~ Guitars I have known... and owned. . . and lost ~

Bill Hillman Guitar No. 29
Epiphone SG Special
Serial No. 311544942

Epiphone Gibson SG

Xmas 2011

I had this guitar in hand for only about a month. . . it is still within reach . . . and I see it/play it every week : )
My grandson, Soulin, comes over for guitar lessons, and my Fender Strat was always a favourite.
That is, until I showed him a photo of a red SG in a rock book.
"Wow! That's a cool guitar!"
So, when a red SG appeared on eBay for a great price, we made a successful bid.
The beaut arrived a month before Xmas . . . and then Santa got his hands on it.
Not a bad starter guitar . . . a far cry from my Harmony Monteray of over 50 years ago.

Sue-On's Ludwig drums in the background have travelled many a mile since the '60s.
They even survived a disastrous stage fire . . . after which I sanded off the char and covered them with buckskin.
They look a little weary, but still sound great. . . the buckskin seems to give them a unique sound :)

The drum photos on this page are Sue-On's Ludwig drums which have served us well for almost 50 years. There has been a long line of replacement heads and hardware, but the basic drums have survived countless gigs across Canada and the US (they refused to fly overseas with us to our English tours). They've suffered temperature extremes of -40 to +40 degrees.  The outdoor shows were tough on them: rodeos, US grandstand shows, street dances, car shows, fairs, parades, outdoor PowWows on Reserves, Treflan demos in farmers' fields, etc. -- in which they had to put up with rain, hail, snow, dust, wind, flies and mosquitoes, heat, cold, blistering sun, bouncing flatbeds pulled by crazy tipsy drivers . . . and fire!
See the flaming drums story at:

They are a bit weary and now rest most of the time in our home studio -- but are still road- and stage-worthy, and still follow Sue-On to gigs for which our son Robin, or other guest drummers aren't available.

What follows are a few of the photos of this faithful kit - from the '60s to present day.

  .  .
Ludwigs with Sue-On, Kevin Pahl, Bill Hillman ~ '70s/'80s Grad Dances: Manitoba High Schools and U of M, Winnipeg

Toddler Ja-On Hillman - Soulin's dad - over 30 years ago.
Performing with us at the Manitoba Exhibition.

Sue-On ~ Kevin ~ Bill: On Stage 1976  .  .

After the Stage Fire.
See the flaming drums story at:

Grandson Soulin finds that there is still life in the old kit.


Compiled by Bill Hillman

Rock & roll seemed to just come to us, on the radio and in the record stores. It became our music. . . But then we uncovered another, deeper level, the history behind rock and R&B, the music behind our music. All roads led to the source, which was the blues. ~ Martin Scorsese

