Instagram

My new album “Flowers” will be coming out shortly, and as the process nears an end, you can follow my Instagram page for some sneak peeks and updates. Not to mention a lot of other content to compliment the material on this blog.

Shortly releasing my new album "Flowers". Here's a quick sample! #flowers #newrelease #guitar #slide

A post shared by Thomas Williams (@thomaswilliamsmusic) on

The Aves USA and Canada tour diary

Years after the fact, I have finally gotten around to uploading my video diary for our 2012 tour to YouTube. If you like seeing a jet lagged band pass out on public transport or annoy each other with a camera, you’re in for a treat.

If you’re more into the music, you can skip to part 9 to see us at Seaside Lounge recording studios, Brooklyn, recording our 2012 EP “Anywhere Else”

Breaking into the YouTube market

Well, I finally got around to posting a bunch of demos for my next couple of albums to YouTube. You can find them on my channel at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC2Rf1XWTgkHEsyU3h793kMQ

Here’s my personal favourite, written to a beat and written around lyrics that came first, both pretty unusual practices for me.

“We’re nothing more than tinker’s toys, drawn up from a chart.

Wind us up and let us go. Watch us fall apart.”

Radio Adelaide Interview – Feb 29 2016

For those of you who might find yourselves in need of something to listen to as the seasons change, I recently visited Radio Adelaide to take part in their February 29 episode of the ‘Songcatcher’ program. If you want to hear a little about my solo music and my work with the Aves, as well as getting a good few sneak peeks at the next couple of albums I’ve got planned, you can follow the link below to listen to the podcast!

https://radio.adelaide.edu.au/thomas-williams-solo-but-certainly-mentioning-the-aves/

Radio-mic-image-ON-AIR1-663x389

Musical tracks (by name, artist and album) are

  1. “She” – Thomas Williams – Pale Blue Dot
  2. “Small World (Demo)” – Thomas Williams – The Last Leg
  3. “We Were Young” – The Aves – Good News
  4. “Tinker’s Toys (Demo)” – Thomas Williams – The Last Leg
  5. “Another Song (Demo)” – Thomas Williams – Flowers
  6. “Empty Hands (Demo)” – Thomas Williams – Flowers

The  demos can be found for free download at http://www.reverbnation.com/thomaswilliams7 and tracks 1 and 3 can be purchased from iTunes, under their respective artists.

Paul McCartney inspired The Mask?

Picture1

We have all heard the claims and rumours that Jim Carrey based his character in the 1993 film “The Mask” on Paul McCartney, but the truth is far more interesting.

Picture12

In a move inspired by a songwriting device employed by David Bowie, the plot to the film was, in fact, written by putting photographs of Paul McCartney into a bag, and subsequently pulling them out and assembling them in a random order.

Picture23

Picture22

Picture24

John Mayer’s Electric Guitars: Where the Light is.

vlcsnap-2015-08-14-01h07m22s179

On the easy to recommend “Where the Light is” DVD, John Mayer plays an impressively tight set, switching between an equally impressive number of instruments. What follows is simply a list of the electric guitars seen on the DVD, with a little information about unique features.

  1. Gibson L5

vlcsnap-2015-08-14-01h13m33s63vlcsnap-2015-08-14-01h17m44s15 vlcsnap-2015-08-14-01h14m56s114

The DVD opens with John playing a Gibson L5 to a backdrop of the sunset over L.A. The guitar seems to be stock, the model fitted with 2 humbuckers.

2. Fender Custom Shop white strat

vlcsnap-2015-08-14-00h44m31s38 vlcsnap-2015-08-14-00h43m39s11

After the opening acoustic set, John takes to the stage with the trio to begin the first electric number. His weapon of choice; an olympic white Fender Strat.

Though at first glance this guitar seems to be one of the Hendrix signature models Fender ran for a little while, Closer examination reveals a Custom Shop logo on the rear of the headstock, and none of the Hendrix signatures seem to have the same combination of features found on this example. I.E: Upside down headstock, right-way-up Fender logo, large block “stratocaster” text and a regular pickup slant.

