Browse Dave’s Collection
“Welcome to the guitar collection. On the second floor of our store we have on display over 300 guitars and more than 50 amps that I’ve accumulated over the years. The friends and customers that have visited us seem to really appreciate being able to view this, so we thought we would share it with our online friends and fellow guitar enthusiasts as well. Enjoy!”
- Dave Rogers
The items in Dave’s Collection are not available for purchase.
Tweed, Serial # B00094. The 3-10 version.
Fire Mist Silver, Serial # 137016.
Sunburst, Serial # 295260.
Sunburst, Serial # 2796.
The popularity of Hawaiian style music in the early 1900’s created a demand for instruments specially made to accommodate the Hawaiian technique. The top companies, Martin and Gibson, first began supplying separate devices to place on the nut to raise the strings high enough to play in Hawaiian style, but eventually designed specific guitars devoted to Hawaiian playing. Gibson’s earliest Hawaiians were the HG series of 1929, followed by the Roy Smeck 12-fret models of 1934. By the time the Roy Smeck guitars became available, Hawaiian music had already begun to feature a new innovation: an electric guitar made by Rickenbacker. This guitar featured a magnetic “horseshoe” pickup to amplify the strings’ vibrations. This new type of Hawaiian guitar could be heard more easily, with notes and chords sustaining effortlessly. Rickenbacker’s “Frying Pans” went almost unnoticed by Gibson until 1935, when sales shot high enough for Gibson to think it was worthwhile to try one of its own.
Gibson’s short-lived first attempt at an electric Hawaiian followed Rickenbacker’s lead and had a metal body. The metal body had tuning issues, and didn’t fit Gibson’s classic look, so by 1936 the EH-150 (the guitar and amp set cost $150) had a maple body and neck finished in Gibson’s traditional dark sunburst.
After initially trying to outsource the pickup design to Chicago’s Lyon & Healy (who did end up making the matching amplifiers), Gibson relied on its own employee Walter Fuller to devise the now renowned Bar Pickup.
The 1937 EH-150 set pictured has features consistent with the middle of that year. These include a headstock with a pearl Gibson logo and split diamond inlay (no inlay the previous year), multi-ply top and back binding (from single-ply top binding in 1936), back attached with screws (glued on by 1938), and a bar pickup with multi-ply binding (became a U-magnet pickup in 1938). The amp had rounded corners (replaced the square corners of 1936), two 6L6 power tubes (replacing the earlier 6N6s), and a 12 inch speaker (was a 10 inch the year before). The amp’s power rating was about 15 watts.
Sunburst, Serial # 97608.
Royal Tan, Serial # 30059.
Gibson purchased Epiphone, its major rival of the 1920’s and ‘30s, in 1957. Production of new Epiphones in Kalamazoo began in 1958 using a few parts left over from the old Epiphone factory (most parts had been destroyed in a suspicious fire). Familiar model names were used on many guitars in the new line including Triumph, Deluxe, Zenith, and Emperor. The electric thinline guitars (except the Emperor) had new names like the Sheraton (introduced in 1958) and the Casino (introduced in 1961).
The Casino was meant to be a counterpart to the Gibson ES-330 (introduced in 1959), and was nearly identical in every way except its cosmetic appearance. The Casino, like the ES-330, was fully hollow without a solid block running down the center of the body as on the ES-335 and Epi Sheraton. The absence of the maple center block required that the neck join the body at the 16th fret rather than the 19th.
The early Royal Tan Epiphone Casino pictured has features distinguishing it from later models. The headstock, like on all of the earliest Casinos, appears a little wider than a typical Gibson’s with slightly different top curves. By ’63 it had become more elongated and narrower by the “d” and “b” tuners. The dot fingerboard inlays on this early version would change to a wider parallelogram shape by ’62. The black plastic P-90 pickup covers were changed to metal covers by ’63. The 3-ply white-black-white pickguard remained standard until the end of the model’s original run in 1970.
