Tell us about your #1 favorite guitar!

Discussion in 'Fred's Barcalounge' started by blueruins, Jul 25, 2021.

  1. Jerzey Bob

    Jerzey Bob Synchromatic

    557
    Apr 3, 2021
    North Jersey
    I think most here know my story by now, but, hey, we never get tired of posting our babies, do we??? :cool: They're both #1 for their own reasons...

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  2. GlenP

    GlenP Country Gent

    Jul 23, 2019
    WA
  3. RRGuitarCo

    RRGuitarCo Gretschie

    116
    May 23, 2021
    San Diego CA
    This is the only guitar I own which I hold in higher regard than my Gretsch's. It's my 1953 Gibson ES-175.
    I acquired this from a family friend who's mother bought it new in 1953 just because her last name was Gibson. She never learned to play so she stuck it in a case for 30 years. In the 80's her daughter pulled it out and took some lessons to no avail, a month or so later it went back into the case for another 25 years. The grand kids then pulled it out in the mid 2000's and broke the tailpiece, then went back into it's case until I got my hands on it circa 2018.
    I repaired the tailpiece and got it working for her again. This thing is museum quality and I'm in love at this point. The P90 is the most amazing pickup I've EVER heard. So much so I can't keep my dirty mitts off the guitar and when she picks it up I had it plugged into a clients 1963 Vox AC-30 and you could hear her singing down the street. She was completely amazed by the guitar and said she never really heard anyone play it. Certainly not well anyways. She told me how her mother(original owner) used to love old swing music and her favorites were Ellington and Gershwin(which is right up my alley).
    So I serenaded her for the next 30 or so minutes running through Moonglow, Love is here to stay, Prelude to a kiss and a bunch of my fav standards that I usually play at gigs. She fell in love with the sound, told me everything sounded amazing....and then SHE GAVE IT TO ME :eek::eek::eek: Just like that.
    I had saved $1200 for new turbos in my 3000GT and tried giving it to her as a down payment but she insisted I have it instead.
    She said she never realized what an amazing instrument it was and that it deserved to be owned by someone who would actually use it.
    So, 3 years later she's still the crowned jewel of my collection. She only comes out for recording sessions and to jam with close friends.
    The funny thing is I don't even like Gibsons, as a luthier I've had some incredible guitars come through the shop, and I've acquired some seriously killer Gibsons over the years. Everything from Les Pauls & SG's to L5's & 335's, they all seemed super bland to me and ended up getting flipped when the opportunity struck. But this guitar is pure magic for some reason.
    Gretsch guitars and vintage Epiphones are my jam, but this has such a sweet and pure sound to it. My fav thing to do with it is to play it through a tweed princeton and BF reverb tank. It sounds just like a Johnny Smith recording lol.
    So this is my number #1.
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  4. Jerzey Bob

    Jerzey Bob Synchromatic

    557
    Apr 3, 2021
    North Jersey

    lol gets 'em every time. One band I was in, we used to break it down & I'd step off stage & find the hottest woman in the room, play my harp unplugged & sneak up behind her & play into their ear. Yeah, it works. :cool: Haven't met my wife that way, yet. Somehow I've evaded marriage & kids & I think at 58 I might be ready to settle down.
     
    Cdb1961 likes this.
  5. RRGuitarCo

    RRGuitarCo Gretschie

    116
    May 23, 2021
    San Diego CA
    That 6120 DC looks amazing!
     
  6. Cdb1961

    Cdb1961 Gretschie

    126
    May 5, 2018
    Orange Park, Fl
    next time frets, but gotta leave the board....
     
    GlenP and ruger9 like this.
  7. Archtops

    Archtops Synchromatic

    874
    Mar 4, 2021
    SoCal
    My number one is my G6659TG Players Edition Broadkaster Jr. in vintage white. I acquired it after checking out this site and realized tremendous GAS for this guitar.

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  8. Stefan87

    Stefan87 Country Gent

    May 20, 2019
    Brisbane, Australia
    That is such a cool story and a seriously awesome guitar.
    Side note, you still own the 3000GT? you don't see many of those around these days.
     
    RRGuitarCo likes this.
  9. Synchro

    Synchro The artist formerly known as: Synchro Staff Member

    Jun 2, 2008
    Tucson
    Admin Post
    The Jazz player that taught me, back when I was in my teens, loved ES-175s with P-90s. I agree, the P-90 is a wonderful pickup and really shines for Jazz, although they wail for Blues and Rock, as well.

    Thanks. It’s definitely a sweetheart of a guitar.
     
    RRGuitarCo likes this.
  10. englishman

    englishman Gretschified

    Age:
    64
    Apr 5, 2014
    Detroit
    My 74 SG is still the sweetest playing and sounding guitar I've ever owned. Since I'm playing bass these days I don't have to worry about taking it to gigs.
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  11. englishman

    englishman Gretschified

    Age:
    64
    Apr 5, 2014
    Detroit
    My #1 bass is the PJ I built a year ago to stop me from buying a vintage Fender!

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  12. ruger9

    ruger9 Country Gent

    Nov 1, 2008
    NJ

    Not only is that a fantastic story, it seems somehow "right". That guitar, magically, ended up right where it needed to be. "Sounds like Johnny Smith"????? OK, now I'm jealous.... I have 2 favorite jazz players: Johnny Smith and Kenny Burrell (and I'll bet that thing can sound like Kenny too, with the tone control lowered just a bit).

    ENJOY THAT GUITAR- it has found it's rightful home, finally, after all these decades! And will it to you kids- $$$$$

    I have wanted an ES-125/150/175, 1-P90, style guitar for years. All I can really get these days is a Loar or a Godin.... I wish Epi would do a "Inspired by Gibson" ES-125... I'd jump the day it was available...
     
