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Collectable Guitars

Value of vintage guitars on the rise

People make noise with them in the basement and some even grow rich from travelling from town to town playing them. But guitars can be a good investment as well.

What are now referred to as vintage guitars were simply old guitars back in the 1980s. The 42 Guitar Index – which tracks the cumulative value of 42 vintage instruments from Gibson, Fender and Martin ­- has tracked steadily upward since 1991. You could have bought all of those axes listed for about $150,000 that year.

The index was just shy of $1 million in 2008, and then the recession hit, pulling prices down 30 percent from their high in recent years. That sounds a lot like the equity markets in 2008-09.

The index, published every year by Vintage Guitar magazine, is back on the upswing and tracking back toward $800,000. Meanwhile, equity markets are hot and there’s lots of cheap money out there. Vintage dealers say there are profits to be made with quality instruments from decades past. And the best part, while you own them you can play them – preferably loud.

Guitars Worth Leaving Behind

Gibson Don Felder Interesting article here by Jol Dantzig:

An interesting yet disturbing trend of late in the vintage-guitar market is perfectly correct instruments being parted out to meet the demand for rare hardware.

Most of us don’t spend a lot of time thinking about the kind of legacy we’ll leave behind. I’m not talking about big ideas like curing cancer or saving the planet from harm. What I am talking about are much more diminutive contributions, or actually, lack of action.

A few years ago, I awoke one morning to the sound of chainsaws drifting across my property. I live in a somewhat rural area surrounded by rough, hilly terrain and forest, and have a 600-foot driveway that winds past a section of a neighbor’s land. Following the sounds of trees being felled, I arrived at the point where my plot met his. Seeing me, my neighbor looked up, killed his smoking Stihl saw, and walked over to chat. He explained that his livestock hobby needed more grazing land, so he’d decided to level an acre of tall trees and shrubs.

I wanted to continue to enjoy the privacy that the foliage afforded when entering my driveway, so of course I was being selfish as I urged him to reconsider. But it also struck me as irresponsible to just trash an acre of old-growth trees. I’m an advocate of responsible wood harvesting and an avid fan of reclamation, so I reminded him that his deed would remain long after he moved on. Upon consideration, my neighbor compromised and merely thinned out some of his land. This column, however, isn’t directly about forests being decimated for musical instrument use. It’s about stewardship of what already exists.

Read the full article here

Part of Rory Gallagher’s guitar collection for sale

New Kings Road Vintage Guitar Emporium are very proud to offer a selection of guitars and amplifiers for sale from the collection of Ireland’s legendary guitarist, Rory Gallagher.

These instruments have never been offered for sale until now. There are some great pieces that have been used live and in the studio by Rory, and this a truly unique opportunity, to purchase some of his authentic equipment.

New Kings Road Vintage Guitar Emporium will be displaying the instruments for sale at their shop located at 65a New Kings Road, London, SW6 4SG.

see them here

GuitarTrader launches online gear marketplace

icontexto-webdev-social-bookmark-09facebook481A new marketplace website, GuitarTrader.co.uk, aimed at helping shops and guitar buyers find second-hand, used and vintage items has launched.

Pitching itself as the AutoTrader of the guitar world (though not in any way affiliated with that brand), GuitarTrader is essentially an online classified ad service, which hopes to provide a forum for anyone wishing to buy or sell guitar gear.

The idea is that guitar players and retailers (particularly those that have little discernible online presence/catalogue) sign up to the service and list their available products, without having to setup their own e-commerce platform.

It’s no secret in the guitar world that there are a lot of second-hand instruments sat in shops, or the homes of collectors without websites, so fingers-crossed the service will make it easier for players to find their ideal guitars.

*ALERT* Guitar Collection Stolen in Sweden

I’m posting this on behalf of the Owner, please be aware of these instruments in case they start showing up for sale..

Hello,

Unfortunately half of my collection of guitars, which I have collected and hand picked for more than 25 years, has been stolen in Ystad, very south in Sweden. Most of the 15 stolen guitars are from special series, two Custom Shops are very limited. What is really outstanding is the condition of almost all instruments. Most of them are dead mint, 10,0 out of 10.

Examples of the guitars:

1 Fender Custom Shop ”Play Loud”, only made in 100 examples worldwide
1 Fender Custom Shop Reverse Proto Stratocaster, only made in 100 examples worldwide
1 Fender Gold/Gold Stratocaster, dead mint unplayed
2 Fender Antiguas,
1 Fender International Color in Capri Orange
2 Fender Stratocaster Yngwie Malmsteen Signature och 1 Fender Dave Murray Signature

Here is information about all stolen guitars:

  • Model Serial no Land Year Color Neck Cond
  • Fender 1 American Standard Stratocaster E349438 USA 1985 Inca Silver Rosewood 10
  • Fender 2 Gold Stratocaster, Collector´s Series CA11495 USA 1981 Gold Metallic Maple 10
  • Fender 3 Yngwie Malmsteen Signature Stratocaster SZ3041518 USA 2003 Vintage White Maple 10
  • Fender 4 Custom Shop Reverse Proto Stratocaster LTD SZ4098012 USA 2005 Olympic White Maple 10
  • Fender 5 American Standard Stratocaster Antigua S903311 USA 1979 Antigua Maple 8
  • Fender 6 American Standard Stratocaster Antigua S915272 USA 1979 Antigua Maple 10
  • Fender 7 The Strat E032030 USA 1980 Lake Placid Blue Maple 8,5
  • Fender 8 Custom Shop Yngwie Malmsteen “Play Loud” Strat LTD YS499 USA 2008 Olympic White Maple 10
  • Fender 9 American Standard Stratocaster E329339 USA 1983 Olympic White Maple 9,5
  • Fender 10 American Stratocaster International Color S938176 USA 1980 Capri Orange Rosewood 9,8
  • Fender Dave Murray Signature Stratocaster V177911 USA 2009 Black Maple 10
  • Fender Stratocaster Splatter Limited Edition MZ312516 Mexiko 2003 Blue/white/silver Rosewood 10
  • Fender Yngwie Malmsteen Signature Stratocaster SZ9386068 USA 2009 Vintage White Maple 10
  • Music Man Luke Signature Edition ???? USA 2006 Black Sapphire Rosewood 10

Please spread the information about the burglary and the lost guitars to your partners and business contacts. A generous reward will be given to information that will give me my guitars back!!

Please observe that there are only 10 guitars on the picture, but as you can see 15 instruments were stolen!!

If you have any information about the instruments, or have heard any rumours, please come back to me. Your help to get the guitars back to my will be highly appreciated and generously rewarded!!

Many thanks!

Marcus Ohlsson
Phone number: +46 708 348605
Mail: mo_46@hotmail.com

The Gibson Moderne Returns!

Gibson’s Moderne is back in production. Here’s the story in the company’s own words…

A musical chimera, shrouded in the silvered mists of myth and legend, the Gibson Moderne has long been known as the enigmatic “guitar that never was”… or, was it? Designed as the third member of a trio of guitars in the new Modernist Series, prototypes of which were displayed at the 1957 NAMM show, the Moderne was originally intended to be the sibling of the Flying V and the Explorer, but never made it off the launch pad the way the other two then-futuristic classics did. Although they are iconic symbols of rock guitar today, even the Flying V and Explorer were too far ahead of their time in the late ’50s, and fewer than 200 units of both types were made in their original three-year run before deletion from the catalog in 1960. Perhaps Gibson foresaw that a third Modernist was pushing it just too far? Or did a poor early reaction to the guitar lead to its demise? Ted McCarty, president of Gibson at the time, has said a number of Modernes were made; other tales tell of prototypes and raw bodies being burned in a bonfire at Kalamazoo after early showings failed to set the guitar world alight. Whatever the real story–and perhaps it is lost forever to the mists of time–the Moderne is perhaps rarest and most elusive Gibson guitar ever created. Or was, until now. “New” from Gibson USA, the Moderne captures the look, feel and sound of the original, and puts it in the hands of players today.

The Moderne is made to the precise “pre-space-aged-retro” shape that made the original so eye-catchingly hip, with elements of the Flying V’s look, but with an asymmetrical lower bout that makes the guitar much easier to play sitting down. Gibson USA dresses it in your choice of two outstanding finishes, Trans Amber and Ebony, both in genuine nitrocellulose lacquer, with the gold-plated hardware that helped the Modernist series stand out in the late ’50s. The body is crafted from solid mahogany (Grade-A beneath the Trans Amber guitars), with a solid quarter-sawn Grade-A mahogany neck glued in with Gibson’s acclaimed deep-set neck joint. The neck is carved to a slim, fast profile that measures .800″ at the 1st fret and .850″ at the 12th, and topped with a fingerboard made from exotic granadillo. The Moderne’s headstock follows the rare split-top design, as also seen on the extremely scarce Explorer models from the first year of production.

A pair of ’57 Classics captures the sound of the original PAF humbuckers loaded on Modernist Series guitars of the late ’50s. These popular pickups feature Alnico II magnets, vintage enamel-coated wire, nickel-plated pole pieces, nickel slugs, maple spacers and vintage-style, two-conductor, and braided wiring, just like the greatest humbuckers of all time. In a variation from the majority of original PAFs, however, the ’57 Classics’ coils are wax potted to combat microphony and feedback squeal at high volumes so, while vintage voiced, they are suited to high-gain playing, too. The timeless pairing of Tune-o-matic bridge and stopbar tailpiece, both in gold, anchors the strings at the body end for solid sustain and precise intonation adjustment. A set of gold-plated, vintage-style tuners with pearloid buttons retains the accurate look and performance up at the headstock.

Read our article on the Moderne here

Each guitar comes protected in a plush-lined hardshell case with black exterior, and includes owner’s manual and adjustment literature, along with Gibson’s Limited Lifetime Warranty and 24/7/365 customer service.

Features

  • Solid Mahogany body available in Trans Amber and Ebony finishes
  • Mahogany neck with slim, fast neck profile
  • Granadillo fingerboard with acrylic dot inlays
  • Features a pair of powerful ’57 Classic humbucking pickups
  • Vintage-style, pearloid-button tuners with 14:1 tuning ratio

Pricing and Availability:
$2,599

Nice George Gruhn interview..

icontexto-webdev-social-bookmark-09facebook481A nice interview has recently been posted with George Gruhn.

