My Guitar Fetish

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It’s a wonderful illness that I will never regret

There was always musical instruments in our house when we were growing up. My fascination with music came from my mom. She loved so many kinds of music and pretty much supported us in anything we did.

I tried to learn to play guitar from one of my parents friends George. He smelled like stale booze and body odour and he had no patience at all. I gave up on George almost right away. Across the road from our house on Kitchener Road in Scarborough, Ontario, lived a real drummer who I used to stalk because his band played loud and we could hear it from the street. He caught me outside of his basement window one day and instead of scaring the shit out of me, he sat on the grass and asked me why I was looking in his window. I said it was the music and his band I wanted to listen to. He gave me great advice when he said “play loud and make the neighbourhood hate you”. I realized what he meant many years later and had to smile about it when I thought back to that moment. My first gig ever was when I played with my friend Mark Benvenette at an open school night in the auditorium at Eastview Public School in grade 5. What I remember most about that night was how many people approached me after to say they really enjoyed our performance. Hmmmm…This was good! I liked the attention (said every musician ever).

Vintage Harmony Arch Top – (I scooped this picture off of the internet)

My mom did buy me a 1950s vintage Harmony guitar with a floating bridge when I was young. The problem with it was, it was bigger than me, I couldn’t get my fingers around the neck and the “barbed wire” strings nuked my finger tips. I changed the strings one day and could never get the bridge back in place so I could never get it tuned again. She probably still has this guitar in her closet.

…And so it began

I taught myself how to play and I began to appreciate how a good guitar could make you a better musician. I recognized that this magical wood and stringed instrument was more than “just a guitar”, it was a work of art. I learned to do my own setup from Keith Hoyle who had a little cramped workshop on Kingsway in Vancouver. I remember his passion for all guitars and when he said if you treated them with love and care, they would speak to you in ways that no one else ever would. He was right. Playing guitar became my sanity! That wooden instrument would accompany me across continents and through times of great personal sadness and isolation.

Most of the pictures in this post are of the actual instruments that I own(ed).

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1974 Fender F 65

 

This is my 1974 Fender F-65 Acoustic. I still have this one. It’s tuned it to “Nashville” tuning.

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1974 Fender F 55-12

This is the only picture I have of this 12 string guitar.

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1982 Fender Lead II

 

This is a picture of my Fender Lead II being played at the Westinghouse Christmas party. Our lead guitar player played it a lot at that gig. It was not my favourite guitar and i didn’t use it much.  I learned later that Eric Clapton played one.

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1979 Ibanez ST 200

The “ST” stands for Studio. Ibanez created a series of ST guitars that you can probably still find by the cartload at your local pawn shops. I liked this guitar and played it exclusively during my early band days.

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1979 Gibson Les Paul Custom

A really bad picture of a great guitar. This is my 1979 Gibson Les Paul Custom. I passed on a used 80′ Goldtop and bought this with a case for $600.00 cash from a guy who was leaving town. It was crammed in the back of his red Ford Pinto with all of his worldly goods. I was pumping gas into his car and I mentioned I was going to buy a Goldtop. He undercut the price by $100.00, so I scooped it. I was just learning to play but I loved this guitar more than life itself.

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1985 Fender Stratocaster.

This picture was taken the day I bought it. I have very little memory of what actually happened to this guitar. Do you think I was influenced by Eric Clapton much? 🙂

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Ovation Acoustics

This is my Ovation 1655 Ovation Custom Balladeer

I used Ovation Acoustics on stage a lot because they would stay in tune.

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This was my workhorse Ovation Model 1669 Custom Legend.

This was just a fantastic guitar. Tune it and forget it. Never required anything but tender love and care and a new set of strings every week or two.

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This is a mid 80’s Yamaha APX 4.

I played this for a few years in Toronto and in Vancouver during the Dover Arms days. I gave it away to my co-worker friend Paul. It did the trick and I liked it because it was in-expensive and played pretty good…and I didn’t care if it got stolen.

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1982 Fender Stratocaster “Squire” Model.

This is a photo from the internet. I only have an ugly little Polaroid photo that kinda got folded over a few times!

My receipt says this is a 1982 Fender Stratocaster “Squire”. I purchased this guitar used (but mint and rarely ever played) with a case for $525.00 from Tom Lee Music. I owned this Stratocaster longer than any of my other ones. I learned how to develop a light touch on this guitar and it sounded fantastic. My friend Dave dropped heavy hints over the years that he would love to have this guitar and eventually we swapped some audio gear for it. I stopped by for a coffee a while ago and it was still his primary guitar.

Interesting fact about this year/model is, originally in 1982, the headstock had a “Fender” name written in large script, followed by “Squire series” in smaller script. In 1983, this was later changed to the current 1970s large headstock featuring “Squire” in larger script, followed by “by Fender” in smaller script. This guitar has the “Fender” name written in large script, followed by “Squire series” in small script. This is the only year Fender did this. Cool huh!

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1989 Gibson J-200 Natural.

 Picture borrowed from the internet.

I bought it from Long & McQuade in downtown Vancouver for $2,400.00. I loved playing it but i was too mellow sounding for me.  I recorded some demo stuff with it and then used it as trade bait. I traded it in on a new Fender M-80 Stereo Chorus amp and a Cubase midi program.

