The gig at the dance hall lasted an entire season. At that time I had a beautiful Valve amp, 100 watts, far more than was needed for such a venue. It came with a huge Celestion speaker, the largest I had ever seen at the time. The top of the amp was covered with a heavy steel mesh which I removed when playing on stage as it looked awsome with all the valves glowing. I picked it up at a Music/Pawn shop. Nobody wanted it, so I got the whole set up for next to nothing. Anyway, the third week into our stint, it caught fire. This was bad enough, but in the extreme heat the valves swelled and shattered, sending tiny bits of silvered glass in all directions. Everybody was ducking down, trying to avoid the silvery splinters. Then, the stage curtain caught fire. It was at the rear of the stage, which always struck me as peculiar, but anyhow, there it was, going up like a roman candle. A guy rushed onto the stage and threw a bucket of water over it, which thankfully quelled the blaze. However, as we all know, water and electricity don't mix. At that moment our rythm guitarist had his hand on the microphone, frozen in astonishment at the events going on around him. He had been about to announce the next song. There was a blue flash and he fell backwards to the floor, knocked cold. There was a brown, silvery residue all over his hand, but he blinked a few times and managed to sit up. He was okay, and no doubt felt fortunate to still be with us.
From then on, before I would go near a microphone I used to throw a penny at it. If there was no reaction I'd step up and do my thing. It became a habit, and nobody ever questioned it, I guess they figured it was some sort of superstition, or a good luck gesture. I remember doing it at a roadside bar in the States, and we had a stripper on stage with us who was going to do some dancing while we played. She walked over to me in a set of ridiculously high heels, wearing nothing but a thong and nipple tassles and said, "Honey, if you need that much luck it'll probably take more than a dime ......... "
Needless to say, I am still wary of Microphones .........
Jag. (Who moved my chalk marks?)
When they discovered that I like poetry and occasionally write my own rhymes, they asked me to write some lyrics for them and I did. They were in the process of composing a rock-opera. The plot was loosely based on the The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, but in their interpretation Dorothy was a girl that nobody could sexually satisfy. So she goes to the Emerald City where the Unbelievable Fucker - a man able to solve the problem lives. The project remained uncompleted because the lead singer/guitar finished school and soon was called up to sing «Unconquerable and Legendary» somewhere in Baikal military district.
Another my job was customizing Ural guitars. Because of the poor assembly quality they rarely made a perfect sound out of the box so I had to screen them inside with metal foil to prevent self induction and sometimes customize the circuitry to the owner’s personal taste. It probably was my first business – I was payed about 5 rubles for a guitar which was a lot of money for Soviet schoolboy. Ural guitar was known for its heaviness and famed in countless jokes.
A few facts about Ural guitar
• Ural guitar was developed by Soviet engineers to scary the shit out of bloody capitalists;
• Trying to crush Ural guitar against the wall will result in destruction of the wall;
• Ural guitar is the only object in the World that can withstand Chuck Norris’ punch;
• Nobody can understand how Ural’s knobs and buttons work, but they say there’s a secret combination of them that launch nuclear missiles;
• Ural guitar is the only object in the World that remains heavy in weightlessness;
• Ural guitar can shelter you from nuclear strike;
• Arnold Schwarzenegger is the only person in the World who can actually use Ural tremolo lever;
• Any music played on Ural guitar automatically becomes heavy metal;
• The sound of unplugged Ural guitar can cause earthquakes and tsunami;
• Ural guitar production was ceased under the mass-destruction weapons cut agreement;
• If you disassemble Ural guitar, its parts can make a nuclear reactor, space station, and a corn harvester;
• In 1978 the North American tour of some Soviet rock band was canceled when the ship loaded with a single Ural guitar sank.
Last edited by friendlycat; 03-21-2015 at 07:40 AM.
Just don't tell foecats I'm here
Ah, yes ..... the dreaded Ural 650 ...... the Russian Stratocaster. They made thousands of these, and kid's today still buy them because they can be picked up for around $100. I think the Ural in your pic is a 650A, but don't quote me. I have played one, or should I say, it played me. One of the switches on the one I tried was a gain switch ........ and another was like a fuzzy effect. Built like a brick outhouse and with pick-up's more suited to cheese grating, they were indeed beasts. Having said that, they could be tamed a little with a lot of hard work, best only undertaken if you already work in construction.
There was another Russian guitar similar to this, but much better in construction and electronics. I think it was called an "aelita" but I might not be spelling that right. It was playable and I remember trying one that was used by a Russian band in the late eighties. I know that a few bands in the USA tried them out live for a while.
Valve amps? You can still buy modern valve combo's today, but they lack the warmth and beastliness that those from the late 50's and early 60's had. As you worked on some I am sure you are very aware of this. After mine burned up I trod the Vox AC30 path just like everybody else did, but I missed that Valve amp, there was a natural warm tone to it that I never really encountered again.
Jag. (Strummed at least one Ural and wrestled with another ... )
"i know enough to know what's instantly forgettable"
Sometimes my downloads require the use of Jdownloader 1 with Click 'n' Load or Jdownloader 2...
"My past has not defined me, destroyed me, deterred me, or defeated me...it has only strengthened me."
Aelita. Named after alien female character from 1930s Soviet sci fi novel, it featured much better quality and pick ups. The circuitry was similar to Ural. If you had a spare ruble back then you could also afford Czech Jolana or East German Musima. But Ural will be remembered as an affordable stuff that allowed thousands of Soviet school bands to gain their first experience. This eventually lead to the phenomenon known as «Russian shitrock of 90s» which I hate with all my soul and my wife loves (she’s some 16 years younger than me). The problem is that I love her so after yet another «big hit» of some goddamn motherfuckers I have to heal myself with a huge dose of old good pop like Bach orchestral suites or Vertinskiy’s early albums.
and our phased array «speaker» was seen from far away ready to track US missiles coming from North-West sector. Ironically, its NATO codename was Catshouse.
Ural truck and Ural bike.
Just don't tell foecats I'm here
And this is one reason I had my Marshall heads rewired to use American tubes. That and the fact that the original tubes were almost impossible to get here and they went bad really quickly. I also got rid of the Celestion speakers in the cabinets and replaced them with Altec Lansings as the Celestions got pushed out and started "flapping in the breeze" after awhile.
After looking at hearing about that Ural guitar, I think I'll pass as it sounds like I would fall over trying to hold it and play it. I think I'll stick with my Strat for now.