Friday, April 11, 2008
Sho-Bud Diamond Model Acoustic Guitar
Here is one that I wish I had back but I can visit anytime I want to. I wrote a previous post about a Sho-Bud Club Model guitar that I bought that got me started into the obscure world of Sho-Bud acoustics. As mentioned before, at the time, there was next to nothing on the internet about these guitars other than a listing in the blue book of guitar values and a couple of mentions in forums about people owning one or the other of the five models. So, I started a website about them not only hoping to gather info for Sho-Bud acoustic owners, but also for my own greedy purpose: to buy these guitars from people who are interested in selling and go to the internet to find out info. I figured if I am the "expert" on these guitars, people will come to me when they want to sell.
Well my little pretties, the evil plan worked! Once. Sort of. I got an email from a guy who was interested in selling his guitar on eBay and was gathering information. I provided him with what I knew and figured at least I knew the guitar was going to be on sale on eBay. Otherwise I might have missed it. Long story short, I won the guitar for a decent price and was on my way of completing my goal of owning one of each of the Sho-Bud acoustic models. There is the Club Model, the Diamond Model, the Heart Model, the Spade Model and the Grand Slam model...the granddaddy of them all. Problem turned out to be: I've never seen any of the other models for sale except for a Heart Model which I was outbid on at the last second. Ouch. That one cured me of attempting to collect them all. I came to the conclusion it was never going to happen.
At that point, I decided to sell the Club Model, which I did, and to give the Diamond Model to my very good friend and amazing guitarist Dave Quillen. I have played with Dave in a couple of bands and although he has amazing electric gear, he'd never been able to spring for a nicer acoustic. I decided this was wrong and that as much joy as Dave has given me as a fellow musician, the least I could do was to put a really nice acoustic guitar in his hands one way or the other. Our current musical conglomeration, The Small Pox Mountain Boys, are an acoustic group of eight musicians who take turns playing in different configurations. So, getting a good guitar in Dave's hands was somewhat of a selfish move on my part as well. Dave sounds good, I sound good. Pretty simple.
The hard part was actually letting this one go. The Sho-Bud acoustics that were made in the 70's are really nice instruments. They were made in Japan at a time when the Japanese factories were kicking the USA factories asses. A lot of the knock-off guitars of the period are really fine instruments and these definitely fit that description.
In fact, every forum posting I found from Sho-Bud owners consisted of the owner bragging about how his guitar sounded as good as a Martin for a fraction of the price.
I think one of the reasons that these don't come up for sale often is basically that no one wants to let them go.
The Diamond model features rosewood sides and a 2-piece back with a spruce top and mahogany neck. It is based on a standard Martin dreadnought size and shape and plays beautifully. The inlays on the neck of all the Sho-Bud acoustics feature hearts, diamonds, clubs and spades and look very cool. On the headstock is an inlay of the particular model shape...in this case a Diamond. The inlays themselves are not the highest of quality up close..definitely not abalone and pearl. They appear to be some sort of synthetic material. There is an inlay at the 12th fret with the name of the model.
This guitar sounds fantastic, especially in the hands of Dave. At some point during my ownership of the guitar I installed a Sunrise pickup in it coupled with a Sunrise preamp. I'm not sure the Sunrise is for everyone, although they get amazing reviews by their owners and are used by tons of big named pros. But on this guitar it absolutely sounds great.
So, the guitar now resides with my buddy Dave and I get to see it every time we play a gig. Even though I now own some very nice acoustics, I'd love to own another Sho-Bud at some point. Maybe someday it will happen.