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Charlie Starr [Blackberry Smoke]: The Collection

jb_abides

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 6, 2005
Messages
5,448

Happy Belated Thanksgiving -- Welcome Back -- after the LPF Blackout!

Here's some NOTES:

Hanging out in Blackberry Smoke clubhouse. Wall of Blackberry Smoke. Travis Trill signed katana sword.

'It's either hang with you and talk about guitars, or do things around the house for my wife.'

Nice to start off acknowledging his father's influence. Dad's influence oriented him more toward roots and blues after starting off hard rock.

First 'real' guitar: 1978 SG with harmonica; being inexperienced at set ups and modifications, he called it horrible.

Went on to white Les Paul Custom, a Randy Rhoads style. He's much more of an EVH guy, but ended up with the Custom. EVH big influence, 1984 era.

Later, found the Georgia Satellites, also cited Stones.

All guitars have seen road use. Nothing too precious to use for Charlie.

...

Impressive collection, Charlie:

55 Junior
. Oldest one Junior he now has. Prefers the 55 over the 54 neck angle, the 54 being too shallow, too close to pickup for his palming. Re-fretted the 55 with stainless steel without knowing and he can't feel a difference. Uses compensated MojoAxe bridge. His tech doesn't like vintage tuners, because of slippage.

56 Junior. Refinished Black with honest wear from Charlie. 2x broken headstock. Heavily mod'd even pickup... Duncan P-90. Repro Badass. Used to have Bigsby. The axe slutted it's way around players in Atlanta. Originally Rick Richards. Spelled y'all wrong: YA'LL. Says therefore he is deficient in his 'southernness'. Used with Danny Kortchmar, Kootch gave him 'a real' unmolested Junior... then said 'stay with your guitar'. It's Got A Thing!

Has way more seller's remorse than buyer's remorse. He likes to take 'em out and play them. Strap locks, vintage tuners in the case.

Loves single pickup guitars, both Gibson and Fenders. Set the framework for his tone. His are all of different flavors (sonic character) like snowflakes. Happy playing with the knobs.


57 Junior. Kind of heavy. Got 2 ata time, Joe B: 'Two pairs and a spare'. Perimeter burst, characteristic of 57. Also pickup position was perfected. Wiring harness replaced with a vintage 57 lap steel with the Bumble Bees. Fortus played it and left a big buckle mark!

Choosing between them: based on what he used to track originally.

58 Junior, TV Yellow single cut, all original apart from re-fret. Very clean! Pricing more than vintage sunburst. From Keith Nelson, who called it 'Mean Mister Mustard'. Used on last album and new record, over the last 5 years. Pairs with a JMP!

59 Junior, Cherry double cut. Round edge. MojoAxe bridge. Front faded, back still vibrant. Joked about how it hangs, but enjoys access. From PA, he loves this particular P-90.

Speaks about acquisition. Hit list, obsessed with something, goes on the hunt or moves on to the next thing. Hard to wrap his head around owning a burst, because of the investment required, but always on the hunt! Played Keith Nelson's Gozilla... Hopes to get a burst eventually, depends on how clean it is, as to taking it on the road. It's a tool but feels the stress, felt when playing Cesar's very clean example, Gemini.

Chicken wings and Topo Chico on the bus, passing around the guitars... Life is good.


62 SG Junior. Lighning bolt and intact guard. Charlie finds 60s P-90s brighter and hotter, more bark for Sabbath! Ladies counting wraps with a foot brake on the winder, chit chat equals overwound, underwound... tuned to Open C#

Charlie needs a 61 SG Junior. Hit him up!

64 SG Junior in Polaris White, cardboard case. Serious player wear, 'tire tracks' on the neck. Label maker across back near neck joint. Pickguard is lifting. Still more white than yellow. A good deal! References Jake E. Lee, and son played him 'Bark At The Moon'.

