Joe Bonamassa announces Epiphone Ltd Ed 1960 Les Paul Standard ‘Norm Burst’

His seventh Epi signature model is based on “the cleanest vintage Les Paul Standard I’ve ever seen” 

Joe Bonamassa might be out buying many of the world’s most desirable vintage guitars but he’s committed to making models based on them affordable for players with Epiphone.  He’s already got six successful Epi signature guitars to prove it  – including the gorgeous ‘Amos’ V – and now there’s a seventh. Unsurpsingly, it’s a beauty!

The Epiphone limited-edition Joe Bonamassa 1960 Les Paul Standard ‘Norm Burst’ is based on the guitarist’s jaw-droppingly pristine 1960 Les Paul that Joe discovered at Norm’s Rare Guitars in Tarzana, California. 

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The Vintage Guitar Market’s Wild Ride

In July 1965, Bob Dylan took the stage at the Newport Folk Festival with a sunburst Fender Stratocaster. The set marked the first time the rising folk icon had ever played live with a plugged-in band, shocking folk purists while at the same time catapulting him to the forefront of rock n’ roll. It became, according to Dylan biographer Clinton Heylin, “the most written-about performance in the history of rock.”

Dylan left the guitar on a private airplane. Subsequently stored in the attic of the plane’s pilot for decades, the guitar found its way to Christie’s auction house in New York in December 2013—nearly 50 years later. Although the pre-auction estimate forecast a price between $300,000 and $500,000, it ended up selling for a monumental $965,000 after fees—a new record for a guitar sold at auction, edging the $959,000 paid for Eric Clapton’s “Blackie” Stratocaster in 2004.

And it’s not the only one changing hands for serious money. After years of stagnation, vintage guitar sales are picking up again of late, according to the 42-Guitar Index, a price-weighted indicator based on sales of 42 Fender, Gibson and Martin models from the 1960s or earlier. The benchmark, sometimes described as the Dow Jones Industrial Average for vintage guitars, rose 8 percent in 2013—the first annual increase since 2008. “People are definitely feeling better about the market,” says Gil Hembree, co-author of the Official Vintage Guitar Price Guide, which publishes the index.

Forget stock market volatility: Investment-minded guitar collectors have needed nerves of steel to survive the wild ride of the past two decades. In the 1990s, interest in vintage Martins, Fenders and Gibsons surged as baby boomers began collecting them in earnest, a change prodded on by a slew of detailed books published about the instruments. Guitar values rose 8.6 percent on average between 1991 and 1999 before flat-lining during the dotcom bust of the early 2000s.

Just like the stock market, guitar values recovered in the early 2000s and then skyrocketed in the Guitar 5_ Martin 1834years preceding financial crisis. The value of an excellent condition 1953 Gibson Les Paul, for example, jumped from $6,500 in 2001 to $10,500 in 2004. Then, between 2006 and 2008, the guitar index gained a remarkable 82 percent as buyers started paying unheard-of prices for vintage instruments.

Read the full article here

Collectable Guitars General

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.


Bert Weedon dies

Sad news as Legendary UK guitarist Bert Weedon, whose books helped Eric Clapton and Paul McCartney learn to play the instrument, has died at his home in Beaconsfield.

The 91-year-old musician, of Penn Road, created the popular tutorial manuals Play In A Day, which have sold in their millions.

Friend John Adrian told the Press Association: “He had been poorly for a while but, even so, this was sudden. He was one of my dearest friends.”

The list of rock stars who have declared that the guide written by Weedon – who died yesterday – gave them the first grasp of their instrument is a testament to its practical genius. It is one of the sacred tomes of the birth of British rock.

The teenage John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison all started off with Play In A Day, so Weedon could claim to be a key figure in the genesis of the Beatles. Keith Richards, Pete Townshend, Steve Hillage and Brian May were all acolytes. “I wouldn’t have felt the urge to press on without the tips and encouragement Bert’s book gives you,” Eric Clapton has admitted. “I’ve never met a player of any consequence that doesn’t say the same thing.”

It is a statement, however, that rather betrays his age. To later generations who could watch guitar heroes on video and freeze-frame chord changes, Weedon’s once revolutionary approach to the instrument is already ancient history.

Yet Weedon is a legend to that first rock and roll generation because he provided something vital to youngsters caught up in a storm of new music: immediacy. The title of his book expresses the urgency that kids felt at being confronted with the intense, primal energy of the new wave of guitar music from across the Atlantic, blowing away the horn-driven virtuosity of jazz and swing, stamping all over the solemn orchestral propriety of 1950s pop.

Faced with an electric explosion at the heart of youth culture, what teen gallant could contemplate studying for years to master an instrument? These kids wanted to form bands, play gigs, pick up girls, make a noise. Bert promised to teach you how to Play In A Day, and that’s about all the time they felt they had.

On a personal note I met Bert in the early 1980’s whilst working as a temporary delivery driver.

He was not only very friendly to a young guitarist just starting out (me) but he also let me play his guitar, and even gave me a picture disc vinyl record as a souvenir.

He was a true gent..RIP Bert.

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Tom Petty Guitars Stolen

More guitar related crime:

Five guitars belonging to Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers were stolen from a soundstage at The Culver Studios in Culver City, according to the band’s website. A reward of $7,500 with “no questions asked” is being offered.

Petty had been rehearsing at the studios in advance of the band’s 2012 North America-Europe tour, which kicks off on April 18 in Broomfield, Colo. No shows have been planned for Los Angeles.

The theft was reported to the Culver City Police Department on April 12 a little after 4 p.m., according to Sgt Dan Sukal.

The Culver Studios, a complex of 16 soundstages just off Culver Boulevard, was the home of “Deal or No Deal,” “America’s Next Top Model,” and “The Starter Wife.” Films such as “State of Play” and “Rush Hour 3” have also been filmed here. “Cougar Town” is currently in production on the lot.

