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.
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Gibson L-1, ’29

Sunburst.
 

Fender Model 5E5 “Pro-Amp” ’57

Tweed, Serial # 501622.
 

Fender Model 5E7 “Bandmaster Amp” ’55

Tweed, Serial # B00094. The 3-10 version. Leo Fender began a shop in 1938 specializing in radio and electronics repair. By 1946, he was manufacturing amplifiers and electric lap steels as Fender Electric Instrument Co.  Leo’s hard work and his willingness to listen to feedback from working musicians made Fender amps top sellers by the fifties. The constantly improving Fender designs were often copied by other companies.   Fender’s 1950’s product line increased to include electric guitars and electric basses, so more amplifier models were added. 1953 saw the introduction of the Bandmaster. It was the third 1X15 two 6L6 amp in the line (the Pro and the Bassman were introduced earlier). The main difference was that it came with a new tone circuit with bass and treble control knobs rather than just one tone knob like previous models. The 1X15 Bandmaster lasted until mid-1955 when all Fender amps received a narrow-panel makeover (the previous incarnations had “wide” front panels, and “TV” fronts before that). The narrow-panel Bandmaster had three ten inch speakers.   The 1955 Fender Bandmaster has features common to most narrow-panel versions made between 1955 and 1960.These include: two channels labeled mic. and inst., a volume control for each channel, treble bass and presence controls, standby and on/off switch along with a ground switch. The 26 watt amp has two 6L6G power tubes, one 12AY7, and two 12AX7 preamp tubes, along with a 5U4G rectifier. The 21 and ¼” X 22 and ½” X 10 and ½” cabinet has three Jensen P10R speakers, the top one with its blue bell cover removed allowing it to fit in front of the tubes and chassis.   The narrow-panel tweed Bandmaster is mainly remembered today as the amp used with wonderful results by Pete Townsend on the Who’s 1971 album “Who’s Next”. It was coupled with a 1960 Chet Atkins 6120 model for shimmering guitar orchestrations.  
 
 

Gretsch Model 6071 Bass, ’66

Walnut, Serial # 86184.
 

Fender Jazz Bass, ’66

Fire Mist Silver, Serial # 137016. The development of the revolutionary Fender Precision Bass in 1951 changed the sound of modern music forever. Since the bass was so functional and easily portable, Leo Fender thought one model was enough. Its design was upgraded twice during the ‘50s, while the preceding versions were discarded. By 1959, Don Randall at Fender Sales requested that Leo devise a more sophisticated, high-end model along the lines of the recently introduced Jazzmaster. The result was the new for 1960 Jazz Bass.   The body of the new Jazz Bass followed the off-set contoured style of the Jazzmaster. The neck was narrower at the nut permitting trouble-free faster playing for those uncomfortable with the wider Precision Bass neck. This proved popular with guitar players doubling on bass for session work. Two single coil pickups were included for extra tonal versatility. The neck pickup gave a warm full sound already familiar to those used to hearing the Precision Bass. The bridge pickup provided a sharp trebly attack to add punch to a bass line or solo fill. Each pickup had a separate volume control allowing the player to achieve the desired blend.   The 1966 Jazz Bass pictured is a striking Firemist Silver, a custom color introduced the previous year. While this finish is very rare, the rest of the bass’s features are typical to any 1966 Jazz Bass. These include: a rosewood fingerboard with pearl block inlays (replacing dots)and white binding (unbound in previous years), a three ply white vinyl pickguard (changed from greenish nitrocellulose in 1964), two volume controls and a master tone (replaced stacked volume/tone controls in 1962), and metal pickup covers.
 

Fender Strat, ’70

Sunburst, Serial # 295260.
 

Gibson EB-1 Bass, ’58

Natural, Serial # 82933.
 

Gibson EH-150 Lap Steel and matching amp, ’37

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.  
 

Gibson L-5 “Fern”, ’43

Sunburst, Serial # 97608.
 

Epiphone Casino, ’61

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.
 

Fender Jaguar, ’65

Burgundy Mist Metallic with a matching headstock, Serial # L89205.
 

Fender Telecaster Elite, ’83

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.
 

Danelectro Guitarlin, ’58

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.
 

Fender Stratocaster, ’55

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!
 

Gibson ES-350, ’49

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.”
 

Gibson SJ-200, ’49

Sunburst, Serial # A2438.
 

Gibson L-7, ’48

Sunburst, Serial # A2135.
 

Gretsch 6120, ’62

Western Orange, Serial # 46589.
 

Gibson Firebird VII, ’65

Sunburst, Non-Reverse model, Serial # 501529.
 

Fender Electric XII, ’65

Olympic White with a matching headstock, Serial # 154372.
 

Fender Custom Telecaster, ’68

Black, Serial # 230066.
 

Fender Custom Telecaster, ’68

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.
 

Fender Montego II, ’72

Sunburst, Serial # 92. In 1962, Leo Fender was continuing to devise ways to expand his company’s line of musical instruments. Since Fender had revolutionized the solid body electric guitar in the ‘50s, he was hoping to do the same with acoustic guitars in the ‘60s. He hired German born guitar-maker Roger Rossmeisl to help design and execute these guitars. Rossmeisl had come to the United States in the late ‘40s hoping to build guitars for Gibson. After a brief unsuccessful stay in Michigan, he moved to California, and contributed to Rickenbacker’s most enduring electric guitar designs before moving on to Fender.   Rossmeisl continued work at Fender Musical Instruments after its sale to CBS in 1965. He designed not only acoustics, but also the Coronado semi-acoustics and Tele Thinlines. In 1968, CBS gave him the go-ahead to design two high-end archtop electric jazz guitars: the LTD and the Montego.  The LTD was supposed to be the ultimate jazz archtop (meant to rival D’Angelicos). It had a carved spruce top, gold hardware, and one hum-cancelling pickup. The Montego was a step below with a pressed spruce top and chrome hardware. It was available in both a one pickup, and a two pickup version. Only a small number of these guitars were made between 1968 and 1972: about 40 LTDs, and less than 100 Montegos. The Montego II pictured has a hand-signed label numbered 92.   According to the 1969 Fender catalog, “A magnificent instrument for the professional or serious musician, the Montego combines both beauty and performance in a high quality great sounding guitar.” These specs were listed in the 1972 catalog: “Elegantly contoured spruce top, specially-designed pickups with hand-wound hum-cancelling coils – totally shielded from outside interference, genuine hand-cut Australian mother-of-pearl decorative inlays, and the finest materials and workmanship employed throughout.”  The neck is detachable hard rock maple with a curved ebony fingerboard. The body has an arched spruce top with flamed maple back and sides.   The 1972 Fender price list has a Montego II Sunburst at $850 plus $95 for a case.
 

Fender Precision Bass, ’52

Butterscotch Blonde, Serial # 0215. Leo Fender introduced the Precision Bass in late 1951 following the success of his revolutionary electric six-string, the Telecaster. The P-Bass proved to be even more ground-breaking.  The radical guitar-sized instrument was almost immediately embraced by bassists and guitarists alike. Bassists had labored for years carrying around the huge upright, only to be barely heard over the horns and drums. The new readily portable bass was easily amplified and could provide a strong bottom end compliment to the drums. Unemployed guitarists, out of work due to the post World War II trend of smaller dance bands, could find work without having to learn a completely new technique. An early 1952 ad described the reasons to buy a Precision Bass: “fretted neck, superb tone, easily played, modern design, highly portable, extremely rugged, faster changes, light weight, 1/6 size of a regular bass”.   The P-Bass pictured dates from July of 1952.  It shares the characteristics common to basses made between 1951 and 1954. The most prominent of these are: a flat slab ash body like the Telecaster’s with elongated horns for better balance (the body became contoured to match the Stratocaster’s in ’54), a headstock shaped like a larger version of the Tele’s (became more Strat shaped in ’57), black “Bakelite” pickguard (white by ’56, gold anodized by ’57), and a single coil pickup (became two-coil hum-cancelling in ’57).   Early players of the original Precision were Roy Johnson and Monk Montgomery – two consecutive bassists in Lionel Hampton’s band. Over two decades later, the bass again found favor with two successive bassists for the Fabulous Thunderbirds – Keith Ferguson and Preston Hubbard.
 

Gibson EB-2DC Bass, ’67

Cherry, Serial # 897004.
 

Gibson ES-335, ’60

Sunburst, Serial # A33186.
 

Gibson Trini Lopez Custom, ’68

Sparkling Burgundy, Serial # 899091.
 

Gibson Trini Lopez, ’67

Cherry, Serial # 055072.
 

Gibson US-1, ’86

Black, Serial # 82986502.
 

Fender Esprit, ’84

Cherry Sunburst, Serial # 40702271.
 

Fender Precision Bass, ’63

Candy Apple Red, Serial # L24133.
 

Paul Reed Smith Dragon III, ’95

Whale Blue, Serial # 521569.
 

Paul Reed Smith Dragon II, ’93

Indigo, Serial # 316912.
 

Gretsch Rancher, ’57

Western Orange, Serial # 21485. The Fred Gretsch Company introduced its most famous flat-top, The Rancher in1954. The Rancher was a jumbo 17 inch wide, triangular soundhole acoustic based on Gretsch’s earlier 125F, but with western themed decorations like the Chet Atkins 6120, 6121, and the 6130 Round Up. The eye-catching Golden Red guitar can be seen violently strummed by Paul Peek of Gene Vincent’s Blue Caps in the classic 1956 movie “The Girl Can’t Help it”.   This stunning orange 1957 behemoth has the features typical to the model’s evolution that year. These include:  extremely figured maple back and sides, large triangular rosewood bridge supporting an adjustable rosewood saddle, “G” brand, 25 and ½” scale rosewood fingerboard on a maple neck, pearloid humped-block fingerboard inlays (replacing the original block inlays engraved with cow and cactus designs), horseshoe headstock inlay (replacing the original steer’s head), and a plain gold pickguard (replacing the earlier tortoiseshell guard).   The guitar was originally purchased new on April 20th 1957 at Zadworny Accordion Studio in St. Paul Minnesota for $275 including case and strap. A trade-in allowance of $65 was given for a Harmony Monterey guitar, leaving a balance of $210. The original hang tag, Gretsch Guitar Guarantee, polish cloth and strap have been preserved in great condition inside the case.
 

National Val Pro 85 Bass, ’61

White, Serial # T68518.
 

Rickenbacker 335, ’67

Fireglo, Serial # 6K4637.
 

Gibson J-200, ’55

Natural, Serial # A20043. The “Singing Cowboy” phenomenon of the 1930s was the main inspiration for the “King of the Flattops”, Gibson’s J-200. Cowboy movie idol, Ray Whitley approached Gibson in 1937 about having a guitar designed to out-do rival western crooner Gene Autry’s fancy mother-of pearl adorned Martin D-45. The result was the prototype for the Super Jumbo (soon to be called SJ-200 due to its original $200 price). The original Super Jumbos shared dimensions with Gibson’s 17” wide L-5 (the very earliest were 16 and 7/8” wide). Unlike on the L-5, rosewood back and sides were standard instead of maple (two maple pre-War SJ-200s are known to exist).   The guitar featured is one of 41 natural finished J-200s made in 1955 (the “S” had been dropped from the name by this time).  This beautifully aged instrument has the characteristics typical of other J-200s from early 1955. It has the distinctive rosewood “moustache” bridge (changed from the original ebony in 1941), rosewood fingerboard with “cloud” inlays (also changed from ebony in 1941), and a two piece maple neck with rosewood center strip. The top is spruce, while the back and sides are maple (changed from the original rosewood spec after 1946). This guitar’s elaborately decorated flower and vine engraved pickguard still has the stripe along its border, which disappeared from later versions by the middle of ’55.   According the 1959 Gibson price list (the closest available in the DGS Archives), the list price of a New J-200N was $385. A brown Lifton hard shell case would have been an additional $52.50.
 

Gibson ES-125 Tenor, ’66

Cherry Sunburst, Serial # 851490.
 

Gibson ES-355, ’63

Cherry, Serial # 101330. Mono version with earlier features including: Grover Rotomatic tuners, Bigsby vibrato, and no serial number on the back of the headstock. This is one of only 66 Mono ES-355s made that year.
 

Gibson J-160E, ’55

Sunburst, Serial # 172722. While Gibson had been making electric arch-top and steel guitars since the 1930’s, it wasn’t until the early ‘50s that a flat-top was electrified.  The first electric flat-top produced by Gibson was the CF-100E debuting in 1951. This guitar was based on the small 14 and 1/8” cutaway flat-top introduced the year before.  Although cutaway flat-top electrics would become popular decades later, this innovative guitar was discontinued in by 1959, due in part to the more impressive sales figures of its descendant the J-160E.   The J-160E was introduced in 1954 and had the more conventional look of the popular J-45 and Southern Jumbo guitars. To function as a usable electric guitar, the J-160E had to be very different structurally from a regular flat-top.  While the J-45 (or even the CF-100E) had a solid spruce X-braced top, J-160E needed a 3-ply laminated spruce top with ladder bracing to make it more rigid and less prone to feedback. The neck joined the body at the 15th fret (instead of the 14th) to allow room for a P-90 pickup between the end of the fingerboard and the sound-hole.   This early J-160E can be distinguished from later versions by its odd looking adjustable bridge. The bridge could be adjusted up or down by turning the large screws on either side of the bridge (replaced with more conventional looking smaller adjustment screws by the late 1950’s). It also has straight sided “speed knobs” for volume and tone controls (replaced by “bonnet knobs’ in 1956).
 

Gibson Trini Lopez Custom, ’67

Cherry Sunburst, Serial # 892010. The Trini Lopez model was introduced in 1965 with input from the popular singer. After moving from Dallas to Beverly Hills in the early ‘60s, he was discovered by Frank Sinatra and signed to Reprise Records. He had several hit records including “If I Had a Hammer” and Lemon Tree”. The Trini Lopez model also came in two versions: the Standard (based on a 335), and the Deluxe (based on the Barney Kessel). The main features that make the Lopez different from the Kessel are: an asymmetrical “Fender-like” headstock, diamond soundholes and fingerboard inlays, and a standby switch.
 

Gibson Firebird V, ’64

Sunburst, Serial # 172272.
 

Gibson Thunderbird II, ’64

Sunburst, Serial # 193823.
 
 

National Val Pro 85, ’61

White, Serial # T68518.
 

Martin D-28, ’37

Natural, Serial # 66725. Over seventy years after its first appearance, the Dreadnought size guitar remains the most popular among acoustic guitar players. The Dreadnaught (named after the HMS Dreadnought, a British ship launched in 1906) was originally designed by C.F. Martin & Company in 1916 for the Oliver Ditson Company of Boston. These guitars were sold under the Ditson brand until the late 1920’s when the Ditson Company went out of business. At the time Martin believed that such a large guitar produced too much bass and spoiled the delicate balance of the Martin sound. This philosophy changed during the hard times of the Great Depression starting in 1929. The slowdown in business motivated Martin to try new ideas to keep musicians interested. One of these ideas was to release Dreadnought size guitars in 1931 under its own brand name.   This 1937 Martin Dreadnought D-28 has the classic features that make it among the most celebrated     guitars of the Golden Era. These include: Spruce top with Brazilian rosewood back and sides, scalloped “X” bracing (until 1944), “belly” bridge (introduced on Martins in 1929), 14 frets clear of the body (1934) mahogany neck with ebony fingerboard, diamond shaped fingerboard inlays (until 1944), and Herringbone top trim (until 1946).
 

Gibson TG-25N, ’65

Natural, Serial # 31842.
 

Fender Precision Bass, ’65

Olympic White, Serial # L86059. The Fender Precision Bass was introduced in late 1951 and almost immediately had a dramatic lasting effect on how music was heard and played.  This new bass was small compared to an upright acoustic bass, and its feedback resistant solid body (like the earlier Fender Telecaster) enabled players to play at higher volumes. Guitarists were able to adapt to this instrument more easily than the upright, and thus could obtain more work.   This Olympic White 1965 Precision is typical (other than the custom color) of the fully evolved model that year. It has a comfort contoured body (following the lead of the Stratocaster in 1954), a split hum-cancelling pickup (replacing the original single coil in 1957), tortoise pickguard and rosewood fingerboard (1959), pearloid fingerboard dots (replacing clay dots in 1964), and a transition headstock decal (replacing spaghetti logo in 1964).
 

