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March, 2009:

Epiphone Wilshire 1962 Reissue


icontexto-webdev-social-bookmark-09facebook481The Epiphone Wilshire was a solid-body guitar made in the 1960s as an alternative to a Gibson SG. It sported two P-90 pickups and a hardtail bridge, and was put into the Epiphone line in 1960.

Epiphone Wilshire GuitarA long-time sleeper of this Epiphone range, the solid-body Wilshire model represented amazing quality and value throughout the ’60s. Originally intended as something of a rival to Fender’s Stratocaster, offering similar upper-fret access and curvaceous body lines, the Wilshire actually provided similar features and tones to that of Gibson’s own Les Paul Special, at a price closer to that of the more affordable Les Paul Junior.

The Wilshire featured two P-90 pickups, a three-on-a-side headstock, and a solid mahogany body and one-piece neck. It benefited, however, from Gibson’s fully intonable ABR-1 bridge and stop tailpiece, all in all offering a straightforward instrument with up-market features, at a relatively affordable price.

The guitar, like all Epiphone’s solid body guitars, was met with little success and was discontinued in the mid-1960s.

However, there is now a very nice authentic USA-made reissue for a shade under £2000. Unlike most other Epiphones it is not a Far Eastern-made cheaper alternative to a Gibson, but a range-topping American model made in the Gibson Custom Shop.

It is a faithful replica of the 1962 Wilshire model, with the two P-90s, tune-o-matic bridge and classic cherry finish remaining intact.

The bonus features include a certificate of authenticity, a commemorative T-shirt, guitar picks and leather strap. The guitar is close to $5,000 in list price, ironic for a guitar originally sold at $210 and looked upon as a “poor man’s Gibson”.

Gibson have stated that this guitar is limited to only 100 instruments, which will no doubt make it a collectable guitar for the future.

I also saw while browsing around a guitar site, some other Epiphone reissues. This one was a less painstaking reproduction of a Wilshire, looking more like an Epiphone Crestwood in fact, with two mini-humbuckers and an aged finish- however, this one was around £250. I have yet to see it on the official Epiphone website, however, so at the minute I’m not sure.

UPDATE: Gibson have announced a white version, again limited to 100 guitars, and I am assuming at the same price. I have to say it looks even nicer in white…

Epihone Wilshire Reissue in white

RKS Guitars

icontexto-webdev-social-bookmark-091RKS Guitars are an American-based company who make very unusual guitars to bespoke specifications for a high cost.

The only vaguely conventional feature of these astounding guitars is the silhouette. My first encounter with an RKS was in the High Wycombe shop called BBZ Guitars.

The shape commonly used by the company is an equal cutaway style, made usually of ash. The body has a central part which houses the pickups and bridge, and then there is an external part on each side with a pickup selector between the two pieces.

RKS GuitarsThese guitars were designed by Ravi Sahwney, an industrial designer, in conjunction with   Dave Mason, of Traffic and later Fleetwood Mac, and also a renowned solo and session guitarist.

They are known for bespoke craftsmanship, often wild colour schemes, and of course the unique design. Also available is a differently-shaped model, the Wave, built on the same design principle, and the Uluru Boomerang V-shaped model available to custom order.

Prices are usually from £800 or so onwards. Most models retail new for around £1,500. RKS also make basses and baritone models of their guitars.

The neck felt great when we played the RKS, but the shape takes a lot of getting used to, mainly just because of what you traditionally expect, not for any problems playing the instrument.

These guitars are always going to be rare I think, so I would definitely mark them down as a collectable guitar for the future.

The Stratocaster Chronicles: Celebrating 50 Years of the Fender Strat

I found an interesting book on the Fender Stratocaster, by Tom Wheeler of Guitar Player Magazine.

The Stratocaster Chronicles: Celebrating 50 Years of the Fender Strat

stratocaster chronicles

The world’s most famous guitar has a golden anniversary in 2004 and this official, authorised book/CD package offers the best photos, quotes, facts and sounds to properly celebrate this achievement. From Buddy Holly to Jimi Hendrix to today’s hottest players, the Fender Stratocaster defines rock ‘n’ roll for generations of fans and players. A foreword by Eric Clapton. Exclusive photos from the world’s greatest guitar collection. A CD with musical examples of famous Strat sounds and styles – even spoken excerpts from the author’s interviews with the Strat’s beloved inventor, Leo Fender.

And in the words of one Amazon reviewer, “The best Fender Strat book yet”

Ovation Breadwinners for sale

icontexto-webdev-social-bookmark-091After my post about the Ovation Breadwinner guitar, I found a couple for sale in London last week.

Both were in the Music Ground shop, and both priced at £899. 

Ovation Breadwinner guitar for saleHere is a photo of one of them; it seems to be in pretty good condition and original, but I can’t vouch for that.

The shop also had a pair of Hamer Phantoms, one white and one metallic red. Again, these both seemed to be in good condition and were alos both priced at £899.

Music Ground definitely has the most obscure collection of guitars in Denmark Street, everything from old Guyatones, Burns and Ekos through to Arias and Hamers from the 80’s.

I’d recommend a leisurely browse if you are ever in the vicinity!

Neil Schon Signature Les Paul


icontexto-webdev-social-bookmark-091After my post about the Gibson Les Paul Axcess, I thought I should follow up my mention of the Neal Schon Signature Les Paul. I believe only about 80 of these guitars were made by the Gibson Custom Shop, so they certainly fit under the collectable category.

