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Jan Akkerman

powergus6000

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Sep 13, 2005
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Focus is a great band Jan Akkerman did some absolutely incredible stuff with the guitar IMO.

On a different note, is it some kind of prerequisite that every euro dude from the 70s that plays a flute in a proggie rock band has to look insane? heheh
 
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thin sissy

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Jan 2, 2006
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He really was something else (esp for the time). It's a little sad though. My dad saw an ad at a bar once in the eighties, that Jan Akkerman would play there. So he went to see him (this was after focus, Jan played alone with synths and other effects). There was three people except for my dad there, and Jan didn't look too happy either. Anyone know what he's up to these days?
 

frazettafan

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Oct 28, 2006
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Yes, I'd like to know what happened to Jan Akkerman also. That's pretty sad about the gig with his synths.
I think this number was them having a laugh while sending up the heavy prog bands of the day. When I saw them in '74 Akkerman was playing a Black Beauty with a Filter'tron pickup replacing the alnico neck pickup. He sounded incredible, especially on melodic guitar led stuff like "Sylvia".

I think the Flautist was trying to compete with Ian Anderson in the insanity stakes.
 
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Dutch

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Oct 30, 2001
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Jan Akkerman is still playing and touring.
http://www.janakkerman.nl/index_page.html
His still does a lot of unconventional stuff and that's probably why he doesn't carry the 'burdon of fame' anymore.
I've heard him play blues and rock stuff too and he's a monster at that!
In 1971 I bought a '68 or '69 LP Goldtop that used to belong to Jan Akkerman.
He used that guitar to record Tommy.
Nice guitar, but not a great one. It left the herd a couple of years ago....
 

torger

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Dec 4, 2005
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`54 - `56 custom? (odd knobs)

Found this following Dutch`s link:

"My gold top has gone, and also the Gretsch Super Jet (on the Live at Montreux cover). I've still got the Gretsch White Falcon. There's some knobs missing, because I used those on the Black Beauty."

Akkerman also tells:

The Les Paul Custom

"I got the Gibson Les Paul in Focus just before Moving Waves. I saw Clapton play a Les Paul but when I lived in the Indonesian quarter in Amsterdam we all knew about The Tielman Brothers. That was in 1955 or 56 and they played the Black Beauties already. It was used as a blues instrument, then of course Bill Haley used it as a rock instrument in "Rock Around The Clock". But you didn't have an idea of where to get this instrument or how to get it at that time. And then I saw Clapton with one and I thought "Hey, this thing is in England" not realising that they imported them from the States."

"I liked the sustain, the humbuckers don't have much treble but I worked my way around it again. For me, to get that clarity of the Telecaster I bought this thing in London called Color Sound for eleven quid. I screwed up about forty Leslies every night because of it . It was a treble booster, so you could get a single-coil pick up sound."

"The Focus thing was recorded with the Fender amp and the Color Sound in between. It gives it brightness. I like that. Actually before anyone thought of using a preamp I used that as a preamp. I wasn't one for effects pedals. I used wah-wah on Brainbox "Amsterdam, the First Days") and it was a great gadget but once was enough!!"

"I modified this guitar myself to start off with. I put a Gretsch pickup in the neck position and kind of screwed up the wiring. Not realising that I'd hooked it up in and out of phase probably - that gave that special tone to it. That triggered that whole DiMarzio customising thing. Get the front Humbucker out! I like the one near the tailpiece that's a very good pick up.You get the clarity and special tone from the Gretsch pickup."


Dont know why he`s talking about humbuckers. Maybe he also had another Custom? Singlecoils on the one in the vid.

trgr
 

Dirtypool

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Aug 29, 2004
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If you search youtube, you'll notice the original '54 BB, later with the Filtertron and later with a hber as well at the bridge
Jan rocks and has a nice sence of humour
 

fast ricky love

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Mar 27, 2002
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Fingerboard "extention" on a 70s LPC?? Never seen that before.

http://youtube.com/watch?v=0yekVlhBeTA&mode=related&search=

I think Jan is one of the great Les Paul players of all time. I rank him right up there with any of the greats. The live Focus album/CD is Jan at his best and that is killer stuff...