Fender Custom Esquire, ’63

Sunburst, Serial # L18136.
 

Fender Jaguar, ’61

Dakota Red, Serial # 73776.
 
 

Fender Broadcaster, ’50

Blonde, Serial # 0163.   In the late 1940’s, Leo Fender began working on a practical electric Spanish guitar. The design would be simple, and the guitar would be easy to manufacture and repair. It would also be convenient and uncomplicated for the working musician. The result, introduced in the fall of 1950, was the Broadcaster.   The Broadcaster was a two pickup solid body guitar able to reach high stage volumes with none of the feedback problems that plagued hollowbody guitars. The instrument was fitted with an easily replaceable bolt-on neck. This neck contained an adjustable truss-rod (earlier prototypes had no truss-rod). The pickups were meant to give the same bright clarity as Fender’s lap steel guitars. Lastly, a 3-saddle adjustable bridge was included for better (not perfect) intonation.   In mid-February of 1951 the Gretsch Company contacted Fender pointing out that the name “Broadcaster “was very similar to the name of Gretsch’s “Broadkaster” drum set. Gretsch requested “immediate assurance” that Fender would abandon the use of the name. Fender immediately complied. The guitar continued to be produced without a name until September of that year when “Telecaster” began appearing on the decal. The Telecaster name continues to be used on the Broadcaster’s contemporary descendents.   A modern Telecaster has changed very little from the 61 year old Broadcaster spotlighted this month. The features special to Broadcasters and early Teles are: closed-shell Kluson Deluxe tuners with no protruding shaft on the side (became open-shell by 1952), maple headstock plug (all were walnut by ‘52), back string ferrules not in a straight line (straightened by ’51), pickup blend control (became a tone control by ’52), and slot-head screws (became Phillips screws by ’54). A black pickguard was used until late ’54, and a see-through blonde finished ash body remained standard through the ‘70s.                                                                                                
 

National 1155, '58

Natural, Serial # X88699. Gibson made J-50 Body as used by National during the period.

 

Gibson Firebird III, ’64

Cherry, Serial # 217819. Rare Custom Color.
 

Gibson Moderne, '83

Natural, Serial # G-077.

 

Gibson ES-350, '56

Natural, Serial # A22080. Very Rare Spruce Top.

 

Gibson L-5, ’52

Sunburst, Serial # A9470. This one just came into the shop recently. A Beautiful example of an Early 50's L-5. Orville Gibson’s innovative carved top and back fretted instruments (inspired by the construction methods for violins) brought the company he founded great success in the early 1900’s. By the early 1920’s Gibson’s acoustic engineer Lloyd Loar and his team took the violin inspiration a step further by designing a family of high quality fretted instruments with “f” holes. This family included the legendary L-5 guitar and F-5 mandolin.   From the time of its introduction in 1922 until today, the L-5 has been considered one of the finest jazz guitars. Jazz greats Eddie Lang, Allan Reuss, and Wes Montgomery played versions of the classic guitar. It evolved from its original 16” width to its current 17” width in 1934. By 1939, it gained a cutaway. The guitar became electrified with pickups by 1951.   This L-5 is a non-cutaway acoustic version dating to 1952. While both cutaway acoustic and electric versions were available that year, Gibson still provided a guitar for players specializing in rhythm only type jazz playing. The interest in these non-cutaway acoustics gradually dwindled throughout the ‘50s. In 1952, 27 non-cutaway L-5s were produced, whereas in 1958 only 5 were made. The non-cutaway L-5 was discontinued at the end of that year, and was not seen again until the 16” version was reissued in the ‘90s.   The 1952 L-5 pictured has all the characteristics common to that year. These include the well-known  mother-of-pearl flower pot (torch) headstock inlay, modern style Gibson logo (replacing the script logo in 1949), gold Kluson Sealfast tuners with plastic buttons, two piece curly maple neck with mahogany center strip and bound ebony fingerboard, 17” wide body with solid maple back and sides with spruce top, and the classic art deco tailpiece.
 

Fender Pro Amp, ’61

Brown Tolex.
 
 

Fender Twin Amp, ’59

Tweed, High Power In 1953 Fender launched an amp that would become the industry standard for decades: The Twin. The Twin, named for its pair of 12” speakers, evolved in looks and power output through the 1950s. In1955 it changed from a wide-panel 25 watt amp to a narrow-panel 50 watt amp. By 1958, the tweed Twin reached 80 watts.   The new high powered Twins were favored by late ‘50s rock n’ roll musicians because the sound was able to fill most dance halls (this was before miking amps through a PA system was standard practice). A number of these rockers also plugged Fender’s space age Stratocaster into the Twin because of the solid body’s ability to reach high volumes without feedback. The Strat/Twin setup was favored by Buddy Holly and Tommy Allsup of The Crickets, and by Johnny Meeks of Gene Vincent’s Blue Caps.   Even though the high powered tweed Twin was eventually replaced by the black tolex covered Twin Reverb and various incarnations of channel switching Twins, it is still a sought after collectable amp.  The most notable proponent of the 80 watt tweed Twin today is Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones. Since the ‘90s he’s always had a Twin or two on stage to achieve his signature clean/dirty - rhythm/lead sound.  
 

Fender Harvard, ’59

As important and innovative as Fender guitars were in the 1950’s, Fender amps were the industry standard; renowned for their tone, durability, and easy maintenance.  At Fender, the amplifier was considered as important to the overall sound as the guitar. The right electric guitar needed to be matched to the right amplifier before music could be made.   If the legendary recordings made at the Memphis Stax-Volt studio in the 1960’s are used as evidence, the perfect mate for a Fender Esquire (or Telecaster) would be a Fender Harvard Amp.  This combination was used by session guitarist (Booker T. and the MGs band member) Steve Cropper, on nearly every Stax hit of the 1960s. The sounds ranged from mellow (Otis Redding’s “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long”), to biting (The MGs’ “Green Onions”), to distorted (The MGs’ “Hip Hug Her”).   Fender introduced the 10 watt Harvard in 1955 to fill the space between the 5 watt Princeton and the 15 watt Deluxe. It had one 10” speaker (sometimes an 8” was used) driven by two 6V6 power tubes. It had one tone control and one volume control. The Harvard was discontinued in 1961.
 

Fender Band Master, ’60

Brown Tolex, February 1960.
 

Fender Band Master, ’60

Brown Tolex, March 1960.
 
 

Fender Champ, ’64

Black Tolex.
 
 

Fender Pro Amp, ’60

Brown Tolex.
 

Fender Twin Amp, ’63

White Tolex. In 1953 Fender launched an amp that would become the industry standard for decades: The Twin. The Twin, named for its pair of 12” speakers, evolved in looks and power output through the 1950s. In1955 it changed from a wide-panel 25 watt amp to a narrow-panel 50 watt amp. By 1958, the tweed Twin reached 80 watts. This high-powered version lasted until early 1960.   By 1960 most Fender amps were upgraded to a new style brown Tolex covering with the control panel located in the front. Initially, the Twin was abandoned while Fender focused on the new 1X15” speaker Vibrasonic. A brown Tolex Twin was shown in a June 1960 Down Beat magazine insert, but actual examples in this color are extremely rare.   By 1961 the white Tolex Twin was released. It shared the color scheme of the new “piggyback” series (amp heads paired with separate matching cabinets). This Twin had four 5881 power tubes putting out 80 watts like the ‘50s version, but adding the vibrato channel used by most of the Fender amps at the time. The amp’s grille cloth had a dark maroon color from ’61 to ’62, and a wheat color from ’62 to ’63.  The blonde Tolex Twin was discontinued in 1963 when the black Tolex Twin Reverb became the top of the line combo amp of all time.
 

Fender Pro Amp, ’63

Brown Tolex.
 

Paul Reed Smith Private Stock Custom 22, '09

Santana Yellow, Serial # 09 155416.

 

Gibson ES-350T, '57

Sunburst, Serial # A25130.

 

Gibson ES-335, '63

Cherry, Serial # 137285.

 

Gibson ES-335, '60

Sunburst, Serial # A35136.

 

Gibson ES-345, '62

Cherry, Serial # 46819.

 

Gibson ES-335, '64

Sunburst, Serial # 69281.

 

Fender Stratocaster, '55

Sunburst, Serial # 8201.

 

Fender Stratocaster, '54

Sunburst, Serial # 6779.

 

Fender Telecaster, '63

Sunburst, Serail # L27206.

Known unfficially among Kinks fans as the "Ray Davies Model".

 

Fender Custom Telecaster, ’68

Sunburst, Serial # 218821.
 

Fender Jaguar, '64

Candy Apple Red, Serial # L73504.

 

Fender Telecaster, '64

Serial # L20086.

 

Fender Custom Esquire, ’67

Sunburst, Serial #208410, Neck Date September '67.
 

Fender Esquire, '62

Blond, Serial # 89802.

 

Fender Custom Telecaster, '66

Candy Apple Red, Serial #173125. Maple fingerboard - a rare combination! This nice one came from Reeve Little!

 

Fender Telecaster, '60

Blond, Serial # 60312.

What do Steve Cropper, Jimmy Page, Michael Bloomfield, and Robbie Robertson have in common? Besides being some of the most influential guitar players of all time, each did some of his finest work on a rosewood fingerboard early ‘60s Fender Telecaster.

Why did so many great players choose this type of guitar? It could be because of its gritty biting sound, or its durability and simplicity. It was also affordable. Especially second hand, a Tele would be within the reach of a young player at the start of his career who needed a reliable inexpensive tool. The reasons don’t matter as much as the fact that so much great music was made on these unadorned utilitarian planks of wood. 

This example from the collection has all the features common to early rosewood fingerboard Telecasters.

It has a Brazilian rosewood “slab board” fingerboard on a slim maple neck (seen until mid-1962), clay dots (seen until 1964), Single ply white pickguard (seen until 1963), and an ash body with an almost opaque creamy blonde finish.

When examining the metal bridge plate, six extra holes can be seen at the end near the bridge saddle screws. These holes were originally intended to hold the strings on the unpopular top-loading bridge used from mid 1958 to mid 1959. Since Leo Fender never wasted a usable part, these bridges were converted back to the original string-through design when the top loading system was abandoned. These top-loading bridges can be seen from 1959 as late as 1962.

The original owner of this Tele decided to buy it with the less expensive plastileather padded bag instead of the typically seen brown tolex case.

 

Fender Jaguar, '65

Ice Blue Metallic, Serial # L87495.

 

Fender Telecaster, '68

Paisley Red, Serial # 224066.

The “hippie” youth movement of 1960s began influencing mainstream society after the “Summer of Love” in 1967. By 1968 major companies realized there was money to be made by appealing to this large group (Baby Boomers).  Fender (owned by CBS) was no exception.

 

Fender’s original solidbody, the Telecaster, was picked to receive the “Flower Power” treatment with two new finishes: Paisley Red, and Blue Flower. These finishes were accomplished by sticking patterned wallpaper to the bodies and spraying clear polyester over the top. The original Fender ad copy also had a hippiesque tone: “Paisley Red Pulsates with every beat and swirls in a blinding carousel of color forms and tones.”

 

As groovy as these guitars were, they never caught on with the psychedelic rockers they were intended for. Ironically, the most visible guitarist to use a Paisley Tele was rockabilly/country session great James Burton.  The ’69 Paisley Tele remained his main stage guitar until his signature model debuted in 1990.

 

Those wanting to hear Burton’s Paisley Tele in action can check out “Elvis as Recorded at Madison Square Garden” and Gram Parson’s “GP” and “Grievous Angel” albums.

 

Fender Telecaster, '65

Sunburst, Serial # L97810.

From 1950 until 1959, a Fender guitar had a radical (for the time) one-piece lacquered maple neck. Due partially to the unattractive fingerboard wear that showed easily on these necks, separate rosewood fingerboards were introduced in 1959.

Since many players (especially Tele players) still preferred the feel of maple fingerboards, Fender allowed special order maple fingerboards as an unofficial option beginning in the early ‘60s. Because the machinery at the factory was set up for separate rosewood fingerboards, separate maple fingerboards were installed the same way. This is why two-piece ‘60s maple necks don’t have a skunk stripe on the back, or a walnut plug on the headstock like their one-piece ‘50s counterparts. Maple fingerboards did become an official option in 1967, and one-piece necks were finally reinstated in 1969.

This example not only has a maple-cap fingerboard, but it also has a rare sunburst finish usually reserved for Custom Telecasters. Typical Teles were blond with ash bodies, while the sunburst ones had bodies of alder. 

 

Fender Jaguar, '72

Lake Placid Blue, Serial # 394818.

 

Fender Jaguar, '64

Candy Apple Red, Serial # L70149.

 

Fender Jaguar, '73

Candy Apple Red, Serial # 377762.

 

Fender Telecaster, '68

Blue Flower, Serial # 248410.

The “hippie” youth movement of 1960s began influencing mainstream society after the “Summer of Love” in 1967. By 1968 major companies realized there was money to be made by appealing to this large group (Baby Boomers).  Fender (owned by CBS) was no exception.

 

Fender’s original solidbody, the Telecaster, was picked to receive the “Flower Power” treatment with two new finishes: Paisley Red, and Blue Flower. These finishes were accomplished by sticking patterned wallpaper to the bodies and spraying clear polyester over the top. The original Fender ad copy also had a hippiesque tone: “Paisley Red Pulsates with every beat and swirls in a blinding carousel of color forms and tones.”

 

As groovy as these guitars were, they never caught on with the psychedelic rockers they were intended for. Ironically, the most visible guitarist to use a Paisley Tele was rockabilly/country session great James Burton.  The ’69 Paisley Tele remained his main stage guitar until his signature model debuted in 1990.

 

Those wanting to hear Burton’s Paisley Tele in action can check out “Elvis as Recorded at Madison Square Garden” and Gram Parson’s “GP” and “Grievous Angel” albums.

 

Fender Jaguar, '73

Natural, Serial # 396923.

 

Fender Jaguar, '64

Olympic White, Serial # L61632.

 

Fender Esquire, '65

Walnut, Serial # 109827.

 

Fender Jazzmaster, '66

Candy Apple Red, Serial # 140554.

 

Fender Jazzmaster, '60

Blond, Serial # 44894.

 

Fender Jazzmaster, '59

Sunburst, Serial # 40947.

 

Fender Jazzmaster, '59

Sunburst, Serial # 38876.

 

Fender Jaguar, '65

Blond, Serial # 123729.

 

Fender Telecaster, '69

Paisley Red, Serial # 224483.

The “hippie” youth movement of 1960s began influencing mainstream society after the “Summer of Love” in 1967. By 1968 major companies realized there was money to be made by appealing to this large group (Baby Boomers).  Fender (owned by CBS) was no exception.

 

Fender’s original solidbody, the Telecaster, was picked to receive the “Flower Power” treatment with two new finishes: Paisley Red, and Blue Flower. These finishes were accomplished by sticking patterned wallpaper to the bodies and spraying clear polyester over the top. The original Fender ad copy also had a hippiesque tone: “Paisley Red Pulsates with every beat and swirls in a blinding carousel of color forms and tones.”

 

As groovy as these guitars were, they never caught on with the psychedelic rockers they were intended for. Ironically, the most visible guitarist to use a Paisley Tele was rockabilly/country session great James Burton.  The ’69 Paisley Tele remained his main stage guitar until his signature model debuted in 1990.

 

Those wanting to hear Burton’s Paisley Tele in action can check out “Elvis as Recorded at Madison Square Garden” and Gram Parson’s “GP” and “Grievous Angel” albums.

 

Fender Telecaster, '66

Lake Placid Blue, Serial # 170745

 

Gibson ES-350 Tenor, '55

Natural, Serial # A5824.

