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  1. #1
    Les Paul Forum Member talpa's Avatar
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    68CA-Mel Galley/Trapeze (Hot Wire lp) tone

    Well I finally got my Mel Galley fix, scored an early '01 ebony 68CA today at local Houston GC.

    This is my 2nd LP, last one I sold in 1991 (traded my new '90 pre-historic killertop + '66 beat strat for a vintage '55 strat in orig. cimarron red). All this done at Charley's in Dallas where I had traded since the mid-70s until Mark sold the shop, diff. place now...sad.

    Long story short - I want to upgrade the BBs to transfer that nice maple top tone you can hear on Galley's '68. Acoustically I can already hear it on this 68CA so I'm stoked. Galley is a tasty player to boot, but I mostly dig his tone.

    Short of busting for some t-tops, can you recommend 2-3 new p/u's to get there tone-wise ? Particularly the Hot Wire lp, great production but I dig all their lps.

    (9.75lbs/$2200)
    Last edited by talpa; 03-14-07 at 09:18 AM.

  2. #2
    Les Paul Forum Member gottabetweed's Avatar
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    Dec 2002
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    Re: 68CA-Mel Galley/Trapeze (Hot Wire lp) tone

    Congratulations, Great Guitar. I know Charlie's, as I also live in the Dallas area. I have an '01 68CA, which is now my main guitar. When I got it, I thought it was a little too ice picky? Possibly the ebony fret board? I swapped the BB2 and 3 for Duncan Custom Shop Slash APII's. They smoothed it out and it sounds wonderful. Very Rock and Roll!! I usually use the 68CA for the rocking tunes, and the R8 with Tim's for the lighter stuff. Perfect combo. We are playing Lone Star Co. Club the 23rd if you want to come out and hear it!

  3. #3
    Les Paul Forum Member sylvanshine's Avatar
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    Dec 2002
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    Re: 68CA-Mel Galley/Trapeze (Hot Wire lp) tone

    Quote Originally Posted by talpa View Post
    All this done at Charley's in Dallas where I had traded since the mid-70s until Mark sold the shop, diff. place now...sad.
    What in the world does this have to do with your 68CA?
    Jay

    CR06011
    1972 ES-335

  4. #4

    Re: 68CA-Mel Galley/Trapeze (Hot Wire lp) tone

    Quote Originally Posted by talpa View Post
    Well I finally got my Mel Galley fix, scored an early '01 ebony 68CA today at local Houston GC.

    This is my 2nd LP, last one I sold in 1991 (traded my new '90 pre-historic killertop + '66 beat strat for a vintage '55 strat in orig. cimarron red). All this done at Charley's in Dallas where I had traded since the mid-70s until Mark sold the shop, diff. place now...sad.

    Long story short - I want to upgrade the BBs to transfer that nice maple top tone you can hear on Galley's '68. Acoustically I can already hear it on this 68CA so I'm stoked. Galley is a tasty player to boot, but I mostly dig his tone.

    Short of busting for some t-tops, can you recommend 2-3 new p/u's to get there tone-wise ? Particularly the Hot Wire lp, great production but I dig all their lps.

    (9.75lbs/$2200)
    I live just a couple of miles away from Mel, I've known him since the early 70s when Trapeze were working hard to crack the US. Alas, Glenn left for Deep Purple, but the next incarnation of Trapeze was still a corking hot band who also toured the US and - as you say - recorded the Hot Wire album. You're so right about Mel's playing and sound; just great.

    In the early seventies I was just cutting my teeth as a do-it-yourself guitar repairer - not commercially as such, but I did quite a bit of work on my own guitars and for others. Through a mutual friend, Mel was introduced to me, and he asked if I would refret his Black Custom. Well imagine how excited and flattered I was that my hero had asked me to work on his guitar - not to mention a little nervous!

    Anyway, I remember doing a good fret job on the guitar, but also playing Trapeze riffs and licks on it. It was a true 'Pro's' guitar with blood, sweat and tears all over it. I'd always kept my guitars in pristine condition, but after seeing Mel's, I stopped cleaning mine in favour of a more 'used' look. The pickups on the guitar were the stock Gibson humbuckers. In fact, there were no aftermarket alternatives available at that time. I think you could buy a Gibson humbucker by special order if you harranged the shop owner for long enough.

