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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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.

 

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