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I have noticed for some time that there are a lot of axemen out there.

When I was young, good-looking and had hair, (stop laughing) I decided I wanted to be like Justin Hayward of the Moody Blues. So I bought myself a guitar, just like his Gibson, from Exchange and Mart. It was a beautiful cherry red Columbus 335 semi acoustic. I put Fender extra-light strings on it and started taking lessons at Grange Park - Jack Dickson/Dixon, who used to rattle a mean banjo. But I used to get my guitar accessories in three shops in Newcastle - Jeavons, Windows and Kitchens. I have posted photos of two of the shops and a picture of what my guitar used to look like. (That photo isn't mine.)

The point is, I can't find any photos of Kitchens! It was down near the Laing Art Gallery, if my cauliflower serves me right. It was a big shop with revolving stands so you could stand at the window and wait for the guitars you fancied slowly spinning round.

Can anyone else remember the shop?

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  • 2 weeks later...

When i was just 15 years old with no money,cos my 5 bob pocket money from my pit pay,used to be spent on a Rossetti Lucky Seven,which i couldn't take out of the shop till it was paid for,i used to stand and drool at the guitars and Selmer Truvoice Amplifiers inside the shop,at Kitchens.

Bert Weedon used the Truvoice amp,[blood and custard model]and it always sounded gorgeous on records and on radio,and telly.

They were 15 watts at first,and were about 50 guineas.

I later bought a Selmer Thunderbird 30watt twin 12inch speakers absolutely gorgeous looking,and sounding, amp.

That was in about 1963-ish,at Jeavons,where i also got my Watkins Dominator mki 17 watt twin..amp,and my red Futurama 3 guitar.

No distortion in those days,we endeavoured to produce as clean and perfect a sound as was possible!

Happy days!

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Thanks HPW, I was beginning to think I had imagined Kitchens existed. I bought a fuzz-wah pedal there but I was never any good at it. Me and my mates went upstairs in Jeavons and had a go on a Fender Telecaster. I wish I could go back to those days and stick in with my guitar lessons.

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My parents bought me a cheepo acoustic guitar when I was 11 and I started going for lessons with Geordie Peel (he lived in Dene View East ... I've previously posted about lessons with him); I probably went for six years. As I'd joined a band ( group in those days) for my 14th birthday pressie my folks took me to a guitar shop in the Toon ... it was on the old New Bridge Street, just past the Oxford Ballroom – I'm sure it was Jeavons 'other' shop. They bought me a cherry red Futurama III (just like HPW's), a green Shaftesbury 515 combo amp, a microphone and a stand. The guitar I PX'ed for a Fender 12 string acoustic just before I went down to London as a student in '69; the PX was done in a 'swap shop' in Blyth – it was located near the police station and footy ground. The amp came down to London with me and was 'lashed-up' to an old Dansette record player which I used to blast out the Halls of Residence ... what a hoot that was – it was really loud!

With my first pay cheque in '74 I PX'ed the 12 string for a 6 string National Resonator (one of those all metal guitars - the sort used by the old Blues guys and which I still have) ... this deal was done in London's Denmark Street (Tin Pan Alley). What a place this was – almost every shop was a musical instrument shop, upstairs shops selling sheet music, cellars were music clubs of every description. Later, when I was a bit more flushed with cash I got an ebony Gibson Les Paul and a Hi-Watt 100watt amp stack; the Les Paul I still have but the Hi-Watt went, then an Orange but now I just have a Marshall Combo amp. I can't remember where the old Shaftesbury amp ended-up.

I previously mentioned in another post that I also went for piano lessons for years and did the exams; the theory exams were in the Toon, above a piano showroom at the top of Northumberland Street but I can't remember what it was called ... help with this info anyone??? To keep me practising piano when I went done to London my folks got me a 'silent' practise keyboard in Jeavons in Percy Street ... I've still got this.

Needless to say, all that my stiff, wizened old fingers are good for these days is strumming a few chords on the guitar and a bit of vamping on the piano ... it's so bad that even my dog goes and hides.