The world of guitars has a select few gurus who have reached a place where they offer a foundation of expertise. In the world of vintage guitars, the name that always comes to mind is George Gruhn. Certainly, there are others with vintage guitar expertise and backgrounds that we can consult for enlightenment. But, if you want the highest level of credibility, you turn to George.

Gruhn’s expertise is highlighted in the books he co-authored with Walter Carter, including Gruhn’s Guide to Vintage Guitars, along with follow-up editions on Acoustic Guitars and Other Fretted Instruments: A Photographic History, and Electric Guitars and Basses: A Photographic History. George has also written numerous articles for guitar magazines, as well as publishes his own Gruhn Newsletter. He has also been a featured columnist for Pickin’, Frets, Bluegrass Unlimited, Guitar Player and Vintage Guitar Magazine.

read the interview

Long Lost George Harrison Vox UL730 Amp to Be Sold at Auction

icontexto-webdev-social-bookmark-09facebook481A rare amp once belonging to the late George Harrison — and used for several Beatles recording sessions — will be sold at auction on December 15 at Bonhams in London, England.

The amp, a Vox UL730, was used during recording sessions for Revolver and Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Heart’s Club Band. Its connection to the Beatles and Harrison — who died 10 years ago today — has been discovered only recently.

Peter Hook of Joy Division and New Order borrowed the amp from the current vendor in February 2011, as his guitarist needed a vintage amp for a recording session at Blueprint Studios in Salford. It developed a fault at the end of the session and was taken to a specialist engineer to be fixed.

When the amp chassis was removed from its case, the engineer noticed “George Harrison” scratched onto the chassis. After further inspection, he found a label on the inside of the speaker cabinet. Subsequent research led to a photograph of Harrison and The Beatles in the studio with a UL730, with visible chalk markings similar to those seen in the cabinet that will appear at auction.

A member of The Merseybeats who used to write the “Beatles Gear” pages for the monthly Beatles Book magazine, and who attended many Abbey Road Beatles’ sessions as a guest, has also identified this as Harrison’s UL730.

The guide price at the Bonham’s auction is £50-70,000 and will be auctioned on 15th December in London.

Full story

Richard Gere’s Guitar Collection Raises Nearly $1 Million at Auction

icontexto-webdev-social-bookmark-09facebook481A collection of vintage guitars owned by the Hollywood actor Richard Gere has been sold at a Christie’s auction in New York. The sale featured 107 lots, including guitars and amplifiers, which Gere had amassed over a 20-year period. In all the sale raised $936,438, with all but 4% of the lots sold.

The sale’s top-selling lot was a classic 1960 Gibson Les Paul, which beat its pre-sale estimate of up to $90,000 to sell for $98,500 to an anonymous bidder. Other notable lots included a 1931 Martin D- 28 acoustic model which sold for $62,500, a 1958 Gibson Flying V which sold for $74,500 and a 1934 archtop built by John D’Angelico which sold for $20,000.

Gere, who is a well-known advocate for AIDS charities and a supporter of Tibet, will donate the proceeds of the sale to a number of charitable foundations.

Vintage Guitar Effects Announces Website for Guitar Effects Aficionados

Aficionados of guitars and guitar effects have a new source of information in a website made available from Vintage Guitar Effects.

The site is devoted to vintage and boutique guitar pedals and effects. On the site, visitors will find tons of information including in-depth articles, reviews, and videos. It is a blog-based site which encourages user feedback and comments as long as it relates to guitar effects. Interested users can even subscribe to an RSS feed which will keep them up-to-date every time a new post is put up.

Their extensive use of video is one of the things that set the Vintage Guitar Effects website apart from others. As an example, the January 31st entry is a review of the Dwarfcraft Eau Claire Thunder effects box. The review includes not only written information about the features of the box, but also a six-minute video demonstrating what this box can do. The author of the video plugs his guitar into the Eau Claire and puts it through its spaces, explaining to viewers what he’s doing every step of the way. The video is a great way for users to see and hear the Dwarfcraft Eau Claire Thunder for themselves. This is a strong selling point very few other review sites offer.

The site covers vintage guitar effects including compressors, bass pedals, multi-effects pedals, flange or pedals, overdrive pedals, and more. In the boutique guitar effects section, visitors will find items from well-known names like Boss, Death by Audio, Digitech, Excaliber Effects, Rockbox, and Solid Gold; just to name a few. Everything users need or want to know about purchasing vintage and boutique guitar effects is available on the site.

For those looking for vintage or boutique pedals and effects for sale, the website also has a dedicated store. The store contains dozens of links to various products listed at popular auction websites. Although Vintage Guitar Effects does not sell the products themselves, their store categorizes products by type, for easy shopping and searching, and includes thumbnail images. Clicking a given link will redirect the user to the auction site where the item is located.

You can check out the new site here

Richard Gere To Auction His Guitar Collection at Christies New York On October 11

Actor Richard Gere has decided to sell his guitar collection at Christies New York in October. The sale will offer approximately 110 lots, which will include a range of vintage American guitars, including models by Martin, Gibson, Fender, Gretsch and Epiphone models, and a selection of amplifiers, as well as iconic guitars that belonged to Albert King, Peter Tosh and James D’Aquisto. The sale is expected to realize in the region of $1,000,000.

As a leading Hollywood figure, Richard Gere is known for many iconic performances over the years, but he is also an accomplished musician and played in such films as Cotton Club and Pretty Woman among others. Mr. Gere studied trumpet, and he is a self-taught pianist and guitarist who has played since his youth. With a passion for American vintage guitars, Gere amassed a personal collection built upon their playability and craftsmanship. Kept and played in his home and office, the collection has been under wraps until now.

Richard Gere said: “I’ve had a love affair with guitars since I was a kid. They have been my true friends through the best and worst of times. I never planned to put together a collection, I just bought ones that I liked, the ones that sounded good and played well. Some are very special. Although it’s more than a little painful to let them go, each one has been played, loved and appreciated- and will be again. All my proceeds from this sale will go to support humanitarian causes around the world.”

Kerry Keane, Head of Musical Instruments Department, said: “Each guitar in this sale began as an instrument that Richard Gere purchased for himself, because he saw something brilliant, whether it was for its tonal quality, playability or sheer beauty. What transpired over a lifetime is an almost encyclopedic representation of American guitar making. This is an exciting opportunity for collectors and fans alike to take advantage of Mr. Gere’s unrecognized talent for creating a cohesive collection.”

Highlights include:

  • 1931 Martin D-28, Estimate: $50,000-70,000 The first Style D-28 designated by the C.F. Martin Company
  • 1985 Gibson Flying V, Estimate: $60,000-90,000 Documented as a pre-production prototype by Gibson Incorporated, the guitar was formally the property of Albert King.
  • 1935 John D’Angelico Archtop, Estimate: $10,000-15,000 Formerly the property of James D’ Aquisto
  • 1953 Fender Telecaster, Estimate: $15,000-25,000
  • 1960 Gibson ES-335 TD, Estimate: $20,000-30,000
  • 1954 Fender Stratocaster, Estimate: $30,000-40,000

Further details of the sale and catalogues will be available by mid-September 2011.

Collectable Guitars 42 – Godin Acousticaster

icontexto-webdev-social-bookmark-09facebook481Electric guitarists often own an acoustic or two as well, but many who are used to electrics find the transition between slim, ergonomic electrics and big, bulky acoustics to mean that playing acoustic is much more difficult, especially when combined with the heavier strings and increased tension of an acoustic guitar.

However, a solution became available in 1989 when the French-Canadian company Godin (established since 1972) introduced a new line of guitars. They were acoustic and lacked magnetic pickups, but had slim, Telecaster-shaped bodies which were chambered but did not have any external soundholes.

From a distance the new guitar (christened the Acousticaster) looked like any other Fender Telecaster (it had a chambered maple body with a spruce top, bolt-on maple neck and maple or rosewood fingerboard) but had traditional acoustic wooden bridges with inbuilt piezo pickups provided by L.R. Baggs. Part of the Acousticaster’s surprising resonance for a small guitar came from the use of eighteen metal “tines” (prongs or forks) inside the body, which are similar to tuning forks and resonated in sympathy with the guitar.

The piezo system was controlled by an EQ on the top bout of the body, featuring four sliders (controlling gain, bass, mids and treble) for finer tonal adjustments. The guitar was different from normal acoustics in that it was slimmer and smaller, and used ordinary electric guitar strings to facilitate bends that were out of reach of traditional acoustic guitarists.

It also put a wider range of notes at the guitarist’s disposal. Where acoustics generally feature 20 or 21 frets, the Acousticaster was able to match the Gibson Les Paul with 22 frets.

A few different finishes were initially available, and according to a 1989 review in Guitarist magazine these included black, white, natural, turquoise and cherry sunburst. It appears that natural and black, however, were the two most popular colour choices.

While many of the guitars I have written about from this time period were unsuccessful and are largely quite rare now, the Acousticaster is a resounding success story. Godin continues to have an extensive range of guitars and the Acousticaster remains part of the line-up. It is still made using the same construction methods and woods. New Acousticasters sell for around the £1000 mark, and used examples for anywhere between £300 and £700.

Nova Scotia swap meet could turn up some treasures

icontexto-webdev-social-bookmark-09facebook481A Halifax, NS businessman is hoping musicians from all over New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and P.E.I. will dig through their closets for old guitars, amplifiers and other gear and bring it all to Moncton for a unique swap meet.

The swap meet is set for Saturday, May 7 at the Moncton Lions Centre on St. George Street from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Stuart Lorriman, a long-time musician who recently retired as a sales rep for Canadian-made Godin guitars, says a similar event in Halifax attracted over 700 people, many of whom brought all kinds of used guitars, new guitars, amplifiers, effects pedals and other stuff that musicians go ga-ga over.

“The Halifax one really turned into a social event with people meeting up with old friends and bandmates,” Mr. Lorriman says. “I expect we could get 400 to 500 people in Moncton.”

He chose Moncton to stage the first swap meet in New Brunswick because of the central location, making it easy for people to come from Fredericton, Saint John, Miramichi, P.E.I., and other parts of New Brunswick.

The concept of the swap meet is pretty simple. Bring guitars, amplifiers and other stuff you’d like to trade, and of course some cash if you find something you’d like to buy.

