Iain Cameron's Diary
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2004-02-26 - 1:30 p.m.

The meeting was a mile and a quarter south of Temple Balsall – the location in the Forest of Arden where the Knights Templars established a major centre – just on the watershed between the drainage of the Blythe and that of the Avon. It seemed to go OK and the lunch was great. This site had been an RAF aerodrome until around 1960 – and had flown Venoms – a small aircraft with a top speed of nearly 700 mph. After the presentation on vehicle dynamics I sloped off.

I dropped in at the local guitar store and tried a new variant Tele made in Korea. Two humbuckers and classic Tele controls, broadly similar body shape but a different overall aesthetic. I was using a rather good little Kustom valve amp with an overdrive button. The guitars are £440 which is not at all bad – not that I need another Korean guitar or another Tele. The reviews on Harmony Central – Custom Telecaster FMT – are very tempting. Should I trade my El Maya early 70s Les Paul style Japanese ? The trouble with that is that its so rare no one has ever heard of it. This is what one of the few reviews says about the El Maya:

“El Maya guitars are high quality Japanes made instruments. The models offered include Strats, Teles, Les Pauls and originals. The Maya Strats are extremely true to the Fender recipe. In fact, Most post '60s Fenders don't measure up to them. Same with Teles. When it comes to Les Pauls they offered both the bolt-on and set-ins.

These Pauls were quite a bit lighter than most '70s copies and sounded and played a whole lot better! Attention to details was great. The original El Maya body style is by far the most valuable gem this company had to offer and is my very favorite instrument ever! (Its true it does look unusual but elegant)

The company ceased to exist before making a commercial mark...

Unlike the copy models that were in features true to the originals, the El Diablo/Future Four/Masterclass as this model was called, was in entirety original. It has the NECK THRU BODY construction, carved top and the STRING THRU BODY bridge (Yes that’s right). The scale lenght is 25.5" like a Fender. The headstock is tilted and has three tuners on each side. The neck is a three peace, maple/rosewood/maple construction. The fingerboard is bound BRAZILIAN rosewood with brass dot inlays.

The hardware is gold with brass saddles and nut. The body is a triple cutaway Les Paul style.(Exactly) The third cut is at the end of the instrument behind the bridge.

The body is herringbone bound and has three strap buttons. The pickups are two humbuckers with a three way toggle switch and four knobs- Two volumes and two tones. The three way switch is located on the treble horn. The number of frets is 22 and they are JUMBO in size. The finishes were offered in natural, wine red transparent and black. (Mine is natural) There is also a bolt-on version of this beauty.

I've been a studio gun for hire for a long time and a performing "shred-dude" with various bands since dawn of man... I've had countless guitars throughout my playing life. Primarily, I am a luthier, mostly guitar builder and repairperson. When it comes down to ElMaya instruments, my favorite one is their original model because it represents everything I would expect a guitar to do and be! I'm a very, very critical and detail obsessed individual and my Mayas are in every way satisfactory.”

Mine is an EM-1100 – or that’s whats written on it – there s a picture a Strat type 1100 somewhere on the net – maybe mine’s a 1300 - I ‘d be a fool to get rid of a thirty year old rare Japanese classic that I got for £100 wouldn’t I. But those Teles are sweet – they also have a coil reversing trick that I didn’t spot – giving six basic sounds – just like the Blue Gibson I was very tempted by a year ago.

I have been listening to Stockhausen’s Zyklus – and looking at the but in his 1970 lectures where he talks about it. My guess is that this is a work where he was deliberately working with Cage’s ideas – but one which persuaded Cage that his earlier alliance with him was misplaced or based or a misunderstanding. As far as Cage is concerned one of the next important steps is the Aria which is more Italian rooted than German. Stock goes onto Kontakte which is also on this (rather good CD) – plus two of the Klavierstucke which strike me as pretty hot.

The following arrived from the LMY News Circle:

“Those with an interest in musical eclecticism of a dark, ambient, or 'experimental' nature may find suitable diversion & provocation by visiting the newly revised and upgraded Forms of Things Unknown website. New additions to the site include a News page, expanded & multilingual reviews section, new mp3 selections, and an in-depth interview with Forms of Things Unknown (discussing the legendary Faust sessions, the Boyd Rice connection, and the forthcoming duet with Melissa Etheridge!)

All this and more, at...


"May the great constellation of flickering ashes be heard..."

- Noel Scott Engel


Also – too late – yesterday a great event:

“This afternoon/ evening on Kenny G's show. 3 p.m. New York time/ 21.00 European

time. 91.1 in New York area, http://www.wfmu.org/ssaudionet.shtml everywhere




I have taken a Phil Niblock drone and converted to a Hancock thirteenth with the seventh in the root. Its not far off the LMY 12-16-17-18 chord – semi-metatonal.

Gilbert is on tonight in LA.

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