Tag Archives: guitar

Brian May and his fireplace

Brian May, famous for his role as the main guitarist in Queen, is not only an incredible talented guitarist, who stills plays his instruments just as good (if not better) as he did in the heydays of Queens success. However though May himself is an interesting, talented and curious person, for guitar players like us there are two more sides to him that makes him even more interesting. First of all his first guitar (which is still in use) was homebuilt by May and his father, mainly from scraps and random pieces of wood. Though fashioned in this way the guitar has a professional sound and due to a number of renovations still plays perfectly to this day. Another curious thing about may is that he doesn’t use picks, at least not in the traditional sense, instead he plays with coins!

Brian May and his farther began the construction of his unique guitar back in 1963, when May was around 17. Having already built at least one guitar beforehand the pair had some experience, but no education in the matter. Being a poor family, the bulk of the guitar had to be fashioned out from pieces of scrap and what could be found for cheap or free. The guitar called the Red Special, the Old Lady or the Fireplace, is constructed form a number of various bits and pieces. The neck for instance is made from the wooden mantle of a fireplace (hence its name), while the body is made from the wood from a table, some block-board and a veneer of mahogany. The entire guitar is made with hand tools, as the whole instrument was made in the work shop of the May’s family home. And not only is the entire thing hand built and carved, even the wiring is made by May and his father, even the frets and everything else besides the strings and the pickups (which he have personally restrung, leaving only the strings unmodified) are made from random pieces of material – the whammy is made from part of a bicycle saddlebag holder, the springs attached to it from a motorbike and the tremolo is made from parts of an old knife. Truly a patch work instrument one should expect it to sound like that as well. Surprisingly enough the guitar has a truly amazing sound, as if it were made form a professional luthier. Having been feature on every single Queen record to date. Actually the only period of time when May does not use it is when it is required for him to change guitars for specific songs or if the Fireplace is receiving maintenance.

When being maintained May often uses replica guitars made from his own guitar building company Brian May Guitars, guitars that he often takes with him on tour to be sure that replacements are ready should the need arrive during a concert. However the guitars alone are not the single reason behind his unique sound. His own personal flavour is of course the main reason behind his sound, yet those two factors alone is not the only thing that creates the Brian May sound; his curious choice in guitar-picks is also a major contributor as May have become fond of using coins instead of picks! He mostly uses British sixpence coins, but is also known to use american cents or dimes or other coins that are of equal or similar size and thickness. May claims that the rigidity of the coin helps him when he plays, and that the ridges on the edge of the coin aids him in creating unique sounds, that he does not feel he could get in other ways.

No matter how he goes around it we think that Brian May is a guitar legend in every way and we hope that he will continue to contribute to the world of music in years to come, both as part of Queens live tours and as a featured guitar player for other artists.
For more info on Brian May visit his website here.

For more Premier Guitar rig rundown videos, visit the rig rundown playlist on youtube here.

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GuitarPoint Interview with Detlef Alder from GuitarPoint

Detlef Alder talks about the challenges of being a vintage guitar dealer, the oddest vintage guitars he`s had in his shop, his favorite guitars and his advice for players looking to purchase a vintage guitar.

Hi Detlef, thank you for taking your time to speak to us. Could you please tell as a little bit about GuitarPoint? Where are you located?
We are located in the little town called Maintal near Frankfurt. I opened GuitarPoint about 10 years ago, GuitarPoint has quickly become a good address for guitar players, enthusiasts and collectors from all over the world. From the beginning we specialized in Highend-, Customshop and Vintage Guitars, from this year on we strictly deal with Vintage Guitars only!

What initially motivated you to set up a vintage music shop, and when was that?
We´ve always been dealing with vintage guitars, even though the High End & Custom Shop gear was our main business. My plan was to concentrate on the Vintage Business only, the last years before my retirement. As I decided this year not to sign any contracts with major brands anymore, it was close and the decision was easy for me to reopen GuitarPoint as a “Vintage-Only” store. We´ve already had the gear and we already had the knowledge.

