Yes, the weird, whacky and wonderfully flashy world of the Dean Guitar glitterati. Championed by metal-masters the world over. Wouldn’t you just love to get your hot little hands on one of these crackers, just to try out? If this is you, then form an orderly queue down at Polyrhythm. Bodmin’s innovative music library and jam central.
I was fortunate enough to have such an opportunity when attending an open mic jam session there one rainy Saturday. After a quick registration at the desk, I checked out that afternoon with my prize, a genuine Dean ML Explorer. Could it really be this easy? All I was asked in return was a written review and a few pics. Bring it on.
Back at home and dizzy with excitement, I wasted no time Strapping up and plugging into my stack. What followed after some minor adjustments yielded a surprisingly mellow full bodied tone instead of high octane thrash, although the latter was readily achieved with a quick tinker on my pedal board. The guitar despite its ace outlandish shape was really comfortable to play, and the Floyd Rose Special locking-trem was pitch perfect despite enthusiastic dive-bombing. In fact this guitar responded well no matter what style I played. Incredibly versatile, and responding effortlessly whether giving it stick, or gentle rhythm picking. The solid mahogany body with its flame maple top resonated perfectly, delivering rich full sustain, and my fingers flitted effortlessly across the ebony fret board. This guitar has class, and sounds as good as it looks.
It was going to be difficult to contain myself at band practice later that afternoon, what would the others make of this metal-monster? We are a covers band, not death-metal. Then again, we include numbers by Iron Maiden, Bad Co and ZZ Top in our set, some extra pep would be good, just as long as I didn’t go too ballistic with this crutch-rocket.
At band HQ, the Dean’s eye catching shape got plenty of attention, and by the end of our session my band members were fully on board. Our drummer, Frank, told me afterwards that he had been sceptical at first, but was won over after just a few numbers. Even when I gave it some proper punishment during solos, it sang as sweet as a bird and fully justified its price-tag, for cheap they are not.
The only slight detriment is the guitar’s nearly four foot length, and the wide split-vee headstock did get caught on my mic stand once or twice. One does need a fair bit of space wielding this pitchfork, and I’ve knocked over a fair few cups of tea and glasses of vino. So give it plenty of swing room and don’t light any candles okay?
Yet this is mere nit-picking. This axe is a sure winner, and gigging with it has given me a massive boost in both confidence and stage presence.
Colin J Stuckey. Stone River Band.
Being a rather creative bunch of people, we often feel the need to step out of the box, do away with restrictions and just have a bit of fun and a few weeks ago we done exactly that.
In this case, the box we stepped out of was our shop. The sun was shining on a beautiful Saturday and the Park was calling us. We needed to be outside and we took our tribe of troubadours down through the town to a place where we hope will eventually become an outdoor Amphitheatre. We have spoken of this before; we were key players in the initial plans and we wanted to visualise what it would be like if we were able to play there. Being doers as much as thinkers, we put our thoughts into plans, loaded the PA bike and grabbed a load of instruments and Trombone led our way down through the town.
This was not just an opportunity for us to have some fun, to enable people to join in but also for us to share a little cheer on the way with Kelvin at The Pad and who runs Equable Abled, a community group that supports people with SEN and Disabilities. We called him out through song and spread a little happy towards him.
Once over the park, we found the spot, sorted the Solar Powered PA system, plugged in and played. We brought extra instruments as so others could join and although it was impromptu, people did actually stop and watch, sing along and some went off to grab a guitar or two and play along with us. We had 3 hours there in the sun, we had fun, and we could visualise what could be here in this place. We came away with plans to do a few more sessions, promote it more and get a few more orgs to join in, those who we know would use it, who, like us are in need of an accessible and space to perform, to entertain and to bring our community together.
Its day like these that I fall in love again with the place I grew up in. When the sun shines, when people come together, when laughter rings out and the pressures of life fall away. Life can be hard at times but days like this help you to get through. I feel that there will be a few dark days ahead for many so maybe this kind of thing will help as I know it helps us. Is an amphitheatre the answer? Who knows but we are going to find out.
On the border between England and Wales, in the quaint town of Hay on Wye, each year they hold a unique festival – How The Light Gets In.
"There is a crack in everything...that's how the light gets in", goes the Leonard Cohen song from which the festival gets its name. And How The Light Gets In brings its own special form of magic to everyone. There is no other place on the planet where you can party and dance late into the night, fill your days with the world's leading thinkers, and discover the most cutting-edge ideas.
The festival is billed at the world's largest Philosophy and Music Festival and we took PolyRhythm and the team to entertain there for the weekend with the magic we bring and our junk instruments for all and any to try.
How The Light Gets In is not just another festival. There's something special in the air. It's alive with ideas and conversations. How The Light Gets In is not just another festival. There's something special in the air. It's an amazing place of wonder and creating a space where everyone's imagination can flourish and PolyRhythm was quite at home there as we enticed people in to pick up and play, to join in a jam or just to while away time and listen to others.
We spent 4 days there with our team, 4 great days where we discovered developed and delivered. I`m not quite sure who got most out of this event, the participants or us and i think it was us and especially the youth with us. It gave chance for people of all ages to play together and for 8 hours a day, they played and then played some more. We had performers who took stage the night before, headlining the festival, come to join in with us the next day and as they said, for the vibe we gave off, it`s something they wanted to be part of, it was friendly fun and free. For us, it was organic. We generally turn up, set up and wait for people to pick up. Once the music starts off, it generally doesn’t stop for the weekend and so often far beyond through future offers of collaboration, followers on Facebook and visits to where we are next or to our base back in Cornwall.
We really didn’t quite know what to expect at this festival, we had read about it, researched it and had a minds vision of it but until we are there, until the people join in, it's just a vision of our imagination. What we realised there was quite different, there were more adult participants than children and the adults wanted to play just as much and this was great to see as so often, they are more reserved and its children to dive straight in but to see the joy it delivered to an older audience was magic. The smiles we helped create and the memories made simply through music, a bit of funk or soul on rainy Sunday morning or the soundbites from Saturday, each day was magic. It really is something we want to return to as although we were there to work, the work was more pleasure with friendships made and the inspiration gained through a few beats of a song.
For us, its our second year of festivals with PolyRhythm and it helped open up our eyes and thoughts to what could be. We want to go back but we also want much much more. The experience it gave our young people with us and the ideas that stemmed from that need to be explored more. The Solar power units that provided power to our amps and some of the junk instruments have so much more potential and again, should go bigger and should be explored more.
Conversations came easy at How The Lights Get In and i think it may be because they have open minds and can understand the changes we want to see as they also want those changes. They understand the way we work and the overall idea of a share library of musical instruments; the likes they have never seen before and realise they want one in their town because they are simply magic.
My favourite quote of the weekend was from a new friend called John who stated that the last time he was in Cornwall he was there for the eclipse and spent a long weekend with Jimmy Pursey and a few bottles of Cidre. I knew from that point, I was in the right place with the right people.
We hope we are back there next year as we really did enjoy it. Philosophy and Music may not be everyone's cup of tea buts its ours and we loved it and we thank you for letting us be there for the weekend.
John – Team PolyRhyhtm