The guitars include Petty’s 1967 12-string Rickenbacker and his Gibson SG TV Junior, Ron Blair’s Fender Broadcaster, Scott Thurston’s 1967 Epiphone Sheridan and Mike Campbell’s blue Dusenberg, which was built for Campbell to commemorate the band’s 30th anniversary.

Fan reaction to the theft was fierce. “… nothing lower in life then a thief who would steal a mans tools to feed his family,” wrote one.

“I don’t normally condone acts of violence against others, but since I’m referring to nothing more than knuckle-dragging neanderthals – I hope somebody beats the [expletive] out of them with their own clubs,” wrote another.

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UPDATE: Stolen Tom Petty guitar found in Hollywood pawn shop

One of Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers’ stolen vintage guitars was found in a Hollywood pawn shop after being sold to the store for $250 (£156).

The band’s valuable instruments were stolen last week from a rehearsal space in Los Angeles, but were recovered yesterday (April 17) by police.

Daryl Washington, who worked as a private security guard at Culver Studios where the band had been practising ahead of their new tour, has been arrested in conjunction with the crime. The stolen items included Petty’s 1967 12-string blonde Rickenbacker 360 and his 1965 Gibson SGTV Junior, as well as a Fender Broadcaster belonging to bassist Ron Blair, and guitars belonging to Scott Thurston and Mike Campbell.

An SG was found in the pawn shop, leading police to track down 51-year-old Washington, reports Culver City Patch. The CEO of Culver Studios, James C Cella said in a statement:

We’re relieved and extremely pleased that all of Tom Petty’s stolen guitars have been recovered and that a suspect has been arrested. Our security department cooperated fully with the Culver City Police in the effort to solve this crime.

He continued: “Even though the alleged culprit was not an employee of the Culver Studios but worked for an independent contractor, we feel a real sense of responsibility for everything that happens on our lot and we have conveyed our profound apologies to Mr Petty for the distress the incident has caused him.”


*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..


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



Guitar traders admit handling stolen vintage guitars

A well-known Yorkshire father and son business partnership have been given suspended prison sentences for handling stolen guitars.

Richard and Justin Harrison, dealing in rare and old musical instruments, admitted to handling stolen vintage guitars worth over £40,000.

Dad Richard, 63, of The Old Rectory, High Street, Campsall, Doncaster, admitted one charge of handling stolen goods relating to ten guitars worth £42,000.

He was given a 12 month sentence, suspended for 18 months and 200 hours unpaid work.

Son Justin, 40, of Wentedge House, Wentedge Road, Pontefract, admitted two charges of handling stolen goods, relating to two guitars worth £4,500.

He was given a six month sentence, suspended for 18 months, 200 hours unpaid work and told pay £2,500 court costs.

At the time of the offences they owned well known company Music Ground and had shops in Leeds, Manchester and London and international customers. 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 last year.

The guitars were 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 £1million.

Michael Rawlinson, for Justin, said he had not known the gutiars were stolen when he first received them but had “buried his head in the sand”. Nigel Hamilton, for Richard, said he had given the guitars to people look after when he realised they were stolen but was arrested nine months later when he was still in possession of them.

Judge Christopher Batty described their actions “disgusting”. He said: “We are not talking about throw-away items.

“We are talking expensive property – vintage guitars.

The pair now face an investigation under the Proceeds of Crime Act.


Books and Reference Material General

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


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


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


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.


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

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.



UK Police Hunt for 61 Stolen Rare and Vintage Guitars

Sixty-one rare and vintage guitars worth up to £50,000 each are being searched for by West Yorkshire Police after they were stolen.

Police want to track down the rare Fender, Gibson, Gretsch and Rickenbacker models which are missing.

A total of 157 guitars worth more than £1m were stolen five years ago, 96 have since been recovered.

Two men aged 63 and 41 have been charged with handling stolen goods in connection with the investigation.

Police have released images of the 61 missing guitars and their serial numbers.

Det Con Chris Lord from West Yorkshire Police said: “Anyone found with one of these guitars in their possession could be charged with handling stolen goods.

“I would encourage anyone who suspects they have one of these guitars to check the serial numbers as soon as possible.”

The police said they were unable to provide more information about the burglary because of legal proceedings.

Anyone with information is urged to contact the police.



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.”


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.


Gary Moore Dies

Very sad to hear of the death of Gary Moore earlier today.

He had such a great tone and feel, “Still got the blues” is one of my all time solos. Here is another great track of his as a little tribute.

R.I.P. Gary..


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


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.


Collectable Guitars General

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 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


Cigar Box Guitar Museum Unveiled in New Alexandria, PA

On Saturday, October 30 at 4pm, Speal’s Tavern in New Alexandria, PA will unveil a permanent museum display of unusual, handmade cigar box guitars.

The Cigar Box Guitar Museum was compiled and documented by Shane Speal, a York PA musician billed as “The King of the Cigar Box Guitar” and central figure in the upcoming PBS documentary, Songs Inside the Box. The collection of over 35 cigar box guitars displayed at Speal’s Tavern were built by craftsmen all over the country and range from simple, one-string primitive instruments to complex, electrified guitars with frets, double-necks and whammy bars.

Cigar box guitars are the first instruments played by many blues and rock legends such as Lightnin’ Hopkins, Carl Perkins and even Jimi Hendrix. The legend is told when poor folk wanted to play guitar but couldn’t afford one, they would craft one from an empty wooden cigar box, a discarded stick and baling wire for strings. This poverty instrument is witnessing resurgence in modern times with the success of old time music such as O Brother Where Art Thou and the do-it-yourself spirit brought on by the Recession.
Speal’s Tavern has recently gone under new management by Dan Speal of Saltsburg, PA, a retired schoolteacher and a third generation Speal to run the pub. Speal’s Tavern opened its doors at the close of Prohibition in 1933 and has been in business ever since. With new organization comes a new addition of a live blues stage to Speal’s Tavern’s charm, along with a total transformation of the décor, which features the Cigar Box Guitar Museum display.