Mr. Lorriman says the swap meet is a place where musical instrument dealers can showcase their new products, and where collectors can sell or trade. People with two or three items can bring them in and look for something to trade, but anyone with more than that is asked to rent a table for $30. Admission at the door will be $3. Mr. Lorriman can be reached by e-mail at audiorep@ns.sympatico.ca.

Local music stores have been invited to set up tables, but encouraged to put in some of their used gear or stuff that’s on sale – as opposed to taking stuff off the shelf at the store and putting it on a table at the swap meet.

In recent months, local music stores have become more open to taking trades on guitars, amplifiers and other gear as musicians look to trade in their old guitars for new ones.

This also opens the door for newcomers to pick up a used instrument at bargain prices. Beginners looking for a new or used guitar should plan to spend about $150 to $200 for something good. Higher-end guitars can go from $500 to more than $1,000.

In Metro Moncton, the best places to go guitar shopping for new instruments are the Long & McQuade music store on Plaza Boulevard and La Guitare on St. George Street. Both stores also take trades and have a selection of used gear. The Parlour pawn shop in Mountain Road also has a good selection of used guitars, amps, effects pedals and other stuff for sale and trade. Treasures and Trash also offers some used music gear.

But Mr. Lorriman is really hoping that some unique pieces of vintage gear will make it to the swap meet. The term “vintage” is rather loose when it comes to guitars and amps, but it generally applies to anything that can be dated back 25 years or beyond.

In guitar circles, vintage instruments are generally considered to be better made and sound better. Some people like them to be scratched up, others like them restored.

Mr. Lorriman says guitars from the 1950s and early 1960s are the most sought after by collectors, mainly because they were made by hand by true craftsmen. As the popularity of guitars soared from the 1960s through the 1980s and beyond, well-known guitar makers set up factories for mass producing the instruments. They also began producing economy lines.

For example, Fender guitars are probably the best known, especially for their Telecaster and Stratocaster models. Fender still makes guitars in its California factory, but they are also made in Mexico. Guitars from Fender’s economy line, Squire, could come from plants in Japan, China or Indonesia. To the untrained eye, a Fender Stratocaster and a Squier Stratocaster are virtually identical, but the price difference could be several hundred dollars.

Fenders have been on the market for more than 50 years, so there are a lot of them out there – new, used, modified, customized and some beaten to death. Collectors go wild searching for models from the 1950s or 1960s, and prices on Internet sites can skyrocket. For example, a nice 1959 Strat on Ebay has an asking price of $15,000, when a brand new one off the shelf sells for about $1,500. A new Squier Strat could be found for as low as about $150.

The folks at Fender, recognizing an opportunity, put out a “Road Worn” line of guitars that are brand new but scratched, sanded and beaten up to look like instruments that have many years of service.

Mr. Lorriman says real vintage instruments from the trusted brand names were made with superior workmanship and parts. The types of wood, the internal construction, the quality of metal and electrical components like pickups, and even the type of finish can all have an affect on the overall sound of the instrument. A few nicks and scratches won’t affect the sound and actually give the instrument character. But if the neck is warped and the bridge is pulling away from the body, it could be doomed.

A lot of musicians love collecting instruments. A term you’ll hear around town is “guitarded,” which basically translates into: “I know I don’t really need it and can’t afford it, but I’m getting it anyway.”

I know hobbyist musicians who have closets full of guitars and every once in a while they’ll gather up four or five and trade them in on something else.

Collectors usually like to have a bunch of guitars that have different sounds, so one is good for playing hard rock style while another would be better suited to blues or country.

Serious blues players will usually have at least one guitar with the action (the space between the strings and the fretboard) set very high for playing with a bottleneck slide. Guitarists might also have one set up differently or set to an odd tuning.? And then there are amplifiers, PA systems and effects pedals. That’s a whole story in itself.

The love of vintage guitars isn’t new, but Mr. Lorriman says it has really picked up with the advent of online shopping and TV shows like American Pickers and Pawn Stars. If you have an old instrument or amplifier, write down the make, model and serial number and then go searching online to find out when it was made and whether it is valuable.

But like anything else that is vintage or collectible, the true value is really what someone else is willing to pay. But it’s fun to look.

Source

Jeff Buckley’s Telecaster For Sale

icontexto-webdev-social-bookmark-09facebook481My friend Nicolai over at Vintage and Rare has alerted me to the sale of one of Jeff Buckley’s most used guitars through Chelsea Guitars, one of the dealers who advertise through his website.

The 1983 Telecaster was used extensively for live work by Jeff and was given to a close female friend by his family after Jeff’s untimely death in 1997.

I am not sure on all the details of the guitar, (it obviously has a replacement pickup) but Chelsea or Vintage and Rare will be able to supply all information needed. The guitar comes with all the provenance needed to prove its importance and legitimacy.

Here’s the link to the full details; Jeff Buckley’s 1983 Telecaster for sale

Clapton’s Guitar Auction Raises £1.3 Million

Eric Clapton’s recent guitar and amplifier auction has raised £1.3 million to continue funding his “Crossroads” rehab clinic in Antigua.

More than 130 lots were auctioned from his archive including a number of guitars he played live and on record, plus a vast collection of amps, speakers and even suits.

Highlights of the sale at Bonhams New York included a 1948 Gibson which sold for £51,000 – three times its estimate – which was used on one of Clapton’s solo blues albums.

An intricately decorated mahogany Zemaitis – inlaid with pearl – went for £47,000.

Custom-built 1997 Fender Twin Amps – created to ensure his favourite vintage 1957 speakers did not get damaged on tour – fetched four times the estimated price, selling for £26,000. The copies exceeded the £24,000 paid for Clapton’s original amps in the sale.

Money from the sale will go towards the Crossroads Centre in Antigua, which Clapton founded in 1998 to help treat drug and alcohol addiction.

He has previously held auctions in 1999 and 2004.

Jon Baddeley, worldwide head of collectables at Bonhams, said: “Arguably the greatest guitarist of all time, Eric Clapton inspires an ever-expanding fan base, many of whom made the journey to Bonhams in New York over the past few days and joined us for this remarkable auction.”

1960 Gibson Les Paul Sunburst Tops $131,000 at Auction

A 1960 Gibson Les Paul Standard Cherry Sunburst electric guitar, one of the most sought-after modern stringed instrumented ever made, proved its worth at $131,450 to lead Heritage Auctions’ $1,682,831 Signature Music & Entertainment Auction, Feb. 20. All prices include 19.5% Buyer’s Premium.

“The 1960 ‘burst is exceptional even by Les Paul’s standards,” said Jonas Aronson, Director of Vintage Guitars at Heritage. “It’s got everything a collector could want – name, style and a beautiful sound – and the price it realized is reflective of that quality.”

Acoustic guitars proved an important part of the stringed instruments section of the auction, and no one name more so than that of C.F. Martin, as a pair of vintage Martin acoustic guitars combined for almost $75,000, with a 1931 Martin OM-28 Natural acoustic orchestra model, #47403, in its original state, with a $46,306 price realized, followed by a striking 1937 Martin-D-18 Sunburst Acoustic, #68135, more than doubled its pre-auction estimate to finish the day at $28,680.

The name of Fender was well-represented in the auction, with two classic examples performing well beyond their pre-auction estimates. A 1957 Stratocaster Sunburst solid body electric guitar, #22744, in all original condition, brought $21,510 against a $5,000+ estimate, while a 1959 Fender Telecaster Blonde solid body electric guitar, #38272, brought $20,913, against a $6,000+ estimate.

In what was the sleeper of the guitar auction, a fantastic 1961 Rickenbacker 4001 Fireglo Solid Body Electric Bass Guitar, #AK685 – a gorgeous example of this famous model, that can be traced definitively back to the first month of the first year of Fireglo production, brought $19,120, almost five times its pre-auction estimate.

Source

Slash to Auction His Guitar Collection

icontexto-webdev-social-bookmark-09facebook481Slash will sell 14 of his prized guitars at auction next month.

The former Guns N’ Roses guitarist – who estimates he owns at least 100 of the musical instruments -will sell a Guild acoustic which he used to record the single ‘Patience’ along with various other custom guitars.

Slash decided to hold the sale because a recent house move made him realise he has a “bad habit of collecting stuff that I don’t necessarily use”.

Along with the guitars Slash will also sell two of his trademark top hats and a selection of jackets, T-shirts and jewellery.

A 1966 Corvette Stingray with an estimated selling price of $90,000 is set to be one of the non musical highlights of the sale with the rocker – who released his first solo album last year, and is also in the band Velvet Revolver – with him admitting he will be sorry to sell the “monster of a car” he bought at the beginning of his career.

He said: “I know that somebody will love to have that car because muscle cars are very, very popular.”

The March 26 sale is being organised through Julien’s Auctions with a sizable share of the proceeds going to a local charity for abused and homeless teenagers.

Norm’s Rare Guitars Interview

Nice video interview with Norm Harris of Norm’s Rare Guitars;

Ernie Ball Music Man Unveils “Game Changer” Guitar

icontexto-webdev-social-bookmark-09facebook481Coachella, CA (January 12th, 2011) — Ernie Ball Music Man today announced that it will unveil The Game Changer, a ground-breaking, all analog pickup switching system that unlocks an extensive library of natural guitar tones previously unavailable in traditional pickup technology. Available in select Reflex guitar and bass models in 2011, this progressive innovation leads a host of new and exciting products Ernie Ball is set to launch at the 2011 Winter NAMM Show.

The Game Changer
The Game Changer fundamentally changes the guitar player’s experience. Rather than relying on pre-set pickup configurations traditionally provided by instrument manufacturers, The Game Changer gives guitarists unrestricted access to a vast library of tones via a true analog pickup switching system. Available on select Music Man Reflex models, this patent-pending system electronically rewires a guitar or bass instantly, combining any order of pickup coils in series, parallel, and in or out of phase to create tones unique to the individual creating them. Imagine having complete tonal control of your instrument with more than 250,000 pickup configurations*, without rewiring anything. With The Game Changer, the audio signal is never digitized or modeled in any way, providing a transparent analog signal path for the absolute purist. In conjunction with The Game Changer website (www.gamechanger.music-man.com), musicians can also create, save and share their tonal selections with other players from around the world.

