Saturday, May 15, 2010

Guitars From Yesteryear

In my college years, I fell completely in love with playing guitar, and playing with guitars.  I bought this Yamaha FG75 at a pawn shop, for $35.00 and played it for many years.  I ended up selling it at a yard sale, after I had been married a couple of years.  As I recall, I got $40.00 for it.  Buy low, sell high! Dig the Farmer's Tan!

I picked this one up at a flea market.  It was made of plywood, had a bolt-on neck and no name.  I drew pictures on it, played it, and generally just knocked around with it.  I only sold it about 10 years ago.

This original Danelectro had been rattle-canned before I got it.  I removed the paint as carefully as I could, but the gold finish beneath the spray paint was still pretty damaged.  It's leaning on my silver-faced Deluxe Reverb.  Behind that is one of my favorite amps, ever:  A Silvertone tube bass amp with a single 12" speaker, which someone had mounted into a home-made Crate Amp-style cabinet.  I took that amp to Saudi Arabia with me, and moved it around for 20 years.  It gave up the ghost in 1999.

I still have the Big Muff Pi distortion box which is sitting on top of the Fender amp.  I bought it in 1979 (!), and I don't think I'll ever let it go.  It has the best punk rock distortion, ever.

I don't know what brand this guitar was.  I bought it for $20.00 from the local used-guitar shop in Martin, Tennessee (where I went to college), and the body was in 4 pieces.  I repaired the body, filled the low spots where splinters of wood had gone missing, then painted it and applied a psychedelic poster on top of the body and headstock, and clear-coated it with about 10 coats of lacquer.  I sold it for $100.00.

One of the guitars I obsessed about, for years, was the Gibson Flying V.  I was never able to afford a Gibson, but I bought this lawsuit-worthy copy from a music store in Saudi Arabia, in 1982.  I ended up selling it at the same yard sale at which I sold the Yamaha acoustic.  I don't remember what I got for it, which probably means I lost money on it.

This is a lawsuit-era (Gibson and Fender both instituted lawsuits against companies which were producing exact copies of their designs, in the 1970s) Harmony Stratocaster copy.  You could have put a Fender decal on this guitar and 99% of people wouldn't be able to tell it from the real deal.  Here it is on my dorm-room bed in 1983.

This guitar has been sitting in a local music store in my home town for 25 years, with a too-big price tag on it.  I traded it to them for something, back then, and they've never resold it.

Here is one of my Frankenstein guitars that I wish I still had.  It is a Norma (Teisco), in the coolest bass-boat gold metalflake ever.  The original Norma neck was bowed like something Robin Hood would carry around, so I replaced it with another Teisco-built neck, branded as a Kingston.  That neck was on 3 or 4 guitars through the years, but ended up on this one.

I have no idea where it ended up.  I may have given it away...I may have sold it.  Either way, I wish i still had it.

Dorm-room wall, 1983 or '84.  Left to right:  Framus semi-hollow body with tremelo tailpiece and painted-on F-holes;  Teisco Del-Ray thinline hollow-body with the Kingston neck installed and electronics from a Harmony solid-body;  Gibson S-1 purchased for me through the Employee Purchase Plan by my uncle, when he worked at Norlin/Gibson.

Ah, Pat Benatar...

Same wall, same guitars except for the pine slab "Olympia", with a single humbucker installed in a pocket routed out with an electric drill.  It actually sounded pretty good.

And, of course, the late, lamented Harmony Rebel in Avocado Green.  I've bid on 4 of these on eBay, within the last year, but I've never been willing to bid high enough to beat out the collectors.

I miss being able to find these old guitars for $20 to $50 in second-hand shops and small-town pawn shops.  eBay has killed that.

I wish I had pictures of some of the other guitars which came and went, back then.  For instance, I sold a 1968 Gibson SG Junior, with the original hardshell case, for $125...and I made a $50 profit on it!  You won't see that kind of deal again, any time soon.

Coming soon:  Guitars of Today.


1 comment:

katina said...

you almost had as many guitars as you had bikes. That's scary, Jon. Very scary.