Shane Speal built his first cigar box guitar in 1993 and has been performing with them ever since. He has brought the instrument into a new renaissance with his website,, which boasts 4000 members worldwide.


Should you ever buy a guitar on credit?

icontexto-webdev-social-bookmark-09facebook481Here’s a guest post from Mark Hooson at with advice about the pitfalls of buying guitars on credit..

Gibson Les Paul Jimmy Page Number TwoMost guitarists, at some point in their life, will fall prey of ‘Guitar Acquisition Syndrome’. Characterised by the irrepressible and urgent need to acquire a guitar, regardless of its price or availability, the only cure for the syndrome is to hunt down that axe and hand over the cash!

Unfortunately, for most of us, paying for them can be a bigger stretch than a chord spanning five frets. The options are clear: you can attempt to save some cash until you can afford the guitar, buy it on finance – depending on the store, or you can put it on a credit card.

But is buying a guitar on a credit card ever a good idea? Let’s take a look at the pros and cons putting it on the plastic.

First off, because I’m a pessimist, let’s look at the cons.

Why you shouldn’t buy a guitar on a credit card

The main issue here is your ability to pay.

Of course by using a credit card you can get instant gratification and be home with your Gibson 1960 Les Paul Special or your Martin Eric Clapton signature acoustic as quick as a flash, but not only will you be paying the full price of the guitar, you’ll be paying the interest on the card too.

Traditionally, purchase credit cards are great for free, short-term credit – as long as you always pay your balance in full by the due date shown on your statement, but you will incur interest if you are unable to repay your balance in full every month.

Interest rates vary significantly, so if you don’t pay the full amount by the due date, and find yourself paying too much interest, you’ll have to go through the process of transferring the balance to a lower-rate card.

Why you might want to use a credit card to buy the guitar of your dreams

Even if you don’t have an over-active impulse-buying gland, there are still benefits to buying a high-priced guitar, like a Fender American Vintage ‘52 Telecaster, on a credit card.

Credit cards are a safe way to pay for a guitar, particularly if you are buying over the internet or phone.

If you buy anything on a credit card priced between £100 and £30,000, that turns out to be faulty or which you do not receive because the company goes bust, you can claim a refund from the card provider.

For the more exotic guitar-enthusiast, a credit card might be a good idea because they are accepted in virtually every country around the world – perfect if you spot that axe abroad you’ve been scouring the country for back home.

So, should you buy a guitar on credit?

It all comes down to your ability to pay. I for example, would love a Gibson J200, but I wouldn’t put it on a card because I wouldn’t be able to pay off the full balance before the end of the month, and would be stuck paying charges every month – making the guitar cost me a lot more than it would have if I’d paid up-front.

On the other hand, some cards have great promotional offers like loyalty points, cash back, or payments to support a charity.

It all comes down to what you can afford, and if you do opt for a card – be realistic, and make sure you compare rates and offers to make sure you get the most for your money.

[Mark Hooson writes for the financial group at, and is a guitar enthusiast]


Star Wars Fan Builds Millennium Falcon Guitar!

icontexto-webdev-social-bookmark-09facebook481I can’t say this appeals to me, as I am not a Star Wars fan but you have to hand it to the guy for his originality. Using an electric guitar and a vintage Millennium Falcon toy, Travis S. managed to build a unique instrument shaped like Han Solo’s starship.

Having built guitars with his father, in high-school, this was a relatively easy task for Travis S., but the idea of building something that has never been done before appealed to him.

An avid Star Wars fan, with a sizable collection of memorabilia, he decided to combine his love for the sci-fi franchise with his passion for guitars. It only took him a month, working on weekends, to complete the guitar, but he says he could have completed in under a week.

Since this is an electric guitar, using a plastic toy as the body doesn’t affect the way it sounds, but the artist had to add a maple block from the start to the end of the ship, to keep it from breaking under the tension of the strings.

The back of the Millennium Falcon guitar has been fitted with blue LED lights, powered by their own batteries.

Despite its futuristic look, the guitar was designed to play, and I can only imagine the reaction from the audience when Travis brings this one out to play!


Collecting Vintage Acoustic Guitars

Paul Brett on collecting vintage acoustic guitars;

Acoustic Magazines Vintage Guitar expert, Paul Brett’s DVD sample on collecting vintage acoustic guitars.

Paul is rated as one of the leading 12 string guitarists in the World and his ull DVD features 23 rare guitars, plus tips on collecting and sourcing these instruments.


Prince: ‘Playing guitar stops baldness’

icontexto-webdev-social-bookmark-09facebook481Suggestions that Prince may be a bit eccentric have been bolstered today by his assertion that playing guitar prevents baldness!

The 52-year-old musician, who is best known for songs such as ‘Purple Rain’ and ‘Raspberry Beret’, said that the electricity flowing through the musical instrument must affect the body in some way.

Prince told The UK Daily Mirror: “Playing electric guitar your whole life does something to you. I’m convinced all that electricity racing through your body made me keep my hair.”

He also said: “Music is my life. It’s my trade. If I can’t get it out of my head I can’t function. I think I’m improving all the time. When I listen to my old records I’m ashamed of how I played them.”

Then again, I’ve played guitar for 30 years and I still have all my hair, so there may be something to his theory…let’s ask Joe Satriani…oh..


More on guitar pick collecting

icontexto-webdev-social-bookmark-09facebook481Following on from my last article about guitar pick collecting, I came across this website dedicated to this great little facet of our hobby. is the run by Alan Ralph, who seems to be the world expert in all things pick related.

