- 30" scale, German made neck
- Gibson headstock
- Humbucking pick-ups
- Chrome tailpiece
- Body by Epiphone USA.
- Pignose Legendary 7-100
- Speaker by car stereo
- Strings, 26-84 (Fender VI)
Inspired by the Fender VI from days of old, but with built-in amplification employing an amplifier that has a following.
Pignose, Legendary 7-100.
The tone of this guitar is also unique. You have to play it. So musical in the way the amp responds when you switch between the pick-ups to get different sounds.
The stubby headstock that the neck originally had was too small to fit 6 tuners, so I grafted in a part from the "rummage sale" in Bozeman.
Sometimes while I am playing this, I even wonder why I even need to go on inventing because this one is so satisfying to play. However, this style of bass cannot replace traditional bass string spacing where you can really dig in with the picking hand. This would be more for a finesse player. Set up with close action for a touch player.
"My friend Warren Zevon (I shot his first album cover) was recording his second album at Wally Heider's studio with Peaveys turned up to 11 to get feedback--he was making enemies in nearby sessions.
I said "try the Pignose." He fell in love with it and finished all of his album sessions with it."
"The first year, we made over 50,000 amps."
- Richard Edlund
\ The Legendary Pignose!
(Reprinted from Relic Magazine's special studio & home recording section)
Though it may be considered something of a novelty, Pignose was the precursor of a whole new trend in portable personal electronics that we now take for granted, and it really did -- as an early press release claimed -- liberate the electric guitar.
The speaker is rated at 50 watts, so even at peak output you can't blow it, and though the Pig6 may be more than adequate for in-home practice, if you're going to be playing in the park without a drummer, you will not need to bring an amplifier. This little Pig lives to rock! Practice or get your hands warmed up on the way to practice with the band.
Pig6 has two outputs. Bypass, and "Pigtone". If your battery goes dead or you need clean tone on your stage amp, route your feed from the bypass jack. If you want to Rock the sidewalks and bedrooms, campfires and alleyways, patch the bypass to the Pig's input jack and a fresh 9v. for real Pig tone ON -BOARD!. For pigtone on the stage, keep the bypass output patched to the input and plug the stage amp or recording deck straight into the original Pignose "Preamp Out". Your amp will rock the world.
Pignose's main attractions are its versatility and total portability, suitable for myriad applications. But this can be used anywhere there's room to play a guitar: at home, backstage, in a van or motel room, on the street, or in the studio without even slinging the cabinet as you hike out into the desert at sunset, plugged in and playing the "Born Under A Bad Sign" like you're Jimi at Woodstock. Perfect for picnics, Pig6 also makes practice fun, 'cause it sounds so much bigger than it is, letting your imagination loose to indulge in a fantasy of overdriven sound.
Pignose Industries, started by guitarist Terry Kath and other members and associates of the band Chicago in 1972, introduced their product (designed and patented by Wayne Kimbell and Richard Edlund) to the music industry at the 1973 Summer NAMM show, with tongue-in-cheek hyberbole, as the "Legendary" Pignose Amplifier. Humor is a big part of the Pignose phenomenon. Chicago (originally the Chicago Transit Authority) was a '60's band, part of the counterculture back when rock was an underground music that was part of alternative lifestyle.
The technology of concert production was still in its infancy, and before the development of modern sound reinforcement systems, the trend was toward larger and more powerful guitar amps that could fill a large auditorium on their own. Along came the Pig, thumbing its nose at the Establishment and its "Bigger is Better" thinking.
The origin of the name is a mystery, but the whole idea was obviously inspired by concepts of "The Road" and those Easy Rider-style, footloose, modern troubadors.
The marketing was ingenious, for Pignose was small enough to fit on a magazine page labeled "actual size". Its rugged, steamer-trunk cabinet styling (the earliest models had real pigskin covering) was reminiscent of the stagecoach days and the open spaces of the Wild West, popular images in those fringed-leather jacket days. An instant success, Pignose's endorser list ran from America to Frank Zappa, and included such diverse acts as The Eagles, Led Zeppelin, and even Cheech and Chong.
In 1974, Pignose Industries was sold to Chicago's band accountant, who ran it until 1982, when ownership passed to the company that made its sturdy, 3/4", finger-joined wood cabinets. Pignose originally retailed for $79.95, but inflation and increased manufacturing costs eventually drove its price as high as $159.95. Current models list for $109.95 ("Same price as in the '70's! say the ads), though the AC/9-volt converter, included with the original, is now an optional expense.
Nearly every guitarist I know has a Pignose memory or story, and its small size belies its large voice. It was not uncommon in the '70s to walk into a recording studio and hear a huge "wall of Marshalls" guitar sound emanating from the monitors, only to be surprised by the sight of a little Pig on a stool in the other room, miked up with an expensive Neumann or Sennheiser. Its output jack lets you use it as a preamp for incredible distortion with larger amplifiers, for live or studio performance. Not just a guitar amp: harmonica players love it for its instant dirty-blues sound.
I borrowed one for a test run from a bandmate who'd gotten his in the late '80s, while in college (perfect for dorm room jams or blues in the Quad). I played through it with a variety of guitars and basses, with varying results. An old Supro Belmont, with one of the world's weakest and cheesiest-sounding pickups, was first.
The guitar can barely overdrive a Fender Champ, but the Pig made it sound like a Les Paul. Backing off the guitar and amp volumes produced a satisfactory Gretsch-like fullness and twang.
Pignose inspired a number of subsequent imitators and improved variations, like the Dwarf and the Mouse, and set the stage for modern toys like the Rockman, Pocket Rockets, and Zoom. Remember, Pignose appeared well before the Walkman, when car stereos played 8-track cassettes and people still used slide-rules, not pocket smartphones. Despite its shortcomings, this portable package with the funny name was truly "built to last", and still makes me want to grab it and go.
(Thanks to Howard Chatt of Pignose Industries for the historical information.)