Five For Friday, October 11, 2019

The Fretboard Journal is happy to announce Five For Friday, a new column where we recap what went down in the guitar world this week…

Passings: Ginger Baker, Ed Ackerson

The world lost one of its finest drummers on October 6 with the passing of Ginger Baker at the age of 80. Baker’s varying projects were as famous as his cantankerous nature: He co-founded Cream, performed in Blind Faith, created Ginger Baker’s Air Force (and Jazz Confusion), played with Fela Kuti, and collaborated with a diverse array of artists (from Public Image Ltd to Hawkwind and Bill Frisell). Reminder: The must-watch documentary Beware of Mr. Baker is available in its entirety on YouTube. Meanwhile, Minneapolis’ Ed Ackerson, frontman for Polera and BNLX and founder of the famed Flowers recording studio – passed away. He was only 54.

Bourgeois Guitars Joins Eastman

Yesterday, Dana Bourgeois – founder of boutique acoustic guitar company Bourgeois Guitars, announced that he’s entered a partnership with Eastman Music (Facebook link). Eastman is one of the largest makers of violin-family instruments in the world, but continues to make waves for their high-quality, overseas-built archtops, flattop guitars and mandolins. Dana will continue to serve as CEO and oversee operations and hints that the Bourgeois lineup could expand to archtops and mandolins, along with more affordable guitars designed in Maine but presumably built in Asia.

Stolen: Junior Brown’s “Big Red” Guit-Steel

Thieves of the world: A) You suck. B) You should also know that some instruments are easier to flip than others. Around October 7, Junior Brown reported that his Guit-Steel dubbed “Big Red” was stolen out of his rental car in Massachusetts. For those that don’t know, this is one of the more unique instruments around, a custom-made, double-neck guitar, basically a lap steel merged to a Fender Bullet neck. Brown is temporarily back to using his original Guit-Steel, on loan from a museum, to finish his tour. There’s a $2000 reward for the lost instrument. Everyone: Please don’t leave your instruments in your unattended car.

New Gear: Flame Top Strat, Orange Acoustic Crush 30

Orange amplifiers announced the latest addition to their Crush Acoustic lineup with a 30-watt model. It may be just the ticket for acoustic players on a budget; you can either plug-in or use AA batteries to power it. Meanwhile, Fender announced this month’s addition to their Rarities line, a flame koa top Stratocaster. Electric guitar fans: Yes, we are producing another Electric Guitar Annual this year. You heard it here first.

New Releases: Joe Satriani’s solo-free Surfing with the Alien, Hot Rats goes box set

There’s never a shortage of great guitar music reissues on Record Store Day but here’s one we didn’t see coming: A remastered double-LP of Joe Satriani’s monumental 1987 album, Surfing with the Alien. One LP is the album in its full glory, the other has all the solos removed so you can jam along to Bongo Bob Smith’s drum machines just like Satch (good luck). Also coming out soon: Frank Zappa’s Hot Rats gets the six-CD, boxed set treatment, out just before Christmas (pre-order here).