Burgundy Mist Metallic with a matching headstock, Serial # L89205.
Black, Serial # E317132.
Since Fender’s purchase by CBS in 1965, there were complaints from dealers and customers about the declining quality of the instruments. New management was hired in 1981, including Dan Smith as director of marketing. Smith came up with a five year plan to improve sales with new products of better quality. After coming up with the Vintage Reissue line of guitars and basses, which recreated the classic designs of Fender’s glory years, Smith developed the Elite series. These instruments had state of the art, technologically advanced features for modern (‘80s) playing styles. The Elite series included a Stratocaster, a Telecaster and a Precision Bass. Each Elite had a Walnut, a Gold (hardware) and a regular version. They were available with maple or rosewood board necks, and came in a wide variety of standard and custom colors. The Elites were introduced in June of 1983 and were dropped by the end of 1984 when CBS put Fender Musical Instruments up for sale.
The Elite Telecaster shown showcases all the radical (for the time) changes made to the traditional Tele. These include: a heavy cast six saddle top-loading bridge, noise-cancelling pickups using Alnico II magnets, TBX and MDX active tone controls allowing fat humbucking to sharp single-coil sounds (similar controls continue to be used on the current Eric Clapton Strats), knobs with a serrated rubber insert for easy gripping, a 3-way toggle switch (Gibson style), and a Bi-flex truss rod in a neck equipped with jumbo frets on a 12” radius fingerboard. This guitar also sports a classy bound top and an optional stick-on pickguard. The 1983 Fender catalog proudly boasts of the guitar’s many advances: “Elite Series instruments incorporate no fewer than 14 new patent pending inventions by Fender. This alone lends substance to our belief that the rest of the industry will be years in catching up with Elite technology.”
Action shots of an Elite Tele played by Dave Davies in full clown makeup can be seen in the 1984 video for the Kinks “Do It Again” single from the “Word of Mouth” album. Davies used Elite Teles for recordings and live shows through the rest of the ‘80s.
Copper Burst, Serial #3088
The Danelectro Company was founded in 1947 by Nathaniel Daniel in New Jersey. Danelectro began as an amp manufacturer (Daniel had previously designed and made Epiphone’s Electar amp series) providing amps for Montgomery Ward and Sears. His pioneering amp designs included many industry firsts, such as an amp using tremolo. Daniel was eventually approached by Sears to make an electric guitar, and by 1954 Danelectro offered a line of low priced guitars aimed at beginners. A large percentage of the guitars and amps made were sold by Sears under their Silvertone brand name. The price of the guitars was kept low by using an inexpensive composite material known as masonite for the body fronts and backs. The bolt-on poplar necks were kept thin and easily playable by using two heavy duty steel bars as reinforcement. The pickups, nicknamed “Lipstick pickups”, did actually utilize real lipstick covers with an alnico magnet inside.
Until 1958, Danelectro guitars had a single cutaway body with a similar shape to a Les Paul or Telecaster, and were finished in several bright automotive colors. In 1958, a new double cutaway design took over with the extreme “Longhorn” design, and the less shocking “Shorthorn” models. Six string and four string basses, and double necks were offered as well as the futuristic looking Guitarlin.
The Guitarlin, as the name implies, was built to cover the typical guitar registers as well as the higher mandolin range with its unprecedented thirty-one fret fingerboard. The eye catching long double cut-away served to allow accessibility to all the frets. The long rosewood fingerboard began with an aluminum nut. The “Coke Bottle” shaped headstock was decorated with the bold vertical Danelectro logo. The headstock, neck and body were all finished in a cream to copper sunburst. This unique design was a little too radical and awkward for most guitar players, so it didn’t sell very well. Only about 200 were made between 1958 and 1968. The guitar is collectable today mostly due to its association with Link Wray on his recordings and tours of the late ‘50s.
Blonde, Serial # 7589.
