Win a Zemaitis Custom Shop Metal Front Guitar

Contest Slide 770x420       Guitar Player and Rolling Stones Gear have teamed up to give you a chance to Win the Brands of the Rolling Stones! Now you can own some of the major brands of equipment the Rolling Stones played including Fender, Martin, Framus, Zemaitis, Gretsch, and Vox in this exciting new sweepstakes! They are also giving away the new book Rolling Stones Gear: All the Stones’ Instruments from Stage to Studio by Andy Babiuk and Greg Prevost. Check out this beautiful Zemaitis custom shop metal front guitar – you can win this! Andy and Greg of Rolling Stones Gear speak about the Stones’ love for Zemaitis in their book.

ENTER TONY ZEMAITIS

During his early days with the Faces, Ronnie played a Gibson SG, followed by a red Fender Stratocaster, and then a Danelectro, all of which were subsequently stolen. In the end, he resorted to personalized guitars made by the legendary British luthier Tony Zemaitis. “No one would dare steal his guitars because he makes them so individual,” Ronnie explained. “He plasters your name all over it.” Antanas Kazimeras Zemaitis (1935-2002), born in London England became an apprentice cabinetmaker when he was sixteen and went on to make high-quality furniture. After taking up guitar in the 1950s, he began building his own instruments. By the early 1960s, he had become an accomplished twelve-sting guitarist who shared stages with the likes of Long John Baldry and acoustic guitar wizard Davy Graham. Twelve-string guitars were a rare commodity in England, and Zemaitis made a name for himself building twelve-strings for Spencer Davis, Ralph McTell, and others.

Ron Wood was introduced to Zemaitis’s guitars in 1970 through Faces’ roadie Peter Buckland and commissioned Zemaitis to build two guitars for him. Zemaitis was known for his unique-looking electric guitars built with a metal plate on the top face of the guitar, which was intended to shield the guitar and reduce the hum produced by the pickups. The first Zemaitis Metal Front electric guitar was built for Tony McPhee of the Groundhogs; the second was built for Ronnie Wood. It had a single-cutaway mahogany body similar to a Les Paul and a mahogany neck with a bound ebony fingerboard. The 25-inch scale guitar was fitted with two humbucking pickups and a three-way toggle switch with two volume and two tone metal control knobs. To insure that each of his electrics was unique, Zemaitis teamed with his friend Danny O’Brien, a master gun engraver. Zemaitis handcrafted his own metal bridges, tailpieces, truss rod covers, pickup mounting rings, jack plates, rear electronics plates, and metal front facerplates, while O’Brien skillfully hand engraved each part, personalizing the guitar for the client. Ronnie Wood’s first Zemaitis Metal Front guitar also had two metal control knobs on the lower bout of the guitar.

The second electric guitar Zemaitis built to Wood’s specifications was an all-black, single-cutaway “Disc Front” model, named for a round metal plate on the face of the guitar that O’Brien engraved with a treasure map. The 25-inch scale guitar had a mahogany body and neck and an unbound ebony fingerboard with dot inlays that started at the first fret and became smaller as they went up. The guitar was fitted with three humbucking pickups and a combination of six volume and tone control knobs, a five-way selector switch, and a built-in preamp powered by a nine-volt battery. The handcrafted Zemaitis metal bridge, tailpiece, truss rod cover, jack plate, and rear electronics plate also were hand engraved by O’Brien.

Wood’s 1971 appearance with the Faces on Top of The Pops playing his Metal Front guitar sparked a huge interest in Zemaitis’s eye-catching work. It also inspired Zemaitis’s next creation, a Pearl Front guitar that he considered perfect for the stage because it would catch the light and change color. The guitar was similar to the Metal Front guitar, but, instead of the engraved metal plate, the top face of the guitar was inlaid with a mosaic of pearl and abalone. Wood received one of the first Zemaitis Pearl Front guitars, which was fitted with three single-coil pickups instead of humbuckers. In the latter stages of the Faces and during his early involvement with the Stones, Wood also owned a hardtail 1955 sunburst Fender Stratocaster, and a Dan Armstrong Plexi guitar which he made the mistake of giving to David Bowie. “I thought I could get another one,” Wood said with regret, “and I couldn’t.” His amplification at the time was strictly Ampeg SVTs, which were painted white while he was in the Faces.

Advertisements

About HLPAPG

Hal Leonard Performing Arts Publishing Group, the trade book division of Hal Leonard Corporations, publishes books on the performing arts under the imprints Hal Leonard Books, Backbeat Books, Amadeus Press, and Applause Theatre and Cinema Books.

Posted on August 18, 2014, in Music Fans and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: