Articles and videos from the guitar world

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Joe Bonamassa is a talented guitarist, a blues aficionado, an advocate for the continuation of music education. But at his core, Joe Bonamassa is a collector. Our exclusive short film, “Welcome to Nerdville: Inside Joe Bonamassa’s Museum and Guitar Collection,” gives gearheads the world over a never-before-seen view of Bonamassa’s labyrinth of vintage gear.


Click here for the interactive tour of Joe's museum.

Jeff Beck chats about some of his favourite guitars in this video from the bonus section of his 2011 DVD Rock ‘n’ Roll Party.

“Man, what idiot would do that to a vintage guitar!?”


If you hang out enough in circles where people play, collect, check out or generally enthuse about vintage instruments, that’s a line you’re likely to hear on a regular basis, simply because a lot of vintage guitars and amps have been molested, modified, and devalued in one way or another over the years. Usually the aghast observer opines incredulously, “Who would [insert crime here] a great old guitar like this?” Said crime being anything from refinishing, routing, rewiring, refretting, initialing or engraving, swapping pickups, changing hardware, and otherwise rendering un-original in any way. “Seriously, what kind of fool would do such a thing?”


by Dave Hunter, © - click here for the full article

Gibson 335 headstock showing tuners

Most Expensive Guitar Shop Sale


London-based guitar shop and Reverb seller Denmark Street Guitars has announced the sale of an original 1958 Gibson Explorer for the sum of $1,100,000.


According to a press release issued by the store, this amount is believed to be the highest priced transaction ever for a single, non-artist-affiliated guitar.


"I have been aware of a set of matching korina guitars for the last 10 plus years owned by a leading collector based in the US whom I have known since I was 16" said Justin Harrison of Denmark Street Guitars.


"He always mentioned that he had the guitar but wanted $1 million plus [for it]. In speaking to the buyer and discussing his desire to own some classics guitars, I discussed that I was aware of a '58 Explorer that was the holy grail of vintage instruments. After 4 to 5 days of going back and forth, I finalised the sale of this at 1.1 million."


The Explorer was brokered privately and was not transacted on Reverb's site. Denmark Street Guitars arranged the sale between the two private parties but did not possess the instrument during the selling process.


This guitar is one of 19 Explorers produced by Gibson in 1958, with a body built from korina and pair of original PAF humbucker pickups. The Explorer was initially designed as a high concept model in 1957, with fewer than 50 known examples shipped from Gibson in 1958 and 1959.


Other guitars were built using the parts from this era in later years, but few exist with as complete a pedigree as this instrument.


Original korina Explorers and Flying Vs come to market very infrequently. This sale sets a new bar for prices on late '50s Gibsons. Other korina Explorer owners include Kirk Hammett of Metallica and Rick Nielsen of Cheap Trick.


by Dan Orkin, ©



1958 Gibson Explorer sold in London guitar shop for $1,100,000.
Interior photograph of Denmark Street Guitars

Have you got anything else?


Guitar sleuth and music-history detective Deke Dickerson tells the true tales behind 48 rare-guitar and amplifier finds that will make any player or collector green with envy. A hoarder's attic stuffed with nearly 600 vintage guitars still in their boxes. A mint 1954 Fender Telecaster tucked under a bed in a family friend's house. Jazz legend Charlie Christian's Gibson ES-250, spotted in a magazine ad. A rare-as-hen's-teeth Shoreline Gold '56 Fender Stratocaster hidden in attic for 30 years! These are just some of the stories to which Dickerson treats readers.


And if you find that allusive six string hidden treasure that Aunt Geraldine says she has in the attic, remember to always ask...have you got anything else?



Cover image of the book by Deke Dickerson called, The Strat in the Attic

Marty McFly's Other Guitar


In all the excitement of “Back to the Future” Day, and the intense interest in Marty’s time-traveling 345 — not to mention the crushing disappointment of the Cubs flameout at home — we might have forgotten to mention Marty McFly’s other guitar, the so-ironically-small-it’s-cool humbucking monster Marty plugs into an enormous amp at the start of “Back To The Future.” Good thing Reverb has such an active readership and comments section to keep us on track.


Contrary to what you might think, Marty’s guitar was not a stage prop built for comic relief or the director’s subtle commentary on the excesses of ‘80s hair metal. The guitar is a real, mass-produced instrument called the Chiquita, and it’s still being made today in Austin, TX by luthier Mark Erlewine. You’ll be interested to know that you can recreate the scene in your own garage by ordering one through the Erlewine Guitars website for around $500.


The Man Behind The Icon

Mark Erlewine partnered with a cousin, after apprenticing under him in the late 1960s, to open their own guitar company in Ann Arbor, Michigan, in 1969. In 1972 Erlewine bought the company and moved the shop to Austin in 1974, where he sat in as a pedal steel player in the bars after work.


