Guitar Collection

Oh yea!  This is the just released Fender Eric Johnson Thinline.  EJ and Fender have worked on the concept for a couple years.  This is different than thinline Strats of the past, whereas the body was more boxey, like a Tele.  The body contour on this is exactly like a Stratocaster.  Strumming it unplugged, and hear the difference already.  Very resonate….and light as a feather!….6.85 lbs.  It comes set up with the bridge decked, as it has 5 springs, so as to eliminate the use of the Trem arm…like another Eric we know (I like using the Trem, so I made a couple changes).  Through any amp, it sounds warmer; not as bright as a regular Strat….somewhere between a Gibson ES and a Strat…which was the intention.  Got one of the first ones from Wildwood Guitars.  If you’re a Strat player, its worth a look!

Took an 8 month sabbatical from additions to the collection, but I’m back with a bang!  This is a 2003 Gibson Custom Shop ‘57 Les Paul Reissue with a Brazilian Rosewood Fingerboard. Gibson used Brazilian Rosewood for the first 5 months of 2003, then ceased to ever use it again due to the restrictions put on worldwide for using that precious wood.  What makes this more rare, is the that it’s from the special Music Machine Stinger run.  Music Machine worked with Gibson that year to produce a special run of guitars exclusive to their shop in Washington; designated by the Stinger on the back of the headstock.  Not an ordinary Goldtop, but a special issue Inverness Green.  This one is without a blemish, and was procured from one of the partners at the Music Machine.  Plays and sounds as good as it looks too!!  I’m always looking for special pieces, and this one does not disappoint in the least!!


With all the trading I’ve done over the last year and a half, I found myself without any P-90s.  WHAT??????  Unacceptable!  So a hunting I went, and came across this beauty; a Gibson ES-330 in Pelham Blue, purchased at Wildwood guitars, with Wildwood Specs.  These specs include a rolled ‘59 neck, Adirondack Spruce bracing, and sonically delicious pickups.  They are a bit hotter than usual, so they really snarl when cranked, but can clean up to jazz tone heaven.  It’s hard to put it down, and really has a large sonic palette depending on the amp; from super clean AC30 to overdriven 100 Marshall Superbass.

This is Tasha; both the guitar and the Birman kitty.  Sadly,  Jeri and I lost Tasha on May 4.  She’d been with us for over 19 years, and we were truly heartbroken with her passing.  Given our love for music and guitars, I set out to find one that matched her colors as close as possible…not an easy task.  I’m not partial to PRS guitars, but I found this used Private Stock at the Music Zoo.  Adeptly called Tiger Eye, the guitar is visual candy, and matches Tasha’s color quite well.  And, I was pleasantly surprised how well it plays and sounds.  It has given us a sense of connection with our departed kitty….

The Arlington Guitar Show has done it’s usual damage to my wallet.  :)  From Fuller’s Vintage in Houston, I present a Martin Custom Shop 000 14 fret, made with Ziricote back, sides and headstock, and a Swiss Spruce top.  This is a 1 of 15 issue.  Mike said that at the Winter Namm show, all the dealers that were interested, put their names in a hat, and if they were chosen, they had the opportunity to buy the Guitar from Martin!  Pretty wild.  The inlays are truly amazing with Pua and Abalone, along with hard maple binding.  The tone just fills the entire spectrum, and rings for days.  Won’t be plugging in for awhile, as this is the main squeeze for now!

Too good to pass up.  Back to Wildwood for this gorgeous spalted maple Telecaster.  The fingerboard and neck is AAA maple in, what they call, a medium roast!  Couldn’t describe it any better.  The pickups are ‘58 hand wound.  Gold hardware with a gold anodized pickguard.  It’s been here over a month and haven’t put it down yet!  From 100 watt Superbass to AC30 to Deluxe Reverb, it sounds killer!!

Ok, this is a good one.  Jeri and I decide to fly up to Denver on Memorial Day to do a little hiking and get a little mountain air.  Before you know it, it’s Tuesday morning and BAM, we’re at the Wildwood Guitar door at 10 am!  Contrived? perhaps, but none the less, this baby fell into my arms and there was no turning back.  A Custom Shop American Custom NOS Tele.  Beautiful, and not to often seen Sage Green, with a tinted, full C, birdseye maple neck; a feel that is TO DIE FOR!  Also has a compound fingerboard which is 9.5 on the lower register, graduating up to 12 in the upper.  To that effect, was able to set the action like a fast Les Paul.  I LOVE IT!!!!!

This resonator was a long time coming.  A National Style O 14 from the Chicago Music Exchange.  I love to listen to old Stones and Zepplin tunes that incorporate the drone of the resonator in open tunings.  I never really incorporated open tunings in my playing, but the tone of a slide on this guitar with these tunings is intoxicating.  The instrument is built incredibly well, and note the palm tree engravings which makes it true eye candy!   Needed a break from the mainstream, and this was the perfect avenue to take.

