Tuesday, June 30, 2009

A REAL Gibson Les Paul Flametop

I found this item for sale on eBay and asked the owner if I could share the story here at The Ones That Got Away. This is an amazing true story. Check it out, man.

Story by Charlie


I guess this is kind of an unbelievable story but it is all true. I left the house one day and my near mint 1985 Gibson Reissue Flametop was safely perched (or so I thought) on top of a another guitar case, in the corner top edge of my music room. When I returned home a few hours later I was not prepared for what I discovered. I walked into the room and the Gibson case was on the floor smelling of smoke. I looked up to see black soot marks at the top corner of the walls where the headstock end of the case had been sitting. When I turned back and inspected the case I was appalled at what I found.

First off, I noticed that there were three holes directly above where the bridge would have been sitting inside the case. I proceeded to open the case with the latches, even though much of it was disassembled. Upon opening the case I realized that the guitar had been struck by lightning . How could this have happened!!? I basically screamed. It seemed impossible.

I found out that when I was gone, a severe thunderstorm had come through. Outside of the house was a huge pine tree and, upon going outside and inspecting the tree, there was clearly a visible line coming down the tree until it came to an area directly across from the trim of the house. The lightning had struck the huge pine tree and traveled down the trunk until it reached the nails holding the trim to house. Then it jumped across through the nails, went through the drywall, and struck the top edge of the case.

It then went into the case and down the neck of the guitar, vaporizing the strings, (remnants of which can still be seen on the fretboard and frets) also apparently traveling down the truss rod inside the neck. Then it blew out the last few frets on the fretboard above the end of the truss rod before apparently melting the insides of the pickups. It then proceeded to explode some of the bridge saddles outward through the case. Apparently they are responsible for holes I initially saw in the case, which I had no idea how they got there.

I also found where the lightning had grounded into the carpet and cement floor of the room and blasted out a half moon size pocket in the cement about the size of the silver dollar. I have posted pictures of various aspects of the outside house damage and pine tree. The lightning strike also killed the tree.

As I said, before the incident, the guitar was in near mint condition. It remains as I found it, the day of the incident. I have not tried to clean it up in any way. As a one-of-a-kind collectible, I would be very surprised if there is another one of these anywhere one in the world. As a project, it will take some work but I believe it can be repaired with the proper parts and skill. I am including the frets and parts of the fretboard that blew out, as much as I could find. There is only one remaining bridge saddle.

Years ago, two of the original pots were removed, though the original knobs and pointers are still with the guitar. The tailpiece is gone, but the original bridge is still with the guitar. One of the features of this model is the "Thicker '59 Style Neck." In 1991 this model was renamed "The '59 Les Paul Fame Top."
link to the auction

Monday, June 29, 2009

Something New

Well, since I sold the Swamp Thang I haven't unloaded anything else and no one seems to be sending in their own stories (hint, hint people!). So I thought I'd share "before" photos of a guitar I have on the way. Yes, I've been selling some stuff off because of tight times, but I paid for this one way back in about October '08 and it's finally almost done. It's a resonator guitar hand built by Mike Franks at M.J. Franks Guitars.

Mike was nice enough to send me photos of the guitar just before it went out the door to get the finish done.

So, I thought maybe I'd share some photos and then, when it's all done, post the final beauties. I have a good feeling about this one...it's going to have a Fishman resonator pickup in it for playing live and I'm not worried about the rest...Mike makes 'em right. It's going to have a dark, dark stain on the back and sides and vintage sunburst top. Oh, and it's all solid mahogany. Just glad I paid for this back then so I could still get my hands on it. Mike suggested picking up the new Fishman Jerry Douglas Aura Imaging pedal at some point to go with it, so if Mike says so, I guess I'll have to start saving up again. Enjoy the photos and I'll post more when it's done.

In the meantime, please, send me your stories. I'd love to keep this thing rollin' and I know everyone who reads this has a story of their own.

UPDATE: Here are a couple of photos I just got halfway through the finish. It's getting a stunning antique sunburst finish and I'm getting antsy. Shouldn't be too long now.

UPDATE FINAL: Here are a couple of photos of the final instrument. It's a beauty and it sounds unbelievable.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

I Just Threw Up a Little in My Mouth

I just did something I SWORE I wouldn't do. I just listed my Swamp Thang pedal on eBay. Dammit. Jump on it quick if you want just about the best sounding tremolo pedal there is...short of buying an old blonde Fender Tremolux. I will be buying another one some day...I think that will be the running joke on this site...how many Swamp Thang pedals will Jaimie buy in one lifetime?


UPDATE: Sold! But I'll get another some day. Man oh man. Can't believe it's gone.