“The Game Changer is the most significant innovation our company has developed,” said Sterling Ball, CEO of Ernie Ball Music Man. “I’m truly proud of this technology and am looking forward to sharing and creating new and unique tones with musicians and artists alike. This really paves the way for musicians to personalize their tonal options like never before.”

The Game Changer is currently offered in Music Man H-H, H-S-H Reflex guitar models, as well as the Music Man H-H Reflex bass model.

*More than 250,000 with a 5-coil instrument

Inside the Fender Custom Shop..

A tour around the Fender Custom Shop..

Father And Son Accused Of Handling £170K Of Stolen Guitars

icontexto-webdev-social-bookmark-09facebook481A well known Yorkshire father and son business partnership dealing in rare and old musical instruments and equipment have been accused of handling stolen guitars worth £170,000 (c.$260,000).

At the time of the alleged offences Richard and Justin Harrison owned a well known company called Music Ground. They had shops in Leeds, Manchester and London as well as many international customers.

Mrs Lisa Carlton, the prosecutor, said they were both charged with handling stolen goods and intending or assisting in the retention or disposal of those items between October 7 2006 and March 5 2009.

The 26 guitars, subject of the charges against the father and son, are believed to be part of a haul of 157 guitars stolen in two burglaries in Verona, Italy, in October 2006 and which had an estimated value in excess of £1m.

Richard Harrison, 63, and his 40 year old son Justin, both entered preliminary pleas of ‘not guilty’ to the charge.

In its advertising and promotional material, Music Ground used to claim that it was “Europe’s No 1? supplier of rare and vintage guitars.

Source: The Yorkshire Evening Post

Vintage Guitar magazine Lists 10 Most Valuable Guitars

Vintage Guitar magazine has released a list of the 10 most valuable production-model electric and acoustic guitars. Using data accumulated in the research for The Official Vintage Guitar Price Guide 2011, the list includes only guitars that were originally offered in manufacturer product lines. It does not include custom-made and/or celebrity-owned instruments.

“Guitars are an American pop-culture icon,” said Alan Greenwood, publisher of both the magazine and the Price Guide. “And through the years, certain guitars have, thanks in part to players, songs, and the laws of supply and demand, become exceedingly valuable to collectors.

“There are few collectibles as cool as guitars,” Greenwood added. “They’re functional, tactile art that inspires players and music fans alike.”
The 10 most valuable guitars are:

  1. The 1936-’39 Martin D-45 ($320,000 to $400,000) – Vintage Martin dreadnoughts are considered the pinnacle of steel-string acoustics, and those given the Style 45 details are the top of the line.
  2. The 1958-’60 Gibson Les Paul Standard ($300,000 to $375,000) – The status of Gibson’s Les Paul changed dramatically with the 1966 release of John Mayall’s Blues Breakers featuring Eric Clapton. Then Michael Bloomfield started playing one, which influenced other top-tier guitarists of the late ’60s.
  3. The 1958-’59 Gibson Explorer ($250,000 to $310,000) – Part of an attempt to market “modernistic” guitars in the “space age,” it got little attention from buyers, so production numbers stayed very low.
  4. The 1958-’59 Gibson Flying V ($200,000 to $250,000) – Another of Gibson’s “modernistic” guitars, it was offered for only two years (1959 and ’60).
  5. The 1931-’36 Martin D-28 ($140,000 to $170,000) – Though not as fancy as the D-45, its $100 price tag was still high in the midst of the Great Depression.
  6. The 1938-’42 Gibson Super Jumbo/SJ-200 ($90,000 to $120,000) – Gibson’s answer to Martin’s D, it was larger, showier, and wound up in the hands of many a big-screen singing cowboy.
  7. The ’57 Gibson Les Paul model ($86,000 to $106,000) – Gibson’s original Les Paul, the “goldtop” was refined until it peaked in ’57, when it was used to launch the company’s new “humbucking” pickups.
  8. D’Aquisto archtops ($75,000 to $100,000) – Luthier James D’Aquisto mostly built to order, and his rarest models bring a premium.
  9. 1950 Fender Broadcaster ($68,000 to $86,000) – Leo Fender’s original single-cutaway design has a simple, workingman’s appeal. Known today as the Telecaster, it’s one of the “big three” collectible electrics.
  10. 1957-’60 Gibson Les Paul Custom ($66,000 to $81,000) – With a black finish and gold-colored hardware, it was the fanciest version of the original Les Paul guitar.

For more information, contact Ward Meeker, Editor, Vintage Guitar, at vguitar@vintageguitar.com, or 800-844-1197. To view and/or download high-resolution images of guitars from this list, go to https://www.vintageguitar.com/priceguide/top-ten-2011.

Eric Clapton to sell off guitars for Crossroads Centre

icontexto-webdev-social-bookmark-09facebook481Eric Clapton is to sell off part of his extensive guitar collection to raise money for his rehab clinic.

Highlights of the sale will include a guitar the musician played at the Cream reunion shows in 2005, estimated to sell for more than £13,000.

More than 150 lots will be auctioned in the New York sale next year.

Money raised will go towards the Crossroads Centre in Antigua, which Clapton founded in 1998 to help treat drug and alcohol addiction.

The sale will also feature a vast collection of amps and speakers, including a pair of Marshall speaker cabinets.

Used during the 1970s when the star was performing with Derek And The Dominos, it is expected to fetch more than £5,000.

Guitars donated by Jeff Beck, JJ Cale and Joe Bonamassa will also go under the hammer.

“We are delighted to be offering such a fantastic collection of guitars and amps from such an iconic musician,” said Stephanie Connell, head of entertainment memorabilia at Bonhams

She said she hoped the auction would “raise a lot of money for this worthwhile cause.”

Clapton has previously held auctions in 1999 and 2004.

In the latter, Clapton’s treasured Fender Stratocaster – called “Blackie” – fetched a record $959,500 (£607,500) at auction.

Items will go on display at Bonhams in London from 23 to 26 January before the sale on 9 February.

Source

Hendrix Fender Duo Sonic Sells for £164,000!

icontexto-webdev-social-bookmark-09facebook481As posted the other day, the tan coloured Fender Duo Sonic, played by Hendrix before he was famous, fetched £164,675 at an auction today, over 400 times the price he originally paid.

The star’s early guitar sparked a bidding frenzy at the Cameo Auctioneers Records’ Music and Memorabilia auction in Midgham, Berkshire.

Hendrix had paid just £100 for the tan guitar when he was an unknown 21-year-old backing musician.

Going by the name Jimmy James, he used the 1959/60 model from March to November 1964 while performing with the Isley Brothers.

Two original pieces of Hendrix artwork from 1967 were also sold for a total of £17,400.

Another Hendrix Guitar Auction

icontexto-webdev-social-bookmark-09facebook481Another Hendrix guitar is up for auction next month, this time the it’s the Fender Duo-Sonic he owned and played before he was famous.

Jimi played on this guitar on tour with the Isley Brothers and it is expected to fetch around $180,000.

The blond Duo-Sonic is a 1959 or 1960 model, which the 21-year-old Hendrix paid $160 for before joining the Isley’s as a session man on their tour of 1964.

Of course, as a solo artist, Jimi was known primarily as a Strat man, which explains why this Fender went into storage before reappearing in Hendrix manager Chas Chandler’s studio.

Chandler sold the guitar in 1982 for £400 to music agent and manager Rod Weinberg.

The Duo-Sonic goes under the hammer at Cameo Auctioneers Records’ Music & Memorabilia Auction on November 2.

Peter Frampton, Brad Paisley Donate Flood Guitars to Charity

Peter Frampton's flood damaged Les Paul

Dozens of guitars, mandolins and other instruments – straight from the hands of artists including Keith Urban, Brad Paisley, Vince Gill, Kenny Chesney and Peter Frampton are headed for the online auction block through nonprofit organization NASH2O (Nash-H-2-0) to support flood relief efforts in Nashville.

Proceeds go to three beneficiaries: MusiCares Nashville Flood Relief Fund for music industry professionals, Nashville Musicians Association Flood Relief Fund for those musicians that were uninsured, and Middle Tennessee fire and rescue departments.

Organized shortly after the devastating May floodwaters receded, NASH2O was created by three longtime Music City mainstays: George Gruhn, widely-recognized as the leading authority on vintage stringed instruments; Joe Glaser, renowned luthier and fine instrument repairman; and steel guitarist/producer Bruce Bouton, a fixture on high-profile recordings and tours for decades (currently touring with Reba McEntire). Their goal was to collect flood-damaged instruments from top artists, which could then be sold as presentation/collector pieces. The group secured underwriting support from Fireman’s Fund Insurance Company, a major insurer of many of the affected artists and exclusive insurance sponsor of NASH2O.

NASH2O’s official launch is slated for Tuesday, October 12 — with a VIP kickoff reception and press conference at the Hard Rock Café in downtown Nashville beginning at 4 p.m. The reception will feature appearances by some of the artists who have donated instruments, special guests, a silent auction, and some of the instruments which are headed for online auction on display.

The public will have a chance to bid via the online auction, which will open the same day at http://nash2o.org/. The NASH2O auction is unique in several ways, as the instruments offered for sale are historic musical artifacts from the Nashville flood that damanged several instrument storage facilities, as well as musicians’ homes and studios. But as Gruhn explains, the instruments themselves are unlike what is usually available to fans and followers:

“It’s fairly common to see instruments, signed by artists, for sale in charity efforts or given as contest prizes,” he says. “But those are almost always pieces donated by a manufacturer for that purpose. They’re handed to the artist, he signs them, and that’s really the only connection he has with them. The NASH2O pieces are the artists’ personal instruments. Peter Frampton’s Les Paul is, well, Peter Frampton’s Les Paul. Brad Paisley’s Tele-style guitar is Brad’s guitar. You hear that guitar on the records. You saw it in his hands in concert. These are very personal, cherished tools of the trade, and buyers can own a piece of that history, that pedigree.”

Beside the artist-owned instruments for auction, sweepstakes items of new instruments and/or premiums have been donated by Taylor Guitars, THD Amplifiers, Paul Reed Smith Guitars, Gibson Guitars, Martin Guitars and Yamaha Instruments.

Check for further information and updates at http://www.nash2o.org./

Bobs Brownies 1970´s Fender Collection

Here’s a nice video by my buddy Nicolai from Vintage and Rare.