Alan amassed his collection in 20 years. Another remarkable thing about Alan’s collection is that it was not grown via eBay purchases nor through buying collections from other collectors. Neither does he buy bags and bags of picks from those on the inside. Alan has done it the good old fashioned way … by being at the shows and through trading his duplicates with other collectors.

In the early 80’s I grabbed a few picks myself as I used to work at London’s biggest concert venue. Most were unbranded, although I can just about remember where most came from; George Benson, Angus Young, Tom Petty but I thought I’d photograph my meagre spoils from that period.

These were acquired from gigs and several of them were well used by the artist before being discarded; The JY  Styx ones are very thin, and seem to have taken a fair bit of abuse from his playing style! The Rick Nielsen one is from 1979 I think, the others from probably 81-84.

I think I’ll start scouting Ebay for a few more!


Vintage Guitar investing on CNN!

Rudy Pensa’s interesting comments on investing in vintage guitars..


Insurance Advice for the Guitar Collector

Following on from the last post about the tragic loss of vintage guitars in the Nashville floods, Chris Spann from has written this guest post to alert us all to the importance of making sure we keep the insurance up to date on all our treasured and valuable possessions, not just our guitars!

Have you ever spent a little bit too much on a guitar? Every collector probably has at one time or another; it kind of goes with the territory – along with casually changing the subject every time someone asks you how much you’ve spent on your new axe.

But imagine what would happen if that guitar was damaged in some way, or stolen: As well as the sentimental value, you could potentially be left out of pocket to the tune of hundreds, or even thousands of pounds.

Be honest, when you add another guitar to the collection, do you update your home insurance? If you only buy two guitars in a year that could see your collection’s value increase by £1000 or more, and before you know it you’ve got an awful lot of money’s worth of wood and wire hanging around your house.

It’s also worth finding out what your single item limit is on your home insurance; the last thing you need is to lose a prized instrument only to find that your provider won’t cover the full cost in repayment.

There are a number of things you can do to keep the cost down when you’re buying insurance as well; here are just a few things to consider:

• Fit five lever mortice locks and consider changing the locks – if your house has previous owners, you don’t know who might have a key.
• Fit smoke alarms and give up smoking – both of these things can decrease your premiums by a noticeable amount.
• Join a neighbourhood watch scheme – this can reduce your premiums by up to 5%
• Install security lighting and a NACOSS approved alarm – these will also help to slash the cost of your insurance.

Obviously, things like this aren’t only good for keeping your premiums down; they’re also great for making sure your prized collection of gear doesn’t end up in the wrong hands as well. Most thieves are opportunists, and as such a security light or clearly visible alarm sounder box on an exterior wall can make them think twice about trying your home, which is often enough to keep your possessions safe.

Too many people do not adequately cover their homes, which can make an already difficult time (dealing with the aftermath of a fire, or burglary, for example) all the harder when their provider refuses to pay up for possessions they have lost. Don’t let yourself fall into this trap, and check your cover.


Guitarists lose vintage gear in Nashville flood

icontexto-webdev-social-bookmark-09tipdrop logofacebook481Brad Paisley is one of hundreds of Nashville’s top stars, working musicians and tour support company owners who lost what will likely be millions of dollars in gear due the historic floods in Nashville.

Paisley is one of an estimated 1,000 musicians and business owners who house gear at Soundcheck Nashville, a storage rental hub in an industrial park down by the Cumberland River. Owner Ben Jumper said the 160,000 square feet of space he rents out is all flooded and the losses will be in the tens of millions. The storage facility is full of classroom-sized “lockers” used to store gear.

Keith Urban lost his gear. Friends say Vince Gill may have lost most of his entire guitar collection, including irreplaceable vintage pieces with historic value. A tractor-trailer full of LeAnn Rimes’ road gear is also probably under 3 1/2 to 8 feet of water, her guitarist Ryan Wariner said.

Wariner is trying to be optimistic, but there’s not a lot of reason for hope.

“Everything that I use but two guitars is in there — pedals, amps, speakers, mics, front house consoles, everything was in there,” said Wariner, son of Grammy-winning country artist Steve Wariner.

Another major Soundcheck client was the recently opened Musicians Hall of Fame, which stored historic instruments donated by dozens of top players, not only within the country music world, but from rock, R&B, soul and jazz players.

Joe Chambers, founder and chief executive of the Musicians Hall of Fame, which just opened a year ago, is distraught over the losses, but acknowledges that it could have been worse. “So many people lost the pillow they lay their head on at night, much less a guitar. But the fact is, a lot of historical instruments were stored at Soundcheck.”

Among those donated to the hall of fame were a Fender Stratocaster that belonged to Jimi Hendrix, a Gibson Les Paul played by the Who’s Peter Townshend, and one of Johnny Cash’s guitars.

“We had two of Lightning Chance’s basses — he’s somebody a lot of people don’t know about,” Chambers said, “He played at the Grand Ole Opry alongside Chet Atkins, Patsy Cline, Hank [Williams] Sr., the Everly Brothers. Both those basses just fell apart. One of them was used on Hank Sr.’s very last recording session — that’s the bass that’s heard on ‘Your Cheatin’ Heart.'”

Associated Press


The Strange World of Guitar Pick Collecting

icontexto-webdev-social-bookmark-09tipdrop logofacebook481I found this interesting little article yesterday; A subject close to my heart as I have a fair few “famous” guitar picks from my time working at Wembley Arena in the early 1980’s.

Unfortunately, many were unbranded, and over the years I have forgotten who owned what – It’s a shame that Angus Young and George Benson both favoured identical picks! I do have a few nice ones though; Rick Nielson from Cheap Trick, JY and Chuck from Styx, and a cool one that says “misplaced by Mick Jones” from Foreigner.

Here’s the article…

If you’ve ever wondered what all those guys were doing, eyes cast down, shuffling their tired feet, milling about at the front of the stage after Van Halen were safely in their buses and on the way to the next city… well, they were probably looking for guitar picks. Collecting custom imprinted picks is a collector craze that is still in its infancy but growing. Scott Roderick from, the biggest pick retailer in the world, thinks it’s catching on quicker than James Hetfield’s pick-clutching right hand.