What do you consider the biggest challenge for dealers of vintage music instruments today?
It is very hard to keep your Shop inventory always on a high level with instruments of excellent and mint quality. It was much easier in the past to call the distributer and order another dozen of Custom Shop instruments when you´ve sold them.
It’s also a challenge to make customers feel comfortable to buy vintage instruments.  A lot of customers would like to buy a vintage instruments, but are afraid of fakes, as they don´t have the knowledge to proof the authentic.

Do you play music yourself? If so, what do you play, for how long have you been doing it?
I´ve been playing music all of my life, I started playing clarinet in a marching band at the age of 6. Later I learned keyboard and finally I got stuck playing the guitar.

How do you choose what vintage guitars to carry?
I personally choose the vintage instruments for my store. There is a certain demand from our customers, which I have to serve, mostly for the classic Vintage Instruments such as Strats, Teles, Les Paul etc. But I’m always interested to stock some not so famous, but rare instruments nobody else carries. Sometimes if a not so desired vintage instrument is extremely clean (mint) and comes with an interesting story and complete documentation makes me buy it.

What is the oddest vintage guitar you’ve ever sold?
A ´70s Blond Rickenbacker doubleneck ? Maybe a ´60s Hofner Violinbass-doubleneck? We´ve sold a lot of odd stuff already …

Do you have any personal favorite vintage guitars in your shop? If so, why is said guitar your favorite?
Actually I´m a Les Paul guy, but the guitar for the lonely island would definitely be a Telecaster. There is a ´59 mint 6120 I could go crazy for at the moment, and that gold ´52 ES-295 I just bought as well …

Given that this is for a blog, what role has technology (the internet, your website, etc.) played in the success of your business?
Especially nowadays it is very important to show your gear to an audience worldwide. Many people don´t mind driving far to check a nice variety of Instruments, but they need to know it´s worth it. The WWW helps bringing your showcase out to the world.

Is there a general trend to the people who purchase from you, in terms of how skilled or experienced they are?
No, not really. There is the collector, there is the skilled player, there is the “normal” family guy who just fulfills a dream he couldn´t afford when he started playing. There is also the investor as well, most of them play pretty damn good by the way!

What advice would you give to somebody looking to purchase a vintage guitar?
It’s important to buy from a well-known source. Checkout the people who are selling the guitars, if you´re not experienced in vintage guitars, definitely have some expert help you checking the instrument of desire for authentic. Our company sells all instruments with a COA and a checklist of all parts. Furthermore we include a DVD with up to 50 detailed pictures of the instrument.

Famous Vinyls Covers: Guestblog by Vinylstall.com

Vinyl records have been popular during most of the 20th century. These recordings are played using a record player called phonograph. Vinyl recordings are once a favorite in the entertainment media. Over the years, the music industry has innovated and produced modern technology from cassette tapes to CDs and digital music players. Old types of music recorded on vinyl are now being revived with the integration of musical instruments. Audiophiles are into vinyl record collection because they love this vintage music format. Even the new generation musicians and music lovers are becoming interested in this old time disc recording.

Vinyl record enthusiasts have never ceased using and collecting this form of music medium. In fact, some artists and small label companies release their music using vinyl. DJs also play and spin these records in the clubs and bars because of the good sound quality. Vinyl has survived the innovation of technology and has influenced the music industry over the years. During the middle to the late years of the 20th century, there are a lot of famous vinyl covers that have been produced and distributed in the market. How can we forget the famous cover of the Rolling Stones, Sticky Fingers? Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band by the legendary Beatles has been considered the best cover of all times. For decades, label companies have also integrated famous instruments on their vinyl record covers.

During the vinyl record era, covers are very significant to express the theme of the artist’s songs. Some use their personal profiles and pictures or musical instruments like guitars, piano and saxophones.

