Monday, February 21, 2011

Brian Jones Mark III Teardrop Guitar

Brian Jones was one of the founder of the Rolling Stones and the driving force behind much of the original Stones music.

 The story goes that Jones placed an advertisement in a Soho club information paper called the Jazz News saying that he was inviting musicians to audition for a new R&B group. Mick Jagger showed up and brought his friend, guitar player Keith Richards along. Later on bass player Bill Wyman was invited and finally Charley Watts made the scene.

The Stones music was strongly influenced by American blues-men such as Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf and Elmore James. However as time went on Brian changed the format with such songs as Good-bye Ruby Tuesday, Paint It Black, Dandelion and Lady Jane.

Due to his drug excesses, elusive behavior and the fact that the Stone's manager wanted Jagger to be the focus of the band, Jones was eventually asked to leave the band. He died in 1969 at the age of 27 years old.

Playing Framus & Harmony guitars
One did not have to be a guitar fanatic to know that the Rolling Stones started their career playing inexpensive instruments. Bill Wyman was fond of his Framus bass. Keith Richards played a Harmony Meteor and Jones first appeared with a Harmony Stratotone.

 Some of these were the same instruments we could first afford. We saw these instruments on the Stones first appearance in the United States on the Ed Sullivan Show.

Most all of the British groups of this era, 1963 through 1969, relied on Vox amplifiers, particularly the AC30 model. These were readily available in the U.K., where as amplifiers imported from the United States, carried an expensive duty tax.

 Tom Jennings, the man behind Vox, wanted to build a guitar line that would compete with American made instruments. He turned to a British furniture builder for assistance and later set up an agreement with several Italian accordion and guitar manufacturers.

Jennings company, JMI, came two guitars with unique shapes; The Mk Series, commonly called The Teardrop and The Phantom. Both were based on Fender instruments.

Vox approached Jones with a white two pickup Mk model and asked him to promote it. Brian's guitar was built in the Dartmouth British factory and it's shape is slightly different than the guitars made in Italy by Eko Industries. Jones' instrument is elongated when compared with subsequent models.

It's two pickup layout and switch plate seem to slightly mirror Fender's Telecaster.

 The six-on-a-side headstock has a slight Fender appearance as well. The Vox name appears parallel to the bottom of the headstock. The six pole-piece pickups with white covers could be mistaken for Fender pickups if not for the rectangular shape and metal bases.

 The bridge and saddle were quite similar to a Fender hard tail Stratocaster tail-piece. Later models incorporated a Bigsby vibrato tail-piece and a more Gibson style bridge.

The guitars back side came with a round protective, snap-on pad, similar to the ones found on some Gretsch guitars.

Brian Jones' guitar was sold at an auction a Southeby's for $3200 in 1984 by the Hard Rock Cafe.

 It was placed in the New York City Hard Rock for many years and it now reside safely in the Cafe's London Vault.

During the years Eko built the Vox Mk Series they produced not just the the Mark III, but the Mark VI (two pickups with a Bigsby), Mark IX (9 strings) and Mark XII (twelve strings).




3 comments:

MSDos5 said...

Keith Richards switched from rythm to lead. I don't care for Mick Taylor much Myself, Ron Wood's playing fits well.

Marc said...

Keith has his own style and sometimes sets his guitar up with only 5 strings. Despite Brian Jones' contributions, the Stones would not have the style they are known for if Jones was still a member.

Some of Brian's songs include Lady Jane, Ruby Tuesday and Dandelion. These are all nice, but in my opinion, not the Stones best material.
~Marc

Anonymous said...

Marc you know nothing about the stones to make such a comment- if it were not for FOUNDING MEMBER BRIAN JONES, there wouldnt even be the rolling stones!