Guitar Collecting Rotating Header Image

Gibson

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

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

Gibson Acoustic Releases Three Limited Edition John Lennon Models

icontexto-webdev-social-bookmark-09facebook481Seventy years after his birth and three decades after his untimely passing, John Lennon’s message of peace continues to touch the masses, and his songs still resonate in the hearts and minds of fans around the world. At the request of Yoko Ono, Gibson Acoustic is very proud to offer three 70th Anniversary John Lennon J-160E acoustic guitars to celebrate the legacy of this extraordinary artist. Accordingly, only a very limited number of these handmade acoustics will ever be available.

Born on October 9th 1940, John Lennon still remains one of the most significant voices in the music of our times. In 1962, John Lennon was still an up-and-coming artist, and though one of two main singer/songwriters at the heart of The Beatles, was scraping by on the little money the band was bringing in at that time. For his first quality American acoustic/electric guitar, Lennon had his sights set on a new Gibson J-160E – the problem was, he didn’t have the money to buy it. With the aid of a co-signed purchase from Beatles manager Brian Epstein (who also co-signed for band mate George Harrison’s J-160E), Lennon made the guitar his own, and put it straight to the business of making rock and roll history.

Recreated by the luthiers at Gibson’s Montana acoustic guitar facility in period-perfect detail, the 70th Anniversary John Lennon models are available in three distinct versions to represent the instrument at three periods in Lennon’s life and career.

Each version is an accurate rendition of the J-160E of 1962, a guitar originally released in 1954 as one of the world’s first successful “electro-acoustic” guitars, with built-in pickup and electronics and ready to hit the stage for the professional performing musician. Beloved by Lennon, and kept close throughout his too-short life, the 70th Anniversary John Lennon J-160E is a guitar every Beatles fan will want to make their own.

70th Anniversary John Lennon J-160VS

The first, finished in Vintage Sunburst and limited to 500 guitars, represents the guitar as it was when Lennon first acquired it and used it on several famous Beatles recordings from 1963 to ’64, including Please Please Me, With The Beatles, and A Hard Day’s Night. Additional specs of the 70th Anniversary John Lennon J-160VS include a 70th Anniversary John Lennon MOP signature on the headstock, 1960s laminated Sitka Spruce top, mahogany back and sides, the classic vintage sunburst lacquer finish, Jumbo 1960s frets, Gibson authentic P-90 pickups, a historic adjustable bridge, and a 70th Anniversary mother-of-pearl engraved 12th fret birthdate of John Lennon. MSRP is $4728.

70th Anniversary John Lennon Imagine Model

The second is a stunning Custom Shop “Imagine” model in a Soft White finish personally requested by Yoko Ono to reflect the sentiment of John’s life and music during the recording of Imagine.

The white Gibson Acoustic “Imagine” model includes an anniversary John Lennon Abalone headstock signature, 70th Anniversary MOP engraved 12th fret birthdate of Lennon, 1960s laminated Sitka Spruce top, historic Gibson ladder bracing pattern, mahogany back and sides, Jumbo 1960s frets, historic adjustable bridge, Gibson authentic P-90 pickups and a custom hardshell case. MSRP on the Imagine model is $10,748.

70th Anniversary John Lennon Museum J-160E Model

The third is the model as it is today, on display at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, with a thin, natural finish and Lennon’s famous “John and Yoko” caricature sketches, representing the appearance of the guitar during the famous Lennon-Ono “Bed-In” peace protests of 1969.

The guitar specs of the Gibson Acoustic Lennon Museum J-160E model includes a Gibson Custom Shop label personally signed by Yoko Ono, authentic recreation of John Lennon’s Bed?In Caricature Sketch, 70th Anniversary John Lennon mother-of-pearl headstock signature, 70th Anniversary mother-of-pearl engraved 12th fret birth date of John Lennon, label personally signed by Yoko Ono, 1960s laminated Sitka spruce top, historic Gibson ladder bracing pattern, mahogany back & sides, custom thin lacquer finish, Jumbo 1960s frets, historic adjustable bridge, Gibson authentic P?90 pickup and a Gibson Custom Shop hardshell case. MSRP on the Museum model is $15,048.

The custom shop’s second and third renditions are limited to 70 guitars each, one for every year since John’s birth in 1940, and both include a special 70th Anniversary Certificate personally signed by Yoko Ono and sent to the final purchaser by Certified Mail.

