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wesman shaw
HVAC mechanic, Salesman, Writer, Loves music and food, loves to argue - yep, that's me.
HVAC mechanic, Salesman, Writer, Loves music and food, loves to argue - yep, that's me.

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The year was 1982, and Toto IV ruled the airwaves on FM radio. I was 8 years old, and had my own radio/cassette player. It was my pride and my joy.

Ever present on the rock stations that year were the sounds of Toto's 'Rosanna' (MEET YOU ALL THE WAY!) and 'Africa.' Fabulous tunes which give me a rush of adrenaline and nostalgia when I hear them now, all these years later.

But compartmentalizing Steve Lukather as the guitarist from Toto is very short sighted. He's played guitar on more than FIFTEEN HUNDRED albums. He's sort of a badass, really, but an understated and very classy one.

Steve is just THE GUY for many many stars to go to - and then only if he's available. His guitar of choice for years has been an Ernie Ball Music Man designed just for him. The newest one is the Luke III 

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Yamaha has been building musical instruments for well more than a hundred years. They make a lot more than musical instruments, but such were the very foundation of the company.

In the world of guitars Yamaha has a sterling reputation for value. You get a terrific guitar for the money you spend with Yamaha, from their least expensive to their most expensive, you seem to get MORE than what you pay for.

The Yamaha SG 2000 was known as 'the Les Paul Killer.' Well, you could certainly get one for less money than a comparable Gibson Les Paul. Today on the used market, folks know what they have. Thanks to the internet you don't have sellers who've not done their research. A used SG 2000 in good condition is still a better value than a brand spanking new Les Paul Classic. 

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Tony Iommi and the Gibson Tony Iommi SG Guitar
Heavy Metal Pioneer - Tony Iommi Tony Iommi and one of his Gibson SG guitars. Black Sabbath - With Ronnie James Dio Black Sabbath (original lineup) Tony Iommi signs a Gibson SG Tony Iommi - Heavy Metal Guitar Pioneer It is impossible to think of heavy metal...

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The great Steve Vai is someone to be celebrated for his highly individualistic style, his extreme dedication and work ethic, and all the great music he's been a part of.

He started with Frank Zappa at just 18 years of age, and was hired to transcribe music. He created unique forms of musical notation, and they were needed because Zappa was so ferociously distinct. He then went to work playing in the band with Frank, and he'd be credited famously in album notes for his 'impossible guitar parts.'

From there he went on to do solo work, replaced Yngwie J. Malmsteen in 'Alcatraz,' and then joined with David Lee Roth, who'd only ever had a guy named Van Halen play guitar behind him before that.

And Steve Vai has done quite a lot more besides all of that. But it's now been 30 years of straight production of Ibanez JEM guitars. The JEM was designed with and for Steve Vai. You know a JEM when you see a guitar with a handle to carry it with built into the body. Heresy! ha! 

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Eddie Van Halen turned 62 years old several days ago. We're sure glad to have him still, too. He's beat cancer 4 times, and looks better than he has in years.

You probably are aware Edward now has his own guitar and amplifier manufacturing outfit, EVH. They make lots of good stuff. When you're one of the most original and influential guitarists in the world, you don't put your name on shoddy products.

Well, Ed's Frankenstrat, known as Frankenstein, has been copied by many many guitar manufacturers. Fender has done several. When Ed endorsed Kramer, they too produced lots of Frankenstein the Frankenstrat clones.

But today, for under one thousand dollars, you can get the EVH striped superstrats. 

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Ever consider trading off your soul to old scratch for amazing guitar playing abilities? Don't do it. The people with that tale attached to them often died pretty young. The horned footed one is impatient, or something.

Hey, but if you'd like a go without a dark deal, you may want to check out Gibson's 1928 L-1 Blues Tribute. It's the guitar Johnson played. Except the new one has a pre-amp and a pickup so you can plug into your amp, and help the neighbors enjoy some blues too.

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Gosh, when I think about the musicians who are getting along in years, and who I wish could literally live forever, Tony Iommi is one of those.

We're talking about the Godfather of heavy metal music. There aren't many musicians who can be said to have created a major genre of music. You think about it, there would never have been a Metallica without Tony, never a Megadeth, and countless others. He's the guy who created the concept of a heavy metal guitar riff.

Well, Tony almost always plays an SG. Sure, most of them are Gibson. He's got the custom made Gibson copies with the two octave necks, and the cross inlays, and now he's got the Gibson signature series guitars, and the Epiphone ones.

The debate is a fierce one, but many people will tell you it is better to buy an expensive Epiphone than a less expensive Gibson - you get better value from the Epiphone. Well, the Tony Iommi signature series Epiphone SG is one of the better and more expensive guitars that manufacturer produces. 

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2016 will long be remembered as a year when a lot of celebrity artists died. 2017 will likely be just the same way, as the baby boomer generation is experiencing the effects of father time. Maybe 2016 will be remembered as the year when the baby boomers started dying in large numbers.

The thing about the musicians who passed away in 2016 was the deaths were pretty unexpected. David Bowie apparently knew he was dying, but he never let anyone outside his inner circle know about it. The death of Prince was a shocker because he was quite young, and because of strict adherence to his religion, nobody considered he'd be a guy battling an opiate addiction.

I'll make no bones about it, Prince was a stupendous guitarist, he was as good as you can get. At least there aren't many people more talented at it than he was. David Bowie's classic rock was something I always enjoyed too, but the death which bothered me the most was the death of Glenn Frey.

I'm a rural Texas boy. A redneck. The music of Glenn Frey and The Eagles gave me what we could describe as a peaceful, easy feeling. But this is mostly about the guitar. Someone like Glenn could have any guitar in the world to play, but what he chose was a Takamine, and that should really tell you something. 

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Space Ace is someone we all know quite well. The original guitarist for KISS, before what had been a band turned into something where Gene and Paul were kings, and anyone else was an employee.

Seriously, Gene and Paul treat 'the help' like servants. But if you know much about Ace Frehley, you likely know he didn't help matters a whole lot. He's not exactly reliable, or even much sane.

Whatever. Epiphone makes a great Ace Frehley 'Budokan' model Les Paul guitar, and it is so much more affordable than the Gibson model, one should seriously put some time into a cost vs benefit analysis before buying either. 
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