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Author Topic:  From The Stooges to the steel guitar - The Fretboard Journal
Ron Whitfield

Kaaawa, Hawaii, USA
Post  Posted 4 Jan 2009 10:20 am    
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In the current issue of TFJ (on the stands now w/Jim Hall on the cover) is an interesting feature on James Williamson*, the last guitarist from the waning day's of The Stooges (and the one responsible for historic guitar riffs such as Raw Power and Search And Destroy), whom is now putting his musical focus on Hawaiian guitar music (and is a frequent island visitor), of both slack key and steel. In the article he admits he's awful on the steel, but that's where we all were at one point, and some of us never venturing past that stage...
There is also a sub-article about the complete restoration of his Gibson Les Paul that sat dormant for decades after James' retirement from the biz.
He now uses a beautiful vintage Style A Wisenbourne spanish for slack key. I'd like to know what he uses for steel.

*We have a James Williamson as a contributing forum member, but I kinda doubt it's the same individual.
But James, please submit the facts. It would be quite incredible if we have (or could intice membership from) the once proto punker to contribute what has to be many incredible reflections from the past and present. I'll bet he at least checks us out here.
At any rate, I was happily stunned to read that one of my fave raves is now into steel/Hawaiian music.
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James Williamson

California & Hawaii
Post  Posted 4 Jan 2009 8:07 pm     Stooges Article in Fret Board Journal
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Hi Ron,

Thanks for the notice from the Fretboard Journal Article. Yes, indeed I'm the same James Williamson as you mention.

I've been working very hard to tame this demon instrument over the past year and with the patient help of Bill Leff (also a SGF member) from Santa Cruz I have made good progress. However, I still have a long, long way to go.

But, I'm having alot of fun with all of this. I'm truly in awe of the agregate, knowledge, experience and talent which is shared among the members of this forum and I have benefited to no end from my membership...not to mention the entertainment value of just reading some of these threads.

You asked about my lap steels...well it may seem odd for someone at such a novice level, but I currently have a pre-war Rickenbacher B6 (with a post war neck) which I love and a Vintage Weissenborn Kona (which is amazing)...I also have a $99 Wish-n-born. I just purchased Andre Nazzari's 8-string Sierra with a Rick Aiello MRI pickup and I'm hoping to receive a Tony Francis Square Neck Weissenborn (New Zealand) and a Bill Asher Electro Hawaiian this month sometime.

Anyway, odd as it may be, these instruments have inspired me and created a passion which is far beyound my abilities...but that never stopped me before.

My wife and I are spending more and more time on the Big Island and I am very interested in Hawaiian Music and its derivatives.

Thanks again for noticing my article.

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Ron Whitfield

Kaaawa, Hawaii, USA
Post  Posted 5 Jan 2009 11:20 am     Well blow me friggin' down!
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I'm almost too shocked with happiness to read your reply, James. Thank you, and I must add a very belated welcome aboard! I'll be immediately re-reading your past posts with a much different and attentive eye, as I never thot it possible that you had an interest in this stuff or would be an SGF member. What a pleasant surpise!

I won't bore you with questions of the past, but I'm definitely interested in your current progress and asperations within your new-found enjoyment of the multi-varied styles of Hawaiian music, which I've found awesome in my continuing 30+ years of discovery. Ain't it great?!
Your small but soon to be growing collection of Hawaiian style guitars shows you deffinitely have the bug, and good taste (no surprise there). We always say here, get the best guitar you can to start on, and it'd be hard to beat your initial arsenal.

I'll stop now, but will say that I'm glad you survived the great and crazy day's of your past and have now ventured into a new love of an almost secret music that I and many others know has so much value and validity.

Best of luck, JW. I hope to hear some of your steel and slack key playing posted here one day.
And..., now that you have the Les Paul back in shape... Very Happy Cool Devil
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Bill Leff

Santa Cruz, CA, USA
Post  Posted 5 Jan 2009 6:11 pm    
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James is an excellent student and an all-around great guy!
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Ron Whitfield

Kaaawa, Hawaii, USA
Post  Posted 5 Jan 2009 7:01 pm    
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Well Bill, now I think we know who you were being oblique about in a recent post!
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