“Guitar-pick collecting started off as a very cult-ish hobby and probably started gaining credibility somewhere around the mid-80s,” said Roderick. “A lot of stuff isn’t documented. Once again, it’s still somewhat a new hobby. But actual signature guitar picks, from bands, really started probably in the late ’70s, with bands like Van Halen. These old white on tortoise, or block black print on white are some of your earlier styles. And there were a few, Ted Nugent, I believe, had one, J. Geils; there were a handful of acts. But generally they’re block-type prints, very plain-looking. It’s the same as with backstage passes. You look at the old backstage passes, and there aren’t a lot of graphics. Basically it’s somebody’s stamp; not very graphically pleasing. But those are some of the first ones.

So generally they were white print or black print with the name of the band. But yeah, one guy looks at another and says, ‘Oh man, you’ve got your name printed on a pick; that’s cool.’ And one picks it up and then another picks it up, and before you know it, there are a lot of picks out there. And then some time in the early ’80s, you started seeing different colors, band logos, signatures printed on them, different materials.”

“There are really just a handful of companies who actually make these for the bands, one being Jim Dunlop, also D’Addario, D’Andrea,” explained Scott, when asked about print runs of something like a guitar pick. “Those of the three major players. There have been others who’ve come and gone…. plus Ernie Ball was in it for a time. They don’t even have records or samples of something that they printed 20 years ago. Nobody ever thought — and I’m speaking for them; they would be the ones to really ask to get the best answer — but they didn’t even think that this would be something people would think about collecting.

It’s really been since the mid-80s that somebody really started to go for this. I always like to use the analogy: Remember when we were kids and we took baseball cards and put them in the spokes of our bikes, or glued them into our books? Exactly. Well, now, nobody would ever think of doing that. So that’s my analogy with guitar picks. Nobody thought of these things as collectible. So there weren’t good records kept.”

Emphasizing the fact that the history can be lost, Scott said, “There have been times where you go backstage and you show an artist 60 different picks. ‘Look, I’m a collector, and here are all your picks.’ Sometimes they don’t even remember some of them. A lot of them grew up in the ’70s and ’80s. [laughs] And a lot of times, the guitar techs are responsible for specifications, and if that particular guitar tech is no longer with the band, some of the history goes away with that person.”


Jeff Beck insures his fingers for £7 million

icontexto-webdev-social-bookmark-09tipdrop logofacebook481Guitar hero Jeff Beck has insured each of his fingers for £700,000 after accidentally chopping off the tip of one digit.

The 65-year-old had his mishap as he sliced carrots at his home in Sussex, reports The Daily Mirror.

Doctors sewed the tip of his left index finger back on but then he struggled to finish his new album Emotion and Commotion.

Therefore, he has now raised his insurance cover on his hands five-fold – making his 10 digits worth £7million.

A source close to the former Yardbirds star said: “Jeff was making a stew when he cut his finger clean off.

“Thankfully surgeons were able to patch it up. But now he’s taking no chances and has upped his insurance to £1million per finger.”


RIP T-Bone Wolk

This is a personal one for me..

I was deeply saddened to hear of the passing of one of my all time bass heroes, T-Bone Wolk last week. Hall and Oates were one of my favourite bands for at least 20 years, and I saw them live on numerous occasions, always with T-Bone laying down the groove.

As a bass player he was a massive inspiration to me and I spent many hours working out his licks and stealing his grooves.

He was one of the busiest session musicians in the industry, having worked with some of the most popular artists in the past and the present, including Bette Midler, Carly Simon, Billy Joel, Robert Palmer, and Avril Lavigne among the artists he had worked with.

RIP T-Bone…the bass world won’t be the same without you.


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.


But is it art?

I don’t know…I have very mixed feelings about birds playing guitars!

Trained as a musician and composer, French artist Céleste Boursier-Mougenot creates works by drawing on the rhythms of daily life to produce sound in unexpected ways. His installation for The Curve will take the form of a walk-though aviary for a flock of zebra finches, furnished with electric guitars and other instruments and objects. As the birds go about their routine activities, perching on or feeding from the various pieces of equipment, they create a captivating, live soundscape.

The Barbican, London


Conan O’Brien Talks About Guitar Collecting

icontexto-webdev-social-bookmark-09tipdrop logofacebook481I came across this interesting clip today..I had no idea he was into guitars. Then again, being English, I don’t get to see  his show very often anyway and I guess I won’t be seeing it in the future either!

Being a big rockabilly fan he has his focus on Gretsch guitars…enjoy!


Guitar Collecting iphone app now available!

icontexto-webdev-social-bookmark-09tipdrop logofacebook481

We have developed a free iphone app for all our readers who want to read this site whilst on the move, or are sitting on the couch in front of the TV.

Just go to the Apple app store (direct from your phone or from Apple’s website) and search for “guitar collecting”.

Download the free app and then you can read the RSS feed of all our latest postings, and click through to the full article on the Guitar Collecting website.

We hope you like it..please tell all your iphone-owning guitarist friends, and leave us some feedback and comments about your thoughts!


Lowell Kiesel, Founder of Carvin, 1915 – 2009

icontexto-webdev-social-bookmark-09tipdrop logofacebook481Just a little snippet of sad news;

It is with great sadness that Carvin announces the passing of it’s founder, Lowell C. Kiesel.

Mr. Kiesel was born in Nebraska in 1915, and as a young man, spent time in Wichita, Kansas, where he developed an interest in musical instruments; specifically, Hawaiian steel guitars, resonators and the electronic aspects of these instruments.

