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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

Martin Unveils Recycled Wood Guitar

If you heard the words “guitar” and “environment” in the same sentence in the last few months you were probably hearing about the raid on Gibson Guitar. While the August raid on Gibson’s factories continues to draw a lot of attention and still gets conservatives and Tea Party supporters angry, another guitar company is coming up this week with an innovative effort to connect the dots between guitars and the environment in a positive way.

On Tuesday, C.F. Martin announced that it will utilize FSC-certified recycled Sitka spruce in one of its new cutaway guitars in the company’s Performing Artist series – the GPCPA4 Sapele. Now, here comes the good part – the wood, which will be used on the tops of the new guitar, is coming from none other than dismantled Canadian bridges where it had been used in construction.

“Martin Guitar has long been committed to research and innovation to find alternatives to rare woods,” explained Chris Martin, the company’s chairman and CEO. “The use of this recycled traditional tonewood will complement the Sapele wood that this guitar utilizes, allowing us to achieve the same structural integrity and traditional Martin sound,” he added.

The search for such innovative solutions is not accidental, especially for a guitar maker with sustainability in mind like C.F. Martin. “In order for a musical instrument manufacturing company to become more sustainable, they have to look at the primary resources from the planet that they’re using and get those resources in the most environmentally sustainable way,” explains Scott Paul, director of the forest campaign for Greenpeace.

Full story here

Whose Axe Made Your Guitar? You’d Better Find Out

With the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service raiding Gibson’s Tennessee factories again recently, This article is well worth a read, as it has consequences for any owner of a vintage wooden instrument.

The government alleges that Gibson imported woods in violation of the Lacey Act, a century-old law that makes it a federal crime to trade in plants, wildlife, or timber that have been harvested in violation of “any foreign law.”

While this seems simple enough, and the anti-poaching/conservation impulses behind the law are certainly commendable, the Lacey Act has become one of many federal statutes that create invisible minefields of federal regulations into which anyone can stumble unknowingly.

You can read the full article here

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.


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, or 800-844-1197. To view and/or download high-resolution images of guitars from this list, go to

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

Johnny Marr’s Stolen Gibson SG is Returned

icontexto-webdev-social-bookmark-09tipdrop logofacebook481Former Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr is “ecstatic” after one of his favourite guitars was returned to him – 10 years after it was stolen.

Marr’s treasured vintage 1964 Gibson SG vanished after a show with his band Johnny Marr and the Healers in London in 2000.

The musician was so upset by the theft, he offered a reward for information leading to the return of the guitar, which has an estimated value of £30,000.

Now he has finally been reunited with the instrument – after a guilt-ridden fan confessed to the theft.

Stephen White admitted stealing the guitar on the “spur of the moment” after he was invited backstage following the gig. He took it home by taxi and has kept it in his living room ever since – but was arrested earlier this year after cops received a tip-off.

At Highbury Corner Magistrates Court in north London last week, White pleaded guilty to theft, admitting he feels “disgusted” with himself.

Police Constable Christopher Swain said Marr is “ecstatic”, adding: “He bears no malice towards the defendant… The guitar did have a high sentimental value to him.”

A spokesman for Marr says, “He is obviously very happy to have his guitar returned.”

White was sentenced to 200 hours community service.

Gibson Guitars may face prosecution under revised Lacey Act

icontexto-webdev-social-bookmark-09tipdrop logofacebook4811958 Gibson Les Paul StandardGibson Guitars, long lauded by environmental groups as a pioneer in the use of sustainable wood products, is the first U.S. company to face prosecution under a new federal law banning trade in illegal wood.

“This is the first enforcement action that we are aware of, and we are extremely encouraged that the government is taking this new tool so seriously,” said Alexander von Bismarck, executive director of Environmental Investigation Agency, a nonprofit group that investigates international environmental crime.

That “new tool” is an amendment to a century-old law called the Lacey Act, which combats trafficking in illegal wildlife, fish and plants.

