Above : Zemaitis metal front featuring stunning engraving by Danny O'Brien. Danny only engaved my metal front with two scorpions. If you see another, be careful! I no longer have this beauty.
Below : Tony in his Kent work shop playing my 1980 12 string acoustic.
Below : Tony's guitars feature the magical engraving of Danny O'Brien. My 12 string was made in 1980, as a tribute to John Lennon I asked Danny to engrave a Beetle.
I am passionate about Zemaitis guitars. I admired the instruments before I even knew who made them. Ronnie Wood of The Faces played one in the video for MAGGIE MAY. It took me years to find Tony and I ordered a few instruments from him. It was a great privilege to have known him and an honour to call him a friend. TheZemaitis 12 string dates from 1980 and was originally made for Tony's son (also called Tony). Some amazing instruments were created in that workshop. I no longer own the metal front. Kanda Shokai now produce Zemaitis guitars in Japan. Tony was invloved in the initial talks with the company and thought they had the intergrity to produce quality instruments to carry his name. I have two of the new Zemaitis guitars and can tell you Tony was right, they are great guitars.
Below : Danny O'Brien engraved Tony's guitars and carries on the tradition for the new Zemaitis guitars. He supplies designs and also engraves some of the instruments.
Above : Photograph taken when GUITAR magazine came to visit July 2005. Quite a few guitars have gone since then (also the piano) . The collection was featured in the October 2005 edition.
Noel Gallagher's Gibson Flying V.
Above : Noel playing Gibson Flying V on the video shoot for "D'you know what I mean".
Above : Ex Noel Gallagher Gibson Flying V 1967 reissue. This 1997 guitar was used by Noel on the album “BE HERE NOW” and in the video for “D’YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN”. I owned the V from 2000 to November 2011.
Ex Ronnie Lane Zemaitis resonator.
Below : 1971 Zemaitis resonator made for Ronnie Lane of the Faces. I have a video of Ronnie playing DEBRIS and also OOH LA LA on this guitar. Stan Lane (Ronnie Lane's brother) is a freind of mine. I have waited ten years for Stan to sell me this guitar! I picked the guitar up on 7th October 2005. Knight guitars set it up and have just fitted a transducer for me. I have used it in the studio and intend to play some of Ronnie Lane's songs on it on stage. I sold quite a few guitars to get this little gem! I made a You tube clip about this guitar, quite a few years ago.
Above : Zemaitis resonator made for Ronnie Lane of the Faces in 1971.
Above : Collecting Ronnie Lane's Zemaitis from his brother Stan. He also gave me one of Ronnie's old waistcoats. Francine and I spent a lovely evening with Stan and Jan Lane.
Below : Ronnie on stage in 1974 with Zemaitis resonator.
EKO Ranger 12 string.
I love the sound of an acoustic 12 string. Knight guitars found this 1967 EKO Ranger 12 for me. It belonged to an old session player called Dick Able. He played many sessions using the guitar, including some for Readers Digest records and also Roger Whittacker. Dick sent me a lovely letter all about the guitar. I had a transducer fitted and used it live for some acoustic concerts. I used it a lot in the studio recording ST JOHNS WOOD AFFAIR's album.
Above : EKO Ranger 12 string. This example was made in 1967.
1964 Burns Nu Sonic bass
The Burns Nu Sonic bass was only available between 1964 and 1965. I had never seen one in the flesh (or wood) until recently. For a small bass it has a big sound and fast neck. Depending on who you believe, George Harrison used one with The Beatles on Dr Robert and also Paperback writer.
Above : 1964 Burns Nu Sonic bass. George Harrison was reported as recording with one during the Paperback writer sessions.
Below : This example still has the chrome bridge that is often missing.
Above : Close up of the head stock.
Below : George Harrison with Burns Nu Sonic during sessions for Paperback writer.
I do not own the copyright to this photograph.
Above : With Philippe Dubreuille in his workshop. April 2013.
The BEST guitar slide in the World!
I have used many slides over the years, glass and metal, old bottle necks, pill bottles. My favourite that I always use is an old chrome slide. Recently I managed to get hold of a TONY WHELAN slide, made out of the barrel from a vintage shotgun!! I can see why so many Pros, like Ronnie Wood and Mick Taylor use them. As you can see, my one is cut from the same barrel as Ronnie Wood's! The tone that is pulled out of the strings by these slides is jaw dropping, I can't tell you how good they sound. Here is Tony's e mail, if you want a slide yourself. twhelan0206@gmail
Below Tony Whelan slide made out of a vintage shotgun barrel!