3. Hardtail sunburst strat

vlcsnap-2015-08-14-00h49m34s228 vlcsnap-2015-08-14-00h46m58s208vlcsnap-2015-08-14-00h48m09s139

Next, what looks to be a genuine vintage sunburst strat. No custom shop logo on this one and very believable wear on the body and hardware.

4. Hendrix “Monterey Pop” Strat

vlcsnap-2015-08-14-00h53m27s14 vlcsnap-2015-08-14-00h55m39s57 vlcsnap-2015-08-14-01h08m03s64

A replica of the strat Jimi famously used and abused at the Monterey pop festival.

5. Guild Starfire

vlcsnap-2015-08-14-00h56m21s186 vlcsnap-2015-08-14-00h58m12s50 vlcsnap-2015-08-14-00h57m47s67

Guild’s answer to the Gibson 335, a twin pickup hollowbody.

6. Cypress Mica John Mayer signature strat

vlcsnap-2015-08-14-00h58m47s136 vlcsnap-2015-08-14-01h00m43s13 Cypress mica

One of a limited run offered by fender, this guitar has John’s signature on the headstock, and specs common to all of his signature stratocasters. The pickups are his signature “Big Dipper” pickups and the control knobs are an unusual design for a fender.

7. The “Black One”

vlcsnap-2015-08-14-01h03m05s152vlcsnap-2015-08-14-01h11m26s39 vlcsnap-2015-08-14-01h12m36s230

This guitar is probably the one most associated with John. Made at least in part by John himself during a tour of the Fender factory in California and designed to his specifications, it was his guitar of choice for a very long time.

8. Gold Leaf Strat.

vlcsnap-2015-08-14-01h06m13s4 vlcsnap-2015-08-14-01h03m38s243

A custom shop made Strat very likely based on the gold leaf strats Eric Clapton had the custom shop build in the early-mid nineties. Of course, unlike Clapton’s, this model has a rosewood fretboard. Reportedly, this guitar is John’s favourite for “Vultures”

9. Sunburst John Mayer signature strat.

vlcsnap-2015-08-14-01h08m49s27

The same specs as the Cypress Mica strat, but with the more standard fender control knobs.

Analysis: Roger Waters’ Black Fender Precision Basses

bb84ef46-e084-4b99-b6a5-56e9b944f210

Rogers main bass on stage during the recent Wall tour.

On the back of the hugely successful (financially as well as artistically) Wall tour, Roger Waters has introduced thousands of new people to his music, and paved the way for a reissue of his amazing 1992 album Amused to Death in late July, as well as a new project presently titled Is This The Life We Really Want?expected May 19 this year. One hardly needs to mention his work with Pink Floyd at all…

But iconic throughout his entire career since the early 70’s, Roger’s imposing stage presence has been married to a black Fender Precision bass, and for the sake of this post, it is this instrument which we now turn our focus to.

One of Roger’s original black basses. As stock, including pickup cover. Early 70’s.

abee6f93c8b5639e4257e4194334941f

According to Phil Taylor, guitar tech for both Roger and David Gilmour during the Pink Floyd days (and still employed in this capacity by David today), following the theft of all of the bands guitars in 1970, Roger owned three black Fender Precisions; One with a rosewood fretboard, two with maple. One of the maple basses seems to evade more mention, but the other two each play a large part in Roger’s recording career.

Roger_JillFurmanovskyRockarchives

Roger’s preferred bass from 1970 to around 1978/9 was a black Precision with a maple neck, large headstock logo, a white pickguard and chrome pickup cover. This bass can be seen on the tours in support of Dark Side of the Moon and Wish You Were Here, and particularly in some parts (notably the studio footage) of the Live in Pompeii film, where it shares the spotlight with a sunburst P-bass with a rosewood fretboard.

kdjfdetg

David Gilmour with black strat and Roger Waters with the sunburst ‘Pompeii’ bass.

