Pre-war Epiphone Flat-top: 1940 Epiphone FT-50

Pre-war Epiphone Flat-top: 1940 Epiphone FT-50

I say 1940 but I don't really know.  A friend on the Unofficial Martin Guitar Forum concluded that this was built by Epiphone in 1940 or '41.  There were very few of these ever made.This one popped up on the local Craigslist.  I don't think that many people on there knew what it was.  Of course, this is no asian made Epiphone.  This was made before Gibson purchased the Epiphone brand in 1957.  They moved the production of Epiphone branded instruments overseas in the 70s tarnishing the name.  The American made Epiphones were very fine…Read more
Pre-war Gibson Flat-top:  1933 Gibson L-00

Pre-war Gibson Flat-top: 1933 Gibson L-00

When I was back in school I was lucky enough to find a guy with an early 50s J-45 and a mid to late 30s L-00.  I knew the J-45 was for me so I quickly sold off the L-00.  Mistake.  The thing had been played and played and needed a neck reset but it felt so good.  Sounded even better.  When I got word of this one for sale I was ecstatic. The L-00's first catalogue appearance was in 1932 but supposedly they had been making them since 1929.  They were Gibson's budget model…Read more
The One(s) That Got Away

The One(s) That Got Away

Half the fun of vintage guitars are their history and the path they took to get to me.  Some of the guitars I have bought came with pictures of the original owners and stories about how all those scratches came to be (most have to do with the owner drinking a lot).  Sadly, the sellers are rarely the ones that owned the guitar for so long. I'm not always successful in my pursuit of vintage flat-tops.  Sometimes it will get snagged by someone else or the owner decides not to sell.  Here are…Read more
From the Bailey Brothers’ VAULT: 1960 Gibson ES-355

From the Bailey Brothers’ VAULT: 1960 Gibson ES-355

You have heard of it happening.  Most guitar shops will have somewhere that they keep the "good stuff."  You are standing in your favorite local guitar shop.  You overhear another customer say something like "have you gotten in anything good lately?" while he is standing next to Custom Shop Les Pauls, Gretsch White Falcons or CS black guard Teles and what not.  As if those were not good.This customer is talking about the stuff in the back room, upstairs, or maybe even right behind the counter and out of sight of the average…Read more
Just a good, southern late 50s Gibson J-45.. and a quick video of my 1964 Gibson B-25

Just a good, southern late 50s Gibson J-45.. and a quick video of my 1964 Gibson B-25

Carl posted about this guitar in the comments section of the post of my 1953 J-45:I love getting these emails.  You never know what you are going to come across.  This one has 20 frets to the body, larger pickguard and non-adjustable bridge.  That would put it between 1955 and 1961 (about).  I don't have a picture of the FON so I can't nail down the year.  I have an up close picture of the fretboard and it looks to be flat-sawn Rosewood instead of quarter-sawn.  My 1960 Gibson Melody Maker has that…Read more
Why this is probably not a 1961 Gibson ES-125- what do you think?

Why this is probably not a 1961 Gibson ES-125- what do you think?

Gibson is consistent in only one thing: inconsistency.  As a result it can be very difficult to date some vintage Gibsons.  When I say Gibson here, I mean Kalamazoo era Gibson (up until about 1977 give or take).  Dating vintage Gibsons is sometimes an art rather than a science.  Take for instance this guitar from the Music City Pickers out of Nashville, TN.  I have met these guys and they are top notch.  They always have great guitars coming and going and it is a joy to see.  That being said, this one may deserve…Read more
The Holy Grail of vintage guitar amplifiers: 1956 Fender Deluxe

The Holy Grail of vintage guitar amplifiers: 1956 Fender Deluxe

I used to have a couple of tweed fenders and one was the Deluxe.  It was a '59.  The speaker had been changed a couple of times.  The capacitors were recent and who knows where the output transformer came from.  The tweed was ripped and covered in candle wax from a couple of different recording sessions.  And it sounded, in a word, like a small piece of rock heaven.The amplifier pictured is clearly not my old tweed Deluxe.  This one led a completely different life than the one from the recording studio.  This…Read more
Email Guitar- Look what we have here!

Email Guitar- Look what we have here!

I got an email from a reader with a couple of pictures attached.  Needless to say, I was pumped.It's a Silvertone 1446!  It is always a great day when you find an old guitar in a closet, under the bed, wherever it was left years ago and forgotten.  This one seems to be original except for the decal pinstripes on the headstock.  I think they are cool but I would probably still attempt to remove them if I felt comfortable with it.  It even has the original case and seems to be in…Read more
50s Kay Kraftsman Jumbo…. The poor man’s J-200

50s Kay Kraftsman Jumbo…. The poor man’s J-200

I saw an old amp on Craigslist in Tuscaloosa the other day.  It was a Silvertone 1472 sporting about 10 watts or so and a 12" speaker.  I was heading to Tuscaloosa on business that day so I figured I would inquire about it.  Unfortunately I was about 10 minutes too late.The seller was very nice and asked what else I was interested in.  I told him I like anything old and made in America.  He said he had an old Kay flat top that had a body made by Gibson.  I thought…Read more
Field Trip:  1957 Fender Vibrolux

Field Trip: 1957 Fender Vibrolux

A friend of mine called me the other day and said that he had just traded his old drum set for this 1957 Fender Vibrolux:Needless to say, I was very excited.  Back in school I bought a small collection of vintage Fenders including a 1960 Champ, 1959 Princeton, 1960 Deluxe and a 1964 Vibro Champ.  Pete would come over and we would blues out with me on his Strat (and the Deluxe!) and him on the harmonica with the Champ.  TONE gentlemen, tone.Until one time I was holding the strat and he had…Read more