Hello everybody…I have been a little busy recently and very nearly forgot that today, the 5th of September, is Freddie Mercury’s birthday. If Freddie was still here with us he would have been…75 years old. So I wanted to post this short post to show I hadn’t forgotten Fred and I made him a replica of his iconic microphone which you can see in this image….
Some of my long time viewers may also recall way back in 2016 I made a lightsaber sceptre which I named “Mercurial” to mark his birthday back then…
These small tributes still don’t add up to the massive debt I owe to Freddie for all the great music and inspiration he gave me as an aspiring keyboard player back in my younger days. And no…..I still haven’t perfected my rendition of Bohemian Rhapsody yet….but maybe one day I will. And if it wasn’t for that song I wouldn’t have had the chance to perform at a venue Freddie and Queen played during their 1974 tour and stand on the same stage as Freddie had. That was a magical night for sure.
So to Freddie, thanks again for everything and happy 75th…..I’m off to put my copy of “Live at Wembley” on repeat for the rest of the day so…..till next time…..READY FREDDIE?
Hello everyone, today is bittersweet as I return to the sad news of the passing of Eddie Van Halen, the guitar genius of the band that shares his family name. This is my way of thanking Eddie for all the inspiration he gave to me as a budding musician.
Eddie Lodewijk Van Halen was born in Jan 1955 to Dutch father, Jan Van Halen who was a jazz pianist, clarinetist and saxophonist (I guess Eddie was always gonna be a great with those genes) and his mother Eugenia (nee van Beers) who was of Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia) descent.
The Van Halen family moved to the USA and settled in Pasadena California in 1962. Eddie had an older brother named Alex and the pair studied classical piano from an early age in San Pedro but Eddie couldn’t read music! He learnt by watching and listening…and when he had to perform Beethoven or Mozart pieces he would improvise! Alex decided to pick up the guitar prompting Eddie to buy a drum kit to accompany his brother. However after hearing Alex drumming the song Wipe Out by The Safari’s the pair “swapped” instruments and Eddie began studying guitar. He practised whenever he could, carrying the guitar around with him. They soon realised that rock music was much more cool than classical and formed a band….and Eddie built a guitar!
The guitar became famous as the “Frankenstrat” built from various parts and modified pieces that allowed Eddie to create out-of-this-world sounds. Eddie also became synonymous with a playing technique he called “Tapping” where he used the fingers of both hands to tap and hold the strings on the fretboard to play ultra fast notes up and down the musical scales. Later Eddie would invent a device to assist holding the guitar in position whilst he “Tapped”. He also designed other guitar parts so he was a designer too….and I think it’s time to show you my design in honour of EVH…This is my “Eruption Saber”….
You may have seen this saber before if you follow my site. I posted one picture of this as a variant to my Obi-Wan Kenobi Master K (https://ftsabersite.wordpress.com/2019/10/12/master-k-saber-an-obi-wan-kenobi-inpsired-hilt/) hilt but the news of Eddie’s passing was so sudden I totally forgot I had built it. However I have added a few more details I’ll show below. But first this saber shares a similar colour scheme as Eddie’s famous Frankenstrat of black, white and red abstract stripes and shapes. The Frankenstrat was originally black until Eddie felt it needed a coat of bright red bicycle paint! The guitar was also updated with pickups (the magnetic elements that pick up the strings vibrations and turn the movement into electrical signals) that were assembled by Duncan Seymour – a famous guitar technician who also modified some pickups for Brian May. Now as this saber is an “old” design I felt I needed to upgrade it so in tribute to one of Eddie’s most famous tunes named Eruption…I added a crystal chamber with the power of that Van Halen solo!
I felt there was so much power in the crystal of this hilt it needed to be caged! But there was no caging Van Halen and the band toured the world and their fame grew globally. Eddie worked and collaborated with many names in music including Kiss bassist Gene Simmons, Nicolette Larson, Michael Jackson (remember the solo in “Beat It”? That was Eddie!), Brian May, Sammy Hagar, Black Sabbath, Roger Waters and Toto guitarist Steve Lukather. He even wrote film scores and appeared in Frank Sinatra videos and in a stroke of comic genius….Two And A Half Men…
So to round this tribute off I produced a couple of “Posters” featuring the big man himself, the Frankenstrat and a tip of the hat to another great EVH recording – Panama.
Now I feel I have done my tribute properly and thanked Eddie for all he gave me. I hope he would have approved. I just have to perfect my version of “Jump!” on keyboard.
Again my thoughts and prayers are with Eddie’s family, friends and all who have been affected by, inspired by or were just entertained by the great man.
That brings a close to this post…thank you all for checking this tribute out and for all the comments and support you have given me, hopefully this has given some back. I appreciate all of your efforts and hope you will return to see upcoming posts featuring many more new saber designs, some spaceships and much more. Till next time…...JUMP!
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Hello Everybody, this week has not been the greatest as the world awoke on Oct 6/7th to the sad news that a musical genius and guitar god, Eddie Van Halen passed away from his battle with cancer. He was just 65 years old, yet in that time he created his own style and guitar playing techniques despite not being able to read music! He also, like Brian May of Queen, built his own guitar….the Frankenstrat. You will more than likely have seen it and recognise it as soon as you see this pattern.
You will definitely have heard his guitar too….just listen to the solo in Michael Jackson’s “Beat It” and of course with his own band, Van Halen…anyone remember “Jump!”?
