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
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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.
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.
Fireglo, Serial # NF3602
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.
Fireglo, Serial # 2T552.
Fireglo, Serial # CG730.
Fireglo, Serial # EI858.
Serial # PD16.
Mapleglo, Serial # G56451.
Fireglo, Serial # K84987.
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’.
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.
Mapleglo, Serial # FL4274.
Jetglo, Serial # GF2983.
Mapleglo, Serial # FF2017.
Fireglo, Serial # GC1055.
Mapleglo, Serial #GF2898.
Fireglo, Serial # EB326.
Fireglo, Serial # UD1349
Fireglo, Serial # D79206.
White, Serial # 271011.
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