An evening when the bistro turned guitar havenBy Allan Policarpio
Philippine Daily Inquirer
The RJ Bistro turned into a haven for guitar enthusiasts on Tuesday night as musician and businessman Ramon “RJ” Jacinto held a private showing of some of the newest offerings of his RJ Guitar Center this 2013.
A myriad of handsome acoustic, classical and electric guitars in different cuts, designs and colors were on display on neatly arranged racks around the bar, free for everyone to see and get a feel of.
The sight made kids out of grown men, who eagerly play-tested and scrutinized every fine detail of the instruments, as if they were about to buy their very first one. Musician guests such as Noel Cabangon, Aia de Leon (Imago), Chickoy Pura (The Jerks) and Tirso Ripoll (Razorback) scoured the collection for a potential addition to their gear.
Seeing all the guitars laid out in such fashion, Jacinto related, conjures memories of when he bought his first electric guitar. “I can never forget the smell of the Gretsch I bought in the United States. It reminds me of the innocence of my youth. It makes me happy,” he told the Inquirer.
But among the sea of spruce Merida Extremas and cool-looking Ravens and Rokkers, the highlight of the night, undoubtedly, was the Super Vintage—a guitar RJ has been using since he and famed guitar-maker Rudy Discipulo came up with it in 1989.
He demonstrated how the Super Vintage can emulate and niftily shift between sounding like a Fender and a Gibson. “This guitar comes handy because if you want to play The Beatles
and jazz, you change the tone to a Gibson. And if you want to play The Ventures or other edgier pieces, you use the Fender tone,” he explained.
Before playing with the Super Vintage, Jacinto used to alternate his Fender Jazzmaster and Gibson Les Paul during performances. “It became tedious and tiring,” he said.
Jacinto has been selling guitars since he bought a hole-in-the-wall guitar repair shop from Discipulo in 1988. But this is the first year Jacinto is coming out with the Super Vintage. “I couldn’t release the guitars before because manufacturers found Super Vintage hard to produce because of its hand-wound pickups,” he said.
Meanwhile, what better way to test the guitars than going onstage and jamming with them? Together with blues and rock group Electric Sala, Pura, Ripoll and other musician friends, Jacinto jammed the night away playing hits from The Rolling Stones, The Beatles and a host of other classic and country rock hits.
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