N. Lewis & Son. They’re the guys who made my first electric. It was cherry-apple (after shining on shirt) red, probably hacked out of one single railway sleeper, with white pickguard, two red blobs with ‘Lewis’ proudly stencilled on them (in gold, btw) for pickups, 24 badly filed frets, 6 sticky open-back tuners, an output jack from the grand old Ahuja days when everything had to be screwed on, and a neck that was twice the thickness of the body – so the guitar would sort of gently drift down on that side, the balance being all wonky you see. How I loved that guitar.
I got a special cable made – fiddly screw-on plug to banana plug – so I could connect up to the 25-year old Cosmic LAB3000 Solid State Hi-Fi amp at home, hooked up to some pinewood-cabinet Jensen speakers (with some arcane thing called infinite baffles) that I still have. What a sound. Turn the volume up to Stun and you got a kind of brittle, breaking-glass overdrive that was just so….so…. amazing! And every afternoon I would crank out the riff to La Bamba and play that solo, to the appreciative ears of a pretty auntie who lived next door. What. A. Trip.
The Ventures and The Shadows – they were the guys who really got me playing guitar. I learnt nearly all of their hits, and through the old Cosmic, when warmed up enough, sometimes even the sound was right. Pipeline. Walk Don’t Run. Tequila. Mexico. Apache. Shadoogie. Foot Tapper. Wow, I still remember those names. What bands.
The guitar’s still around somewhere, and I know it’s still completely unwarped, untwisted, and those pickups still probably work. If I can find a cable with an out-of-date jack, maybe I’ll try it someday. Plug it into the Podxt LIVE, through my Planet Waves cables into the Carlsbro or even the nice boutique Tube amp and see how she can sing. Long trip, eh?