Yoko One herself has been quoted as saying , “Remember, each one of us has the power to change the world. Just start thinking peace and the message will spread quicker than you think.” The Gibson Lennon acoustic models celebrate the peace that has lived on for years through John Lennon’s music and Yoko Ono’s staunch devotion to his memory and legacy.

“To say how proud I am of these new John Lennon Anniversary guitars is a huge understatement. The legacy that John Lennon has given music fans around the world is unprecedented and the friendship Gibson continues with Yoko Ono is demonstrated in these remarkable instruments that are in tribute to arguably one of the world’s greatest musicians,” said Henry Juszkiewicz Chairman and CEO of Gibson Guitar.

For more information:
Gibson

Gary Moore’s 1958 Gibson Les Paul Standard For Sale

icontexto-webdev-social-bookmark-09tipdrop logofacebook481A snip at $275,000! Here’s the specifications;

This guitar is considered to be the Holy Grail to many guitar enthusiasts, collectors and musicians. Sunburst Les Pauls were and are played by the most iconic rock stars of any era.

Billy Gibbons, Jimmy Page, Joe Perry, Duane Allman, Ace Frehley, Jeff Beck, Paul Kossoff, Joe Walsh, Gary Richrath, Steve Lukather, Gary Moore, James Hetfield, Michael Bloomfield, Peter Green, Gary Rossington, Ed King, Slash, Edward Van Halen, Eric Clapton, Rick Nielsen and many many others. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to own a vintage Les Paul that has a history that is traceable back to the 1960’s AND was owned by Gary Moore.

This guitar is in spectacular condition and has made appearances in numerous magazines and books. The color is fantastic and the top has a very pleasant mild flame. Guitar plays and sounds fabulous. I personally dealt with Gary Moore’s management and tech to acquire this guitar for a collector in 1994 and the experience of working with Mr. Moore’s staff was a great pleasure.

History This Les Paul was used for Gary Moore’s “After Hours” CD photo shoots. It was used for Gary’s 810 B&W glossy photos. It was used in two Gary Moore videos: “Cold Day in Hell.” and Since I Met You Baby.” This guitar has been featured in NUMEROUS books and magazines. (ie: “The Electric Guitar, an illustrated history.” Pages 93 and 147.)

Notable Provenance circa 1965-1990 owned by a guitarist who is also a vintage guitar dealer. 1990-1991 owned by English author Richard Chapman. 1991-1994 owned by guitarist Gary Moore of Thin Lizzy. Condition Guitar is in exceptional condition with exception to the following issues.

  • 1. Replacement (formerly gold) correct era pickup covers.
  • 2. Replacement switchring.
  • 3. Refret and replacement nut made of correct era Nylon.
  • 4. Grovers removed and correct era tuners reinstalled.
  • 5. Small headstock tip repair and headstock over-sprayed. (Circa 1978.)
  • 6. Guitar is in a flight case.

Link to ebay auction

Gibson Announce New Jimmy Page Les Paul


icontexto-webdev-social-bookmark-09tipdrop logofacebook481Gibson Les Paul Jimmy Page Number TwoThe Gibson Custom Shop has announced the Gibson Custom Jimmy Page Number Two Les Paul Limited Edition guitar, modified by the legendary Jimmy Page himself.

Here’s their press release…

Every musician knows that late ’50s Sunburst Les Paul Standards are hard enough to come by as it is. Obtaining a pristine and exemplary ’59 ‘Burst and modifying it for heightened performance and vastly expanded tonal options? Unheard of… unless, of course, you’re Jimmy Page.

That’s exactly what the legendary Led Zeppelin guitarist, perhaps the world’s most iconic Les Paul player, did with his own ’59 Les Paul Standard, and now, thanks to the extreme efforts of Gibson’s Custom Shop and the intimate cooperation of Jimmy Page himself–the artist’s hallowed “Number Two” Les Paul is available to mere mortals, in the form of the Custom Shop Jimmy Page “Number Two” Les Paul.

Produced in strictly limited numbers, with two levels of aging, this guitar captures the look, feel, sound, and versatility of one of the greatest artist-owned Les Pauls of all time, and it is likely to disappear from authorized Gibson dealers in record time.
The 1959 Les Paul that has come to be known as “Number Two” was purchased by Page in 1973 after trying for some time to acquire an exceptional second Les Paul.