As the Jazz Age matured in the 1930’s, the loud rhythmic pulse of the banjo gave way to silky even tones of the archtop guitar. The popularity of Bing Crosby and his virtuoso guitarist Eddie Lang, inspired band leaders to replace the banjo with the guitar. Banjo players wanting to continue working had to learn the guitar.  To aid those players not wanting to learn a whole new system of fingering, Gibson offered a four stringed tenor guitar with the same tuning as the four stringed tenor banjo.  Most standard guitar models could be special ordered with a tenor neck (We have seen examples into the ‘60s).

 

 

This guitar is, according to the label, an ES-350 T.G. (tenor guitar).  The features, which include a thick full sized body, individual gold bonnet tone and volume knobs for each pickup, and a three way toggle switch, seem to date the guitar to 1955. The serial number, on the other hand, dates the guitar at 1950.  Could it be that the guitar was started in 1950 and shelved until 1955 when a tenor guitar order came through? We may never know. The last unique finishing touch is “bow tie” banjo inlays on the fingerboard.

 

We’ve been looking for a thick bodied ES-350 with the four-knob layout for a long time (if anyone has one, please contact us) so it’s ironic that when one finally shows up, it’s a tenor!

 

Fender Telecaster, '60

Blond, Serial # 58699.

 

Fender Stratocaster, '58

Sunburst, Serial # 025757.

 

Fender Stratocaster, '57

Sunburst, Serial # 20185.

 

Fender Stratocaster, '62

Sunburst, Serial # 82936.

 

Fender Stratocaster, '59

Blonde, Serial # 39470.

This '59 Strat neck is paired with a '56 Strat body.

 

Fender Stratocaster, '58

Sunburst, Serial # 025698.

 

Fender Music Master, '57

Desert Sand, Serial # 18420.

In 1955 Fender Sales decided the company needed inexpensive student electric guitar models added to the existing lineup which included The Esquire, The Telecaster, The Stratocaster, and the Precision bass.  These beginner electrics were introduced by 1956. They were called the Musicmaster (one pickup) and the Duo-Sonic (two pickups). These short scale guitars were designed for young beginners with small fingers.

 

The Musicmaster and Duo-Sonic shared the same double- cutaway Desert Sand colored bodies, and 22 and ½” scale one-piece maple necks.  The Musicmaster had two Telecaster style volume and tone knobs for its one neck position single-coil pickup. The Duo-Sonic was the same except for an added bridge position pickup and a 3-way selector switch. By 1959  separate rosewood fingerboards were added (matching the change to the rest of the Fender line). Thick single ply white pickguards replaced the original gold anodized guards, and sunburst finish became an option. The models received makeovers in 1964 to coincide with the introduction of the Mustang. The short scale Duo-Sonics and Musicmasters were offered through 1969.

 

Both Michael Bloomfield and Jimi Hendrix played Duo-Sonics in their early careers before working their way up to the “big boy” Fenders and Gibsons.

 

Fender Duo Sonic, '59

Desert Sand, Serial # 36349.

In 1955 Fender Sales decided the company needed inexpensive student electric guitar models added to the existing lineup which included The Esquire, The Telecaster, The Stratocaster, and the Precision bass.  These beginner electrics were introduced by 1956. They were called the Musicmaster (one pickup) and the Duo-Sonic (two pickups). These short scale guitars were designed for young beginners with small fingers.

 

The Musicmaster and Duo-Sonic shared the same double- cutaway Desert Sand colored bodies, and 22 and ½” scale one-piece maple necks.  The Musicmaster had two Telecaster style volume and tone knobs for its one neck position single-coil pickup. The Duo-Sonic was the same except for an added bridge position pickup and a 3-way selector switch. By 1959  separate rosewood fingerboards were added (matching the change to the rest of the Fender line). Thick single ply white pickguards replaced the original gold anodized guards, and sunburst finish became an option. The models received makeovers in 1964 to coincide with the introduction of the Mustang. The short scale Duo-Sonics and Musicmasters were offered through 1969.

 

Both Michael Bloomfield and Jimi Hendrix played Duo-Sonics in their early careers before working their way up to the “big boy” Fenders and Gibsons.

 

Fender Electric XII, '68

Sunburst, Serial # 242501.

 

Fender Jaguar, '66

Sunburst, Serial # 160488.

 

Fender Jaguar, '68

Lake Placid Blue, Serial # 225899.

 

Fender Jaguar, '64

Black, Serial # L50480.

 

Fender Jaguar, '64

Firemist Gold, Serial # L52085.

 

Fender Telecaster, '60

Blond, Serial # 51512.

 

Fender Custom Telecaster, '66

Sunburst, Serial # 177029.

 

Fender Jaguar, '64

Sea Foam Green, Serial # L48186.

 

Fender Custom Telecaster, '66

Sunburst, Serial # 177050.

 

Fender Esquire, '59

Blonde, Serial # 37809.

 

Fender Telecaster, '58

Blonde, Serial # 29411.

 

Fender Custom Telecaster, '65

Sunburst, Serial # 103833.

 

Fender Jaguar, '62

Fiesta Red, Serial # 79584.

 

Fender Custom Telecaster, ’72

Natural, Serial # 373034.
 

Fender Custom Telecaster, '59

Sunburst, Serial # 40771.

In mid-1959 Fender introduced lavishly appointed new versions of its original solid bodies the Telecaster and Esquire.  The models were named “Custom Telecaster” and “Custom Esquire” (perhaps influenced by Gibson’s Les Paul Custom). These guitars retained the basic characteristics and functions of the standard versions while showing a polished “classy” new look.  

 

This guitar has the classic appointments of a late 1959 Custom Telecaster, which include an alder body finished in 3-color sunburst, white binding around the top and back, a three ply greenish pickguard, and a gold Fender logo with “Custom Telecaster” written below.  The rest of the features match those of a standard late 1959 Telecaster. These consist of a “slab board” rosewood fingerboard with clay dots, a slim neck profile, and single line Kluson Deluxe tuning machines.

 

Unlike many other late ‘50s Fenders finished in three-color sunburst, this guitar has retained most of the red tint originally applied. The unstable red stain used by Fender at that time would very often fade when exposed to sunlight, leaving only the black to yellow part of the sunburst. Evidence of some fading on this example can be seen when observing the three dark rectangles on the upper bout. As was customary at the time, the original owner had his initials stuck to the guitar with mailbox letters. This shielded those areas from light for more than three decades.

 

Fender Esquire, '56

Blonde, Serial # 11093.

 

Fender Telecaster, '55

Blonde, Serial # 7831.

 

Fender Telecaster, '71

Candy Apple Red, Serial # 302431.

 

Fender Telecaster Custom, '73

Natural, Serial # 419229.

 

Fender Telecaster Thinline, '72

Natural, Serial # 354794.

 

Fender Telecaster, '69

Lake Placid Blue, Serial # 224909.

 

Fender Telecaster, '55

Blonde, Serial # 7553.

 

Fender Telecaster, '53

Blonde, Serial # 4238.

This is really one of the cleanest black guard Telecasters that I have ever seen! I remember having to pay $10,000 for it many years ago. At the time that was well above the going rate for these. I have never regretted this purchase.

 

Fender Telecaster, '67

Sunburst, Serial # 206721, Neck Date October 1967.

 

Fender Telecaster Thinline, '73

Black, Serial # 526177.

 

Fender Telecaster Thinline, '71

Black, Serial # 319156.

 

Fender Telecaster, '68

Black, Serial # 222373, Neck Date July 1968.

 

Fender Telecaster, ’53

Blonde, Serial # 4123. This one was acquired in a trade deal with Larry Hendrickson back around 1980. I have to say that this is one of my favorite Teles. In the late 1940’s, Leo Fender began work on a no-nonsense solid body electric guitar. The result, introduced in the fall of 1950, was the Broadcaster.  Production continued through a name change in late 1951 (the name conflicted with Gretsch’s Boadkaster drum set) and factory relocation in 1953. For many, a 1953 “Blackguard” Telecaster is considered the Holy Grail of all Teles. Whether it’s because more were made than in the previous years due to the new factory’s increased production capabilities, or because three years had been spent perfecting building techniques, a large number of legendary Tele artists were known to favor ‘53s.  Some of the most famous of these players include James Burton, Roy Buchanan, and Danny Gatton.   The well worn 1953 Telecaster pictured has the classic features most often associated with that year, including a one-piece bolt-on maple neck, a round string tree on the headstock (rectangular by ’56), an ash body with see-through butterscotch blonde finish (after the mid-fifties, the blonde finish became whiter and eventually more opaque), a black Bakelite pickguard (changed to white in late ’54), the serial number on the bridge plate (moved to neck plate by late ’54), outer brass bridge saddles that were notched on the bottom allowing for lower saddle adjustment, and a bridge pickup with flush level pole pieces (staggered by the end of ’55).
 

Fender Esquire, '53

Blonde, Serial # 3032.

 

Fender Telecaster, '67

Blond, Serial # 205513, Neck Date September '67.

In the summer of 1967, Fender experimented with ways to make a Telecaster lighter. Large cavities were routed underneath the pickguard to lighten the guitar without changing the way it looked. These are unofficially known as "Smuggler's Tellies".

 

Fender Telecaster Thinline, '68

Sunburst, Serial # 241136.

 

Fender Telecaster Thinline, '68

Natural, Serial # 230818.

 

Fender Esquire, '68

Blond, Serial # 236389.

 

Fender Esquire, '52

Blonde, Serial # 2580.

This one is nice and clean. There is just a hint of fingerboard wear. I purchased this one back during the days when an Esquire was still selling for less than $1000.

 

Fender Nocaster, '51

Blonde, Serial # 0390.

 

Fender Telecaster, '66

Blond, Serial # 168060.

 

Fender Rosewood Telecaster, '71

Serial # 346098.

It is widely accepted that the quality of Fender instruments suffered a gradual decline after the CBS buyout of 1965. While this is true, the early CBS period of the mid to late 1960s was also a time of great creativity. The recipient of much of this energy was none other than Fender’s original solidbody: the Telecaster.

 

No fewer than four new versions of the Telecaster were added to the Fender line in the late sixties, including the Paisley and Blue Floral Teles, inspired by the psychedelic scene popular at the time. German master builder Roger Rossmeisl designed the other two Tele innovations: the Thinline Telecaster, and the Rosewood Telecaster. Rossmeisl, who had been responsible for the unique and enduring Rickenbacker electric guitar line of the late fifties, was hired away from Rickenbacker in 1962 by Leo Fender to be in charge of designing Fender’s new acoustic guitars and archtop electrics.

 

The first Rosewood Telecaster was a gift to Beatle George Harrison for use in the movie ‘Let It Be’.  Rossmeisl and Phillip Kubicki (employed by Fender at the time) made two prototypes and chose the best for Harrison. The guitar body was made with a thin layer of maple sandwiched between a solid rosewood back and top. The rosewood neck had a separate rosewood fingerboard glued on. The whole guitar had a special satin polyurethane finish (for more info read “Beatles Gear” by Andy Babiuk).

 

The Rosewood Telecaster was added to the regular production line in 1969 at $375. Production models differed from George’s slightly. They were made with a one-piece rosewood neck, and had gloss polyurethane finishes. While early examples were

solid, like George’s, the guitars were eventually lightened by hollowing out the two body halves.

 

Large numbers of Rosewood Teles were never produced, and by 1972 it was discontinued. Fender Japan reissued the guitar in the eighties, and the Fender Custom Shop makes occasional runs today (for more info read “The Fender Telecaster” by A.R. Duchossoir).

 

There are a couple of DVDs available if you’d like to see and hear Rosewood Teles in action. The first is ‘Let It Be’ showing the Beatles recording and playing live. The second is ‘Respect Yourself: The Stax Records Story’. ‘Respect Yourself’ includes footage of Booker T. and the MGs playing live in 1970. Steve Cropper wields a beautiful Rosewood Tele while wearing a matching brown corduroy suit.

 

Fender Telecaster, ’78

Antigua, Serial # S835555. Leo Fender’s pioneering work in the 1950s led to the creation of several classic guitars and amps, including the archetypal Telecaster and Stratocaster. These guitars continued evolving along with the growing company, even through its sale to the Columbia Broadcasting System – CBS in 1965.   After the sale to CBS, players noticed a gradual drop in quality of the instruments (especially noticeable starting at the end of the 1960s).  There were loose neck pockets, 3-bolt necks, and “Thick Skin” polyester finishes (durable, but detrimental to a guitar’s tone). There were still some interesting creative ideas, like the new Telecaster Custom (with neck humbucker) and the Telecaster Deluxe (two humbuckers).  One inspiration involved the revival of the Antigua finish as a Custom Color in 1977.   The Antigua finish had been introduced ten years earlier for the Coronado (Fender’s attempt at a Gibson ES-335 style semi-hollow guitar).  Fender had some difficulty applying the binding to these guitars, and often scorch marks and burns appeared in the wood. The Antigua sunburst with darker grey edges effectively covered up the blemishes. The re-introduction of the color in 1977 was entirely for visual allure. The guitars receiving the Antigua treatment were the regular Tele and Strat, the Telecaster Custom and Deluxe, the Mustang, the Jazz Bass, Precision Bass, and Mustang Bass.
 

Fender Stratocaster, '68

Firemist Gold, Serial # 103581.

This guitar was rescued a number of years back. This Strat was actually out for sale in the shop as a refin and tagged accordingly. Dave and Steve Paetow were at the shop on a Saturday afternoon and they were looking at this guitar. They noticed what appeared to be gold under the refin and brought it to my attention. They had suggested trying to remove the white finish to see what was underneath. Now obviously they could have not said a word and bought the guitar at a bargain price and done the work themselves, but they were way too honest to even consider such a thing. The job wasn't fun, but our friend and employee at the time Dave Reinders, painstakingly wet sanded the white finish off to reveal the original Firemist Gold that was underneath, and it ended up turning out pretty good considering. Also, please notice the missing string tree. It came from the factory this way. Nice guitar, and it is nice to see a rare custom color brought back to life.

 

Fender Stratocaster, '59

Sunburst, Serial # 43228.

 

Fender Stratocaster, '59

Sunburst, Serial # 38098.

In 1959 the Fender electric guitar line was revamped to include rosewood fingerboards attached to the one-piece maple necks. Rosewood fingerboards were standard on most other brands, and were thought to give Fender’s space-age oddities a more traditional “classy” look.

This Strat, with a neck date of 7/59, is one of the rare transition models with combined features of the maple board and rosewood board eras. Like the maple neck Strats of ’58, it has a 3-color sunburst finish with a single ply pickguard (instead of the 3-ply guards seen on most rosewood board Strats). The pickguard has 10 screws instead of the 11 that would soon be seen on the 3-ply guards. The fingerboard is the thick rosewood “slab” that would be used until 1962. This guitar is also a non-trem “hardtail” which makes it even rarer (but not necessarily more desirable).

 

Dave’s notes: “After telling me for years that he had this especially rare Stratocaster belonging right in the middle of my collection, my friend Jack Stowe finally brought it up to La Crosse. We made a deal to put it on my wall.

 

Fender Stratocaster, '58

Sunburst, Serial # 026665.

The space age looking maple neck Stratocaster was favored by many innovative rockers of the 1950s era, including Buddy Holly, Johnny Meeks (of Gene Vincent’s Blue Caps), and Ike Turner. It went through a few minor changes from the time of its debut in 1954, to mid-1959 when the one-piece maple neck was discontinued in favor of a maple neck with a separate rosewood fingerboard. The body was originally ash with a black to see-through yellow sunburst. The standard body material was changed to alder in mid-1956 (ash was retained for custom color blonde Strats). The sunburst color remained the same until early 1958 when red was added in between the black and yellow. This guitar shows a good example of a non-faded 1958 3-color sunburst.

The neck shape of the Stratocaster also changed subtly between 1954 and 1959. The big “U” shape neck profile gradually changed to a “V” shape around 1956. By the time this example was made in 1958, neck profiles were a slim “C” shape.

