I no longer post here. New stuff at www.grinderswheels.blogspot.com
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.