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Albert King's Flying V

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by Kirfew, Feb 14, 2010.

  1. Kirfew

    Kirfew TDPRI Member

    Hi everybody.
    I'm a huge fan of Albert King and Flying V's, and I thought that after I get a telecaster I'd want to get a Flying V. I am intrigued by what seems to be his #1, a non-Gibson Flying V, judging by its lack of a pickguard and having an LP headstock. [​IMG]
    I'm thinking of making a replica of this in the future, but I'm having difficulty figuring out what is on his guitar. I'm fairly certain he used covered PAFs with white mounts, but am unsure of the other details, due to most photos of him being black and white or of poor quality.
    I want to know:
    What fretboard inlays did he have?
    What colour was his hardware? (e.g. chrome/nickel/gold)
    What wood was it?
    What is the closest approximation to his finish?

    Thanks in advance.

  2. Blazer

    Blazer Doctor of Teleocity

    Dec 2, 2003
    The Netherlands

    This footage shows another custom Flying V.

  3. Cheesehead

    Cheesehead Friend of Leo's

  4. bluesy

    bluesy Tele-Holic

    Mar 17, 2003

    I believe Albert's V was hand built by master repairman Dan Erlewine.

  5. stantheman

    stantheman Doctor of Teleocity

    Jun 10, 2003
    White Mountains
    You are correct Sir.

  6. JackStraw

    JackStraw Friend of Leo's

    Mar 22, 2008
    In The Pines
    First, if i'm wrong about this excuse me. I believe Albert had one of the very first original Gibson V's. I also believe he was playing it when I saw him at the Lone Star Cafe in NYC in the late 70's, early 80's. I also believe it is now or was recently owned by Steven Segal (yes, that Steven Segal).

  7. Kirfew

    Kirfew TDPRI Member

    Aha! The guitar in the video is indeed the guitar I am talking about.
    I heard that it was made of walnut, which would explain its appearance.

    And how about that Steven Seagal, owner of three of Albert King's Flying Vs and one of Muddy Water's Telecasters?

  8. tiktok

    tiktok Poster Extraordinaire

    Jan 11, 2005
    "Lucy" was indeed built by Dan Erlewine, one of the biggest Albert King fans. He had a great Guitar Player column that detailed the extensive repair work he had to do on it when Albert's equipment van was stolen and the trailer ended up in a drainage ditch full of water overnight.

  9. Unseen

    Unseen Former Member

    Dec 18, 2007
    Portland, Oregon
    Love the guy. Both he and BB King demonstrate that you don't have to play fast to be one of the best bluesmen on earth. They both know how to make individual notes sweet and expressive. It's not about lengthy runs of 16th notes.

  10. jdm61

    jdm61 Tele-Holic

    Jan 6, 2010
    St. Petersburg, FL
    Albert and B.B. demonstrated that you don't have to play fast, but you should be able to shake a string like a Jack Russell Terrier shaking a rat and bend it somewhere into the next area code.:D

  11. IdahoPicker

    IdahoPicker Tele-Afflicted

    Jun 20, 2009
    North Idaho
    On the SRV/Albert King album, Albert talks about all these new guys that can play fast, but they ain't got no soul.

    Damn straight, sir!

    This is something that stuck with me from the first time I heard it, and it changed so much about my approach to guitar.

    Cheers to The Velvet Bulldozer!

  12. Blazer

    Blazer Doctor of Teleocity

    Dec 2, 2003
    The Netherlands
    You have no idea how much I agree with that in my case it's also a kind of contradiction because I play very fast metal runs and riffs with my band but on the other hand I also love to play some powerful melodic blues.

    Even stronger, at the last rehearsal I was warming myself up by playing Stevie Ray Vaughan's "Rviera Paradise" and my leadsinger went "Whoa, that's a beautiful tune now that's stuff I normally never hear you play" my reply "That's because our songs don't ask for that kind of guitar playing."

  13. LawDaddy

    LawDaddy Tele-Holic

    Dec 14, 2009
    Auburn, CA
    Yes, you are correct. He played an original '58. However, he later lost that guitar (legend has it in a poker game, I think that's Segal's story), he played the Lucy that Dan built, as well as some assorted Gibsons, including V2's I've seen in pics.

    Dan's setup and maintenance book has a nice chapter on restoring the Lucy. Vintage Guitar magazine had a nice article on Seagal's extensive collection a few years ago. He has some important historical guitars, including the Muddy Waters Tele mentioned above and *3* Albert King Flying Vs.

    Money shots of the three King V's Seagal owns:



  14. Blazer

    Blazer Doctor of Teleocity

    Dec 2, 2003
    The Netherlands
    Man seeing those pictures reminds me of the Flying V copy I owned.
    POS guitar though, played really heavy and sounded raspy.

  15. GypsySun

    GypsySun TDPRI Member

    Sep 19, 2010
    Villinova Junction
    I mean, I haven't really listened or watched Albert play, Did he always perform with the strings upside down? That lefty V with reversed strings! Sick!

  16. weezy109

    weezy109 Tele-Holic

    Aug 28, 2010
    He started with right handed guitars so he learned to play it upside down. Doyle Brahmall 3 does the same thing

  17. 1962guitargeek

    1962guitargeek Friend of Leo's

    Oct 9, 2008
    eastern n.c.
    As does Coco Montoya and the Legendary Dick Dale...

  18. GypsySun

    GypsySun TDPRI Member

    Sep 19, 2010
    Villinova Junction

    That's what I thought, But I was thinking, some one of his ability could start to learn the other side up, But don't worry It's great, Just a different style of playing, that he actually whoops ass at :cool:!

  19. KokoTele

    KokoTele Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

    Mar 17, 2003
    albany, ny [not chicago]
    He also tuned to something weird. I remember reading that he would never tell anyone what it was, and in an interview Steve Cropper said once that in a session Albert left the guitar sitting out during a break and he and someone else
    decided it was the perfect moment to figure out what the tuning was. I'll have to dig and see if I can find it again.

    I also think he named all his guitars Lucy, just like BB has named all his guitars Lucille. The Blues Heaven Foundation museum in Chicago (the old Chess Records building) has a V from Albert King that's also named Lucy, but it was a custom built job and don't think it had another brand name on the headstock.

    It was also kind of an ugly monstrosity. The top had a routed recurve on the edges (except for that curve the top was flat), binding, and was painted kind of a girly pinky purple metal flake.

  20. Stuco

    Stuco Poster Extraordinaire

    Aug 27, 2006
    Man, I want a flying v!

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