Monday, August 29, 2016

Reunited With an Old Love: Guild F-48

This story was submitted by Tim Godwin, Director of Artist Relations for Taylor Guitars.

Tim has also been known to tour with artists such as Air Supply and Laura Brannigan. He's appeared on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno alongside Grammy Award winning country star Shelby Lynne, and as a house band member on Fox's Sunday Comics. And Tim cofounded the band Farmer with music producer Marshall Altman which led to a publishing deal with EMI and a record deal with Aware Records, current home to John Mayer, Fiver for Fighting and Train. Okay, on with the story!

• • • • • •

I was recently reunited with an old love of mine from High School: my first “real” guitar that I bought in the ‘70s, a Guild F-48 acoustic guitar. As a guitar player, we all have those stories of the ones we wished we still had from our youth, the ones we sold, traded, stolen, given away. We search eBay, pawnshops, Craigslist for the one that reminds us of the one that got away. Never dreaming we would get the exact one we owned.

Some of my early guitar and musical influences were The Beatles, Stones, Hendrix, George Benson, James Taylor, Joe Walsh, America, Glen Campbell, Doobie Brothers and John Denver. I would go to Red Rocks to see shows. Back then we would get there at noon to get a good seat and always got a pre-show by watching the bands sound check. I would always bring my binoculars so I could watch their hands as they played and checked out what gear they used.

I probably saw John Denver at least four times at Red Rocks and loved that big old Guild F-50 that he played. I not only wanted one, I needed one. So saved up enough money to put down on a Guild at a music store in Cinderella City and put it on their layaway plan. I would ride my bike to the store almost every weekend so that I could play it until Ii was able to take it out of the music store prison. It took me about three months to get it out; I ended up selling my dirt bike to make the final payment.

My buddy Herb Walker Williams and I used to have a little duo combo and we would play all of our favorite acoustic songs at school during lunch time. One time we booked a gig/audition at a local restaurant/bar, the kind of place where you can throw peanut shells on the floor. We had a full house and thought “man we got this!” The manager came over and said, “Good job, but we can’t hire you, everyone that came drank soda and water, we need people to drink liquor and eat food.” Lesson #1 was learned.

Tim, as a much younger man, with his beloved Guild.
Ok, now on to the reunion story, Herb had an Ovation Guitar, the kind that Glen Campbell and Jim Croce played, a guitar that you could play fast on. Something that was appealing to me at that moment in my life. So I said, “Herb, wanna trade your Ovation for my Guild?” I think it took two seconds for him to say yes. Deal was done, I now owned a guitar that I would soon regret trading my Guild for that I work so hard to get. But that’s what we do, we sell and trade gear.

After I moved to California I would call my buddy Herb every couple of years to ask how my old Guild was doing and he would tell me HIS Guild is doing fine:) I would then ask if he was interest in selling it or trading it back and the answer was always no. I really couldn’t blame him or be upset with him, but felt I always had to ask!

So, after some 35 years of asking, one day I called to catch up and at the end of our conversation I had to ask the question, “Herb are you interested in selling that Guild?” He told me he had to retire it because it was in such bad shape and unplayable due to all the years on the road with it and it needed extensive repair. He would be happy to let me have it. What?! I couldn’t believe it. My Guild was coming home.

My family knew how much that guitar meant to me and they helped me with getting it out to California. My mom picked it up from Herb and my brother boxed it up and shipped it to me. When I opened the case and saw my Guild for the first time in over 35 years, she was road worn and need a lot of work and love. I played an open G chord on her and I could hear what a fine guitar she turned into. Now it was time to get her fixed up.

Thanks to the great repair work of Dave Staudte and his attention to detail, I was reunited last Friday with an old friend that had been brought back to life.

Now if I can only find that Les Paul Deluxe I had….

