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A monthly tour of Melbourne's Music Swop Shop

Words by Baz Bardoe

There is currently a big divide in archaeology between those who believe that the Music Swap Shop pre-dates the last ice age and those who believe that any evidence is inconclusive. What they do agree upon is that it is incredibly old. Ask anyone – the shop has been around ‘since forever’. In that spirit I thought I would devote this issue’s column to some historical artefacts.

Few could argue that The Beatles have been one of the most influential musical acts of all time. People copied everything about them and bassists around the world were often very taken by Paul McCartney’s Hofner violin bass – so much so that you often hear it referred to as the ‘Beatle Bass’. It references the classical instrument that spawned the modern electric bass in its aesthetics, while being immensely playable. If you want that distinctive look that only a ‘Beatle Bass’ can give, the shop has one and it even comes with an original case. But as you would expect, it isn’t cheap.

Continuing in the old school theme you can do a lot worse than a ValveTone amplifier. Not only do these great amps have actual valves, but they claim to be hand wired. If you really appreciate tone, you will understand what a difference valves make – they are just instantly warmer. The shop has quite a few ValveTone heads and you can also get a warm and fuzzy feeling from knowing that these suckers are hand crafted right here in Australia. Great to see a product like this appearing locally.

If you’re a guitarist and after something unusual, consider the 1964 Burns short-scale jazz guitar. Burns guitars had their beginning in 1960, introduced by James Ormston Burns who was regarded by many as being the British version of Leo Fender. The guitars quickly achieved iconic status and were re-launched in the early nineties. This particular example is about as rare as it gets, especially in such good condition. It has an appropriate price tag at Music Swop Shop and is well worth checking out.

Well that’s it for another issue. Make sure you drop by the shop in Carlton and soak in the eclectic ambience. There’s always something for everyone.

To check out what MSS has in stock, head to: www.musicswopshop.com.au


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