Jazz is the big brother of the blues. If a guy's playing blues like we play, he's in high school. When he starts playing jazz it's like going on to college, to a school of higher learning. ~ B. B. King
Jazz came to America three hundred years ago in chains. ~ Paul Whiteman
The Blues is the roots, everything else is the fruits. ~ Willie Dixon
Sounds like the blues are composed of feeling, finesse, and fear. ~ Billy Gibbons / ZZ Top
As far as I'm concerned, blues and jazz are the great American contributions to music. ~ Edgar Winter
The history of a people is found in its songs. ~ George Jellinek
Ain't but one kind of blues and that consists of a male and female that's in love. ~ Son House
The blues -- it's kind of like a religion, really. ~ Peter Green
Music is my religion ~ Jimi Hendrix
Elvis deserves a lot of credit for bringing the blues to middle America, not the Vegas stuff. The early stuff, The Sun records, and the first few RCA records. He was wonderful, he had the power, the drive, and he was so dedicated to his music. ~ Peter Tork
Without Elvis, none of us could have made it. ~ Buddy Holly
When I first heard Elvis' voice, I knew that I wasn't going to work for anybody ... hearing him for the first time was like busting out of jail. ~ Bob Dylan
Scotty Moore plays one of the first really amazing riffs in rock history on Heartbreak Hotel with Elvis Presley ... it was dangerous, it scared everybody's parents, which was part of the attraction then - as it still is now... it totally blindsided me and made me want to get a guitar and do that ... ~  Roger McGuinn / Byrds
So much of what we do now started in 1954 at Sun Records in Memphis Tennessee ... those guys were inventing that stuff (Rock & Roll) ... you can really tell on some tracks ... they were actually afraid at times of what they were playing. But Rock & Roll definitely didn't come before that time; it started right there. ~ Brian Setzer - Stray Cats / Brian Setzer Orchestra
Ask anyone. If it hadn't been for Elvis, I don't know where popular music would be. He was the one that started it all off, and he was definitely the start of it for me. ~ Elton John
Music should be something that makes you gotta move, inside or outside. ~ Elvis Presley
The blues -- there's no black and white -- it's the truth. ~ Van Morrison
The Beatles and The Stones were basically inspired by American Rhythm and Blues. ~ Mick Taylor
There are happy blues, sad blues, lonesome blues, red-hot blues, mad blues, and loving blues. Blues is a testimony to the fullness of life. ~ Corey Harris
What Muddy Waters did for us is what we should do for others. It's the old thing, what you want written on your tombstone as a musician; HE PASSED IT ON. ~ Keith Richards
If it ain't about what's real, what's happenin' right now, it ain't the blues. ~ Chris Thomas King
It's no doubt that there's a connection (between the blues and hip-hop). Hip-hop is definitely a child of the blues. And I think you gotta  know the roots to really grow. It's like knowing your parents, it's like knowing your culture, so you could be proud of that culture and take it to the world. ~ Common
I feel like the blues is actually some kind of documentary of the past and the present -- and something to give people inspiration for the future. ~ Willie Dixon
Blues has been borrowed from and stolen from, and altered and changed over the years in many ways, but when you hear that real thing, it stands out. Everyone can tell what blues is and isn't. Blues is something that will not go away, no matter how little airplay it gets or how little acknowledgment it gets. It's the fundamental roots of American music. ~ John Hammond
If it wasn't for the British musicians, a lot of us black musicians in America would still be catchin' the hell that we caught long before. So thanks to them, thanks to all you guys. You opened doors that I don't think would have been opened in my lifetime. When white America started paying attention to the blues -- it started opening a lot of doors that had been closed to us. ~ B.B. King
Rock'n'roll is nothing but Boogie Woogie with stuff on top of it. And if you're black, they name it rhythm'n'blues, and if you're white, they name it rock'n'roll. So, I don't give a... You know. ~ Ike Turner
You can't rehearse a blues, darlin'. ~ Joe Williams
The old jazz singers or old blues singers, you always just saw them kind of sitting down and singing. They weren't worried as much about their voice sounding perfect. They would make the song kind of fit their voice. ~ Lucinda Williams
I'm using Fender Twin Reverbs and Fender Blues Devilles on stage. ~ Ike Turner
Blues is easy to play, but hard to feel. ~ Jimi Hendrix
I still think the best metal bands have a blues feel. The first Black Sabbath album is kind of a bludgeoning of blues. Deep Purple also started out as a blues band. ~ Greg Ginn
In those days, I didn't know how guys like Clapton and Beck were getting that searing blues lead sound, so I developed my style to be rhythmic and chord-based, with simple lead lines that you could almost hum. ~ John Fogerty
Blues is a natural fact, is something that a fellow lives. If you don't live it you don't have it. Young people have forgotten to cry the blues. Now they talk and get lawyers and things. ~ Big Bill Broonzy
The blues is the foundation, and it's got to carry the top. The other part of the scene, the rock 'n' roll and the jazz, are the walls of the blues. ~ Luther Allison
A lot of blues guitarists play with only three fingers, and they can't figure out certain runs that require the use of their little fingers. Classical training is good for that. ~ Ritchie Blackmore
