Miscellaneous Rumbles

New book: “The Birth of Loud”- Leo Fender, Les Paul, Paul Bigsby

1

Jim Campilongo turned me on to this book, it was just released.

I have to say, FASCINATING!!! I knew a little about their stories individually, but I never knew they actually COLLABORATED some back in the day, when the solid body guitar was being invented.

I've always wondered about the obsession with Bigsby by Grestch folks, (aside from the fact the Grestch adopted his vibrato bar), and I'm starting to understand why....

I'm a little shocked at both Leo and Les for the way they handled business, treated other people, and "innovated" (Paul Bigsby flat-out accuses Leo of stealing his intellectual property, and it certainly seems like that is what he did...)

Jimmy Bryant was apparently a HEAVY drinker "the backseat of his car was always filled with empties" LOL

It's a fascinating read about a fascinating time in guitar history... I'm less than 1/2 way through, and I can already highly recommend it.

3

Jimmy Bryant, even tho an early Telecaster endorser was thrown out of the factory for showing up drunk and harassing female employees -- so I read. Then in the 60s he shilled for Thomas Vox

I was a little surprised a book like this at this late date since those stories have been often retold. I say they overlooked Everett Hull - Ampeg-- he and Les Paul were the East Coast guys, and Fender and Bigsby were the West coast guys. Hull counts.

I know those days are sort of seen thru this historic/legend viewpoint, but they were just scrappy guys working their way thru a scene where no one really knew what it would become

4

I've heard bits and pieces of these stories over the years, but I've never seen it told completely- how these 3 people "mattered" to each other through the development of the idea. I had NEVER heard that Leo, Les, and Paul would hang out at Les's house in CA and brainstorm ideas together on creating the solidbody guitar... I thought they were just 3 guys who had the same idea at the same time, not collaborators (which quickly turned into adversaries, after Gibson said no to Les, then Les said no to Leo, Leo put the Tele out, and Bigsby had his vibrato idea stolen by Leo)

5

The fist time I ever saw a bigsby guitar was the one owned by Hank Garland. I thought it was the coolest Flintstones Fender rip-off . Hank set me straight and said bigsby was first. Always wondered where that and the rest of his guitars ended up. I’d heard his family had them listed, but never any luck finding out anything definitive.Anyway, Birth of Loud is on my list to read. Cool as heck that you know Jim Compalongo, been a big fan for years.

6

A few years back there was a Bigsby guitar for sale or just on display at the Vancouver Guitar Show. Paul Pigat may know who had/has that particular guitar.

7

Bigsby had his vibrato idea stolen by Leo...

I haven't read the book, but that seems like an odd statement. Leo's partner, Doc Kaufmann, invented the vibrato years before Bigsby came out with his. And Fender's was a completely different design than Bigsby's. And Bigsby's is a completely different (and better) design than Kaufmann's. I'm not sure how anybody is ripping off anybody here. But if Bigsby felt that way, then I presume there's a reason.

I would have thought, if anything, Bigsby would be miffed at the six-on-a-side tuner arrangement and headstock shape - hinted at in the Telecaster, blatantly ripped off on the Stratocaster. But even those are pretty derivative of the Stauffer headstock, though certainly Bigsby improved that design.

8

I love old man stories, and I love a good gossipy book. I also take them both at face value. I've def heard some of the Bigsby/Leo stories in the past and there may well be something to them, but I'd factor in a guy wanting to write an entertaining yarn in how they are presented. I'll have to grab this from the ol' library.

9

"I would have thought, if anything, Bigsby would be miffed at the six-on-a-side tuner arrangement and headstock shape - hinted at in the Telecaster, blatantly ripped off on the Stratocaster. But even those are pretty derivative of the Stauffer headstock, though certainly Bigsby improved that design."

According to this book, those things did not irk Bigsby. And of course the tele had no vibrato. But when the strat came out- with Leo's vibrato, THAT is what miffed Bigsby.

But yeah- like Spike says- "stories". We'll likely never know the truth unless Bigsby wrote his own story down somewhere...

The book paints Les as basically a slave-driving a-hole, especially to his wife, Mary.

Leo as a know-it-all ripoff artist...well, not THAT drastic... but...
... he supposedly had one of Bigsby's 1st -THE FIRST- solidbody he made, for a week to examine it- before he made the 1st telecaster
...he copied Bigsby's 6-on-a-side headstock
...he took bigsby's vibrato idea and made his own for the strat
...and Leo denied all this stuff for years, especially having one of Bigsby's guitars to "copy" before making the Broadcaster.

Paul as a master craftsman who made custom one-off instruments for stars and had no interest in mass production. Supposedly, Bryant had ordered a custom Bigsby instrument, then when it was finished told Paul he didn't want it anymore- because he decided to endorse Fender and his new Broadcaster/Telecaster.

It is a good read, easy read, very entertaining.


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