1948 Regal / Oahu / Bronson – Style 50K Squareneck Hawaiian

This guitar was given to me by a very good friend. I really didn’t get around to playing it because the intonation was a bit off… but this turned out the be only caused by the nut raiser.  There are no brand indications whatsoever, but the might have worn off or may have been painted over.

It was imported straight from the US together with its little sister:

Hawaiian music hype

It is not a blues-guitar. It is an Hawaiian guitar and a response to early 20th century hype of Hawaiian music. It was the very same hype that put the ukulele in our collective memory. Remember that during depression days of the late 30s, even the Martin guitar factory only survived thanks to ukes.

Following the 1915 Panama Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco, Hawaiian music became very fashionable in the United States, leading to two predominant Hawaiian-music correspondence schools in the ’20s and ’30s: Oahu and Bronson. Oahu was headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio, while Bronson’s office was in Detroit, Michigan. (It is unlikely that either city was a hotbed of Hawaiian culture at the time.) Each of these outfits sold lessons by mail (often attempting to enlist advanced students as teachers and representatives) and featured its own line of guitars.

Oahu-labeled guitars were made for the Oahu Publishing Co. of Cleveland, which called itself “The World’s Largest Guitar Dealer” in 1935.

The Honolulu Conservatory of Music was established in Flint, Michigan in the late ’20s by Harry Stanley and his half-brother, George Bronson. Stanley founded Oahu in 1933; Bronson started the Bronson Music & Sales Co. in Detroit about the same time.

Harry Stanley around 1938.

Oahu offered a variety of squareneck and roundneck acoustic guitars — most were made in Chicago by Kay and Harmony. The most common are inexpensive ($22.50 in 1935) birch guitars with a dark brown finish. More expensive models were available; I used to own an all-mahogany small-bodied squareneck with black-and-white “rope” style binding ($65 in 1935). The top of the line was a rosewood/spruce jumbo with “pearl” inlay, soundhole ring and top trim. These were $158 in 1935 — more than $2100 in 2004 dollars.

But is it an Oahu guitar?

Oahu did not manufacture these guitars themselves. In fact they were mainly a publishing company focusing on sheet music and instruction books. They branched out into instruments, but had them build by other companies.

In the 30’s the company name was consistently stamped inside the sound hole. Our guitar does not have that however, although it looks very similar. As stated earlier, Oahu did not build guitars, they were built by either Kay or Harmony.

The Harmony company, founded at the end of the 19th century, was bought by mail order company Sears-Roebuck & Co in 1916, simply to corner the ukulele market. In the late 1930s, Harmony “also bought brand names from the bankrupt Oscar Schmidt Co.—La Scala, Stella, and Sovereign. They sold not only Harmony products, but instruments under the Sears name, Silvertone, and a variety of trade names—Vogue, Valencia, Johnny Marvin, Monterey, Stella, and others.”

Note the rounded off headstock, which is almost never found on Oahu-branded guitars:

1948 Oahu slotted headstock

But then again, have a look at this one:










And here’s a headstock from the Bronson Guitar Company: not very different, but note the upside-down tuners. Which are actually the correct way around when playing lap slide.

There seem to be Oahu’s without the brand stamped in the soundhole. On Jake Wildwood’s blog I found this very similar 50k model without the Oahu brand stamp. It does have the logo on the headstock:

It has the fake binding painted on the soundhole like mine, but also around the edges of the guitar. The most surprising thing, which is why it caught my eye, is that this guitar has the exact same bridge as mine. Jake writes:






The standard metal bridge is very recognizable because it has pyramid ornamentation. I was suprised to find this Youtube video of another squareneck Oahu with that same Regal/Oscar Schmidt bridge:

But it has more:

  • painted binding only around the soundhole
  • only light in the sunburst is around the bridge

Oahu guitars usually came with a very strange metal molded bridge, which was bolted down as you cannot glue metal to wood. So maybe the bridge was replaced. The original looks like this:

Original Oahu metal casted bolt-on bridge — source: youtube

Most distinctive feature of our guitar are the diamond fret markers:

All the material I could find is pointing to the the 1940s:

Stamp on the back

There is no manufacturer or company referenced inside the guitar. There is only this:

Then I found this Oahu for sale: http://www.thunderroadguitars.com/1948-oahu-square-neck/

Inside the guitar, there is this:

If this is really a ’48 Oahu, then the quest has ended. By 1948, they seem to have give up stamping the name inside the guitar.

