Randy Rhoads is another on the list of the most influential rock guitars that ever lived. And yet he is another guitarist that, tragically, left us when he was way too young.
|Randy and his Mom's school|
Randy began taking classical guitar lessons there at age 7.
He soon became interested in the electric guitar and took lessons from his mother's friend, Scott Shelly, right up to the point where Scott told her that he could no longer teach Randy since Randy had become a much better player than he would ever hope to be.
|Kelle & Kelly Garni & Rhoads|
They spent their summers playing at high school parties and local shows doing covers of songs by Mountain, Alice Cooper, the Rolling Stones and David Bowie songs.
Rhoads and Garni had an "ah-hah" moment at an Alice Cooper show when the realized what could be done with their talent.
At the time Rhoads was playing a cream coloured 1972 Gibson Les Paul Custom that his band mates had purchased for his use. Rhoads was only 16 years old! This became the guitar that he used throughout his career.
When it was new it was white, but over time the paint oxidized and took on a cream patina. Rhoads made a few changes to the guitar by replacing the original brass switch-plate and adding Grover tuning machines.
|George Lynch & Karl Sandoval|
This was due to the fact that Danelectro necks were almost flat. The fretboard radius of a Danelectro was 14". This was at a time, when most Gibsons had a 12" radius and some Fenders had a 7.25 - 9" radius.
|Sandoval with unfinished V|
Since Rhoads wanted a Fender tremolo bridge with a sustain block, this guitar had to be thicker than most V shaped guitars.
|The first Concorde|
There was no question in Grover Jackson’s mind that this request was do-able. But at the time, Jackson was concerned about the look of the guitar and how his new company would be represented.
Jackson just spent a lot of money to acquire Charvel and he was not going to do anything to hurt the business.
So Grover Jackson called Rhoads and asked if he would mind putting a different name on this guitar.
The body was cut using the technology of the day, which consisted mostly of pin routers. Charvel at the time was building B.C. Rich guitars and applied the beveled edges to the Rhoads instrument.
Rhoads sent word to Grover Jackson that he would like to build a second guitar. His aim was for the new model to be narrower and slightly more radical. In the fall of 1981 Randy and Grover got together again. Grover was prepared with three neck-thru-body sections with headstock already cut. The wings were separate. As if they were working on a puzzle, the men moved the wings here and there; sanded off some wood, and drew on the wood until they got it right.
By the time the tour had reached the United States, Ozzy’s tour manager Sharon Arden (now Sharon Osbourne) had upped the ante by investing in full stage production. The rehearsals were being held at studios in Hollywood before the opening night in San Francisco. Jackson had the second Concorde guitar completed. This time the shorter, lower wing made the upper wing more pronounced.
Look carefully at the guitars back side. Rhoads covered it with black electrical tape. This was during the Diary of a Madman tour so when he walked out on stage in the darkness he would have the back facing the audience. That way the white guitar did not spoil the big "lights on" moment.
Randy was somewhat hesitant about fully embracing the new guitar. He would play it through portions of the show, then put it down and play a different guitar. He seemed to be warming up to it. We will never know if Randy Rhoads would have put away his other guitars and played this new model exclusively. For two months later he was killed in a plane crash.
andoval Engineering. He is still building guitars and teaching luthiery. He currently offers the 30th Anniversary Sandoval V; the guitar based on the original design he built for Randy Rhoads.
In 1996 he joined RIC Rickenbacker Guitars helping them to develop use of the CNC routers. About a year later he went on to work at some other firms including G&L, Tacoma and Sadowsky guitars. In 2010 he worked on that years models for B.C. Rich. The late Bernie Rico was one of his friends.
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