Introduction - Historical Background
In the late 70s and early 80s, as the hard rock scene grew and the role of the electric guitar in ensembles became more and more glamorous, guitars that fully met the needs of cutting-edge guitar players were still hard to come by. Of course, Fender and Gibson were at the center of the music scene up to that point, but Fender, whose founder Leo Fender had long since passed away, was content to repeat designs from the past, and its quality was declining year by year due to repeated cost reductions. Gibson, on the other hand, lacked the same level of design sophistication as the new generation of guitars after the Les Paul, and in this period in particular, they were becoming little more than a spate of strange models.
In the midst of this chaos, two men emerged who could be said to have inherited the genes of Leo Fender, the father of the electric guitar. Wayne Charvel and Grover Jackson. Wayne Charvel was the first to take the free spirit of the Fender Stratocaster and elevate it. He took the bolt-on guitar, which Fender had only conservatively inherited at the time, and took it to a new level, taking advantage of its advantages to freely make components. Of course, the concept of components had been around since Eric Clapton's time, but Clapton's goal was a "Stratocaster," while Wayne Charvel's was a freer, more radical guitar. Grover Jackson added even more originality and perfected the brand. Their achievements pointed to the infinite possibilities of the evolution of the electric guitar and gave hope to many designers. Many excellent guitar designers have since emerged, including James Tyler and John Sur, but there is no one who has not been influenced by the designs of Schabel/Jackson.
There are many other achievements of Grover Jackson, but the Randy Rose story is a long one, so I will leave that for another time. This time, of course, the star of the show is another. And it is Wayne Sharvel's store, the soil from which the legendary beloved machine was born. Originally a painter by trade, Wayne Scherbel painted and refinished guitars for his friends. His work was well received, and he began to receive many commissions. He began to do this work in earnest in a converted garage at his home, and he even received subcontract work from Fender. In 1974, he opened his own repair store in California. There, in addition to painting and repairing, he sold Fender bodies, necks, and parts, and also built guitars from these parts. Wayne Sharvel's store gained a reputation and received requests for repairs and modifications that Fender was no longer able to handle at the time. It is said that more often than not, requests for advanced customization, especially from professional musicians, were sent to his store. For example, many musicians were troubled by the single coil noise of Stratocasters, which were the mainstream at that time. Wayne, who was skilled in many painting techniques, was able to reduce the noise by sealing the cavity of the Strat with conductive paint. As a subcontractor, Wayne did not rely on Fender's in-house know-how, but used his own original techniques, which further strengthened the originality of the Charvel.
The number of musicians visiting his store gradually increased, and it is said that Tommy Bolin, who had just joined Deep Purple at the time, was one of them. The shop was gradually visited by more and more musicians, and Tommy Bolin, who had just joined Deep Purple at the time, was one of them. However, looking at the recent Fender Custom Shop master builders, many of them are from Charvel/Jackson, which shows how much young talent was gathered here in those days. It may be similar to how Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck, Jimi Hendrix, and others frequented Jim Marshall's store in London in the 1960s, and how communication with these loyal customers eventually led Marshall to become a world-class amp brand. The future holds endless possibilities. The Schabel store was a place where unlimited possibilities for the future were concentrated. A young man who frequented the Sharvel store bought a $50 neck and an $80 body. He was the hottest guitar player in the club scene on the Sunset Strip at the time. The neck and body of the guitar that he built would later become the stuff of legend.
And you know what happened from then on. The ever-evolving guitar, with its innovative and free paint job and up-and-coming Floyd Rose, shook the world, and the free development of the electric guitar gave hope to later generations. It is no exaggeration to say that the technique of breaking away from the traditional style and customizing guitars at will took root in the world with this model. This was the moment when electric guitars established their identity as electric guitars, free from the concept of inherent concepts. The B, W&R models revived here today are not mere exterior replicas, but are soulful reproductions of that spirit. These custom models are not mere maniacs, but have inherited a free and rational identity. The following interview at the workshop will give you a glimpse into the personality of the builder and the thoughts that go into the making of these models.
We visited the production site right away!
