Iconic Guitars

Vintage guitars, re-issues and relics found on the web or in stores

Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Your five iconic guitars

Gibson Lifestyle has just put out a list of five iconic guitars from the Gibson Custom Shop. I know they limit themselves to currently sold models but I beg to disagree with that list (come on...the Johnny A. when you have the Jeff Beck LP 54 Oxblood advertised on the same page!).

So let me propose my list of six iconic Gibson electric guitars (couldn't get it down to 5). I'd be interested to get your lists in the comments.

1. The Gibson Les Paul Slash VOS

I'm talking about the replica of the Les Paul Slash took on tour for Apetite for Destruction in 1989 that the Custom Shop issued in 2008 (400 were made)
I own one: it is beautiful with its barebone style and VOS finish. The sound is just amazing - what heavy tone you get through those Seymour Duncan Alnico II pickups.
You regularly find some on eBay at around the same price it costed when it came out.

2. The Robby Krieger SG

Nothing rocks as much as a good old SG. I covered the Robby Krieger SG in details when it was announced as the newest addition to the Inspired By collection in the Gibson Custom Shop. I feel this was the biggest miss in the Gibson Lifesyle list.

3. The 1959 Korina Flying V

What a stunning guitar. You can't get more iconic than that for it was such a breakthrough design back then. And it still stands out. The Custom Shop Flying V especially stands out with its minimalist natural finish. Even the gold hardware that I am usually not a big fan of looks awesome on this V! It has the original configuration, notably with the through the body V tail piece.
Of course I had to have a Flying V in the list since I am a sucker for those - yet I'm banned by my wife to buy one :)

4. The 1958 Les Paul Plain Top VOS

To me, the best reissue from the three "hot" years of the Les Paul (1958, 1959, 1960). Hands down. I like that '58 LP's don't have flamed tops and I like their distinctive chunky necks which give you such a big sound. The VOS finish on the Gibson Custom Shop Les Paul reissues makes those guitar really beautiful and comfortable to play. Every time I take one for a ride in a store, I get smashed on the wall by the heavy tone. Just start playing Whole Lotta Love on one of these and you'll see what I mean.
This guitar would actually be first on my wishlist.

5. The EDS 1275 Double Neck

Probably a cheesy choice. I can hear you scream "No Stairway to Heaven" like in the guitar shop of Wayne's World. Yet, I'm sure you're also thinkink -like Wayne: "one day she will be mine". The instant Jimmy Page grabbed one, it became an iconic guitar. And I had to have a Jimmy Page guitar on that list - unfortunately, the Gibson Les Paul Jimmy Page Signature model is not available anymore. Slash also used to play a black Double Neck 1275 during the Use Your Illusions tour, notably for Knockin' on Heaven's Door - as made famous by their Tokyo live videos and their performance at the Freddy Mercury tribute. Give me a guitar tech to carry it and change the strings and I'll definitely add one of these to my collection.

6. BB King Lucille!

What an iconic guitar too. I had to have it one the list! Plus my list had to have a semi-hollow body guitar on it. I have played a Lucille in stores a few times and the tone and sustain are un-be-lie-vable. It's very very BB King. Very very bluesy. The look is a bit too much and a bit too retro but still. Oh, and I like the absence of F-holes (I'd like to know the story for that). BB King wrote and rightly so: "Lucille is real, when I play her it's almost like hearing words, and of course, naturally I hear cries."

Voila! :) This is my list. What's yours?

Thursday, 23 April 2009

Gibson Custom Robby Krieger SG - the Sound of the Doors

This blog is about iconic guitars and here is a good one. The Gibson Custom Shop just announced a limited batch of replicas of Robby Krieger's 1967 SG Standard.

Robby Krieger has composed, recorded and gigged with a Gibson SG throughout his entire career with the Doors and to this day.

150 of those Krieger signature models will be made available, all coming with a signed certificate: 100 in VOS finish, 50 aged to recreate "the body of his beloved 1967 SG Standard, right down to the tiniest scratches, dings and belt rash." The Aged Dark Heritage Cherry finished solid mahogany looks beautiful and the color definitely matches the faded brown of vintage SG's from the 60's.

