Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Northern California
Re: Your guitar/bass name?
I have had around 60 guitars over the last four decades but I only named one, called the "Black monster". I don't know if I storylined it here nor not:
I wanted to build a superstrat in the 1980s and I lived in Santa Barbara near a small store. I had been living in London so the sun and waves, and girls, were a dream come true. So Cal was the capital of garrish, loud, and fast superstrat players with the absolute epicenter in Hollywood to the south.
1) I got an ESP parts black body and maple neck and white Seymour Duncan JB lead pickup. I put on chrome tuners and a chrome Fender style trem. I outfitted it with black Bill DeLap pickguard and a single volume and single tone. That was my main guitar like that for a few months and the first incarnation.
2) and then I put a black Washburn Wonderbar trem on it and a black Jackson neck pickup to make the whole thing dual humbucker. Bill DeLap in Northern California cut a new white pickguard. The constant overuse of the locking trem caused the frets to come loose and wreck the neck making a refret of a $100 dollar neck a waste of money.
3) After that I tired of the wang bar and replaced the Washburn locking trem with a black Kahler Flat Mount Bridge and black Floyd Rose nut. It was the third bridge on that guitar and the third incarnation.
4) After a year or two I got a nice Johnson Guitar Engineering Jackson style neck on it with a thin and flat RG type of profile and rosewood neck. During the finished product and setup, the neck produced a crack where the truss rod was and I replaced that with a fatter maple neck with ebony fretboard that was also from Johnson Engineering. This was the final makeup of this ever changing guitar with three bridges and three necks and I dubbed it the "Black Monster" since like Frankenstein's monster and Eddie Van Halen's red monster, this guitar was always having its guts and outer parts replaced.
Even though I was out to make something completely different, the final product was not too different than a black Fender Big Apple strat with two humbuckers and three way switch. I must have put in two grand into the guitar with all the changes but what I got wasn't a guitar worth that much, but an education in setup and different bridges, necks, and pickups.
From this lesson I learned that I liked the action and playability of the ultra thin neck (the one that broke) the best, followed by the fat ebony neck, and then the medium Fender style neck.
I liked the sustain best of the regular Fender style bridge but had more fun with the double locking Washburn Wonderbar. The consistent bridge was the Kahler Flat Mount and took better to palm muting than a floating Fender trem or a double locking Washburn trem.
The Duncan JB was a worthy pickup versatile enough to play anything. The Jackson neck pickup, which was actually a high output bridge pickup, was too strong for the guitar but could wail on a neck position lead if needed. It was a little too boomy compared to the well balanced JB in the bridge. Hindsight tells me I should have put a high output single coil in the neck matched to a JB in the bridge.
The "Black Monster" pretty much gave me a baseline for what I expect in any superstrat. For the time, there weren't as many high octane superstrats on the market, but today with all the trial and error, virtually any superstrat from th 2010s will blow away this 1980s creation. Though it was an expensive set of experiments and maybe not the best planned guitar in the few projects I have done, I named it and attached a sentiment to it that no other guitar. In its final incarnation I used it for a punk band, the second time I played live in a band, and married the girl drummer. The guitar outlasted the marriage and a few years later I sold the guitar to my guitar student who always loved it. When he sold it to a vintage and used store along with other gear, the owner of that store took that one home. It's the last I have ever heard of the Black Monster. That was the early 1990s and I have often thought of ringing him and seeing what happened to that guitar.
Last edited by 63Blazer; 11-28-2013 at 01:41 PM.