Last year I finally found a double neck guitar that I could afford, by way of the Jay Turser company. After seeing Jimmy Page of the legendary 70’s band Led Zepplin use one in that epic song, Stairway to Heaven in 1976, I was hooked and knew that one day I had to own one too. I was always trying to imitate Page’s moves on the guitar on the 70’s and even could play some of his classics to a certain degree, although never to the extent that Page could.
The original double neck guitar was made by Gibson starting in 1963, and is still in production today. It is considerably heavier than a single neck, weighing in at about 26 pounds. The upper neck has 12 strings and the lower has six. Both necks have identical number of pickups
The reason for having a double neck is to make quick changes during a song where the guitarist wants to play a melodic, soft rhythm on the 12 string, and then launch into a searing hot lead solo, without putting down the guitar and picking up another one. Jimmy Page did that exactly, being the ONLY guitarist for Led Zepplin, he was constantly having to be innovative.
That day finally came 34 years later – just too late for me to use it during my hey-day as a rock-n-roller. Well, in 2010, I was surfing eBAY, and came upon the Jay Turser brand of double neck electric guitar. Jay Turser makes exact copies of Gibson and Fender guitars, at a fraction of the price. It was reasonably affordable, and came in three colors (white, green, and red).
Even though Jimmy Page uses a red one, I opted for the green, because it fits my other mantra of buying the unusual, when there’s a choice. For example, I also have a six-string bass guitar, which is also very heavy, and comes with an extra string that is useful in some situations to enhance the range of the player.
When it arrived one week later from the company in Pennsylvania, I could not have been more pleased. It really plays well, and I can find some creative uses for it during some songs. I usually play along side another guitarist, the great Ron Tate, who uses either a Fender Stratocasteror a Telecaster. We take turns playing lead and rhythm parts about seven or so songs each week, and I am able to engage the double neck as an effective way of enhancing the lead and rhythm parts. while I also have a Stratocaster, there are times when I want the heavier effect that a double-humbucker pickup brings to the sound, and that is best expressed on a Gibson or a Gibson-style guitar.
If you are interested in knowing more about the evolution of the electric guitar, get in touch with me; I’ve been studying them and playing them for 40 years, since I was 14. You can thank the recently departed Les Paul for the first electric guitar. and the Gibson model bears his name still today.
Here are a few photos of Ron and I playing. Of course we can’t keep a straight face ever, so please excuse the grins – we’re just a couple of goofy old hipsters, trying to relive our youth!. The other goofy acting guy in the background is our drummer, Danny, and also, he can’t pass up an opportunity to make fun of an otherwise solemn situation ( I am kidding again, there’s nothing solemn about this group).