• • • • • • • • •

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Thrift Store Find: 1978 Gibson Les Paul Special

I've been lucky enough to find quite a few guitars in thrift stores, a couple that I have kept and many that I have flipped for some extra cash. This past week I was really lucky. There is one particular thrift store that I will not name for obvious reasons that is very large and has a big checkout counter at the front of the store. They keep items behind the counter that they think are more valuable, and it's sometimes funny to see what they think is valuable. It's also where they put any guitar that comes in. To check out the guitars that are for sale, you have to wait for an employee to accompany you behind the counter and stand there while you check stuff out. I noticed that there were a few acoustics behind the counter on Monday and waited patiently to get my turn to see what treasures were in the cases in front of me. I finally got my chance and opened the first case: a cheap Mexican classical guitar they wanted $79 for. Next case was a cheap Bentley acoustic for $89. The third and final case was kind of stuck behind some junk and I finally got it open and immediately started smiling. It was a 1974 Yamaha FG-160 acoustic guitar. Believe it or not, 4 years earlier at this very thrift store, I found another 1974 FG-160 in equally dirty, beat up condition. And it was one of the best guitars I've owned...still own it. So I knew I had another gem and, in true thrift store fashion, they only wanted $39 for it. The best guitar of the bunch by far and also the cheapest.

As I was checking my pockets to see if I had $40 or not, I noticed what looked like another guitar headstock peeking out of the pile. Hmmmm...what do we have here? I got a quick glance at the body and it was a mess. Too bad...a crappy junker falling apart and rightly donated to the thrift store. Wait a second....does that say Gibson Les Paul on the headstock? I think it does. Kind of grimy though. I wiped away a layer of dust and goop and sure enough...Gibson. I pulled it out and the body had been stripped down and very poorly stained. The pickup switch was hanging halfway out of a caved-in hole in the body. Three different kinds of knobs, all at different angles and turnability. Pickups were dirty but looked okay. Someone had hand-painted some fake binding around the edge of the body with what looked like must have been a well-used tooth brush. Was it even a real Les Paul? Was the logo faked? What the hell was it? Another guy was standing on the other side of the counter, curious what I was looking at. I asked him if he was a guitar guy and he said "sort of." We tried to decide what I was holding. Oh, and I should mention that they wanted $299.95 for it. So...if it really was a Les Paul, I should get it. If not, that would be a large waste of money. So you kind of want to be sure when spending that much.

Finally I told the lady I wanted it and asked if she could hold it for long enough to run over to the bank. She said she could hold it for one hour. Cool...I had one hour to figure it out. I took a few photos of the body and both sides of the headstock, the back of which included a prominent serial number stamped into the paint. Luckily, I know the editor of The Fretboard Journal magazine, and one of my bandmates handles all of the musical instruments for a group of pawn shops. I sent them both the photos and asked them what they thought I had. Is it real? Should I get it? I was stumped. I went back and forth with each of them and we quickly determined it was a 1978 Les Paul, made in the Kalamazoo, Michigan factory. My bandmate originally thought it was a Les Paul Standard, but I later figured out that it is actually a Les Paul Special. At the end of the '70s, there was a lot of change happening at Gibson and it was not known for consistency. So it was tricky. Finally I asked them both...should I buy it? They both came back to me and said that if I didn't get it for myself, buy it for them. Okay, if the editor of Fretboard Journal wants it, it must be worth getting. A project guitar for sure...I mean it was falling apart...but a vintage Gibson Les Paul in any fixable condition is worth the time and effort for $299.

I headed out the door quickly and drove down to a branch of my bank. Got out enough money to buy both the Les Paul and the Yamaha and headed back to the store. I made it back in time and was feeling pretty good walking out the door with two cool guitars. I have plenty of acoustics and already own an FG-160, so I spent some time cleaning the Yamaha up, polishing it, putting new strings on it and getting it ready to sell. I listed it on Craigslist the next day and sold it almost immediately for $150. It was purchased by someone who was looking for a great starter guitar and I'd say he got a great one for that price. And I profited a little over $100 that I put towards the price I paid for the Les Paul. That next night I gave the Gibson a little attention and checked it out. I posted a photo of it on Instagram (@jaimiemuehlhausen if you are interested), and Ryan Adams left a comment about how awesome the pickups looked. I posted a photo of the Yamaha as well and Butch Walker left a comment about how he owns a few of the old Yamahas and how great they are. Cool! I was a little hesitant to plug the Gibson in, but I did anyway and I was had a lot of noise, which was not surprising due to the wires hanging out and the pickup switch dangling. But it worked! It actually sounded pretty cool! It's got P-90 (or possibly P-100?) pickups in it and they are going to sound fantastic when I get this thing restored.