He founded the L. C. Kiesel Company in 1946, and began winding pickups on an old sewing machine owned by his wife, Agnes. The company was located in Los Angeles, briefly relocated back to Mr. Kiesel’s home state of Nebraska, and then moved back to southern California in 1949, where the name was changed to Carvin, after his two eldest sons, Carson and Gavin.

In the following years, the company expanded from pickups to guitars and basses, amplifiers, pro audio equipment and other musical accessories.

Mr. Kiesel’s leadership, technical expertise and innovative engineering concepts led the company for decades, and even after handing the reins of the company over to his sons, he maintained an office in Carvin’s San Diego headquarters and remained active in company operations.

He will be greatly missed and fondly remembered by the Kiesel family and the entire staff of Carvin.


Picasso’s “Little Guitar” recovered in Italy

icontexto-webdev-social-bookmark-09tipdrop logofacebook481Here is a weird but interesting little story…

A small guitar which Pablo Picasso had sculptured as a gift for his daughter Paloma has been recovered by the Italian Police.

The  Police state that Picasso had given the toy to his friend Vittorio Parisi.

Two years ago, Parisi, at the age of 92, handed over the little guitar to an Italian businessman and amateur artist who had promised to build a glass showcase for it to be exhibited at the civic museum on Lake Maggiore, but it was never seen again.

After Parisi’s death in January of 2009, his widow asked police to try to find the famous guitar.

She alerted them that the “Little Guitar” was still in the hands of the businessman. Police say the unnamed businessman never returned the work, keeping it in a shoebox in his home.

The guitar has never been valued, but is considered to be very valuable because of its originality.

The Italian businessman now faces fraud charges and a 3-10 year prison term.


It turns out father does know best

icontexto-webdev-social-bookmark-09tipdrop logofacebook481Here is a great story I unearthed the other day. It just goes to show that there are still some fantastic guitars out there, still waiting to be found!

This is the story of my father, who was a pack rat, his 50-year-old guitar, which sat neglected in our basement for years, and the extraordinary Hanukkah surprise our family received this year.

Much to my mom’s chagrin, my dad never threw out anything. Even old things would find a new use one day, dad used to say.

He not only kept things that were obviously meaningful–such as his old grammar school notebooks or his collection of corny, handwritten jokes he kept just in case he needed a groaner for a party.

He also saved stuff that no one else would think of keeping–like the hang tag for the 1956 Fender Esquire he bought in Saskatchewan not long after my parents immigrated to Canada.

Fate delivered a cruel blow about three decades ago when dad was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. The tremors first began in his right hand–his scalpel hand–and my father had to give up surgery.

Soon it became too difficult for him to play the guitar and the Fender was tucked into its bag and stashed away.

About a decade ago, my brother-in-law expressed interest in learning how to play the guitar so my father gave him the Fender. But just like I never used that sewing machine I bought on a whim many years ago, my brother-in- law never got around to taking guitar lessons.

So the lonely Fender sat untouched in their basement for years.

A couple of years ago, after my father died, my brother told some of his guitar-playing friends about the Fender. After seeing photos of it, they concluded: “Dude, this is a serious guitar!”

They sat my brother down in front of the computer, showed him some vintage guitar sites and it slowly dawned on my brother that my dad’s old guitar might be quite valuable.

Still, procrastination set in and my brother didn’t actually take the guitar in to be appraised until a couple of weeks ago.

As my brother tells it, the vintage guitar specialist “opened up the case, looked at it quietly for about 30 seconds and his eyes lit up.”

That specialist, Chris Bennett, of the Twelfth Fret in Toronto, spent about 45 minutes examining the guitar. He took it apart to check out the markings and electronics, then put it back together and played it briefly.

“Other employees kept coming over to see what he was up to and they universally had the same reaction: ‘Holy (bleep)!’ ” recalls my brother. “There was a buzz in the store.”

My father probably paid about $180 for the Fender when he bought it in 1957, says Bennett. The Esquire, introduced in 1950, and played by musicians such as Jeff Beck when he was with the Yardbirds, was a big seller.

In fact, Fender now has a custom shop that recreates those pieces for about $3,000, says Bennett.

“It’s a way of connecting with the past and getting one of those guitars without paying $15,000 and up for them,” he explains.

“It’s a lovely guitar. It definitely made my day,” he says of my dad’s Fender. He appraised it at $25,000 US because it’s in great shape, hasn’t been altered and it’s got the original hang tag and carrying bag.

“My eyes bugged out,” says my astonished brother. “I was gobsmacked,” adds my mom.

Perhaps my Irish father always knew he’d immigrate to western Canada. Long before he ever bought the Fender, he was strumming songs such asRed River Valley, Home on the RangeandRidin’ Down the Sunset Trailon earlier guitars.

“(The guitar) was just occupying space as far as I was concerned,” says my mom. “I’ve decided that I probably won’t throw anything away.”

Mindelle Jacobs


BB King’s Lucille Comes Home

icontexto-webdev-social-bookmark-09tipdrop logofacebook481I found this great story by Eric Dahl on the Guitar Center blog, so I thought I’d pass it on;

I’m one of those people that is always in search of the next cool guitar so I frequent all of the Las Vegas pawn shops, music stores, Craig’s List and of course Ebay. I’m also an avid reader of several musician magazines including Vintage Guitar Magazine, Premier Guitar and Guitar Player, which help keep me current on vintage and new guitar gear.

This all began back on September 10th when I was contacted by a pawn shop that I had bought several other guitars from in the past, about a Lucille they had for sale and wondered if I would be interested.

BB King and LucilleBeing a huge fan of BB King of course I was. On the phone they told me it was an 80th Birthday Lucille model which I had never heard of! So I started doing research with anyone and everyone I knew that could help me out. I found out from Gibson, that 80 of them were created for BB King’s 80th Birthday in 2006 and that they sold new for almost $10,000.

