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Old 02-17-2011, 11:45 PM   #1
voxhumana
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History of seven-string solidbodies

Dear all

I'm not a seven-string player. I am however a senior editor at Wikipedia, (see User:Manning Bartlett - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia).

We've been having a problem there with an individual who is presenting a very specific account of the history of seven-string guitars. I am polling the members of this community to see if there is any general support for this person's account of events.

The person is named Alex Gregory, and he (or an ardent fan/associate) has been constantly revising any page that mentions a seven-string guitar with the claim that he is the "inventor" of this instrument. Occasionally this claim is qualified as only referring to solidbody versions.

I have thus far been able to independently verify that Mr Gregory did have an agreement with Fender in 1987 to produce a prototype solidbody seven string. (See The Fender Stratocaster - Google Books) Two or three prototypes were made, but the guitar never went into production.

It is also a fact that Mr Gregory has been issued a number of patents for seven string guitar design, and as a result he claims this proves he "invented" the concept. However my own review of the patents indicates that they have been issued for specific design parameters of the instruments, and not for the seven-string concept in general.

What I have not been able to find is
(a) an independent resource (eg.reputable magazine/journal) that substantiates Mr Gregory's claims or
(b) evidence of a solidbody seven-string that predates 1987 which would invalidate his claiim.

If anyone can assist me in providing (or pointing me in the direction of) evidence of either case, I would be grateful.

For general interest, we have thus far been able to refute several other of Alex Gregory's claims.
1 - His website and his artist profile at Fender indicates he studied classical composition at the University of Milan. However this university does not have (and has never had) a music faculty.

2 - He claims to have been granted the title "Maestro" by either Queen Elizabeth II or by the British Government. This is patently false. "Maestro" is not an official title and no such title has ever been awarded by any British institution. Our investigation has established only that Alex Gregory applied for and received permission to have the title Maestro added to his passport. It is also possible (but unproven) that he may have legally changed his name to this effect. This is not of any particular significance however. Any British citizen is free to also do this, as the title "maestro" is an unofficial and hence unprotected title (in contrast to formally protected titles such as 'Doctor', 'Professor', 'Justice', etc).

Again, thanks in advance for any assistance people may be able to provide.

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Old 02-18-2011, 12:05 AM   #2
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GEORGE VAN EPS

George Van Eps - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

"Thank YOU, Jim Day!"
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Old 02-18-2011, 12:08 AM   #3
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Sorry I should have mentioned that. We're well aware that George Van Eps commissioned Epiphone to build a seven-string archtop electric guitar in 1938, which refutes the statement that Gregory "invented" the seven-string electric.

My question above specifically relates to solidbody seven-strings.
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Old 02-18-2011, 12:10 AM   #4
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Well it is known that Steve Vai used a prototype Ibanez Universe 7 string on the Whitesnake album "Slip of the Tongue", which was released in 1989. I will try to find more info on when he had the guitar built.
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Old 02-18-2011, 12:24 AM   #5
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I thought it was Steve Vai, but then I heard about this person named Lenny Breau had invented it first. I may be wrong.
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Old 02-18-2011, 12:30 AM   #6
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Builder Profile: Kirk Sand Guitars - Premier Guitar

Kirk Sand Guitars invented the solid body 7 string electric guitar in 1982 or 1983 for Lenny Breau. The guitar had a 22.75 inch scale and a solid mahogany body.
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Old 02-18-2011, 12:31 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nazca View Post
I thought it was Steve Vai, but then I heard about this person named Lenny Breau had invented it first. I may be wrong.
Bingo - that name was all I needed. I googled his name and immediately found this: "Lenny Breau Remembered" By Jim Ferguson

This is from a reliable source (which Wikipedia requires) and although the article doesn't give an exact year, it can be deduced from the text that the instrument was built somewhere between 1979 and 1984.

Hugely appreciated.
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Old 02-18-2011, 12:32 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by envenomedcky View Post
Builder Profile: Kirk Sand Guitars - Premier Guitar

Kirk Sand Guitars invented the solid body 7 string electric guitar in 1982 or 1983 for Lenny Breau. The guitar had a 22.75 inch scale and a solid mahogany body.
I hadn't seen this when I posted my previous comment, but a huge thank you as well. That's pretty conclusive evidence.
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Old 02-18-2011, 12:58 AM   #9
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I've now revised the Wikipedia article, thank you for your invaluable assistance.
Seven-string guitar - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Old 02-18-2011, 01:16 AM   #10
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I can't contribute anything useful to the history, but it is great to see someone from Wikipedia (by far one of the best things on the Internet) coming here for information. You've probably come to the right place. Thank you and the rest of Wikipedia for providing us with the greatest way to kill 4 or 5 hours by endlessly clicking through links to different articles!
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Old 02-18-2011, 01:33 AM   #11
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Gee let me think this through. An article on seven-string guitars. A forum called "sevenstring.org".

