal opportunity to meet up with Pat to receive his ‘special delivery’. Over lunch Pat and Olle discussed the guitar and he subsequently wrote: “To receive the VOX guitar from Pat Townshend was really a thrill for me as I have been waiting for some time to get it. Brian Jones was, and always will be the Foundation Stone and to have such a great memento of him in my Stones collection, together with my records, books and signed memorabilia is just fantastic”.
Fan club member Ian Mundwyler receives his Guitar….
First of all, I have to begin by saying how pleasantly surprised I was by the beautiful hard carry case the Teardrop arrived in. It has a lovely 1960’s style tweed finish, with the Hutchins’ logo tastefully stencilled on the lid. It has four catches (one lockable) and a sturdy handle also finished in tweed material. The case is shaped to fit the guitar and inside it is lined with a nice black fur fabric. Inside, it also has a small compartment for capos, plectrums and the like.
Now for the guitar! It looks great in its white finish, chrome effect scratch plate and dark rosewood fretboard. Indeed, the ‘look’ of this guitar is a ‘stone cold’ classic (pun intended). This 1960’s stunner is deservedly reissued here in its ‘signature’ guise.
Brian Jones signature adorns the head stock where you would normally expect to see the maker’s name. I thought this was a nice touch considering Jones had some input into the design of his original VOX Teardrop. His signature is also printed onto the scratch plate, which may not be such a good thing for those of us who intend to buy these limited edition guitars in order to play them, as opposed to keeping them as museum exhibits in glass cases. I’m firmly of the belief that an instrument is there to be played and I think it would be tragic if all that the 250 signature guitars did was to gather dust! Surely, the BJFC, Hutchins and the man himself would be happier if people used them in earnest to carve out new chapters of glorious music. At the same time, tipping a nod at the founder of one of the greatest bands of all time. I digress!iderable attention to detail has been made in some areas of this guitar. The finish is right, the bridge is right, but most of all the unique position of the pickups is exceptional. I’m pretty sure Jones specified the positioning of the pickups when VOX built him his Teardrop. The Entwhistle low output single coil pickups included on this guitar are quite simply, wonderful. Together with the three way selector switch they provide a choice of fantastic 1960’s rhythm guitar sounds.
If you choose to put this guitar through a valve amplifier you will have to ‘crank’ the amp up in order for it to overdrive/distort. Thanks to the low output pickups. This gives a very authentic 1960’s sound. As well as the Rolling Stones, also thanks in terms of sounds created by bands such as the Kinks, Move, Who and even the Beatles. I know you’re probably thinking that they never used a VOX Teardrop but they used guitars with low output pickups such as Rickenbackers etc. So in this principle they are alike.
With the bridge pickup on the Brian Jones Signature teardrop you can get some terrific ‘plasticky’ 1960’s type sounds which are ideal for quirky riffs, or ‘thin’ angry chord stabs. Add some tremolo or rotary speaker effects to the middle ‘out-of-phase’ position on the three way switch and this guitar will ‘shimmer’ and glisten’ with the best of them. You can also get some great vintage ‘trashy’ rhythm guitar sounds, which as I said, put me in the mind of bands such as the Kinks, Who and Move. Now there’s a strange coincidence, seeing Brian Jones himself considered a ‘face’ of the Mod scene in the mod 1960’s!
That leaves me to mention the neck pickup. This has a ‘nicer’, warmer, mellow tone. Not as rich or deep as a Gibson Les Paul, nor is it a similar sound to that of a Fender Stratocastor: it lacks the substance. However, it still has a pleasing quality all of its own, and by combining this with backing the tone control off a bit you can get a very passable Bluesy/Jazzy tone.
Anyone who is into 1960’s music who has a Strat and a Les Paul will find that the Signature Teardrop will provide them with the ‘missing link’ to creating some splendid authentic sounds from that era. The guitar comes with Schaller style standard machine heads, not the small button type that Jones had. Also, this guitar has standard metal barrel type volume and tone knobs. The original were barrel type, but with a lip or flange at the bottom. You get the idea…
There are a few things I think could have been improved on with the Signature Teardrop. I would actually agree with the ‘anoraks’ and have gone with the small button type machine heads, which are still widely available. Maybe the control knobs would have been harder to source: I’ve never seen the like before! That, I can forgive. What is harder to forgive is not having the limited edition number engraved on the neck plate, as advertised on the Hutchins’ website. Instead it is stencilled onto the back of the neck, just above the strap lock. This may wear off over time with constant use of a strap and believe me you need a strap when playing this guitar. Oh, and for all you string benders out there: if you want to be Jimmy Page, save it for your Les Paul. This guitar has very soft frets and I think you’d be looking at getting the frets stoned (no pun intended) and re-profiled very soon indeed. Another minor gripe is that the edges of the frets are a bit rough and could have been smoothed off.
Overall though, in my opinion, this guitar represents good value for money, especially if you take the unique ‘collectability’ aspect into account. Once the edition is sold out then I guess they will increase in value quite considerably. As a guitarist’s guitar, this model provides you with some wonderful vintage sounds and looks very cool indeed: if you are a rhythm guitarist in a band that also has a lead guitarist and you want to upstage him – then this is definitely the guitar for you. Hmmm, I wonder why that sounds familiar…
Just a final thought, if you admire Brian Jones and his band, the Rolling Stones, then this guitar is priceless.
17th October 2008
Pat Townshend replies to Ian’s comments….
I must say what a pleasure it was to recently meet such a knowledgeable young multi-musician as Ian Mundwyler when Trevor and I delivered his Brian Jones replica Teardrop. Ian had invited us to his studio alongside his house in Reading, and we both spent about three hours in Ian’s company listening and discussing his many musical projects, which incidentally includes his tribute to Brian in the form of a track featuring Ian playing many of the instruments Brian played. Watch this space for news about his progress….
Having had a week or so with the guitar now I certainly appreciate Ian’s positive comments but also the concerns he expresses, which I would like to address. Regarding the comments on the Shaller style machine heads – the original prototype Teardrop I put together (which I have played live at a number of gigs) did have replica ‘Kluxon’ tuners, but the guitar suffered from the same problem Brian had – keeping it in tune. There are many clips of Brian using his Teardrop and to the experienced ear it can be heard to ‘run out’ of tune. The early Fender Strats and Tele’s had the same Kluxon tuners which explains why many live recordings of the bands in the 60’s, using these guitars, do sound a little out of tune. For this reason and to make it signature guitar consistent I decided to use the Shaller style tuners.
Regarding the limited edition number, subsequent to the original specification and wanting to ensure each guitar of the limited edition remained unique, I realised that had it been on the metal neck plate (not really a major guitar component) it could have easily been removed and copied or impersonated. Even though each guitar is delivered with its individual Certificate of Authenticity I decided to have the number printed on the base of the neck itself (which is a major component) and sealed under the clear lacquer. I see Ian’s point about constant use of the strap and how, for the musician, it would in time wear through the lacquer. For those concerned and who intend to use the guitar a lot might I suggest the following: remove the strap button and unscrew the top front heal-plate screw and re-fit the button to this screw into the heal-plate. This modification I’ve found also makes it a lot easier to fit the strap.
As to the frets, yes they would benefit from a very light stoning. Please only use 1200 or 1500 grade wet and dry sand paper on a rubber sanding block, gently run the sanding block from end to end down the length of the fret-board and finish with some metal polish. Incidentally this would be done at the factory in high end high price guitars selling in the region of £750 and above.
Once again Ian, thanks for your comments and hospitality when we visited your studio, if anybody else has comments to add to Ian’s then I would be more than happy to discuss them further on this webpage.
25th October 2008
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