Could you say something about your Hank Marvin signature guitar with
Yes well, theres been a real series of those, funny enough Robert.
The first one was the signature model, they made 50 signature models.
They were based on a 1958 Stratocaster I have with a neck section and
things like this, and the body was copied with a few modern innovations
on it. I like locking machine heads so the strings wouldnt slip.
Just try to improve the tuning and they do stay in tune very, very well.
Theyve got Kinman pickups. Thats an Australian, noiseless,
single coil pickup. Then a couple years later they did another series
called The Autograph, which was the same guitar basically
with a personally autographed scratch plate. Another 50 of those and
then they a 40th anniversary one a few years ago which was only 40 made
of those. So what I use on stage are basically signature model guitars.
I have one strung with heavier strings, 12-52 for most of the old stuff,
Shads stuff which was played on probably heavier strings than that in
fact. But it gives a bit more weight to the sound. Then for most of
the, sort of what I call a compromise, for more of the later Shadows
material, Im trying to think of some of the numbers, say Argentina
and Equinox, things of that nature, I use 11 to 50s.
Thats my sort of normal gauge. I can bend that around a bit you
see, but it still sounds fairly strong. I didnt use it on this
tour, but sometimes for a couple of numbers where I really want to bend
really very freely, I use for guitar strung 10 to 46. I used to use
that on my shows when I do a couple numbers where I really wanted to
bend around, almost country style and you need light strings for that
so...But I didnt use that on this Shads tour, I just used
the two guitars, my two Fender signatures, one strung 12-52, one 11-50.
Also Bruce and myself as you probably know used Burns guitars, theyre
reissue Burns Marvins. Mine had 11-50s on while I used on Flingel
Bunt and Dont Make My Baby Blue. And the acoustic
guitar I used was a Lakewood with a sound system on the guitar, an amplification
system. A B-band system. I was kind of disappointed in the sound on
that acoustic guitar when it was recorded, because live it sounded incredibly
realistic, everyone was commenting on how good it sounded as if there
was a microphone stuck in front of it. Yet for some reason that didnt
translate onto the recording medium and I havent got a clue why.
It sounded to me very synthetic, which was a bitter disappointment,
I must say. But thats the way it goes...That was disappointing
to have what was obviously a very good sound in the venues, and everyone
commenting on how natural it sounded, to end up on the recording medium
sounding like a very bad piezo pickup. I dont know what happened.
But there you go, that is life Robert. Full of twists and turns.
Can you offer any further comparisons between and Burns guitars and
the Fender guitars?
HM: Oh, theyre different. Theyre both very good guitars
obviously. The Fender was the first, well not my first electric guitar
but Id been using the Strats from the summer of 1959, when I got
my first Stratocaster direct from the States. We went to Burns or started
using Burns in 1964 because we were having quite a bit of trouble with
Fender guitars at that point, not Fender as a company, but the guitars
we were being given by the importers. They had a lot of trouble with
their tuning and we just got fed...particularly Bruce used to throw
guitars against the wall. He couldnt sort of handle the tuning
situation, he was getting obsessed by it so we decided to change and
in company with Jimmy Burns, who was Burns really in those days, we
designed that guitar. And it was a good instrument. It sounded good
and its still got a good sound. But I have to say, I prefer the
Strat. I feel that the Strat is part of me really and the Burns...its
like I had a dalliance with the Burns for a few years. But the Strat
was my first true love sort of thing. (laughter) So theyre both
very good guitars, in different ways. Similar in some ways but different
in others. There is a similarity in the sound. Theyre not a hundred
miles away from each other soundwise. But, there is a difference. The
Fender is a lighter guitar, a little bit easier to wear on stage. And
I prefer the ease of use of the whammy bar on the Fender, which I use
a lot as you know. So, both good guitars but my choice would be the
Strat, for me...my Strats.
RS: I really enjoy your 2002 album Guitar Player and on the album,
you feature the Favino guitar with the longer 26 1/2 scale. Could
you say something about that guitar?
Thank you. Well, the Favino guitar I have was a guitar made in France.