This is probably the largest collection of brown 1970’s Fender guitars in the world, including a tasty brown Starcaster in the back row..not a colour I have ever seen before on the Starcaster, which is rare in any colour!

The collection is for sale, but only as a collection..Bob won’t split out individual pieces.

The Holy Grail: I Buy A 1958 Sunburst Les Paul

Here’s a nice article by rock writer Binky Philips on the Huffington Post website. Lots of anecdotes about New York guitar buying and the stories of how old guitars get passed around.

Just a taster;

Anyway, one afternoon later that summer, Teddy Slatus, Edgar Winter’s road manager, came in with both of regular-customer Rick Derringer’s sunburst Les Pauls. Back in those days, years before reissues, that meant two of maybe 900 total Gibsons made between mid-1958 through the end of 1960 with that glorious fade-from-a-red-to-gold transparent lacquer finish over highly figured maple and the then new and powerful (Patent-Applied-For) Humbucker pickups. After several other guitar-obsessions amongst the Stars of Rock Guitar, Keith Richards, Mick Taylor, Michael Bloomfield, Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, Duane Allman, and several other major cats had settled on this model Gibson as The One. And to this day, it rightly remains exalted.

Read the entire piece here

Collectable Guitars pt 41 – Peavey T-60

icontexto-webdev-social-bookmark-09facebook481The Peavey T-60 was the first electric guitar marketed by Peavey, who now sell a huge variety of guitars and amps, as well as PA equipment and more.

It lasted 10 years, from 1977 to 1987. It was also the first guitar ever made with CNC machines, which now form an integral part of mass-production of guitars.

It was designed by Peavey founder Hartley Peavey and Chip Todd.

The T-60 has an ash body and bolt-on maple neck and 21-fret maple or rosewood fingerboard, similar to Strats made by Fender around this time. It has two humbuckers, which on the T-60 usually have blade-shaped pole-pieces as opposed to the individual pole-pieces usually found on pickups.

According to reviews the maple neck is very thin, almost equivalent to that of the famed Ibanez Wizard profile. The bridge is similar to that of a Fender Telecaster, an “ashtray” bridge, although no pickup sits in it.

The body is a typical two-cutaway job, although it has roughly equal-sized cutaways as opposed to offset ones like on a Strat. It came in a variety of finishes, usually solid black or white, a transparent sunburst, or plain natural.

There was a large black scratchplate which housed four controls and an input socket. Sometimes this scratchplate would have the Peavey logo inlaid into it as well.

The T-60 was successful in the 70s and 80s.

Many people had one as a first guitar and their strength shows through in the fact that examples show up on eBay with barely a scratch on them.

Because they are not particularly rare or sought-after, prices are generally around £300.

Collectable Guitars pt 40 – Carvin V220T

icontexto-webdev-social-bookmark-09tipdrop logofacebook481Carvin is an American custom guitar brand. They are not particularly well-known but to those “in the know” they represent high quality and reasonable value for what they are. Many of Carvin’s designs in their 1980s heyday employed through-neck construction, which is now established and used often. When Carvin started using it, however, it was in its infancy, having only been used previously on the Gibson Firebird and early BC Rich guitars.

In the 1980s Carvin began to gain a serious reputation, and their guitars were used by Craig Chaquico of Starship, Jason Becker of Cacophony and Steve Vai before his endorsement from Ibanez. Their amps are also renowned, and Vai is a long-time user of his signature Legacy series.

Many of Carvin’s guitar designs are based on traditional shapes with their characteristic twists. However, in 1984 they introduced a very different shape to their line-up, which actually became one of their most popular designs. That guitar was the V220T.

The V220’s shape was unique and could perhaps be said to resemble the bottom half of an upside-down Jackson Rhoads crossed with the top half of an upside-down Gibson Explorer. It is a surprisingly elegant shape, and was available in black, white and red as well as a clear natural finish.

In terms of construction, the V220T consisted of a maple body and maple set neck, although quilted maple and koa bodies were options. The neck had 24 frets on an ebony fingerboard. The neck was topped off by an arrow-shaped headstock resembling that of a Gibson Flying V.

The hardware was high-quality. The pickups were an M22 humbucker at the neck and an M22SD at the bridge. The pickups had twice as many pole pieces as normal, for more sustain. The pickups came with white covers and could be said to resemble DiMarzios. There were two options for the bridge. The standard was a one-piece fixed bridge/tailpiece combination. The more common option was the then-new Kahler locking tremolo system, which ended up on most V220Ts. In terms of the controls, there was a master tone control, volume controls for each pickup, a three-way pickup selector and two coil-split mini toggle switches.

The V220 was a successful design which found favour with many significant rock players. It was discontinued in 1989 after a prosperous five-year run. It has since been reissued, however, and is in Carvin’s current product line albeit with some changes. The shape remains the same, although the tremolo is now a Floyd Rose model, and the construction is thru-neck.

The body is now alder and the controls have been simplified. The UK price of this new model, due to the higher-end features, is £1226 (quoted from Carvin’s website, and converted from dollars) but original 1980s models go for surprisingly little. A trawl on eBay suggests prices in the region of £300-£600.

Collectable Guitars pt 39 – Fender Lead 1, 2 and 3 Models

icontexto-webdev-social-bookmark-09tipdrop logofacebook481The Fender Lead series electric guitars were manufactured from 1979-1982.

They was produced in Fullerton, California factory under the direction of Greg Wilson and John Page.

They resemble Fender Stratocasters in appearance, but have a unique set of features. Steve Morse was one endorsee of the Fender Lead, and the whole series were probably designed to cash in the fashion for single pickup, Van Halen style superstrats  in the late ’70s and early ’80s

In 1979, Fender introduced the Lead I. The Lead I had a only one pickup, a humbucker in the bridge position. The Fender Lead series models all had the 25 1/2 inch scale length  of a Fender Stratocaster and  all Lead models were available with either maple or rosewood fretboards.

The Fender Lead I controls are unique. There is a 3 position pickup selector switch (Neck pickup, Neck & Bridge parallel mix, Bridge pickup) a phase switch, a master volume control, master tone control. The volume and tone potentimoters are 250k and the tone capacitor is 0.05 uf ceramic.

The Fender Lead I was manufactured until the end of the Lead series in 1982. The price of a Fender lead I in 1979 was $399.

Today a Fender Lead I in excellent condition sells for up to $1000.

The Lead II was also introduced in 1979.

It featured Two specially designed X-1 single coil pickups. The X-1 pickups were promoted as “wide range single coils” and are slightly hotter than a standard Strat of that era.

Both the Lead I and Lead II were normally finished in either black, wine red or brown.

Today a Fender Lead II in excellent condition sells for around the same price as the Lead 1.

The Lead III was manufactured in 1982 only. It had 2 humbuckers.

All of these guitars are becoming collectable now, as they are American made Fenders  and the youngest are at least 25 years old, which gives them an intrinsic value. They are quite rare, but still affordable, so it it worth tracking them down and snapping them up when available.

Paul Smith And Vintage Collaborate on Designer Guitar


icontexto-webdev-social-bookmark-09tipdrop logofacebook481Not Paul Reed Smith!

Paul Smith, the well known British clothing designer, has collaborated with Vintage Guitars in order to produce the Paul Smith acoustic guitar.

It’s a 3/4-sized acoustic that Paul Smith is refers to in most of his marketing as a ‘children’s guitar’ but could really serve as a travel guitar for the fashionistas who wants to strum as cooly as they dress.

paul smith guitar

The guitar has a spruce top and mahogany body with a maple neck and rosewood fingerboard. Specifications list a mahogany bridge but the image makes it look rosewood (which would be more usual) – I suppose it may be dyed.

Finish is black gloss only and it has a blue binding. The soundhole rosette features the Paul Smith ’signature stripes’ and the headstock bears the Paul Smith signature.

It comes with a gig back sporting a small Paul Smith tag and another ’signature stripe’ on another small tag.

It is for sale at Paul Smith website (or in his stores) for £180 or $330.

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Collectable Guitars pt 35 – Fender Duosonic

icontexto-webdev-social-bookmark-09facebook481The Fender DuoSonic guitar was first produced by in 1956.

It was meant to be a student guitar. It featured a short, 22.5 inch, scale length that was considerably shorter than the 25.5 inch scale used on standard Fender guitars.

Fender Duosonic Guitar

The DuoSonic, which is sometimes spelled as Duo-Sonic or Duosonic, has two, single coil, pickups and a vertical pickup selector switch that is placed on the lower horn of the body.

Duo-Sonic II

Fender released a new guitar called the Mustang in August 1964. This guitar was an economy model and was designed for student guitarists. This guitar featured a new design of tremolo arm that many guitarists found impractical. At the same time Fender also release the Duosonic II which had the same offset waist body but did not have the tremolo arm.

Fender discontinued the Duo-Sonic II in 1969.

This model was only in production for 5 five years. It has become Fender guitar that has a growing collector value due to its rarity and player demand.

Many guitar players prefer the Duo-Sonic II to the similar Fender Mustang. This is because they prefer the more practical fixed bridge to the Duosonic II as compared to the troublesome tremolo bridge of the Mustang.

The Duo-Sonic is closely identified with Liz Phair though it was used by David Byrne of the Talking Heads early in their career as well as Jimi Hendrix (when he toured the under the name Jimmy James with The Isley Brothers).

Johnny Winter also used a modified Duo-Sonic during the late 1960s and early 1970s, particularly on his first few albums.

Patti Smith also plays a Duo-Sonic and has featured her guitar in song lyrics, for example in “Radio Ethiopia/Abyssinia” from the Radio Ethiopia LP.

Tom Cummings from Human Condition uses the late 90’s remake Duo-Sonic.

The Duo-Sonic I and II are both considered rare and have displayed growing collector value. The Duo-Sonic II in particular is often seen as a desirable alternative to the more popular Mustang, since it negates the difficult-to-maintain tremolo bridge.

Fender have recently re-issued very cheap “Squier” version of the duosonic, but original 60’s ones are still available for under $2000. Well worth a look at that price!

Collectable Guitars pt 34 – Gibson Nighthawk


icontexto-webdev-social-bookmark-09facebook481Gibson’s radical Hawk series was another shortlived attempt to modernise Gibson’s image in the 1990s. It lasted from 1993 to 1998 and the series comprised 5 models.