The 22-fret neck is made of one piece mahogany with an hybrid profile. As many SG from this era, the Inspired-by Robby Krieger model features a maestro tailpiece. Last but definitely not least, the pickups: a pair of '57 Classics (PAF). All you need to get that beasty SG sound I was writing about a few days ago.

So, the Inspired By Robby Krieger Custom Shop SG is a very nice electric guitar overall. And it is not as expensive as you would think. The VOS version is announced at $3,399 on GuitarCenter.com. That could even be seen as cheap for a Custom Shop reissue.

And for those of you who want the real deal from the 60's, you might find a few bargains on eBay (thank you recession!) for 60's / 70's Gibson SG's. But don't be surprised to see a $20,000. (See below for a quick list).

Krieger playing his Gibson live in London in 2007 (source Wikipedia)

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Green Guitars for Earth Day - a vintage Jazzmaster and a Firebird reissue

I have just watched the Empire State Building which was lit in green go completely dark at 9pm. Now it is just showing a few green lights. All to honor Earth Day.

So, let's honor Earth Day with two special guitars:

A vintage 1962 Fender Jazzmaster in sherwood metallic green
(note that there is some story about the neck having been refinished)

A Gibson Custom Shop 1964 Firebird VII Reissue in green
(it's a brand new '09 model)

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Two Beauties from the Sixties: a Fender Coronado 12-string and an Epiphone Wilshire

A quickie tonight. Two beauties are up for grab on eBay. Those two electric guitars are from the 60's and are quite unique in their features and finishes.

First a 1967 Fender Coronado XII (12 strings). From the posting:
The Coronado line of Fenders were introduced in 1966 (...) The Coronados were available as a Coronado I with a single pickup, and the Coronado II with two pickups, and finally the Coronado XII which was essentially a Coronado II with 12 strings. The models were deleted from the Fender line in 1971.

The neck is stamped 14 February, 1967. This guitar is in absolutely incredible condition, and shows almost no signs of wear. (...) The binding is perfectly intact; the back of the guitar is FREE from belt-buckle scratches. In short, this guitar looks as though it spent the last 42 years in its case. The neck feels really great and is very easy to get around on.

The guitar comes in it's original chipboard case, and comes with the original, vintage-style coiled instrument cable (another collector's item.) (...)
Again, this guitar is ALL ORIGINAL. and in practically MINT condition. The finish is gorgeous, and you can see a really pretty wood grain in the body and in the rosewood neck. The DeArmond pickups (stamped "Fender") sound just great. The volume and tone pots are very clean and work perfectly.

Then a beautiful metallic green 1964 Epiphone Wilshire. From the posting:

For sale is the great epiphone wilshire from 1964. It is 100% original with no breaks or repairs. All nickel parts. It comes in the original hard shell case. Original epiphone maestro vibrola is a little funky (...). I'm sure this is an easy fix, but I can't figure it out. (...) The green finish is really beautiful.

J.J. Cale and Muddy Waters on Gibson Lifestyle

Gibson Lifestyle has posted two interesting reads.

A down-to-earth interview of J.J. Cale (in case you don't know him, he wrote Cocaine, the song made famous by Eric Clapton).

And a short bio of Muddy Waters focusing on how to get his slide tone.

Wanna play a 1952 Gibson Les Paul Goldtop like Muddy? Check eBay deals below!

Friday, 17 April 2009

V-ery unique Gibson Flying V's

The Flying-V is another of these truly unique Gibson iconic guitars.

I remember the first time I played one live at a gig in high school. A friend (not the same as the SG story) had let me used his and it had this loud and round sound - mind you I had been asked to perform For Whom the Bell Tolls by Metallica... :)

I'm seldom listening to Metallica nowadays but I still listen to Jimi Hendrix and Lenny Kravitz (at least his good songs) and they both had a fling with the Flying V. So much so that Gibson had signature models for those two artists. And this week you can find both a Gibson Custom Shop Jimi Hendrix Psychadelic Flying V and a Gibson Custom Shop Lenny Kravitz 1967 Flying V on eBay. They are both from very limited series: 300 Hendrix Flying V were produced, and only 125 of the Kravitz model. Both sell north of $6,000.

