A hollow body for the Psychobilly ensemble
I am getting old. Yeah, I know what you’re thinking: “We’re all getting old!” But man, I’ve been feeling it lately thanks to the technology and the speed at which it is advancing. I was thinking about it the other day after a confusing conversation with my daughter. She was wondering why I had certain songs available on my phone and she didn’t. I explained how some songs that I bought online and others that I ripped from CDs. “What do you mean torn?” she asked. For example, ripping songs from CDs and putting them on a computer isn’t old technology, is it? But I was there, contemplating the simpler days of record stores with rows of vinyl records and stacks of CDs. That’s when I thought I was getting really old, because of my lust for life those days and my general aggressive dislike of the new way of doing things.
Thinking of digital music and streaming, I went back to my childhood and remembered my parents had wonderfully goofy 8 track tapes of Creedence Clearwater Revival and rather informative LP covers for Jimi Hendrix, The Beatles and even the Fat soundtrack. With these tangible nuggets, I learned to read lyrics and discovered all kinds of anecdotes, which has served me well to this day. Now, as I get closer to my 50s, I think about my parent’s generation and how the music experience was something completely different. When I was a teenager it was great to find bootleg CDs of Nirvana or some obscure 7 inch punk platters. But for my parents, record stores were a bit more immersive, because you could also buy audio equipment and electric guitars there. Yes, right there next to the listening booths and speakers there were guitars and amps!
This guitar is like Chet Atkins on acid, with the RPMs all sped up!
For a while in the 1960s and 1970s, American Decca sourced some of the cheapest guitars to ever land on American soil. These guitars were made by smaller Japanese factories, bore the Decca brand, and almost all retail for under $ 100. The names of the models were a bit blah. Each guitar started with DMI, then a sequence of numbers. Hollowbody guitars were DMI 500 (one pickup), DMI 501 (two pickups), and DMI 502 (three pickups).
Decca Records was a company with physical stores that also embarked on other interesting projects with its entertainment division. This is where the company sold not only phonographs, but also guitars, amps, drums, bongos, organs, and a full line of musical accessories. It was a brilliant marketing strategy, although I’m not sure it was financially successful.
For a short time in the 60s and 70s, Decca brand guitars were available at Decca retail stores.
Take a look at this 1967 DMI 502. At $ 99.95, this guitar was Decca’s most expensive 6-string guitar. (As of this writing, Reverb had one for $ 375.) I could imagine a crazy kid taking this guitar home and making crazy banshee noises all over the house. This guitar is reminiscent of the Harmony Rocket, since it is a shallow hollow with three pickups and a tremolo. Switching is pretty standard, with three on / off mic sliders and a volume and tone knob. But the magic lies in the ultra-thin wood used for construction. This guitar simply resonates like no other, and with the super hot pickups, it’s literally a feedback machine. My God, these are guitars that you fight, and, to the novice, I can’t imagine the fight. With high action, small frets, and barely able to hold in tune, these old Decca guitars needed some serious work to make them nearly playable.
I guess in my “old age” I learned to appreciate all kinds of guitars and basically accept the good and the bad. This guitar is like Chet Atkins on acid, with the RPMs all sped up! If you want a guitar with built-in pseudo distortion and echo (thanks to the microphone pickups and thin wood construction) then this is the one for you. I could definitely tell that this was a great guitar for a psychobilly band who are all horny and bloodthirsty. Then again, I guess the kids of the 1960s had a different idea if they bought a big hollow body guitar.
From your Articles site
Related articles on the web