I made the right decision and I'm really happy about it. I'm going to slowly but surely restore this guitar and get it playing again. I may not do a 100% faithful's just too messed up for that. But I'm going to make it look nice and play well once again. I'll post a follow-up at some point and let you know how it has gone. But I'll end this story with this little observation: people always mention how "lucky" I am to find guitars in thrift stores and other places. There is no luck involved is perseverance. You go and you go and you go and you find nothing. Over and over. And then, if you stick with it, the thrift store gods smile on you and reward you with something cool like a Yamaha or a funky Japanese bass or an old Magnatone amp that only needs a fuse. Or sometimes, if you've been really good, you get a messed up old Les Paul meant just for you. I guess I've been good lately.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Fender Blues Junior FSR in Cream Tolex

Who knows how many thousands of Fender Blues Juniors have been sold over the years now? Great smaller size combo amp with really nice sound that won't break your back getting in and out of the gig. Plus, it's not too big for around the house. They have that great "Fender" sound and they also won't break the bank. Well, I guess that about sums this one up. Well...except for the extra story that goes along with this one.

Seriously though, I have owned a couple of Blues Juniors in the past, and both have been excellent, trouble-free, great sounding amps. In another story on this here blog, I chronicled the story of a little Fender Bronco practice amp that looks a bit like a Blues Junior, but is solid state and nowhere the same amp. I kind of denigrated those amps and claimed you can find Blues Juniors for $250 on Craigslist, so why bother with the Bronco. Well, holy crap, not everyone (hardly anyone) agreed with me (I still stand by my opinion on that one), and I got ridiculed for saying you can find Blues Juniors for $250. Well, guess what mothereffers, I got this one for $250. And not only is it a Blues Junior for only $250, it's a Fender Special Run model in blonde or cream or tan (whatever you want to call it) tolex with the oxblood grill. In doing very unofficial research, this color combo of the Juniors seems to be the rarest of the classic Fender amp styles. I love the lacquered tweed buddy Rob has one and I've used it on a couple of recordings. And the regular tweed models are fine too, though not nearly as good looking in my humble opinion as the lacquered tweed. I've seen Sonic Blue and Seafoam Green and Red Sparkle and two-tone tolex, but those all seem to be some sort of special editions. And to be honest, even though Sonic Blue is my favorite Fender GUITAR color, it looks a little cheap to me on an amp. That's just me.

So, I'm browsing Craigslist one day, and there it was. I recently had a little change in job status, so while things are working themselves out, I shouldn't be spending extra money on guitar stuff at the moment. Unless, of course, the goal is to make some money from it. I saw this Blues Junior advertised for $275 or best offer. Wow, already a bargain at $275, but best offer?? Maybe I could get it for $250? I made the offer and he accepted. Boom! I knew that I could get more for it and make a little extra cash...but I also knew I would NOT want to give this amp up once I got it. I have a great Vox AC15CC1 that I really love...great tremolo and nice tone...the best model of all the Vox AC15 reissues by the way...and I knew I wasn't giving up the Vox. It has a road case and no issues and it's a keeper. But the Blues Junior at my buddy's house was speaking to me, and I knew once I got this Junior home, it would take some discipline to let it go.