Yes I know, it's amazing how brilliantly I put these things together. It's a gift really.

<grin>

(In all seriousness, I came here fully expecting that this community would be able to sort the matter out. Even so, I was still amazed at the speed at which it happened).
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Old 02-18-2011, 02:50 AM   #12
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Hey that's awesome. I love wikipedia. Very glad you guys are keeping the facts straight!
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Old 02-18-2011, 03:29 AM   #13
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Cool thread!
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Old 02-18-2011, 11:37 AM   #14
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Awesome

Got questions about anything I've said, done or do? How about pickups, tech, music production or just anything! Check here and ask away!

My project on Facebook: Rook

Click banner below to download my first E.P. for free or pay what you want:
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Old 02-18-2011, 12:09 PM   #15
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Awesome stuff always amazes me how influential this forum is sometimes...

Make sure to comeback anytime there is a question about the various fields discussed here OP

"I won't be satisfied until somebody can whammy a whole piano." Pink Freud

".... that, I'd rather eat 20 pounds of steak and then prove how jacked I am by having angry sex with their mothers whilst curling 200 pounds and drinking ale." maliciousteve
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Old 02-18-2011, 12:26 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by voxhumana View Post
Bingo - that name was all I needed. I googled his name and immediately found this: "Lenny Breau Remembered" By Jim Ferguson

This is from a reliable source (which Wikipedia requires) and although the article doesn't give an exact year, it can be deduced from the text that the instrument was built somewhere between 1979 and 1984.

Hugely appreciated.
Hey, no worries . Always like to be involved.
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Old 02-18-2011, 12:29 PM   #17
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Here is the video of that guitar!

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Old 02-18-2011, 08:00 PM   #18
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Thumbs up

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Munk View Post
Cool thread!
Agreed. It's like a movie where a private investigator seeks the experts' opinion

DISPLAY Thy Breasts, my Julia!
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Old 02-18-2011, 10:53 PM   #19
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Agreed. It's like a movie where a private investigator seeks the experts' opinion
And instead he came to us.
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Old 02-18-2011, 10:59 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nazca View Post
I thought it was Steve Vai, but then I heard about this person named Lenny Breau had invented it first. I may be wrong.
I remember hearing Vai talking about the creation of the Universe () and he mentioned that someone at Ibanez had an 8 string way back then.
Of topic, but pretty cool nonetheless (if its true)
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Old 02-18-2011, 11:00 PM   #21
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The "maestro" is the biggest douche ever, just ban his IP.
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Old 02-18-2011, 11:17 PM   #22
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What a great thread. Stuff like this is why I love the intarwebs.
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Old 02-19-2011, 12:56 AM   #23
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Just read the Wiki article...

Feels like better than the last one...

"You've heard djent, this is thrunnnggg and thrennnggg" - ixlramp on Blut Aus Nord's 777 sects album

God bless you all!! Cheers
- Kr1zalid -
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Old 02-19-2011, 11:51 AM   #24
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In the interests of total accuracy it's worthwhile mentioning that Uli Jon Roth uses a 7-string solidbody and has done since the mid 80's - it's extremely difficult to actually attach a precise chronology to his Sky Guitars (and indeed, I haven't seen an exact date to my knowledge) but he has noted in interviews that Steve Vai played a seven-string variant Sky Guitar prior to the release of the Ibanez Universe - it's uncertain if he felt that Steve was influenced by him but whilst far from a major artist his involvement seems to be worth mentioning

While raping a bear in Yellowstone and snorting coke out of a freshly-dead baby's skull, I finally felt that I had found my calling and built a time machine out of Iraqi WMDs and LOTS OF HEMP WHOA. Using this time machine I went back in time and shot JFK from outer ....ing space. I am now your god - Jeff
.....and then all of a sudden he drops the musical equivilant of a steaming turd right in our laps - ESP Griffyn
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Old 02-19-2011, 12:04 PM   #25
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I'm not absolutely certain but I think I saw Vai play that guitar once with Zappa .
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