Let's go! I was excited to see some interesting-looking necks and parts. Despite my sudden visit, Mr. Odagiri greeted me with a smile, and despite his background of nearly 10 years of guitar experience in LA, he is a gentle and warm person who sometimes seems shy. There was none of the unapproachable atmosphere that is often associated with veteran builders, and within a few minutes of our conversation, we quickly became friends.
Let's start with the actual instrument and ask him a few questions. Let's start with this Strato-head model.
The moment I picked it up, I thought, "Oh my God! It's something! was my first impression. It was different from the nervousness one feels when holding an expensive vintage guitar in one's hands, but it was something thrilling. With this feeling in mind, I asked Mr. Odagiri about various things.
I would like to start with the pickup in the back, which is a Duncan 59. I see, I thought, but why? I think so, but I also wonder why... (laughs)
Mr. Odagiri: (laughs)Mr. Odagiri: "The common theory is that the original Frankens were removed from a '61 Gibson ES-335. However, if you look at the photos of different years, some of them have different pickups on them, and some of them seem to be vintage PAFs. It is believed that he was very particular about PAFs. The Duncan 59 has the characteristics of the original. It seems to be indeed difficult to get the withered feeling due to aging, but the power is moderately controlled and the clean feel is good."
Mr. Odagiri used to be a buyer of vintage guitars, so you are familiar with that area, aren't you?
As far as I know, the original PAF had a clean, slightly dead sound with just the right amount of treble, and I think he got that sound with a driven Marshall.
But there are a lot of theories about his PU, some say it's a DiMaggio, some say it's an old Jackson, and who's influence is Joe Holmes, who joined the Ozzy Osbourne Band a long time ago, with all his strats and J-80s? I hear all kinds of stories....
There are many theories, but I neither deny nor confirm them. He must have a voracious appetite for sound, so I suspect he's tried quite a few, if only to experiment."
Well...sure. But 59 is often mentioned as a synonym for vintage humbuckers, but it's still just that, isn't it?
Think about why the 59 is synonymous with vintage humbuckers. It's a PU that is commonly used in models that aim for a vintage sound, and the fact that it's used in so many guitars is proof of how pure and straightforward its characteristics are."
By the way, the Imperitelli also used a 59, didn't they? He said that his ideal guitar is PAF.
I think Imperitelli has done a lot of research as well. He is the type of player who creates sounds by picking, and if he wants a PAF-like tone and moderate output in order to bring out such nuances clearly, then the 59 is the ideal choice.
I see. It is difficult to find the right degree of moderation (laughs), but the 59 is the guitar that has inherited that aspect the most. So, you mentioned earlier that you were able to achieve that sound with a driven Marshall, and is it like that with this guitar as well?
If you use a Peavey amp, turn down the middle EQ, turn up the bass and treble, and adjust the distortion to your liking, and you will get close to the sound after Sammy. If you are using a Marshall, you can get a good sound by turning up the mids and turning down the highs and lows. The lighter the distortion, the closer to the early sound, and the more distorted it has become in recent years."
Memories of José
Mr. Odagiri, you still like Marshall, don't you? I'm going to get angry if I ask the obvious question, but... (laughs)
(laughs) "I like the sound of Marshall. But it's impossible to get the same sound in the same environment, so I have to use a type with a master volume or an attenuator. I would be so happy if I could play a vintage 100W at any time, but I just have it and rarely use it. I guess I've always admired Marshalls."
What kind of Marshalls do you play, Mr. Odagiri?
In the mid-1990s, I was living in LA, and I was friends with a Japanese guitarist named Kuma who was doing well in LA. I was a buyer of vintage guitars at the time, and I was in contact with vintage stores all over the U.S. I was asked by many people what they were looking for, and one day Kuma said he wanted a Marshall 100W head from the 1970s, so I found it. One day, Kuma asked me for a Marshall 100-watt head from the 1970s, and when it arrived, I went to José's with a JCM 800 (100-volt version) that I had brought from Japan to ask him to modify my amp.