Now here's the messed up part of the story and I am to blame for it. I met up with the guy selling the amp. He let me know that it worked perfectly and I could come in and play it. I had read that there were a couple of runs of FSR Blues Juniors that had had some issues with static and that it was a big problem. I very specifically asked the seller if there were any issues like this and he assured me this amp was perfect. I go to get the amp, we plugged it in very briefly to make sure it came on and that the knobs spun and that kind of stuff, but I did not sit with it for any extended period of time. I really just wanted to buy the amp at that price before he changed his mind. Got the amp home, plugged it in, and started jamming for a little bit. About ten minutes into said jam, it starts with some horrible static noises. Very obvious and unavoidably noticeable. I was mad. I knee-jerk reacted. I didn't test the amp in another outlet or give it another shot. I immediately fired off a text message to the seller and let him know there were issues that we talked about and I wanted a refund, no questions asked...I just didn't want to be stuck with a broken amp that was going to cost as much to fix as I was going to be profiting when I sold it. No answer from the seller. I tried again. No answer. My texts got more intense as a few days went by and he was ignoring me...I wouldn't say I was an absolute asshole but I was getting pissed off and I thought I had been ripped off. Finally I hear back and he lets me know that he plans to do nothing, claiming he has no idea what the problem is and it worked just fine.

I just let the amp sit for a week or two and then one day decided to try it out again, this time in a different part of the house. Plug it issues whatsoever. Oops. Now I feel bad. I take it to my buddy's house and try it issues. All good. I text the seller and apologize profusely, tail between my legs. He, rightfully so, never answered back. But the good news was, amp was fine and sounded great. I absolutely forced myself to list it on Craigslist with a price of $400. That's how much the cream tolex models have been going for on and Ebay, so I figured it was a safe number. And I wasn't going to just let it go for cheap...too nice an amp. Sure enough, after a day or two on Craigslist, I got a note from a guy wanting the amp. We hooked up, he Paypalled me the money on the spot and this cream tolex Blues Junior has a new home. The End.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Fender Acoustasonic DSP 30

Here's one that I recently let "get away" that am pretty ambivalent about. It's a Fender Acoustasonic DSP 30 acoustic guitar amplifier. Nothing wrong with it, but nothing exciting or stand-out about it either. Works just fine for what it's supposed to do, though I would say the sound quality was just marginal and it wasn't very loud for a 30-watt solid state amp. These have one input for an instrument and one input for a microphone, with the thought being that they would be great for small acoustic coffee house gigs or for band practice. To be honest, I don't think it would get loud enough for band practice if you have a drummer in the band. And the sound quality isn't going to make any true acoustic musician too excited. They look kind of cool with that vintage Fender brown tolex and the wheat colored grill. They have sort of an angled backside, like a floor monitor, so that you can set it down next to you and the sound will project out to your coffeehouse audience. Or I suppose you could use the amp as a personal acoustic guitar monitor on-stage. Again, not sure about the volume. It has some effects built-in...the standard reverbs and delays and chorus. They were fine. Everything about this amp is just "fine."

I've been playing a lot of acoustic gigs lately, and I have an Acoustic brand amp/PA that I use for the main sound source. I think Guitar Center bought the brand name Acoustic and put out some pretty useful little acoustic amps. One day they had some sort of crazy deal of the day for the 120-watt unit for $199 shipped. That's seriously insane in the membrane. I bought it...I wish I had bought two. Works perfectly, lots of power, clean and clear and I'm really happy. I think it's the AG-120 model. Well, the only thing that it lacks is more only has four. So, if you are playing with an acoustic trio, you probably run out of inputs. That's what happened to me. So, even though you'd think maybe someone else in our trio would get another amp for themselves or something, that never seems to be the case. So I found this Fender Acoustasonic on Craigslist and talked the guy down to $185. One of the guys in our trio only plays I figured he could plug into this and it would solve our problems. Unfortunately, it just never sounded that great.