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1994 Godin A-12 12 String

   

If you’ve never played a Godin “A series” or one of the amazing  Multiac Nylon String guitars, then you really are missing a fantastic experience. I bought 2 of them from Ward music in North Vancouver. The nylon string was gorgeous but what I really needed was a steel string for the stage. I had both the 6 sting nylon and the 12 string. Gorgeous guitars!

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2001 Takamine EAN40C Cedar top

 

Out of all of the acoustic/electric guitars I have owned, this was my personal favourite. I used this on stage and in the studio more than any other guitar. For years it was my go-to guitar for every situation. I played this so much that I simply wore it out. It went with me to 3 countries and played a lot of shows. I traded this old friend for the Gibson J-45 because it still had great trade in value. This guitar retailed for $1,800.00 in Canada.

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2003 BC Rich Mockingbird Body Art Series “Spiro Light”

     

I picked this BC Rich Mockingbird up in a pawn shop in Surrey, BC for $300.00. Truth is…THIS GUITAR KICKED ASS! I made the mistake of giving it to my friend who traded it for a…wait for it… a toilet seat guitar. This mockingbird was great to play and sounded fantastic. I’m kicking myself big time for giving it away!

We tracked it down a couple of months ago, so now I own it again.

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2006 Gibson Honey Burst Les Paul

I bought it but hardly ever played it. The damn guitar was a “2-songer” After 2 songs you had to switch guitars cause it killed your neck, shoulder and back because of the weight. Traded it for something…i forget what!

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2008 Gibson J-45

 

I bought this new in 2011. The serial number identifies it was built-in Bozeman, Montana in 2008. Simply gorgeous guitar to play. Sounds amazing. My new go-to acoustic.

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2012 Gibson Midtown P90

This guitar goes straight into an amp. The “Soap Bar” P-90 pickups are too hot to put through my pedal board. This Gibson Midtown feeds back and screams at will, but killer to play! One of the cheaper line of Gibson semi-acoustic guitars, but it definitely has a place in my collection.

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2012 Gibson Les Paul Studio.

A sweet, sexy black Les Paul.  Holy crap this is fun to play! Only plays loud aggressive rock and roll though 🙂 I’m not using it as much now though since I bought my ES339

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2010 Epiphone ES335 DOT Studio

 

Not a stage guitar. It was impossible to keep this monster in tune. I used it in a few recordings on my CD and dumped it after that. Really disappointed because it sounded great and had a nice neck. I changed the tuners but by then I was tired of the challenges this guitar presented. Too bad!

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2012 Fender Stratocaster

You could blow on the strings and this Strat would play itself. Perfection! I lost this one when it was stolen after a show.

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2013 Eastwood Classic 6

 

I bought this guitar online from Eastwood Guitars web site. $499.00 + case and shipping. It showed up, I plugged it in and I haven’t put it down since. I could fill up a page on how great this guitar sounds and plays. I took a chance when I ordered this guitar online without playing it first, but I couldn’t resist and I’m happy that I got a good one! If you see one, plug it in and try it. It’s going to surprise you!

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2011 Fender American Special 60th Anniversary Telecaster

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My first Telecaster. I have no idea why I didn’t get one before now!  I bought this new in July 2013. I’m having way too much fun with this guitar and I love it. It is adorned with 60 Year Anniversary Edition Plate.

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1963 Gibson SG Standard

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Martin GPCPA4 Grand Performance

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Washburn WD10SCE12 12 String with Fishman 301T Electronics

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2014 60th Anniversary “Classic Players 50’s Fender Stratocaster

Fender celebrates the diamond anniversary of the world’s greatest electric guitar with the 60th Anniversary Classic Player ’50s Stratocaster. This model features a distinctively classic ’50s era combination of a Desert Sand gloss nitrocellulose lacquer finish with gold hardware and a gold anodized aluminum pickguard. Other premium features include an alder body; maple neck with “soft V” profile, gloss nitrocellulose lacquer finish and vintage-style heel-end truss rod adjustment; maple fingerboard with 9.5” radius and 21 medium jumbo frets; three American Vintage Strat single-coil pickups with five-way switching; aged white control knobs; two-point synchronized tremolo bridge with vintage-style stamped steel saddles; and vintage-style locking tuners.

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This space is reserved for MORE guitars 🙂

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2 thoughts on “My Guitar Fetish

  1. In reference to your John Lennon guitar page. The Stratocaster you say is black, is not. It’s Red with a matching painted headstock that is also red. That picture is dated 1965 because the instruments are from the 65 tour. The Gibson ES 345 is also in the picture helping to date it. As to the red strat, the last photo’s before Lennon’s assassination shows him in bed holding it. It’s the same one. He’s had that guitar since 65 apparently, in addition to this sonic blue.

    • Hello Artemis, I definitely have to disagree with you on this one. The Black 1964 Fender Strat has been well documented and appears in Andy Babiuk’s Beatles gear – The Ultimate Collection Books.

      In 2016, Fender® Custom Shop offered a Beatle Spec Lennon Black 1964 Relic® Stratocaster®. Recreated specifically to Beatle Spec, this Fender Custom Shop 1964 Strat is like the black Stratocaster with the matching black head stock that John Lennon use in late 1965 with the Beatles.

      John Lennon acquired a candy apple red “Strat” with 22 carat gold electroplated hardware in 1980. Fender introduced “The Strat” model in 1980 according to Fender documentation.

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