To a country boy like me London back then was a mesmerizing place with lots of 'quarters'. Denmark St for music, off Charing Cross Road for books, Tottenham Court Road for hi-fi, not to mention High St Kensington and Camden High St for us hippies. The place I was fascinated most with was Lisle St in Soho (no, not for that reason!!!) but it was the quarter for government surplus, every shop was packed with stuff – ex-military gear, electro-mechanical stuff, electronics, optical gear (eg. bomb-aiming sights), aircraft hydraulics, the list just went on and on and on. The stock changed all the time as it was a period of massive technological change and all government ministries were updating and getting rid of stuff. I bought an ex-Lancaster bomber wireless set, a huge reel of copper wire for an antenna, porcelain bobbins, and was into ham radio for a time – I could pick folks up from all over the world. Sadly, all the government surplus dried-up and in the late 70s the shops shut and the character of the place went really down-market with sex-dens and clip-joints taking over. It's now part of China Town.

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I remember George Peel, he used to collect the pools coupons if I remember, as well being a bookies runner. He used to ride about on a pushbike, bike clips and all. I don't know why I didn't go to him for guitar lessons! Puzzler that!

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  • 1 year later...

When I was still 15 yrs old,my older Brother [three years older and born on the same day as me!],took me to Newcastle,and around from the City Hall,to Kitchens' music shop.

Well,back in 1959,they were a shop for serious classic or jazz true musicians,and were a bit slow at catching up on the rock and roll scene!

They DID eventually,and they had a blood and custard Selmer Truvoice 15 watt,[bert Weedon type] amp,inside the shop,which was visible from the window.[No carousels in the windows....yet!].

While I was drooling over it,this being the first time I had ever seen anything like this,my Brother brazenly went in,with me trailing,terrified,behind him,and said to the OLD...OLD! male assistant..[who spoke like eton college twang..!]...."Wor youngin' would like a go at that amp...is that aareet?..."

The fella kindly got a Hofner Committee acoustic-electric..[NOT A SEMI-ACCOUSTIC!..IRRITATING TERM!],guitar,and plugged it in,with a lovely amp-tremolo setting,and played a few chord  progressions,and a bit of finger picking.Gorgeous!

He gave me the guitar,and all aa cud play was little bits of single note stuff,not even complete tunes!

But a was thrilled ti bits,and buzzing like hell.

A told the fella a wud luv one,but cudn't afford one just noo....JUST NOO!....15 years aad,and mekking fowa quid a week,before off-tyeks,tipping me pay up ti me Mutha,and getting five bob pocket-money,as aalriddy said before,paying for me Rosetti Lucky Seven!!

Then Johnny Tillotson released "Dreamin'....aam always dreamin'........"!!

Aye,they WERE happy days!

Bert Weedon always used this set-up...Hofner Comittee guitar and "blood and custard"Selmer truvoice amp..pure and clean sound.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Sorry I missed this topic when you started it Keith, but it is fascinating. All the talk about cheap guitars from the 60's & 70's which got a lot of us young guys started on the yellow brick road of dreams to rock stardom really brings back memories. The Futurama 3 seems to have been a popular choice of guitar for budding guitarists, and it wasn't a bad choice either as I had one myself (ice blue version) but I loved it, my first electric guitar. So I can say I was a member of the Futurama 3 Club.

 

Strange though how you progress in the music business, especially when you meet, and play with people with the same determination as yourself. But all the equipment, and music shops mentioned, really brings it back to you. However no one seems to have experienced the 'Summer of Love' period, which was so very special to us musoes who played all through that period.

 

Can I just bring back a few memories to those of you who lived through, and remember the period I am on about. Handysides Arcade in Newcastle........remember when you walked through that arch on a Saturday, the smell of incense was all over the place. The Kaftans and the occasional whiff of cannabis as someone walked past you brazenly sucking on a joint. Wow, wasn't it heaven, we had nothing to worry about. But best of all for us guys in a group was Gregg Burmans shop. He made amps and speaker cabs that were great, and affordable. We (MERLIN) got to know him very well, just as the Junco's, Autumn States, Dr, Macumba, Yellow, Geordie etc. did. He gave us all credit for equipment when no one else would, what a man. Thank you Gregg.

