The Twang Blog

27 July, 2013

Phew, wottascorcha!


It's tough to work in this heat, but my schedule now looks a little easier and I'm looking forward to some relaxing...

I've been recording with my old mate Alan Hunter - you'll be able to listen to the results of that soon.

Then there was an intensive language course at the FH Frankfurt - it was a sweaty week! All my college courses are finished now, I'm pleased to say.

Hoping to get my new Squier Strat soon - I just need the colleges to pay me some money and I'll be good to go...

And the Strat has arrived!

Friday, 14 June. It's been a while since I checked in. This is a really busy month with gigs and with my college courses. My students are very close to exam time and everyone's getting nervous....


Pray that the weather holds on Sunday afternoon for Gunsmoke in the Nickelsmuehle. Then the week after, Saturday 22 June, I'm playing there solo, from 7 pm. No rain, please! Come and see my lovely light show and listen to some good music...

19 May, 2013

This was a private birthday party and I wouldn't normally write publicly about such events. However, it was such a good evening, held in an Atelier, situated in the former Graeger Sekt buildings in Hochheim am Main. Great sound in the hall and a great audience. What would normally be a party turned into one of the best concerts I've ever done! Thanks to Ulli, Sabine and especially to Anette Becker for the use of the Atelier.

14 May, 2013

There's a new gig for Gunsmoke on Sunday, 02.06 at the Harley Factory in Frankfurt

Start time is around 13.00, hopefully the weather will be good and you can enjoy a cool beer and a hot dog!


I had an 'interesting' Saturday at the Strassenfest in Nauheim. Probably the worst set-up and sound check I've ever had to endure! But all's well that ends well - it got sorted out and it turned out to be a good gig for me. Due to time problems, the main band didn't play, so I played longer and had some fun, pulling out songs on a haphazard basis, or by request. Started out country, ended up as a rock night!

May Day

Yeah, it's a holiday!

The more politically-motivated of you might be out on a demo somewhere. Some others I know will be whizzing around on their bikes, or breaking out the barbecue, chilling in the garden. I'm sat in front of a computer, of course, mostly preparing new tunes for this weekend. Dos Amigos again! If'n ah git it all done, there'll be some Brad Paisley, Ronnie Dunn, Neil Young, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, John Mayer and Crosby, Stills and Nash.

I also should be able to try out my renovated Telecaster - exciting! All the hardware is new, as you can see in the picture below. It's a completely different feel to my Squire Tele, but it feels nice to have it back.... roll on Saturday!

Vintage 60s Telecaster with new hardware
My old Telecaster

People have asked me over the years about the autographs. I retired this guitar from touring at the end of the Eighties, when I switched to playing Stratocasters. Then, where possible, I'd take it along to concerts and hang around afterwards by the stage door or go up to one of the stage crew who were tearing down the gear, to ask after whoever was playing to sign my guitar. I was mostly successful - but no thanks to Bonnie Raitt! - and the results have survived pretty well.

The clearest signatures from the picture are Albert Lee and Ry Cooder, but I was also very pleased to get Warren Zevon to sign (it was the last time I saw him alive and I was so glad to be able to say 'thank you' to him for all the great songs he wrote). BB King's on there too, along with Robin Trower, Jan Akkermann, Ronnie Montrose, Laurie Wisefield, Ricky Skaggs (a true gentleman), Mick Clarke and a couple of others.

I know it's just a plank of wood and some wires, but it means an awful lot to me. A true friend and companion that helped me define myself as a musician and guitarist...

Ladies and gentlemen.... please welcome back on stage.... a great guitar!

musikmesse Frankfurt 11 April, 2013

Poor old Eric's short of a few bob and needs to endorse a new range of Fender amps. Oh to have his problem! I looked at a bunch of Fender guitars and was most taken with a Fender Squire Classic Vibe 50s Stratocaster. On the shopping list!


The noise levels were the usual - highly irritating and unpleasant. It's difficult at times to have a conversation. I was talking to the guy at the Duesenberg stand about fitting their guitar hardware, all pretty technical stuff, and although I could try some of the gear out, I couldn't hear it! Anyway, look out out for some 'extra twang' modifications to my guitars this year.

Third from the left - my next guitar!
Third from the left - my next guitar!

These are the new Squire Classic Vibe guitars. The two Teles looked really nice, but it was the Strat that caught my attention. I took it down from the rack, plugged it in to one of the practise amps and sailed away into Fender heaven.... The official colour is white blonde and together with the gold hardware it not only looks cool, but also plays very well and has great tone. It's got that magic sparkle with the out-of-phase settings as well as that bluesy pop characterised by the neck pick-up (think Jimi Hendrix and Hey Joe). Mucho Guitaro for poco dinero!

So, from left to right:

  1. Some scary looking dudes from the Blackstar amp stand 
  2. Some more Blackstar endorsees 
  3. A heavy metal monstar, shredding away 
  4. Is it a Marshall amp? 
  5. No, it's a Marshall refridgerator!  
  6. Solid State Logic nirvana (the live desk was even more cool)
  7. Looking into Hall 5.1 
  8. Rather attractive acoustic panels (too expensive for me)

Here's the Classic Vibe 50s Stratocaster again. It reminds me a lot of my old Squier 'Tequila' Strat. Similar body colour (but different neck) and with gold fittings. There's a picture of me playing it, under 'About Me'. It also had that classic Stratocaster tone, but unfortunately became unplayable after the neck bent like a banana! I'm not sure what happened to it - I have a feeling it was stolen. Shame really, I could have fitted a new neck and given it a new lease of life.

musikmesse Frankfurt 12 April, 2013

pick these!
pick these!

Today was more a day for acoustic instruments and giving my ears a break. Had a pleasant conversation with a guy at the Martin stand where I was hacking away on an old style Dreadnought model. I was using a partial capo and he'd never seen the like before. So that was a good bit of missionary work for the joys of using capos! Maybe I could make a short video demonstrating that very same thing.

You can see from the picture that I also had a look at a couple of Appalachian dulcimers. I have a dulcimer, but I'd like to get a better quality one. Something else for the shopping list!

There were loads and loads of acoustic guitars to look at and listen to, and a whole bunch of ukuleles, but precious little else. Some mandolins, a few banjos but nothing really esoteric. It would have been nice to try out an Irish bouzouki, but I didn't see one. For the good stuff you need to go to the Folkfriends shop in Hamburg. I've mentioned this before on my Facebook page. Go and have a look at

Here are some pics. From left to right:

  1. Of course Elvis is alive and well. He's just been hiding in Frankfurt.
  2. This little guy is a member of the Gibson band, Compressorhead. Great stuff - they're really playing real instruments -
  3. This is what's all about - rows and rows of stuff you can't afford.
  4. Some beautiful, natural picks. These are all exotic woods and create a very different sound, especially for steel-string acoustics. I bought some of these!
  5. Backstage in the Festhalle with some amazing sound, light and effect systems. This really makes me green with envy, when I think of my little lighting system...
  6. Relief! A chance to sit down, eat a bun and have a cup of coffee. Expensive, though.
  7. Some real (jazz) musicians on the Agora stage outside in the tent. The robots were more fun...
  8. Backstage again in the Festhalle. That's real water, falling in distinct shapes. Lovely stuff to watch


Nigel Sharpe

Rathausstr. 4

65428 Rüsselsheim
Tel: +49 (0)6142 52325

Fax: +49 (0)3212 / 523 25 01