Each one was issued with a letter from BB King also and only 44 were sold in the US. As you can imagine I was pretty hyped up. When I got to the pawnshop I was disappointed to find that the guitar had been gigged hard, was covered in filth, had pick scratches and even some small dents from being played. The shop would not budge on the price. It did not have certificates and the case wasn’t the original. I flipped the guitar over and looked at the headstock expecting to see the standard serial numbers. To my surprise “Prototype 1” was stamped just below where the headstock serial should be. I figured this was a fake or a really cool piece that had once been approved by BB King then given away to a fellow musician, friend of the family or relative.

Of course I bought it and took it home and cleaned on it for a few hours trying to buff off the grime and scratches, oiled the fret board and put on new strings. That is when my research really began. I couldn’t find anything about the 80th model in my Gibson or Gruhn reference books, just a few stray articles on the web. I contacted Walter Carter, the author of numerous guitar reference books and part of Gruhn Guitars in Nashville; he had no idea and had never seen a stamp like that on back of a guitar.

Then I contacted my Guitar Center friends here in Las Vegas and in LA, still no idea. Even sent pictures to Wally Marx, writer for Vintage guitar and Premier Guitar, and he had no idea. So I went back to Gibson customer service and played e-mail tag with Bob Burns for two months trying to find out if this was a prototype, if so did BB play and approve it, who built it, and how much it was worth? I was pretty much at my wits end and was ready to give up the quest. One day I was doing a guitar search on the web for a different guitar and found a contact with Blue Book Publications. It ends up he’s the owner of the company, Zachary Fjestad, super nice guy and flipped him pictures of my 80th Lucille.

He sent me more information than anybody else did all the way from Minneapolis, Minnesota their corporate headquarters! I kept bugging Gibson every week too and my contact told me that he had a guy there at the custom shop that knew something about my guitar and he was going to call me.

Finally on November 9th I get a call from Pat Foley, he is the Gibson Artist Relations Director out of Nashville. I assumed he was calling me up to give me some juicy details on the guitar and did he ever. First off he asked me if I still had the guitar here in the United States, which kind of seemed odd to me since where else would I keep it? Then I started asking him a series of questions as well.

It ends up the guitar was stolen from BB King, the beginning of summer 2009. The guitar had been presented to BB in 2005 by Gibson for his 80th birthday present in Los Angeles. Also this was Mr. King’s main gigging guitar for the last four years and he was so upset when it was stolen that he asked the Gibson Custom shop to make him as close a replica as possible.

Mr. King’s people and Gibson were very pleased that I did not try and sell this to a collector in Japan and that I was more than willing to return it to Mr. King the rightful owner. In appreciation BB and his Assistant, Lavern Toney worked with Gibson to have a guitar present for our meeting on November 30th at 3pm yesterday. Mr. King exceeded my expectations with his friendly greeting. He kept thanking me and shaking my hand and was so happy to get his Birthday present back that was stolen from him.

I got the experience of a lifetime to meet Mr. King in person and talk to him for 45 minutes. Plus he signed a Lucille to me, gave me some BB guitar picks to use and signed my BB King Treasures book. He wants of a copy of our picture together to put up at his office. I’m just happy that I was able to return a prized guitar to one of my guitar idols and inspirations so he can continue to give joy to so many other blues fans around the world!

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Guitar Hero Games Foster Interest In The Real Thing

icontexto-webdev-social-bookmark-09tipdrop logofacebook481Once frowned upon by just about everyone, video games are breeding a new generation of musicians. Most guitar teachers and competent players will tell you two things about the video games Guitar Hero and Rock Band.

One; they stink at them. Big time.

Two; they're bad for music. Playing fake music on fake instruments is more geared toward the thugs in Stanley Kubrick's "A Clockwork Orange" or the futuristic slugs in Mike Judge's "Idiocracy." They fear kids will become prodigies at playing a video game instead of mastering a real instrument.

For 11-year-old Jack Press of Delaware, the games provided a musical revolution inside his still-expanding mind.

Guitar Hero gameWhen he was 9, he and his brother Brogan saved up to buy Guitar Hero.  At the time, Jack was mostly into pop like Michael Jackson and Pink, but playing along to tunes by the likes of Ozzy Osbourne, AC/DC and Aerosmith pushed him more toward rock.

By the time he was 10, Jack was ready for a real instrument.

"Guitar Hero sort of inspired me to play drums," said Jack, who takes lessons with teacher Tony Mowen at the Center for Creative Arts in Yorklyn. "When I started to play Guitar Hero, it made me listen to rock more. I like that a lot better now."

Jack's story is by no means unique. Despite fears the video games would drive kids away from taking up real guitars and drums and pianos, the opposite is proving true. Kids are taking up an instrument after playing one of the video games and catching the music bug.

Blake Carlisle, who teaches guitar basics at Earle Teat Music in Delmar, said most of the kids who come in for lessons were inspired by Guitar Hero or Rock Band.

shop125He said about 50 percent stick with it, but he still sees the games as a positive influence.

"It's definitely been very good for us," said Carlisle, who has been teaching guitar for more than 10 years. "I think kids that normally would be playing video games now pick up instruments. I think it's very good to get someone into it."

Millions of copies of the video games have been sold, mostly to young people. With the Christmas shopping season in full swing, various Guitar Hero and Rock Band incarnations will be flying off shelves and into the hands of new players, potentially creating more future musicians.

Books and Reference Material General

The New Guitar Collecting Amazon Store

icontexto-webdev-social-bookmark-09tipdrop logofacebook481Time for a little shameless self-promotion.

We have set up our own store within Amazon, for all the guitar related stuff we can think of.

The thinking behind it is that we hope to create a starting point for anybody searching for books about guitar collecting, tab books and sheet music, CDs and DVDs by relevent and maybe hard to find guitarists, such as Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, and Michael Landau.

We will be adding to the shop very regularly, but you can also use it as a starting point to search within Amazon for anything else.

