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Lindsay's Early Musical Equipment


In 1959 at fourteen years of age, I was provided the greatest gift ever by my parents, being a Maton solid body electric guitar. I am not sure of the model - don't recall it ever having been given one, but it was quite a nice instrument and saw its way through my early gigs which started when I was fifteen and I used that guitar to play early Shadows, Chuck Berry, Eddie Cochran (at that time my hero), Gene Vincent and Carl Perkins material. My first amplifier, also a gift from my parents who could ill-afford such expense, was a 15 watt (RMS) Goldentone. Boy when I think back, how good was it. I used to pick up the amp in one hand, the guitar in the other and I was ready to rock. That little fifteen watt amp filled a number of town halls back in those days, it really had some grunt. However, as the gigs got bigger, I decided I needed to increase my output as the small (probably 8" speaker) was struggling. So, after some discussion with Keith McPherson of Boronia Hi-Fi & Music, I accepted an offer from Keith to hand produce a very large speaker cabinet with 2 x Rola 12UEG speakers and Keith fitted up an output jack on the amp to enable the additional (or alternative perhaps) speakers. I mean this was class. The box was french polished solid teak. It weighed a ton and the UEG's, whilst perhaps being slightly lacking on the highs, certainly gave my little Goldentone some added grunt. How I wish I'd kept that beautiful speaker box 

Unfortunately though, it wasn't long before I began to feel rather jealous as guitarists in other groups bragged of their 60 watt amplifiers, so it wasn't long before I did a deal with Keith McPherson to purchase a 60 watt Goldentone amp, which was to last me for some years. From memory I think it used 12PEG speakers rather than the UEG's, which provided sharper highs. That amp filled Festival Hall at several of the Sunday afternoon charity rock concerts organised by Bruce Stewart of 3DB. Fortunately, by this time I had started work at the SEC in Ringwood, so was able to successfully arrange a hire purchase contract …… or did my parents ultimately offer me a loan? - can't remember, but I did pay it back quite quickly, courtesy of some town hall and other gigs which paid from memory about 3 pounds (quid) a night. We did have a regular gig (fortnightly or monthly, can't remember) at the Mitcham RSL, which served us well for instrument upgrades. 

With the growing popularity of Cliff Richard and The Shadows, “The Mustangs” added many of their hits to their own repertoire, In fact at one stage, we were playing more than 40 Shadows instrumentals. In order to achieve the sound of Hank Marvin, I decided that I needed an echo unit as Hank’s sound revolved very much around the use of a sophisticated multi-head tape echo unit. Once again Keith McPherson came to the rescue with the offer of a unit called a Watkins Copycat produced in England. I think I was informed that I owned the first of these to land into the country. I later bought a second for the vocals. As I was the only guitarist in the area with a tape echo unit, I proudly claimed to have the most authentic Shadows sound around. I used a German produced Klempt Echolette at one stage also in later years. 

 In 1963 I changed the guitar over for a Maton Fyrbird, which was appropriately named as it was a very attacking guitar with a fiery sound. The major problem however for me with those early Maton Guitar's was tuning. I found myself needing to re-tune regularly during the course of a gig, so I am guessing that there was a machine head issue with the early Matons as I believe that the necks were first class. 

Later in '63, as my band "The Mustangs" (previously “The Savages”) had become pretty much a Cliff and The Shadows cover band, rhythm guitarist Mike Beaver and I decided it was time that we started to sound exactly like Hank and the boys, so opted to upgrade to Fender Stratocasters. At the time, the guitars were not locally available, so we arranged for them to be imported through Keith McPherson. Yes we had 1963 Strats and later pretty much "gave them away" but that's another story (later). We were able to arrange hire purchase agreements to buy the guitars and were well supported by being offered the four night a week residency at the newly established Peppermint Lounge. The imported Strats cost us 199 pounds ($400), but just to put it into perspective, my first car, being a brand new Volkswagon cost 799 pounds (if only this PC had a pound sign - please tell me how to find one someone), yes so the guitar was around 25% of the cost of a lower priced car. 

