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Digital Subscriptions > Guitar Magazine > Jan 2019 > VINTAGE MOJO

VINTAGE MOJO

It’s often said that vintage guitars are beyond the reach of hard-working musicians, but South Wales-based blues-rock guitarist Mark Pontin has assembled a fine collection of player-grade gear. We head to Llangennech’s Sonic One Studio for a tour of Mark’s vintage guitars and amps…
From left to right, Mark’s Telecaster collection includes a ‘64, a ‘63 Dakota Red reinish and a ‘67 ‘Smugglers’
Mark bought his ‘61 ash-bodied Strat at ATB Guitars – once he picked it up, he didn’t even bother trying any of the other guitars that were on sale

Mark Pontin is an old friend of this writer, and it’s been wonderful to watch him go from holding down a day job and gigging whenever he could, to fulfilling his lifelong ambition of being a professional musician. Even back in the day, he was a monster player, but Mark’s musicianship has progressed considerably, while his taste in gear has evolved from powerful amps and reissue guitars to lower-power vintage amps and instruments.

Mark was seemingly always destined to be a guitarist. “My mum played a Spanish guitar when I was little,” he recalls. “She would strum it for me and my little brother and sing songs. I remember being fascinated by that. When I was 11, she bought me a Spanish guitar and I spent the next five years hassling her to teach me. Eventually, I realised it would be better if I taught myself.

“Our parents had split up and every Christmas, my father would take us to Cardiff and ask what we wanted. One year, I asked for an electric guitar and he took me into the shop. I picked a Columbus copy of a Jackson with a fake Floyd Rose and the next day, I broke a string. I had to wait a whole week to take the guitar back and get them to show me how to change it. It wasn’t a great guitar, but the floating trem got me doing something that I used to think was a bad habit, but I now consider a blessing. I would press on the bridge to get vibrato without using the arm.

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