We aren’t trying to hide the fact that we also earn a commission on anything that gets bought through the shop links, so by earning a little  cash this way it allows us to keep running the website and keep the rest of our advertising as low key as possible. I hope our readers can appreciate this point, we will never engage in spam or “in your face” promotional techniques.

We hope you like the shop, and please feel free to give us any suggestions on how it could be improved.

Visit the Guitar Collecting Amazon Store


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


Iowa music store will restring guitars for food

icontexto-webdev-social-bookmark-09tipdrop logofacebook481This is a great story, why don’t other string manufacturers follow D’addarios lead?

Clinton, Iowa — Local music store, Tegeler Music, in cooperation with the D’Addario String Company and the Independent Music Store Owners coalition will take part in the national Restring for Food event collecting non-perishable food items in exchange for restringing guitars. All food collected will be turned over to Pantries United and distributed to three Clinton area food banks — Benevolent Society, Salvation Army and Community Action.

The Restring for Food event will take place from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at Tegeler Music, 101 S. Second St. Tegeler Music will be stringing donors’ electric and/or acoustic 6-string guitars for free with a brand new set of D’Addario strings.

In return Tegeler Music asks that people donate at least two non-perishable food items per guitar. The D’Addario string company donated all the strings for this event and Tegeler Music staff will install the strings, polishing and evaluating each guitar present.

This national food drive was originally organized by a group known as iMSO (Independent Music Store Owners) which has a current membership of almost 400 independent music stores, a large portion of which are involved in this year’s food drive.

“I have been a member of iMSO for about three years and it is one of the best things I’ve done to help focus my business in a positive direction, especially when we have an opportunity to take part in an important event like this national food drive,” Don Tegeler, owner of Tegeler Music, said.

Along with the food drive, there will be drawings, giveaways, special sale pricing and in-store promotions of musical instruments and other gear.

Donors and other customers can enter to win a free iPod shuffle to be given away Saturday, Dec. 19.



Relic your guitar parts

tipdrop logoI found this interesting video yesterday. I’d never considered doing this myself. but it’s given me a few ideas..


Guitar Collecting for the Financially Challenged

James Hetfield model guitarimmy Page model double neck guitarAs guitarists, most of us would love to have the financial means to acquire a dream collection of our favourite instruments.

Real world pressures usually get in the way though, and most of us restrict ourselves to having one or two guitars at most.

Our collecting urges can now be satisfied though, as well as solving the thorny issue of where to store a huge guitar collection! make very nice models of a massive range of guitars and basses. They are 10″ long and very detailed, with authentic looking hardware and paint finishes.

It isn’t difficult to find these types of models in various souvenir shops around the world, but the ones from MiniguitarUSA do seem to be of superior quality.

Prices start at around $19.99 and the range is huge; signature models, double necks, acoustics, basses, everything you can think of, pretty much.

They also makes cases, stands and miniature amps, drums and themed collections so you can build a collection around any musical subject or band of your choosing.

Go take a look for yourselves!



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 805-649-2686.


Hendrix 1967 Stratocaster For Sale

icontexto-webdev-social-bookmark-09facebook481A 1967 Fender Stratocaster guitar owned by Jimi Henrix with a controversial past is now for sale after its owners settled with the late rock star’s estate.

The sunburst Strat is a right-handed one that was converted to left-handed use to accommodate Hendrix.

The owners,, are asking $500,000.

The instrument, currently on display at the Musicians Hall of Fame in Nashville, was at the centre of a 2001 lawsuit. Disputed were claims by Experience Hendrix LLC that the guitar was stolen shortly after Hendrix’s death in 1970, or that it never belonged to him at all.

After two court trials and appeals, the estate settled with Rock Stars Guitars earlier this year for an undisclosed sum and an agreement that Experience Hendrix will give up its claim to the guitar.

As the story goes, Hendrix gave the guitar to roadie James “Tappy” Wright as a gift around 1968.

Rock Stars Guitars owners, Greg Dorsett of San Diego and David Brewis of England, said they bought it from Wright in 1999 for $60,000.

When the company tried to auction it on eBay in 2001, Hendrix’s estate halted the sale by questioning its ownership.

A lawsuit followed, ending with a verdict two years later that ruled in favor of the businessmen. The jury awarded the partners $131,000, saying Hendrix’s estate prevented them from getting market value on the guitar.

But after subsequent appeals, the case finally resolved in January with the settlement.

“I see this settlement as a complete vindication,” Dorsett said in a statement. “Hopefully the litigation experience has only added to this guitar’s unique history.”


Bill Wyman criticises Guitar Heros™ style video games

icontexto-webdev-social-bookmark-09facebook481Bill WymanBill Wyman, the former bassist of the Rolling Stones, has claimed that Guitar Hero, Rock Band and other music games discourage children from learning real instruments.

His criticism comes on the eve of the release of  ‘The Beatles Rock Band’ computer game, which allows players to play along with to band’s back catalogue.

“It encourages kids not to learn, that’s the trouble. It makes less and less people dedicated to really get down and learn an instrument,” Wyman told BBC News. “I think it’s a pity so I’m not really keen on that sort of stuff.”

Nick Mason of Pink Floyd supported Wyman’s comments, saying, “It irritates me having watched my kids do it. If they spent as much time practising the guitar as learning how to press the buttons they’d be damn good by now.”

However, he also confessed he wouldn’t mind his band’s tracks being used on such games as they provide a new audience for their songs, adding, “I think everyone’s looking at new ways of selling the music because the business of selling records has almost disappeared”.

Alex Rigopulos, one of the co-founders of the company that creates the Rock Band games, defended his product and claimed, “We’re hearing from fans who were inspired by Rock Band to start studying a real instrument”.

The Guitar Hero series alone has sold more than 25 million games globally collecting revenues of $2 billion and can claim Simon Cowell among its celebrity fans.