Its a French maker but as the name probably suggests...Jean Pierre
I think was the father and his son still makes guitars but has now moved
to the south of France where he makes them. And I think their background
is Italian as their name would suggest. The Favino guitars of the type
I was using were made as a copy, but not an identical copy, of a Selmaa
guitar of the star which was used by Django Reinhardt. The oval hole.
Youve probably seen the photographs with the small oval sound
hole in it. Well, the Favino is based on that, but the Favino has a
slightly larger body. Its slightly wider and its got a nicer
neck. I have a 1949 Selma oval hole and the necks are almost square
in section. You know, theyre very chunky necks where the Favino
has got more of a c-shaped neck in section, so its probably an
easier neck to cope with. And apart from that, the general look of it...if
you looked at the Favino that I have, its a black one incidentally,
at first glance you might think, Oh, that looks like a Selmer,
the ones that Django Reinhardt used cause the headstock and everythings
pretty much the same. Its just got a slightly larger body and
its a very nice guitar. Interesting tone. Obviously a little more
difficult to play because of the longer scale. However; the Gypsies
and the way these guitars were designed always use lighter strings.
They either use like an 11 to 46 I think, with about a 23 wound third
or a 10 to 45 with a 22 wound third. And the strings that they use are
usually Argentine strings, which are designed for these guitars. Theyre
low tension strings. So in fact, with this lower gauge string, low tension
string, you can bend around reasonably freely on the guitar, but because
of the extra scale they dont feel ridiculously sloppy or anything
like that. They still got a certain tone to them and a certain feel
to the strings. They dont feel too light. Not at all. But theyre
interesting guitars to play. When you first play them you think, my
goodness. Ive only had the Selmer about a year but the Favino
as you know, Ive had longer. I use it on that album. The actions
are incredibly high. Seriously, deadly. And I had to have the guitars
re-fretted and the bridge lowered really. Theyre solid wooden
bridges. Its just way too high. Some of the Gypsy players like
actions very high. A sign of their masculinity Robert. (laughter) Whereas
others, I found out do not. I think thats probably dying out now.
Some of the better players seem to have more manageable actions. The
action on my Selmer is not as good as the action on the Favino. The
Selmer is still harder to play. The strings are a little bit higher.
I cant get them any lower but they sound different. The two guitars,
they both sound Gypsy but theyve got different voices. Theyre
both within the Gypsy ballpark, but definitely different voices. The
Selmer is quite loud and cutting. When you first play it, it sounds
quite thin. But its a strange instrument. When someone else plays
it in front of you it sounds different. The sound that comes out of
it sounds different to when youre playing it. Its the way,
I think, the small oval hole seems to throw the sound very much forward
and you dont hear as much from it as you do from a normal guitar
with a bigger sound hole. But they do have a different sound. I do enjoy
playing them. I very much got into Django Reinhardt again, who I was
very fond of in my teens as a player and Im very much into that
Hot Club stuff and also some of the modern Gypsy players.
Im trying to build myself a little repertoire of Gypsy jazz music
and learn to play it.
RS: Any upcoming solo projects coming up or is the Shadows tour taking
HM: Thats taking priority. I dont have any ideas at all
Robert, for any solo projects at this time. With the Shadows thing and
personal commitments in other areas, everything else is just sort of
going along without any intent really in terms of recording or doing
anything particular on my own. I havent any ideas in that direction
at all yet, if indeed I will do anything, I dont know.
RS: One last question is, can you say something about The Shadows recently
recording the Jerry Lordan song Life Story? Jerry wrote
so many great songs for the Shads, like Apache, Wonderful
Land and Atlantis so can you say something about making
Well, its a tune thats been knocking around for a while,
as it happens. I saw Jerry, in fact he came and he spent a week over
here in Australia with my wife and I just, in the year he died in fact.
And he brought some material. He wanted me to try to write some lyrics
for a tune hed written and also he had a couple of sets of lyrics
that conversely he wanted me to try to see if I could write a tune to
them. I said, wow, thats a big ask, because Jerry
is such a good writer anyway. And before that hed had a few instrumentals
knocking around and one of them was Life Story. Originally
he wrote that as a piano piece, almost as a slightly rhapsodic...I dont
know if thats the expression to use, but it was a piano piece.
