Linc Chamberland

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Linc Chamberland
Birth name Lionel Victor Chamberland
Born (1940-09-13)September 13, 1940
Norwalk, Connecticut
Died June 24, 1987(1987-06-24) (aged 46)
New York City
Genres Jazz, rock, jazz fusion
Occupation(s) Musician, teacher
Instruments Guitar
Years active 1961–mid 1980s
Labels Roulette, Muse, Mainstream, A&M Horizon
Associated acts Gotham, Dave Liebman

Linc Chamberland (né Lionel Victor Chamberland; September 13, 1940 in Norwalk, Connecticut – June 24, 1987 in New York City) was an American jazz guitarist based in Connecticut. After playing with The Orchids in the 1960s, he stopped touring, became a private teacher, and performed locally in Norwalk. Tommy Mottola called Chamberland "one of the greatest guitarist of all time." "You never heard anything like Linc."[1][2]

Chamberland sometimes spelled his nickname "Link", and some published references incorrectly spell his last name "Chamberlain."

Music career[edit]

In the mid 1960s, Chamberland was the leader of an R&B band called The Orchids.[1] His objection to touring was the result of bad experiences while touring with The Orchids.

In 1971, musicians formed a horn band called Sawbuck whose members included Schuyler "Sky" I. Ford (1947–2001) (vocals), Frank Vicari (who replaced Dave Liebman) and Pee Wee Ellis (saxes), John Eckert and John Gatchell (trumpets), Chris Qualles (bass), Linc Chamberland (guitar), and Jimmy Strassburg (drums).[3] The band cut a record in 1972 with Motown under its new name, "Gotham."[4] Other names of the band included "Gasmask" and "The New York Street Band."[5]


Chamberland played a 1953 Fender Telecaster. In his search to get exactly the sound he wanted from the guitar, Chamberland modified it. From the top down, the guitar had Grover heads, a 1957 Stratocaster neck, Humbucker pick-ups, and a Gibson bridge and tailpiece. The bottom portion of the body was milled out to fit these last two things. Chamberland also modified the internal wiring. He had his bridge set abnormally high, raising the strings far off the fingerboard. This gave him his very distinctive clean tone, an example of which can be heard in his playing on Cat's Meow. The raised bridge required additional finger strength, particularly on high notes. In its original version, the Telecaster had the stock Fender bridge and tailpiece. In order to get the height on the strings that he wanted, Chamberland stuck popsicle sticks under the bridge to raise it higher.[5]

According to Tommy Mottola, other guitarist couldn't play Chamberland's Telecaster because of the way Chamberland modified it. He also replaced the E-string, the bottom one, with a banjo A-string that he bent to almost the top of his Telecaster. Mottola says that there was no way to bend a guitar string like that because of the tautness. But the banjo string was so thin that it allowed Chamberland to create his signature R&B style. Mottola said, "Nobody, nobody, nobody had a sound like Linc's."[1] The Telecaster is currently owned by Bob Maclauglin, one of Chamberland last two students.[5]

In 1975, fed-up that R&B had gone pop, Chamberland purchased a 1960s Gibson L-5 from Arthur Betker (1950–2009) and performed on it for his two jazz albums for Muse Records. The L-5 is now owned by guitarist Paul Sullivan, Chamberland's student during the late 1970s. Sullivan is a guitarist and music educator in Brooklyn.[5]


Linc Chamberland's son, Scott L. Chamberland (born 1961) is a saxophonist and, in 2012, became the owner of New Milford Music Center, Inc., in New Milford, Connecticut.


As leader[edit]

  • A Place Within (Muse, 1976)
  • Yet to Come

As band member[edit]

As sideman[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Hitmaker: The Man and His Music, by Tommy Mottola, Grand Central Publishing (2012) OCLC 828737413, 707964512
  2. ^ "Missing Linc: An Open Letter to My Great Mentor," by Mark Hermann, Rock and Roll Zen, December 9, 1913
  3. ^ James Strassburg biography: Who's Who in Rock Music, by William York, New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1982 OCLC 8034627
  4. ^ What It Is: The Life of a Jazz Artist, by Dave Liebman, Scarecrow Press (2012) OCLC 744300488
  5. ^ a b c d Essay: Link Chamberland: Master Guitarist, by Richard M. Blechta (born 1951), self-published online, August 1, 2004 (edited March 24, 2006)