Congress expanded Lacey in May 2008 to include timber and wood products, making the United States the first in the world to regulate trade in plants and plant products. Declaration requirements went into effect in May of this year.

According to the EIA, which fought for more than a decade to get the amendment passed, Gibson is the first in the country and, by default, the world, to be investigated under the new provisions.

Penalties for violations of the Lacey Act range from a simple forfeiture of goods to fines of up to $500,000 and prison time if the company or individual is found to have knowingly engaged in the trade of illegally sourced wood.

Agents with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service executed a search warrant at Gibson’s Nashville guitar plant on Tuesday. According to unconfirmed media reports, agents seized various items, including an endangered type of rosewood from Madagascar.

Andrew Ames, spokesman for the U.S. Department of Justice, confirmed the raid but declined further comment.

Gibson posted a statement on its Web site stating that it is “fully cooperating” with Fish & Wildlife officials.

Late Wednesday, Gibson updated the statement to include a statement from Allen Hershkowitz, senior scientist with the National Resource Defense Council.

“NRDC knows firsthand that the leadership at Gibson is committed to and informed about environmental issues, and we look forward to continuing our collaborations with this good and upstanding organization for many years to come,” Hershkowitz said.

But an NRDC spokeswoman said the statement is from the past and is not in response to Tuesday’s raid.

Nashville Biz Journals

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, 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.

Gibson’s Eye Guitar – a future collectable?

twitterfacebook481The new Gibson Eye guitar has certainly caused a storm of controversy since its recent launch, but mainly for being so damned ugly.

The limited run, red and white, bastardised SG style guitar has bought a flood of negative comments in blogs and forums for its looks, and it’s not cheap either with a RRP of $2497.

Comments from the Gibson product page include;

“This is the ugliest ******* thing you guys have ever made. Stay off the LSD and start making affortable (sic.) great sounding guitars ”

“Uggggly! With a capital “U”! …and pointeless… ”

“PLEASE….SCRAP THE ENTIRE 2009 LIMITED RUN SERIES before one more innocent tree has to die needlessly. ”

“Hey, Gibson, are you trying to out-do yourselves here? First, the Reverse V, then the Reverse Explorer, then the Holy V and Holy Explorer, and now this? This “Eye” thing, hands-down, is the ugliest thing I’ve ever seen (even more-so than the Pontiac Aztec). It’s not “retro;” it’s not “futuristic;” it’s just plain ugly. Gibson has made some of the most beautiful instruments ever created – the Les Paul, the SJ-200, the Lloyd Loar Mandolins, just to name a few. This new guitar is evidence that Gibson also makes the ugliest instruments. Do yourselves a favor and fire the people that designed this, then fire the people that approved its release. And stop needlessly killing innocent trees… ”

However, I think this guitar has potential. 

All Gibson guitars have a collectability factor to a certain extent, and this one, like the Gibson Corvus before it, is destined to be quitely consigned to history in a short space of time. A limited run, unpopular and a strong brand name all point to future collectability to me. 

Assuming dealers will have trouble selling them I predict some nice discounts will be offered, so maybe it would be prudent to pick one up and leave it in the cupboard for a few years. Looking at the values of the Corvus with dealers and on Ebay, surely the Eye will follow along this path of derision, wilderness years, curiosity and finally collectability?

gibson eye guitar

Still not sure I can bring myself to buy one though…

Neil Schon Signature Les Paul

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

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

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

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

Gibson Les Paul Axcess at the Wembley Guitar Centre

icontexto-webdev-social-bookmark-09facebook481We made a road trip this morning to visit the Wembley Guitar Centre in North London, sitting almost in the shadow of the new Wembley Stadium.

Gibson Les Paul Axcess guitarMark (the manager) and Matt couldn’t have been more friendly and helpful, allowing us to grab whatever guitars we fancied and wailing away with Boogie and Engl amps in their nice  (soundproof!) testing rooms.

