App’s Guitar Arpeggios and Chord Encyclopedia  

TK Smith

I’ve had these two books in a drawer for about 15 years. My wife, Jill, brought them home with a bunch of records that she found from at estate sale in El Monte, CA while I was out of town. I’d glance through them from time to time and wondered about this App person who put together these nicely done, educational guitar books.

TK Smith

Recently I’ve been looking through the arpeggio book so I did a quick google search which turned up nothing. Then I posted a picture of the books on Instagram and within a few minutes, Deke Dickerson responded with a link to a website for O.W. Appleton who is quite possibly the guy who should be credited with being the first to build a solid body electric guitar. Check out his
amazing story here.

Deke also said that he had a handwritten letter, from Appleton to RC Allen describing in detail about how Gibson’s salesman came through Iowa, saw his guitar and based the Les Paul on it!

TK Smith

On the inside cover of each book, there is a note from App to his friends “Hub and Evelyn”. With RC  living in El Monte, this is most likely how the books ended up at the estate sale there. Maybe they were all friends? I’m glad to know more about App and what he contributed to the history of the electric guitar. The copyright on the books is from 1970. If you ever see them, they’re worth picking up.

TK Smith

Motherlode Of Obscure George Barnes Recordings

TK Smith

A few days ago I was searching the internet to see if I could find any Western Swing podcasts or radio shows to listen to in the shop. Don’t ask me how but I stumbled upon a bunch of great George Barnes recordings on Mixcloud posted by Atsushi Yoshida. There’s so much great music in his Mixcloud profile that I’ve never heard before including some amazing 1957 recordings by Joe Venuti and The Blue Five with GB on guitar!

I didn’t even know Mixcloud existed a few weeks ago so I’m feeling a bit out of touch, it seems a lot of this stuff was posted a few years ago. I thought I’d share the link to Atsushi’s Mixcloud profile here:

Vintage Advertisement T-Shirt

TK Smith

I’ve always loved the old black and white classified ads in the back of vintage magazines. So when we decided to make a new t-shirt design for spring/summer, that was the inspiration. Available in the Store now. This one comes in Black or Navy and includes XXL for the first time.

TK Smith

Jim Heath’s Custom Special

TK Smith Custom Guitar

Two years ago long time friend, Jim Heath, contacted me about a custom guitar. We went back and forth a few times and here’s what I came up with. A 24.75″ scale, neck through, 7lbs. 13oz. semi hollow body. Man, I love building these things!

TK Smith

TK Smith

TK Smith

TK Smith

A Forgotten Art – Letter Writing

TK Smith

From time to time, MB Wilson, founder of Embie Concepts, sends me the most interesting items from the past.  Last week, I received this letter written by Bob McKeehan, radio station KCNA disk jockey, in Tucson, AZ.  It was written to Slick Norris, who according to Billboard Nov. 12, 1955, was singer Jimmy Newmans manager.

Dated, March 25, 1955, there’s not an address number to be found on either the “to” or “from” address; simpler times indeed.

It kind of makes me wonder whether the daily social media updates and instant world news is better, or an annual letter and a weekly newspaper might have been the best, less detracting way to go? Thanks MB!

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