Instruments featured in Vinyl Record Covers:

a. One of the most acclaimed albums during the 50’s is the Saxophone Colossus by Sonny Rollins. The award winning album was recorded and released in 1956 by Prestige Records and was considered the best albums issued by this recording company. The cover shows a man playing his saxophone in a blue background. It is a jazz album containing five tracks, three of which are Johnny Rollins’ compositions.

b. Another remarkable vinyl record cover is the album “Eric Clapton Slow hand” by Eric Clapton. This album includes lyrics of all songs and some art clips and photos. The front cover photo shows neck, turning keys and head of a guitar. A body of the guitar being strummed by a man is illustrated in the back cover. The album was produced in 1977 by Glyn Johns.

c. Jerry Lee Lewis also known as “The Killer” pioneered rock and roll music through a distinctive style in piano playing. His album “Who’s gonna play this old piano” released in 1972  contains eleven tracks including the hit songs “She’s Reachin For My Mind” and “Who’s gonna play this old piano”. The vinyl record cover shows an old grand piano with some lyric sheets on top of it.

Vinyl record covers were of great help to market and sell albums. The concept depends on the genre and the performer’s type of music. Most of the covers show profiles and pictures of the singer or bands. Covers for vinyl records also show musical instruments used by performers. Albums with famous musical instruments like guitars, pianos and saxophones are incorporated in the back or front cover of the musician’s album.

Vinyl is one of the greatest medium in the music industry. There is a need for us to protect and promote vinyl records to preserve the music of the past generation. You can find rare vinyl records for sale online, with the free vinyl search on http://www.vinylstall.com/

Homesick Mac’s 1st annual Guitar Retreat

Our friends from Sanden Guitars would like to endorse Homesick Mac. This July he is hosting 1st annual Guitar Retreat in Sweden. Please help us spread Mac’s message through your community. It’s very much appreciated.

Below you can read his message and a video that Nicolai from Vintage & Rare recorded with Sanden Guitars and Homesick Mac.

Sanden Guitars / Homesick Mac Baritone Signature

For more information please visit www.homesickmac.com/retreat/Homesick_Macs_site_updates/English.html .

Would you like to add something? Please leave a comment…

Video interview: Page Hamilton / Helmet

Nicolai from Vintage & Rare met up guitarplayer, singer and composer, Page Hamilton, from Helmet before their concert at the Vega venue in Copenhagen, Denmark 2013 to talk about Page´s gear.

Helmet is an American metal band which was founded in 1989 by Page Hamilton. They have released seven studio albums and two compilations. In 1998 the band split up, but reformed in 2004. Their latest album, ” Seeing Eye Dog ” has been released in 2010.

See Page´s gear setup for the 2012 EU Tour below.

Page Hamilton Helmet Gear setup EU Tour 2012

Page Hamilton Helmet Gear setup EU Tour 2012

Page Hamilton Helmet Rig setup-2 Page Hamilton Helmet Rig setup-3 Page Hamilton Helmet Rig setup



Walk off the Earth: Sarah Blackwood interview

Walk off the Earth is an unique Canadian band. Their  interpretation of Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used To Know” has so far reacg more than 67 million views on Youtube.

Vintage & Rare got the opportunity to talk to Sarah Blackwood, the band member. She told us something about their work, how does it feel to be the only girl in the band, their future plans and many more.

Hi Sarah, thank you for taking your time to speak to V&R.
No probs!

Could you please tell us a bit about how you got into playing music together in the first place?
I started working with Gianni a long time ago. Around 2007. Him and Marshall started WOTE in 2006 and just over the years we have all come together for different projects and music. Gianni helped produce and engineer my second solo album and during that time we started talking a lot about making videos and getting involved more with each others music. Over the past few years it’s all just kind of come together with everyone and the music and videos have created buzz and momentum for the band.

Your version of ’’Somebody that I used to know’’ has more than 64 millions views on Youtube. How important do you see Youtube as a promotion tool?
We have been making stuff for the Youtube world for a few years now. From experience and research we saw potential in it more so than anything else. I personally spent the past 6 years as more of a “road  warrior”  so to speak. Touring full time and traveling around the world with my music. When we put our heads and music together from the road and with the world of Youtube/Social Media our minds opened up big time! Youtube is a whole different world and we know there is so much more to develop from it. We’re just getting started. Social Media really is changing the world.