 

Speaking of memories, anyone remember gigs like the Cellar in Ashington. The Rex, Whitley Bay. Freemasons in Stanley, the Mayfair & the Quay Club etc. Weren't  they great places to play? Pity they don't exist anymore. Well, I guess we can't follow Tull's wish....'Let's go Living In The Past'.

 

Just wanted to take a trip down memory lane with all you axe men out there. By the way in case you're wondering, I was the bass player in Merlin. 

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Wow, WillyJ, what memories. I actually went to the Cellar with a girlfriend many years ago...she said lets go to Bubbles for a drink. I thought... that sounds like a nice quaint place!!!! A romantic drink with possibilities afterwards...It was the ruddy Cellar - renamed Bubbles. The very place of musical legend and nightmarish visions. Now a fascimile of the original Hitler's bunker...with an outside toilet to boot. Imagine the scene...a Bedlington lad in the heart of enemy territory with his only weapon being the sounds of the seventies. The lights were at a minimum.... bats kept crashing into the walls...If I had taken night-vision-goggles I would have been hard pressed to see what was going on. You ordered your drinks in Braille!!! Then ten hours later my eyes became accustomed to the darkness and I saw pictures on the wall...of groups who had played there... groups who had probably sold their souls to B.L Zeebub to gain notoriety and A life of S,D & Rock and roll. I survived my ordeal...and vowed never to go back again...not even for the promise of earthly delights,,,well maybe...er...but that's not for here and now. Anyway, memories flooded back of Days of Future Passed and what could have been if I had stuck it out at Jack Dixons (Dicksons) at Grange Park with his rattling Banjo and Bert Wheedon Semi-acoustic. I have very few regrets in life...but one is selling my Columbus 335 semi-acoustic, cherry red guitar with Fender extra light strings. It makes me want to cry.

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I know exactly what you mean about selling the 335, it's not until years down the line that you realise the size of the mistake you made. Especially when you find out what the guitar became worth. Much grinding of the teeth, and banging your head off the wall, when no one could see you of course.

 

After I left the band I was really strapped for cash, so I sold my 1963 Fender Jazz Bass for £90. Not thinking much about it, I was glad of the cash at the time. Many years later (1985 to be exact) I was in a guitar shop in Newcastle looking at the basses, in a conversation with the sales guy I told him this. When he told me that I could have got over 4 grand for it I was devastated. Similar regrettable mistake as yours.

 

I've had 3 Jbasses since and none of them have come near the sound and action of that 63 model. Never mind though, life is never simple.

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  • 1 year later...

Hi...I bought my 1st guitar at Windows for 5 guineas! 1964...still play. I also got a Selmer little giant amp and a Rossetti egmond from Jeavons. Later I bought a Strat..I still have the neck ..on another body. I think the older lady who used to serve in Jeavons later moved to kitchens. I spent a lot of time at Max (maxi) Shares in an upstairs shop in the covered in grainger market. Saw a lad playing an ice blue strat with a Watkins copycat / vox ac30 amp...sounded like heaven!.I believe a young Eric Burdon used to work there.

Here is a clip of Bob Dylan looking into Jeavons Pudding Chare shop...at the very same display I used to drool at....I think the shop someone here talked about near the "Oxford"...was called Mckays..they also later had a one at the bottom of Westgate Rd..run by the son of Barry M....for me , Jeavons was the place to go....always had a Burns Bison on the wall over the fireplace!....regards Ian

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I bought my sunburst Strat at Kitchen's. Paid £240 and walked away with it wrapped in brown paper! 

Later, I swapped it for an Atari 2600 games box. I then bought a Westone Thunder III,  which I still play after more than 30 years. 

I don't use an amp now. I play everything through my pc with Guiar Rig 5 or Amplitube 3.

I too spent many a happy hour drooling down Mackay's window over a Dan Armstrong perspex guitar and an Arp Odyssey synth. I know they used to sell Burmah amps and cabinets. My mate played bass through a 50watt Burmah at home.  