And that song is what makes this news hard for me to take as I am a keyboard player and just like with “Bohemian Rhapsody” I attempted to learn how to play Jump! – complete with his KEYBOARD solo! A few years ago I posted a tribute design inspired by EVH and the song Jump! and here are the pics…
As a result of this news I have been knocked for a loop and haven’t felt that inclined to work on a post this week, however I do have a small gallery featuring a Guardians of the Galaxy inspired hilt in post two for today. But I will end this tribute by sending my condolences, thoughts and prayers to his son Wolfgang and all of Eddie’s family and friends. RIP Eddie, thanks and you’ll forever be on my playlist of the masters.
“Eddie didn’t just play a guitar….he conducted a six string orchestra” – FT
Hello Everybody, today I wish to present something very different and very personal at this very crazy time in the world. As you know we are in the grip of a global pandemic and a lot of the planet is in lockdown to attempt to close the virus down. With this lockdown society has had to find new ways to entertain itself and one individual has gone about it in a very humble and genuine way. That person is an idol of mine and he is called Dr Brian May. Yes, the lead guitarist of the rock band Queen. Brian has quietly gone about producing YouTube “Micro Concerts” and tutorials each and every evening to entertain and more importantly reassure us that there are folks out there that are thinking of you and me, so we don’t feel so isolated.
Now I have a very strong emotional connection with Queen and Brian’s work, the day I was born Bohemian Rhapsody was sat at No.1 in the charts, the first piece of music I remember hearing was the guitar solo from Killer Queen, I taught myself music and piano – starting with a Stylophone! I progressed to proper home keyboards when I convinced my parents I was serious I wanted to learn. I practised Bohemian for over 20 years to get to a “passable rendition” of it…still haven’t nailed it. I did become good enough to play in a band and performed the song around the clubs of the UK….and I even had the honour of performing on a stage that Brian, Roger, John and Freddie stomped on during their 1974 tour. I had serious goosebumps that night! But I realised when I saw the videos that Brian is now posting that I hadn’t really thanked him for what he (and Queen) had given me. This was partly due to not having access to social media and partly because I was shy about reaching out. Well that ends today. I have designed a little something as a “virtual gift” to Brian and it combines elements of his career, music, his love of Astrophysics…oh and he is a BIG Star Wars fan too. This is Red (5) Special….
Red (5) Special pic 1
Red (5) Special pic 2
Red (5) Special pic 3
Red (5) Special pic 4
This is Brian’s beloved guitar the “Red Special” or as she is sometimes called, “The Lady” modelled as best I can in 3D! Brian and his father famously built this guitar from scratch using parts such as a knife blade and a 100 year old piece of wood from a fireplace mantlepiece! Luckily I didn’t have to source parts but I did have a really difficult job recreating the beautiful shape of this instrument (and all the other parts). It has the selector switches, the rotary knobs, the famous triple Humbucking pickups, a tremolo arm…the tuning head with machineheads…and if you look on the back I even added the two black access panels/repair patches you don’t normally see! However, this isn’t 100% accurate as I intended this model to form a display stand for a new…lightsaber! Well Brian is a Star Wars fan so I imagined what a saber would look like with a guitar shaped display stand and realised I could expand the triple pickups to form a cradle to hold a saber…
Red (5) Special stand pic 1
Red (5) Special stand pic 2
Red (5) Special stand pic 3
Red (5) Special stand pic 4
And the saber is a design I modified from my Altenweg Shoto design I made last year as I realised it had a bit of a Flash Gordon look to it so was a perfect hilt to use. And I’m allowed to mention Flash Gordon on this website as Queen and Brian had a little role in it. It was a spectacular mash up of movie magic and magnificent music. And as I near the end of this offering I have a few more images to share…
Red (5) Special studio pic 1
Red (5) Special wireframe (note the backpanels!)
Clay sculpt preview image.
Red Specal replica
My Red Special poster.
It turns out a guitar makes a decent display stand and I have nearly come to the end of this post…Oh wait, you may ask what connection to Astrophysics does this model and guitar have? Look closely near the white switches and you’ll see Brian’s star logo to represent his love of astronomy and his Doctorate on the subject (He’s probably even used radio telescopes like Jodrell Bank!). And why is there a 5 in the name of this model? Red 5 was Luke Skywalker’s callsign in the Death Star attack in Star Wars of course!
I want to finish by saying thanks once more to Brian and I sincerely hope he likes this, it meant a lot to model it and is my small way of saying thanks for all he has done, is doing and will continue to do for all of us in the future.
Stay safe, well and keep rockin – we appreciate Everything You Do. For Tyeth.
And NO SYNTHESIZERS were used in the making of this design!
September 5th 1946, an important date in music history and as a result a date with a big influence on me. On this date Frederick Bulsara was born in Zanzibar. He moved to London, England and studied Art at college and befriended three other students. They formed one of the greatest bands in history. Frederick changed his name and a legend was born, he became Freddie Mercury, frontman of the band Queen. Freddie was way ahead of his contemporaries and his music was phenomenal.
Bohemian Rhapsody, all seven minutes of it becoming part of human history was released at the time I was born. Somehow there must have been a connection made as I taught myself to play piano and became hooked on Queen’s music.
So it is Freddie’s Birthday today and has been honoured by having an asteroid named after him. I can’t offer that but I can design a sceptre for the great frontman, this is Mercurial..
Mercurial Hilt 1
Mercurial Hilt 2
Mercurial FTE Pommel
Mercurial Pommel Plug
Mercurial “The Crown”
The red leather grips represent the robe Freddie wore to “God Save the Queen” at the end of their legendary concerts. There isn’t an activation switch as I believe Freddie would never fight, this is meant to be a ceremonial sceptre. And if you look closely you may see the outline of his “Crown” in the pommel.
So this has been my thank you to a great musician, who I miss but take comfort from the gifts he gave us…his music.