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.
Sunburst, Serial # 2796.
The popularity of Hawaiian style music in the early 1900’s created a demand for instruments specially made to accommodate the Hawaiian technique. The top companies, Martin and Gibson, first began supplying separate devices to place on the nut to raise the strings high enough to play in Hawaiian style, but eventually designed specific guitars devoted to Hawaiian playing. Gibson’s earliest Hawaiians were the HG series of 1929, followed by the Roy Smeck 12-fret models of 1934. By the time the Roy Smeck guitars became available, Hawaiian music had already begun to feature a new innovation: an electric guitar made by Rickenbacker. This guitar featured a magnetic “horseshoe” pickup to amplify the strings’ vibrations. This new type of Hawaiian guitar could be heard more easily, with notes and chords sustaining effortlessly. Rickenbacker’s “Frying Pans” went almost unnoticed by Gibson until 1935, when sales shot high enough for Gibson to think it was worthwhile to try one of its own.
Gibson’s short-lived first attempt at an electric Hawaiian followed Rickenbacker’s lead and had a metal body. The metal body had tuning issues, and didn’t fit Gibson’s classic look, so by 1936 the EH-150 (the guitar and amp set cost $150) had a maple body and neck finished in Gibson’s traditional dark sunburst.
After initially trying to outsource the pickup design to Chicago’s Lyon & Healy (who did end up making the matching amplifiers), Gibson relied on its own employee Walter Fuller to devise the now renowned Bar Pickup.
The 1937 EH-150 set pictured has features consistent with the middle of that year. These include a headstock with a pearl Gibson logo and split diamond inlay (no inlay the previous year), multi-ply top and back binding (from single-ply top binding in 1936), back attached with screws (glued on by 1938), and a bar pickup with multi-ply binding (became a U-magnet pickup in 1938). The amp had rounded corners (replaced the square corners of 1936), two 6L6 power tubes (replacing the earlier 6N6s), and a 12 inch speaker (was a 10 inch the year before). The amp’s power rating was about 15 watts.
Sunburst, Serial # 97608.
Natural, Serial # A4308.
Gibson introduced its first electric guitar, the ES-150 in 1936. Its acceptance by influential players like Eddie Durham and Charlie Christian led to the manufacture of lower (ES-100) and higher end (ES-250) models over the next few years. These earliest electric guitars were amplified with a magnetic “bar” pickup (later called the Charlie Christian pickup) designed by Walter Fuller. The apex of Gibson’s pre-war electric production was the 17” wide ES-300 which used a long diagonal pickup in an attempt at a more natural acoustic sound. Gibson’s experimentation on and refinement of the electric guitar was halted briefly during World War II.
After the war, when production had fully resumed, a cutaway version of the ES-300 was designed called the ES-350 Premier. This guitar was initially equipped with one black plastic covered P-90 pickup (also designed by Walter Fuller) in the neck position. By 1949 a bridge pickup was added and the model became known simply as the ES-350. The ES-350 remained in production until 1956, when it was replaced by the thin-bodied ES-350T.
The natural finished 1949 ES-350 pictured matches the description in the original 1949 Gibson catalog perfectly:
“-Beautifully figured curly maple body and neck with Gibson Golden Sunburst or selected natural wood finishes.
-Modern cutaway design to make all 20 frets readily accessible.
-Clear, brilliant solos or full, mellow backgrounds by regulated dual pickup amplification.
-Alnico No. 5 magnetic poles individually adjustable for tone balance.
-Gold plated metal parts offer rich decorative accents.
-Tone and volume controls make possible wide, powerful electronic range.
-Body size 17” wide and 21” long.”
Sunburst, Serial # A2438.
Sunburst, Serial # A2135.
Sunburst, Non-Reverse model, Serial # 501529.
Sunburst, Serial # A33186.
Sparkling Burgundy, Serial # 899091.
Black, Serial # 82986502.
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.
Cherry Sunburst, Serial # 851490.
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.
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).
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.
Sunburst, Serial # 172272.
Sunburst, Serial # 193823.
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.
Natural, Serial # A22080. Very Rare Spruce Top.
Cherry, Serial # 217819. Rare Custom Color.