53 Les Paul, Black. Lifton. Started as Goldtop, likely sent back for refin, added Bigsby, given Bumble Bee, gray tiger, re-serial'd... So the story goes. White creme plastics... looks like Gibson remade. Maybe! ABR-1 updated. Hole in headstock and Bigbsy for added 7th string. Came from Ricky Skaggs. Thank You Ricky! Bigsby was moved around.

58 Les Paul Custom 3-pup, Black. Came in Whippoorwill era. After Jay Leno show, he was bequeathed by a fan in his will, but sent to him earlier, with parts, as owner Mick had mod'd it after Frampton's. Re-finished by prior owner Mick, after being stripped to be like Ronson's. Played by Duane in Florida.

Regrets some things he let go: a really good hard edge 58 double cut. A blonde 72 Tele with Bigsby, really light, canoe'd pickup that was magic with 50-watt JMP with cabinet to the wall. Nostalgia or favoite. Sold to make car payment. D-35 'left' with bad marriage, bad divorce, bummer!

64 ES-335 Block with Bigsby, Cherry, Custom Made plate lifting on edges. From Louisville, one owner (a grandpa, . Was outside with bird poop in the F-hole, had to restore. Neck well worn to wood. Original receipt, $300 plus $30 case, $55 Bigsby.

ES guitars and humbuckers are used for songs with that feel... example 'Waiting For The Thunder' humbucke with brighter snarl for solo.

65 ES-330TD, burst with original case. Early 65 wide nut, metal cover era. Nickel and chrome mixed parts era. Reflectors, 16th fret join. Brendan O'Brien has 64 Pelham Blue, played his through a BluesBreaker and got hooked.

64 Firebird I. He doesn't tour with it because of fit in guitar boat case stand. From Texas, with owner's SSN over serial. Re-fret, Two top strap knobs. Tone a 2.

46 ES-300, vintage burst with original Lifton. Valparaiso, Indiana. Script logo, Crown, parallelograms, P-90 bridge. Mahogany top veneer on the laminate. Used flatwounds. Hillbillies and Jazzcats!

Acoustics...

Looking for resonance and warmth on acoustics. More picky when hunting. Charlie's a 'dead string' guy. Only replace when broken. Loves J-45s, thud! Loves SJ-200s and 00s. His 62 Country and Western wants to be a Hummingbird!

Charlie writes on acoustics, then translates to electric. Down to 2 guitars on a van tour? The YA'LL Black Junior and 55 J-45, do it all.


41 L-00, script screen logo. Firestripe guard and crazy crazing Same strings on as when Agnesi sold it to him. Fingerstyle only and ... sounds great!

63 Country and Western. Well worn top. New bridge. Gibson can't find or replicate the same style of tortoise pattern in a guard without the dangerous celluloid. Nice low end. It has been fitted with pickup, and will go on the road.

63 J-180 Everly Brothers. Black, star inlays and on headstock, double pickguards. Belonged to Don Everly, then Graham Nash! Found in Texas. May not go on tour... Does the Everly thing!

1960 00-21 Martin. Still Brazilian rosewood era. Slot head, V profile, wide board. Also from Norm's, found with Keith Nelson in tow. Binding front and rear. Very clean!

1950 D-28 in a Guild case from Emmylou Harris. Worn top. Charlie says it's a canon, but his dad's 83 beats it. Charlie takes it to bluegrass picking parties. Notes Lester Flatt invented the bluegrass G-run [yeah, among other things].

Talks player-grade as being well-loved, they do the thing. Re-fret if required!

Where to shop? Rumble Seat, Carter's, Gruhn, Mike's Music Norm's, Emerald City, Vintage Guitar in Oslo, Denmark Street.


58 Telecaster, ash body 3-color sunburst only available for 2 years. Well worn player. Another Texas guitar. Crack repair and re-fret by Joe Glaser. Fenders can break too! This could be a desert island... 'the only one you need'

63 Esquire, Blonde. Re-fin, from Rockin' Robin, Houston. Player with sanded down neck. Clay dots.

Charlie has NEVER owned a strat!