Wha...what a surprise! José modification! And I can't believe we've met! Shake his hand! (Distraught author)
The first time I met José, he was already quite old at that time, a nice-looking old man. In a small factory built in the garage of his house, marshal heads were stacked up like a wall, and one by one, the names of his customers were pasted on them. The names were Metallica, Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, and so on. Kuma and another friend of mine were talking with José, and he told me that there was a plan to commercialize an amplifier designed by José, but it was eventually abandoned. A guitar amp jointly developed by him and José was really a dream come true from a fan's point of view. It is a pity, however, that it was never realized.
We asked for a modification, and a few weeks later, people told us that José had passed away, and we too looked into what happened to the amp we asked for, but it ended up disappearing."
Oh well - that's too bad. But a dream remains a dream... if only that sound had only sounded deep in my chest, I guess (laughs).
I had the pleasure of meeting José on two occasions, and my impression of him as a truly trusted and skilled craftsman remains unchanged."
That alone was a wonderful experience.
I am too envious.
Now, let's get back on track...let me ask you about the front pickup. I'm sure he doesn't use this one because it doesn't sound right or something, so it doesn't really matter what it is.
I'm sure you all know that there are a lot of mysteries about Franken's front pickup. When the original Franken replica was released by the original brand, many mysteries were solved, but the front PU remains a mystery.
It was already attached in 1979, so I think it was made by Fender, DiMaggio, or Duncan, but the fact that the lead wires are black and white reversed makes me think it is Duncan. The material of the bobbin is also a matter of some theory, but I think that the red bobbin is the one he blew himself. The one on the replica is still not very similar, or it was made with a different concept or focus, and I don't think it is a replica of the real thing."
What is that on this one?
I have these dummy pickups with no particulars to the contrary, usually Fender J's with a red plate on them."
I like the "no obsession" part. That's right. It doesn't make any sound. But I heard that this one is made of linen or something....
Is this it?
(Mr. Odagiri takes out another PU from a drawer.)
Yes, yes! This is it! Isn't that the same one I saw in the picture! I knew you had it!
This is my personal item, but it's made of some old material, like linen phenolic, sprayed red."
I knew you had it! But if you put this on anyway, it would be perfect.
Well, this is just a recreation of my hobby, and there are not many of the same thing available. As a builder, I have to be able to offer the same thing to my customers when they ask for another one. If it is about the sound, I will do whatever I can, but it is the part that does not produce sound. In that case, it is better to be fair to all the pieces.
I see what you mean. If it were me, I'd be happy to put it on, but it's not the same as doing it as a hobby... (laughs).
Next, this coin. It is said to hold Floyd in place, or to stop the body from cracking, or some such.
The 25-cent coin is for a guitarist who was scheduled to be interviewed by a guitar magazine backstage at a concert, and had been having trouble setting up his Franken bridge before the interviewer arrived. As soon as the interviewer arrived, he asked, "Can I borrow a quarter? He said, "I'll give you a quarter. He drilled it out on the spot and has kept it on the body to this day. It seems that he wanted to fix Floyd's bridge with a little float. At that time, they had not yet changed the position of the studs, and it would have been very difficult to install. All saddles back then were secured at the very front."
I see! They moved the Floyd so it's in this position! I wondered why it was in such an odd position. By the way, I wonder if he returned that quarter! Well, I guess it is similar to the way we borrow a 5 yen coin to fix a strap.
Okay, next. The switch located at the center PU. This is another one that is rumored to have been left as it is because the person himself didn't know how to wire it up.
The dummy selector SW and wiring for the center PU cavities are not particularly particular, except that I tried to make them as similar as possible."
Yes. I like it simple. Next, let's move on. The reflector-like thing on the back is used to make the lights sparkle on stage, right?
It's called a reflector. But look closely. It's hard to find one that looks this much the same.
Indeed, they look exactly the same. They are often found on bicycles and other vehicles, aren't they?
Yes, but for example, this red reflector is divided into eight pieces, and you can't get one exactly like it in Japan. We specially order this part alone from overseas."
Wow...I didn't realize that. I thought they were sold at bicycle shops. But how is it different from what they sell around here? I thought you don't care too much about the parts that have nothing to do with sound.
I think this part is important. After all, it is the part that emits light!
I see. (Flinching at the extremely serious Mr. Odagiri) That's right...the way it glows is different.