Diabolical guitar virtuoso Greg Koch brought this very guitar out of retirement for the recent recording of the companion CD to the New Fender amp book. He picked it to represent the archetypal “Strat” sound over five other vintage maple neck models in the collection. He used this Strat to record through dozens of Fender amps for the upcoming CD. We were honored to have him here and to have the guitars & amps from our collection used for the project. We’ve had this one in the collection for at least 10 years and none of us can remember where we got it from! 

 

Fender Stratocaster, '58

Blonde, Serial # 36315.

 

Fender Stratocaster, '58

Sunburst, Serial # 024384.

 

Fender Stratocaster, '57

Taos Turquoise, Serial # -20869.

A very rare to ever see Custom Colors from the 50's. There were very few of these that were done in this color to match the automobile colors that were coming out of Detroit at that time. Check out the Desert Sand base coat!

 

I bought this one from a PA store in Iowa after my good friend John Riniker passed on it. He was kind enough to swing it my way. Can you believe that this guitar was traded in for a set of horns? This is the guitar that I have owned for the longest time in the collection.

 

Fender Stratocaster, '57

Sunburst, Serial # -17439.

 

Fender Stratocaster, '56

Sunburst, Serial # 13673, Body date of 12/56.

This one was purchased from the son of the original owner. It would be safe to say that this guitar did not see too many smoke filled bars or dance halls over the years. The neck shows very little wear and the lacquer has not yellowed.

 

Fender Stratocaster, '55

Sunburst, Serial # 8154.

 

Fender Stratocaster, '54

Sunburst, Serial # 0756.

 

Fender Coronado II, '68

Wildwood I Finish, Serial # 214758.

While Fender had pioneered the solid body guitar in the 1950s, the changing trends of the 1960s caused the company to switch gears and try to expand into other areas of the electric guitar market. The British Invasion bands popular at the time were using hollow, and semi-hollow guitars offered by Gibson (ES-330, ES-335), Epiphone(Casino), Gretsch (Country Gentleman), and Rickenbacker(330, and 360). Fender’s double cutaway hollowbody was released in 1966 and was known as the Coronado.

The Coronados were designed by Roger Rossmeisl, who had been hired by Leo Fender a few years earlier to design a flat-top acoustic. Rossmeisl had experience with these types of guitars as he had designed the Rickenbacker Capri line in the 1950s.

 

The Coronados were produced at Fender’s separate acoustic guitar plant. The line initially consisted of the Coronado I with one pickup, and the Coronado II with two pickups and optional tremolo. The pickups were made by the DeArmond Company.

The guitars were originally offered in Cherry and Sunburst finishes, but by 1967 Wildwood I (Rainbow Green), Wildwood II (Rainbow Blue) and Wildwood III (Rainbow Gold) also became available. These Wildwood finishes were obtained by injecting colorful dyes into beech trees. In 1968 the Antigua finish was also offered.

 

The Coronado did not prove popular, and was discontinued by 1972.

 

Fender Coronado II, '68

Lake Placid Blue, Serial # 501108.

 

Fender Coronado II, '68

Antigua, Serial # 235002.

 

Fender Swinger, '69

Dakota Red, Serial # 263366.

 

Gretsch Country Gentleman, '61

Walnut, Serial # 41707.

The Gretsch Country Gentleman debuted in 1958 as the top model of the Chet Atkins line, which now included the economy Tennessean 6119, as well as the Chet Atkins Hollowbody 6120 and Solidbody 6121.

 

The Country Gentleman’s features were developed because of Chet’s continuing quest to achieve a better amplified guitar sound. These features included better bracing helping sustain, closed f-holes to eliminate feed back, and hum-canceling pickups. Chet also wanted the guitar to have a classier look than the bright orange 6120, so it was stained a dark mahogany color. The single cut-away Country Gentleman remained his favorite Gretsch even after the model changed to a double cut-away in 1962.

 

This Country Gentleman has all the features typical to 1961: a 17 inch wide body with a slim two inch depth (shrunk from 1958’s 2 and ¾ inches), gold plated U.S. Pat. 2892371 Filtertron pickups, a brushed Aluminum Gretsch “V” cutout Bigsby, closed “f” holes, Gold plated Grover Imperial tuners, zero fret (added in 1959) on an ebony fingerboard with Neo Classic (thumbprint) inlays, a nameplate with serial number on the headstock, and a gold plated bar bridge.  

 

This guitar cost $575 when new in 1961 and came with a dark gray Deluxe Gretsch case. Original single cut-away versions of the 6122 are seen less often than the double cut-away versions made popular by George Harrison and can be very expensive.

 

Gretsch Tennessean, '60

Cherry Red, Serial # 34983.

In 1958 the Fred Gretsch Company decided to expand the successful Chet Atkins signature guitar line introduced in 1954, which already included the Chet Atkins Hollowbody 6120 and the Chet Atkins Solidbody 6121. The new models were the high end Country Gentleman and the low end Tennesean.

 

The Chet Atkins Tennessean was a stripped down version of the 6120. It shared the same body dimensions, but had only one bridge pickup, and had no binding on the fingerboard or headstock.  The Tennessean also had a unique red stain finish instead of the orange of the 6120. The pickguard with Chet’s signature in a signpost was black instead of the gold color seen on the 6120. 

 

The features on this example from the collection are common to other 1960 model year Tennesseans. These include: the zero fret, Patent Applied For Filter ‘Tron pickup, “V” cutout Gretsch Bigsby vibrato, and a body depth of about 2 and ½ inches.

 

These appointments remained (except for a gradually thinning body) until 1962 when Gretsch’s entire line was revamped.

 

 

Gretsch 6120, '61

Western Orange, Serial # 40749.

In 1954, the Fred Gretsch Company introduced its own artist endorsed guitar in response to the success of Gibson’s Les Paul Model. The virtuoso country artist Chet Atkins was chosen, and with his input, the model 6120 Chet Atkins Hollowbody was born.

 

The guitar included features requested by Atkins, such as a 24 and ¾”  scale length, metal nut, and Bigsby Vibrato tailpiece,  It also initially sported “kitschy” western designs intended to appeal to country music fans. Atkins disliked the extra cosmetic decorations and they were gradually removed as he and the guitar became more popular.

 

This early 1961 version has the typical characteristics of 6120 models produced for that year. These include: an ebony fingerboard with neoclassic inlays (1958), Filter’Tron Humbucking pickups (1958), zero fret (1959), V-style Gretsch by Bigsby tailpiece (1960), and a bar bridge (1957). By 1961, the body depth had thinned to just 2.25” thick (from 2.75” in ’54, to 2.5” in ’60). Possibly due to the thinner body, the neck joint changed from a dovetail to a mortise and tenon. The reinforcing dowel was moved from the back of the heel to the side located in the cutaway.

Later examples from ’61 would also be equipped with a standby switch before the model changed to a double cutaway in 1962.

 

Gretsch 6120, '58

Western Orange, Serial # 26522.

The Gretsch Chet Atkins Hollowbody Model 6120 was introduced in 1954.  Gretsch designed it with input from Chet Atkins to be his signature model guitar. The features changed over the years as Chet was continually striving to improve his sound, and Gretsch was always looking for new marketing ideas. One of the most significant upgrades to the model was the change from DeArmond single coil pickups to Filtertron humbuckers in 1958. Chet disliked the twangy sound caused by the strong magnetic pull of the DeArmonds, along with the annoying 60-cycle hum. He developed a relationship with amp builder Ray Butts who eventually designed some experimental humbuckers for Chet’s guitar. Chet approved of the sound, and the pickups were produced by Gretsch to be included on all their top end guitars.

This example from the collection is from one of the earliest batches of Filtertron equipped 6120s. The pickups have no “Pat. Applied For” stamped in the metal of the pickup cover as usually seen between 1958 and 1960. The pickguard is left over from those cut to accommodate DeArmonds. The guitar originally had metal nut as was standard at the time on Atkins Models. The previous owner had replaced it with a more conventional nut many years ago.

This Gretsch’s white cowboy case contains an interesting item of historical significance: it’s the previous owner’s original sales receipt. The already second hand 6120 was purchased in 1960 from Layton’s Music store in Oskaloosa Iowa. The guitar was tagged at $340. A trade in of $280 was accepted for a 1956 Fender Stratocaster, leaving a balance after tax of $71.63!  At the time a fancy Chet Atkins Hollowbody was considered a much classier instrument than a Sci-Fi slab of wood Strat.

 

Gretsch 6120, '57

Western Orange, Serial # 25017.

In 1954, the Fred Gretsch Company introduced its own artist signature guitar in response to the success of Gibson’s Les Paul guitar. The virtuoso country artist, Chet Atkins was chosen, and with his input, the model 6120 Chet Atkins Hollowbody was born.

 

The guitar included features requested by Atkins, such as a 24 and ¾”  scale length, metal nut, and Bigsby Vibrato tailpiece,  It also initially sported “kitschy” western designs intended to appeal to country music fans. Atkins disliked the extra cosmetic decorations and had them gradually removed as he and the guitar became more popular.

 

The 1957 6120 pictured has all the traits typical to that year: Horseshoe headstock inlay (replacing steer’s head of ’54 –’56), hump-top block fingerboard markers (replacing the rectangular blocks of ’56), and a “Bar” bridge (replacing the aluminum Bigsby compensated bridge of ’54 –’56).

 

 DeArmond single coil pickups were still used in 1957, although they would be replaced in1958 with the new Filtertron Humbuckers Atkins preferred.   These “twangy” DeArmond pickups would help to create the signature sound of rock ‘n roll icon Duane Eddy. Eddy purchased a 6120 very similar to this one in October 1957, and went on to have numerous instrumental hits.

 

Gretsch 6120, ’56

Western Orange, Serial # 18527. By the early ‘50s guitar virtuoso Chet Atkins was a well known Nashville studio musician on his way to becoming a successful recording artist in his own right. The Gretsch Company, seeing his potential, asked him to work with them in creating a signature model. In the middle of 1954 Atkins received his first prototype, which was based on Gretsch’s already existing Streamliner model holowbody. He approved, but requested the addition of a Bigsby vibrato and a brass nut to improve sustain. After Chet received a second prototype with those revisions, Gretsch began producing the guitar in late 1954 to be ready to sell in early 1955.   The 1955 Model 6120 included those features requested by Atkins; including a 22 fret neck with a 24.5” scale length (a few early examples had only 21 frets). The body was 15.5” wide and 2.75” deep. The transparent amber red (orange) finish and “kitschy” western designs were intended to appeal to country music fans. Atkins disliked the extra cosmetic decorations and had them gradually removed as he and the guitar became more popular.   The 1956 Model Year 6120 pictured, has features common to the first two 100 unit batches of 6120s made for 1956 (actually built in late 1955). These include a new for ’56 large truss-rod cover (replacing the “bullet” cover), fixed arm aluminum Bigsby B6 (replacing the gold anodized version of ‘55), steer’s head headstock inlay, rosewood fingerboard with cows and cactus inlays, and a “G” brand near the bass f-hole.
 

Fender Swinger, '69

Lake Placid Blue, Serial # 269107.

 

Fender Musicmaster, '64

Cherry, Serial # L29571.

 

Fender Marauder, '66

Lake Placid Blue, Prototype.

 

Fender Custom, '69

Sunburst, Serial # 259125.

 

Fender Jazz Bass, '65

Candy Apple Red, Serial # L83602.

 

Fender Bass VI, ’63

Sunburst, Serial # L03350. Ten years after launching the ground breaking Precision Bass, Fender introduced a six string bass, the Bass VI, in 1961. The instrument was tuned the same as a standard guitar, but an octave lower, attracting guitar players, as well as bassists wishing to expand their soloing range (this soloing capability was utilized by Cream’s Jack Bruce, and the Shadows’ Jet Harris).  The Bass VI had the comfort contoured “off-set” body design and floating tremolo of the Jazzmaster, and the narrow nut size of the Jazz Bass. The constricted string spacing made playing with a pick the easiest way to get sound out of the Bass VI. Nashville session players made great use of this when doubling the bass lines of the upright bass. This was known as “tic-tac” bass.   The 1963 Fender Bass VI pictured is typical of Bass VIs that year. The pickups, which originally had metal surrounds, were changed to match the newly released (1962) Jaguar’s pickups. A bridge mute was added, also much like the Jaguar’s, and a fourth switch appeared allowing for a darker tone option. The 1962 Fender list price for a Bass VI with a sunburst finish was $329.50.
 

Fender Stratocaster, '60

Fiesta Red, Serial # 49005.

When the Fender Stratocaster was introduced in 1954, one of the main special features was a built in vibrato unit called the “Synchronized Tremolo”.  A non-tremolo version was also available at about $30 less. A non-tremolo Strat (nicknamed “hardtail”) had the same string through the body set up as a Telecaster, except it kept a six-way bridge for better intonation.

Custom Color Strats were available almost from the beginning, but a standardized color list didn’t appear until 1961. The Custom Colors resembled the colors offered on automobiles at the time.

The example from the collection shown in this article is a Fiesta Red Hardtail Strat dating from 1960 (George Fullerton mixed up the first batch of Fiesta Red at a paint store in 1957).  According to an early ‘60s Fender pricelist, a non-trem Strat cost 259.50. There was a 5% up charge for a Custom Color, so this Strat would have been about $272.47 (still $17 less than a sunburst tremolo version).

This Strat has a beautiful early “slab” fingerboard of Brazilian rosewood. The Kluson tuners on the headstock were replaced at some point with “double line” mid-‘60s Klusons.  The undercoat below the Fiesta Red (seen through the scrapes and dings) is the color Desert Sand, which was the color of Duo Sonics and Music Masters. This color was often used as an undercoat for Custom Color guitars in the ‘50s and early ‘60s.

Hardtail Strats are seen less often than the tremolo versions, and are favored by Bluesman Robert Cray, and Rocker Ron Wood.

 

Fender Stratocaster, '61

Tahitian Coral, Serial # 59930.

Nothing conjures up images of a ‘60s Rock n’ Roll beach party like a cool custom colored Fender Strat. Custom colors don’t get much hipper than this example.

 

This Strat has a penciled neck date of 3-61, and has all the features typical to Strats that year. These include: a “slab” Brazilian rosewood fingerboard with clay dots, a small headstock with “spaghetti” decal including 2 patent numbers, and a greenish Nitrate 3-ply pickguard with a metal shielding plate underneath. The neck profile is very flat and comfortable like most of the early “slab board” necks.

 

Besides having all the classic characteristics that make early ‘60s Strats appealing to players and collectors, this one has an ultra-rare color. According to an old piece of masking tape attached under the pickguard, the color is Tahitian Coral (a color of the same name was used by Chrysler in the late ‘50s). This non-standard color was not mentioned in any Fender catalogs (The closest official Fender color at the time was Shell Pink listed from 1960-1963).  An undercoat of Desert Sand can be seen where the top color has worn off. Proof that this color is factory original can be seen after unscrewing the neck. An area of paint from the body has stuck to the neck leaving a bare spot in the neck pocket that is an exact match to the glob stuck to the neck.

 

Fender Stratocaster, '61

Sunburst, Serial # 60492.

 

Fender Stratocaster, '62

Fiesta Red, Gold hadware, Serial # 74434.

Very figured Maple neck, A fellow brought this one in to the shop about 17 years ago and just wanted to know what it was worth. He said he'd had it forever and he'd never sell it. When I told him the dollar amount, he just got quiet for a bit, then said "Well, I'd sell it for that"!

 

Fender Stratocaster, '63

Burgundy Mist, Serial # L11394.

Purchased locally from the wife of the original owner. He was kindly gentleman who brought this guitar into my first store back in '82 for a restring & set up. I flipped when I saw the guitar and I told him if he ever wanted to part with it to please think of me. He said he'd never part with it as it was the best playing guitar he ever had his hands on. Over the years he became a good customer & friend and he would drop in often just to say hi. Then I got the call from his wife telling me that he had passed. It was a sad time for me indeed. The one thing that he made clear to his wife was that he wanted to make sure that I got the guitar after he was gone. I'll treasure this one till my dying day, just like he did.