Five people, one guitar, five different roles – Great concept and it really sounds great. How did you came up with that idea?
Gianni came up with the idea. Every time we do a video the idea stems and we just go from there. With this one, it was something he had wanted to do for a while. When we looked up other videos on Youtube we could only find three people on one guitar. So we did five. Every idea we have has to be incredibly creative and inventive. Otherwise you’re just doing what everyone else has done already.

Does the instruments you play live differ from the ones you’re using in the studio?
Yes they do. We have a plethora of instruments that we share in studio with the stage and not. In face, just recently we have been obtaining more instruments than ever. It’s pretty neat. We also use random things as instruments as well. Like little pieces of metal instead of a snare drum. Or cardboard boxes instead of a drum. Or a box of TicTacs instead of a shaker. We like to get super creative.

Any artists you would like to play with?
I would love to play with a few different people. Mumford and Sons would be a killer!

You are the only female in the band. How does that feel? Or is it really the other way around?
It’s much better than being in a band with all girls! haha. Either way, the members in the band now add a dynamic that was never this strong. No matter what… we are family and will be together until the end. I love hanging out with guys because they are drama free for the most part. And in return, I have learned a lot about being patient, trustworthy and incredibly independent. There are many, many valuable things you learn about being a girl when spending all your time with guys.

Are you working on some new songs? Recording? Will you be touring soon?
We have a bunch of new original songs recorded now! The past 2 months have been insanely busy and we are working on an album to hopefully be released before or during the summer. It’s cool because now we just get to work on music and videos. It’s still a TON of work, even much, much more than before, but it’s our dream job so we are all so happy. We have tours and summer festivals coming up soon too!

Any famous last words?
Don’t drink chocolate milk before bedtime, it will give you nightmares.

The Paganini Il Cannone Guarnerious violin – legendary!!

Paganini Il Cannone Guarnerious

Paganini is often described as the world’s first virtuoso and is still widely recognized as one of the greatest ever. While the story of Paganini’s life story is fascinating reading the story of his favorite violin – his “Il Cannone” (The Canon) is no less so.

Niccoló Paganini (1782-1840) achieved massive fame throughout Europe and was the most celebrated virtuosi of his time, and today he is considered the father of modern day violin techniques. Sadly he lived before the time of recordings, but this rendition of one of his most famous pieces – his Caprice No. 24 – should give you an idea of what his musical and technical prowess could produce. The artist seen is Alexander Markov.

Originally Paganini played a valuable Amati violin. This however he lost in a bet as he was heavily addicted to gambling. Instead a generous businessman and amateur violinist donated him a neglected Guarneri violin. The instrument distinguished itself by having lots a resonance and a booming quality which immediately attracted Paganini. He named it “Il Cannone” – The Canon, and it was on this violin he wrote some of his fastest pieces which require advance technique and performance at breakneck speed.

“Il Cannone” after Paganini

Upon his death Paganini donated “Il Cannone” to the Italian town of Genoa who still holds the violin at the Palazzo Doria Tursi. It is now considered a national treasure. All the principle parts of the violin are still intact a unique fact in itself, considering that this instrument dates back to 1742-43. Notice that it doesn’t have any chin rest, and instead the varnish which also is the original coating has rubbed of. This is due to the fact that Paganini like his contemporaries didn’t use a chin rest. Instead they rested their head directly on the sounding board.

The violin is supervised by a panel of experts. Among them is Mario Trabucco who is charged with playing the instrument regularly and Bruce Carlson, a violinmaker in charge of the conservation. Every year Genoa hosts a violin contest and the winner gets to play the masterpiece so thankfully this masterpiece has not been reduced to a museum artifact. Rarely it’s lended to guest cities with requirements of police escorts and multimillion dollar insurance policies. It can be heard on jazz-violinist Regina Carters “Paganini: After a dream”.

On the following video you can see Il Cannone in live action. The video features Israeli violinist Shlomo Mintz playing Paganinis Violin Concerto.

