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1958 Les Paul Custom

I love Gibson SGs.  However, some of my guitar friends continually mock the SG because it seems to have become sort of a test bed for Gibson's good ideas.  A good, early example is probably the side-to-side (a.k.a. sideways) tremolo found on the 1961-62 SG/Les Pauls.  While that tremolo was a complicated piece of equipment not really loved by anyone, it clearly went through some lengthy R&D by somebody.

Well, check this out.  A 1958 Les Paul Custom with an original sideways tremolo like those found on the SG/Les Pauls three years later.  This one was authenticated by Gruhn Guitars in Nashville, so I have no reason to doubt that it is original. Note:  Click the photo to see it full-size.

Just when you think you're an "expert" something like this pops up.  Keep looking in those closets, guitar collectors!


I coulda had a Bigsby!

Did Wayne Charvel send you?

Gibson Q4000

From Ryan B. in Tennessee comes this custom Gibson.  This is a great guitar, equipped with a Dirty Fingers Humbucker, Kahler tremolo, and neck-through construction.

Ryan bought this Gibson Q4000 from a Gibson factory rep at the 1985 Sheridan Hotel Music Show in Nashville. Ryan contacted the Gibson historian three years ago to learn more about the guitar.   He found out that the guitar is a prototype, and Gibson changed the name to Q400, added a bolt on neck instead of neck through the body, removed the center pickup and sold it as a cheaper model.  Supposedly Gibson made four of these guitars:  two in red, and two in black.

Ryan would like to learn more about the guitar.  Please email us if you have any information on it.


Hofner 176

From our friend Wolfgang comes another cool on.

I read an article in the German magazine Gitarre & Bass, which is the German equivalent of the Guitar Player magazine in the US, about the Hofner 176 in early 2003. It reminded me of that guitar my buddy played in our band in the seventies. So I started searching for one in Ebay in sunburst finish.  I finally found this one early this year after a few attempts.

When I received the guitar it had a few dings but was in fairly nice condition with a straight neck. However the neck pickup did not work and the frets needed work. The fret job was easily be done and finally I found another pickup on Ebay which we transferred to the guitar. I keep the original pickup as a spare. It is waiting to be rewired.

Hofner is the spelling for the guitars which were exported to the UK and the US. The firm was actually called Höfner with an o umlaut and was located in Bubenreuth which is in the North of Bavaria. Hofner came originally from the Egerland which after World War II belonged to the Czech Republic.

The Hofner 176 was made between 1964 and 1983 and was very popular not only in Germany but also in the UK. Altogether they made around 15,000 copies. It looks more like a Fender Jazz bass than a Stratocaster. My Hofner 176 one seems to be from the sixties and wears a three tone sunburst. Many of them are either white or red.

It has three humbuckers which can all be activated at the same time and is a good example of the excellent German craftsmanship. This guitar sounds great, and has a fat neck and a good playability even after almost 40 years. It was the choice of many so called Beat band in the sixties as the Fenders and Gibsons from the US were hardly affordable.

Rumour has it that no other than Mr. Jimi Hendrix played a Hofner 176 when he recorded Red House. But that is another story.

Very cool, Wolfgang!

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Ibanez Goldtop "Lawsuit"  Les Paul

Our friend Achim from Düsseldorf plays in the band "Bodenwelle".  He is a great player and has some very cool amps and guitars.

Achim bought this guitar new in 1973 in Düsseldorf.  It was his first electric guitar.  Note the headstock -- it has the Gibson "Open Book" design named in the lawsuit.  Click here to read more about that.

Over the years he changed the pickups. Now there is a DiMarzio "Dual-Sound" in the neck postition and a Seymour Duncan "Jeff Beck" in the bridge position. Each can be switched with two mini-switches.  He had a refret six years ago at the ESP-Shop in Düsseldorf.

Achim states, " I played this guitar for many years - it has very different and good sounds. Now it's "resting" in my living room and I got a few other good guitars ! :-)"

Rock on, Achim!

From comes this gem.   Here is the note we got...

I came across this from a friend who got it as payback and sold it to me for what the person owed him - $300.  It is one of the early Gibson LP low-Z experiments which included the Personal, Professional, Signature, L5 and Recording.  When I first got the guitar I was unable to use it because of the low-Z output and nobody knew how to make it work.  Eventually I took it to a shop that dealt with vintage guitars. He told me it was a factory second from 1972 and worth what I paid for it but not much more. Recently I got the itch to play electric again and dug out old faithful and decided to make it work somehow. During this process I found there were less than 120 of these made. I contacted Gibson and received better information on placing the year. It turns out it is a 1969, the first year they were made. Also I think the reason for this being a second is the fact that it has a Personal headstock and a Professional fretboard and hardware. This model did not come with split diamond inlays or a bound headstock. Mine is now working and I am playing it on a vintage reissue all-tube amp.  The tone combinations seem to be limitless.  I wouldn't trade it for the world.

Very cool, we think....

Look what we found...or what found us!  Yes folks, the Spare Parts Les Paul (SPLP) mystery has been solved.  We got a great email with these photos and a little history.  Bottom Line:  This Les Paul is actually a Les Paul XR-II from '81-83.  Note the color on this example -- very similar to the one on our SPLP.

The SPLP has a MOP inlay and bound fingerboard -- this rig doesn't.  No doubt that the bodies are the same, but we got ours before the P-90 cavities were routed.

The back is the same -- note the oblong switch cavity cover.

We are going to use our beat-up, unfinished XR-II eBay special initially for templates for building.  Keep checking back, and keep those cards and letters coming!


From beautiful Düsseldorf, Germany comes this gem from our friend Wolfgang.  It seems that Wolfgang wanted a killer Strat like the one we saw at Real Guitars in Leverkusen, Germany.  Dissatisfied, Wolfgang decided to build one out of parts, and this is the result.

This beauty is a Fender, sort of.  Wolfgang assembled it from parts he bought on eBay.   He says it is killer -- we have to trust his word.  It certainly looks great in the old bomb shelter/practice room that is the home of Loaded Dice, a great blues/rock band that plays around the Düsseldorf area.  Rock on!

Go for it and build your own -- you'd be surprised at how fun it is once you get past the apprehension.

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