 

Fender Stratocaster, '63

Refinished in Natural, 2 piece Korina body, Serial # L14737.

We know that Fender was experimenting with woods during this period, and we've seen some Mahogany body Strats & Teles from that era. Now here is proof that Korina was also used. You can also see the tooling holes on the back of the body. A guy had called me a long time ago and said that he had an old Strat but it wasn't put together. The body was stripped and he was going to refinish it but he just never got around to doing it. He had all the parts in a box and he asked if I was interested. We agreed on a price and I bought it. I just sprayed a clear coat over the body and played this one for a few years.

 

Fender Stratocaster, '63

Blond, Serial # L19865.

 

Fender Stratocaster, '64

Black, Serial # L27250.

 

Fender Stratocaster, '64

Lake Placid Blue, Serial # L20674.

 This guitar is a gorgeous custom color Fender Strat. Besides having a stunning Lake Placid Blue finish, this February 1964 guitar has other features that make it very desirable: Spaghetti Logo (phased out in ’64), clay dots (replaced by pearloid dots in ’65),  single line Kluson Deluxe tuning machines (replaced by double line Klusons during ’64),and a greenish celluloid pickguard (replaced by white in ’65).

 

The guitar’s previous owner acquired it in 1967 while serving in the U.S. Marines.  His Commanding Officer had a gambling problem and was forced sell the Strat and an Epiphone amp for $175 to help settle his debts. The guitar has been played quite a bit since then, but was also very well taken care of.

 

Fender Stratocaster, '64

Sunburst, Serial # L36630.

 

Fender Stratocaster, '66

Candy Apple Red, Serial # 116384.

 

Fender Stratocaster, '65

Charcoal Frost Metallic, Serial # 107518.

 

Fender Stratocaster, '65

Ocean Turquoise, Serial # 107632, This is a nice custom color Strat with some honest playing wear. It is pictured on page 41 of the Vintage Guitar Book by Mac Yasuda.

 

Fender Stratocaster, '65

Lake Placid Blue, Serial # 101113.

 

Fender Stratocaster, ’65

Sonic Blue, Serial # 104234. Guitar collectors consider 1965 to be one of the most significant years in history. It was the year that the large corporation Columbia Broadcasting Systems Inc. (CBS) bought Fender Instruments and Fender Sales.  To many players and collectors this year also marks the beginning of a decline in the quality of Fender products that continued through the 1970s.   The Stratocaster had been gradually evolving, along with the rest of the Fender line, since its debut in 1954. The most obvious change occurred in 1959 when the one-piece maple neck acquired a separate rosewood fingerboard. After the CBS buyout more changes took place, with the most dramatic being the enlargement of the headstock shape (coinciding with the popularity of bell-bottoms?) in December of 1965.   This rare 1965 Sonic Blue Strat has details common to Strats made during this transitional period. The November 1965 neck date shows that this is one of the last small headstock Strats made until the 1980s.  Other traits include Gold Transition Logo (designed by Fender photographer Bob Perine), pearloid position markers, double line Kluson Deluxe tuners, and an “F” stamp neck plate. This guitar also came stock from the factory with large frets (often seen in 1965).
 

Fender Stratocaster, '65

Sunburst, Serial number L90333, This Strat has a maple cap fingerboard and it does not have the walnut skunk stripe on the back of the neck. We have seen this same fingerboard and neck configuration on a few Tele Customs from the same era. It would be safe to say that there are not many of these out there. This is certainly one rare and cool guitar!

 

Fender Stratocaster, '65

Olympic White, Serial # L86093

 

Fender Stratocaster, '65

Dakota Red, Serial # L64322.

This one has been in the collection for a very long time and was purchased back when clean custom color Strats were affordable, This one does have the previous owners social security number engraved on the neck plate and the fingerboard still has the grime from when it was out being played. What a great guitar indeed!

 

Fender Stratocaster, '65

Lake Placid Blue, Serial # L59451.

 

Fender Stratocaster, '65

Candy Apple Red, Serial # L20266.

 

Gretsch Country Club, '62

Cadillac Green, Serial # 47040.

 
 

Gretsch Electro II, '53

Sunburst, Serial # 09618.

 

Gretsch White Falcon, ’58

White, Serial # 26356. The exciting changes in the popular music of the 1950s also called for electrifying transformations in musical instruments.  The electric guitar was increasingly prominent, so the top guitar companies battled to come up with the most innovative and attractive designs. The Fred Gretsch Company led the way as far as bright colors and fancy appointments go. Gretsch achieved the pinnacle of luxury and style with its piece de resistance the White Falcon. The 1955 Gretsch catalog stated that “Cost was never considered in the planning of this guitar. We were building an instrument for the artist-player whose caliber justifies and demands the utmost in striking beauty, luxurious styling, and peak tonal performance and who is willing to pay the price.”   The White Falcon was designed by Gretsch special representative, guitar promoter and demonstrator Jimmie Webster.  Webster drew ideas from a variety of sources including the gaudy Bacon and Day banjos of the Jazz Age.  The 17” wide body was finished in luminous white with gold sparkle binding. The hardware was gold with fancy jeweled knobs, Grover Imperial tuners, and a striking new tailpiece utilizing a V shape similar to the one used in the ‘50s Cadillac logo.  The gold pickguard was engraved with a flying Falcon.   The 1958 White Falcon pictured this month has features typical to that year’s model including:  a gold sparkle horizontal headstock logo inlaid in the white Nitron plastic veneer (changed from the original vertical logo in’58), Neo Classic thumbprint fingerboard inlays in an ebony board (changed from the original feather engraved hump-block inlays in ‘58), Patent Applied For Filtertron humbucking pickups (replacing DeArmond single coils), and a gold Space Control bridge (replacing the original Melita).   A New White Falcon sold for $675 in 1958.
 

Gretsch Country Gentleman, '65

Walnut, Serial # 79726.

 

Gretsch Tennessean, '61

Walnut, Serial # 44245.

 

Gretsch Roundup, '55

Western Orange, Serial # 13173.

 

Gretsch Roundup, ’57

Western Orange, Serial # 23405. By 1953, The Fred Grestch Manufacturing Company had been building drums banjos and guitars for 70 years. The traditional instrument maker made what seemed like a radical move by following the lead of Fender and Gibson in producing its own solid body guitar: the Duo Jet. While the Fender Telecaster’s ash body and the Gibson Les Paul’s mahogany/maple body were solid, the Gretsch Duo Jet’s mahogany body was nearly hollow to accommodate the electronics and wiring. The hollowed-out body was then covered with a pressed arched top. The black Duo-Jet was soon followed by a family of similar guitars with the main difference being the finish, as stated in the 1955 Gretsch catalog: “Offered in four models, each one a triumph of modernistic beauty and musical performance”. These guitars were (including the Duo Jet) the Silver Jet (silver sparkle), the Jet Fire Bird (red), and the Round-Up (western orange).   The Round-Up was devised in 1953 while Country & Western music was gaining recognition on the pop charts. It was aimed at enticing aspiring country guitarists with over-the-top cowboy style decorations.  The 1955 catalog described the guitar as having “Masculine beauty in real Western finish. Tooled leather shoulder strap and body binding; gold plated metal parts.” The fingerboard inlays were etched with the same steer head and cacti that appeared in the leather trim and strap. A pearloid steer head was also inlayed under the Gretsch logo on the headstock.  A dramatic “G” brand embellished the top (often knotty pine). These decorations were re-used the next year on the Chet Atkins signature models and the acoustic Rancher.   The 1957 Round-Up pictured shows the typical characteristics  identifying most 1957 model year Gretsches, which include: Humptop block fingerboard inlays(no etching), knobs indented with a “G” bisected by an arrow, and a long trussrod cover (1956). The Round-Up features that remained unchanged from the original version were the studded leather side trim, western belt buckle tailpiece, tortoiseshell pickguard decorated with a steer head (the steer head on the headstock had been replaced by a horseshoe), DeArmond single coil pickups, and Melita adjustable bridge. The original “G” brand had disappeared from the deep orange stained maple top by this time.  
 

Gretsch Jet Firebird, '57

Oriental Red, Serial # 23809.

Leo Fender’s revolutionary solid body guitars created quite a stir in the early 1950’s. The established guitar manufacturers of the day initially viewed the Fender solid bodies as ridiculous and ignored them-that is until the guitars started selling. The Gibson company was the first to realize there was money to be made and got together with the recording artist Les Paul (who had a number of recent hit records) to design its own fancier solid body called the Les Paul Model debuting in 1952. Seeing that Gibson was successful, the Fred Gretsch Company followed suit in 1953 with a similarly shaped guitar called the Duo Jet. By the time Gretsch’s 1955 catalogue appeared, the company offered a whole line of solid bodies: the Duo Jet, the Silver Jet, the Jet Firebird, the Roundup, and the Chet Atkins Solid body. Each of these was basically a Duo Jet with different cosmetic features.

This Gretsch Jet Firebird shares features common to all Jet’s of 1957: semi-solid body construction, Grover StaTite tuning machines, a rosewood fingerboard with humped-block inlays, a Melita Synchro-sonic adjustable bridge, and DeArmond Dynasonic single coil pickups made by Rowe Industries of Toledo Ohio. The features unique to a Model 6131 Jet Firebird are an Oriental Red top; black back, sides and neck, and a black pickguard with “GRETCH” in white letters.

Some players who at one time favored the twangy yet beefy sound of Dynasonic equipped Jets are Cliff Gallup, Bo Diddley, George Harrison, Billy Zoom, and Jeff Beck. 

 

Gretsch Silver Jet, '55

Silver Sparkle, Serial # 16622.

In 1953 the Gretsch Company introduced its first solidbody electric guitar: the Duo Jet. It was intended to compete with Fender’s Telecaster and Gibson’s Les Paul. The Duo Jet had a similar shape to the Les Paul, but instead of being truly solid, its separate pieces of mahogany had hollow spaces left open for electronics and wiring.  The pressed arched top was often covered in the same black plastic material used on some Gretsch drums.

The Duo Jet also included the innovative Melita Synchro – Sonic bridge which allowed separate intonation adjustment for each string.

 

While Gretsch was behind Fender and Gibson in the introduction of a solid body, they were ahead in eye catching colors. Each guitar received a different model name relating to its striking finish, even though it remained essentially a Duo Jet. These models were the Silver Jet (Sliver Sparkle), the Round Up (Orange with western style inlays and leather trim) and the Jet Firebird (Red).

 

This Silver Jet has all the features common to 1955 Jets: a rosewood fingerboard with large pearloid block inlays, chrome master volume, two individual pickup volumes and master tone controls all stamped with an arrow in the center, a small bullet shaped trussrod cover, two DeArmond single coil pickups, Melita Bridge, silver pickguard, and a chrome “G” cutout tailpiece. The feature unique to Silver Jets is the silver sparkle top made made from the same material Gretsch used to cover its drums. The 1955 Gretsch catalog lists a Silver Jet for $255.

 

Rickenbacker Doubleneck, '74

Fireglo, Serial # NF3602

 

Rickenbacker 330, '58

Reverse Fireglo, Serial # 2T179.

F.C. Hall purchased the Electro String Company from Adolf Rickenbacker in late 1953. This company had been known mostly for its electric steel guitars, but Hall revamped the business and focused on electric standard guitars (which continued to increase in popularity as the 1950s progressed). In early 1954 German guitar maker Roger Rossmeisl was hired, and his unique “old world” designs gave Rickenbacker guitars the distinctive look that continues today.

 

Rickenbacker developed a new series of guitars in 1958 that eventually evolved into some of the company’s most famous models. This was a line of thin semi-acoustic guitars known as the Capri series. These instruments started as a solid blocks of wood, which were then hollowed out to some extent from the back. A separate back was later attached. This method devised by Rossmeisl was very unusual compared to traditional techniques used by other companies.

 

This early 330 Rickenbacker has certain features that distinguish it from later incarnations. Prior to designing their own distinctive tailpieces, Rickenbacker used standard trapeze versions available in parts catalogs of the day. The single gold pick guard was soon replaced by a double level guard, which by 1964 was made of white plexiglas. The T.V. knobs and open back Grovers are other early features. The most unusual thing about this guitar is the rare “Reverse” Fireglo finish.

 

Rickenbacker 360, '59

Fireglo, Serial # 2T552.

 

Rickenbacker 365, '63

Fireglo, Serial # CG730.

 

Rickenbacker 365, '65

Fireglo, Serial # EI858.

 

Rickenbacker 360 WB, '92

Mapleglo, Serial # G56451.

 

Rickenbacker 360 WB, '95

Fireglo, Serial # K84987.

 

Rickenbacker Model 1993, '65

Firglo, Serial # ED548.

Nothing says “the sixties” like a Rickenbacker 12 string electric guitar. After late 1963 when George Harrison of the Beatles received his first one, rock and roll was never the same again. Thousands of aspiring rock ‘n rollers saw George Harrison use his Rickenbacker 360/12 in the movie “Hard Days Night”, and were motivated to seek out this exotic instrument so they too could make the same shimmering sounds.

 

American players were surprised to find that these stunning guitars with the German name were U.S.A. made in California.  British customers bought their guitars through the U.K. instrument distributor Rose, Morris.

 

The features of the Rickenbackers made for Rose, Morris (like this month’s featured guitar) differed subtly from the American versions.  The most notable change was a traditional “F” shaped sound hole compared to the “slash” sound hole of the U.S. models. Rose, Morris also assigned its own model numbers.

 

This guitar is a Rose, Morris Model 1993 dating to April of 1965. Its features are similar those of a 330/12 except for the body binding on the top and back (this style binding was used on the original 360s before the change to a rounded top in mid-1964).

 

A Model 1993 was used by Who guitarist Pete Townsend as a “chord machine” on many of the band’s early records. A great example of this sound is heard on the song ‘I Can’t Explain’.

 

Rickenbacker 331 Light Show, '71

Serial # KJ662.

The Rickenbacker Company has made interesting innovative instruments since the time it was founded in the first half of the twentieth century.  One such instrument was the Model 331 electric guitar, which is more commonly known as “the light show guitar”.  This is how the original 1970 leaflet described the super- psychedelic masterpiece:

 

“The Model 331 combines a fine musical instrument with the thrill of a light show. Internally lighted by a set of frequency modulated lamps, this instrument will shimmer with infinite color and pattern variety. This instrument also features Stereo out put, Hi-gain pickups, and 24 frets.  The three modulation channels are variable with a sensitivity control to make this patented instrument a beautiful performer in the stage situations professionals encounter.” 

 

 The guitar had the same body as a 330 but with a bound neck and a translucent plastic top. The body had colored lamps built inside. A different colored lamp lit when a different frequency was played (red for treble, yellow for mids, and blue for bass).

 

This example from the collection dates to October of 1971, and has an improved circuit and a heavier duty outboard transformer from earlier versions.

What can I say about this one? It certainly is rare and it still works just fine. This one is sure a hit at the company Christmas party! I bought this one from my good friend Joe Pena.

 

Rickenbacker 375, '66

Mapleglo, Serial # FL4274.

 

Rickenbacker 375, '67

Jetglo, Serial # GF2983.

 

Rickenbacker 360/12, ’68

Fireglo, Serial # HA122. Adolph Rickenbacker began a successful Los Angeles, California tool-and-die business in the 1920s, which eventually provided metal parts for guitar companies like National. Together with two former National employees George Beauchamp and Paul Barth, Rickenbacker designed and marketed the first “Frying Pan “electrified lap steel guitar. F.C. Hall, owner of Radio & Television Equipment Co. (Radio-Tel) purchased the Electro String Company from Adolph Rickenbacker in1953. Hall revamped the business and focused on electric standard guitars rather than steels. The electric guitars were slow sellers at first, but they continued to increase in popularity as the 1950s progressed. In early 1954 German guitar maker Roger Rossmeisl was hired, and his unique “old world” designs gave Rickenbacker guitars the distinctive look that continues today. The folk music trend of the early ‘60s and its reliance on flat-top 12-string guitars inspired Rickenbacker to fashion an electric 12-string in 1963. Although other companies had made earlier attempts (Gibson and Danelectro), the Rickenbacker 12-string electric became the most sought after because of its association with George Harrison of the Beatles (he received the second one made in early 1964).   The 1968 360/12 pictured has the features most often associated with classic Deluxe Rickenbacker models of the’60s. These include: a bound maple neck, gloss finished rosewood fingerboard with large triangle shaped inlays, two “toaster” single coil pickups, maple body with checker board binding on the back, slash soundhole, and “R” tailpiece. This example has a deep un-faded version of Rickenbacker’s most popular color, Fireglo. The 1966 list price was $524.50.
 

