Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag

December 2, 2019

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Here comes another one, bumbling about. Rucksack man stumbles into the shop. To quote King Harold “Be careful with that or you’ll have some fucker’s eye ou…” Today it’s be careful with that bleeding rucksack before you dent something.

What is it with blokes and bags? Every other one comes in carrying, hunched back with a small drab bag. Pleasant enough, spatial awareness of a rhino in a phone box. Space? Different bloody planet more like.

Trussed up like a gimp, two shoulder straps and a chest strap. Tourniquet for a broken heart. Why? Is it really that heavy? What’s in it? Can’t be a guitar. Sandwiches? Breezeblock? Oxygen cylinder?

One poor fucker did struggle through the door piped up like Darth Vader. Rasping he wanted long life Elixir strings. I told him not to bother and sold him some regular old Rusty’s. Think he’d got more to worry about, although not sure he appreciated my advice on NOT buying green bananas.

Fashion accessory maybe? Bit of a dumb accessory particularly if you are prone to perspire profusely. Now if bag man was sweating and fiddling like a nun with a habit that would be a different matter. You know the type. Shifty looking, bag on back, always get a seat on the bus, probably a whole bus to themselves, but visit the wrong city and you just might get shot.

And just what’s with all the straps? When we went to school it was one strap on your army surplus haversack, slung casually over the shoulder. Chest strap? You’d have been filled in in a heartbeat for using that.

Army Surplus – don’t know why they buy so much stuff then decide to dump it. Usually sold off by weight. Unless it’s because we keep sporadically getting rid of all the soldiers, just when we’ve kitted everyone out with their own individual claw hammer, socket set, theodolite, hi-viz vest and canoe. Fucking ridiculous. Imagine having to wear a Hi-Viz on the battlefield, must be bad enough dragging your canoe about, chucking sockets at the enemy.

They reckon the Army pays about £48 for a claw hammer. Now, why is that? Hasn’t anyone ever looked in B&Q? A Stanley’s about £7. I bet you can buy an Estwing, the Lord of all hammers, for £30. Never let you down in the heat of battle.

More likely shares in the claw hammer factory perhaps?

Apparently the old East India Company had a private army of 200,000+ men while they grew opium in Asia backed by the UK Government, with more than a handful of politicians on the payroll, to raise funds to buy tea to flog to the rest of the world, allegedly. Now there’s a thought.

The morals and the players probably haven’t changed much in the last 400 years…

Army surplus. There’s a fabulous depot near the shop. Sells everything. Horse riding saddles, army trainers, used, camouflage nets, when you can find them, armoured cars, things that seriously look like missiles or cartoon bombs. Just stuff. Stuff you just wish you knew what it was for so you could buy it. Just like when you want to buy another guitar you really don’t need.

Tools – 1000s of them. All good stuff. Some sold by weight. All you budding luthiers out there, stocking your workshop, check out Army Surplus before you launch into Stewmac’s stock. Pick up a solder sucker for less than a fiver. You just know you need one.

Anyway, Rucksack Man turns out to be a proper header. Wants a Strat’ with grey bottom pickups as he prefers the sound. Now correct me if I’m wrong but unless you are all stoked and live in the Big House, you can’t hear colour.

Does it really matter? You can’t see the bleedin’ pickup base, so how are your eyes going to hear the difference?

Fender used black, grey and rarely, red flatwork. Then they moved on to plastic bobbins for their pickups, sleeving the magnets to make assembly much quicker.

Some bright spark in the buying department discovered a cheaper source of flatwork, before the plastic version, but now it was grey and not black. Forbon was the trade name, but it could be anything really. It was a different shade of black, the grey shade – do you think Fender were bothered? Did Leo lose any sleep?

If only they had known back in the ’60s and ’70s how much trouble and debate these small changes would cause. All those weird numbers they used to stamp in factory ledgers, which the anoraks now try to decipher into date order – which was never Fender’s intention or need. Sometimes they took several years to finish a guitar and it didn’t matter.

Rucksack Man rattles me further as he wants a 1967 guitar. I have one!!! But my enthusiasm and glee, a rare beast, are dashed to bits when he insists every date must say 1967. Doesn’t the fuckwit know there’s no such thing as a guitar with a 1967 potentiometer? (probably) We all know Fender bought a squillion pots in 1966 and took about three years to use them up. He shuffles off mumbling and sweating, guitars spinning in his wake.

So if you want pots or pickups, we have lots, albeit in limited colours and dates. There are many different branded hand-wound pickups available. We only stock Bare Knuckle Pickups because they are very good, made by nice people in Falmouth, UK. And hand-wound, unlike some.

Occasionally, we wind our own and will also fit any brand if you supply – just enquire.

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