This was several years after having acquired his other legendary Les Paul–“Number One”, a ’59 ‘Burst with shaved-down neck profile and no serial number–from Joe Walsh. “Number Two” was essentially all original when he acquired it. Jimmy did have some modifications done to the neck shape so that it would more nearly match the feel of his “Number One”. The neck is certainly slim but not to such extremes as the now-ultra-slim neck on “Number One”. It had a strong, beautiful sunburst finish with a red element that had faded to a dusky amber-brown, along with a clear serial number dating it to 1959. Page played this Les Paul frequently through his days with Led Zeppelin, and in the early ’80s decided to make it an even more versatile instrument.

Page also added that he wanted to “explore the full range of what the two humbuckers have to offer”. He designed a switching system for coil splitting, series/parallel, and phase-reverse options for both pickups, and employed a skilled electronics technician to devise a working schematic and make his sonic vision a reality.

The result comprised a push/pull pot on each of the guitar’s four standard controls, plus two push-button switches hidden beneath the pickguard, all mounted on a ’59 Les Paul Standard that is otherwise a superb example of the breed, both in tone and playability.

The Custom Shop Jimmy Page “Number Two” Les Paul was recreated with intense, inch-by-inch examination of Page’s original guitar, inside and out. The process of getting it right involved the production of a number of hand-built prototypes, each of which was checked and critiqued in detail by Page himself. Approval of the final iteration was only offered after the legendary artist had intricately examined and extensively played this last prototype in his London home, after which it was given the thumbs-up, worthy of being the template for the Custom Shop Jimmy Page “Number Two” Les Paul.

Only 325 examples will be produced in total: The first 25 instruments are to be aged by vintage-reproduction master Tom Murphy then inspected, played and hand signed and numbered by Jimmy Page personally. An additional 100 guitars will be given the extensive aging treatment and 200 will be finished to Gibson’s VOS specs.

1958 Gibson Les Paul Standard is up for Auction

icontexto-webdev-social-bookmark-09facebook481California Auctioneers will be auctioning one of the rarest rock guitars in the world; The 1958 Gibson Les Paul Standard.

An amazing collection of over 70 Autographed guitars of the who’s who in rock n roll, contemporary art, and a rare collection of Marilyn Monroe and Michael Jackson Memorabilia.

1958 Gibson Les Paul StandardOn Sunday Oct 11th, 10 am California Auctioneers will be selling one of the rarest rock guitars in the world; The 1958 Gibson Les Paul Standard.

The guitar is a one owner guitar, and is completely original. The collector’s piece was owned by John Ford of Jersey City, NJ, who was proud to call Les Paul his friend. Ford’s private collection of guitars is one of the world’s best, and the estate has decided to offer the Standard which Les Paul played on many occasions at Ford’s estate.

Also a major collection of autographed guitars by the who’s who in rock n’ roll, including The Who, Led Zeppelin, Rolling Stones, the Eagles, a Nirvana stage played guitar from Vince Neil’s collection, Ozzy, Santana, Clapton, Dylan, Slash, Cream, and Johnny Cash will be sold on the 11th.

California Auctioneers is located just below Johnny Cash’s old estate, and he was known to frequent the bar where California Auctioneers now lives.

Modern Art by Lichtenstein, Warhol and Rauschenberg and Vintage collections of Marilyn Monroe and Michael Jackson memorabilia fill the walls along with the rare and vintage guitars. There are oddities like Marilyn Monroe’s enameled pill box, Michael Jackson’s pill bottle and memorial programs.

“This is the best collection of Americana history we’ve seen in our 45 years,” says Jewels Eubanks, auctioneer. The first of its kind, California Auctioneers’ sale promises to be full of rarities, excitement and fun and offers history to the highest bidder live, and online.

Located on 8597 North Ventura Ave, Preview is Saturday Oct 10th Noon – 5PM with hors d’oeuvres, Auction starts at 10AM on Sun Oct 11th. To view catalog and photos go to californiauctioneers.com. 805-649-2686.

RIP Les Paul


icontexto-webdev-social-bookmark-09facebook481Les Paul, whose pioneering electric guitars were used by a legion of rock stars, has died at the age of 94.

Les Paul dies, aged 94Mr Paul died from complications of pneumonia in New York, according to Gibson, the firm that sold his guitars.

He is credited with inventing the solid-body electric guitar, which went on sale in 1952 and contributed to the birth of rock ‘n’ roll.

