... being a re-post of an article about the late guitar genius, Ted Newman Jones
Funny how things work out some time. I reposted this article from 1981 ...
But while this post was not written by Ted Newman Jones, Jeff Smith was its author, having set up the Facebook Page at Ted's request. More on that in Pt. III of this three-parter. Here is ...
Keith’s Right-Hand Man
I’d been trying to locate this guy for months, this Ted Newman Jones character – or
Newman-Ted Jones or just plain Newman, by most ("I use that name because whoever heard of 'Jones Guitars?’ ”). I'd already decided that the magazine ought to have a story about the technician who handles a band's guitars. Hearing about this guy with a little guitar shop in Austin who has been going out on tour with the Rolling Stones since becoming Keith Richards' personal instrument caretaker, tactician and moral support, and who had been rumored by his close buddies to be quite bonkers and a lot of fun made me more than anxious to meet him.
About the time I gave up on the idea of finding some excuse to go to Austin and talk to him. I got a call from a mutual acquaintance that Newman was in town on some projects that I'd be interested in, and that he was not averse to talking about them. So, the first thing I got to see Newman do was give some advice to our mutual friend (John Rivers Bicknell, the guy who draws the cartoons in this magazine) about a guitar he'd given up for dead. He also sold him one he was kind of looking for.
John was telling us about the Telecaster he'd just committed to the shop for a new neck, since "some old guy in Shreveport redid it. It was an original 1953 neck. And he sanded it down so thin that the headstock was coming up. He sanded the first four frets almost flat."
"Owwww,” howls Newman, truly in pain, "The guy didn't know what he was doin'."
"No. he didn't. So it was rounded. About the sixth or seventh fret it started getting round. But it was flat before that. It was just a mess. So I'll have to throw the neck away, unfortunately."
"Well, don't do that. You know I can make a silk purse out of a sow's ear. Any kind of neck like that, John, you know I got all these heat pressures and shit. I can –"
“– just bend it back. Well, I'll give you this neck," says John, "and you can, if you think it's savable.''
“Sure, it’s savable. I put heat lamps on 'em and all kinds of clamping devices you know, different tensions and pressures and add humidity and subtract humidity. Shake all the stuff up and, you know, dust it with a little gris-gris dust. Meantime, I'll ship you this Esquire I got that you'll really like better. It's got kind of a, I think it's a Dimarzio pickup.
"It's a Schecter neck – a full-fitting neck, not too thin – it's probably gonna be real similar to what you've put on your Strat but it also can be taken down to any size – when they're too small is when you're in trouble. It can be shaped to any size. You know if you were to play it awhile and didn't like it you could say, hey put a V in it or make it thinner or somethin'.
"It's got a chunky feeling – I like it 'cause I play so much acoustic guitar."