C.W. Stoneking ‘On A Desert Isle’ chords

This song from C.W. Stoneking‘s last album is maybe one of the strongest songs he’s ever written. Strangely, he tried to write the perfect Hawaiian sunset crooning tune before, and almost succeeded with ‘Jungle Lullaby’ in 2008.

Anyway, here are the mystery chords of ‘On A Desert Isle’: all natural minor chords are replaced by diminished chords. In the intro this is very apparent as he actually plays C – Em – F – Em-Ebm-Dm – G7 – C.

In the first line C – Edim – F  Fdim – C both diminshed chords function as (and can be replaced with simple minor chords Em an Fm). The first (Em) is absolutely natural, and the second is in fact a standard blues and jazz move: making the IV minor (i.e. Fm). Otis Span uses it here (from F to Fm on “we’s allright” and “shoot my baby, etc..). This same progression even made some nineties kids millionaires, it’s so fucking special

  • desert01


  • E dim: I – IIIb – Vb   or E – G – Bb played  312XXX — is indeed not as CW remarks a Gm6 but an Em chord. And can be substituted for a simple Em chord!
  • F dim: F – G# – B played X213XX
  • B dim: X869XX
  • Dm7b5: played X5656X
  • C9/E is the best way to describe the XX233X chord leading into the chorus. C9 by itself would be a great way to go to F, but putting the E note in the bass makes so much sense.

For now, I only transcribed the basic chords for the two sections, not the details, which I will bring in later.


1967 120W Geloso G.1/1110 Tube Amp

img_5793img_5803 img_5794 img_5796 img_5797 img_5798 img_5800 img_5801img_5810

There are fuses taped all over this +100W beast…. looks like professional artists: Animations & Spectacles. Here’s the story on the original owners of the amp.

I cut out the two yellow death capacitors: img_5816

The power chord was cut and should be replaced by a modern 3 prong cord.img_5815

New 3-prong grounded power cord installed. After removing the death capacitors, the grounding point is free to connect the common wire from the three prong cord.


1969 Geloso G.1/1040 40W EL34 Tube Amp

Here’s another nice vintage Geloso tube amp, though already dating from 1969.  With two EL34 tubes, it sports a nice 40W of output power.







Unfortunately, it’s not working, and the reason is clear from these voltages: there’s only coming 245-260V off the solid state rectifier.


With the tubes removed, the voltages are up to scratch: 360V

img_5663img_5712 img_5672 img_5667


1966 Geloso 3215 Tube Amp

It may be due to Flanders irrevocable ties to the Holy See or just because of the numerous musical Italian immigrants, but there are a lot of Italian Geloso amps for sale in the low countries.

Giovanni (John) Geloso (1901 – 1969) was an Argentinian immigrant who established one of the most important electronics factories in pre and postwar Italy.  More information on the Geloso company can be found here.

This is a 17W 1967 Geloso G3215:

img_5308An 1967 handwired, all tube 17W amp running a set of tubes very familiar to the guitar player and hence affordable!  ECC83 or 12AX7 for the preamp, EL84 power tubes and a EZ81 rectifier. In fact, this is the exact tube complement of an earlier incarnation of the Vox AC15.

Filaments of the preamp tubes are run off negative DC, which assures absolutely noiseless operation. And there is the extra filter coil often omitted in guitar amps.



