|11-16-2008, 09:21 PM||#1 (permalink)|
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Encinitas, CA
Thanked 2 Times in 1 Post
What was Michael Bloomfield's Les Paul rig?
Anyone? I love the sound of a Les Paul played clean with a bit of power amp distortion. He's had some great sounds.
|09-02-2011, 09:00 AM||#4 (permalink)|
Join Date: Apr 2010
Thanked 64 Times in 5 Posts
Re: What was Michael Bloomfield's Les Paul rig?
"In 1964, two things happened that got Michael Bloomfield playing an electric instrument once more.
At Big John's, Bloomfield played the Duosonic through a white Fender Bassman head and cabinet combination, or through an Epiphone Futura amp with four 10" speakers. In the studio, recording his first demo for Hammond, Michael used a much smaller Ampeg Guitaramp, an obscure piece of equipment that he also probably found at Uncle Max's.
In the early months of 1965, he purchased a new 1964 Fender Telecaster, probably from a retailer in Chicago. It would be the first of three Telecasters that Bloomfield is known to have owned. He bought just the guitar – he couldn't afford a case.
It was the caseless Telecaster that he took to New York along with the Guitaramp for his second demo session for Hammond Sr. He also used that rig when jamming with Hammond Jr. at the Cafe Au Go-Go.
Producer Paul Rothchild had his new star, blues player Paul Butterfield, use Michael to play some slide on sessions the Butterfield Band was doing for Elektra. Bloomfield may have used the Telecaster on these winter 1964-65 dates, or – having not acquired the Fender yet – he might have used a studio Hagstrom
In Columbia's New York studios in June and then again in July, Michael played his Telecaster through an Ampeg Gemini I, a studio amp, while he, Dylan, Al Kooper and a number of studio musicians laid down tracks. He also may have recorded one or two tunes using Dylan's black Fender Stratocaster.
Paul Butterfield's manager, Albert Grossman, arranged for the band to appear at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival, and Butterfield asked Bloomfield to come along as his lead guitarist. Michael used his Telecaster and played through his Epiphone Futura amp at the festival. He also brought along a 1963 Guild Thunderbird amp, a model that was briefly offered by Guild. This would be the amplifier that Bloomfield would use for much of the first Butterfield Blues Band record.
On the final night of the festival, Bloomfield joined Dylan onstage for a recreation of their Columbia studio session from a month earlier. His Telecaster/Epiphone combination dominated the performance and all but drowned out Dylan's words, drawing the ire of the Newport folk establishment. Despite the controversy, though, musical history had been made that evening, due in no small part to Michael's pyrotechnic playing.
After Newport, Michael and Paul agreed that he would join the Butterfield Band as its lead guitarist. Bloomfield probably continued to use the Epiphone for the first few months with the band, and may have even briefly used a Vox Super Beatle, but soon he and the rest of the group were outfitted with brand new Fender amplifiers. Michael had both a Twin Reverb and a Super Reverb – and he frequently daisy-chained them together for live performances.
He continued to use his Telecaster, but at some point in the fall of 1965 Bloomfield also acquired a 1956 Gibson Les Paul Goldtop. Guitarists Freddy King, Chuck Berry, Johnny Littlejohn, John Lee Hooker and Michael's mentor, Muddy Waters, all had Goldtops, and Michael must have been very pleased to get one. According to some, it came from Howlin' Wolf's guitarist, Hubert Sumlin. But in an interview with Steve Rosen, Michael himself said that he traded his Telecaster to guitarist John Nuese for the Goldtop when the Butterfield Band was in Boston (Nuese was soon to form the International Submarine Band with Gram Parsons and later would be a member of the Flying Burrito Brothers). Photographic evidence reveals that Michael was still using a Telecaster after acquiring the Gibson, and this was a second Tele – a 1966 model – that he must have picked up around the time the band got its Fender amps.
Guitarist Nick Nicolaisen confirms that Michael got the Les Paul from Nuese in the winter of 1965.
Bloomfield used the Goldtop as his primary instrument but kept the new Telecaster handy during gigs, probably for slide work. These were his guitars throughout his tenure with Butterfield. It was the Goldtop paired with a Gibson Falcon amplifier that Michael used to record the landmark Butterfield album "East-West."
At the end of February 1967, Bloomfield left the Butterfield Band and, after a month of freelancing around New York, set to work forming his own band. By late April, he had created the Electric Flag and was soon in Los Angeles recording music for the soundtrack to "The Trip." Since his Goldtop may have been unplayable because it was in such poor condition, Michael used another guitar to record a good portion of the soundtrack. Surprisingly, it was a hollow-body Gibson Byrdland, a guitar Michael had probably seen Wes Montgomery use in performance that spring in Chicago. The Byrdland was a top-of-the-line Gibson, and was likely a borrowed instrument.
In the spring of 1967, just as he was organizing the Flag, Bloomfield acquired a guitar he'd been looking for since the Butterfield Band's trip to England the previous year.
Bloomfield continued to play the Sunburst throughout the next seven years, using it to record the Flag's first release, "A Long Time Comin'," his jam album with Al Kooper called "Super Session," and many other recordings. In his 1971 interview with Michael Brooks he also said he had a Gibson SG, though there is no photographic evidence of this. His amplifier of choice during this period was most often a Fender Twin Reverb or Super Reverb, sometimes both. Occasionally he would use his old Fender Bassman from his early days in Chicago, and for large gigs – up until 1971 – Michael would plug into a heavy-duty Acoustic amp.
In 1972, Bloomfield began occasionally using the Telecaster onstage again. It would eventually become known as the "Blue Telecaster" after the daughter of a friend painted it for him during a visit to Chicago in June 1973."