And down the line a little bit, I think he had the idea of perhaps translating
it into a guitar instrumental. I think, Brian Bennett knows a little
bit more about this than I do. I believe that Claudine, Jerrys
widow spoke to Brian and sent him this piece and asked if we would like
to record it, if we were doing any recording as The Shadows as we were
getting back together. Well, the thing was, we werent really going
to do any recording at all. However; we thought it would be a nice little
touch to record, the first hit we ever had was Jerrys Apache,
and we thought it might be nice for the last thing possibly we ever
recorded, certainly in the studio apart from live performance, would
perhaps be one of Jerrys compositions. We kind of did an arrangement
of it, which is what youve heard on the album, of Life Story
and thats pretty much how it came about.
RS: Hank, thanks for all the great songs through the years. The music
of The Shadows will always be a great inspiration to me.
HM: Thank you for that Robert. Thats nice. I appreciate those
comments. That makes me feel very humbled. I wish you all the best.
Nice to talk to you. Maybe one day well meet up and shake hands
and have a drink. All the best...bye-bye.
Reflections on The Shadows by Randy Bachman
be able to go to The Shadows reunion tour final concert in June 2004
was my teenage dream come true. I must say, they fulfilled every expectation
I had and even went beyond. I was able to meet them at their sound check
and hear them play. We met afterwards and they signed autographs for
me and Neil Young and we had photos taken. Hank invited me to play his
guitar. Talk about ga-gag. This was quite unbelievable... Their show
at the Hammersmith Apollo lasted about 3 hours. They played almost every
song I could think of. A sides, B sides, album cuts, they played them
all. They sounded exactly like the record. I was stunned at the performance.
Brian May was sitting a few rows in front of me and he was also transported
back to his teenage years of listening to The Shads and learning every
note. To be treated with such warmth and friendliness by 4 complete
strangers restored my faith in rock and roll. These guys were like my
best friends. Every musician in the place was so totally impressed at
how much better this band was than our memories. Brian Bennetts
drum solo must have had John Bonham, Keith Moon, Louis Belson, and Gene
Krupa all cheering him on from drum heaven. It was the most memorable
drum solo Ive ever witnessed. Bruces rhythm guitar was tonefull,
tasty and solid as a rock. Hank was Hank as only Hank can be. Hes
one of a kind and truly one of the worlds greatest guitarists
and nice guys. Theres no one who can get that tone out of a Fender
guitar like Hank. Most guitarists know that its not just the guitar.
Its the heart, mind, hands and soul of the player that makes it
what it is. My solo in You Aint Seen Nothing Yet is
pure Hank as are many of Neils solos today. The great
thing about copying The Shadows was that they were never that big in
the USA. The Ventures seemed to hold that turf and kept it theirs to
this day. But if you had The Shadows sounds and songs in your repertoire,
you could be a bit different than the average American guitar band.
I hope that there is one more Shadows reunion in the next couple of
years and can say that I will be there front row center with tears in
my eyes and a lump in my throat as I once again relive all my teenage
moments of learning to play like The Shadows.
to Hank B. Marvin and The Shadows, Brian Goode, Randy Bachman @ www.randybachman.com
and Eagle Rock @ www.eaglerockent.com
THE SHADOWS: THE FINAL TOUR PT.2 - 2005
13: Kongresscenter, Ringsted
14: Knoserthuset, Oslo
15: Solna Hall, Stockholm
17: Katinkulta Festival - Vuokatti Finland
18: Icehall, Helsinki
20: Valbyhallen, Copenhagen
21: Aalborghallen, Aalborg
22: Stadionhallen, Esbjerg
23: Tinghallen, Viborg
24: Konserthuset, Oslo
25: Konserthuset, Stavanger
27: Liseberghallen, Goetheborg
28: Musikhuset, Aarhus
29: Kongresscenter, Ringsted
30: Idrætshal, Odense
01: Musikteatret, Vejle
02: Konserthuset Oslo
05: Fifan Sportshall, Reykjavik
07: Forest Nationale, Brussels
08: Westfalenhalle, Dortmund
09: Grand Rex, Paris
10: Heineken Musichall, Amsterdam
11: Heineken Musichall, Amsterdam
12: Heineken Musichall, Amsterdam
14: NIA Birmingham - UK
15: NIA Birmingham - UK