He also developed other influential recording innovations such as multi-track recording and overdubbing and he was credited with inventing the eight-track tape recorder.

Henry Juszkiewicz, chairman of Gibson Guitar, said: “His influence extends around the globe and across every boundary.”

Gibson president Dave Berryman said: “As the ‘father of the electric guitar’, he was not only one of the world’s greatest innovators but a legend who created, inspired and contributed to the success of musicians around the world.”

bbc.co.uk/news


Ronnie Monrose sues Gary Moore over theft of ’59 Les Paul

icontexto-webdev-social-bookmark-09facebook481In a downer moment that must have left countless concert-goers blinking, shaking their heads, and bellowing, “drag, man!” Guitarist Ronnie Montrose actually stopped a show in mid-song, had the house lights turned on, and scoured the theater when his 1959 Gibson Les Paul Standard was stolen right off the stage.

Gary MooreMontrose, a San Franciscan, hasn’t seen his guitar (which he bought from J. Geils) since that night on Oct. 10, 1972 when he played Dudley, Mass. with the Edgar Winter Band … until now. The San Francisco musician — who has played with Herbie Hancock, Van Morrison and others — claims that after 37 years of scouring and thousands of dollars spent on private detectives, his guitar has turned up in the possession of British musician and guitar collector Gary Moore — and, last week,  Montrose filed suit in San Francisco District Court.

Gibson Les Paul models of this vintage are crafted of mahogany; only around 1,700 or so were ever made and no two guitars look exactly alike. Montrose claims he can identify his old axe from pictures of Moore’s collection — but, more exactingly, he says the serial number of the guitar is the same as the one taken from him in Dudley.   

Reached at his home in Brighton, England, Moore refused to discuss the matter, saying only that the “whole thing is a sham” and “I’ve had that guitar for more than 20 years.” Montrose doesn’t dispute that notion, but he insists that doesn’t change the fact that Moore is in possession of his stolen guitar and must return it. An angry Moore refused to comment further on his tussle with Montrose over the decades-old instrument.

The legal ramifications of the case are complex, and Montrose hopes to get a judge to weigh in on several issues, including the statute of limitations on a 37-year-old case and an instance in which the current owner of a piece of stolen property is not alleged to have stolen it. Another major issue is jurisdictional, as the theft is alleged to have occurred in Massachusetts, its current owner lives in England and Montrose lives in San Francisco.

Ed Roman, owner of Ed Roman Guitars in Las Vegas, has served as an expert witness in stolen guitar cases for the estate of late guitar great Jimi Hendrix. He said Montrose faces an uphill battle, primarily because the alleged theft occurred so long ago.

Roman said the Hendrix estate and Paul McCartney have been unable to retrieve stolen guitars in cases where they knew who had them but were unable to overcome the years gone by. “If it is more than 10 years ago, the person who has it usually keeps it,” he said. “I doubt Ronnie is going to be able to get it back.”

Guitar thefts have long been common in the music business. R.E.M.’s Peter Buck had his prized Rickenbacker guitar stolen in September in Helsinki, Finland, only to have it returned anonymously two weeks later at a show in Luxembourg. Slash of Guns N’ Roses fame had his Gibson Les Paul Goldtop guitar stolen from his studio in 1998, and Gibson eventually made a new one for its longtime star client.

Montrose’s hunt for his guitar has been rife with false leads, missed opportunities and dead ends. In January 1977, someone contacted one of Montrose’s bandmates about the guitar’s whereabouts, only to disappear when Montrose hired a private investigator to look into it.

The hunt regained steam in the early 2000s when Indelicato was given a photo of a 1959 Gibson Les Paul by another guitar dealer at a Texas guitar show and told that Montrose’s instrument was in the hands of an English guitar player. The photo showed the guitar’s serial number, and Indelicato claims that an Internet search for the serial number sent him to a forum thread on the Gibson Web site that connected Moore and the serial number for Montrose’s missing guitar.

But it was the November 2007 issue of the British magazine Guitar Buyer that ignited the standoff between Montrose and Moore, who once played for Thin Lizzy as well as being a well respected solo artist.

The publication featured a multi-page spread on Moore and his guitar collection, including several photos of a 1959 Gibson Les Paul Standard. The Sunburst guitar is known for its distinctive maple wood face with unique wood grain patterns. Montrose claims a photo showing a pin-sized hole in the back of the guitar is the proof, as he drills such holes in all of his guitars.