While Vintage & Rare can’t boast of having a genuine Guaneri on sale we have an excelent replica made by danish luthier Robert Knudsen. The violin is available through our partner Hertz Music based in Denmark.

Robert Knudsen Guaneri Model 1739 Violin

Thunder Road Guitars interview with Frank Gross from Thunder Road Guitars

Hi Frank, thank you for taking your time to speak to us. Could you please tell as a little bit about Thunder Road Guitars? Where are you located?
Hello Vintage and Rare! Thunder Road Guitars is an online-based guitar shop by musicians for musicians. We buy, sell, trade and cosign guitars and amplifiers with folks all over the globe. We opened our doors January of 2012 and have loved every moment of it since. We are located in Seattle, Washington, USA.

What initially motivated you to set up a music store, and when was that?
I’ve worked in music shops since I was old enough to have a job and have always had a love and passion for great guitars. I have managed a well-known Seattle vintage guitar shop and have also worked for a US chain store. I learned a lot working for both companies and eventually decided to open my own store this January. My favorite thing about independent music stores is the “shop culture” – the things that happen day to day, the guitars that come in and go and the interesting folks you meet. I love it! At Thunder Road we try and give our customers that same experience online by offering great customer service and a very personal approach. I’m very hands on and if you are buying a guitar from us more than likely you will speak to me directly.

What has been the biggest challenge in setting up your shop?
The biggest challenge for me was to take this dream of mine and make it a reality. I’ve always dreamed of owning my place, but there’s a lot of risk involved when you start any new business. Like I mentioned earlier I have just opened my digital doors to the world, but so far so good.

In EU the current Gibson case “lacey act” has gotten a lot of attention, what is your perspective on shipping between US & EU? Have you had any problems regarding this case so far?
I’ve shipped a lot of guitars between the US and Europe in my time buying and selling instruments and I think it’s unfortunate that the “Lacey Act” has created the issues that it has. I’ve seen it scare off customers and make it harder for someone like myself or other dealers out there to share great Brazilian rosewood vintage instruments with customers around the globe. With that said, it seems that if you can provide proper documentation of your instrument and show that it was built before a certain time period then you will be fine shipping, or so I’ve heard.

Do you play music yourself? If so, what do you play, for how long have you been doing it?
I sure do. I started my first band at age eleven, before I could even really play guitar. Since then I’ve been lucky enough to play in two professional bands, put out records, tour the US for what seems like a million times, and also tour Europe. One time on tour with my band in Europe the border guards in Croatia didn’t want to let us in because we didn’t have work visas so we bribed our way in with CDs, T-shirts, and other merchandise. We ended up making it across the border and rocked a great show. I’ve had some pretty amazing experiences playing music. I am very grateful for my experiences and feel lucky for the opportunities I’ve been given through music.

What do you consider the biggest challenge for dealers of musical instruments today?
I would say the biggest challenge is also one of the greatest strengths, and that is globalization. When I first started working in this field the primary option someone would have would be to walk into a brick and mortar store to pick out a guitar. Now they have the entire world’s instrument supply at the click of a button. For us this has been a good thing because it allows us to connect with buyers worldwide, but it is also challenging because there is much more competition for sales.

How do you choose what products to carry?
I carry instruments that I like, plain and simple. I’m a big fan of American and import vintage guitars and amplifiers from the 50s, 60s, and 70s as well as modern custom shop instruments from Gibson, Fender, Martin, Gretsch, Marshall, Dr. Z, and Orange. Right now Thunder Road offers used and vintage instruments, but in the near future we will be expanding to include boutique guitars and amplifiers.

What role has technology (the internet, your website, etc.) played in the success of your business? Do you use social media channels to promote your business?
Technology is huge for us as we are an Internet based business. Without the huge role the Internet now plays in instrument sales it would have been much harder for Thunder Road to get off the ground. We use social networking as a source of promotion as well as a way to connect with our customers and keep them updated on new and exciting instruments we acquire.

Is there a general trend to the people who purchase from you, in terms of how skilled or experienced they are?
We sell guitars and amplifiers to folks all over the globe. Some touring musicians, some recording musicians, and some hobby rockers. The thing they all seem to have in common is a passion for great guitars. I love how into guitars my customers are and love talking with them about music, life, and instruments.

