Monday, February 25, 2008

Gibson Dove Acoustic (1978)

Back in about 1990 (I think...correct me if I’m wrong), I was working at a shoe company called Airwalk. I met and became friends with one of the guys working in the warehouse, a guy named Rob Quillen. At the time I was playing coffeehouse gigs and even hosting San Diego’s biggest open mic night back when coffeehouses were few and far between (remember when there was no such thing as Starbucks?). I found out that Rob and his brother and other good friends were from Northern California and had a band called Bridge. Their “manager” was a guy named Jeff Cort and he had started working at Airwalk and had convinced them to uproot their lives and move to San Diego to become rock stars. Luckily for me, Jeff got Rob a job at Airwalk and little did I know at the time that Rob would become one of my best friends and musical compadres in my life.

One of the guys from his band Bridge was a guitar player and singer named Greg Noll (not the big wave surfer). Greg and I started playing together as a duo called The Primates, gigging at Hennessey’s Tavern in Carlsbad, CA twice a week for about a year, appearing on some public access TV show, and even opening up for rock and roll Hall of Famer Leon Russell in concert.

After a year or so of this, we decided we could make more money and have more fun if we were a whole band. We enlisted Rob on drums and found a local kid named Steven Blake to play bass. Here’s where the story actually gets to today’s guitar in question. While playing all of these acoustic gigs, I had been using a sweet early 70’s Martin D-41 with amazing inlay on the neck (man, I wish I had that one back). I’m sure it’s worth a FORTUNE today. But, I was going to be in my first band and needed an amp powerful enough to gig with. My silverface Princeton Reverb (man, I wish I had that one back) just wasn’t cutting it. So I walked into Dusty’s Guitar Kingdom on Coast Highway in Oceanside, CA and said I needed to make a trade.

I’m sure Dusty started salivating over my Martin. He had a used cherry sunburst Gibson Dove hanging on the wall that he suggested, and I immediately took a liking to it. It actually sounded better than my Martin to be honest. So that part was done. Now for the amp. Dusty said I could have my choice of two amps in the price range we agreed on. I could pick from the Roland Jazz Chorus 120 or the early 60’s blonde Fender Tremolux sitting in the corner. The Tremolux looked cool but kind of beat up and the separate head and cab seemed like a pain to carry around to gigs. So, I picked the Roland. Oh my god, yes, I picked the Roland. Speaking of things you’d like to have back...I wish I could make that choice again. Ironically, many years later I did end up with a blonde Tremolux just like the one at Dusty’s.

However, the best part of the whole thing was that I ended up with the 1978 Gibson Dove that I played day in and day out until late in 2006. After all those years, I came across an expensive Ehlers handmade jumbo acoustic that I just HAD to have. My good friend Greg Gallardo just happened to be looking for a nice acoustic at the time and we struck a deal. So, my beloved Gibson now resides with Greg...and it couldn’t be in a better home. I know I can go visit it whenever I want to and maybe, just maybe, some day Greg and I will work something out. It will have to be quite the deal in favor of Greg’s a pretty special guitar.

Oh, and I almost time Chris Isaak played this guitar at a Surfer Magazine event, so I had Chris autograph the back. It was also signed by Mike Ness of Social Distortion.


Anonymous said...


random parade said...

I played this guitar at an open mic in santa monica last week. It still sounds great!