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.
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.
Fireglo, Serial # 6K4637.
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 # 049310.
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).
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).
Sunburst, Serial # L18136.
Dakota Red, Serial # 73776.
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.
Natural, Serial # X88699. Gibson made J-50 Body as used by National during the period.
Cherry, Serial # 217819. Rare Custom Color.
Natural, Serial # A22080. Very Rare Spruce Top.
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.