Happy New Year!

Ok so this comes a little late, but I’ve never been on time for anything so why start now? Actually the truth is I always try to be on time especially if it’s music related, and am most of the time.

So last blog I hinted about building a guitar and using tools….well the cat’s out of the bag. During the day I work for Solo Guitars which is a DIY guitar company. In addition to guitar kits we carry a massive selection of parts and accessories and anything else you could ever want to customize your guitar. I mainly handle marketing there, but when it’s busy I jump in where I’m needed. What a nice guy eh?

So probably in May or June I had this crazy idea to build a guitar for Neon Nostalgic. I figured since the band name has Neon and we do a lot of retro music from the 80’s, why not go with a headless guitar kit similar to a Steinberger. Nothing screams 80’s more than that!! I talked my brother Grant in to getting a bass version which he did. Through different channels I was able to hook up with a guitar builder Erik Hansen from Hansen Kustoms who painted both guitars for us. I knew that if I tried painting, it would look like a 4 year old did it, and I couldn’t bare to show that to anyone, let alone myself. The initial plan was to have a shocking pink guitar. Through various tests, it was decided that a metallic pink flake would work the best. Erik did a wonderful job and the guitars were painted. Now came the assembly….

Many nights were spent at the office after hours putting these instruments together. Fortunately I had the help of a couple of co-workers who had a little more experience than I did! I did manage to learn things that I never knew about the assembly of a guitar and things like gluing the neck, wiring pickups, neck shims etc. My guitar probably would have been done about 2 weeks earlier but I’m super picky. So what did that mean? Well it meant two nights of filing the saddles low enough so I could get the string action to my exact likings. I’m sure I probably inhaled enough metal fibres to last me a life time but I had such a blast doing it. It was a lot of trial and error and I found myself bringing it back into the shop and doing more adjustments as I really wanted these guitars to play the best that they possibly could and honestly, I think I achieved that.

The Big Reveal

So the hardest part about this project was that it was to be kept a secret until the night of the big show at the Opera House in Toronto. Only a handful of people knew but none of the band knew until we brought them out during soundcheck. Some thought they were just 80’s fake prop guitars and not real, but they were surprised when we plugged them in. They definately felt different than a full size guitar and they hang differently against your body than a traditional guitar does, but you get used to it. That night was also special as we did a special mini tribute to INXS in honour of the late Michael Hutchence. We even brought out a sax player for some of the more memorable solos. It was really cool. I can’t say what the next big show is yet but that will come in September.

December

After that great night in Toronto, Elevation jetted off to Calgary to play a couple of corporate shows. They were similar to the shows we did last year however this year, the crowd especially the 2nd night was even more rowdy. As any musician knows, corp gigs can be really lame and uneventful but this one was different. I mean who doesn’t like playing Save a horse ride a cowboy, Boot Scoot’n Boogie and Wagon Wheel?? A special thanks goes out to Colin Jennison for joining us on the trip and tickling the ivory (playing the piano).

So December saw Elevation play a couple private parties, including a birthday party… outdoors… in December…WHAT?? Yup, we played an outdoor party. They blocked off the road, brought in a hotdog vendor, and we setup in the garage while people danced on the driveways and in the street. It was like a winter block party!

So something very special happened to me in December but that I’ll save for next blog post and will provide pictures to prove it, but I should round out December with two shows performing as Shawn Brady & The Northern Sons including New Years at the lovely 365 club at Fallsview Casino in Niagara Falls. We love playing there, and everybody is top notch, from the techs to the staff. It’s one of those gigs where it’s always the same but always different. Because it’s in a casino, it’s a constant revolving door of new faces each set. Over the years we’ve developed quite the following there which makes it special to see people come from across the border just to see us.

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