Rickenbacker 365, '67

Fireglo, Serial # GC1055.

 

Rickenbacker 330, '67

Fireglo, GB966.

 

Rickenbacker 330, '67

Mapleglo, Serial #GF2898.

 

Rickenbacker 625, '65

Fireglo, Serial # EB326.

 

Rickenbacker 370 WB, '81

Fireglo, Serial # UD1349

 

Rickenbacker 370/12 WB, '94

Fireglo, Serial # D79206.

 

Gretsch White Falcon, '67

White, Serial # 271011.

 

Gretsch Monkees, '67

Red, Serial # 17771.

 

Gibson ES-150 '69

Natural, These look a lot like an ES-335, but they are completely hollow and much thicker. These never really did catch on in the vintage market, but I've always been a fan of them, especially in Natural!

 

Gibson ES-340TD, Early 70's

Natural, An unusual version of an ES-335 with a 3 piece maple neck.

 

Gibson Map Guitar '84

Natural, Kind of a silly thing. I think these were mostly meant as a promotional item, but this guitar gets some of the most attention of anything in the collection from the non-guitar type folks.

 

Gibson Prototype Bass, Mid 70's

Cherry Sunburst, I've never seen another one like this and probably for a good reason! It is an odd duck, that's for sure!

 

Gibson ES-345 '60

Sunburst, Serial #A32846, An early '60 with the clear top knobs and the long guard.

 

Gibson ES-345 '59

Sunburst, Serial #A31007. The gold plating is a bit worn and the tuners are starting to shrivel up, but this is a great guitar. I love the late 50's/early 60's ES series guitars when they have the stop tailpiece!

 

Gibson ES-345 '60

Cherry, Serial #A34224. The color has faded nicely on this one. A nice early '60 with the long guard and clear knobs.

 

Gibson ES-345, '64

Sunburst, Serial # 176409.

 

Gibson ES-355 '60

Cherry, Serial #A32582. A very clean example with just a bit of gold plating wear.

 

Gibson ES-355 '65

Sparkling Burgundy, The face has faded to an interesting gold color! Some nasty Gibson/Schaller tuners installed, but since the damage was already done, I left them alone.

 

National Glenwood 98, '64

White.

The National String Instrument Corporation began in 1926 and was known for making resonator guitars. National united with the Dobro Company in 1932, and eventually became Valco in 1943. Valco manufactured guitars and amps under its own National and Supro brand names as well as for other companies (Gretsch, Silvertone, Oahu, and Airline).

 

In 1961 Valco came out with an innovative new style of electric guitar made from molded fiberglass bodies called Res-O-Glas (polyester resin and glass threads combined). The most striking of these fiberglass guitars were the National Map-shaped models which included the Glenwood, Val-Pro and Newport models. The unusual cutaways on these guitars made them resemble a map of the continental United Sates.

 

The National Map-shaped guitar pictured is a 1964 Glenwood 98. It has two standard single-coil pickups along with a bridge pickup. Controlling the pickups are three tones, three volumes, and a selector switch. A master volume is located near the jack. The hardware consists of chrome Grover Rotomatic tuners and a Bigsby vibrato. The body is white, while the finish on the back of the neck is black.

 

 

Gibson ES-330, '61

Cherry, Serial # 19764.

 

Gibson ES-330, '67

Sparkling Burgundy, Serial # 064094.

 

Gibson ES-335, '67

Sparkling Burgundy, Serial # 170009.

This guitar is weird not just because of the color, but because it has split parallelogram fingerboard inlays like an ES-345.

 

Gibson ES-335, '67

Pelham Blue, Serial # 87604.

 

Gibson ES-335, '63

Cherry, Serial # 113991.

 

Gibson ES-335, '62

Cherry, Serial # 51989.

 

Gibson ES-335, '64

Cherry, Serial # 147790.

 

Gibson ES-335, '64

Sunburst, Serial # 66165.

 

Gibson ES-335, '63

Sunburst, #139877.

 

Gibson ES-335, '61

Sunburst, #10086.

 

Gibson ES-335, '61

Cherry, Serial # A35742.

 

Gibson ES-335, '58

Sunburst, Serial # A28163.

 In the late ‘50s Gibson designed a guitar meant to have the look and feel of a traditional hollowbody, while also having the sonic advantages of a solid body guitar (still new and not universally accepted). The ES-335 was the result.

 This example has features common to most late ‘50s 335s: dot inlays, long pickguard, see-through gold bell knobs, and PAF humbuckers.

Early ES-335s, including this one, often have shallow neck angles. The ABR-1 bridges on these guitars are shaved much thinner than usual to accommodate the neck angle.

Factory installed Bigsbys were also a common feature on ES-335s of the ‘50s and ‘60s. What makes this guitar unusual is the lack of stop tailpiece holes or “Custom Made” plaque usually seen on Bigsby equipped 335s.

 I purchased this guitar from a good friend & fellow dealer in Iowa about 20 years ago. Not the best playing ES-335 that I own (because of the shallow neck angle) but definitely a historically significant guitar that I treasure. 

 

Gibson ES-175, '62

Sunburst, Serial # 85879.

 

Gibson ES-175, '61

Sunburst, Serial # A35924.

A very clean guitar that is a recent addition to the collection. This is complete with the Brown case, all of the hang tags, and the paperwork. The original sales receipt that is dated July 8, 1961 is also included. This guitar sold new for $249.50 and the case was an extra $47.00. What are the chances of the $30 trade credit being for a Danelectro or a Silvertone? One can only imagine.

 

Gibson ES-295, '52

Gold, Serial # A11855.

You do not see these very often, This one is a bit weather checked and way too cool!

 

Gibson ES-225 TDN, ’59

Natural In 1955 Gibson developed a line of thin-bodied electric guitars to appeal to players wanting a smaller more comfortable instrument, but without the weight of a solid body guitar. This line consisted of three guitars: The upscale Byrdland, the mid-priced ES-350T, and the economy ES-225T.   The ES-225T looked much like a plainer ES-175, but measured only 1 and ¾” deep (compared to the ES-175’s 3 and 3/8” depth). When it first debuted in the summer of 1955, it had only a single pickup mid-way between the neck and the bridge. By the summer of 1956, successful sales drove Gibson to introduce a natural finish option, and a two pickup version. The 1959 Gibson catalog states: “The ES-225T series of thin-bodied, cutaway guitars offer outstanding professional instruments in the popular priced field. Combining the rigidity and tone features of a solid body guitar with the light weight, easy-to-hold shape of conventional styling, these instruments are available in single or double pickup models.”   The 1959 ES-225 TDN pictured has all the features typical of that model including: a laminated maple top, back and sides, a single bound top and back, 24 and ¾” scale mahogany neck with bound 20 fret rosewood fingerboard, and two P-90 single coil pickups. The strings are held in place by an original Les Paul style combination bridge-tailpiece.
 

Gibson ES-295, '53

Sunburst, Serial # A15572.

The Gibson ES-295 was introduced in 1952 as the full sized hollow body complement to the solid body Les Paul Model also debuting that year.  While the ES-295 shared the same flashy gold coloring of the Les Paul, along with the unique tailpiece, it was basically a fancier two-pickup version of the ES –175 (the two-pickup ES-175 D did not appear until 1953). The basic features of an ES-295 were: an all gold finish, two single coil P-90s with cream covers, a cream pickguard with gold floral designs, a Les Paul bridge/tailpiece combination, and gold plated metal parts.

 

The guitar featured is a typical 1953 ES-295 in every way except one: the color. While a tobacco sunburst finish was standard on most Gibsons from the ‘30s through the ‘50s, it is very rare to see an ES-295 in this color. The only other P-90 equipped ES-295 we know of was sold in 1999 at Eric Clapton’s Christie’s auction (two late ‘50s cherry sunburst humbucker equipped examples are also known to exist).

This one was found for me by my good friend and mentor, Jeff Hill.

 

Kay K592 Red Devil, 1963

Cherry, Not an expensive guitar, but this came into the shop and it was very clean with the original hardshell case, so I gave it a home in the collection.

 

Gibson Tal Farlow, '63

Viceroy Brown Sunburst, Serial # 63184.

 

Gibson Barney Kessel Standard, ’68

Cherry Sunburst, Serial # 895535. The Barney Kessel model was introduced in 1961 with input from the famous jazz guitarist. Kessel was a well known stylist and sought after session musician who backed Artie Shaw, Benny Goodman, and many others. His innovative guitar work and arranging for Julie London in the ‘50s established his ability to provide orchestral sounding accompaniment with only an electric guitar and upright bass. The Barney Kessel model came in two versions: the Regular (pictured) and the fancier Custom.
 

Gibson Les Paul Special, '56

Limed Mahogany, Serial # 6 3202.

 

Gibson Les Paul Special, '60

TV Yellow, Seial # 011888.

 

Gibson Les Paul Special, '59

Cherry, Serial # 923508.

 

Gibson Les Paul TV Model, '56

Limed Mahogany, Serial # 614478.

 

Gibson SG TV, '60

TV Yellow, Serial # 0 9101.

The successful sales of the solid body Les Paul Model launched in 1952 convinced Gibson to expand the solid body line to include a variety of models aimed at players from beginner to professional. This led to the introduction of the low priced single pickup, flat bodied Les Paul Junior, and the high priced elaborately appointed Les Paul Custom in July of 1954. By 1955 the Les Paul line also included the Les Paul TV and the Les Paul Special.

 

The Les Paul TV was the same as a Junior except for having a bright “limed mahogany” finish (some early TVs had maple bodies) instead of the regular sunburst. The Les Paul Juniors and TVs may have been inexpensive student guitars, but they were built with high quality and playability to encourage beginners to stick with the guitar and eventually want to move up to more expensive Gibsons.

 

In July of 1958 the TV and Junior models received a radical makeover. A new double-cutaway shape was instated that allowed a player full access to the fingerboard. The Junior’s color changed to transparent cherry, while the TV’s limed mahogany became a brighter yellow.  Attractive Tortoise pickguards rounded out the new color-scheme. By 1960 the TV lost the “Les Paul” portion of its name becoming instead the SG (solid guitar) TV. This name predated the pointed cutaway SG shape that came along in 1961.

 

Gibson ES-175, '62

Cherry, Serial #48894.

A very rare color for this model!

 

Gibson ES-175, '64

Natural, Serial # 154560.

 

Gibson ES-175D, '54

Sunburst, Serial # A17358.

 

Gibson ES-175D, '55

Natural, Serial # A21719.

 

Gibson L-7C, '62

Sunburst, Serial # 91553.

From the Pete Allenov collection!

 

Gibson L-7ED, '51

Sunburst, Serial # A6788.

With rare McCarty double pickup!

 

Gibson ES-350T, ’62

Cherry Sunburst, Serial # 82657. Sharp cutaway, I have never seen another ES-350T in this color. This one is also nice and clean. Just had to keep it! In 1955 Gibson developed a line of thin-bodied electric guitars to appeal to players who wanted a smaller more comfortable instrument, but without the weight of a solid body guitar. This line consisted of three guitars: The top of the line Byrdland, the mid-priced ES-350T, and the economy ES-225T. The Byrdland was designed with the input of famous session guitarists Hank Garland and Billy Bird. It was meant to be a thin-bodied L-5 CES with a shorter 23 and ½” scale (instead of the L-5’s 25 and ½” scale). These same innovations were carried out on the full-bodied ES-350 making it the ES-350 T.   The ES-350 T with its laminated maple top, back, and sides was meant to be a more affordable version of the Byrdland (the Byrdland was originally $550, while the ES-350 T was $395). The 1962 Gibson catalog describes many other details: “Matching the all-around excellence of Gibson performance, this distinctive instrument has a thin, narrow, short-scale neck. The choice of many professionals who acclaim these design features, which permit the use of many chords previously beyond reach. Beautifully finished arched top and back of highly figured curly maple with matching curly maple rims, ivoroid binding and gold-plated metal parts.” The rosewood fingerboard with split parallelogram inlays, and crown headstock inlay were carried over from the the original full sized ES-350.   The 1962 ES-350 T pictured this month has all the features associated with the final incarnation of the model before its discontinuation in 1963 (a full scale version was reissued in 1978). These include two humbucking pickups (replacing P-90s in 1957), a deep Florentine cutaway (replacing the rounded Venetian style in 1961), and a 3-piece maple neck (replacing the original 2-piece in mid-1962). This example has a cherry sunburst rather than the typically seen tobacco sunburst. That may explain why “Custom” is engraved on the truss-rod cover.   The 1962 Gibson price list has a sunburst finish ES-350T at $485. A 603 Faultless, plush-lined case was an extra $56.
 

Gibson ES-350T, '62

Sunburst, Serial # 76476.

 

Gibson ES-350T, '62

Natural, Serial # 41605.

I bought this one from a local pedal steel player about 15 years ago. He had had his initials engraved on the truss rod cover and pickguard. I thought it was such a great personal touch that I've never been tempted to change it!

 

Gibson ES-350T, '63

Natural, Serial # 115573.

Sharp cutaway, Beautiful flame Maple top and back, Just a great guitar that had to be in the collection.

 

Gibson Super 400, '49

Natural, Serial # A3309.

By 1934, the jazz music developing since the early 1920’s had become more sophisticated. The raucous clanging rhythm sound of the banjo had given way to the sweeter, more refined sound of the archtop guitar. The Gibson L-5 had been the preeminent jazz archtop guitar since its debut in 1923 (most notably used by virtuoso Eddie Lang), but the increasing size of that era’s horn sections created the need for a guitar that produced a louder sound. This need for more volume was met by enlarging the width of the existing carved top line (including the L-5, L-10, L-12, and L-7) from 16” to 17”, and by creating a new flagship model: the Super 400. This ultra-fancy, ultra-expensive ($400) archtop measured 18” wide at its lower bout, and boasted elaborate mother of pearl inlays and multi-ply binding. The very highest quality curly maple and spruce were reserved for this superlative instrument.

 

 

The guitar pictured has features common to most Gibson Super 400s of that year, which are: a split diamond mother of pearl headstock inlay, “modern” Gibson logo (1948, replacing original “script“ logo), seven ply headstock binding, split block fingerboard inlay on ebony fingerboard, five-ply fingerboard binding (1949, replacing the original 3-ply binding), a solid 2-piece spruce top with 7-ply binding, a  solid 2-piece maple back with 3-ply binding, and solid maple sides.

This beautifully preserved guitar, along with its clean Lifton case, was originally purchased on October 7, 1949 from Miller Music Co. in Bloomington, Illinois.

 

Gibson Super 400 CES, '59

Sunburst, Serial # A29271.

In 1934 Gibson introduced the Super 400 as its top of the line acoustic archtop. It was the largest and most ornate archtop guitar made at that time.  By 1936 Gibson had launched its first electric archtop, the laminated, plain ES-150. Gibson continued to make only laminated electric models (except for occasional special orders) until demand from professional players became great enough to warrant adding an all solid wood electric Super 400 to the line. The Super 400 CES (Cutaway Electric Spanish) was unveiled in 1951.

 

This Super 400 CES has all the characteristics common to a late ‘50s Super 400 CES.

These include: a rounded Venetian cutaway (until 1960), a two-piece maple neck with mahogany center strip (until 1961), a Tune-O-Matic bridge (from 1955), and humbucking pickups (from 1958).

