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Down On The Farm With A Screaming Blue Gargoyle

(or: The cat crept into the crypt, crapped, and crept out again)

Over a recent weekend, I had the opportunity to write and record another demo for my friend and guitar tech, luthier Perry Ormsby. This is one weird puppy (the guitar, that is) - A headless Telecaster with a gargoyle inlay at the twelfth fret, bright metallic GT blue paint job, and an f-hole that looks like it was put there by a Klingon warrior in heat. When I was told it was a Tele, I imagined something in a blues or country vein as a suitable audio track to accompany the guitar. After meeting the guitar, however, my imagination had gone somewhere altogether different. The first thing I did was come up with the name;

Down On The Farm With A Screaming Blue Gargoyle. Why that name in particular?

Well, I could tell you, but…

Down On The Farm With A Screaming Blue GargoyleThe body of the guitar (which I wound up dubbing “The Blue Gargoyle”) is made of Alder and is chambered, a la the Telecaster Thinline. The big difference with this chamber is the aforementioned f-hole, the design of which Perry has dubbed the Sword Slash™ F-Hole. The ABM ‘Steinberger style’ hardware allows for the radical (for a Tele) headless design. The body is recessed under the back of the bridge for easy access to the tuning machines, and tuning itself is smooth and accurate with perfect intonation.

In keeping with the Tele tradition, there are two pickups - A Lil 59 Seymour Duncan with coil splitting in the bridge position and a Duncan Alnico II Pro with reverse phase option in the neck position. Also on the guitar is a Bill Lawrence Q-Filter, giving ‘The Gargoyle’ an excellent range of great sounds. The pickups and controls are mounted on a large white pearloid pickguard.

The neck is maple, and has a solid but fast feel. The first thing I noticed (okay, second - more about the inlay later) about the neck was that I was consistently playing in correct position. I had had the problem in the past of feeling completely out of position when playing a headless guitar, and winding up a fret or two away from where I thought I was. The normal scale length and nifty neck design (it feels like there’s a headstock there) mean that the lack of headstock is no problem whatsoever.

There are no fret markers on the Ebony fingerboard, but there is a mother of an inlay at the twelfth fret.

Perry has used Mother of Pearl, Paua Abalone, Green Rippled Abalone, Fresh Water Pearl, Red Heart Abalone and Brown Lip Abalone to create the face of a gargoyle with mouth agape. The matching side position marker is a cute little Mother of Pearl bat - very impressive! The medium frets give accurate fingering, and the overall finish of the neck is impeccable.

For some reason, I always like to pick with my fingers when I’m on a Tele. Although this axe sounds nothing like a Telecaster, I had to have a go anyway when sitting down to write a demo track to feature the gargoyle on. I finally found somewhere to put this choppy rhythm figure that had been bugging me for ages, so I was off to a happy start. The feel of the guitar is very smooth and very rock’n’roll, and I had a ball soloing over the backing tracks. The fingerboard inlay is placed so you know where the twelfth fret is, so getting around the upper frets is no problem. I’m not sure how Perry managed that, but it works, and he’s a clever bloke.

The Blue Gargoyle, as far as guitars go, is a party waiting to happen. In a word - FUN! (click on the picture above to download Graham's Gargoyle tune - 1600kb)

Graham Greene



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