For the next 43 years, Erlewine built a customer list that reads like a who’s who of the music scene, including Billy Gibbons, who helped design the Chiquita, Bob Dylan, Sting, Andy Summers, Mark Knopfler, Bruce Springsteen, Stevie Ray and Jimmy Vaughan, Eric Johnson, Albert King, Bo Diddley, Johnny Winter, Joe Walsh, Jimmy Buffet, John Fogerty, Paul McCartney, Billy Squier, Pat Metheny and of course, Willie Nelson. It is actually Mark’s miracle-working that has kept Trigger, Nelson’s signature Martin N-20, together since 1969.


While much of Erlewine’s work is custom, he does produce and sell two standard models: the Chiquita and the Lazer. You may have seen these pop up sometimes under the Hondo brand name, owned by the International Music Company. Mark leased the patent for both guitars to the Japanese manufacturer and distributor from 1980 until 1985. However, since they are both Erlewine’s designs, he is still able to produce them by hand out of his shop. These are the versions you want as a collector, since the Hondo models were compromised by mass-market production; given the Chiquita’s unique scale length, having a precision setup is especially important.


Erlewine designed the Chiquita in collaboration with Billy Gibbons as a travel guitar in 1979. The marketing around it still touts it as “nearly a foot shorter than a Strat” and as easier to take on planes. Only 28″ long and 4.5 lbs., it is made from a solid piece of Honduras mahogany. The fretboard is rosewood, with a 19″ scale length over 23 frets, which means you can’t just throw on .010s and use standard tuning. To get around this, you can tune up three half-steps so the top and bottom strings are a G, or you can use a heavier set of strings. Erlewine recommends .013, .017, .022, .036, .046, and .056. It has Schaller tuners and a Schaller wrap-around bridge; a single DiMarzio humbucker is connected to a lone volume knob for an extremely simplified setup. New models can run $300 to $500, with used ones often found for less.


Click here to check out the other Back Future Story in Marty's Gibson 345 from the film.


by Peter Schu, ©



This is a video that was included on the CD, Diamond Days by Eric Bibb. Eric visits his favourite guitar shop in Paris, RF Charles, and pulls down a vintage Gibson L1 I think and rattles off some songs. Such a nice relaxed, calm and appreciative tone to the video. Something anyone can appreciate. Enjoy.

George Gruhn interview


“The fact is that the market is messed up from CITES. But it’s also a changed market. I spent much of my career trying to find instruments that were in pristine, original, clean condition. These days, if you are buying a new Custom Shop Fender, the New Old Stock Model costs less than the Closet Classic model with a little bit of wear, which costs less than the Relic model, which has quite a bit of fake wear, which costs less than the Masterbuilt model that they beat the shit out of!


“But if you buy a New Old Stock model and you play it with a big belt buckle, pick scratch it… it goes down in value because you scratched it! They scratch it, you pay them for it! It’s a source of never-ending amusement to me. But the fact is that more and more I’m having to deal with a new generation of buyers. Baby boomers are aged beyond the active acquisition phase of their life cycle.”


Click here to read the full interview at



Photograph of vintage guitar dealer George Gruhn

1932 National Triolian Resonator


When it comes to steel-bodied resonator guitars, the original National Triolian is an icon. This particular 1932 example at Greenwoods Music in Liverpool matches the year and look of the Triolian used famously by Rory Gallagher, and exemplifies everything we love about the model.


Produced from 1928 to 1941, the Triolian was built with a wood body for its first two years of production before the switch to steel in 1929. That switch made all the difference; what resulted was a unique, brighter sound and a durable body less vulnerable to climate change, one that produced a gorgeous patina with playing wear. The particular geography of distress across this specimen’s body and neck is one of the best we’ve seen. We are endlessly grateful that the stories written on its body have not been erased with an ill-advised restoration.


The notoriously thin and vulnerable polychrome finishes used on Depression-era Triolians, combined with a galvanised steel surface, led to paint flaking and blistering – a flaw that led to many refinish jobs and precious few completely original specimens.


Billed as a step up from its sister model the Duolian, the Triolian still had only a single resonator cone, despite its name. The main differences are in the wood choice for the neck – mahogany for the Duolian, maple for the Triolian – and some small aesthetic changes.


The Triolian had a 12-fret neck until 1935 and a slotted headstock until 1936. Square-back necks for lap playing were offered from 1933 until production ended in 1941. Today, steel-bodied Triolians from the early 30s can fetch well over £3,000 on the open market.


by ©



photo of 1932 National Triolian resonator guitar
photo of a National Triolian resonator guitar
photo of a National Triolian resonator guitar

© richard parker 2018

Guitars of Vintage