Here is a video of Neal discussing and demonstrating the Les Paul, and below that is a bit of sales copy about theguitar’s unique features.

Rock guitar icon Neal Schon, best known as Journey’s lead guitarist and famous in his own right, has put his personal touches on the new Neal Schon Signature Les Paul guitar from Gibson Custom. The new model features such personal Schon touches as a Floyd Rose tremolo unit, a dramatically sculpted neck/body joint for easier upper fret access, and a Fernandes Sustainer pickup for the screaming lead parts he is famous for.

The Neal Schon Signature Les Paul model has a carved mahogany top, mahogany back, multi-ply black/white binding on top, chrome-plated hardware and a Floyd Rose tremolo. The one-piece mahogany neck has a scarfed heel joint a “Schon custom” slim-taper neck profile. The 22-fret ebony fingerboard features pearl split-diamond inlays and single-ply white binding. The pickups are a DiMarzio Fast Track/Fernandes Sustainer in the neck position and a Gibson BurstBucker® Pro in the bridge position. In addition to the standard Les Paul electronics (individual pickup volume and tone controls, plus three-way selector switch), the Schon Signature features two mini-toggles – an on/off for the Sustainer and an octave effect – along with a push/pull pot for midrange cut.

Alan Rogan Interview

icontexto-webdev-social-bookmark-091Alan Rogan, legendary guitar technician with The Who and the Rolling Stones, talks about his work and guitars. Guitar tech to rock royalty for decades, Alan talks about his long stint with Who guitar legend Pete Townshend, and explains why Pete’s custom-modded Fender Stratocaster® guitar and Vibro-King® amp are “the real thing” …

Vintage Fender Colours

Fender 1960's Guitar Coloursicontexto-webdev-social-bookmark-091Just a quickie..I found Curtis Novak’s  great site with a wonderful pictorial view of vintage Fender colours.

Even if you aren’t interested in the colours, it’s worth having a look for the lovely photography.

In Curtis’ own words…

These are pictures of my sample blocks of Fender 60’s colors. I attempted to create as accurate as possible a representation of the colors Fender used in the 60’s. I used Dupont paint and the colors are mixed from the NOS Dupont paint mix numbers. They are cleared with Nitrocellulose Lacquer.

I have photographed my sample blocks in a way that attempts to show the dynamics of a given color rather than just a flat thumbnail image. I feel this better represents the color. I am still working at making the colors more accurate. Keep in mind that I am doing this and testing it on a few dozen different computers and they are rather consistent, but the color may very depending on your display and video card.

Fender 1960’s Custom Colours

Collectable Guitars pt 22 – Shergold Guitars


icontexto-webdev-social-bookmark-091Shergold was a little-known guitar company started in 1967 by Jack Golder and Norman Houlder, who had both previously worked for Burns.

They were located in Harold Wood, East London for most of their professional career.

Shergold Modulator Guitar

Shergold Modulator Guitar

Some models introduced by Shergold were the Masquerader, the Modulator (with active electronics), and the Custom Double, a twin neck guitar available in several different neck combinations. The Masquerader is the best known and most numerous of Shergold’s models, but is still very rare.

Also made was a budget series, the Meteor and Nu Meteor.

Some other models which have been sighted but were made either as prototype models or in very limited runs include the Activator, (suspected to have exceeded no more than 20 units) the Trojan and the Triumph – a rebadged Les Paul style model originally made by Rosetti.

Shergolds were never successful, chiefly because of the weird styling of many of their models, and would be very collectible today as interest grows in unusual old British guitars. I’m not sure how much the different models would be worth, but my guess is at around £500 upwards for a nice one.

The Chanel Guitar (yes, really…)

icontexto-webdev-social-bookmark-091“Coco Chanel had an affair with Stravinsky, mine was with a guitar.”  
Karl Lagerfield

Chanel Guitar

One of the more interesting things seen at the Paris Spring 2009 Fashion shows was the Chanel guitar and guitar bag.

It was a simple black guitar, but it discreetly spells Chanel on the headstock and has the Chanel logo in the soundhole.

It comes with a wide guitar strap in brown, black and white stripe, again with the Chanel logo on the leather detail and a white, quilted leather guitar case.

We’re not sure what the origin of manufacture is, but one notable feature is the unusual forearm contour, (see pic)

So would any real musician buy and use this thing? It will undoubtedly be grossly overpriced, so it seems more like a showpiece than something anyone would actually use, but we may see it turn up in some music videos in the future…

The nylon strung acoustic guitar retails for a mere £2800, including the bag and strap.

chanel guitar bag

Own a piece of Clapton History!

icontexto-webdev-social-bookmark-091Vintage Guitar Gems, an established Vintage/Used Guitar & Amp store in the Conejo Valley was contacted by Yvonne Elliman (EC’s backup singer for many years as well as a songwriter, recording artist and actor) to sell the guitar that was used to record ‘Let it Grow’ during the famous 461 Ocean Blvd recording sessions at Criteria Studios in Florida in 1974.

Martin D12-20 GuitarMark Lane, the man behind Vintage Guitar Gems is thrilled that Yvonne, a great friend, thought of him and his company when she finally decided to part with this rare beauty.

“I know Yvonne loved and treasured that Martin but her son Ben is starting his dream restaurant with his fine culinary talents and the investment with the proceeds of the Rare Martin sale will jump start Ben’s business and help ‘Let it Grow’ as well.”

Estimates on the final sale price are between $200K & 400K! It is on eBay now and will run for 7 more days.

Ebay link to Clapton’s Martin acoustic