In the mid 1980s Gibson released new models that were nothing like previous ones to try and compete with new companies in the market.

Gibson Nighthawk guitarThe Corvus (radical new shape, covered elsewhere on the site), Victory (Strat shaped), RD Artist (Firebird shape with complex active electronics) and M-III (superstrat, also on the site) were launched and all three were shortlived and relatively unsuccessful.

Ten years later another such attempt to crack a new market was planned. This time Gibson played it slightly safer by using an updated version of the Les Paul shape, an iconic Gibson trademark.

However, this body was less well-proportioned than Gibson’s original, and as such looked vaguely like a squashed Les Paul.

This did the model no favours.

The pickups were two stacked P-90s on the semi-acoustic Blueshawk, two standard humbuckers on the Hawk model, one standard and one slanted humbucker on the Nighthawk Standard, and the same on the Special and Custom Nighthawks, but with a single-coil in the middle position.

The Nighthawk Custom had a flamed maple top and a Floyd Rose tremolo. All the Nighthawks had a maple top and a mahogany body, the basic Hawk did not have this luxury, and the Blueshawk had a maple top and a chambered poplar body with f-holes.

The guitars were unsuccessful and were unceremoniously dropped in 1999, apart from the Blueshawk which continued until 2006.

Values now are available on the very good website www.blueshawk.info, from which I found that Blueshawks retailed for £792 new (price taken from 2002 catalogue) and are now worth about £550 for a good example. Nighthawks are similar in value but because of all the different models used prices vary.

Collectable Guitars pt 33 – Ibanez Musician

Ibanez Musician MC-550WNThe Ibanez Musician was born out of the Japanese copy boom of the 1970s, which also helped spawn the Ibanez Destroyer and Iceman.

After Ibanez were sued for copying Gibson designs they branched out into original designs. Their first original models were the aforementioned two guitars, as well as the Performer, a Les Paul-type with a small curve cut into the bass side of the neck joint.This design has been more famously used by another Japanese company, Aria, on the iconic PE series.

Around 1978 the Performer was followed by the new Studio and Musician series.

The Musician was a more conservative piece of design than the wild stylings of the Iceman and the “Explorer-on-steroids” look utilised on the Destroyer.

It had a body shape halfway between a Stratocaster and a Les Paul, the same overall shape as a double cutaway PRS, although of course those guitars came about five years later. The most basic model was the MC100, with a bolt-on neck, although all the others, up to the custom order MC550WN model (of which only 465 were made), were neck-through.

The Studio series is less well-known, and less upscale than the Musicians. The Studio series all had set necks, although this was the only main difference to the Musician.

This new series of guitars were known for their excellent sustaining properties, although this did lead to extra unwanted weight. The woods used were usually walnut and maple (for the through-neck), plus ash or walnut “wings” which formed the actual body.

Pickups were Ibanez Super 88 humbuckers, and the high-end MC500 had an onboard three-band EQ activated by a toggle switch. This gave the player free rein to create a properly unique sound, for when the other two toggle switches activating phase reversal and coil splitting of the pickups just weren’t enough.

The MC500 had controls for the passive pickup mode, and three more knobs for when the EQ switch was on. The passive controls were a master volume, master tone, three-way pickup selector and the coil split and phase reversal switches. When the third toggle switch was activated the active controls (a different knob type to avoid confusion between the passive and active controls) controlled Bass boost, Midrange boost and Treble boost. The control layout for the Musician MC500, while vast, was quite simple and easy to use.

The EQ allowed for a vast spectrum of sounds, and the beautiful woods, through-neck, carved top and huge sustain made the MC500 one of the more desirable guitars of the late 1970s. There are also many good reviews of the other guitars in the series, and the models have a cult following among players.

The guitars aren’t too rare, but can be fairly hard to find sometimes. A recent search on eBay uprooted a few guitars, mostly in America.

An MC500 is going for just under £1100, while another MC200 looks to be going for significantly less.

Every review I have read of these guitars praises them, particularly the MC500, and they are worth quite a lot now.

Below is a picture of a beautiful MC500 (albeit with no strings attached), and I will attempt to explain the control layout.

musician Controls

Collectable Guitars pt 32 – Washburn A-20V Stage Series


icontexto-webdev-social-bookmark-09facebook481The Washburn A10-A20V Stage series of guitars were produced between 1979 and 1985.

Washburn A-20V Stage GuitarShaped like a truncated Gibson Explorer with a chunky slanted headstock, the high quality Stage series found homes with a fair number of rock guitarists in the early 1980’s. They were produced in Japan in the highly regarded Matsumoku factory, which also built guitars for Ibanez, Westone, and a host of other manufacturers.

The lower model A10 has a bolt on neck, while the higher priced A15 had a set neck, leading up to the top of the range A20s which had through necks.

Washburn also made a bass version, the B20 which sells for around the same prices as the guitars.

  • Features included dual humbuckers with independent tone and volume
  • Push/pull coil splits
  • A three-piece 22 fret v-shaped maple neck,
  • Ash body wings with flamed two-piece maple top
  • Ebony fretboard with brass washer-shaped inlays
  • Strat-style tremelo with string-thru-body
  • Sealed tuners
  • Brass nut
  • Full binding

Washburn released them again as a re-issue in 1995. Prices are fairly low for such a well made guitar, but I guess the shape is an acquired taste, not suitable for everyone.

I have recently seen a couple of A10s for sale on GBase for $5-700, so I have to assume that the A20 will be a little higher, probably $800-1000, which I think makes them pretty decent value.

Collectable Guitars pt 31 – Tokai Talbo


icontexto-webdev-social-bookmark-09facebook481This guitar was originally made from 1982 to 1984 in Japan by Tokai, who at this point were looking to expand away from the copies they specialised in.

Tokai Talbo GuitarIt was very unusual in that the body was not made of wood, as you might expect, but aluminium instead. As such the name was actually an acronym for Tokai ALuminium BOdy. The benefits of using aluminium were sustainability- no trees get chopped down to make enough aluminium for a Talbo body, and a different sound.

Made of cast aluminum alloy AC-4B, which is commonly used in racing car engines, the Talbo’s design is simple and elegant, combining new and traditional elements. Basically, it’s like two superimposed teardrops with the tips pointing right and left to yield a bi-level, sculptured double cutaway. Its headstock decal reads “The New Legend Of The Guitar History.”

The aluminium body was mostly solid, but with a large hollow chamber for the controls and for weight reduction. It had Blazing Fire pickups, usually a bridge humbucker and two single coils although two humbucker versions are not uncommon. The neck is made of maple and is bolted to the body.

The Talbo Blazing Fire is a quality guitar, comfortable, easy to play, with a great sound. If there’s a limitation, it’s that the three-way select limits the tonal potential, although this is mitigated somewhat with the two volumes. Perhaps the most famous appearance of the Tokai Talbo in the 1980s was in the hands of the band Devo.

Tokai Talbos were promoted briefly in American and European markets for perhaps a couple years, but after 1984 seemed to disappear from the radar. They didn’t disappear  though. The Talbo appears to have continued in production in Japan since its ’82 debut. And what’s more, it continued to evolve. What had been called the Blazing Fire became simply the Talbo, in its present state offered with twin humbuckers. In 1999, Tokai introduced the Talbo Woody, an all-wood version made of two hollowed-out pieces of maple.

A more interesting variant was the Talbo Junior that debuted in 2000. It takes the teardrop-shaped sound chamber and encapsulates it in cast aluminum, then hollows the top of the body and cutaway horns, making them just a frame. Then, to spice things up, it adds a built-in amplifier under the strings. That same year, the Talbo’s body was extended and turned into the Talbo Bass. And finally, Tokai brought back the Blazing Fire moniker on a fantastic blue-tinted transparent plexiglass version, still with the 3-D Talbo shape, but with no aluminum. These are produced in Korea.

So what of the original Talbo? Well, prices probably are about £700-£1000 for the guitars and basses, while the new Woody models are probably significantly less.

Collectable Guitars pt 30 – Fender Elite Telecaster

icontexto-webdev-social-bookmark-09facebook481Fender’s iconic Telecaster has many submodels to its name, which have their own distinct set of players. These include the Thinline semi-hollow model, the Custom with a humbucker at the neck and a different scratchplate, and the Deluxe, with two humbuckers and a wide headstock reminiscent of the 1970s Stratocasters.

But that isn’t the full list of submodels offered as part of this iconic range…

Fender Elite TelecasterThe Elite concept was an ambitious project to combine tradition with modern (at the time) technologies with more user-friendly hardware, upgraded electronics and better neck adjustment. The intention was to produce an upgraded version of a classic with a more modern look and feel, and to hopefully entice some Gibson players into the Fender family.

It was designed as a loud rock-orientated instrument, with 2 humbuckers, four knobs as opposed to the usual two,a three way toggle switch and white binding on the top body edge. The Elite had new pickups and active circuitry, with MDX and TBX controls, a biflex truss rod and a new heavy duty cast bridge, not usually seen on Telecasters. According to several reviews on Harmony Central.com the guitar has a heavy ash body and the usual bolt-on maple neck.

The Telecaster Elite is truly “the one that got away”- it was introduced in 1983 in 3 different versions;

  • The Elite, with chrome hardware,
  • The Gold Elite with gold-plated hardware and pearloid button tuners
  • The Walnut Elite, made with American black Walnut body and neck., an ebony fretboard, gold-plated hardware and pearloid button tuners.

A tremolo and 22 fret neck version were also considered, but CBS’s decision in 1984 to divest from Fender put paid to these variations.

Fender Elite Telecaster

It was, as was the case with the Performer and Katana released around the same time, just too different for traditional Fender players to accept as a guitar truly worth their attention and was dropped with little or no fanfare in 1985.

However, if we assess it on its own merits the story could have been quite different.

The guitars weren’t generally accepted by Fender fans, and as such are rare. However, examples occasionally come up for sale, usually in the £750-1200 range. I myself saw one on a recent trip to that haven for all things guitar, Denmark Street in London. The price tag said £ask, however, so prices remain unclear.