Wembley Guitar Centre have recently become Gibson dealers and one model that caught our eye was the new custom shop Les Paul Axcess.

This new model has a re-sculpted “heel-less” neck joint, making the upper fret access much more comfortable compared to a regular Les Paul. The other main change is a Floyd Rose tremolo. Considered to be sacrilege in the Les Paul playing community adding a Floyd Rose does widen the appeal and options for new, more metal based players I guess but more traditional Les Paul fans will be knashing their teeth!

The body has also had a “belly cut” added on the rear, and is chambered inside, making it considerably lighter than the other Les Pauls on display.

It sounded great, with two “burstbucker” pickups and the playability was excellent, although I personally I find the painted neck not to my tastes.

These guitars are only (apparently) going to be custom shop models, so will be pretty rare and I am predicting, collectible in the future. I think the ideas for this model have come from the very exclusive Neil Schon custom shop model, which has many of the same features, albeit for an even higher price.

The Axcess isn’t cheap, at £2400 but it may well hold it’s value in the future as an unusual take on a Les Paul.

UPDATE: Now is appears that the Axcess is available without the Floyd Rose, which I assume, will have a lower price point than the tremelo version.

The Wembley Guitar Centre website has the full spec for the guitar here

Collectable Guitars pt 18 – The Gibson Barney Kessel

Barney Kessel was a very respected jazz guitarist in the 1950s and 60s, and gained his own Gibson signature model in 1961.

Gibson Barney Kessel guitarThe guitar was unusual in shape, with a 25 1/2″ scale length similar to an ES-335, but with much sharper double florentine cutaways, resembling an SG.

However, the body was much wider than an SG, and looked unbalanced. 

The guitar was very normal apart from this, with four main controls, a wide body as opposed to the thinline design of the ES models, two humbuckers and a Bigsby vibrato.

The model described thus far is the original Barney Kessel Regular. There was another model, the Barney Kessel maple-necked Custom, which didn’t sell as well, with a tune-o-matic bridge instead of the Bigsby. Both were available from 1961 until 1973

The Custom was a deluxe instrument; ornate inlays and gold plating throughout – it launched at a significantly higher price than the Regular, $560 and $395 respetively (1/9/61 Gibson price list)

Barney Kessels were discontinued around 1974 and have not been made since. They are rare now, and would probably command a price upwards of £5000.



Collectable Guitars pt 10 – The Gibson Corvus

icontexto-webdev-social-bookmark-09facebook481Gibson already had two very successful unorthodox looking guitars in 1982 – the much – emulated Flying V and Explorer, which are considered the benchmark for odd shaped guitars to this day.  Which is why the unusual Corvus, launched in 1982 to little fanfare, so prompted the question “What were Gibson thinking?”

No-one really seems to know the answer to this question, and even at the time one imagines several Gibson workers were probably mystified.

No guitar had ever attempted a shape like this before, and with hindsight it seems fairly safe to assume why. No-one was prepared for the sheer madness, or possibly ugliness of the design, which drew numerous comparisons to a tin opener, although this is presumably not the effect Gibson was aiming for!

The guitar, quite apart from the unusual shape, was a perfectly normal guitar with single-coil or humbucking pickups and tune-o-matic bridge, although a bolt-on neck, unusual for Gibson, who usually utilised set necks. Finishes included classic TV yellow, white, natural wood and a particularly vibrant orange. There were three models, the Corvus I, II and III (depending on the number of pickups).

corvusThe Corvus (Latin-speakers may know this is a Latin word meaning crow, which is maybe what Gibson were trying to emulate with this shockingly unconventional design) was a complete failure for the company and was withdrawn, having sold barely any units, in 1984.

However, the Corvus has gained a small cult following after its demise, so they aren’t as reviled now as they were.

If you do find one, you’d certainly be the only person on your street with one!