Approach your guitar intelligently, and if there are limits, don't deny them. Work within your restrictions. Somethings you can do better than others, some things you can't do as well. So accentuate the positive. ~ Chet Atkins 
Protect your hands! Some fans demonstrate their enthusiam with bone-crushing hand shakes. My former teacher Julian Bream often bows Japanese style with his hands behind his back. Smart man !... ~ Liona Boyd
Beethoven can write music, thank God, but he can do nothing else on earth. ~ Ludwig Van Beethoven
I too once belived in the heavier gauge string as a superior tone source. However, thanks to the graciousness of B.B. King I learned that a lighter-gauge string offers superior playing comfort ... try it, you may like it ... ~  Billy F. Gibbons - Z.Z. Top
The result was the same as tuning down the strings by a semitone and using a capo at the first fret. With less tension in the strings, the sound was more mellow and softer; it also allowed me to cover a larger span of the fingerboard. I used this for quite a few years, but eventually I went back to the standard fingerboard. ~ Tal Farlow - Jazz Guitar
I always like the studio best, once I got the hang of it and the control. I like it because it's complete control. ~ John Lennon / Beatles
Everyone has their own sound, and if you're heard enough, folks will come to recognize it. Style however, is a different thing. Try to express your own ideas. It's much more difficult to do, but the rewards are there if you're good enough to pull it off ... ~ Chet Atkins 
You watch Jimi Hendrix literally reinvent the instrument. He was playing from somewhere else. He was really a kind of hybrid, and I can't even begin to imagine where he came from. ~  Steve Vai
You could play probably a span of 50 years of me playing St. Louis Blues, and most of the time it will be different every time. ~ Dave Brubeck
Once I was checking to hotel and a couple saw my ring with Blues on it. They said, 'You play blues. That music is so sad.' I gave them tickets to the show, and they came up afterwards and said, 'You didn't play one sad song.'  ~ Buddy Guy
See, that's nothing but blues, that's all I'm singing about. It's today's blues. ~ Jimi Hendrix
The musicians that didn't know music could play the best blues. I know that I don't want no musicians who know all about music playin' for me. ~ Alberta Hunter
My idea of heaven is a place where the Tyne meets the Delta, where folk music meets the blues. ~ Mark Knopfler
Anybody singing the blues is in a deep pit yelling for help. ~ Mahalia Jackson
Skiffle was blues featuring a washboard and acoustic instruments. It encompassed blues, with elements of folk, jazz, and, at times, American country-and-western music. ~ Van Morrison
I think a guy who's had just the right amount of booze can sing the blues a hell of a lot better than a guy who is stone sober. ~ Charlie Rich
We had a missionary zeal about blues music, and I felt, particularly, that Mickie Most was attempting to homogenize, sweeten, and make it accessible for the mass market. Which is understandable if you're the producer, but aggravating if you're the artist. ~ Alan Price
That's what Tina Turner did, too - sang blues up-tempo - and they called it rock 'n' roll. ~ Little Richard
The consolidation of the music business has made it difficult to encourage styles like the blues, all of which deserve to be celebrated as part of our most treasured national resources. ~ Bonnie Raitt
I'm certain that it was an incredible gift for me to not only be friends with some of the greatest blues people who've ever lived, but to learn how they played, how they sang, how they lived their lives, ran their marriages, and talked to their kids. ~ Bonnie Raitt
As a guitar player, you can gravitate to the blues because you can play it easily. It's not a style that's difficult to pick up. It's purely emotive and dead easy to get a start with. ~ Boz Scaggs
My take on rap is driven by straightforward American southern rock and blues. ~ Kid Rock
Simple music is the hardest music to play and blues is simple music. ~ Albert Collins 
If you hit a wrong note, then make it right by what you play afterwards. ~ Joe Pass / Jazz Guitar
I've always wanted the sound of Muddy Waters' early records - only louder. ~ Eric Clapton 
Just as a blues player can play 20 blues songs in a row but find a way to make each one different, ... I always want to find different ways to do something.  Joe Satriani 
Go ahead and play the blues if it'll make you happy. ~ Homer Simpson
White folks hear the blues come out, but they don't know how it got there. ~ Ma Rainey
I've always felt that blues, rock 'n' roll and country are just about a beat apart. ~Waylon Jennings
It occurred to me by intuition, and music was the driving force behind that intuition. My discovery was the result of musical perception. (When asked about his theory of relativity) ~ Albert Einstein
I don't know anything about music, In my line you don't have to. ~ Elvis Presley
. . .a good player can make any guitar sound good ~ Michael Bloomfield
2,400,000 Americans play the accordion - hopefully not at the same time. ~ unknown
You can't over-hype Sam Phillips ... think of Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison, Carl Perkins, Howlin' Wolf, B.B. King: if you were associated with just one of those names, you'd be immortal. ~ Andy McLenon
Give me a riff that makes a kid want to go out and buy a guitar and learn to play ... ~ Ozzy Osbourne
Elvis Presleys' first album had more energy and more enthusiam than any other album at the time - when it was released it just blew everything else out. It changed the whole landscape of music. ~ Brian Setzer - Stray Cats