From the listings:

Gibson Custom Shop Jimi Hendrix Psychadelic Flying V (#296 of 300)

Body & Hardware:
  • Solid mahogany body
  • Chrome hardware
  • Late 60’s ABR-1 bridge, Maestro tailpiece
Neck & Headstock:
  • 1-piece mahogany neck
  • 22 fret rosewood fingerboard
  • Pearloid dot inlays
  • Rounded neck profile
  • 24 3/4" scale length, 1 9/16" nut width
  • Double band vintage tulip tuners
Electronics & Strings:
  • ’57 Classic pickups
  • 2 volume, 1 tone, 3-way selector switch
  • Vintage Reissue .010 strings

Gibson Custom Shop Lenny Kravitz 1967 Flying V (#107 of 125)

  • Mahogany body and neck
  • Rosewood fretboard
  • Pearloid dots
  • 2 - '57 Classic humbuckers
  • Mirrored gold pickguard and truss-rod cover
  • Vintage tulip tuners
  • 24-3/4" scale
  • 1-11/16" nut
  • ABR-1/Short maestro tailpiece
  • 2 volume, one tone, 3-way switch
  • Signature case
  • Certificate of authenticity
  • Custom care kit

And if the over-the-top looks are not your bag or you don't want to pay the premium that goes with signature models, there are often very nice Gibson Custom Shop Flying V 1967 Reissues to be grabbed! Just see below.

Thursday, 16 April 2009

The mighty Gibson SG - a hell of a vintage guitar!

What better time to blog about the Gibson SG than when watching Hell's Kitchen. That's the spirit, don't you think?

Gibson lifestyle (again!) had an post about the mighty SG Standard. Title? The best selling Gibson of all time!
What a truly beautiful guitar. 15 years ago while in high school, I came across a vintage 60's SG that a good friend of mine persuaded his parents to finance. Hell, this guitar rocked...

I remember that friend landing this beast to me for a gig. I already had my beloved Les Paul Standard at that time but it's a different feel. The SG is so much in your face. It's light and yet retains so much tone. It feels the sound just jumps out of it.

And still, it's quite versatile. Can you imagine two sounds so different than the smooth woman tone of Eric Clapton on Disraeli Gears and the mean raw screech of young Angus Young?

Since that first encounter with the SG, I have added a cheap Gibson SG Special in faded brown to my collection (it'll be for my son). Sure, it's not as nice as SG Standard '61 reissue or a vintage 60's SG. But it's no frills, it rocks. And neither I or son will be afraid of taking it out and rocking the hell out of it. Which is the point with any great electric guitar, especially the SG!


Buy a Gibson Faded SG Special Electric Guitar in Worn Brown online ($899).

Buy a Gibson Custom SG Special VOS Electric Guitar in Faded Cherry ($2,799)

Find a Vintage 1960's Gibson SG on eBay

Monday, 13 April 2009

George Harrison’s Rickenbacker 360/12

Gibson Lifestyle has a nice piece about George Harrison’s legendary Rickenbacker 360/12.

There are always a few nice Rickenbacker to look at (or even buy!) on eBay, but I'm a bit lazy tonight, so here is a list - no recommendation this time!

Update! One recommendation after all!

I have to say this 1965 vintage Rickenbacker 360/12 caught my eye and captured my imagination. I'd love to play it! And it's "just" $6,000 (don't tell my wife).

Easter Egg Fender Custom Shop Stratocaster -purple gold leaf finish

Well, it's Easter Monday and I have just the right guitar for the occasion.

My wife and I made sure to hide and pick chocolate eggs in the park with our 18-month daughter this Sunday -a fun family tradition.

And for you guitar fans, I have this Fender Custom Shop 1956 NOS Reissue Stratocaster, masterbuilt by John Cruz to put in your Easter basket.

With its violet candy laquer over white gold leaf (23 carat), it clearly stands out and it's reminiscent of those Faberge eggs Russian aristocrats were getting for Easter.