65 Esquire
with older pots, rosewood, 'Factory Black' with 67 case. Replaced pickguard. Super worn. Played on 'Hey Delilah'.

Guitar Safari Most Wanted... The Hit List: Charlie's looking for a Silver Fox SG. Wants: Korina V (or Explorer), Epiphone Frontier, DeArmond White Falcon. 30s SJ-200.

Performance Guitars T-Style Partscaster with liptick Danelectro neck and P-90 bridge, in Mono gig bag. #2 of 2, made for Haggis/Kid Chaos, guitarist in The Four Horseman. Shaved Neck. Carved top, done by hand by a craftsman found on a drive-by!
 

Norton

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Jun 18, 2019
Messages
142
Watched it yesterday. Great video, absolutely loved seeing all the juniors. I recognized quite a few guitars I've seen him use live.
 

WP Blues

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Aug 16, 2017
Messages
15
I saw these guys for the first time on November 15th in Indiana. Great fun. I saw so many great guitars that night, it was like they had a used/vintage guitar store backstage. Musically they don't break a lot of new ground, but for me that is definitely NOT a problem.
 

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jb_abides

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 6, 2005
Messages
5,448
I saw these guys for the first time on November 15th in Indiana. Great fun. I saw so many great guitars that night, it was like they had a used/vintage guitar store backstage. Musically they don't break a lot of new ground, but for me that is definitely NOT a problem.

And for the ground they do inhabit, they certainly stomp the terra!
 

Supronaut

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Jun 29, 2016
Messages
46
Love love Charlie. Just a good humble man with a pretty impressive but ultimately pragmatic collection. Waiting for them to do an episode on Marcus King.
 

wmachine

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Joined
Mar 17, 2016
Messages
304
Love watching anything about Charlie and his guitars. He is a true guitar lover. He is constantly learning. Note that he can't always give a reason for some characteristics he observes, but he doesn't try to bs his way through anything either. Pleasingly humble. Though not mentioned here, Charlie has said there definitely is a connection between how an electric sounds unplugged and how good it is, period. I know that is a subject of debate, and I am a firm believer in that myself from my own experiences. To me, that not only makes sense, but there are others that are quite knowledgeable and experienced like Charlie that believe that too. So though I can't necessarily trust my experience as being the truth, I certainly do trust Charlie's!
Now, for Mark Agnesi, he may be very knowledgeable, he can be a bit hard to watch. He is way too patronizing extreme in his reactions to every guitar, like every guitar is a holy grail.. Lighten up, Mark.
 

bursty

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Joined
Dec 25, 2012
Messages
564
first time I saw Blackberry Smoke was likely 10 to 15 years ago here in the Twin Cities at The Varsity Theater.
It was a fantastic show and Charlie was changing out guitars nearly every tune; it was kinda like a seeing a guitar show at someone's gig :cool:
Have been a fan ever since that first show, have seen these guys a few times since and enjoy every show :D



Glad I missed this one though :oops: ........ :ROFLMAO:

 

Norton

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Jun 18, 2019
Messages
142
I've seen them over a dozen times and they've always put on a great show. Seeing them again later this month. Usually Paul Jackson and Benji Shenks bring out some great guitars as well.
 

E.M.

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Aug 6, 2016
Messages
141
Cool collection. Anyone know why he plays with his guitar so low down by his knees? When I started playing this was the style (think Page, Slash), but impractical for most players unless you’re tiny with gorilla length arms.
 

NickiC

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Jun 30, 2022
Messages
123
He did some sessions on the 2GTHR podcast. But all his past episodes have been taken down. Those were fun to watch, lots of playing!
 

Bruce R

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Mar 2, 2007
Messages
1,035
Regarding the video with Billy G above, if that was Charlie's Les Paul there is no way Billy could've played it well. Billy uses .008 gauge strings.
 
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