A list of some of the equipment
The descriptions are Michael's. The equipment is listed in order of date starting with guitars and followed by various instruments, then amps and last, miscellaneous 'stuff'.
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I love the guitar, it's history, mechanics and all things associated with it. I hope you find some useful information here.
Email me if you have
questions or corrections. -MF-

1949 Gibson BR-9 Lap Steel.

I purchased this from the original owner
at a guitar show in Independance, MO.
in 1997. According to him, it was purchased new around Christmas 1949.

It is completely original except for the tuning buttons. The gears themselves are fine but the plastic got old and disentegrated. A guitar tech friend of mine - Andy - found exact replacements and did the job.

This is actually my second BR-9. The first was stolen in 1981 and, unable to find another BR-9 quickly, I replaced it within days with the Fender Champion.

Usually tuned to E Minor 7th
LaBella, .015, .017, .024, .032, .042, .052


1954 Fender Champion Lap Steel

Purchased in 1981. There is a tag inside the pickup cavity that reads "Doug, 1-5-54."

I used this for years until I ran into another
BR-9. I must have gotten used to it because I still prefer the range of tones available in this instrument. For some strange unknown reason though, the Gibson seems easier to play.

Usually tuned to (second inversion) E Major7th
LaBella .015, .017, .024, .032, .042, .052


1963 Gibson SG Les Paul Standard

Purchased in 1978. All original except that I removed the sideways tailpiece after it cracked several years ago. According to Gibson, it was actually built in October, 1962. The guy I bought it from purchased it new in February, 1963. I picked it up in Kansas City in 1978 for the amazing sum of $250.00... with the case. It has been appraised at well over $7000.00 today.

Cherry red, PAF pickups and one of those great baseball bat necks.

One of the best sounding guitars ever.

Standard tuning.
D'Addario, .009, .011, .016, .024, 032, .046


1965 Gibson SG Jr.

Purchased in 2000. All original. .
Cherry red, P-90 pickup and, again, one of those great baseball bat necks.

Can you say Leslie West?

Standard tuning
LaBella, .009, .011, .016, .024, 032, .042


1968 Höfner Classical

Purchased in 1978. All original. When I found this one it was was leading a quiet life in storage - on a back porch in Topeka, Kansas - in the winter! I rescued it before the cold and snow completely destroyed it. With a little care it came alive again although it bears the marks of mistreatment, mainly finish cracks.

It has a very nice tone and color but is not a particularly loud instrument.

Standard tuning.
LaBella 2001 Medium Hard


1972 Gibson ES-335

Purchased in 1978. All original. .
Cherry red. Dual humbuckers with the Gibson logo stamped in the covers

Standard tuning
LaBella, .010, .013, .017, .030, 042, .052


1972 Gibson Les Paul Standard

Purchased in 1973. All original. Natural finish. Has that great Les Paul tone.

Standard and various tunings.
LaBella, .009, .011, .016, .026, 036, .046


1972 Höfner V-2

Purchased in 1978. All original. .
Sunburst. Dual single coil pickups.

A nice but different sound - the thin sound of single coils and the rounder, thicker tone of a thin hollow body.

Standard tuning
D'Addario, .009, .011, .016, .026, 036, .046


1975 Sho-Bud 615-2 Pedal Steel

Purchased in 1991. All original.

Tuned to C9th


1976 Gibson Bicentennial Firebird

Purchased in 1976. All original. Sunburst, gold hardware, red, white and blue Firebird logo. One of 1500 made.

Standard Tuning

LaBella, .010, .013, .017, .028, 038, .048


1982 Ovation 1618 12-string

Purchased in 1982. All original. well, that's not exactly true... Ovation recently updated the electronics for me.

Standard tuning
Martin 80/20, .012 - .054


1983 Alembic Series I Exploiter Bass

Aquired in 1998. All original.
I had been looking for a bass when my friend Dan says "Hey, I have that one.... I've been thinking of selling it anyway."

Thanks to Dan I now have a wonderful Bass.

Standard Tuning
RotoSound .Swing Bass
045, .065, .080, .105


1989 Fender Clapton Stratocaster

Purchased in 1990. All original.
Pewter finish, Alder body, Maple neck, Gold Lace pickups,
active electronics, "V" neck, blocked tremolo, and, as you can see, 22 frets.
Standard Strat scale of 25 1/2 inches and a 9 1/2 inch neck radius with vintage style fretwire of .085" wide by .045" tall.