Collectable Guitars pt 29 – Ampeg Dan Armstrong Plexiglass

icontexto-webdev-social-bookmark-09facebook481The Dan Armstrong Plexiglass was a very odd guitar originally made from 1969 to 1971 as an effort by popular amplification company Ampeg to draw in some more sales than their then-ailing amp lines were. The guitars came about from legendary guitar builder and repairer Dan Armstrong posing Ampeg the question:

“Since you make guitar and bass amplifiers, why not also make guitars and basses?”

Dan Armstrong Plexiglass GuitarAmpeg then asked Armstrong to design some guitars and basses for them to market. The design he came up with resides somewhere between a Strat and an SG, but with a surreal twist: the body was made entirely of a solid slab of Plexiglas (the trade name for a type of rigid, clear plastic) and the scratchplate of a piece of the wood-grain replica pattern Formica, popular on furniture in the 1960s and 70s.

The other very novel and inventive feature of the Dan Armstrong was the electrics arrangement. There was only one pickup “slot”, at the bridge position. There was no pickup actually installed, but specially designed self-contained pickups were available, a twin blade humbucker or a blade single-coil. All the pickups were contained in the same size casing, but the upside was that the two types of pickups could be slotted in very easily and with no complex modification required. There was also an inbuilt volume boost circuit.

There were a couple of clear upsides of the Plexiglas Ampeg, which was available as a guitar or bass. The solid Plexiglas body had a lot more sustain than most other guitars available at the time, new pickups could be slotted in easily with the radical circuitry, and the Plexi body just looked refreshingly different. However, it was also very heavy, and more difficult to make than wooden guitars. Ampeg and Dan Armstrong parted ways in 1971, and the guitar was no more. However, the model has been reissued and is currently available. Ampeg also do cheaper versions made of mahogany or swamp ash.

The guitars have been most famously used by Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters and Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones.

Current prices for originals are high, and the 1970s models are rare. The armies of 1970s Ampeg copies by Ibanez and Shaftesbury are also rare and collectable, but prices for the reissue start at £450-ish for the wooden ones, and the Plexi reissues are about £1000.

Collectable Guitars pt 28 – Daion Guitars

icontexto-webdev-social-bookmark-09facebook481Now here’s one you might not have heard of.

Daion were an old Japanese company operating from the famed Matsumoku factory for a short period in the early 1980s. The Daions were very high quality, and full of innovative features.

They had a range of electrics, basses and acoustics which were often very different to the usual guitars available from the bigger companies.

Daion GuitarsOne of the better known (and I use that term loosely) Daion models was the semi-solid ES-335-alike 555 Headhunter, which featured an innovative third cutaway on the bottom of the body.

The central solid block was a sandwich of maple and spruce, with ten grooves cut into each end for increased resonance. It also included a coil split function for each pickup and through-body stringing, a first for semi-hollow guitars.

The company also made two lines of solid-body twin cutaway guitars. The Savage utilised a bolt-on neck and two humbuckers, or three in the case of the Barbarian from the same line.

There was also a bass, similar in looks to a Gibson Ripper. The other run was the through-neck Power series.

This had the SG-alike Power Mk.X and the Mk.XX, which looked similar to a Westone or Ibanez Musician. These also had two humbuckers.

Daion also made acoustic guitars, some, in the Caribou and Gazelle series, with a similar bottom cutaway to the 555 Headhunter. There were even 12 string models.

Daion Power Solid Body Guitars

The Caribou and Gazelle were Daion’s response to the upcoming amplified acoustics market, while the Legacy and Year series were standard high quality acoustics.

Daion, for whatever reason, was a shortlived brand which never really took off.

Very few people have ever even heard of this underrated company, which is why, in the rare event of a Daion of any type coming up for sale, it never generates as much interest as it probably should.

Daions sell infrequently, so prices are unclear. I found a Daion Acoustic which sold for $850 a couple of years back, but Ebay searches didn’t bring up any guitars at all. I would guess the 555 semis would be worth between £500-1000 and  if the trickle of enthusiastic players is to be believed they are worth every penny of whatever figure they sell for.

Collectable Guitars pt 27 – Fender Robben Ford Model

icontexto-webdev-social-bookmark-09facebook481Blues/Jazz guitarist Robben Ford merges styles to redefine the term “fusion” music. His sound, delivery and conception are all his own – as unmistakable and personal as a fingerprint. He chose a deliberate reinterpretation of the unusual Fender Esprit Ultra as the basis for his signature instrument (the Fender Robben Ford Signature model), which reflects Robben’s discriminating and diverse as both a soloist and rhythm player.

Fender Robben Ford Signature GuitarDesigned in the mid-1980’s, the Esprit effectively reconciled the differences between a blues, jazz and rock guitar, making it ideal for Robben’s varied musical tangents. He was originally drawn to the smaller body size, double-cutaway comfort and remarkable playability of the Esprit as an alternative to the larger, honky-sounding semi-hollow-body he had been playing. Though the Esprit was discontinued by the late 1980’s, Robben remained an ardent user.

The History of the “Master Series”  (by Gary Koehler) is as follows;

Approximately 25 years ago, Dan Smith had an idea. He conceptualized a solidbody guitar with routed chambers. These chambers would, in theory, provide a more resonant tonal characteristic. He also formulated and designed a basic shape for the guitar.

Then, in the early 1980s, Fender became interested in producing and marketing instruments which would be viewed as alternatives to those offered by Gibson. These guitars would not be copies, of course, but highly playable guitars with versatile electronics and other features previously unavailable on instruments manufactured by Fender. The company asked Smith to submit a concept, and what followed was an adventurous effort to produce a new line of guitars unique to the Fender’s catalog. The line was called the Master Series.

Two of Smith’s designs were solidified – the Flame and the Esprit (pronounced espree). Both featured alder bodies with routed tone chambers, maple tops, and set-in necks.

The Flame’s body is slightly larger than a Gibson Les Paul, and features two slightly offset cutaways, similar to Gibson’s SG. Two special-design humbucking pickups were developed via Schaller, as was a tailpiece with fine-tuners. The intention was to offer an electronically versatile alternative to the Gibson Les Paul.

The Esprit’s body is slightly larger than the Flame’s, and features two symmetrical cutaways. As with the Flame, two special-design Schaller humbuckers were employed in conjunction with the fine-tuning tailpiece. This instrument was intended as an alternative to the Gibson ES-335.

A third model was an archtop designed by the late James D’Aquisto. His design included some imaginative, versatile features and stands as a testament to D’Aquisto’s creativity as a luthier. 

These three designs were marketed together as the Fender Master Series.

Once designs were approved, the company turned its attention to issues of manufacturing and production. Fender decided that, at that time, it did not possess the technology to build the instruments. The Japanese company Fujigen Gakki (which served as an Ibanez facility) was contracted by Fender to manufacture the line.

Fender ultimately decided to produce three models of both types. The suffixes Standard, Elite, and Ultra were added under the headings Flame and Esprit. Standards featured dot inlays and chrome tuners. The Elites featured diamond-flake inlays and pearloid-button tuners. And the Ultras had split-block shell inlays, ebony-button tuners and gold hardware. Finish options on the Standards were limited to black, autumn sunburst, and cherry sunburst. The Elite and Ultra were also available in white or pink frost, and candy red or candy green metallic burst.

Smith said Fender offered the Kahler tremolo bridge as an option on these guitars. He recalls Fender made the modification post-production, and relatively few were shipped.

He was unable to find records indicating quantities made, but estimated that between late 1983 and 1985, a few thousand were manufactured. In retrospect, Smith feels the guitars were successful in regard to quality and public perception. The line’s downfall was the sale and subsequent transitional period experienced by Fender. In 1986, Robben Ford was brought on as an endorser of the Esprit model, then Fender reworked the production concept and dubbed the guitar the Robben Ford signature model.

In its incarnation as the Robben Ford signature model, it has retained many of the Ultra’s significant features and deluxe appointments, as specified by Robben, including the Ebony fingerboard with fancy Mother-of-Pearl split-block inlays, Ebony tuning key pegs, multiple binding on the headstock, neck and body and gold-plated hardware. The solid Alder body with a carved Spruce top and built-in acoustical tone chambers is a clever variation on the classic solid-body construction theme of mahogany and maple and is a vital component in producing the rich and consistent sustaining Robben Ford solo guitar voice.

Another is the two-humbucker pickup configuration which yields both a mellow, neck-pickup jazz sound as well as a robust, bridge-pickup blues-rock tone. The coil-splitting switch provides interesting thinner and twangier single-coil timbres ideal for rootsy rock and roll, R&B and funky rhythm comping.

Current values of these rare and collectable guitars are in the £1500-2000 range.

Collectable Guitars pt 26 – Fender Starcaster



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The Starcaster was a short lived semi-hollow guitar made in the mid-1970s and early 1980s as competition to Gibson’s ES335 model. It is uncertain whether it was made from 1976 to 1977 or 1980 to 1982.

The guitar featured the Gibson traditional semi-hollow body and humbuckers, but with a new 6-on-1-side headstock and Fender’s trademark bolt-on neck. 

Fender Starcaster guitar

It also had a maple fretboard and an offset twin-cutaway body, somewhere between a Gibson ES-335 and a Fender Stratocaster. The pickups were Fender’s own Wide Range humbuckers, designed by Seth Lover, known for working with Gibson on their original PAF humbuckers, and allegedly naming their iconic Flying V guitar.

The Wide Range pickups were also used on 1970s Telecaster Custom models. This guitar was therefore a bit of a weird compromise between the two major guitar brands at the time.

Because of this fact, the Starcaster was never really accepted by fans of either of the big names. It found few takers, and was discontinued soon after its launch.

However, it has become collectible as a curiosity guitar, and has been used by Dave Keuning of the Killers and Jonny Greenwood of Radiohead. Starcasters rarely come up for sale, so it’s hard to pinpoint prices, but on Ebay they are in the £1200-1500 region.

Legendary Guitars Going on Tour



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You lucky Californians!

Guitar Center will take its iconic “Legends Collection” on the road beginning May 23 for a 4-city tour that will make weekend stops in Fountain Valley, La Mesa, San Francisco and Hollywood.

Eric Clapton's The “Legends Collection” will feature three of rock’s most famous guitars – Eric Clapton’s “Blackie” Fender Stratocaster and Gibson ES-335, as well as Stevie Ray Vaughan’s “Lenny” Fender Stratocaster. Purchased for over $2.4 million from the Clapton Crossroads Centre charity auction at Christies New York in 2004, these three guitars are among the most treasured guitars in rock history.