(Flinching at Mr. Odagiri, who is extremely serious.) Yes...it's the way it shines. We have to recreate the real sparkle here."
The Mystery of Franken
So...let's get back on track and look at the neck this time. The fretboard looks flatter than the Fender.
The fretboard is 300R. This is more for general playability than for his own, and I think it is a middle curve between too flat for my taste or too tightly-arched for my liking. The frets are medium jumbo. We spend a lot of time and care on the edges."
The neck is also easy to grip...
The grip on the neck is standard C-shape." The first large head and small head of the real one are made of paste maple by Warmoth and are supposed to be thin grip, but the next small head 1 P22F is supposed to be made by Kramer and has the logo removed. I also own a Strato-head Kramer Pacer with the standard C shape grip. Then the specs would change again from the banana head neck, and I believe that's where the asymmetrical grips came from."
So the pegs are made by Schaller.
He has consistently said since his debut that Schaller is the best for pegs. That still seems to be the case today. When he was putting Kramer necks on his Frankens, he put on special shaped pegs, which were also made by Schaller, the same company Kramer used. On the banana-head models I used Gotoh pegs for irregularities, but then I went back to Schaller on the Music Man."
But isn't this a little different from the real shape in the photo?
Is this it?"
（Mr. Odagiri pulls out a hard case from the back of the workshop. When I opened it, I saw...?) Wow!
It's a Kramer early pacer A serial. This must be the one he's wearing.
I knew he had it!
This is made by Gotoh. And this..."
(Mr. Odagiri pulls out yet another guitar.) Wow!
This is a C-serial pacer. These pegs are made by Schaller, and the screw positions are like Gotohs."
I can't wait to see the real thing from that time period like this. I see. That's why there is such a long history, and that's why there is so much attention to detail, and conversely, there is a reason for the parts that don't seem to be so particular. What do you do to incorporate such a neck and body?
The Floyd Rose is directly attached to the body, so the string height tends to be high. To avoid this, we shaved a part of the back side of the Floyd Rose and removed the itabanes and other parts. The Floyd nut is also installed as low as possible. The neck should be straight or inverted, and shims are essential."
Shims? I'm using shims!
No, shims aren't really used for component guitars. I heard it's better to adjust the pockets. You know, the body and the neck are in close contact. You don't do that kind of thing?
Of course you can modify the neck pocket so that you don't put shims in there, but I don't think that's Franken's style. His own Franken has a heavy pick in place of the shim, but he says the guitar still sounds good. And it's quite normal for Fenders to put shims on their guitars."
Not Franken! That's a good point. It's true that guitars have such flexibility because they have such a long history of having the neck replaced many times. I see. So that's the point. You see, it's common, isn't it? You see, there are a lot of guitars that are assembled by a special builder, so you can change the sound just by removing a single screw...that kind of amazing guitar. It's the opposite of that kind of thing!
The joint between the neck and body is certainly important for the sound of a guitar, but you have to experience it to know if it's not because it's been shimmed."
I certainly experienced the goodness of this guitar. That's right. I have experienced many times that some guitars, such as the old Fender Strat, sound great even if the joints are set up with shims... Preconceived notions are not good. I will reflect on that. But in fact, I think I am not the only one who has a negative image of shims...
It's difficult to affirm sims in theory to those who say that sims are bad in theory. But it's a shame that people are judged first based on preconceptions or that kind of thing. Shims or pocket adjustments, both are possible, and I have chosen shims as the right choice for this guitar.
I understand that it is more difficult to disprove. It's almost impossible to prove that there are no aliens to someone who believes in aliens. The point is, don't get hung up on the details, just play it.
I don't mean to sound like I've made a guitar with all these details, but... (laughs)
That's true (laughs). But I'm beginning to understand what you're trying to do with your obsession, or perhaps it's the part about being particular about the things you're not particular about. I can't say it well (laughs). So, does this guitar shim also have a heavy pick?
I use thick paper, but the thickness varies from time to time. My teacher also said that paper is originally wood, so it's not a bad match.
Banana head and Floyd Rose
What kind of strings should I use?
I don't specify any particular strings, but I usually use Ernie Ball strings from 09 to 42. He uses a set of 09-40 or 42. He used to play with medium picks, but recently he has been using heavy picks.」
Is there anything else I need?