Standard Tuning
LaBella, .010, .013, .017, .028, 038, .048


1991 Fender American Standard Stratocaster

Purchased in 1997. All original. Olympic white with maple neck.

Tuned 1/2 step lower to Eb
DR .010 - .048


1994 Fender American Standard Telecaster

Purchased in 1997. All original. Custom Shop Black Cherry finish, maple neck

Standard and various tunings
LaBella, .010, .013, .017, .028, 038, .048


1994 Gibson ES-175

Purchased in 1997. All original. Sunburst, dual humbucking.

I purchased this from Stan at Mandolin Brothers. He picked this one out for me and I had to look no further. As soon as I held it I knew it was one to keep.

It plays like a dream and has a wonderful tone.

Standard tuning
Gibson .012 - .056


1996 Taylor 514c

Purchased in 1996. Built in October 1996. All original. Mahogany body with a Western Red Cedar top. Fishman electronics.

Standard tuning and various tuning
GHS Contact Core, Medium Gauge


1998 Girard #11 Classical

Purchased in 1998. Built in October 1998. Cocobolo sides and back with a Western Red Cedar top. Fishman electronics.

Click here for more information on this guitar.

Standard tuning
LaBella 2001 Medium Hard


1997 Parker Fly Classic

Purchased in 1998. All original.
Natural finish.
Serial # 276097BMH

Parker is an amazing guitar. There are so many sounds in there. Built into the bridge is a Fishman pickup system which also gives it a nice acoustic sound. They take a little time to get used to because they are so different from more 'conventional' guitars.

I added the MIDI pickup.

Although I love my Fenders and Gibsons, this has become my main guitar.

Standard and various tuning
LaBella, .010, .013, .017, .030, 042, .052


2005 Steinberger

Purchased in 2005. All original. White finish.

I was surprised how nice this guitar plays and sounds. And it stays in tune!

It takes some getting used to since there is no headstock. (Everytime I reach for an open G chord without looking, I hit the 4th fret. Try it yourself and you'll see too. :-))

Standard tuning
LaBella, .010, .013, .017, .026, 036, .046


1998 Parker Fly Classic

Purchased in 2006. Emerald Green finish.
Serial # 260018BMH

I was playing a job one night and broke a string right in the middle of a song. I reached back and picked up my old SG Les Paul...

Although the Gibson is a great guitar and I truly love playing it, I went out the next day and bought another Fly Classic.

I added the MIDI pickup to this one too..

Standard and various tuning
LaBella, .010, .013, .017, .030, 042, .052


1876 Violin

Purchased in 1973. Beautiful maple sides and back. I added the Barcus Berry you see.


2001 Electric Violin

Purchased in 2001. Beautiful solid maple body, flame maple top


1927 Banjolin

1996 Christmas present from my brother.

Fun but just plain strange.


1921 Mandolin


1968 Artley Flute

Purchased in 1975. Open hole, silver body.
I added a Barcus Berry pickup to it.




1954 Gibson Les Paul Jr. (GA-5)

Purchased in 1973. All original. 6V6 output tube, 5Y3 rectifier, oval speaker. The only control is a volume control, nothing more, but nothing more is needed. Crank this and put a mic in front of it. A small slice of tonal heaven.

1958 Gibson GA-20T

Aquired in 1970~71. All original. My first amp. A gift from my cousin.
All tube (12AX7, 12AX7, 12AX7, 6V6, 6V6, 5Y3), tremolo, and a 12" Jensen.


1970 Kalamazoo Model 4

Purchased in 1972. All original.
Solid state. I rarely use this one. It's good for practice..
5 watts, 10" speaker. Clean sound is good, distortion is typical SS.
Aside from the Pignose, this is the only solid state amp I have ever owned.

1972 Orange OR 120

Aquired in 2001. All original. This is the 'second generation', if you will. The original Graphic 120 head and the OR 120 are the same thing except that where the Graphics 120 has graphics only for control function labels, the OR 120 has Pics and Text for the control labels.
I had wanted an Orange since the first time I saw Wishbone Ash back in the 70's. I love the sound Andy and Ted got from their guitars. Thank you Victor!


