This guitar lived the first year or so of its life in a storage unit. A friend of mine had decided to learn guitar, but then one thing led to another and it ended up in storage. I liberated it around 2003, just before I left New York for a year of wandering the country. I happened to have just watched the movie Kung Pow around the time I bought this guitar, and I named it after the villain, Master Pain, AKA Betty. Betty became my main guitar around 2008, when I felt that I needed more sonic versatility than I was getting from Jenny. Shortly after switching guitars, my Sovtek amp started having some reliability problems so I switched to a Fender ‘65 Twin reissue, which sounds great with this guitar.
Speaking of versatility, there’s a lot going on. I installed a set of piezoelectric saddles and an acoustic preamp (Graph Tech Ghost) so I could get acoustic-style sounds for our live arrangements of No Clothes on Ragged Island. My pedalboard had been two channel for a while, but not the guitar. So I wired up a stereo output on the guitar, with the magnetic pickups on one channel and the piezo pickups on the other. I replaced one tone control with a volume control for the piezo channel. I installed a three way toggle to select between magnetic, piezo, or both. For most of 2010, I ran the piezo channel into the normal channel on the Twin, and the magnetic channel into the vibrato channel.
I have a lot of love for this guitar. Before I started taking it out to shows, it was the main guitar used for composing guitar solos. Most of the good ones came from this guitar. Some good songs came from it too. “A Little Bit of Soul” was written on this guitar, and it was plugged straight into the four track for the demo a few minutes later. Then when I recorded “A Little Bit of Soul” with Ninth Street Mission, I used Jenny for the rhythm guitar, but Betty for the solo. This is the main electric guitar heard on Of Innocence and Experience and No Clothes on Ragged Island.
This guitar has taken a beating, and is missing some paint on the back from bouncing around the stage at Ghost Ghost shows. It probably wasn’t meant for a rock and roll life. Maybe I wasn’t either.