Great days! :D

 

EDIT: Actually, I think that should be 'Burman'  not 'Burmah.' 

Edited by webtrekker
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  • 1 month later...

Heh heh!

Great memories abound!...when I got married my Selmer Thunderbird,and Watkins Dominator MK1 [blue/creamy beige..triangular shaped]

stood in our bedroom unused for a while,as I had no guitar,[except my trusty old plywood Rossetti Lucky Seven..!!],so L]like an idiot we all were,I sold the

Thunderbird to a friend of a friend who used it for his electric piano/organ..in the band he was playing in.The amp was absoloutly immaculate!

Like a bigger idiot than the rest of you put together!,I swapped my Watkins Dominator,[also gorgeous and as new],for a BSA Airsporter air rifle,at the

"Trade-in Store" [which was around from Ken's Autoparts,near the Plessey Road queer junction.]

The guy in the store aalwis came oot wi thi same aad crack......"Whey,tha's nae demand for them,it'll probably hang up there for a lang time and aal get nowt for it...."

Mind,that was in aroond 1967/8 ish,and aav still got the air rifle,which are pretty rare noo!!....but a wish a had me Dommie,and me Thunderbird back!!

It tuk a lot of years saving up inti aad -age retirement,but a finally got me Burns Black Bison 1964 re-issue,Burns Marvin 40th Anniversary limited edition,and Burns Apache,limited edition..[i.e.First limited edition of all the following.......limited editions....!!]

They all say Chinese crap,about guitars, but aal tell ye wat,from day one,me Fender Strat 1978/9 Antigua -burst Special edition,[Los Angeles produced]

never sounded right,producing unpleasant overtones on the bottom strings,the paintwork bubbled up in places,slight,but visible,and the black dye from the Fender strap migrated into the area of the bottom button,staining the grey paint into a purple  -ish shade.

Other than these niggles,the guitar is in great condition,never having been gigged,as all my axes are for home use only.

Me Burns Apache is the most beautiful looking,sounding,playing .....guitar that I have ever seen or played over the last 50 years....and it was made in China,or should I say the components were,then they were assembled in the U.K.

It's down to taste,but if you haven't seen or played one,then you don't know what you are missing!![of course you wouldn't want one if you are a finger-picker......

but Knofler, or Ry Cooder ...or the likes of them,might!!

The quality of the finish,and attention to detail is absoloutely stunning.

My Vox AC 30 1980-ish is still as it was when it left the showroom,a museum piece,if only the output would remain stable!

Common fault with them,it was the period when Rose-Morris took over the Vox company and started sending out completely un-tested amps,due to an unexpected surge in demand following the re-union "Shadows 20 Golden Greats" tour.

It took five amps over a period of four years,for the new Vox company to supply me one that worked.....but not for long!!....that one started developing faults also.

It's o.k for a while,then just hums and dies!!....could be five minutes...or five hours....but it'll die!![switch off....then on....o.k again till the next time!!!

Rubbish capacitors and no E.Q across all four EL84's,causes saturation and cuts out the output from that stage.

But aav lived with it for forty-odd years!!

Aav got the Selmer and Bell Music catalogues from 1961-3 and 1970-ish respectively,in mint condition,and they are interesting to browse through!

Fender Strat [red or sunburst....only two choices!]...128 guineas!!...a fortune to us young lads who were paid nowt in them days!

Ye can waak inti a guitar shop noo,and get a Strat for 300-odd quid!....mine was 336 quid at Jeavons in thi toon,in 1978-ish!

Selmer Thunderbird 30-watts Reverb.....127 guineas![another fortune!]

Futurama 3 [3-pickups],52 guineas.....it was always guineas....to click a shullin on ivry pund!![med things luk cheaper!]

Eh....a cud write a book aboot them days!![aal thi youngins wanted ti play....but the majority of the ones aa knew broke off after finding oot it tuk a lot of time and dedication ti practise...and aa had nae lessons....self-taught.]

 

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