I think an MXR Phase 90 is a must for copying. The knob is from 0 to 10 o'clock, and it seems to sound more like a vintage one with a weaker application. I like to run an MXR 6 band EQ, a phase 90 and a flanger through my Marshall. I don't use distortion systems. For delays I use a Boss and don't like it."
Was the original home of the SDE3000? I bought a H3000D/SX when I tried to imitate it. I couldn't afford the PCM70, so I had to settle for a Rocktron REPLIFEX for reverb. I mean, I like the REPLIFEX a lot and still use it...but who cares about me?
I still use the REPLIFEX, but I like it a lot...I don't really care about me. It was a great system, but everyone copied it.
It cost a lot of money, but... (see below)
We had a lot of fun talking about equipment and poverty, and got off the main topic. But it wasn't the end yet. Today, we also have to talk about another banana-head Kramer type guitar.
When did you start making this model?
He's used a number of guitars live, including a black-and-white Franken, an Ibanez Destroyer, a Gibson Les Paul Custom White, a Charvel Black/Yellow Stripe, and a Franken Red-White-Black. In the midst of all this, he signed an endorsement deal with Kramer. At that time, he was very positive to collaborate with Kramer because he preferred Gibson for sound and Fender for looks and other things. He was still using a strat-headed pacer, so I think it was around 1980-81."
He was very particular about the neck, and had a separate neck made for Kramer even before he made the banana head model. He had Kramer make a guitar similar to Franken for the South American tour, but I don't think the banana head 1 P maple neck on it was Kramer. The grip is much thicker in the picture of the back side and appears to be a U shape. It looks like a lot of trial and error went into it."
Heh. (Try to hold it a little.) Wow! Something is different.
It wasn't until PANAMA's 1984 PV that Kramer came out with a banana head that looked the same. But the back side of this neck had a distinctly different grip, a seemingly C-shaped grip that was different from the previous Warmoth type or even the Charvel. The reason we know this neck had an asymmetrical grip is that in an interview when the Music Man EVH was announced, it was stated that the asymmetrical grip on that model was molded from a banana-head Kramer."
If you ask me, it is true that the asymmetrical grip is like that Music Man. But it seems to be thicker than the Music Man.
The B,W&R 1984 Special has a wider nut and neck end than the Music Man. The reason for this is to match Kramer's specifications of the time. The asymmetrical grip may make the neck itself feel a little thicker, but it creates a unique playing feel. Our customers have told us that they feel as if they have suddenly become good players and that they don't want to play any other guitars."
Hmmm. (Still holding the guitar) It's true, this might be easier to play once you get used to it. I see. The asymmetrical grips started around this time, didn't they? So did Peavey after that. Mr. Odagiri, you started with Franken, then Kramer, then Music Man, and finally Peavey.
I love all of them. After Music Man, there was no reason for me to make replicas, since the real ones were distributed properly. Now that Franken is available from the original brand, it's not something that everyone can afford."
The fact that someone has to make it to get it is cool! If Casshern doesn't do it, who will! It's like...old fashioned, isn't it? Yes...now let's look at the body next. This one doesn't have any coins or reflective panels, and there's no front. So I guess there's not much to ask. Yes, I was going to ask earlier, but the way the Floyd Rose is attached is quite sticky, isn't it?
I want to mount it directly on the body. To do that, I have to shave the front of the bridge plate so that it doesn't touch the body when down. By removing the fine tuning ita spring, I can use D tuning and E on the 6 string without D tuners and without unlocking the nut... In the 80's and 90's everyone was using Floyd Roses, so it might not have been as interesting.
But now it sounds new because not many people use it anymore."
But Floyd Rose is also very popular these days, isn't it? It's really an old history, isn't it?
Floyd Rose tremolo units were first used in 1979, when Mr. Floyd Rose was still making them by hand, one at a time. His first unit was Rose's second one, and he gave it to him without chrome plating. I saw a black/yellow Strat with this unit on it at a show in Japan in 1979, and he went through with this one guitar from start to finish without changing guitars. This was an epoch-making unit that did not go out of tuning even when he used the tremolo arm heavily during his solo time, etc. It was a big hit at the time and became a big boom. Later, this unit was mass-produced and evolved to the current specifications. His guitars were fitted with a prototype handmade by Mr. Rose himself, which had a larger sustain block than the mass-produced version, and the overall size was also different from the mass-produced version."