This amp still had all the original Geloso branded tubes:



The amp was sold to me in working condition. In the context of tube celexa 20 mg technology, this often means, the tubes glow up.  So it was in this case, tubes glowed, but no sound.  Things only changed when I changed the mains power switch from 240V to 220V – then this little Italian beast came to live.  It is loud, noiseless and has absolutely cheap buy generic nexium online without rx acceptable guitar tone.  I decided to install an input jack and keep the amp stock for now.  The big yellow capacitors are not Geloso, but Sprague, date coded 1966, 26th week.


Input jacks are shielded from the rest of the circuit.  The wiring is to a very high standard as are the components, who are holding up perfectly, even after half a century.


An additional advantage of these Geloso amps is that they allow you to drive any speaker from 1.5 ohms up to a 1000 ohms.


For now, I installed speaker jack in such a way that you can switch the ends to different poles on the output transformer.


Cleaned up, input jack and chicken heads installed:



Notes and glosses to Josh Ritter’s ‘Another New World’

An epic song, to say the least.  The narration rolls Coleridge’s ‘Ancient Mariner’, its inspiration, the Second Voyage of James Cook and E.A. Poe’s ‘Annabel Lee’ into one seamless theatrical tapistry.  The most poetic theme cheap ambien buy zolpidem online no prescription ever, in Poe’s words, i.e. the death of a beautiful woman, is here sublimated in the narrator’s cannabalisation of his beloved ship:

We talked of the other worlds we’d discover
As she gave up her body to me
And as I chopped up her mainsail for timber
I told her of all that we still had to see
As the frost turned her moorings to nine-tail
And the wind lashed her sides in the cold
I burned her to keep me alive every night
In the lover’s embrace of her hold

The voyage to the Anthartic echoes the ‘Ancient Mariner’ and consequently, the alleged inspiration for Coleridge’s poem, James Cook‘s Second Voyage.  The “lights of the age” is a reference to the Royal Society and maybe Alexander Dalrymple in particular.

Another New World

The leading lights of the age all wondered amongst
Themselves what I would do next
After all that I’d found in my travels around
The world was there anything left?
“Gentlemen”, I said, “I’ve studied the maps
And if what I’m thinking is right,
There’s another new world at the top of the world
For whoever can break through the ice.I looked round the room in that way I once had
And I saw that they wanted belief,
So I said “All I’ve got are my guts and my God,”
Then I paused,”and the Annabel Lee.”
Oh the Annabel Lee, I saw their eyes shine,
The most beautiful ship in the sea,
My Nina, My Pinta, My Santa Maria,
My beautiful Annabelle Lee.

That spring we set sail as the crowd waved from shore
And on board the crew waved celexa buy online their hats,
But I never had family, just the Annabelle Lee,
So I never had cause to look back.
I just set the course north and I studied the charts
And toward dark I drifted toward sleep
And I dreamed of the fine deep harbor I’d find
Past the ice for my Annabelle Lee.

After that it got colder the world got quiet,
It was never quite day or quite night
And the sea turned the color of sky turned the color
Of sea turned the color of ice,
‘Til at last all around us was fastness
One vast glassy desert of arsenic white.
And the waves that once lifted us
Shifted instead into drifts against Annabel’s sides

The crew gathered closer at first for the comfort
But each morning would bring a new set
Of the tracks in the snow leading over the edge
Of the world ’til I was the only one left
After that it gets cloudy but it feels like I lay there
For days maybe for months
But Annabel held me the two of us happy
Just to think back on all we had done.

We talked of the other worlds we’d discover
As she gave up her body to me
And as I chopped up her mainsail for timber
I told her of all that we still had to see
As the frost turned her moorings to nine-tail
And the wind lashed her sides in the cold
I burned her to keep me alive every night
In the lover’s embrace of her hold

I won’t call it rescue what brought me here back to
The old world to drink and decline
And to pretend that the search for another new world
Was well-worth the burning of mine.
But sometimes at night in my dreams comes the singing
Of some known tropical bird
And I smile in my sleep thinking Annabel Lee
Has finally made it to another new world.

