Saturday, March 26, 2011

Gibson Custom Shop ES-339

Here's a gorgeous red Gibson Custom Shop ES-339 that we've recently acquired.  The spiel on the 339 is that it has a smaller body about the size of a Les Paul, but is semi-hollow with a center block just like its older sibling, the ES-335.  For anybody that finds themselves overwhelmed by a regular semi-hollowbody, this guitar is a dream come true.

Gee, you got a purty finish
The 339 comes with '57 Classic humbuckers, and can pump out all the thick, singing lead tones of the 335. Gibson also touts the "Memphis Tone Circuit," which is supposed to let you work the guitar's volume knob without losing any of that sweetness in the treble frequencies.  All in all, a versatile instrument with super-classy looks.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Vox Spitfire

Here's another vintage find - a 1966 Vox Spitfire.  Looking not unlike a Stratocaster that's been melted down by Salvador Dali, this Eko-built beauty definately stands out.  Also in the the picture :  yet another Silvertone Twin Twelve and a Montgomery Ward-branded "mystery amp" that seems to have been originally designed as a PA head.  Plug a guitar into it, though, and it produces tough, sinewy overdrive that would make all but the stubbornest Marshall geeks smile.

With three clangy/twangy single-coils pickups and a super-springy tremelo, this Italian-made gem is a killer surf guitar.  All original knobs, hardware, and electrtonics.  Note that we've also got the snazzy original hard case, with its shag carpet-esque interior.


Friday, March 18, 2011

Les Paul Studio - and friends

Here's a early 90s Les Paul Studio, sitting next to a Silvertone 1472 and a Danelectro DS-50.  This is the key to great sludge rock tone, folks.  Just punish these cranky old amps with a modern high-output pickup and enjoy the carnage.  The Silvertone gets particularly scary when cranked.  The Danelectro has cool retro-futuristic styling, and the same "piggyback" design as the Silvertone Twin Twelve - the head just slides into the back of the cabinet.  Sweet.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Harmony Acoustic Archtop

Here's a little something I picked up at the South Carolina Guitar Show.  It's a Harmony Archtone acoustic archtop from about 1951.  I've been looking for one for quite some time.  Although these are quite common - Harmony must have cranked out a blue million of them in the 50s and 60s - most of the survivors are hanging on by a thread, barely playable, and usually in need of a neck reset.  This one is a fine player, though, and a looker to boot!  Though the pickguard has been replaced, the funky "green flame" finish is in amazing condition.  I've also heard that these archtops were made with a solid birch top, unlike some later budget pressboard guitars that followed.

Great for snappy folk-blues and actually quite passable for low-budget jazz comping, a good clean Harmony archtop is getting to be hard to find, so  I just had to snatch this one up.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Bizarro World

Good lord - it's a window into a parallel universe!!  It's a strange and twisted place, where banjos have six strings, guitars have only four, and bass players get all the groupies.  Wait, no.  It's just a Johnson Guitjo (or is it a Banjitar?) sitting next to an old prewar Gibson tenor guitar.  Whew!  For a minute there I was afraid that the fabric of time and space had been ripped asunder once again (seems to happen about once a week around here, if the sounds coming from the repair shop are any indication).  Still, these two make a nice, oddball little couple, "American Gothic" -style; or at least Jerry Lee and Myra Brown-style.  

"Madness, I tell you!  Madness!"

Friday, March 4, 2011

1957 Gibson ES-125

Just snapping a few pics before we pack this one up for South Carolina Guitar Show.  This is a near mint example of a Gibson ES-125, with a big 'ol jazz box body and a single P-90 in the neck.  The finish, binding, frets, and bridge are all in amazing condition.  This is pretty much the most stripped-down, straightforward archtop electric hollowbody Gibson made, but in the right hands that one pickup can do a lot of damage.

The only thing that's been swapped out is the buttons on the tuners - the rest is all-original.  Come out to the show this weekend and check out this and all of the other amazing instruments that will be there.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Cort Doubleneck

We got this one in the other day.  A Japanese-built Cort double neck with a funky natural/stripey finish that can only have come from the twilight of the disco era.  This thing is massive!  A coffee table with strings!  Actually, the weight and bulk aren't so bad, given that it's a doubleneck, and both necks are quite comfortable to play.  

Opening up the back compartment for the 12-string side reveals a 9-volt battery, which means it has an active pickup system.  I'm not entirely sure, though, if the active electronics are in both sides or just the 12-string side.  In any case, both sets of pickups have a more-than-robust output, capable of going from "chimey" to "blistering" and hitting all the good spots in-between.  It can also produce a wall of spooky, synth-like noise - just strum the 12-string neck while the pickups are on for the 6-string neck (or vice versa), and listen as the strings ring out with sympathetic vibrations.  Neat!