The guitar in this clip is NOT a Les Paul Custom. It's some guitar he had retopped (I think it was called the 'Artist' or something like that - it used to have all those extra toggles) that he started playing late in Focus. I thought that guitar sounded like total shit and I think his playing reflects that on this clip, not his best moment by far.

And Thiis was ridiculous in that clip as well, I can see how Jan would have gotten disillusioned with the band when Thiis was pulling crap like that...

BTW - the rhythm section in that clip are just phenomenal!! The drummer's playing is SO tasty.
 

keef

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Jan 27, 2002
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The guitar in this clip is NOT a Les Paul Custom. It's some guitar he had retopped (I think it was called the 'Artist' or something like that - it used to have all those extra toggles)

It started life as a Les Paul Personal, and was indeed retopped. Nonetheless Jan described this guitar in a mid or late '70s GP interview as an 'old Les Paul'.

Dirtypool - I don't think that the Gretsch pup equipped LPC was originally a '54, but a '68. I recall there were earlier threads where that was established.

Jan may never have owned a vintage Custom. The P90 LPC in the first clip with the 'wrong' knobs (and a white switch tip..) may well have been a 54 reissue that came out in the early '70s. Jan did have at least one '50s goldtop though. One of these was a '53 or '54 that he had modified with a TOM. Last year it was offered for sale here.

BTW - there is a clip on Youtube somewhere that shows a 360 degree shot of Jan's guitar room, with various Gibsons hanging on the wall, plus an assortment of acoustics and lutes. Jan is a terrific classical guitar player as well.
 

keef

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I tried to find the earlier posts about Jan's LPC but did not find what I was looking for.

Jan apparently has said that his black custom was a '50s one, but he has told inaccurate stories about his guitars on more than one occasion. His humbucker equipped LPC was a two pickup model with (IIRC) again a white switch tip and witch hat knobs, all details more tending towards a later Custom.

The last repair/custom work on Jan's LP personal - which went to hell and back - was done by LPF member Fred Dons.
 

Dirtypool

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Ah, I know Fred, great guy.
He made an inlay on the headstock of that Artisan of Jan himself.
I thought it was a little kitsch but Jan liked it that way.
Probably you are right about the '68, I assumed it was an original.
Great player but his tone sucks.
He must have lost all the high frequencies back in the days :)
 

Cussion

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Sep 1, 2004
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How did he get that Focus sound?

Was it the built in distortion channel on these solid state Fenders?
 

frazettafan

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Oct 28, 2006
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I always thought his tone on 'Sylvia' was pretty damn fine. Mind you , I havent heard that for years so I'll have to dig it out and listen again. The worrying thing is that I thought I sounded OK back then too. Oh dear!:wah
 

Dirtypool

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Aug 29, 2004
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Yes, Sylvia then, thats ok but now, live his volume is deafening and piercing :)
He loves treble somehow.
But he's a very good versatile guitarist.
Few notes and you know it him
 

frazettafan

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And the glimpse you get from below of the headstock looks like the shallower pitch headstock, suggesting a later model Custom.
 

Zhangliqun

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Jul 16, 2001
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I think Jan is one of the great Les Paul players of all time. I rank him right up there with any of the greats. The live Focus album/CD is Jan at his best and that is killer stuff...

You got that right. My father had the 8-track of Live at the Rainbow back in the 70's and he played it all the time whenever we were in the car. We loved it. I didn't hear it again for the longest time until I decided to look for it on Amazon a couple years ago -- I bought several CD copies for everybody in the family who remembers it.

I thought it was great when I was a kid and now as a semi-seasoned player, I have a much greater appreciation of all the tones and textures Akkerman was able to get without much (or anything) in the way of stompboxes. And for the rest of the band too -- every bit Jan's equal on their instruments.

It's high on the rotation of CD's that I play while winding...
 

keef

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OK - here are two live clips in one with Jan playing the same Custom with buckers.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TbooIEDKiHE

First clip features the band playing Sylvia and shows the Custom at a later stage where the Gretsch pickups have been installed. Pickguard and switch tips are gone and a large wear spot is visible under the bridge pu. Still with witch hats.

Second clip dates back earlier and was recorded in an English mansion. The custom looks brand new here - the witch hats, original tuners, switch tip and smaller beveled pickguard and truss rod cover unmistakably identify this as a late '60s or early '70s guitar.
 
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