Five for Friday, November 8, 2019

November 2019

The Fretboard Journal‘s weekly recap of guitar news, internet finds and more…

Spinal Tap Creators Settle Lawsuit

The crew behind This Is Spinal Tap – Harry Shearer, Christopher Guest, Michael McKean and Rob Reiner (not to mention all those drummers) – have settled an ongoing lawsuit against Vivendi UMG. In what has to be the craziest Hollywood math you’ll read about all month, the Spinal Tap gang complained that Vivendi had “estimated the plaintiffs’ share of Spinal Tap income at a mere $81 from merchandising between 1984 and 2016, plus $98 from music sales between 1989 and 2016.” It’s all a little hard to believe: The puppet show probably made more income during that stretch.

Jerry Garcia’s Alligator To Be Auctioned

On December 10, “Alligator” will become the latest iconic Jerry Garcia-owned guitar to hit the auction block. Bonham’s will be selling the 1955 Strat, famously heard on the Dead’s Europe ’72 opus. The guitar was a “thank you” gift from Graham Nash and, according to luthier Rick Turner, it will need a bit of work to get back into Europe ’72 specs. Also up for auction that same day: A 1970 Martin D-28 (used on the Festival Express Tour through Canada) and Garcia’s L-5-style archtop built by Stephen Gilchrist. Alligator’s pre-auction estimate is just $250,000-400,000. If past Garcia auctions are any indication, it’ll go for three or four times that much.

New Products: Fender’s American Ultra line; Keeley’s ECCOS Delay / Looper

After a week or two of hype and teaser photos, Fender finally showed off their latest line: The American Ultra Series. The guitar line boasts some new body contours, noiseless pickups and a treble bleed circuit for around $2000. Meanwhile, Robert Keeley unleashed his latest pedal, the very intriguing ECCOS Delay/Looper, a true stereo delay and looper with reverse and half-speed options.

Passings: Kelley Looney

Bassist and guitarist Kelley Looney – best known for his prolific work as a member of Steve Earle and the Dukes – has passed away at the age of 61. He began working for Earle with the musician’s 1988 album Copperhead Road; in 2012, he released a solo album called Black Sheep Blues.

Allied Lutherie Relaunches

While the Healdsburg lutherie community slowly begins to resettle after numerous fire evacuations, one of the area’s business mainstays has moved East. Allied Lutherie, which started selling wood and supplies to guitarmakers in the late ‘70s, was purchased earlier this year by Adam Buchwald of Circle Strings / Iris Guitar fame. Allied’s inventory is now located in Burlington, Vermont and the company’s new website – offering tone woods, parts, truss rods and even CNC services – launched this week.