Blind Connie Williams – Precious Lord, Take My Hand

I don’t know of any blues heroes for whom there isn’t even a recorded year of death, I have never seen a clip that struck me on my path like this one and I never read so many people experiencing exactly the same when they hear Blind Connie Williams for the first time.

He only did one recording session, on the 5th of May 1961 in Philadelphia, for Pete Welding‘s label, on which he played both guitar and accordeon. Most of these tracks are available on Youtube. This clip, however, is a true gem because there are only 1 or 2 pictures of Williams. The only other source of info are the liner notes of the album. The catalog number also makes clear that it wasn’t issued until more than a decade later: Testament T-2225 (1974)

The song was actually written by Thomas A. Dorsey (1899-1993):

His first wife, Nettie, who had been Rainey’s wardrobe mistress, died in childbirth in 1932. Two days later the child, a son, also died. In his grief, he wrote his most famous song, one of the most famous of all gospel songs, “Precious Lord, Take My Hand”. Unhappy with the treatment received at the hands of established publishers, Dorsey opened the first black gospel music publishing company, Dorsey House of Music.

The musical basis was taken from an older, traditional hymn and is generally played in a death march like tempo. It was Martin Luther King’s favorite song, who specifically liked Mahalia Jackson’s version, which I give here by way of reference as to how the song usually sounds.

Connie’s version is musically very different from the traditional version and could be transcribed as a traditional 8 bar blues:







But what Connie is playing contains almost every passing chord from the gospel book:







This may look infinitely intricate, but it isn’t. Connie’s guitar is tuned in open G tuning (DGDGBD tuned down to CFCFAC), so this will mostly be one or two finger chords; F7 – F6 is x00003 – x00002. There are a lot of rumours on the internet that he would be using Vestapol tuning, but the album track on guitar are all in G and detailed analysis of the video will show him picking the root bass on the second string, which is G (tuned down to F).















You could even take it a bit further: replace the Gm-like chord C7/G by a D7 and extend the walkdown which started on line 3 to include line 2. It would then virtually span an octave and a half, from “lead me on” until “storm.” It would change the lead a bit, but it need not. Connies steady singing seems almost independent of the changes he plays… and it always works.

It was a real revelation to see how flexible gospel chords are. You could almost go anywhere with the last line:




I haven’t figured out how to play it in open G, I hardly know anything in this tuning (contrary to open D), but this video of Lonesome Joseph playing another Blind Connie Williams track in open G, reveals a lot the positions:



1963 WEM Watkins Control ER15 & Pick-A-Bass cabinet

wem01wem02 wem03


This nice little 15 watt all tube amp head was built by the British WEM Watkins company in 1963/4.  At this time, bands played in clubs and used at max 30W amps and the Beatles were still playing their Vox AC-30’s through the stadion PA when they called it quits after Shea Stadion.  The equipment simply was not holding up to the task in 1965, but by 1967 Jimi Hendrix was shredding away: what had changed?

Charlie and Reg Watkins had started their record shop in 1948 and switch to selling guitars and accordeons some two year later. Charlie is mainly interested in electronics:

In 1949, my fascination with the guitar, its mechanics and now its electronic reproduction paved the way to the first Watkins "Westminster" Guitar amplifiers and later the "Copicat" Echo and the "V" Fronted Dominator amplifier. 

The breakthrough which really put WEM on the map happened in 1966:

Invention of the "Slave" P.A. System. Possibly the most rewarding and personally satisfying development. In a world bristling with the likes of Alvin Lee and his Ten Years After, The Faces, Jethro Tull, Rod Stewart, Hendrix and indeed the Rolling Stones with so many brilliant groups waiting to emerge but who were unable to do so for the lack of a powerful and competent sound system. This limited the exposure of groups to small venues and pubs or whatever size a couple of lashed up Marshall 100 or Hi Watt ordering celexa Guitar stacks could handle. 
Charlie Watkins
Charlie Watkins

It’s hard to determine how many amps they put out per year and there is also hardly no information on the Watkins serials. I do have the impression that in the early 60s they were not product bound: the cabinet I own has a similar tag with a different number. I might have to take it apart and check the date codes on the potentiometers if they haven’t been replaced, but on the basis of the serial, this unit will be 1964/1965.