The Guitar Buyer photos showed that the guitar had sustained significant wear and tear over the past 37 years, a sign that Montrose’s complaint claims “substantiates a risk of future damage so as long as the ’59 Gibson remains in Mr. Moore’s possession.”

An angry Moore refused to comment further on his tussle with Montrose over the decades-old instrument. But his quote in the Guitar Buyer story shed light on its value to both men.

When asked if he still played the ’59 Gibson on the road, he replied, “Sometimes, but don’t tell anyone that. I don’t really like taking it out too much because it’s getting a bit scary now. I don’t think I’ll find another Gibson Les Paul to replace it. I’d have to get one of the same vintage, because no matter what new ones I get, they’re never going to be like that.”


Gibson Holy Explorer

icontexto-webdev-social-bookmark-09facebook481The Gibson Explorer is a guitar most readers may be familiar with, and it is a well-designed, well-loved shape used by several distinguished rock and metal players. So what in the name of all that is holy (see what I did there?) have they done to this one, many will ask.

Gibson Holy Explorer GuitarThe Holy Explorer is a standard, natural finish Explorer with seven gaping holes cut through the body. There is also a Flying V which has had a similar makeover. The guitars feature the usual attributes of the Flying V and Explorer designs- mahogany bodies and necks, 496R and 500T pickups, and the usual 22-fret rosewood fingerboard. But, those holes…

The bad sides of the gaping holes would be the obvious deficits in the sustain. Less wood means less vibration can travel through the body, so the notes can’t last as long. Explorers are famed for the colossal sustain of the large body, so this sort of defeats the objective in that sense.

Maybe the pickups make up for it, but I can’t see that happening without use of a Fernandes Sustainer or an E-Bow. As well as that potential problem, the holes probably won’t be to everyone’s taste. I don’t think it looks too bad, I just can’t see the point.

On the other hand, the original Explorer’s considerable weight would be very much reduced, and the design is quite original, although they could have made a better job of the placing of the holes.  The classic Explorer’s well proven sustain and feel would inevitably be compromised, but answer me this- the Holy Explorer or that utterly repellent Eye Guitar? Gibson are making a whole run of 2009 Limited Run ultra-low production guitars, which, beside the hideous Tribal V and Explorer, also has some very nicely executed guitars- a reissue of the famed 1970s Grabber bass, and a stunning SG with a carved maple top.

So, the Holy Explorer. I think it’s nicely done, but a bit pointless.

An Explorer with less sustain?

And while the design is neat, it’s far from perfectly executed. And, the price is a bit steep- $2775 against $2399 for the standard Explorer, but it will be a limited run of only 350 guitars, making it quite collectable.  Gibson have gone very much overboard on limited run special editions of late, and it’s wearing a bit thin. We’ve had the slightly overcooked Dark Fire, the new all-maple Raw Power Les Paul and SG, which defeats the objective of those two guitars completely, the  Eye (sore) Guitar, and now the Holy V and Explorer.

Are any of these a match for Gibson’s classic designs such as the Les Paul, SG, ES-335, Firebird, Explorer and Flying V? No. Gibson never used to muck around with expensive and ultimately pointless limited edition models, so why do they feel the need now? They have always stuck to what they’re good at, which has produced some absolutely inspired pieces of guitar design, which is why it’s so infuriating when they don’t do what they’re good at, and play around with decidedly uninspired limited editions such as this.

We need less of this from Gibson, and more inspired designs like the aforementioned classics above.

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.

Collectable Guitars pt 20 – The Gibson MIII


icontexto-webdev-social-bookmark-09facebook481The Gibson M-III was one of the company’s rare attempts to muscle in on the popular Superstrat movement of the late 1980s, led by Jackson and Ibanez. It was not as successful as other Gibsons and was withdrawn after only a few years in production.

Gibson MIII GuitarThe guitar featured an updated Stratocaster shape with a reverse headstock, and had a set-neck when the trend in Superstrat design was to have a thru-neck, or a bolt-on for the cheaper models.

All guitars had Floyd Rose style tremolos and two humbuckers plus a central single-coil pickup. Also, where most superstrats had rosewood or ebony fingerboards, the M-III’s frets were set into a slab of maple.

The guitars looked and felt too different from Gibson’s classic models, and are no longer made, although there is an M-III shaped model called the EM-2 in Epiphone’s metal-oriented Prophecy range.