    Mel had a deal with Rotosound (maybe still does?) and he used something like, 9, 11, 13, 24, 34, 44. Yes, a really light 'G'. I used to buy the strings off his roadie, so for many years I used the same gauges. He used Laney 100 amps in the early 3 piece Trapeze days but later used Marshall with the 5 piece band. I once asked Mel about the sound from his Laney and he replied, "Filthy". I also had a Laney, but in the clubs and pubs that I was playing, it was not possible to use more than a few watts of power, so I never got any good distortion going! I think the Laney would have remained cleaner for longer than the Marshall, but when it did break up, it was awesome. For recording, in the early days he sometimes used a Watkins Westminster for a really cutting, soulful, solo sound.

    Mel also used a locally made booster pedal that used a 741 IC and two batteries for + and - supplies. It was a clean boost that massively overdrove his amp for solos or riffing.

    I also made Mel a Power supply for his Pignose amp that he'd brought back from the US. We'd not seen or heard anything like it at the time, it was amazing!

    Apparently he swapped his SG Special for the Custom in around 71. A guy came up to him after a gig in the US and was insistent that he wanted to swap. Mel checked the guitar over and did the deal. So Mel's SG resides somewhere in the US! Many years ago, I remember that Mel stripped the black finish off the top of the Custom, but it may have been put back on again, I'm not sure.

    Mel is on myspace at:

    http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm...ndID=135293663

    Well, I hope those few memories will help you get Mel's tone - best of luck, in Mel's case a lot of it is definately in the fingers!
    To me, Fenders are a passing phase, but a Les paul is for life.

  5. #5
    Les Paul Forum Member talpa's Avatar
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    Re: 68CA-Mel Galley/Trapeze (Hot Wire lp) tone

    Quote Originally Posted by sylvanshine View Post
    What in the world does this have to do with your 68CA?
    Not meaning to offend. It has eveything to do with my LP history and the store where I did all my horse-tradin'. I guess each year...after Charley died then Rene' left then Mark left...I don't know man. I had spent 20+ years trading there and to not see them there is sad. It's a personal thing - just my historical perspective. The old Royal Ln. store holds many cool memories for me. So when I walk in there it's not nor will it ever be - the same. Now I will get over it.

    Do you Dallas guys remember there was a contest/giveaway around 1990 that was tied into Gibson's reintro of what they called the '58 Flametop Reissue. I think this was going to be tied into that years 3 Amigos show or something anyway it was a product intro tied into a citywide contest/signup.

    Charley's already had 1 of the guitars in their store, like maybe a demo piece from Gibson - that part is sorta vague but Mark knew about the reintro and the city promo thingy whatever. There were Gibson cardboard standups scattered lightly around town along with rock radio advertising it.

    Well, I was at Charley's the day they got 4 more of the '58 Flametop Reissues fresh off the truck. The unopened cartons were laying on the glass counter. I happened to be in the market for a LP and had the cash. I was a total newb about flametop lesters being reintroduced other than the Jimmy Wallace thing.

    I couldn't believe what I was looking at when Randy opened those 4 cartons. We were all pretty taken aback at how rich and wide 3-D flamey those pre-historic tops in this batch were. Needless to say I took the best of the 4, all I remember is it cost me $3K cash in '90. I can still smell that nitro just a beautiful guitar. I only played it out on one gig a cable-access local thing.

    So what happened ? Well I have always been basically a Strat guy as Jimi is my main influence - and I wanted to have a vintage strat before things got crazy. So about a year later Randy got what they labeled as an original stock cimarron red '55 strat in. It sure looks the right color if nothing it's an ancient refin but it looks just like Bill Carson's color. It played like a monster with a LP style fat 3-55 TG penciled neck (!!). I had to have it so I traded the LP and a '66 beater strat for the '55. I knew I had the short end at first but now I think the money is in back in my pocket. But I still wish I had that '58 flametop...what a beauty - of course its one of those un-historic killertops. It looks like the following 10 years Gibson learned how to really make them looking at some of you guys' pieces...hats off to all of you. And thanks Mark/Randy if you happed to read this.

    Man I love this '68CA into a Germino Club 40 head I have. Now I just need the right pickups, these BBs are kinda toppy.

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