Guitar journalist Cees Bakker for Guitar Plus magazine writes about the day he delivered two Langcaster guitars to Jan Akkerman.
& Jan Akkerman writes about the Hendrix tribute tour with Steve Lukather (Toto).
Jan Akkerman chose Langacster guitar # L-24
Cees Bakker on Langcaster guitar # L-25
When the sun rose on the morning of Wednesday October 1, 2003 one of the best days in my life had dawned. Not only was I too see a real Langcaster, but I was to have the privilege of handing it to Jan Akkerman in person who, in my opinion, is still the greatest living guitar player in the world. What a day this was going to be!
We had to break
our holiday in Sneek in the North of Holland, but it was well
worth it. We were to meet Ronald Schluter, managing director
of RSL Audio, -the Langcaster distributor for Europe- at twelve
o'clock in Utrecht in the centre of Holland. Ronald (a drummer)
isn't ususally interested in guitars at all, but he was so excited
about the Langcasters, that I even had to take a picture of him
So, guitars in hand, we headed west to Volendam, and the home of Jan Akkerman, where we were welcomed by Jan and his charming wife Marian with coffee and cake. Jan told us about his one-man tour of the United States, which was so successful that he was invited to come over again the following year.
Soon after, the real fun began; Jan began playing. First on a Korean made Maccafari guitar which had a great sound. Then he grabbed his custom made Lowden acoustic guitar with B-Bender transducer and played The Stars From Heaven. He kindly asked me to jam with him, but rather than risk embarrassment in front of the master of masters, I was content to show him my collection of vintage guitars and basses. Jan has a wonderful collection of his own, so it was pleasing that he was impressed with mine.
Jan has very specific opinions about guitars and always played custom built instruments, starting in the sixties with a Framus Jan Akkerman, followed by an Anno Galama, a Wim Heins, a Catalist Jakkerman and a Marcus van Engelen. Also he has an impressive range of factory made instruments but no Strats because he had a general dislike of this model, until recently.
For Hendrix music
you just have to play a Strat model. This month Jan is to do
a Jimi Hendrix tribute tour in Germany and Holland together with
American guitar ace Steve Lukather from Toto.
The moment had arrived, when the cases were opened Jan went completely out of his head, he couldn't believe what he saw and said to his wife and children, "Look at what a beautiful guitar daddy is going to play!" Jan selected the L#24 because in the unplugged state he found it had a better tone. Every Langcaster is individually handcrafted and with each piece of wood being completely different in character, it's logical to expect tone variation.
Jan then made
the following statement; "My prediction is that this will
became a highly-rated classic, the neck is absolutely the best
I ever had my hands on". Well the day just kept getting
better and better. We went to Jan's garage studio where he plugged
it in and we both went crazy over the Langcaster's incredible
One feature that Joh Lang always promotes in his guitars is that you get absolutely no noise or hum from his hand made 10-pole pickups. I always check what a manufacturer states, so I held the guitar directly by the transformer of a fluorescent tube lamp and indeed absolutely no noise or hum!
Akkerman's current setup is relatively simple: a Marble tube pre-amp, a transistor Peavy 2 x 150 Watt stereo combo with integrated effects processor, and a Peavy footswitch board. He doesn't like factory presets, so he reprogrammed it all with his own exciting sound effects, including his famous Leslie sound. You may remember he was the first guitarist to use a Leslie cabinet. He will use this setup for the upcoming tour.
I watched and heard Jan play with total fascination. It may happen only once in a lifetime that you can attend a free private concert from an eminent player like Jan Akkerman. Whatever he plays it's all beautiful, and like the man himself, all very original. Even Hendrix tunes receive the distinctive Akkerman touch.
All good times have to come to an end, and so did ours at three thirty as we still a long drive back to our (holiday) home. Thanks Jan and Lancaster for a long but perfect day.
Translation of the Jan Akkerman article in the November 2003 issue of Dutch magazine "Guitar Plus" & from the Jan 's own website monthly column.
Have you guessed
the name of the wrong blockhead, who wasn't wrong according to
I realised that
I couldn't do this tour without a Strat model. Now I have something
in that direction in the form of a Catalyst, but it's still that
"old wood" that you have to prefer for these moments.
In the sixties I plaid a Strat. Just a 60's thing, taken from
the shelf with Moe Hermans in the Amsterdam Utrechtse straat
for the little sum of about 800 Dutch Guilders.
Then I get in contact with a fellow writer of this magazine (that's me of course) and then by Jove at last someone who reads and listens to what I tell between the lines. Here with an address in New Zealand where an old notably Dutch rocker builds the most beautiful instruments, you can imagine today; thirty years after the last time I plaid a Strat. Read the previous edition again in Actueel.
On the LP Eli
with Kaz Lux I had a Strat and I was the "Luxaflette",
but that didn't matter. One of the numbers, Tranquilliser, from
this record and is a perfect example of how a single coil should
sound. But the playability of such a guitar always gave me problems
(like typing this article).
A year of 156
later I found mister Clapitor back again with the same little
guitar, called Blackie. But why it had to be black, is sill doubtful.
Just like Layla, named after Layla Fayed, the most beautiful
terrorist ever lived. And that after Sylvia, the Jidish housewife
No one will doubt
that Noel Redding was missed. He should have been here. Great
talking about the previous tour we did with Phillip. Last but
not least Steve Lukather the man from Toto, of whom I'm an admirer,
because the Americans in one way or another are more involved
with the concept of Beauty in the Rock&Roll. Listen to Emimem's
Sing for the Moment because these are the bollocks of the R&R.
Simple but not tasteless and loud asah..let it be.
Oh, almost forgotten,
More info on my website www.janakkerman.com
The Langcaster guitar features,
* Langcaster pickup with10 magnetic poles to prevent the loss of sound when bending strings and NO ! ummmmm. Hand-carved head stock , * The revolutionary Earvana nut to improve tuning, * Jade inlay strings trees, Schaller Locking Machine heads with 1:16 gear ratio, * Hard rock Maple and tilt-back head stock, * Double action truss rod & 2 Graphite reinforcement rods, * Ebony finger board, * 22 Medium jumbo frets, * 25 1/2" scale & 15" radius, * Security Strap Locks, * Brass Knobs, * Schaller 3 way adjustable bridge. Optional, the Stealth Sustainer from Sustainiac.