This stunning lady is a one off Gibson Hummingbird Custom Quilt in Heritage Cherry Sunburst.  Interesting story on this one.  Gibson had a run of 30 Custom Quilts in Autumn Burst which I was pursing.  I missed the one at Wildwood, so at the Arlington Guitar Show Don Ruffatto from Gibson told me there were 3 more coming, and one was to Guitar Sanctuary who are about 30 minutes away.  I told them I wanted it.  It arrived, and when he pulled it out of the case there’s this Honeyburst guitar with no pickup!  Turns out Gibson sent the wrong guitar, which was a prototype for possible later release.  Gibson and Guitar Sanctuary were going to make things right for me, right up to making another guitar.  But……..the tone out of this maple quilt was so unbelievably clear and articulate, that my wife and I decided to keep this one.  It was hard to photograph the top, but the burst part is more like what you see on the quilted back picture.  Gibson’s quality is just unbelievable these days!

This is a New Vintage Gibson Hummingbird in a rich burst finish. Bought this one from Wildwood Guitars.  They had 8 of them in stock, and they were kind enough to play each one and pick out the best for me (love those guys…).  They did a great job of it; the tone is extremely warm throughout, and projects and sustains really well.  And if that ain’t enough, it has an LR Baggs VTC pickup as well!  Pretty damn good lookin’ too!

I think the term “simple but elegant” applies here.  My long waited special order Fender Custom Shop Esquire has arrived.  The color is the not too often seen Charcoal Frost Metallic, and it’s hard to keep my eyes off of it!  Tonally, its a monster.  Esquires can be way more than a one trick pony when you have a variety of amps to blast its tonal offering.  My favorite is a cranked 18 watt Marshall, with the Echoplex….and nothing else, but it sings in different voices depending on the amp.  Never thought to custom order a guitar, but my guy at Wildwood Guitars helped me through the process, and I’m so glad I chose that direction.  It defies the “instant gratification” we all crave when we purchase a guitar, but the pain of waiting is well worth it.

This amazing piece is a Dylan Signature Model SJ-200, number 58 of 175.  Finding one was a bit challenging as even the best Gibson Dealers had limited access (at least so far).  It was a short month’s wait (had to secure it in advance) before this one arrived at Dave’s Guitar.   The abalone in the pickguard is extremely ornate, with a brilliant Dylan Artist Eye Logo in the headstock.  But what differentiates these signature models is the rosewood back.  This one just explodes with character.  But we buy these to play, and the tone on this one is deep and rich.  Bottom end is full and punctuated, while the middle and top are clean and clear; and it sustains forever!  Dylan meant a lot to me growing up, so to see his signature on the inside label is a wish come true.  The SJ-200 is legendary on so many Dylan recordings, and down the road, this guitar may prove to be legendary as well.

One of the finest guitars ever made.  A 2013 Gibson Custom Shop reissue of a ‘59 ES 335 in natural.  Purchased this one from The Music Zoo in NY.  These guitars are made to play anything from Rock to Jazz, and sound as good as any solid body or archtop.  Play the neck pickup through a Deluxe Reverb, and you’re in Wes Montgomery heaven.  Play it on the bridge pickup through a Marshall Plexi, and you’re in Crossroads territory.  The pups are well balanced; all you need is a little reverb and a cranked amp, and you’re off!

Say hello to my leetle friend!  This is a 2012 Larrivee A-33 Mandolin.  I found it at the Arlington Guitar Show this year, and it is a work of art.  Larrivee no longer makes mandolins, as it became too expensive for them.  I will say there is some good detailed craftsmanship in this one, and it really projects tonally.  I always wanted one of these, as I love to listen to the Celtic vibe in some of the early Led Zepplin acoustical arrangements.  I’ve picked up a few chords and have been having some good fun with it.

This is my “retirement” guitar; a 2014 Gibson Les Paul Custom.  First day of retirement, Jeri and I headed up to Wildwood Guitars in Colorado to pay them my first visit.  I’d been buying from them for over 10 years, but never had the chance to introduce myself.  Of course during the course of the visit, this lovely Black Beauty shows up.  Strong pups, but not harsh.  Silky feel over the entire neck.  A true dream to play, and not too bad to look at either.