So, I've got a kid who plays soccer and he wants to go on this big trip with his soccer club to England. Not a cheap trip. I started figuring out if I had any gear I could do without and this made the list. It would have been fine to keep it, but it's just not that amazing a piece of gear. I'm sure there are those of you out there who have one and like it and that's cool. Nothing wrong with them. Then again, just not that amazing either. I put mine back on Craigslist and tried to get what I paid for it. I'm usually pretty good at flipping gear for a profit, but I knew this one might be tough. Even at $185 I got no interest for quite awhile. I had offers for $100 and $125, but I just couldn't do it. Finally I told someone I'd meet them halfway at $150. They said take it or leave it at $135 and I figured I'd better take it. Take it in the shorts. Oh well, you can't win 'em all. So, if you are looking for a thumbs up or thumbs down on this piece of gear, I'd have to go "thumbs sideways." You're welcome.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Taylor 214CE Custom Tony Hawk

My son is going on a trip to England with his soccer club. That's really all you need to know about this post. I'm sure many of you have been in this position...just about the time you think to yourself, "Okay, from now on I don't sell any of my guitars...I only add to the collection," something comes up and everything is negotiable.

I've known about this trip for about 6 months and I've been paying for it a little at a time, but it became obvious I was going to need some big chunks of cash to get this thing done. I won't lie...I'm going on the trip with him and his club, so I benefit from this as well. And it's a once-in-a-lifetime trip for a kid who lives and breathes soccer the way my son does...and hey, I get to go to Liverpool and maybe even see where the Beatles played their first gigs. But you hate to have to sell a guitar or two to make it happen.

It really came down to "which guitar that I swore I would never sell am I going to sell?" I have a couple that are simply Do Not Touch. I'm lucky to have them. But this one was a keeper for a whole different reason...I actually worked with the design team at Taylor and helped design this guitar. I designed four custom guitars (I have since designed a few more), for a charity auction to benefit the Tony Hawk Foundation. It was when Taylor was first developing their latest technology to print full color graphics onto a guitar top and they hadn't had the opportunity to do something as wild as using Tony Hawk skateboard graphics in full color. The guitars came out great, we raised a lot of money for the Foundation, and when it was all done, the guys at Taylor surprised me with this guitar. They had made one extra of this design to say thank you. Holy cow, who gets to own a guitar that they had a hand in designing? Not too many people, other than when you go directly through a luthier and spec some things out, or work with someone like the Fender Custom Shop to craft your perfect Tele. But to actually create the graphics and have a custom guitar built by the custom crew at Taylor is an honor. This is a guitar I should hang on to forever...right?

And then England. Something's got to give. And, unfortunately, it's this guitar. I came to the conclusion that I wasn't really using it to play live. And I am actually a believer in owning guitars that you use. You don't have to necessarily play them every day, but this one was literally hanging on the wall in my office, looking pretty, but never getting played. It deserves better. It's a great sounding guitar, I might add. It's a Taylor 214CE, which means it is a cutaway with electronics. The guys at Taylor picked out a stunning walnut veneer for the back and sides. Above and beyond the stock wood for this model. I never really plugged it in, so I don't know how the electronics sounded live. And then the topper...not only is it a Tony Hawk custom model, but I had Tony Hawk himself hand sign the headstock of the guitar. I know that some "autographed" guitars are kind of cheesy or sometimes they even ruin a good guitar. I see stuff on Craigslist sometimes listed as Fender Stratocaster signed by Brett Michaels and Flock of Seagulls and I think, "I wonder if you could just wipe those names off and fix the guitar?" But when you have a special, custom Tony Hawk model guitar, 1 of only 2 made, having it signed by the man himself only seems to make sense. Especially since it's on the headstock where it doesn't get in the way of arms or hands that would smear the signature. It's appropriate.

I reluctantly put the guitar up for sale on the Ebay and, first time around, got no response. I lowered the price a little and got quite a few people "watching" the auction. As the last day of the auction arrived, I started getting messages from someone who had questions. A lot of questions. One at a time. I was trying to get them answered in time for the end of the auction, as it was winding down quickly. I noticed that the person asking the questions was local, so I made sure he could pick it up locally and avoid shipping charges. All seemed to be on track and then...the auction ended with no bids. Huh?

