Sunday, November 20, 2016

2016 Fall Philly Guitar Show

As it is written, we battened down the hatches, battened up the car, and got off to the Philly Guitar Show, Fall version. As is traditional, is it held nowhere exactly near Philthydephia. Also traditional is making that stupid location reference. Ah, where would we be without tradition?

For health (and sanity) reasons, Mrs leftystrat could not make the trip (she had to wash her hands and couldn't leave for a few hours). The weather was just at the point where a jacket wasn't necessary for us over-padded medium-size manly men. That strange light was in the sky again.

The state has always done interesting things with the roadways in Pennsylvania, the PA Turnpike and Rt 422 being real Standouts of Stupidity. Although PA residents aren't actually sure of WHAT the state does with roadways, we are assured and reminded via almost monthly increases in tolls. Just to make things a little more interesting, the use of EZ-Pass combination tracking device and toll payer is being Highly Encouraged, in the form of many EZ-Pass lanes and a diminishing number of cash lanes. The turnpike exit in question (I am not kidding - this is the butt of jokes nationwide) is King of Prussia. The area has undergone such a ridiculous amount of growth that there have been many road-surgeries to widen ramps and install more toll lanes. This creates yet another excuse for Bad Driver Behavior. There are about fifteen lanes, fed by several distinct ramps, which causes people to veer, cut off, and race at high speed to any of the jumble of strangely-plotted EZ-Pass or a few cash lanes. The only exceptions to this are at rush hour (5:30am - 6pm), when it's the largest parking lot in the state.

Naturally, the exit from fifteen toll lanes boils down to two actual lanes, thus weeding out the men from the women, the children with BMWs purchased by their parents, and any 18 wheelers that can't accelerate fast enough. And people going to guitar shows. Hopefully you took the correct ramp, because if you didn't, you will simply never get to your destination or home. You'll be doomed to wander King of Prussia for several years, or until the next State Improvement that will take five years to build a small ramp that is already overcrowded when it is opened (like all roads in the area).  While you're lost, all roads may or may not lead to the King of Prussia Mall, one of the biggest in the country. Also one of the strangest, due to an asymmetric layout, where the first floor isn't set up like the second floor, plus there are actually three malls joined together by a caterpillar the size of Rhode Island.

Eventually you may or may not stumble onto Rt 422 West, so-named because it doesn't go east. Well, at least until you come home. The state was much more subtle about improvements on 422. Here, to keep attention away from the unbelievably poor condition of 2 two lane highways, they simply installed bumps every few car lengths. Who is going to comment on a few Cadillac-sized holes when your ride goes BUMP..BUMP..BUMP. It's sheer brilliance in a way that should qualify for an award at the National Alliance of State Stupidity Awards. I was passed by a very loud Harley with two very loud riders, straight out of Central Casting. They were mad that I was only going 20 over the speed limit. Seconds later they completely disappeared, probably into a hole under a bump, where they have to keep paying rising tolls every day.

Are we there yet? Are we there yet?

Opening the main doors is fun - you never know what you're going to see. Whatever you see, it's great because this is the damn guitar show; two times a year that I'm likely to have left the house and seen guitars and amps and Stuff. Drop a few bucks in the Greyhound Rescue hat. They always bring a dog or two and they're beyond mellow for dogs that have been thrown out after they're no longer useful for racing. Support your local dog rescue group - all of ours have been rescues.

There were lots of things to see and try out, which was a great improvement over the summer's deathly feeling. All vendor spaces were occupied, including some surprises. You could see all kinds of vintage guitars, incredibly vintage guitars, celebrity-owned guitars (Danny Gatton, Johnny Winter, etc), amps, effects pedals and even a few new things and cheap stuff for beginners. There was a really popular guy who had unfinished guitar bodies but also small (6") bodies, hollowed on top to put picks or business cards in, as well as guitar-shaped cutting boards. Accessories galore.. handmade leather straps, garish straps (my favorite), colored strings, and very interesting people.
 Word to the wise: go for fun. If you go to purchase something, know what you're looking for and what it's worth.

Let's get down to some good old-fashioned visual stimulation, or , as I call it, Guitar Porn...

this is a 1956 Telecaster in mint condition - 3rd year for Teles

yes, it's backwards, but if I had one, it would be in this finish exactly

DHR is a large lefty dealer, which chose to only bring a few non-standard guitars

Danny Gatton (RIP) Fender prototype

1979 Les Paul - weighs more than my car but a hell of a player

1979 Rick 4001 bass

very old Gretsch, maybe a Chet Atkins model

newer Martin - a little stiff

very used Martin

ever been frightened to be near an amp? even before you saw the price? This is more of a megalith than an amp. Orange/Matamp stack.

Reverend had a ton of guitars, plus a pair of lefties. Good value, good guitars, just not for me.

saw a number of Taylor 314s. As a rule, they play better and have better top end than Martins.

a Fender '52 repro Tele, unlike the American Vintage series '52 Tele, also half the price. I'd still go with the the American Vintage for the baseball bat neck.

Last but never least is my dog, Marshall (aka Muppet Paws), and the amplifier named after him (Marshall Code 25).
They both shred but my Marshall shreds tissues.
They both scream but my Marshall screams for people food and dog cookies.
Marshall the Amp is covered in black tolex. Marshall the cocker in black fur.
The amp has a 10" speaker. The dog has two large flaps covering his ears.
We are unsure about getting him an endorsement from Marshall Amplifiers but hope for at least a cover shot and story.
Missing from the shot is a 1974 Marshall half-stack, formerly on tour with UFO and possibly Robin Trower.

And there you have it - the show, minus most of the backwards (right-handed) guitars, which comprised 99.5% of the show.

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