Well, I was just browsing when I shouldn’t have been and….WOW!!!!…there is was!  A Gibson 50th Anniversary Korina Explorer, the brother to my Korina Flying V.  Limited to 100, they’ve been hard to locate, but my friends at Rumble Seat Music (Carmel Location) had one for an unbelievable price.  Even my lovely wife agreed it was a bargain.  PUPs register in the 7s range, and it sounds great with all my British issue amps…especially the AC 30.  It plays like a dream with low action and a fast fingerboard.  I must now put my wife issued straight jacket back on, and keep my fingers off the “purchase” button.  :)

OMG…the Arlington Guitar Show traps me again!  Hadn’t bought a guitar in 11 months and now 2 in 3 weeks.  But this is something you don’t pass up.  This incredible god of a guitar is a 2013 L-5 Wes Montgomery model, and just came out of the Gibson Custom Shop on 9/26 to Fuller’s Vintage in Houston.  Speaking with the Custom Shop guys at the show, they indicated that maybe they are labor intensive, and take almost a full year to build.  The painstaking process behind production will drop you jaw, and to find one in Natural is really a prize.  Got him (his name is Wes btw…), put a set of Flatwounds on him, Deluxe Reverb on 2, and listened to that mellow tone come through the single neck pickup.  I attended the show with no intentions of buying anything, but this is what happens when a piece like this turns your head…..and your head won’t turn back.  I am so happy to have an L-5 back in my collection.

This is an incredible find.  Gibson 2003 ‘54 Reissue w/Brazilian Rosewood Board (certified), and with Jeff Beck appointments…AND it’s in Oxblood.  For the ‘54 Reissue in ‘03, Gibson only made 148 of this model, before the signing on the dotted line never to use Brazilian Rosewood again.  The guitar sounds incredible…through anything I’ve got.  Good strong PUPs 8.3 / 8.5 respectively, the neck is fat, and the tone is crisp.  Always wanted an Oxblood JB, but to find this is truly luck.

What a great find!  This is a ‘63 Gibson Les Paul SG Junior that I found at my local Guitar Center!  I was cruising websites for Juniors and OMG, a beauty was right down the street.  After 5 hours in the Flametopper guitar health spa, she reappears with a shine and a monster tone!  The pickup through the 18 watt Marshall grinds to taste…it just sustains forever.  The tone control on the Juniors is the real key to the guitar.  Who needs a neck pickup anyway!

Nothing like the Dallas Guitar Show to whet one’s guitar appetite!!  This magnificent piece of lumber is a 50th anniversary Gibson Korina Flying V (# 54 of 100).  One of the many attractions is the light weight Korina wood along with the gold appointments.  Lets face it, the sight and sound of these guitars scream gritty old blues to searing, dimed Marshall, rock and roll.  This was the last one in Mike Fuller’s (Fuller’s vintage) corral, so I felt fortunate to grab it.  The fingerboard is deep in color with almost Brazilian like striations.  But bottom line is the tone, through a Marshall Plexi or 18 watter, an AC30, or Deluxe Reverb it speaks every language you can imagine!

Feast your eyes, this is a 1963 Gibson Firebird V in close to mint condition.  I am the 3rd owner of this incredible guitar.  1963 was the first year of the Firebirds, and there were only 62 Firebird Vs made.  With many Firebirds suffering headstock breaks, who knows where the other 61 are!  Anyway, I got an incredible deal from the Grinning Elk boys outside of Atlanta.  They were kind enough to bring it to the 2010 Arlington Guitar show and after I saw it, I through a deposit down.  There is hardly any checking, just a few dings here and there, the frets nice and high, and the nickel is in fine shape.  The 2nd owner bought it from the original one in the mid 70s, and it basically has been under the bed for the last 25 years (and it looks it too).  Has a nice full C shaped neck and with the low action, it plays very fast.  The Mini Humbuckers sound great through any of my amps, and when you dime the pups, they just ooze creamy sustained notes.  Procuring this has been one of the highest points in my vintage guitar life!!!

You have now entered the Twilight Zone.  This is a 1967 Rickenbacker 366 12 string convertible in Mapleglow.  It is one of the more unusual guitars you’ll see from this vintage period.  The “comb” like apparatus you see under the strings actually pulls down the octave string to the fingerboard and….whala… have a 6 String!!  It is in mint condition and even had the instructions on how to use the comb.  You can bang all the Byrds and Beatles tunes you like out of this baby.  Picked this one up at the 2010 Dallas Guitar Show from those great guys at Rumble Seat Music…your first stop for primo vintage!

This candy apple delight is a Fender Custom Shop ‘51 NoCaster Reissue from Wildwood Guitars.  The neck is chubby, but it has a 9.5″ radius rather than the period correct 7.25″.  The neck pickup is a screaming Seymour Duncan ‘59 and believe me, it adds a whole different dimension to the telecaster (ask Keef).  Mixing it with the bridge PUP is a tonal category of its own, but it still has the signature Tele chickin’ pickin’ tone on the bridge setting.  This guitar was a special order unclaimed, so I am the lucky recipient.  Both an ear and eye candy delight!!

