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Henry Vestine's (of Canned Heat fame) conversion

agogetr

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Jan 22, 2019
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451
i met a guy that said he used to roadie for canned heat. he had a 55 goldtop with humbuckers installed. (this was in the early nineties)said it was better than his bursts he sold. i have a pic i,m going to look for it.
 

Redhod

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May 2, 2002
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501
I saw Canned Heat a bunch of times in Henry's era but I don't remember the guitar. My suspicious memory recalls a Firebird. I sure remember Al Wilson's goldtop LP and when I talked to him backstage he was just the sweetest guy. What I recall from Vestine's performance was his thick fuzztone attack. It was the early days of pedals and his gnarly sound really stood out.

This thread got me curious about him so I went to his Wikipedia entry. Jeez. What a life!
Henry Vestine's wild life

I had no idea, for instance, that he jumped from Canned Heat to recording with Albert Ayler. (!)
There are some real wooly outtakes on Youtube, and there's this from Ayler's album, Music is the Healing Force. Vestine offers a rhythm backing until the 5-minute mark where he breaks out in a funky solo. I just had no idea he'd done this. Well, 1969 was an explosive year for musical changes.
Albert Ayler and Henry Vestine "Drudgery"
 

TM1

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Jun 27, 2003
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8,178
Do you recall what Fuzz Henry used or was it built into the amp? Was it the TNT amps you worked on ?
I really couldn't tell you. I would see their gear when it came into the shop @ West LA Music when their guy Kevin would drop it off. I can ask Kevin as we got re-aquainted a about 3 years ago. Kevin now works for Robin(Trower's) manager Derek Sutton and I work on the amps that Robin has here. He keeps another set in England for touring that market. Way too expensive to ship gear back and forth these days.
 

c_wester

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May 9, 2002
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2,047
I really couldn't tell you. I would see their gear when it came into the shop @ West LA Music when their guy Kevin would drop it off. I can ask Kevin as we got re-aquainted a about 3 years ago. Kevin now works for Robin(Trower's) manager Derek Sutton and I work on the amps that Robin has here. He keeps another set in England for touring that market. Way too expensive to ship gear back and forth these days.
Please do that! Also, you should tell more stories as I always enjoy them.
 

TM1

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Jun 27, 2003
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Do you recall what Fuzz Henry used or was it built into the amp? Was it the TNT amps you worked on ?
O.K., I just talked to my friend Kevin Smith who worked for Canned Heat back in the days.. Kevin said that Henry's TNT Amps were special built and had an Overdrive/fuzz circuit built-in the amp. Henry's amp was like the loudest and nastiest amp that was made. He said over "5" they distorted like crazy! So, no fuzzbox! I thought so as I remember those amps were pretty nasty as they were.
 

DOTMKR

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Oct 12, 2015
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I think the binding makes the horn look pointed because it is not original and is thick and wide.
 

seafood

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Jun 11, 2003
Messages
153
great thread!! i saw canned heat at cal state long beach...in the gym...open for the Doors...two shows that night.... i was 15 years old! i went to both.december 1 ,,,1967. both bands were were in great form in those days.that was it,,,, i was a fan from then on. i saw them everytime they played,,,,up and down the coast. i have to say the amount of just shear joy,,,from Henry's guitar playing was outstanding.and no recording really captured the the great live act,,,that they were.the les paul in question,,,was a 50s goltop refinished in a horrible 3 tone burst,,,originally with p90s,,in black covers,,,and later replaced with humbuckers! they always played loud.Alan had the goldtop ,that he was famous for,all through these days...and always sounded great.they opened for buffalo springfield at the long beach area,,,,in may 1968...and just tore it up.henry and bass player larry taylor never got along,,,,henry was high.when they played the shrine auditorium,,,for new years eve...the bear came in with a diaper on...riding in on an elephant!!!!!!!!no henry,!!!!!!!!!,,,session man Gerry mcghee,,,of the monkees and ventures fame,,,filled in playing that les paul,,,through the TNT amps....and it was a great show. i don't remember Henry ever using a fuzz,,,,even though,,,he always had a ton of distortion!.......the TNT amps were 100 watt Marshall clones ...made in venice beach by a guy named Frank Cooley.....but many times live they used Fender amps.lots of great days,,,back then.
 

TM1

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Jun 27, 2003
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8,178
Yesterday was the 40th anniversary of Bob “The Bear” Hite’s passing. It says he died in Venice, but he was living in Box Canyon at that time. My friend Kevin was there and gave me the whole time line of events.. They were a great band. I only wonder where they could have gotten if the drugs hadn’t sunk into their world.
BTW, Henry’s amp was referred to as ”The Monster” by the roadies... My friend Kevin says it was the loudest amp he’s ever heard..
 

seafood

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Jun 11, 2003
Messages
153
Henry''the sunflower'' vestine was a real easy going guy. i got to play the black custom that he is often pictured with.it was a 50s custom ...2 pickup,,,,model...because of the era they played in,,,there's speculation that it was a 1968 custom,,,first reissue. it was not. and it was owned by the band.that is why you see pictures of the young Henry with it and then years later ,,,he's playing it again.i wish they were all still around doing the endless boogie!!!!!!!
 

c_wester

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May 9, 2002
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2,047
Henry''the sunflower'' vestine was a real easy going guy. i got to play the black custom that he is often pictured with.it was a 50s custom ...2 pickup,,,,model...because of the era they played in,,,there's speculation that it was a 1968 custom,,,first reissue. it was not. and it was owned by the band.that is why you see pictures of the young Henry with it and then years later ,,,he's playing it again.i wish they were all still around doing the endless boogie!!!!!!!
I did a fair amount of research and I am pretty sure Henrys ( now owned by his son Jesse) Black Beauty is a early 1968. I mean stalker warning research..... I love his broken blues style not unlike Buddy Guy or Jimmy Pages. I suppose they are accessing polyrythms when it works.
 

c_wester

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May 9, 2002
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2,047
1958 two pickup les paul custom!:)
Yes, I think you are totally correct! Still searching for his sound... might have found it with a 100watt Traynor from 1975 (untouched) and a Death By Audio Apocalypse.
I have tried everything.... Sola Sound Tonebender Mk1 and MK2 and a lot of other early fuzzes. Well, the search continues.
 

seafood

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Jun 11, 2003
Messages
153
He always had that ''out of control''..sound......that i really loved!!!!! especially on the long boogies ...where everyone got a solo spot.
 
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