There has been quite some interest of recent times in McPherson Amplifers and their origin. As detailed on earlier pages on this website, "The Mustangs" band was managed by Ron McPherson, Keith's son who worked with him in the family business. Ron was instrumental in arranging the residency at the Peppermint Lounge for the band. I had decided that I could not truly emulate the sound of Shadows guitarist Hank Marvin without a Fender amplifier, although of course Hank used a British Vox Amp and as Ron had been talking about maybe building an amplifier, I worked hard on convincing him to proceed with his plan and asked if he could copy the Fender circuitry. Ron responded that he did not believe that he could obtain the necessary components to copy the Fender, so he worked on using a circuit provided by an electronics hobbyist publication, which may have been "Electronics Australia" but I may be wrong here. 

Ron worked on the development of the amp along with one of the part time workers at Boronia Hi-Fi, who from memory was another Ron. They ultimately produced a rough prototype which Ron asked me to test for them. I said I felt it lacked a little bite and was possibly not as bright as the Fender, so I decided to stick with my Goldentone. However, in retrospect it may well have been better than I thought at the time and I must say that it did have a very clean sound. Ron went on to produce quite a few of the amplifiers (not sure of the exact quantity) and they were apparently quite popular with musicians at the time. 

Whilst on the subject of Ron and his developments, during our time at the Peppermint Lounge, the Kinks released their first hit single called "You Really Got Me". With the Mersey Beat and British invasion taking the world by storm, "The Mustangs" had changed their repertoire from 50's rock and Cliff and The Shadows to Beatles, Rolling Stones, Dave Clarke Five, The Hollies, The Animals, etc. We put together "You Really Got Me", but when it came to the solo I said "I can't do this without some distortion" as The Kinks were using overdrive probably in the form of the newly introduced "fuzz-box". I discussed the problem with Ron and asked how I could distort my amp without wrecking the speakers. Within a few days Ron had devised what may have been the first "fuzz-box" in Australia, but I stand to be corrected on that. It was a little circuit board that sat on top of the the amp and connected to the amp circuit by way of a 5-pin din socket which Ron had fitted to my Goldentone amp. The unit had a pre-amp valve and some other circuitry and I gather had some fair voltage running through it as I used to get a rather nasty kick out of it from time to time if I touched the wrong part of the circuit, but boy did it provide me with the "fuzz" that I was after. Yes Ron McPherson was, and still is a very clever (but private) man and I am proud to say was best man at my wedding to lead singer with "The Original Mustangs" Linda Cook, better known in the 60's as Lyn Baxter

The equipment detailed above remained with me until the early seventies when my band "Phase 4" was playing six nights a week at leading hotels such as The Burvale, The Manhattan, The Sentimental Boke, etc. In order to "fatten up" my sound to suit the music of that period I added a second guitar in the form of an Ibanez Les Paul copy, which was a lovely guitar with a very authentic Les Paul tone. From memory I think that the pick-up had been re-wired or changed. A little later, disgruntled with my '63 Strat (you fool), I sold it through a retail music shop that I owned back in those days for around $500 from memory and bought myself one of the guitars that I still use and love today, a '72 Fender Telecaster Custom, which has one standard Tele single coil pick-up plus one humbucker, with the great advantage of having the facility to mix between the two pickups, allowing a wide range of sounds to be achieved. It has been worked on during its life by Merv and Jim Cargill, Paul Gale and the late Stewart Male

I also purchased an early 70's Twin Reverb Amp, which was slightly used and had been modified with an ingenious device in the form of a pedal with six switches, each illuminated when in use and wired into the circuit via a 5-pin DIN socket on the amp chassis, which somehow controlled reverb, tremolo, push-pull volume control, bright control and overdrive. Don't know who devised it, but he sure was a genius. Being the fool that I am, in later years I pulled it apart for some reason and couldn't get it back together GRRRRRRR) ! 

These days I have the above, as well as a Vox amp, a Fender strat and an Epiphone semi-acoustic archtop

I hope that this page is of interest to those who visit and perhaps may bring back memories for guitar players of a similar vintage to myself. I would really welcome emails letting me know of the experiences of others and advising of any errors or omissions in my details. 

Finally, I would love to see fellow musicians from those early days at one of  “The Original Mustangs” gigs and please, should you make it along make yourself known. I would relish the opportunity of reminiscing about the good ol’ days with you. 

Check out the gigs page for details of where we're at. 



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