Updated: Sep 20, 2022
So my Vintage guitar, the first guitar I owned, bought from GAK in Brighton, England needs some TLC. And Andrew Smith who is a brilliant guitar player, singer song-writer and producer here in the Okanagan had mentioned a Luthier to me a while back.
Gary Norris is his name he reminded me. So I went to see Gary and took my guitar. It's dried out, cracked and generally clobbered but she sounds lovely and I love to play her. I've detuned three semitones so I can sing higher and she always comes with me to friends' houses. When you're a bit battered a few more bumps won't be too bad. Bit like her owner.
So I explained the scenario to Gary, he's fitting a Fishman pickup and remaking the fretboard, putting her through the humidifier for a couple of weeks and generally has scolded me for not having her in her case more often. Like a fine cigar a guitar can dry out, I have learnt.
I am blessed with a Stratocaster from Andrew Grant as a gift. Gary took it also and has tuned it, made a new bone headstock, chamfered down the neck and done other stuff so she plays great. And I love the sound of the Strat I am getting.
And - I love the Les Paul sound. It can be raspier, Santana like or fuller and warmer on some settings than the Stratocaster. So I asked Gary if he had a Les Paul.
The guitar he is holding above appeared. He called it Plain Jane and explained how he has literally re-built it. It's a Les Paul Special. He said he liked it because she didn't shout but she sang when played. Fifty Seven Humbuckers, new bridge that doesn't move, new bone headstock making strings wider, sculpted back and sides, new locking nuts, new posts and vintage wiring taking the knob controls out of tandem are amongst the changes.
By the time he had told me of all the alterations and explained the work and played it a bit I was sold. When I took her and played her it was heaven. Easy, smooth and just right. And to me, being an Englishman, she is a Lady a Lady Jayne.
This took me on a journey to Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones Lady Jane and Jane Ormsby-Gore. Super designs, reminds me of times in Wales. Of course I needed to do a song Lady Jayne and Sammy Kahn's immortal words of 'they don't respect title' come to mind.
So maybe no song and maybe no associations like the Stones had but definitely a Lady to me.
And she found a home, in a most serendipitous way, with me here in Kelowna, BC.
Oh I forgot to say. Gary has a little Yamaha Amp, it's very cool. As I played my Jack and Maybeleine Springsteinesque song he dialled in some sounds and the hairs on the back of my neck stood on end. It will sound awesome on stage! And the song was empowered.... Rock N Roll.
Thank you Gary. Lady Jayne has found her home. Great sounds to come.