1972 Marshall 100 watt Super Lead Model 1959

Inspection sticker is dated February 19, 1972
Purchased in 1974. All original.

1972 Marshall 100 watt Super Lead Model 1959

Also built in February, 1972, just about a week later on Feb 27
Aquired in 1984. All original. (The polarity switch is original.)


1972 Ampeg VT-40

Aquired in 2004. All original with exception of a couple reconed speakers. I bought this around 1974, owned it and played it for years...
I read somewhere that when Ken Fischer left Ampeg to start Trainwreck he used this amp as a base for his new amps. True or not, it's still a nice amp - just not a $ 20,000.00+ Trainwreck.
I sold it to a friend of mine- Mike - many years ago. Now it's back and as cool as ever. Thank you, Mike!

1975 Pignose

Purchased in 1975. All original. Nice small amp. I have actually used this on "The Nova Project - Live" with good results. Most of the time it stays at home....


1984 Marshall JCM 800

Purchased in 1996. All original. 2 Celestion G12M 70.

1985 Mesa Boogie Mark II

Purchased in 1998. All original. Cool Santana sounds and clean twang - all in one amp.


1993 Vox AC-30 TBX

Purchased in 2003. Original. Vox Blue speakers. Certainly one of the best sounding amps ever made.

1995 Marshall JCM 900 Dual Reverb Model 4100

Purchased in 1997. All original.


1972 Marshall 1960A Cabinet

Purchased in 1974. Celestion Greenbacks All original.

1972 Marshall 1960B Cabinet

Purchased in 1974. Celestion Greenbacks All original. If you could only choose one cabinet, the A or B is it.
There is a reason these cabinets have survived virtually unchanged since the 60s.


1995 Marshall JCM 900 1960A Cabinet

Purchased in 1997. All original. Celestions. Stereo switch.

1972 Orange 4x12 Cabinet

Aquired in 2001. All original. Matching cabinet for the Orange head.

Again, thank you Victor!


19?? General Radio V-5 Variac

I have searched my General Radio catalogs dating back as far as 1919. I have all the specs on this unit but am still researching this one as far as the actual date of manufacture. BTW, 'Variac' is a trademark name (owned by GR) for autotransformers. Several companies make variable transformers but only those made by GR will have the name 'Variac' on them.

I got this to use it on my repair bench when working on my amps.

Just to play with the 'brown sound', I set the bias, etc. on one of the Marshall heads to run at 95 volts. Of course, the amp will have to be re-biased if I ever want to use it without the Variac again.

Some of you have emailed me about cathode stripping from running such a low filament voltage. Simply, I haven't noticed the problem. The -10% mark is about 5.6 volts and I am not that far off from that voltage (Actually around 5.5 volts which is about -12.6%.) I was shooting for an AC voltage of 90 volts because the sound broke up nicely. Using a 90 volt setting put the filament voltage too low, just under 5 volts or almost -24%... a little too low for comfort. Anyway, I settled around 95 volts. It sounds like the cabinet is just coming apart with every chord!

All I can say is, if you have access to a Variac, try it before you buy it. It's a simple matter of re-biasing your amp to try it. In fact, the first time I used one, I used it with a straight un-re-biased amp.


1973 Morley Power Wah/Boost

These old Morley's are great. I purchased this new in 1973. They are well built, sound good, they have really long pedal travel and, except for the rare occasion that a light bulb burns out, never have any troubles.

1973 Morley Volume/Boost

Purchased in 1973.



1973 Electro-Harmonix Big Muff Pi

The basic classic distortion pedal.

1973 Cry Baby

I acually have 3 of these.... Each is a different year and each sound a little different.


1974 Electro-Harmonix Small Stone Phase Shifter


1974 MXR Dyna-Comp

The great squishing compression pedal.
I added the LED you see.


1974 Roland Space Echo RE-301

This has been through it all and still it just keeps working.
Nice sounding analog tape echo with chorus and a spring reverb section.

1970's Electro-Harmonix Screaming Bird

A treble booster.


1980 Roland AP-7 Jet Phaser

1980 Morley Tuner


1987 Ernie Ball Volume Pedal

Purchased in 1987. A no-frills volume pedal.