“The tone of the Stratocaster is as new and different as tomorrow and is the big professional tone so long sought after by critical players.” These words from the 1954 Fender catalog announced the arrival of what was to be one of the most popular electric guitars ever. The Stratocaster was developed with input from players dissatisfied with Leo Fender’s first electric guitar, the Telecaster. Ideas including a more comfortable body shape, an adjustable bridge allowing intonation for each individual string, and a vibrato system were incorporated. The guitar not only attracted early rock ‘n rollers like Buddy Holly, Johnny Meeks, and Richie Valens, but it also appealed to artists in genres as varied as western swing (Eldon Shamblin of Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys) and champagne music (Buddy Merrill of the Lawrence Welk Orchestra). The 1955 Strat featured this month was used for years in a Wisconsin polka band called The Merri Tones.
This month’s Strat is very much like any other made in ’55. It has a one-piece maple neck with spaghetti logo on the headstock, a comfort contoured ash body, brittle “bakelite” pickup covers and knobs (replaced by a more durable plastic during ’56), and a “synchronized tremolo”. While the standard finish for a Stratocaster was a deep sunburst, this guitar has the same see-through blonde as a Telecaster. Custom color Strats were rare in the fifties and especially rare before 1956 when the option first appeared in the Fender catalog.
The Strat’s original owner bought it new in November of 1955 for $317. He was allowed a payment plan of $15.73 installments with the final amount due in May of 1957. According to the back of his sales contract, he paid off the guitar a whole year early. His polka gigs must have been good!
Natural, Serial # A4308.
Gibson introduced its first electric guitar, the ES-150 in 1936. Its acceptance by influential players like Eddie Durham and Charlie Christian led to the manufacture of lower (ES-100) and higher end (ES-250) models over the next few years. These earliest electric guitars were amplified with a magnetic “bar” pickup (later called the Charlie Christian pickup) designed by Walter Fuller. The apex of Gibson’s pre-war electric production was the 17” wide ES-300 which used a long diagonal pickup in an attempt at a more natural acoustic sound. Gibson’s experimentation on and refinement of the electric guitar was halted briefly during World War II.
After the war, when production had fully resumed, a cutaway version of the ES-300 was designed called the ES-350 Premier. This guitar was initially equipped with one black plastic covered P-90 pickup (also designed by Walter Fuller) in the neck position. By 1949 a bridge pickup was added and the model became known simply as the ES-350. The ES-350 remained in production until 1956, when it was replaced by the thin-bodied ES-350T.
The natural finished 1949 ES-350 pictured matches the description in the original 1949 Gibson catalog perfectly:
“-Beautifully figured curly maple body and neck with Gibson Golden Sunburst or selected natural wood finishes.
-Modern cutaway design to make all 20 frets readily accessible.
-Clear, brilliant solos or full, mellow backgrounds by regulated dual pickup amplification.
-Alnico No. 5 magnetic poles individually adjustable for tone balance.
-Gold plated metal parts offer rich decorative accents.
-Tone and volume controls make possible wide, powerful electronic range.
-Body size 17” wide and 21” long.”
Sunburst, Serial # A2438.
Sunburst, Serial # A2135.
Western Orange, Serial # 46589.
Sunburst, Non-Reverse model, Serial # 501529.
Olympic White with a matching headstock, Serial # 154372.
Olympic White with Black binding, Serial # 107308.
Introduced in 1959, the Fender Custom Telecaster was a special deluxe version of the regular Telecaster. The Custom's sunburst alder body had white binding around the top and back that was meant to provide a more sophisticated look than the standard blonde finish Fender used on ash body Teles.
The 1968 Custom Telecaster pictured has a custom Olympic White finish with black binding (black binding was used occasionally for a light colored guitar). The body is finished with a thick-skin polyester base coat, which was new to '68. The maple neck with separate maple fretboard still has a traditional Fender nitrocellulose lacquer finish, but by '69 polyester finished necks became standard. The headstock boasts the bold black CBS logo, which was first seen on Customs in '68.
Silver Fox, Serial # 560550.