I recently acquired a Fender Custom Shop '56 Reissue Strat (in a more classic burst finish) and this guitar rocks. Period. I play blues, funk, rock and I love the edgy sound. So this "Easter guitar" should be no different... apart from the price: a hefty $6,999 but you are investing in a guitar and in gold! :)

Click here for more Custom Shop '56 reissues.

Saturday, 11 April 2009

Aloha, Fender Surf Strat (2007 Custom Shop)

I love Strats and I love surf / surfboards / surf-abilia.

So, this rare Fender Stratocaster Custom Shop '61 re-issue in a surfboard style is my bag, baby yeah! It's a stunner with its redwood stripes.

It looks all good and must sound great with that 60's tone. The only drawback is that mark-less neck - it might be a bit of a challenge to play. At $6,999, it's a bit pricey but it is definitely a rare and collectible guitar.

So, ride on, rock hard and mahalo.

Oh, and for the tech-inclined, some specs from the description:
The body is made of light ash with a spruce veneer. The surf stripes are made of redwood. The neck profile is a big #3 with vintage frets and a 7.25 radius.

Gibson Tribal Explorer - The limited run is a quick run!

Just a few days ago, Gibson was launching the peculiar Eye guitar and it is now following with the Gibson Tribal Explorer, another of the Limited Run Series (which has a low-serial reserve). I wonder if the plan is to launch all those guitars in the same month.

To recap, with those two models out, you right now have a choice of 5 limited Gibson's - in a wide range of prices from $1,300 to 2,650 (Guitar Center).

Gibson Limited Run SG Carved Top AAA Autumn Burst ($2,646)

Gibson Limited Run SG Carved Top AAA Electric Guitar Autumn Burst

Gibson Limited Run Series Eye Electric Guitar Fire Engine Red ($1,299)

Gibson Limited Run Series Eye Electric Guitar Fire Engine Red*

Gibson Limited Run Tribal Explorer Electric Guitar ($2,046)

Gibson Limited Run Tribal Explorer Electric Guitar Satin White*

Gibson Limited Run Holy Explorer Electric Guitar Satin Cherry ($1,599)

Gibson Limited Run Holy Explorer Electric Guitar Satin Cherry

And you can still get my all-time favorite Guitar of the Month, the mighty Holy V!

Gibson Holy V Electric Guitar Worn Cherry Standard ($1,699)
Gibson The Holy V Electric Guitar Worn Cherry Standard

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Gibson Eye Guitar - 350 future collectible at $1,299

Gibson is launching today the Eye electric guitar which I mentioned just last week.

The Eye's looks (pun intended) is of course cause for controversy. From the reviews on Gibson's site, it seems people either love it or hate it.

As I said before, not an awesome guitar to me but definitely one of a kind. So, definitely a collectible guitar and who knows, maybe even a future iconic guitar. What if the next Jimi Hendrix or Kirt Cobain became famous with one - a lot of artists have chosen their guitar in the past to differentiate and brand themselves.

And maybe you'll even enjoy the Eye's main features:
  • 24-fret neck (not so common on a Gibson) without position markers
  • 490R and 498T humbuckers
  • nitrocellulose lacquer
  • all red: body, headstock, pickup covers
  • unique body shape (offspring of a SG and a Strat?) and pickguard shape
  • mahogany body and neck
As a reminder, this is a limited series guitar and there is a reserve program to pre-order low serial numbers. Not sure how it works but I'd try Guitar Center. The Gibson Limited Run Eye Electric Guitar Fire Engine Red* retails at $1,299 there.

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

65 Fender 12-string Jaguar

A very unique vintage 12-string 65 Fender Electric XII Jaguar is up for grabs on ebay...with less than 24 hours to go as I am typing this.

It is truly beautiful and surreal with its placid blue finish and huge hockey stick headstock (try reading this out loud for fun). The pickups are everywhere too!

Price tag looks really ok to me for such a guitar ($4,695 buy now) and you can deal in confidence since it comes from a power seller with 100% feedback.

The cheap alternative -which doesn't have the same charm though- is a brand new Fender Stratocaster XII 12-String Electric Guitar.

Fender launching the Fishocaster!

Hot from the press, Fender is launching the Fishocaster!

More details to follow!