1982 Rockman Chorus/Overdrive/Delay



1997 Korg AX30

1997 Boss LS-2 Line Switch


2000 Morley Steve Vai "Bad Horsie" wah

The new Morley's are great too. They fixed the 'burned-out bulbs' problem by replacing them with LEDs. Nice pedals.
I particularly like the way this Vai pedal snaps back on it's own.

2000 Morley Volume/Wah

There are two of these in my system. One controls the acoustic guitars and violins. the other one is a 'pre-echo' volume for the electric and steel guitars.


2001 Roland GR-33 Guitar Syntheziser

Aahhh..... the world of MIDI...


2002 Boss GT-6 Guitar Processor

One of the best floor boards I have ever used. There are tons of great sounds in here but you have to dig a bit. Lots of features and easy to use. Having the controls right on the front panel is something anyone can appreciate if you have ever dealt with processors that don't have direct access controls.


2002 Morley Preamp/Wah/Volume

Used as a master output volume. Controls all guitar amps simultaneously.

2002 Boss LS-2 Line Switch

More line switches. There are 3 of these in my main setup. These things are really handy for switching inputs, outputs and loops. I use them to switch and combine 3 different amps rigs, to switch between electric guitars and the steel guitars and to switch between multiple acoustics, mainly 6-string to 12-string.


1993 Korg Analog Synth

1998 Boss Midi Brain

2004 Kurzweil PC2X Synth

Wow - what a keyboard. More stuff in here than I will ever have time to figure out. I just keep asking my synth-playing friends for answers....


Wegen GypsyJazz and FatOne Picks

I searched for a long time to find a pick I liked. These are them!
I found Michel's picks late in 2002. I had seen them in the hands of a very few players, namely The Rosenberg Trio, but never knew who made them.

It's hard to tell here but, the one on the left is the GypsyJazz, 30mm long, 26mm wide, 3.5mm thick. On the right is the FatOne, 5.0mm thick. (5.0mm is about half the thickness of a standard CD case.) The FatOne works great for me on acoustic 6 and 12-string guitars - basically any guitar strung with heavier strings.

BTW, these picks also come in black. The black ones are a little harder for me to photograph....

Wegen Custom Made Picks

Michel offers custom made picks so, I ordered the pick I always wanted - 36mm x 30mm x 3.5mm.
They are made of a material which sounds very close to tortise. They are extremely hard picks but do not damage strings like metal and stone picks do.

(I have to say, in a business where business is often so serious and many times unfriendly, Michel is a genuinely nice person. I am happy to have been able to speak to him and proud to use his wonderful product.)



Wegen Button Pick

Strange shape but a very nice pick.
5 mm thick, just like the FatOne..



Wegen 7 Pick

Similar to the FatOne above but thicker... 7 mm instead of 5.

I can't say enough to explain how nice Wegen Picks are.
The attack and control is absolutely beyond explaination.
Notes just jump out at you, the instrument plays louder, chords sound clearer, each individual note is cleaner and better balanced.

A Wegen Pick is truly something that has to be heard to be believed.


Wegen Twin Pick

27.5 mm long, 23.3 mm wide, 3.5 mm thick
Similar to the Gypsy but in a smaller 'jazz' style.

This one is a little too small for me but my students love them.


Wegen Trimus Pick

Standard triangle sized pick, 2.5 mm thick.

Wegen picks can be shaped by using some fine sandpaper and polishing them with even finer paper and chrome polish.

With the Trimus, I thin one edge to about 1.4 mm. The reason is simple... Picks that are 2.5 or 3.5 mm thick do not grab the string hard enough to get a good string scratch sound and several pieces I play require a pick slide down (or up) the strings.

Some of my Gypsy picks get the same treatment.


Wegen Dipper Pick

Off-center shape but a very nice comfortable pick.
1.8 mm thick.




Wegen Yeux Noir Pick

I finally got a black Wegen to photograpgh clearly.
Similar to the Twin but double edged. 3.5 mm thick.
Again, a little too small from me.

I own or have owned about every standard model of pick Michel makes. My favorites are still the Gypsy and FatOne but each has a great feel and I find that some work better in certain situations, i.e, the FatOne and 7 when playing a 12-string and the Trimus for pick slides.

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