The Monster Stratocaster
The Monster Strat was put together using various old Fender bits and pieces. It's beaten up and scarred, but plays and sounds great. The nearest thing to a 58 Stratocaster.
Morris Minor Hubcap guitar.
I met Davey Chivers, at a guitar even in 2013. I found out that he built a guitar using a Morris Minor Hubcap for Seasick Steve. He agreed to bulld me an identical instrument. I took delivery of it in November 2013. I have it tuned to open G.
Above : Morris Minor Hubcap guitar. I play it in open G tuning.
Above : Close up of the Morris Minor hubcap guitar, built by Davey Chivers.
Steve Acworth Mini guitar.
Steve Acworth is a Luthier that I have long admired. Based in Kent for quite some time, Steve's instruments found their way into very famous hands (Status Quo and Jeff Beck to name two). He always thinks outside the box and has some fascinating ideas about guitar construction. This particulat guitar was made for a teenage girl in 1997. It's almost a Travel guitar, but plays better than any Travel guitar that I have owned. Steve's web site is http://www.sparkspin.co.uk/index.htm worth a visit!
Fender B Bender Telecaster.
I have owned a number of B Bender Telecasters. This Telecaster was made in Mexico and plays like a dream! The string pull mechanism is not your usual Parsons/White B Bender. It was made by Forrest Lee Junior. The mechanism seems slightly lighter than the Parsons/ White versions that I have owned. The metal pickguard is engraved by Danny O'Brien, who engraved Zemaitis guitars.
Above/Below : Fender B Bender Telecaster. The pull string mechanism was made by Forrest Lee Junior.
Zemaitis International Heart Hole CAG200
I recently took delivery of a Zemaitis Heart hole acoustic (model CAG200).
As soon as I unpacked the guitar I was impressed with the build quality and superior materials used. Sumptious mother of pearl inlay, solid Sitka Spruce top, solid Rosewood back and sides, Mahogany neck and bone nut and saddle. The frets are perfect, no sharp ends. The guitar is fitted with the Mi-Si VT system. It's amazing! You plug the guitar into the mains via the jack socket. Sixty seconds later, it is fully charged and lasts 18 hours. More details at http://mi-si.com/products/ I am told these guitars are not available in the U.K. yet. I will be using this guitar at my next acoustic gig.
Above : Zemaitis Heart hole.
Below : Body detail.
Gibson Les Paul Standard.
A Gibson Les Paul Standard was the guitar we all dreamed of owning, when we were school kids! I remember pressing my nose up against the window of ABC Music in Surrey. They were sooooooo expensive, hundreds of pounds. All I could get was a Japanese Les Paul copy branded Angelica. I have been lucky to own half a dozen examples of the Gibson Les Paul. This guitar dates from 2005. I love it! It has become my main guitar for playing live with ST JOHNS WOOD AFFAIR.
Above : 2005 Gibson Les Paul Standard.
It's amazing the sounds that you can get from one pick up! This Esquire was built for me by Duncan Cruttenden guitars. Swamp ash body is slightly thinner than a standard guitar. There are also comfort contours in the body. The pick up is a "Yardbird", by Bare knuckle pick ups.
Above : Esquire built by Duncan Cruttenden guitars.
Squier Stratocaster with Burns Prototype pick ups.
Above : Squier Stratocaster with Prototype Burns Trisoic pick ups.
Interesting Squier Stratocaster. This belonged to Adrian Turner, well respected Guitar pickup expert. Adrian used this guitar as a Prototype/Test bed for the Brian May pick ups. Brian has a company that makes replicas of his Red Special guitar.The pick ups are based on Burns Trisonics. They really sing. Adrian told me this guitar was sent to the Brian May camp for pick up evaluaton. Each pick up has an on/off toggle switch, this allows some interesting combinations.
I bought Rocky in 2004, to play with NIRVANA in Spain. It's a replica of George Harrison's Stratocaster. I sold the guitar in 2018, as I didn't play it much. This year, I started to wonder if I could track it down. With the help of the auction house, I did, and bought it back. Guitarist magazine ran a feature on the guitar and it's story in the Augst 2023 edition.
Above : Rocky, back home with me.
This is an interesting guitar. One of my first jobs was working for WEM. Sid Watkins gave me an old body and neck. Circa 1980 I painted it and put it up in the loft. In 1993 a freind of mine, Bob put the guitar together. The paint was still tacky! In 2006 Bob converted the guitar to a sitar, using an EYB bridge. I used it a lot in the studio. It is all over the ST JOHNS WOOD AFFAIR album. I sold the guitar in 2018. This year, 2023, I tracked the guitar down and bought it back.
Above : Watkins Sitar.