Link Meanies ‘Bakelite Age’ axe

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A home-made frankenstein from an Aussie legend.

Playing bass in Sixfthick, I’ve gotten to meet some pretty awesome people. People that I used to read about in Hot Metal magazine in the early 90′s (still Australia’s best ever music mag) I now know. One of those bands I used to read about was The Meanies. I never got to see them in the 90′s as not many bands used to brave the long drive to my little hometown. But in the last few years I’ve gotten to play a few gigs with these great guys. Lead singer Link Meanie is one of the loveliest guys I’ve met… such a nice dude, always happy to see you. Link’s ‘other’ band was the mighty Bakelite Age. Spooky Records CEO, Loki had told us how awesome they were as they’d just signed to his label and from the first show I saw them play (I think in 2005) they were my favourite Melbourne band.

From memory, our first show with them was at the Rob Roy. The songs were catchy but heavy, with Links impeccable pop punk melodies but with some twin guitar playing that was twisted and just jaw dropping, along with Links patented scream. So, so good.

Apart from the songs, another thing that caught my eye was the guitar link was playing. It was a weird square thing… kind of Bo Diddley looking but a lot less refined. I loved how unique it was, how it sounded and how Link had made it himself.

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Another cool thing was that Link had used the guitar on their t-shirts. It kind of became the bands mascot. I bought a shirt that gig to remind me of that great guitar… oh, and because the band was pretty good too.

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Fast foward a few years and after a few more Bakelite gigs I’d noticed that the square (trapezoid?) guitar had been retired. Link had been playing his Gibson L6S a bit (read about it here) plus some other various guitars, but the original square one was what I wanted to see! I asked Link where it was and he said that it was actually pretty hard to play, due to the action. So I asked if I could do a guitarnerd story on it as I loved it so much… but he said I could have it! So next gig, there it was! (I told you Link was a top dude!)

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Link had set it up for slide, with a drumstick as a bridge. I unbolted the neck and packed it in my bass case and put the body in my carry on luggage, and she made it safely to Brisbane.

On closer inspection, this guitar is VERY home-made. Link explained it was actually his first ever guitar… some Japanese Strat thing, that he chopped up and then surrounded the body in a box. So basically… there’s a guitar inside a guitar.

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The edges were surrounded in aluminium cornering, like you’d find in a hardware store. It looks like you’ll rip your arm open, but it actually done pretty well. Link sprinkled some glitter on body before giving it a quick spray in clear, to get that ‘Paul Stanley’ effect.

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Link chose a Gretsch type pickup, which is really cheap but sounds great. The pickup surround is some corrugated tin… adding to the ‘thunderbox’ vibe of the guitar.

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The bridge is another example of Links’ ingenuity. I’ve only just recently realised that it’s an upside down Strat hardtail bridge!

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Up the other end of the guitar is Links homemade headstock, with the name ‘P. Coltrane’ embossed on some PCB board… I assume in homage to Sheriff Roscoe P Coltrane from the Dukes Of Hazard.

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The back of the headstock show this guitars true home made roots. It’s not the prettiest scarf joint, but man… it’s solid as a rock.

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I really want to get this guitar playing well as I love it so much. Tim from Tym Guitars has had a look at it and said it needs a bit of work… the bridge area is actually slightly in the wrong spot and the neck needs a shim to get the angle right. A floating Bigsby bridge, some work on the neck pocket and this guitar will be back in action!

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Thanks to Link for this guitar. It really means a lot to me and I’ll take good care of her.