Yes, yes. The picture shows that it has a large sustainer block. Doesn't this one have one?
Of course, I have tried it. I ordered a machined brass one, or made it myself. But I don't know, this is just my opinion..."
What is it?
It's like when you change to a bigger block, the guitar becomes more mature. Specifically, the overtones are suppressed and the sound is reduced, like a light brake is applied.
That doesn't sound good.
Normally, yes. But think about it. Suppose you're playing a direct connection with a Marshall 1959 full up, and a strat with a single rear shot directly attached to the body, and you're having a blast."
I'd be too scared to play it. It's obvious how bad you are....
I think the sound would be pretty loud and rambunctious. In fact, he even held down the Marshall voltage. So I think these big blocks were put on not for bass or anything like that, but to act as brakes like that."
People often say that he was good at muting, but I think he was able to produce that kind of sound because he had a great sense of how to hold down the pressure points.
Normally, people would try to make it sound like that. It's like a reversal of fortune. So this guitar doesn't have a big block on it.
I made this guitar with an emphasis on ringing, you know (laughs). But if you have a problem with too much sound, please contact us. In that case, we will install it.
Does this one have 59 pickups?
It's obvious from the picture that his Kramer has a Duncan JB on it. It is an 80's JB, so the legs are the same length as Gibson's. It was too long to install directly, so we bent the legs and re-drilled the holes.
The current JB has a shorter leg length, so this is not possible to reproduce. That is why I use Duncan 59 for B,W&R 5150.
In recent years, he has replaced the PU and neck on this model of his, so I guess he doesn't have such a strong commitment."
Now that we have heard a lot of things about you, we are running out of time, so I would like to conclude by asking Mr. Odagiri, "What made you decide to make this guitar? What was it that made you decide to make this guitar?
I think there are many people like me who love that sound and have been playing guitar seriously because of him. What I learned from listening to and copying his playing still helps me today and will never change. He has a lot of genres in his playing and is full of tricks. As for the sound, it is amazing in a way that people who use distortion pedals think that no matter how much he turns up the volume on the Marshall, it doesn't distort at all, it sounds clean, whereas there is no shortage of people who think that his sound is distorted in a funny way. It took me a while to realize that that Marshall sound is actually his own sound itself."
That's why you came to America.
I lived there for about nine years, and I had a lot of experiences that would have been impossible if I had stayed in Japan. Of course, I saw him live many times, my partner at the time (a bassist who was in the band with me) went to his house several times for interviews on his own business, and I heard stories from local people about their amateur days.
While getting to know many people, I regret that Mr. Sakashita, who worked hard as a Japanese lure hunter, passed away. He was a good friend of mine, and I sold guitars to him at a discount, went to guitar shows with him, visited his workshop, and even visited his home on several occasions. I don't know what happened, but it was really sad and unfortunate that a very important guitar maker passed away.
I can't recount all of my days in LA here, but I cherish each and every one of those memories, and I make guitars with that kind of feeling in mind."
Thank you so much for your time today. Tell me more stories next time!
At the end
After the interview, my first thought was, "Oh, that was fun! If you have read this far, I am sure you already have a good understanding of Mr. Odagiri's personality and the thoughts he puts into his work without having to say anything more. The depth of his attention to detail is extraordinary, and there are many parts of his work that make you want to poke your head in and say, "That's it! I was surprised to find out how much we were being misled by uncertain information. It was a very sincere effort to follow up only what the original intended or would have intended, not a mere replica of the original. This contradictory attitude of sticking to the spirit of sticking to the parts that have meaning and not sticking to the parts that don't seem to have any meaning represents the very interest of the so-called electric guitar.
If you have read this and thought, "I see. Next time, please pick it up and try it for yourself. If you feel something about it, this feature will come to life.
The models introduced on this page are based on the artist's image and are not signature models.