Serial #00951
Serial #00951















I had the cabinet for some years, but it was missing a speaker. Could have gone overboard and spent load of money trying to source the original speaker, but as the thing is meant to be played, I opted for something that’s an affordable solid alternative: Jensen C12Q-16 Ceramic Vintage 12″ Guitarspeaker 35 Watt
RMS, 16 Ohms, 1,25″ voice coil used by Fender Bandmaster, Deluxe
Reverb, Pro and Vibrolux.

WEM Watkins Pick-A-Bass cabinet with new 12" Jensen speaker. Cabinet serial #1150
WEM Watkins Pick-A-Bass cabinet with new 12″ Jensen speaker. Cabinet serial #1150

Around the late 60’s Marshall cloned this exact amp and issues the Marshall 18W Combo. It’s basically running the same configuration a little hotter.

1965/6 Marshall 18W Combo (James Stevensons Collection)
Comparison between WEM ER15 and Marshall 18W by tonegeek.com

instruct er15

Back in the USSR, Part II — Roadburn/013 revisited


Well, it seems Van Den Brand has a somewhat misconstrued conception of American society and ‘art.’  The US Government does still subsidize it, it just considers popular art an “intellectual curiosity” not worth giving any money to.  All popular music that came from America, and I’m sure both Jurgen and the author of above piece will agree, came about a climate where the state didn’t subsidize it at all.  One could even say that the real roots of American music is the illegal liquor circuit of the 30’s They only give money to what one tends to call ‘high art,’ but maybe there is something to be said about keeping great pieces of historical art available to the public.

The above opinion piece is addressing the issue from the typical left wing hippie perspective…. are the corporate powers going to take over the music business? Sadly, it takes this question nowhere: we cannot help it, maybe it isn’t such a big thing, maybe it’s even productive. All these are correct observations, but kind of superfluous.  It starts out be relevantly showing how without commercials on radio station, popular music wouldn’t even have existed in the form we know today.  The article is critical of corporate business influence on music, hardly something new, but makes no mention generic antibiotics purchase cipro online cheap ciprofloxacin s of the state corporate influence and impact on the cultural scene in central Europe.  This is something entirely new and is never written about in local press… and for a very good reason.  It cannot be examined in the space of Gonzo Circus either, for the very same reason.

It is Van Den Brand’s opinion, that US government has gradually stepped back from funding popular art, but that in Europa this hasn’t happened yet.  I think this is absolutely wrong: the state has never sponsored or funded popular music in any way, anywhere. It’s been an evolution in Belgium, and maybe in the Netherlands too, of the government to take complete control of the cultural scene.  Not because they want to sell an ideology (who cares about ideology?), but because of the business interest involved.  They are programming cool stuff alright, but they are leaving no space individual initiative, or real grass root art (just a band playing in a pub, for example)…

Who is Jurgen? Can he live off Roadburn, a broadly marketed and popular niche concert series?


Not only does he manage ‘Roadburn Production,’ which is a non-profit organization with almost no employees, he has his own record label, but more importantly, is working for the city of Den Haag as a sport reporter since late 2012.  Nevertheless, the rest of his cv doesn’t show any proof of studies or experience in this field. Of course, a lot of young people in Den Haag would love this job, but that is something which you will have to arrange with most important political party in that city.  Let’s have a quick look:


Pvda is the mainstream socialist party in the Netherlands. But the Roadburn festival is housed in the cultural center (city property) of Tilburg, that’s another city.  For the heck of it, let’s check political majority there:


 My point: 15 years ago these niche concerts already existed, but they would take place in a tent of forest, done by volunteers, very small scale. You would pay €5 a ticket a day, beer would be cheap and the guys taking the effort to organize it would actually make some money on the beer sale to support the whole thing.  Nowadays, going to a metal meeting like this would be the same, except that it takes place in a multi-million euro culture temple. This temple is leased by the socialist politicians to their Roadburn friends (while still providing business to their friends through catering contracts), who pay full price, but charge this to the metal schwarzkopf hippies:


4 days of rock is in itself insane, especially when it’s in the middle of a very nice an clean Catholic town as Tilburg.  And sadly, also ticketservice is allowed to make a buck for a concert that has a few thousand visitors.  Let’s hope a commercial company such as Red Bull takes over sponsorship of Roadburn, I bet they would love to, prices would drop radically, but tell me … do you want to be backed by a commercial brand or the Dutch socialist party. That’s the choice we have.