David Gilmour’s famous Black Strat was decked out in a complimentary manner, but by the time of Wish You Were Here, David had replaced his white pickguard with a black one (he had also switched to a 60’s style rosewood fingerboard neck). Around the time of Animals, Phil Taylor suggested that Roger may like to switch to a black pickguard as well, and the operation was seen through in time for the In the Flesh tour of 1977, where the bass can be seen with a three-ply black/white/black pickguard, still featuring the pickup cover. Snowy White also played bass on some songs on this tour, using a black precision distinguishable from Roger’s by the lack of a very obvious large black dot which can be seen on the ball part of the headstock of Roger’s main bass. (On this note, this marking doesn’t seem to exist on other P basses of the period, so perhaps it is something as simple as a deliberate cigarette tip burn.)

1924819_666814400049310_1652996225_n

David’s black strat circa 1977, with black pickguard, rosewood neck and DiMarzio bridge pickup.

roger2

Roger with main bass on the In The Flesh tour, 1977.

08 1977 - Pink Floyd - Snowy White second guitar + Bass

Snowy playing bass with the Floyd, 1977.

68495_515087631888655_1120154191_n

1378690_592143520849732_1395206114_n

At some point in the early 70’s, the rosewood-fretboard Precision had received an all-maple replacement neck, but for the recording sessions on The Wall in 1978, David Gilmour had Phil Taylor write to Charvel, asking for a custom made heavily flamed maple neck (featuring a Fender logo) to replace the rosewood one on his Strat, the letter itself clearly also specifies a number of other necks, including a new Charvel neck for a Precision bass.

So the (originally) rosewood necked bass received it’s third neck, a Charvel maple neck with a 50’s style Fender logo. It also received a black pickguard, lost it’s bridge and pickup covers and became Roger’s main bass from the 1979 rehearsals to the present day, first seen in this condition on the Wall shows in 1980/81. On this tour, Andy Bown can be seen playing a second bass (likely the same as Snowy played on the previous tour as it seems to be missing the headstock ‘dot’).

tumblr_nhpohwNpso1rco0i4o9_500

Roger and Andy Bown share bass duties on The Wall tour, 1980/81.

tumblr_nhpohwNpso1rco0i4o6_1280

Following his split from the remaining members of Pink Floyd in the mid 80’s, Roger took only the Charvel necked bass with him (this one can be spotted because the “Fender” logo copy is strangely sized and positioned), and so he had the Fender Custom Shop make him two copies, which he has used as backups since. In 2010, the specs of these two copies were also used as the basis of the Fender Roger Waters signature Precision bass, although this model features significant differences to Rogers own (A properly proportioned Fender headstock logo, a single ply black pickguard and black hardware).

Roger Waters The Wall Live at the Time Warner Cable Arena on July 10, 2012 in Charlotte, North Carolina - © 2012 David Oppenheimer - Performance Impressions

The ‘Wall’ bass is still Roger’s main instrument, and he continues to use it on every show. Recently, photographer Lisa Johnson featured the instrument in her fantastic book ‘108 Rock Star Guitars in Pictures’, She notes that Roger had the pickups replaced with Seymour Duncans, also revealing that the pickguard is a three ply black/white/black, but he recolours the white pinstripe with marker before every show to make it appear all-black. Some very nice and detailed photos show that the pickguard still retains the holes from the pickup cover and the extra screw hole in the middle of the pickguard which some P-basses of the era featured. (as well as showing Rogers marker work quite clearly).

The back shot also reveals a maple-cap neck (no skunkstripe), an F-stamped neckplate and a heavily worn ‘tummy-cut’.

roger-waters-p-bass-back-630-80roger-waters-precison-630-80  roger-waters-b-pass-main-630-80

As an interesting footnote, the ‘dot’ headstock bass remains in David Gilmour’s possession, and was used by Guy Pratt on Coming Back to Life and Take it Back  on the Division Bell album, as well as by David on tracks for The Endless River.

roger-waters-dark-side-precision-cutout