12: J.J. French, A real New Yorker

SLN #13 J J French pt. 2
SLN #12 JJ French pt. 1

J.J. best known as the lead guitarist for Twisted Sister regales us with tales of his mis-spent youth and musical journey to date. prepare to be entertained.

J. J. French

              The Pinkburst Project

      Uveitis is an eye disease which  J.J.’s daughter Samantha suffered from. To raise awareness and money to fight the disease J.J. commissioned a unique collection of guitars and amps which were successfully  auctioned off. His passion for guitars and amps guided him in selecting the brands and models chosen for the project.

J.J. French & Samantha Pinkburst Projectr

A Gretsch 6120 and a Vox A C 30

6120 & A C 30 pinkburst Project

A Gibson Les Paul Standard

pinkburst Les Paul

48th St unfortunately is in the rear view mirror now but not too long ago it was lined with music stores a veritable “field of dreams” for musicians. J.J. remembers the Gretsch White Falcon at $600. as the most expensive guitar in the windows.

Spotify Playlist for this episode

                                                 Middle 1950’s model

Gretsch White Falcon 1950s

                                                 Early 60’s model

early 60s Gretsch White Falcon

In 1972 The Rolling Stones toured with Mick Taylor on guitar. Did they ever sound better live?

The Rolling Stones

J.J. recounts the seeing the 3 Madison Sq. Garden shows. Here are some shots from the same tour but in San Francisco at Winterland  June 6.
Mick & Keith 1972 San Francisco

Rolling stones Winterland 6/72
Rolling Stones Winterland 6/72

Subscribe to Sidetrack Liner Notes on I Tunes to get the rest of J.J.’s podcast soon to be posted as episode #13. He doesn’t let up.

11: Terry Foster, all things Fender

Author and Fender historian  Terry foster sits down to discuss some of his findings and a review of the early history of Leo Fender’s electric instruments.


Terry along with Martin and Paul Kelly authored this beautiful homage to Leo Fender’s company.


The Radio Shop guitar. Leo and Doc Kaufman’s first guitar

The Radio Shop Guitar

K & F amp. Note finger jointed cabinet. It is assumed that Doc got the tool for this process when he and Leo parted amicably


                     Fender Electric Instrument Co’s first line.

L-R: Princeton Steel and Princeton Amp, Deluxe Steel and Model 26 Amp and Organ Button Steel with Pro amp


Direct String pick up description from a copy of 1947 catalogue 151-A

jpeden700101_direct string008

Young Mr Hayzlett seems justifiably pleased with this drying rack of Champion lap steels awaiting their MOTS pearloid covering at the original Fender plant Santa Fe Ave. in Fullerton. This photo indicates the level of Fender’s production before the introduction of the Broadcaster.

jpeden700101_champs in wood005

Leo Fender was a legit fan of Western Swing music. He supplied many of Southern California’s top bands with instruments and amplifiers. They in turn gave him valuable info concerning the function and reliability of his gear. Leo Fender did not play guitar so their feedback was crucial to improving his products.


     Note “boxcar” pickup on Leon’s triple neck, same as K&F lap steels


                Herb’s triple neck features the trapezoid pickup


                                  Spotify playlist for this episode

The California Playboys were a local Southern California Western Swing band that Leo Fender supported with equipment and kind attention foreshadowing the importance of teenage musicians to The  Fender Co. Video produced in Fullerton 2012

Where would we be if Richard hadn’t written & published this book ?

jpeden700101_round the world004
Smiling Richard

Bury yourself for a few weeks in Tom Wheeler’s most excellent “The Fender Archives”


Setting up up for a future SLN podcast where Terry will discuss Leo’s creation of the first commercially successful solid body electric guitar, The Broadcaster which will become the inimitable Fender Telecaster.  Several musicians will emerge as important: Merle Travis and Les Paul.


photo courtesy Rockabilly Hall of Fame

Les Paul at home in Mahwah N.J early 80s with adolescent photo of himself as “Rhubarb Red” Same harmonica, rack and Gibson guitar.

Les Paul & Rubarb Red photo #C

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