When Lonnie Mack came out with the guitar instrumental "Memphis" I thought, Oh God, finally somebody we guitar players can relate to ! ~ Dicky Betts / Allman Bros. Band
The blues appealed to me, but so did rock. The early rockabilly guitarists like Cliff Gallup and Scotty Moore were just as important to me as the blues guitarists... ~  Jimmy Page / Yardbirds / Led Zepplin
You think back to Tele players, and James Burton was the one who started it all. He inspired Roy Nichols (guitar for Merle Haggard & the Strangers), Don Rich (guitar for Buck Owens & the Buckaroos), and guys like that to push the envelope and expand on that sound... I really identify with that kind of thinking ... those guys to me are the reason why any of us do this... ~ Brad Paisley
All of the great sounds that James Burton and Jimmy Bryant were getting, came out of Telecasters" - Albert Lee
Charlie Christian's contributions to the electric guitar are as big as Thomas Edisons' contributions to the world... ~ Barney Kessel
My policy is not how fast you play, it's not how much you play but it's what you play and where you play it ... play for the commercial side of the music ... the word I still use today is called "simplicity" .. it is so important that you use simplicity in your playing and in your music ... ~ James Burton / Lead Guitar Elvis Presley, Ricky Nelson, EmmyLou Harris, John Denver 
In 1938 I went out to Tulsa, Oklahoma to see Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys perform. After the set, a bunch of musicians were sitting around talking, and I remember seeing this young black fellow standing around. He came over and asked if I had an extra pick. I gave him one, and then he asked for my autograph. I asked him if he played. He said 'yes' and began to pick. I'll never forget what I said - 'My God, you're good !' that was the first time I met Charlie Christian. ... as a guitarist Charlie was simply the best around ... he had a way of getting on one note and driving it right into the ground. I figured if you're going to be great, you've got to play a lot of notes, right? not Charlie - he'd hit one note and he'd own it ... ~ Les Paul
I've come up with the theory that the music is within. We don't bring it in; it's already there. We have to figure out how to get it out. ~ Howard Roberts - Jazz Guitar
I don't like to go into the studio with all the songs worked out and planned before hand ... you've got to give the band something to use its imagination on as well. That can make a very ordinary song come alive into something totally different ... the X-factor - so important in rock and roll - which is the feel.. ~ Keith Richards / Rolling Stones
The music you make is shaped by what you play it on ... if you feel that you're not getting enough out of a song, change the instrument - go from an acoustic to an electric or vice versa, or try an open tuning ... do something to shake it up... ~ Mark Knopfler / Dire Straits
Sam Phillips always encouraged me to do it my way, to use what ever other influences I wanted, but never to copy ... that was a great rare gift he gave me: believe in myself, right from the start of my recording career... if there hadn't been a Sam Phillips, I might still be working in a cotton field ~ Johnny Cash
Lenny Breau played more great stuff at one time than anybody on the planet... with feeling and tone. He was the best that ever lived, bar none. ~ Danny Gatton
Hell is a half-filled auditorium. ~ Robert Frost
I've outdone anyone you can name -- Mozart, Beethoven, Bach, Strauss. Irving Berlin, he wrote 1,001 tunes. I wrote 5,500. ~ James Brown
A good composer does not imitate; he steals. ~ Igor Stravinsky 
Music makes me high on stage, and that's the truth. It's like being almost addicted to music. - Jimi Hendrix 
There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats. ~ Albert Schweitzer
Music is the shorthand of emotion. ~ Leo Tolstoy
The pause is as important as the note. ~ Truman Fisher
Silence is the fabric upon which the notes are woven. ~ Lawrence Duncan
By far the most astonishing guitar player ever has got to be Django Reinhardt ... Django was quite superhuman, There's nothing normal about him as a person or a player ... and you can't forget Gene Vincent's guitarist Cliff Gallup ... he was my guiding light through my teenage years ... if you want to take a broader view, I think country guitarist Albert Lee is a gas ... there's also Paul Burlison, who played with Johnny Burnette ... people don't think of Les Paul as a rocker, but as far as I'm concerned he laid down the building blocks of rock and roll .. from a jazz perspective there's Charlie Christian, Thumbs Carlyle, Grant Green - they're all fabulous players... you can't forget Buddy Guy, I once saw him throw the guitar up in the air and catch it in the same chord ... Eddie Van Halen brought tapping to the forefront and I still think he was one of the tastiest players doing it ... George Harrisons got great intonation ... Eric Clapton is certainly the ambassador ... he's the guy everybody makes reference to, He's the household name for electric guitar, blues and rock and roll ... Erics got so much to offer, in addition to playing so well, he gives the world songs they can identify with ... ~ Jeff Beck
He not busy being born is busy dying. ~ Bob Dylan 
For so long we plowed different furrows ... the greats ... be it of country, rhythm & blues, rock 'n' roll ... you know what they were doing? They were messing with your heart and soul. That's what it was. Nothing has the strength, the power of music. ~ Sam Phillips

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