Assembled in 1973 by Eric Clapton himself from the parts of several guitars, Clapton played “Blackie” almost exclusively on stage and in the studio from 1973-1985, recording hits such as “Cocaine,” “I Shot The Sherriff,” “Wonderful Tonight,” “Further On Up The Road,” “Lay Down Sally” and various live versions of “Layla” as well as being featured on several album covers and videos. His Cherry Red Gibson “ES-335″ was used to record Cream’s versions of “Badge” and “Crossroads” as well as many other historical performances during the 40 years he owned it.

Steve Ray Vaughan’s “Lenny,” which Guitar Center purchased for $623,500, was used to record his classic love songs including “Lenny” and “Riviera Paradise.”

Home to the largest collection of vintage instruments in the nation, Guitar Center is also proud to showcase a hand-picked selection of its most rare and sought-after vintage guitars as part of its Vintage Road Show.

Stevie Ray Vaughn

With Vintage locations in Hollywood, Nashville and Manhattan, Guitar Center’s vintage collection includes hundreds of the rarest and most valuable guitars, amplifiers and other instruments, including an impressive assemblage of ’50s and ’60s Strats and Les Pauls, handcrafted archtops, Jazz Basses, P-Basses and more.

Vintage guitar enthusiasts can visit the “Legends Collection” and Vintage Road Show at the following locations:

May 23-24
Guitar Center Fountain Valley
18361 Euclid Street
714-241-9140

May 30-31
Guitar Center La Mesa
8825 Murray Drive
619-668-8400

June 20-21
Guitar Center San Francisco
1645 Van Ness Ave.
415-409-0375

June 26-28
Guitar Center Hollywood
7425 Sunset Blvd
323-874-1060

Daddy Mojo Cigar Box Guitars


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These are so cool..

Daddy Mojo builds handcrafted guitars from cedar and mahogany cigar boxes.

Daddy Mojo Dolorosa Cigar Box GuitarThe instruments, which are smaller and lighter than standard guitars, sell for between $265 and $735 and have found a following among blues aficionados who can’t get enough of the warm sound they provide.

“It has a very unique tone that you can’t find in most other instruments,” said Toronto musician Arthur Renwick, who owns two. “Most people can’t believe just how great it sounds coming from a homemade cigar box.”

The guitars originated as a form of “do-it-yourself” instrument and were used by soldiers during the American Civil War. The practice carried through to the 20th century with poor blues musicians in the Deep South making their own guitars out of discarded cigar boxes and fish wire because they couldn’t afford any other kind.

Daddy Mojo’s present-day incarnation is of better quality than its bare-bones forerunner, but company co-founder Lenny Piroth-Robert says the irony of making an instrument that was born in hard times isn’t lost on him.

“It wouldn’t surprise me if it’s something that makes its mark these days, because it’s really something that came out of a time when people didn’t have much money and had to be creative,” Piroth-Robert said.

“Theoretically the movement would be to make your own (cigar box guitar) in a recession. Mind you, I think we offer a nice, cheaper alternative to most of the guitars out there.”

“(Piroth-Robert) is specifically going against that trend which isn’t about music; it’s about collecting and hoarding and driving the price up.”

Since its inception in 2006, Daddy Mojo has made more than 1,000 cigar box guitars which have been shipped all over the world or sold through retailers in Canada and the United States.

www.daddy-mojo.com

New Epiphone Roy Orbison Signature 12-string acoustic

icontexto-webdev-social-bookmark-09facebook481The Epiphone Guitar Company of Nashville, Tennessee announces the release of the new limited edition Oh, Pretty Woman 12-string acoustic guitar. Produced in cooperation with the legendary singer/songwriter Roy Orbison’s estate, this signature guitar is based upon Roy’s own 1962 Epiphone ‘Bard’ 12-string acoustic guitar.

Epiphone Roy Orbison GuitarOrbison used his original Epiphone acoustic guitar to write and perform many of his most well-known songs including perhaps his biggest hit Oh, Pretty Woman.

“As a young brilliant guitar player growing up in West Texas, Roy would have never dreamt that he would one day have his own Epiphone signature guitar named after him. Roy wrote Oh, Pretty Woman on his Epiphone 12-string acoustic guitar which features one of the most instantly recognizable rock n’ roll guitar riffs and has remained iconic and fresh to this day.

“I hope the next generation of artists will feel inspired to write another great rock n’ roll song thanks to the Epiphone signature Roy Orbison 12 string acoustic guitar,” said Barbara Orbison, Roy’s widow.

The new Epiphone Oh, Pretty Woman is a faithful reproduction of the 1962 original and features a solid spruce top, a solid mahogany back, a rosewood 12-string bridge and vintage tuners.

For this limited edition release, the back of the guitar’s headstock includes a replica of Roy Orbison’s signature and the notation for the first measure of the world famous Oh, Pretty Woman introduction riff.

Also included in this limited edition offer is a hard case with Roy’s signature and sunglass icon on it, a certificate of authenticity hand-signed by Roy’s widow, Barbara Orbison and Roy’s son, Roy Orbison, Jr., a black & white photo of Roy with his original Epiphone Bard 12-string, a sunglass lapel pin and a copy of the Oh, Pretty Woman sheet music. The certificate and photo come in a leatherette presentation binder.

The Epiphone limited edition Oh, Pretty Woman 12-string Bard outfit will be officially unveiled on Roy’s birthday, 23rd April, at the Gibson Guitar Studio in London, England.

The Roy Orbison limited edition 12-string package has a US MSRP of $1332 and will be available at authorized Epiphone retailers in September 2009.

Collectable Guitars pt 25 – Charvel Spectrum


icontexto-webdev-social-bookmark-09facebook481The Charvel Spectrum was a Superstrat type guitar made from 1989 to 1991 in a variety of wild colours.

The series was inspired by a custom model made for Jeff Beck.

The model was a part of Charvel’s Contemporary Series, and was possibly named after the veritable rainbow of bright colours it came in – including bright orange, dark blue, teal and magenta.

For the uninitiated, Superstrat guitars are so named because they take Fender’s classic Stratocaster design and update it, deepening the cutaways, putting in high-output pickups, often adding a Floyd Rose tremolo or one of its derivatives, usually having 24 frets as opposed to the 21 or 22 employed by the Fender.

Charvel Spectrum Guitar

More expensive Superstrats often have neck-through construction and seven-string versions are not uncommon.

This design of guitar is still made by Charvel, adding to the numerous models made by Ibanez, Jackson, BC Rich, ESP and Washburn. The whole genre of guitar was popularized by Eddie Van Halen with his famous “Frankenstrat” guitar.

The Spectrum differed to the usual Superstrat template in various ways, having 22 frets, occasionally a maple fretboard, and a scratchplate based on the old Fender Precision Bass design. They also employed bolt-on construction as opposed to the neck-thru designs of more expensive Charvels. Many sources I have seen state that the body wood is poplar, although there isn’t much concrete info on this.

The neck is maple and the fretboard usually rosewood, although some versions have maple fretboards. The three pickups appear to be single-coils, but are in fact “stacked” single-coil sized humbuckers with an active tone circuit with a wah function.

I have been fortunate to play a couple of examples of this very nice guitar, and I think that any fan of the Superstrat design would like the Spectrum. They are quite collectable now, as not many were made and there are a wide variety of different and unusual finishes.

They don’t tend to command prices out of reach of most players, however.

Collectable Guitars pt 24 – Yamaha SG2000

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Yamaha is now a huge corporation covering all aspects of musical instruments, and more products including motorbikes. However, in 1976, when the SG2000 was introduced they were very much still an upstart company trying to make a name for themselves.

Yamaha sg2000 guitar

In 1973 they had introduced a range of Gibson inspired SG models- equal cutaway designs with mahogany bodies and set necks- very much like a Gibson Les Paul with two cutaways. They were nice, high-quality guitars, however a classic model was what Yamaha needed to boost this new range, and in 1976 the SG2000 proved to be just what they were so badly in need of.

The SG2000 was thus far the most desirable model Yamaha had ever made. It included a through-neck instead of the set-neck construction used by previous SGs, meaning greater sustain and playability. It was, like the other SG models, met enthusiastically, especially given that the Japanese copy boom was at its peak in around 1976, whereas the SG, while influenced by Gibsons, was still an original enough design.

The SG2000 was based on an earlier Yamaha, the SG175, but had refinements over the original design. These included a contoured body to make playing more comfortable, a maple top, gold hardware and a fine-tuning bridge.

The SG2000 was met well, and became known as a serious alternative to Gibsons of the time. It is still held in high regard as possibly Yamaha’s highest-quality guitar ever, and the one that gave them a serious foothold in the guitar market.

As such many were sold, and they have been used by a handful of well-known artists, the most notable being Carlos Santana, Bill Nelson of Bebop Deluxe and Stuart Adamson of the Skids and Big Country.

The SG2000 is probably the biggest selling model in the SG range, and used examples are not uncommon.

Prices are still high for these desirable guitars, and usually reach between £600 and £1300.

Collectable Guitars pt 23 – Fender Coronado


icontexto-webdev-social-bookmark-09The Coronado was a thinline hollow bodied guitar made by Fender from 1966 to 1972. It was designed by former Rickenbacker designer Roger Rossmeisl, who would later design other guitars for Fender.

The Coronado came in three models- the Coronado I with only one pickup at the neck, the II with two pickups and the XII, which was a 12 string variant. Pickups used were made by DeArmond.

Fender Coronado Guitar Wildwood FinishThe Coronado II and XII were also available in the desirable “Wildwood” finish, which was an attractively coloured patterned natural grain, made by injecting dyes into growing trees a few years before harvest. There were three shades of Wildwood available on the guitars- Rainbow Green, Rainbow Blue and Rainbow Gold. The bodies were made of maple, and unusually for a semi, the neck was bolted on.

The Coronado was unsuccessful, with the target audience, jazz players, rejecting it for the use of the traditional Fender headstock and the large amount of feedback from the hollow body and single coil pickups.

Traditional Fender players thought the Coronado wasn’t enough of a “real” Fender, and the guitar was a flop.

Examples now sell for upwards of £700 in most places.

You can read about the history of Fender guitars here

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.

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!