The Gibsons are rare and collectable, but are another example of a 10-20 year-old guitar which offers a lot for not very much money used.

They are worth between £500-800.

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.

 

twitter-3a5

Collectable Guitars pt 12 – The Gibson Trini Lopez

Gibson Trini Lopez

Trini Lopez is a popular American-Mexican singer and guitarist who designed two signature guitars for Gibson in 1964. The first was the Trini Lopez Standard and the second the Custom, or Deluxe.

Gibson Trini LopezThe Standard is based on the classic ES335 shape, but with a trapeze tailpiece (as seen on early Gibson Les Pauls) and diamond-shaped soundholes. The guitar also differed to an ES335 in that it had a Gibson Firebird neck set into the body.

The Trini Lopez Custom is a much rarer instrument. It is based on an old jazz guitar designed in 1961 by Barney Kessel. The Custom has a double-cutaway body like that of an ES335, but with the cutaways much sharper and a larger body, giving a slightly unbalanced look.

Gibson Trini Lopez CustomThe Lopez models were discontinued in 1971 and are collectible and highly prized today, although not particularly expensive at this point in time.

The Standard has been given a new lease of life in 2008 by Dave Grohl, singer and guitarist with the Foo Fighters.

His Gibson signature DG335 model is a modified Trini Lopez Standard finished in Gibson’s classic shade Pelham Blue. The Trini Lopez models are rare and pretty expensive, but Grohl’s signature model is more affordable (and readily available).

 

twitter-3a3

Collectable Guitars pt 11 – The Gibson Moderne


icontexto-webdev-social-bookmark-09facebook481Gibson Moderne

Gibson ModerneThe Gibson Moderne is one of Gibson’s most infamous instruments, and due to its limited production and the story surrounding it, it has acquired semi-mythical status.

It was first announced in 1958. The Moderne was slated to be part of a very modernistic three-guitar series including the Flying V and Explorer, now two of the most successful guitars ever made. So what happened to the Moderne?

In 1958 the three guitars were just too ahead of their time. They were dropped unceremoniously within a year.

The Flying V and Explorer were reissued in 1967 and 1976 respectively, and continue to have huge followings. In 1958-9, only 96 Vs and 22 Explorers were made, but there was simply no demand for the particularly bizarre Moderne- not a single one was made, or so most people think. Some collectors have been slavishly trying to track down a 1958 Moderne for decades, to no avail.

As far as anyone knows, no Moderne was made until the “reissued models” of 1982. The only information collectors have to go on is the original patent drawing and a 1958 shipping record.

The Moderne was “re”- introduced in 1982. The 1980s models were not very successful either, with only 183 being made in the initial run. Other than the Korean-made Epiphone copies, Gibson has refused to manufacture the Moderne again and there have been none made since the original “2nd series” was phased out in around 1983.  These can occasionally be found for sale, and are commanding high prices as they are still a rarity.

Also not very common is the little-known Ibanez Futura, a copy of the Moderne made in the 1970s and 80s.
Ronald Lynn Wood, a guitarist originally from Flint, MI became fascinated by the Moderne as a young man and set out to unravel the mystery of this elusive guitar. His new book, Moderne: The Holy Grail of Vintage Guitars, has just been released by Centerstream Publishing, and it is the most exhaustive and comprehensive accounting to date of the search, the history, and the rumors and facts surrounding the Moderne.

You can buy it here;

Moderne Guitar: Holy Grail of Vintage Guitars

Price: £7.02

3.0 out of 5 stars (2 customer reviews)

12 used & new available from £7.02

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!

Collectable Guitars pt 1 – Gibson Les Paul



icontexto-webdev-social-bookmark-09facebook481

What guitars would make the basis of a dream guitar collection? 

In these posts we’ll look at the rarest, most valuable, most collectable or just drop-dead gorgeous guitars – starting with one of the most valuable types of guitar available.

Late 50’s to early 60’s Gibson Les Paul

These are seriously valuable guitars, especially all original models. New Les Pauls cost anywhere from £1500-£2500 depending on model, specifications etc. Any decently presented original model from the fifties will probably fetch up to ten times more, possibly higher depending on condition.

Although the guitar was a slow burner when it was released, in the late 1960s interest picked up – quite a lot – so much so that some Les Pauls, particularly from around 1958-60, are worth properly huge amounts of money, and they’re hardly ugly, are they?

The original classic solid-body guitar, all thanks to the genius of Les Paul (the man).