Still, Popdium 013 Tilburg is a commercial buy cheap celexa venture — today they play 80’s & 90’s music for an entrance fee of €10. If you would go to a bar you could have 5 beers for that money, and get the crappy music for free. Next Tuesday however, the rock is really on:


Whitesnakes play 013’s Jupiler Room (2000 capacity) — ticket prices is €54 (+ charges), i.e. a little over $72, while today you can see them in Croatia for €26.66, that’s less than half the price and you keep sleep in the next day…



Of course the people in Croatia don’t have a much money to spend to rock concert, and the venue is in fact an ice hockey stadium.  The point is that I do not think that a professional rock band such as WhiteSnake steps away with less money from the Croatia concert.  But let’s have a look at the prices of the next WhiteSnake gig in the US.



In Tilburg, you would pay almost €60 to get into the gig, held in a government owned cultural center and not even get a seat.  In comparison, the US venue is owned by a private gas and electricity firm, DTE Energy.  This is not quite Red Bull yet, but does it matter?

Before anybody mention generic antibiotics purchase cipro online cheap ciprofloxacin s Ethias Arena in Hasselt, please check the history of the Ethias, a formerly insurance company owned by the city and towns, hence heavily politically affiliated.

The result seems to be that kids can get into the concert for as ‘little’ as €18, less than a third of the price.  But it is even less, if you consider that everybody working at the US WhiteSnake concert that night is getting paid for his or her work.  This may seem a ludicrous point to mention generic antibiotics purchase cipro online cheap ciprofloxacin , until you understand that the bar staff at these socialist, governmental-owned, are volunteers.  The banners on the front page (not the main color of the website), make it perfectly.  Do you want to work for 013?



While in fact they mean: do you want to work for free? do you want to be a slave?


Surely, they don’t mean you get nothing in return? Well, no real money (which you don’t need if you are a student and you are young anyways).  We will pay you you with experiences, a social networkconnections to people…. but we expect you to work at least 3 nights a month for us, e.g. serving beer from 18pm – 2am.  Some of the regular slaves have been slaving there for 10 years, and it looks as if you have to do dirty work for a year or 5 before you can even work at the bar…



So, we Europeans, pay 3 times as much taxes for the government to invest in cultural centres where you pay 3 times the prices of a rock concert and double for a cheap beer that almost gets thrown in your face by that 21 year old blonde volunteer bitch behind the bar because by now she’s realized that the only way to advance her career in cultural journalism is on her knees in the manager’s office…

Still, I should add that they do serve Southern Comfort at 013 – in effing cheap plastic cups for an amount that escaped me due to the coin system.

I can only pray that WhiteSnake, any of the Roadburn metal bands or either of them hardbodied blondes will take this te wrong way… somebody is walking away with a lot of money in terms of investments, and it isn’t either of them.


If the younger generation is more aware of modern corporate marketing, that’s all too well, but more importantly, both they and the author are absolutely blind to what’s really going on.  If Roadburn is making a deal with Scion A/V than it is thanks to and to the advantage of political connections.  Sure there are private investors involved in all these projects, but they are all only politically selected.

Some people think I have something against any form government funding. I don’t think anybody in their right mind want to close down their national museums.  This is about the government not funding anything at all, but investing tax money to have commercial friends reap the fruits while, relying on volunteer work and charging top prices for tickets and drinks.

And they control the programming…

Now you got what you want — do you want more?