You are known for your dedication to providing a good customer service. What advice do you give to somebody looking to purchase an instrument from you?
Being a musician myself I would not want to carry or sell an instrument that I wouldn’t feel comfortable personally owning or playing. Being a business owner I want to give my customers the same experience I would expect from a guitar shop. We go to great lengths to get to know everyone who crosses our path, whether it is selling them something or a simple inquiry asking about a guitar. We want people to feel comfortable when they work with us and feel as though they’re getting a great guitar from a great shop.

Any famous last words?
I want to thank the fine folks at Vintage and Rare for this interview and thank you (the reader) for taking time out of your day to read about Thunder Road Guitars. Please check out our website: www.thunderroadguitars.com/

Airline H8396 – 1960s Sunburst
Gibson ES335 – 1965 Cherry Red
Gibson GA18T Explorer – 1960

Hook up with Thunder Road Guitars via their Media Channels:

Grinning Elk interview with Ray Mauldin from Grinning Elk

Hi Ray, thank you for taking your time to speak to us. Could you please tell as a little bit about Grinning Elk? Where are you located?
Lee and I have been attending shows together since 2000. At the time, I owned an electronics repair service and was well- established here in my hometown. Lee walked into my office one day and as we were talking, I asked him, “What exactly do you do, Man”? He answered, “I buy and sell vintage guitars”. Well, I had always been a gear junkie, having played in various bands around Atlanta for years and I thought that his answer sounded very intriguing, so I asked if I could go to a show with him sometimes. He said, “Sure” so in October 2000, we drove out to the Arlington, Texas show and on the way back, the idea of forming a company was born. Our office is in Douglasville, Ga., which is about 20 miles West of Atlanta.

What initially motivated you to set up a music store, and when was that?
We don’t have what is referred to as a “brick and mortar” store. We are primarily a web- based business and have an appointment only office where clients can set up a time to come and visit. Our office and company was officially opened in Sept. 2006.

In EU the current Gibson case “lacey act” has gotten a lot of attention, what is your perspective on shipping between US & EU? Have you had any problems regarding this case so far?
Not yet. In the last year, we have been asked to send only two guitars that had Brazilian Rosewood overseas. Both were vintage Martins and we decided that rather than take a chance on them being confiscated, we would sell them here in the U.S. Thankfully, our clients understood and the guitars sold easily here.

Do you play music yourself? If so, what do you play, for how long have you been doing it?
I have been playing bass since about 1987, which was right after I got out of the Army. Lee’s been playing guitar since the late 70’s, when he was in high school. I think he even won a talent show back then, so he obviously got an earlier start than I did. He’s a much more accomplished musician than I am. He’s taller too.

The Elk Nation….James Hetfield….could you tell us a bit more about that?
That was one of the best days of my life. It was a Sunday and I was lying on my couch, watching TV.  Metallica was playing Atlanta that night and was thinking I’d get tickets down at the arena right before the show started. Lee called me up and said, “Pull out those two Flying V’s and the ’65 Strat. We might be showing them to the guys in Metallica this afternoon”. I probably said something like “Yeah, sure we are” but he insisted that I get up off my comfortable couch and get ready.  So I begrudgingly did as he asked, thinking that this was a cruel joke because you just didn’t get to go meet Metallica on a Sunday afternoon, but sure as shootin’, two hours later, we were standing at the service entrance to Phillips Arena with those guitars in hand. James’ guitar tech, Zak took us into a room where we laid the guitars out and it wasn’t long before Hetfield walked in and started checking them out. He eventually bought the white ’75 Flying V. We later showed the Strat to Kirk Hammett, but he said it was too clean and “not vibey enough”. Go figure that one out!