I messaged the guy back one last time..."No bid? What's up?" He had just missed getting his bid in before it ended. Since he was local, we ended up working out a deal that would have been the auction price minus the fees. Win win. I delivered the guitar later that evening and saw that it was going to a good home. A real guitar lover. And it was local. I could always track it back down somehow if I really had to. And that's the story of how a guitar that you never thought you'd sell ends up in someone else's collection. Never look back, right?

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Fender Sidekick Reverb 25 Amp

Okay, here's a great little amp for an absolute steal that can be used in so many ways. Although we all (most?) long for that great tube sound, sometimes a little solid state practice amp will save the day. Or at least give you a lightweight alternative for band practice. Back in the 1980s, when Fender amps had taken a hit for being pretty marginal after the CBS years, Paul Rivera came in and designed some fantastic amps, from top to bottom. My favorite of all of these was the 1983 Concert amp he designed. But some of the most overlooked was the line of Sidekick amps that Fender introduced for the budget conscious musician. There was the Sidekick Reverb 25, the Sidekick Reverb 35 and there was the Sidekick Switcher (another excellent amp!) and there were a few more. There were some Sidekick bass amps as well, though I have not heard good things about those like I have the guitar amps.

A friend of mine owns a Fender Sidekick Switcher, and I found one just like it on Craigslist for a great price...I think I paid $80 or something. Somehow due to finances, I had ended up without a good, gig-worthy amp...or so I thought. I got asked to play in a friend's wedding band one weekend, so I took a chance and just brought the Sidekick Switcher. It was fantastic. Pulled through like a champ. Plenty loud, great reverb, handled pedals well, and I loved the fact that it didn't break my back setting up for the gig. I kind of got on the bandwagon of the Sidekick amps at this point and decided to keep an eye out for a good deal on any of the others.

Sure enough, not too long afterwards, this Fender Sidekick Reverb 25 shows up on Craigslist for a great deal...the guy was literally moving the next day and needed a few extra bucks. It was actually kind of late at night, but when I emailed him, he said come on over. He dug around through his packing boxes and there was the amp, in great shape, with original footswitch and everything. I gave him some cash and headed home. Once I got home, I plugged it in and checked it out. There was a little bit of a rattle noise and I thought maybe the speaker needed to be tightened down.

I looked in the back and there was just some stuff inside...a cheap tuner, a small chord, some random pieces of metal, and a pick holder. After removing the "extras," I gave it another try and it was great. No rattle. Nice clean sound, with a Gain and a Master Volume to go along with the regular Volume you can dial up a pretty convincing crunch sound. I've even heard of metal guys using these amps in the studio for the crunchy sound...I'm sure they tell everyone they're playing through giant Marshall stacks, but I've heard over and over about guys using small practice amps in the studio with great results.

One of the differences between the Sidekick Reverb 25 and the Sidekick Switcher I mentioned is that that the Switcher has a 12" speaker and the Reverb 25 has a 10" speaker. So it's even slightly smaller in size by comparison...but still with plenty of good sound. Super easy to throw in the back seat of the car and head to band practice. It's also got a headphone jack on the back for playing around the house, and a speaker out as well. This little amp can get pretty loud on its own, so I'm curious how it would sound out to a cabinet. Never tried it.

I just put both my Sidekick Switcher and the Reverb 25 up on Craigslist, and we'll see if anyone is as excited about these as I am. I can see having something like this if you are a full-time gigging musician as an emergency back-up and it wouldn't take up much space at all.

Great sound for the money, excellent little amp. Thanks Fender!

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Fender Telecaster FSR and Yamaha FG-300

This is a great story in a few different ways. First of all, I'll tell you that this guitar is an early 2000's Made in Mexico Fender Telecaster that, from what I can tell, was sold at Guitar Center as what is known as FSR...Fender Special Run. I think Guitar Center gets Fender to make them a certain number of guitars in a color they aren't making in their standard line-up for the year, and that way they have something special they can sell. It's got what I like to call that Springsteen vibe. Natural wood with the 3-ply black pickguard, just like The Boss. When I got mine, it had a white pickguard on it, but that came off before I even plugged it in for the first time.