This is a scrumptious ‘60 Reissue Custom Shop Stratocaster in a rare Shell Pink finish.  It was posted for less than a day at Wildwood Guitars in Colorado and I scooped ‘er up.  The neck actually has a nice ‘59 feel to it as it is a full C cut from stem to stern.  The pickups are strong in all 3 positions with a bell like tone.  Nice dark rosewood board with lots of grain running through it.  The neck and headstock are flamed out nicely.  Sounds great through any of my amps.  There’s just something addictive about these CS Strats!  Hey, real men play PINK!!

This is a georgeous Fender 60 Reissue Stratocaster in Lake Placid Blue.  I found this at Wildwood Guitars, and what is unique is that the neck size is more like a ‘59 Strat before they slimmed them down.  It has a beautiful rosewood fingerboard and a nicely flamed neck and headstock.  The plastic appointments are all mint Bakelite with that beautiful vintage hue.  I replaced the pickups with Kinman Woodstocks and, oh man, do they ooze the Jimi tone.  A little hotter but not harsh.  Great tone through any of my amps!

Rickenbacker 1966 Model 340

This is a 1966 Rickenbacker 340 in fabulous condition.  She was pretty clean to begin with, and after my usual anal cleanse fest, it now sparkles.  A great guitar from my friends at Rumble Seat Music.  Did you ever listen to old Beatles tunes but try to exclusively listen to John Lennon without all the George Harrison licks?  That was one of the reasons for getting this guitar as the Lennon rhythm sounds so cool through a Vox AC30.  And when I get tired of the Beatles stuff, out come the old Who records as this was Pete’s favorite in the early days!!!  It is just a nice augmentation to my collection of lead guitar screamers!  :)

Gibson 1963 Les Paul SG Standard

Wow.  After months and months of searching I found what many feel is the Holy Grail of SGs.  This is 1963 Les Paul SG Standard.  It has the Les Paul appointments (slightly larger headstock, LP trussrod cover), but what makes this guitar more favorable than its predicessors is that it has the Gibson Vibrola tailpiece rather than the difficult to manage Sideways Vibrola.  This was one of the last SG Standards to have Les’ name on it.  It has a nice full neck and the pickups are very early Patent Number PUPs, which basically means they’re the same as the PAFs.  Thru a Marshall Super Bass??…OMG!!

You are viewing the Holy Grail of Gretsch’s, a 1959 Chet Atkin’s 6120.  This is the year and model that Brian Setzer made famous.  I’ve had 2 Gretsch reissues of this model and they just don’t come close to the broken in feel, and the tone this guitar has!  Took 6 hours to clean her up, but it paid off; she’s georgeous!  Plugged into a Fender Deluxe Reverb, and it pours out the that famous Gretsch / Fender sparkling tone…or turn it up and she growls!!  Another terrific find at Rumble Seat Music.

Wow, this baby’s been under somebody’s bed for sometime!!  This is a 1967 ES 345 in a rich dark Cherry finish, with a Bigsby.  For all you Jefferson Airplane fans, this is the model Jorma Kaukonen played.  A great find at Aloha Guitars in Monterey, CA.  I barely had to clean her up!

A beautiful 1964 ES 355.  An incredibly clean find at Hoboken Vintage.  Completely original with the stereo wiring slightly altered to allow for the pickups to play in phase like a ES 335.  Georgeous deep cherry finish with great luster and about 80% of the gold finish remains; excellent for a 52 year old piece.

Gibson Hummingbird Custom.  I was fortunate to have the “pick of the litter” from the Gibson Montana factory thanks to my friend Don Ruffato at Gibson.  Don is the gentleman you’ll see at all the major guitar shows around the country in the Gibson Acoustic trailer.  It has Koa sides and back, with incredible harmonic balance, and deep rich ringing tones with plenty of sustain.  The Hummingbird has a legacy that can’t be overlooked.  Throw on Beggar’s Banquet and play along with Keith!

2001 Gibson ‘58 Les Paul Historic Reissue in flamed butterscotch.  A lucky find at the old Music Machine in Washington State that someone had on layaway for two years and never claimed!  Chunky ‘58 neck profile and flame to die for!  I got lucky here folks!

A 2004 Fender Custom Shop ‘56 NOS Mary Kay Strat.  Soft V neck and fat tone.  Probably the best CS Pickups I’ve ever heard; incredible bell tone.

2003 Gibson - ‘59Les Paul Reissue w/ certified Brazilian fretboard in flamed washed cherry.  My Holy Grail reissue!  Probably has the closest appointments to the original ‘59 that Gibson has ever issued.  I was one of the lucky 674 in 2003 who got one with the Braz board!  Right place at the right time at Guitar Center.

A 1998 Taylor 855 12 String.  Big tone….strum it on Saturday and it stops sustaining on Tuesday!