What do you consider the biggest challenge for dealers of musical instruments today?
I think the most difficult part of our business today is completing a deal over the telephone or by email. It’s a challenge to sell a piece to someone that is halfway around the world with only a written description or with words spoken on the phone. We want to make sure that the guitar or bass being discussed is exactly what our client is looking for and will fit his or her needs. The last thing we want is to mail a guitar across the planet only to have it come back.  We try to do all of the legwork and preparation before the guitar goes out so that when it arrives at its new home, the customer opens the case and says “wow”. That’s our goal with every transaction.

How do you choose what products to carry?
That’s another challenge in itself. We are so picky when it comes to condition and originality, the pool of instruments we will consider buying is a small one. We want them all to be as close to new as possible and completely original. Every once in a while, we’ll purchase a guitar that might have broken solder joints or a replaced nut, but it’s a rare occasion. There’s even a term that’s been coined in our industry- “Elk clean”. I hear it all the time at the shows we attend and I’d like to think that it refers to best of the best.

What is the oddest guitar you’ve ever sold?
A few years ago, at the Philadelphia Guitar Show, we bought a 1986 Kramer Triax that was virtually unplayed. It was flip- flop pink and had its original flight case and all of the tags.  Very cool and very 80’s!

Do you have any personal favorite guitars in your shop? If so, why is said guitar your favorite?
My favorite guitars are usually basses, so at the moment, it’s a Rickenbacker 4003s8. It’s an 8- string bass in Desert Gold that was made as a “color of the year” piece in 2001. There can’t be more than one or two in the world. In terms of favorite guitars, we have the first Murphy- aged Les Paul ever made at Gibson and it’s one of the most authentic looking ’59 reissues we’ve ever seen. I think Lee’s got that one stashed away somewhere so I can’t get my hands on it.

Given that this is for a blog, what role has technology (the internet, your website, etc.) played in the success of your business?
Well, it has exposed us to the entire world. Anybody, anywhere with a little electricity, an internet connection or a smart phone can look at our inventory and buy from us. Think about it: prior to the establishment of the internet, most guitar dealers sold their gear from a store and if they did have any national or international exposure, it would have been through magazine advertisements. Now, you can place a banner on a forum and be seen by literally millions of visitors to that forum a year.  I once sold a 1967 Stratocaster to a gentleman in Belgium from my Blackberry, sitting in the parking lot of a local post office. You couldn’t do that ten years ago.

Is there a general trend to the people who purchase from you, in terms of how skilled or experienced they are?
The majority of our clients are professionals, serious collectors and higher- end musicians. They know their stuff when they call, they like what they see on our website so generally, the only thing left to discuss is price. The gear we have speaks for itself.

What advice would you give to somebody looking to purchase a guitar from you?
If you’ve never heard of us, check us out. Another important aspect of the internet is, if you consistently perform at a high level, people will say so. The various forums have become powerful mediums and people all over the world talk about their purchases, experiences, etc. If you make just one person unhappy, they will certainly say something about it somewhere. Your reputation is the most important thing your company can have. It’s everything.

Any famous last words?
Sure. It’s a Latin saying: “audentes fortuna iuvat, which means “Fortune Favors the Bold”. Or, on a lighter note, Two Elks are always better than one…

In 2010 V&R visited Arlington Guitar Show and Ray was kind enough to introduce us to some of his pieces: (The interview with Ray Mauldin starts at 1:43)

A selection of Grinning Elk pieces:
Korina Explorer R9
Gibson ES330T
Rickenbacker 660/12 Tom Petty
Gibson USA map guitar

Deimel Guitarworks Interview with Frank Deimel from Deimel Guitarsworks

Frank Deimel opened his guitar/bass-workshop in 1998 in Berlin. Some of his clients are Sonic Youth, Tocotronic, Nikki Sudden etc. We had a little chat with him about his work as a luthier.


Hi Frank, thank you for taking your time to speak to us. Could you tell us a little bit about how and when did you start your company? Where are you located?
I started my guitar-building company in Berlin during my study at the UdK Berlin, while I took the Industrial Design courses. I developed several designs of my guitars during that time, and besides that I got to known Berlin as a divided place. In 1998 I officially started the business, which is based in former west, called “red island”, it`s a place somewhere between Potsdamer Platz and Tempelhof.
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