I bought it from a guy on Craigslist for a mere $275...if you are patient and diligent, these things do happen. You can't even get a Squier Classic Vibe or whatever they are called for that kind of deal. So get your cash together, be patient, and the deals will appear in time. The input jack on this one, like plenty of Teles I've owned, was a little janky, so I got one of those round electro input jacks and screwed it in. Done. The guitar looked great and the deal was good and I had just what I wanted. Until I got antsy and started looking around again. I always do. In this case, I was checking out a Squier Cabronita with a Bigsby and, after watching a video review of it on Premiere Guitar's website, I decided I had to have it. I've always wanted a Bigsby and this guitar has just the right vibe.

I had noticed that the guy selling the Cabronita had listed it many times at $275 and wasn't getting it sold. I figured the Telecaster could easily be sold for $350, but just didn't feel like going through the hassle of listing it myself. So, I contacted the guy with the Cabronita and offered to trade him straight up for my more valuable (and sellable) real Fender. He replied emphatically that he wasn't interested in trading. I pointed out that he could make more money with my guitar, but he wasn't having it. So, the next morning I listed my guitar on Craigslist and sold it within 4 hours. I noticed that the Cabronita guy had lowered his price to $260, so by simply posting a quick photo and description, I actually came out $90 ahead on the deal. Cabronita guy COULD have done the same. I got ready to contact him to buy it (laughing all the while), and when I started to look for his listing on Craigslist, I shockingly came across a vintage Yamaha FG-300 acoustic guitar...a guitar that I had been keeping an eye out for a decade.

I LOVE the old Yamaha FG series guitars...there are stories of a couple of them here on the site. But the FG-300 is arguably the holy grail of those guitars and I absolutely LOVE the western-style pickguard. Very reminiscent of an old Gibson Hummingbird, but better. I'm a sucker for cool pickguards like the Epiphone Frontier and and the Gibson Dove, and the Yamaha FG-300 is right up there with them all.

I flipped out because I really had absolutely no need for another acoustic. I have plenty. And I just sold the only electric guitar I currently owned. But this was a chance I couldn't pass up. The guy listed it for only $450 and said he was open to partial trades. I had an excellent condition Yamaha FG-160 from 1974 that was a beautiful sounding guitar, but I was willing to put it into a trade (partially because I own a second FG-160) and the guy accepted my offer. Sweet! But I still have no electric guitar. The FG-300 sounds fantastic, though if you know much about these guitars, the bridge is a bit adjustable bridge that should just not be made that way. Some people replace them with a standard bridge, but I think I'll keep mine stock. The guitar itself was worn and used and feels like an old friend. Getting a brand new guitar is exciting and cool, but finding one that has been broken in just right for 40 years can have its own advantages. And for whatever reason, these old Yamahas just always seem to have songs in them if you're a songwriter. This one is no different...owned it less than a week and already written one good song.

Now for the other half of this story: the Telecaster that I sold. When I met the prospective buyer at lunchtime by my office, we started talking guitars and music and it was obvious we were both on the same page. He is a musician that is moving to Ireland and needed a good, solid Telecaster to take with him. The more we talked, the more we had in common musically, and so I invited him to come sit in with my trio on our Sunday night gig. He brought the guitar I had just sold him and I provided him with a little Fender amp to play through for the night. It quickly became clear that he was very talented and fit right in with what we were doing. Not stepping on toes, but finding his own space and shining on solos when he got the chance. Exactly the style of guitar player I've been interested in forming a band with for years, but never had exactly found. And he's moving to Ireland in a few weeks. Just my luck. He's actually going to come sit in with us once more before he goes, and I wish him all the luck in the world. But if he ever comes back to the states, I hope he gives me a call and still has that Telecaster!