 

Dave’s notes:

I drove into the depths of Iowa to get this one. The owner was a kind, but strange older gentleman that lived in a tiny dark little trailer home with many cats! We had agreed on a price before I drove there, but he took great delight in raising the price once he saw how much I liked the guitar (I never did have a good poker face!). It was a fun and interesting experience that I look back on fondly.

 

Gibson ES-5 Switchmaster, '61

Sunburst, Serial # 22966.

 

Gibson ES-5 Switchmaster, '61

Natural, Serial # A36092.

 

Gibson ES-5 Switchmaster, '57

Sunburst, Serial # A24808.

 

Gibson ES-5, '50

Natural, Serial # A4501.

 

Gibson ES-5, '49

Sunburst, Serial # A3943.

When Ted McCarty started at Gibson in 1948, one of his first concerns was to develop and enlarge Gibson’s line of electric guitars. Among these new electrics was the ES-5, introduced in 1949. The ES-5 was intended to be, according to Gibson literature at the time, ‘the supreme electronic version of the famed Gibson L-5’.

 

Apart from the name, body dimensions, and fingerboard inlay, the ES-5 was very different from the L-5. A 1949 ES-5’s features included: a 17” wide body with laminated maple top, back and sides, pearl crown inlay on headstock, rosewood fingerboard, and unbound f-holes (until 1950). The most exciting part of the guitar was of course its three pickups. These P-90s were controlled by three individual volume knobs and one master tone.

 

This guitar was originally owned by a guitar teacher in Texas named Leroy Millican. The original Lifton hard shell case is included along with a five page instruction manual explaining how to operate the electronics.

 

Gibson Byrdland, '57

Sunburst, Serial # A25661.

 

Gibson Byrdland, '61

Natural, Serial # 35014.

 

Gibson ES-350T, '57

Sunburst, Serial # A24780.

This one has a Byrdland tailpiece!

 

Gibson ES-350T, '58

Natural, Serial # A28534.

By the mid- 1950’s electric guitar players had two choices: either a full hollowbody electric guitar or a compact solidbody. Gibson had been receiving requests from players for something in-between the two styles, so in 1955 the first Thinline Electrics were developed. They were the high-end Byrdland, the ES-350T, and the low-end ES-225T.

 

The Byrdland was conceived with input from session guitarists Hank Garland and Billy Byrd. It was basically a thin-bodied L-5 with a 2 and ¼” thick body (instead of 3 and 3/8”) and a shorter scale of 23 and ½” (instead of 25 and ½”). The shorter scale was meant to make difficult new jazz chords easier to play. It also allowed room for two extra frets (22 total).

 

The ES 350T was meant to be an affordable, less fancy version of the Byrdland with the same groundbreaking improvements and dimensions. The ES-350T adopted the cosmetic features of its full-sized predecessor the ES-350: two P-90 pickups, laminated maple top, sides, and back, rosewood fingerboard with split parallelogram inlays, and a crown headstock inlay.

 

The stunning example shown on these pages was made in 1958, and is one of only 43 natural models made that year (the other 104 were sunburst). This guitar sports the Patent Applied For humbucking pickups that became standard equipment on the model in 1957. It is also adorned with an attractive, but non-stock Bigsby vibrato tailpiece (instead of the W-shaped original).

 

The Gibson ES-350T is most often associated with Rock ‘n Roll founding father Chuck Berry, but it was also used over the years by Eric Clapton and Danny Gatton.

 

Gibson ES-350T, '57

Sunburst, Serial # A25794.

 

Gibson Les Paul Custom, ’55

Ebony, Serial # 511553. The Gibson Les Paul Custom was formally unveiled at the July NAMM show in 1954, along with the Les Paul Junior. The two instruments were meant to increase the range of Gibson’s Les Paul solid body guitars by adding a fancier model and an economy model.  The Les Paul Custom’s sumptuous looks and special low smooth frets earned it the nicknames the “Black Beauty” and “the Fretless Wonder”.   The 1955 Gibson catalog describes the Custom’s unique features: “Solid Honduras Mahogany body with carved top, size 17 ¼” long, 12 ¾” wide, 1 ¾” thick with graceful cutaway design; bound with alternating white and black strips on top and bottom of body. Mahogany neck, with exclusive Gibson Truss Rod construction; ebony fingerboard; deluxe pearl inlays.” The luxury treatment continued with the split diamond pearl headstock inlay previously reserved only for the Super 400. Another feature, until that time used only on high end archtops, was the new powerful Alnico V pickup (in the neck position). The Custom was also the first Les Paul to receive the innovative Tune-O-matic Bridge, which allowed for individual string intonation.   While the Les Paul Custom’s looks and darker sounds (due to the all-mahogany construction and deep sounding neck pickup) were aimed at refined jazz players, rock ‘n roll and pop musicians were also attracted to the instrument. Chuck Berry, Franny Beecher (Bill Haley & His Comets), Robby Krieger (The Doors) and of course Les Paul himself, are a few well known players who favored the first version Les Paul Custom at one time.
 

Gibson Les Paul Custom, '58

Ebony, Serial # 8 3775.

 

Gibson Les Paul Goldtop '52

This is the earliest version of the Goltop Les Paul. It has the extra 2 screws in the bridge pickup and no neck binding. Historically interesting, but not much of a player with this combination bridge/tailpiece.

 

Gibson Les Paul Gold Top, '53

Serial # 3 0602, I've had this one around forever! I've mostly kept it just to have an example of each version of the 50's Goldtop Les Paul. We've used it for various articles, photoshoots, and tabletop tennis. All kidding aside, another very clean 50's Goldtop.

 

Gibson Les Paul Gold Top, '54

Serial # 4 3427, A very rare all gold version. They don't get any cleaner than this one.

 

Gibson Les Paul Gold Top, '56

Serial # 614014, I kept this one to show the progression of the Les Paul. This guitar features the stop tail piece and the tune-o-matic bridge. The P90's would be replaced with the PAF's by the next year of production.

 

Gibson Les Paul Gold Top, '57

Serial # 7 6172, All mahogany with a dark back, A very light 7.8 pounds, PAF's, and rings like a bell!

 

Gibson Les Paul Gold Top, ’58

Serial # 8 1131 By the early 1950’s, popular recording artist Les Paul had been working on a solid body guitar for a number of years. Only the impressive sales of Fender’s solidbody, the Telecaster, finally convinced Gibson to consider his idea and come up with one of its own. Gibson approached Les Paul, and with his input the Les Paul Model solid body guitar was introduced in 1952. The model evolved through the 1950’s as practical improvements were made in its design.   This Les Paul is among  the last with the original gold colored finish ( the finish changed to cherry sunburst  later that year).This guitar shows all the improvements that were made up until 1958. These include the stop tailpiece (1954), the Tune-O-Matic Bridge (1956), and Patent Applied For (PAF) humbucking pickups (1957).   The humbucking pickup was well received when it came out in the ‘50s, but didn’t reach its full potential until the heavier rock and blues players of the late 1960’s discovered its capabilities. The PAF pickups used on the late ‘50s/early ‘60s Gibsons are still considered the best sounding humbuckers today.
 

Gibson Les Paul Standard, '59

Cherry Sunburst, Serial # 9 1942, One of the most valuable and influential solid body electric guitars ever made. This one came from the family of the original owner. She played played this LP with her family band, The original purchase paperwork, her band poster, and set list are still in the original Lifton case. What a great history, and a great guitar!

 

Gibson Korina Tribute Les Paul '08

Natural, One of the newest guitars in the collection, but I couldn't resist! Gibson was scheduled to build 100 of these in 2008 as a 50th Anniversary Tribute, but they did not go over very well and I think they ended up building around 80 of them. I loved them but the general public did not agree with me!

 

Gibson Les Paul Custom, ’61

White, Serial # 3690. Sales for the original single cutaway Les Paul Standards and Customs were dropping by the end of the ‘50s. This led Gibson President Ted McCarty to have the guitars revamped in 1960 for release in 1961. The new Les Paul's double cutaway, lightweight bodies with contoured edges were influenced by players’ requests for lighter, more comfortable guitars with easy access to the high frets.  The popularity of Fender’s Stratocaster and Jazzmaster guitars was also a factor in redesigning the Gibson solid body line. The Les Paul Standard was the first solid body to receive the new design, with the Les Paul Custom following soon after. The guitars measured 12 and ¾” wide, 16” long, and 1 and 5/16 ” thin (the old single cutaway LPs had measured 12 and ¾” wide, 17 and ¼” long, and 1 and ¾” thin). The new Les Paul kept the 24 and ¾“scale on a 22 fret neck. The Standard’s mahogany body (minus the maple cap of the old version) was stained cherry red, while the Custom was finished in “gleaming white” (rather than black like the original Custom). The Les Paul Custom retained the split diamond headstock inlay and gold hardware of its predecessor. The new Les Pauls were also equipped with the newly designed (and soon abandoned) “sidewinder” vibrato.     The 1961 Les Paul Custom pictured matches the details provided in Gibson’s 1961 catalog: -          Ultra thin, hand contoured, double cutaway body -          New extra slim, fast, low-action neck – with exclusive extra low frets – joins body at 22nd fret -          One-piece mahogany neck with adjustable truss rod -          Ebony fingerboard, deluxe pearl inlays -          Adjustable Tune-O-Matic bridge -          Three powerful, humbucking pickups with unique wiring arrangement -          Two sets of tone and volume controls -          Three-way specially wired toggle switch -          New Gibson Vibrato – operates in direction of pick stroke;  swings out of way for rhythm playing
 

Gibson Les Paul Standard, '61

Cherry, Serial # 15288.

By 1960 poor sales of the original single cutaway Les Paul guitars caused Gibson to design a new more modern Les Paul model to compete with Fender’s popular double cutaway contoured solid body guitars. The result was what is today called the SG (Solid Guitar). This new version of the Les Paul had a slim lightweight mahogany body contoured with comfortable beveled edges. The two cutaways enabled players full and easy use of the 22 fret fingerboard. By 1961 the entire Les Paul line adopted the new shape.

 

Gibson SG Standard, '64

Cherry, Serial # 178741

 

Gibson SG Standard, '64

Cherry, Serial # 207310.

 

Gibson SG Standard, '65

Pelham Blue, Serial # 505348.

By the time this guitar was made in 1965, Les Paul’s endorsement deal had ended (1963). The entire line became officially known as SGs. This SG Standard has features common to this transitional year, which are: a narrow 1 and 9/16” nut, chrome pickup covers and Vibrola, nickel ABR-1 Bridge, and small pickguard.

 

This SG is painted in the popular Pelham Blue Poly (Poly indicates a metallic finish, not Polyurethane) which was introduced along with nine other Custom Colors when the Firebird series debuted in 1963. Pelham Blue Poly is a lighter version of Fender’s Lake Placed Blue, and also tended to turn a more greenish color with age.

Dave's notes: I bought this one from a good friend (Rob Mason) at a Chicago show years ago. We had Gibson build a run of Historic SGs in this color based on this guitar!

 

Gibson SG Special, '63

White, Serial # 124359.

 

Gibson SG Special, '61

TV Yellow, Seial # 30651.

 

Gibson SG Special, '61

Cherry, Serial # 13264.

 

Gibson SG Junior, '64

White, Serial # 168571, Just a nice clean guitar!

 

Gibson SG Junior Tenor, '66

Cherry, Serial # 407024.

 

Gibson Firebird V, '66

Sunburst, Serial # 851851.

Non Reverse

 

Gibson Thunderbird Bass, '64

Sunburst, Serial # 198742.

 

Gibson Firebird I, '64

Sunburst, Serial # 179985.

 

Gibson Firebird I, '64

Cardinal Red, Serial # 191966.

Firebird I's are hard to find in Sunburst, but custom colors are very rare indeed! My good friend Paul Munden found this one for me and I am grateful to him for sending it my way!

 

Gibson Firebird III, '65

Sunburst, Serial # 258940.

Transitional model with reverse body, P-90 pickups, and Kluson strip tuners instead of banjo tuners! Very rare!

 

Gibson Firebird III, '64

Sunburst, Serial # 190492.

 

Gibson Firebird III, '64

Pelham Blue, Serial # 183117.

 

Gibson Firebird V, '64

Cherry, Serial # 191345.

Any of these in custom colors are hard to find! I'm really fond of this one.

 

Gibson Firebird VII, '64

Sunburst, Serial # 171666.

I purchased this one from the original owner. It took me 15 years to convince him to sell it to me! This one is on the cover of the October 2005 Vintage Guitar magazine.

 

Gibson Moderne, '83

Ebony, Serial # F 014.

 

Gibson Moderne, ’82

Natural, Serial # A 057.
 

Gibson Flying V, '59

Natural Korina,

Competition with other companies has always pressed Gibson into coming up with its most innovative designs. The rivalry with Epiphone in the 1920s and 1930s encouraged both companies to produce the finest acoustic archtop guitars of all time.

By the 1950s when amplified guitars had gained prominence, a new company entered the competition: Fender. Its founder Leo Fender had developed the first mass produced solid body electric guitar. Gibson president Ted McCarty took notice when the Fender Telecaster’s sales became significant, and developed a fancier solid body for Gibson with the help of guitar wizard, Les Paul.  The classy looking Les Paul Model in turn, inspired Leo to come up with his futuristic masterpiece, the Stratocaster.

When Ted McCarty saw that the Fender Stratocaster was selling, he decided that Gibson needed to come up some wild, exciting designs of its own so as not to be seen as old-fashioned and conservative. After examining the designs of several artists (including himself), McCarty choose three designs to have patented in June of 1957. These were the Explorer, the Modern and the Flying V.

The patents were granted in January of 1958. While prototypes of each were made, only the Explorer and the Flying V made it into production.

 

These Flying Vs and Explorers of the late ‘50s were made of a light colored African mahogany called Korina. McCarty chose this wood because blonde hued furniture was popular at the time, and no additional bleaching or tinting was required. These “Modernistic” guitars initially created the excitement they were meant to, but didn’t catch on with the guitar buying public until years after the initial small run had been discontinued. More info

Formerly owned by my friend & mentor Pete Alenov (may he rest in peace), He taught me a lot about the guitar business, and I think of him whenever I look at this one. This V was featured on the January 2006 Vintage Guitar Magazine cover!

 

Gibson Flying V Reissue, '91

Natural Korina, Serial # 9 1001.

This is the prototype for the Historic '59 Flying V Reissue. It was pictured in the first Gibson Historic Series Catalog.

 

Gibson Explorer, '59

Natural Korina, Serial number 9 1995.

Purchased at a Dallas Show in the early 90's, I remember thinking at the time that if I didn't buy this one, I'd never be able find another. They are pretty scarce!

 

Gibson Explorer Reissue, '91

Natural Korina, Serial # 9 1002.

This is the prototype for the Historic '59 Explorer Reissue. It was pictured in the first Gibson Historic Series Catalog.

 

Gibson Explorer, '76

Natural, Serial # 00230419.

 

Gibson Bicentennial Firebird '76

Sunburst, With the red, white and blue bird on the guard.

 

Gibson Les Paul Deluxe, '71

Sunburst, Serial # 971758.

 

Gibson Les Paul Deluxe, '73

Sunburst, Serial # 100774.

 

Paul Reed Smith Rosewood Limited 1995

Sunburst, PRS 1996 Prototype #1 written on back of headstock. What can I say about this guitar? It is just breath taking! Another one from the PRS archives.

 

Paul Reed Smith 10th Anniversary Prototype ’94

Purple, Some stunning wood and inlay work on this one! This one also came from the PRS archives and I'm proud Paul allowed me to have this one in my collection!
 

Paul Reed Smith Artist IV Prototype, 1995

Sunburst, Artist Series IV Proto #1 written on the back of the headstock. Gold engraved birds and the gold hardware really make this a stunning guitar. This one came from the PRS archives.

 

Paul Reed Smith Artist Series III Prototype 1995

Purple, Artist Series III Proto #3 written on back of headstock, A great quilt top and tons of colorful abalone inlay make this a stunning guitar! Another one from the PRS archives.

 

Paul Reed Smith Artist Prototype, 1991

Vintage Yellow, Artist Proto A1 written on back of headstock, This one came from the PRS archives also. They were supposed to take over from the signature series with the Artist Grade tops and paua birds and logo.