  13. Fat Bastid

    Fat Bastid Gretschie

    165
    Jan 16, 2021
    England
    After market parts can change what you dislike most about many guitars these days.
    It's getting easier with the internet to find a solution to a lot of common problems
    and I for one am better off for having joined this forum and being freely given some
    great advice that has made my G2622t play and sound a hell of a lot better than it
    came out of the box for less money than I expected! A little time and research can
    be a useful thing!
     
    Archtops, calebaaron666 and blueruins like this.
  14. RRGuitarCo

    RRGuitarCo Gretschie

    116
    May 23, 2021
    San Diego CA
    I actually do still have it. The '69 GMC(daily driver) in my profile pic got rear ended last month so the 3000GT has been my trusty steed ever since. She can be a bit temperamental at times, but she'll make an SRT-8 look like it's tied to a tree lol.
     
    Stefan87 likes this.
  15. RRGuitarCo

    RRGuitarCo Gretschie

    116
    May 23, 2021
    San Diego CA
    There's been a few times when my rocker friends crank it up, so I'll fuzz and reverb out my tweed princeton and just get the most amazing slide tone out of this. Makes me wish I was better at playing slide :D
     
  16. RRGuitarCo

    RRGuitarCo Gretschie

    116
    May 23, 2021
    San Diego CA
    The funny thing is I got a deal from a friend 6 or 7 years ago on a 63(I believe)Johnny Smith Signature L5. It was hacked on pretty heavily and needed a ton of work, but he gave me a deal I couldn't resist on it, $4400. I spent the next year restoring it. Repaired the X bracing, cracks in the top, the electronics and carved a new bone nut for it. Spent a few years playing the S*** out of it and gigging it but it never got the sound I wanted. I'd play my Johnny Smith transcriptions and it just didn't sound right. I was at a jam sesh when a fellow player just fell in love with the guitar and I sold it to him for $6600.
    So I found it downright hilarious that a ES-175 just nails the tone right out of the case. Maybe this guitar was made on a Thursday kind of a thing??
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    Last edited: Jul 27, 2021
  17. Synchro

    Synchro The artist formerly known as: Synchro Staff Member

    Jun 2, 2008
    Tucson
    Admin Post
    WTH?! Ok, the Smith body is essentially an L-5 C body with a 25” scale neck, Super 400 style fingerboard inlays and headstock, suspended pickups (double pickups models were rare, but I’ve actually played one) and there is no gap between the fingerboard extension and the top, which was a feature Johnny insisted upon, as a way to have very strong highs.

    It appears, that someone cut a pair of humbuckers into the top and mounted controls. I’ll use the word “daring” to describe it. The L-5 C was x-braced and the L-5 CES was parallel braced. If you cut pickups into an x-braced guitar, there’s a great likelihood that there’s going to be a conflict, and the x-braces will probably end up losing out.

    Obtaining Johnny’s sound is tricky. Keep in mind that Johnny had a technical mind. He what been an aircraft mechanic in the Air Force and was a flight instructor. In the glory days of the ‘60s, he had a solid state amp custom built, under the name of Emrad. In the ‘70s, one would occasionally find an Emrad amp for sale in Denver music stores.

    I’m surmising a bit, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he used a Gibson octal amp on his early recordings. That sound is hard to get with the standard fare amps we are accustomed to.

    A friend of mine up in Denver knew Johnny better than I did and actually ended up with his memorabilia and at least one of his guitars. I’ll ask him the next time we talk.
     
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  18. ruger9

    ruger9 Country Gent

    Nov 1, 2008
    NJ
    Yes, the Emrad came out of his dislike for Fender amps- which by then were the blackface design, he hated the mid scoop they had. I've never read of him playing a Gibson amp, but I'm sure he must have at some point?? From everything I have gathered over the years, while the jazz guys of that era were very concerned about their instruments, they seem to use whatever amp was handy... often recording entire albums on whatever amps the studio had. Smith is the only one I have read about even discuss the amps much, from that era.
     
    RRGuitarCo likes this.
  19. Ricochet

    Ricochet Senior Gretsch-Talker

    Nov 13, 2009
    Monkey Island
    It was a ‘50 CV Tele for years but storing it in a 90% humidity environment for a decade was a bad idea. I’d still pick a Tele over other models. I have several with different pickup configurations, scale length, fretboards, body woods, hardware, bolt-ons, set necks, and not a clear cut favourite.
    They are a bit like people. Once you figure out which group you gravitate to, any difference, perceived or otherwise becomes marginal and less relevant in the grand scheme of things.

    Now Strats on the other hand… :)
     
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2021
    blueruins likes this.
  20. Synchro

    Synchro The artist formerly known as: Synchro Staff Member

    Jun 2, 2008
    Tucson
    Admin Post
    I know that the postwar era Jazz guitarists were pretty defensive about their GA-50s by the time the ‘80s and ‘90s rolled around. IIRC, Johnny played an Ampeg when I saw him in concert in ‘78, but that was probably borrowed.

    When I was in my teens, and learning all I could from the Jazz players around Denver, the idea seemed to be the infamous “blanket over the amp” sound. A nice sounding Fender Blackface was anathema and any reverb would have been considered pushing the boundaries of good taste.

    My background was as a player was Jazz, and little else. Once I started playing gigs, I quickly learned that the world wasn’t going to beat a path to my door if I played nothing but Jazz. It took a while for me to figure out that I needed a new approach to my sound.

    Nowadays, I’m fine with twang, but it took me a while to find that sound.
     
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