 

Paul Reed Smith Daves's Guitar Shop 25th Anniversary, 2007

Tiger Eye, We had 25 of these made in 2007 (15 in Tiger Eye and 10 in Red Tiger) for our 25th Anniversary. We used Artist Grade Maple for the tops and Brazilian Rosewood for the fingerboard and headstock overlay.

 

Paul Reed Smith Dave's Guitar Shop 25th Anniversary, 2007

Tiger Red, We had 25 of these made in 2007 (15 in Tiger Eye and 10 in Tiger Red) for the 25th Anniversary of our shop. We used Artist Grade maple for the tops and Brazilian Rosewood for the fingerboard and headstock overlay.

 

Paul Reed Smith Modern Eagle, 2007

Faded Blue Jean, I have very strong feelings for this one as it was a gift from Paul Reed Smith! He is such a wonderful man and I had heard stories that he would give someone the shirt off his back, but I was stunned (and brought to tears) when he literally gave me his personal guitar, right off his back! He told me he didn't want to see this hanging up somewhere as he really wanted me to play it. I don't gig as much as I used to, but I'll have this one with me when I do!

 

Paul Reed Smith Archtop Artist Prototype, 1997

Black Sunburst, Abalone logo and birds, Gold hardware, Prototype #10 written on back of headstock. I bought this one from Paul from his archive guitars. It appears to be unplayed!

 

Paul Reed Smith Santana Prototype, 2005

Santana Yellow, "Pre Production Proto #1" written on back of headstock. I purchased this one from Paul's archive guitars and it appears to be unplayed!

 

Paul Reed Smith Signature, 1992

Cherry Sunburst, Inlaid eagle on headstock, Birds and gold hardware, Written on the back of the headstock is "The last sig series, The end of an era" and then signed by Paul Reed Smith. I love the strong cherry color and the reverse chevron top on this one!

 

Paul Reed Smith Limited Edition, 1990

Sunburst, Number 6 of 300 made. This one is chambered with a Redwood top, Gold hardware and a tuneomatic/stop tailpiece combination that I LOVE on a PRS! I wish they'd do more like this! The fingerboard is very light on this one, so they must have been experimenting with some different woods for their fingerboards. I bought this one directly from Paul a few years back. It was in his archive guitar stash and appears unplayed.

 

Paul Reed Smith Custom, 1992

Cherry Sunburst, Bird inlays, Another one of the stop tailpiece/tuneomatic guitars! I love this set up on a PRS!

 

Paul Reed Smith Custom, 1991

Vintage Sunburst, 10 Quilt top, Birds, Gold hardware, Brazilian board and sweet switch, They had offered these in the early 90's with the stop tailpiece/tuneomatic bridge combination that I am very fond of!

 

Paul Reed Smith Custom, 1991

Vintage Yellow, 10 top, bird inlays, Brazilian board and sweet switch. A very exotic top on this one and virtually unplayed.

 

Paul Reed Smith Custom, 1989

Vintage Yellow, 10 top, Birds, Brazilian board and sweet switch. Extremely clean! To me, this is the ultimate 80's PRS!

 

Paul Reed Smith Custom, 1990

Vintage Yellow with bird inlays on a Brazilian board and a sweet switch. To me, this is the perfect combination for the early PRS guitars!

 

Paul Reed Smith Custom, 1989

Vintage Yellow, 10 Quilt top, Birds and Brazilian board. The previous owner installed different pickups and a 3 way switch, but this guitar rocks just the way it is. I really dig this one!

 

Paul Reed Smith Custom, 1987

Vintage Yellow, Birds, Brazilian board and the sweet switch, Just a perfect combination! A very wild top on this one!

 

Paul Reed Smith Custom, 1986

Vintage Yellow, Faded to almost natural! Birds, Brazilian board and the sweet switch. A very clean early PRS!

 

Paul Reed Smith Custom, 1986

Vintage Yellow, Faded to almost natural! PRS had a problem with color fades the first few years. Birds, Brazilian board and the sweet switch. I didn't realize I owned so many of these! I guess I really went crazy (no surprise there) a few years back, buying up all the pre '91 PRS guitars I could find!

 

Paul Reed Smith Custom, 1990

Vintage Sunburst, A very interesting 10 top on this one! Plus gold hardware, birds and the Brazilian board!

 

Paul Reed Smith Custom, 1989

Vintage Sunburst, Moons, Brazilian board and a KILLER 10 top! This one is also exceptionally clean!

 

Paul Reed Smith Custom, 1987

Vintage Sunburst, A very clean example!

 

Paul Reed Smith Custom, 1987

Vintage Sunburst, Moons, Brazilian board and sweet switch, Just another nice early PRS!

 

Paul Reed Smith Custom, 1990

Vintage Sunburst with 10 top, birds, Brazilian board and sweet switch.

 

Paul Reed Smith Custom, 1990

Vintage Sunburst, birds, Brazilian board and the sweet switch. This one has a "B" stamp on the back of the headstock. I think that means that there was some sort of cosmetic flaw (I guess as close to a second that it gets with PRS) and these were usually sold to artists.

 

Paul Reed Smith Custom, 1986

Tobacco Sunburst, Moons, Brazilian board and sweet switch. An amazingly clean early PRS!

 

Paul Reed Smith Custom, 1989

Black Sunburst, 10 top, Birds, Brazilian board and sweet switch, A few years back I had my good friend Jim Barth (anything I'm ever looking for, he can find for me) scour the country searching for these early PRS guitars and we bought a ton of them!

 

Paul Reed Smith Custom, 1991

Tobacco Sunburst, A nice grainy Brazilian board on this one!

 

Paul Reed Smith Custom, 1991

Tortoiseshell, With a Blister Maple 10 top, birds, Brazilian board and sweet switch. You don't see many blister tops on PRS guitars!

 

Paul Reed Smith Custom, 1990

Scarlet Red with birds, Brazilian board and sweet switch. Not my favorite PRS color, but this one reminds me of the one Bugs Henderson plays.

 

Gibson L-1, 1915

Natural, Serial # 21101

 

Paul Reed Smith Custom, 1990

Gray/Black, Birds, Brazilian board and sweet switch.

 

Paul Reed Smith Custom, 1990

Gray/Black, 10 top, Birds, Brazilian board and sweet switch. An extremely clean guitar!

 

Paul Reed Smith Custom, 1992

Gray/Black, Moons and sweet switch, '92 is a bit late to have a sweet switch which makes this kind of fun!

 

Paul Reed Smith Custom, 1992

Cherry Sunburst, 10 Quilt top and bird inlays, Paul had signed the back plate on this one.

 

Paul Reed Smith Custom, 1986

Faded Royal Blue, Birds, Brazilian board and sweet switch, PRS was having some problems with colors fading in the first few years, but that made things kind of interesting!

 

Paul Reed Smith Custom, 1990

Royal Blue, 10 top, Birds, Brazilian board and sweet switch. The color and flame are so deep on this one, you feel like you could swin in this top!

 

Paul Reed Smith EG, 1989

Tobacco Sunburst, Maple neck, Alder body, An early one with an interesting logo!

 

Paul Reed Smith EG Prototype

Cherry, Set neck, No serial number, I bought this one from Paul out of his archive guitars. This version never made it to production!

 

Paul Reed Smith Standard, 1986

Pearl White, Brazilian board, I'm not a big fan of solid color PRS guitars, but this is a nice early example of Paul's work.

 

Hamer Keith Richards, '80

Sunburst, Serial # 0199.

The story is this: John Belushi had this one built for Keith as a gift, but it never made it to him. Supposedly there is another one floating around with Ron Wood's name on it too!

 

Hamer Sunburst, '78

Serial # 80551.

 

Hamer Sunburst, '79

Serial # 91047.

 

Hamer Sunburst, '78

Serial # 80316.

 

Hamer Sunburst, '79

Serial # 90867.

 

Hamer Sunburst, '78

Serial # 80097.

 

Guild X-375, '53

Natural, Serial # 1164.

 

Guild Starfire II, '61

Cherry, Serial # 17955

 

Guild M-75, ’58

Sunburst, Serial # 6881. The Guild company was founded in 1952 by Alfred Dronge, a music store owner and accordion distributor.  He had been approached by former Epiphone sales manager George Mann to start a guitar company using the ex-Epiphone workers who had stayed in New York when Epiphone moved its manufacturing facilities to a factory in Philadelphia. A small second floor loft in Manhattan became the original Guild factory. Guild’s early guitars consisted of large acoustic and electric archtops with clear-cut Epiphone lineage. Dronge had made many professional jazz contacts during his time as a professional guitarist and music store owner, so he was able to draw luminary supporters from the jazz scene (one early endorsee was Johnny Smith).  By 1956 Guild moved to a bigger building in Hoboken New Jersey. The new factory took up a 6,000 square foot space on the sixth floor of the Neumann Leather Building. The new location was still an easy commute for the employees living in Manhattan’s “Little Italy”.   The guitar spotlighted this month was the first in the Guild line that was not the progeny of an earlier Epiphone model. The Aristocrat M-75 was Guild’s version of the compact Gibson Les Paul, but with hollowbody type construction.  The 1954 Guild catalog stated: “The use of an exclusively developed lighter semi-solid body construction gives the Guild Aristocrat a magnificence of tone never before achieved in a guitar this size.”   The characteristics of this 1958 Aristocrat are typical of others made that year. These consist of : A spruce top, mahogany back and sides,  a 24 and ¾” scale 2-piece mahogany neck with maple center, rosewood fingerboard with block inlays, “lip top” headstock (changed to “center raised” by 1962) with pearloid Guild logo and “Chesterfield” inlay. The hardware was gold, including the Kluson tuners and harp tailpiece. The single coil pickups, while resembling Gibson P-90s, were made by an Astoria New York based company called Franz.  
 

Martin 000-18, '37

Sunburst, Serial # 68372.

The 1930’s are known in most history books as the Great Depression. It was a time of great economic hardship and poverty. This same period is also known as the “Golden Era” of Martin guitars. The innovations introduced to Martins at this time make them among the most desirable flattop guitars ever made.

 

 The two 1937 Martins share the beautiful sunburst finish seen only during Martin’s Golden Era. In 1937 the 00-18 listed for $45, while the 000-18 was $55.

 

Dave’s Comments: Both of these guitars came to my attention within 30 days of each other a few years ago. The funny thing was that they both came from different people in the same small Wisconsin town. Obviously a store in this area sold both of these Martins new back in 1937!

 

Martin 00-18, '37

Sunburst, Serial # 66879.

The 1930’s are known in most history books as the Great Depression. It was a time of great economic hardship and poverty. This same period is also known as the “Golden Era” of Martin guitars. The innovations introduced to Martins at this time make them among the most desirable flattop guitars ever made.

 

 The two 1937 Martins share the beautiful sunburst finish seen only during Martin’s Golden Era. In 1937 the 00-18 listed for $45, while the 000-18 was $55.

 

Dave’s Comments: Both of these guitars came to my attention within 30 days of each other a few years ago. The funny thing was that they both came from different people in the same small Wisconsin town. Obviously a store in this area sold both of these Martins new back in 1937!

 

Martin 000-28, '57

Natural, Serial # 155392

 

Martin 000-18, '64

Natural, Seial # 194257

 

Gibson L- Century, '37

During the years 1933 and 1934 Chicago held a World’s Fair commemorating the “Century of Progress” since the time of its incorporation. The fair was meant to stimulate the local economy during the crisis of the Great Depression. It was very successful and well attended.

 

 The World’s Fair received a great deal of interest from around the world; especially in nearby areas like Kalamazoo, Michigan home of the Gibson Company. Gibson decided to use the “Century of Progress” idea to name a new high end flat-top guitar. The L-Century was the result, and it was produced from 1933 through 1941.

 

 Gibson had introduced its L-series of flattops in 1926, and by 1933 offered several different models at various prices. The L-Century had the same measurements as the other L-models: 14 and ¾’ wide and 19 and ¼” long. The other differences were the use of maple for the back and sides (instead of mahogany), and of course the eye catching pearloid material covering the entire fingerboard and headstock.

 

Gibson L-00, '40

Sunburst, Serial # FG-2457.

 

Gibson J-45, '47

The Gibson J-45 has been a favorite with players and collectors since its debut in 1942. Its roots can be traced back ten years earlier with the unveiling of the Martin Guitar Company’s Dreadnought series. The Martin D series became immediately popular with players because of the increased volume these large guitars provided. Gibson retaliated in 1934 with the Jumbo. The Jumbo was a guitar with similar dimensions and volume to the Dreadnought, but with Gibson’s unique round-shouldered look that’s been considered a classic shape ever since.  The economics of the Great Depression caused the Jumbo to evolve into the lower priced, less fancy J-35 in 1936. By 1942 the J-35 was dropped in favor of the enduring J-45, which has been a staple of the Gibson Flat-Top line up ever since.

 

Gibson Les Paul Deluxe, '75

Blue Sparkle, Serial # 393787

 

Gibson J-45, '64

Cherry Sunburst, Serial # 215778

This J-45 has the features common to others produced in 1964.  It has the adjustable bridge (introduced in 1956), large frets (1959), cherry sunburst (1962), and mahogany back and sides with spruce top (standard since the end of WW II).

The red tint of the cherry sunburst has faded to an almost golden color, which is common on J-45s made from ’64 through ’66.

 

The slim comfortable neck of this example has the somewhat rare and interesting feature called a “Stinger”. The back of the headstock is painted black to hide a flaw in the wood. The black paint ends in an attractive point at the bottom of the headstock while rest of the neck continues on in the usual see-through cherry.

 

Gibson Everly Brothers Model, '67

Natural, Serial # 890855

 

Taylor Custom DN, '07

Natural, Serial # 20070323122.

Made for Dave's Guitar Shop 25th Anniversary.

 

Taylor Custom GC, '07

Natural, Serial # 20070406116

Made for Dave's Guitar Shop 25th Anniversary

 

Taylor XXX-MS, '04

Natural, Serial # 20040430123, #36 of 250.

Taylor 30th Anniversary

 

Baldwin Virginian, '65

You can see the lead singer from Kentucky Headhunters using this guitar on a few of their music videos. Greg Martin tried to talk me into selling it to them, but for some strange reason I'm oddly attracted to this ugly guitar! I gave it to him to use for as long as he wanted and now it's back where it belongs!.

 

Epiphone E112 Emperor, ’62

Sunburst, Serial # 75090 Debuting in 1935 as Epiphone's top-of-the-line acoustic archtop, the Emperor was originally the company's answer to Gibson's 18" wide Super 400. By the 1950's, Epiphone was making a triple-pickup electric version. Originally called the Zepher Emperor Regent, this model name changed to Emperor Electric in 1954. Gibson continued to make an 18" wide, triple pickup Emperor Electric, but incorporated the new thinline body style used on Byrdlands and ES-335s. The 1962 Emperor pictured here has typical features for that year, including a 4-piece maple neck divided by three strips of mahogany, a rosewood fretboard with V-block inlays, a "tree of life" pattern adorning the headstock, and three gold-plated mini-humbucker pickups.
 

Epiphone A412 Triumph, '65

Sunburst, Serial #306081.

 

Paul Reed Smith Custom, 1986

Vintage Sunburst, Moons, Brazilian board and sweet switch. Extremely clean!

 
 

Epiphone E251 Broadway,'59

Serial # A 2340

 
 

Epiphone E452TD Sorrento, '61

Royal Olive, Serial # 24386, Purchased from the original owner, One of the mini humbuckers has the "PAF" sticker and the other has the "Patent Number" sticker, In 1961 this guitar sold new for $290 and the hardshell Lifton case was an extra $52.

 

Epiphone E452TD Sorrento, '67

Serial # 86943

The interior lable mistakenly reads: E230TD Casino!

 
 

George Fullerton Limited Edition

This guitar was a gift from my good friend John Kisler and I'll treasure it for the rest of my life!

 

Gibson Les Paul Deluxe, '75

Red Sparkle, Serial # 398970