Tag Archives: Les Paul



So lately this has been quite a discussed subject. Are Gibson not doing well? A lot of people seem to be talking about certain financial difficulties on Gibson’s end. Is this the case? Today we´re having a look at the situation and some key aspects that may have something to do with it.

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How about this once in a lifetime opportunity to get your hands on THREE vintage Gibson Les Paul guitars at once? Only $18.900.

This offer from McDermott Guitars is only valid for seven days so you better act quick.

mcdermott guitars gibson offer small

Offer is valid from Monday August 19th to Monday August 26th 2013.

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.

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

Eternal Guitars Interview with Dave Walsh from Eternal Guitars

Dave Walsh owns a small one man workshop in Britain where he builds authentically aged, “relic” electrical guitars. We had a little chat with Dave about Eternal Guitars and his working methods.

Hi Dave, thank you for taking your time to speak to us. Could you tell us a little bit about how and when did you start Eternal Guitars? Where are you located?
Hi there. I’ve been a luthier for almost 20 years – I originally did an apprenticeship in Denmark Street in the west end of London but in that time I’ve also worked in other areas of the guitar world, including writing for Guitar & Bass Magazine in the UK and a stint at Guitar Institute in London, but I’ve always loved repairing and making guitars. I moved away from London a couple of years ago down to the south coast of England and I had to start my business again, so I decided to do something a little different. I love vintage guitars and being a creative person with a bit of an art background, I found that I really enjoyed the relic process on the few guitars that I had done for customers in the past so I decided to begin making them. The first review that I received was very positive and now people are beginning to love the guitars because they sound as good as they look!

What motivated you to begin building aged “relic” electric guitars in the first place? And what type of guitars do you build? Standard models? Custom orders? How does it work?
The primary motivation was a love of the process. I’d seen plenty of relic guitars on the market – some very nice and others not quite so good! So I wanted to make aged guitars using high quality components and nitrocellulose lacquer which in my opinion sounds better than modern poly finishes and combine the look with my experience in setting up vintage guitars so that they play as well as possible and of course also sound amazing within a realistic budget. I offer standard models based on well known instruments but I also build hybrid, custom or totally one-off models.

Please describe to us how do you come up with the names for your guitars?
To be honest I can’t really take the credit or the blame for that! My wonderful girlfriend usually christens them depending on how they look. I don’t think she sees them (or anything else) as inanimate objects – and I think she’s right… : )

You are currently building your first bass guitar. How did that come about?
To be fair, it’s not the first bass that I’ve ever made but it is the first Eternal. I’d been wanting to make an aged bass from the beginning but time and constant guitar orders conspired against me! My good friend Chris (who also helps out with the marketing) is a bass player so we collaborated to make a special one for him. He has a particular style and sound that he needs so that’s why it ended up as a bit of a hybrid with modern hardware and his choice of pickups. It sounds thunderous though and he’s very happy with it. Next up will be a stock early ‘50s T-Type bass in butterscotch blonde…

Can you describe to us the process, from idea to conception, of building a great relic guitar or bass?
It may sound obvious, but it really does start with the wood. Every guitar – even electric ones – are acoustic in nature and if it doesn’t sound good unplugged then put it back on the wall and walk away! Ash, alder and mahogany bodies all sound very different too as well as maple or rosewood fingerboards so I go through a very long process of determining exactly what tone a customer is seeking before settling on the right wood combinations. Some are tried and tested like ash and maple for an early ‘50s T-Type sound but sometimes like on my T-Type Jr which is actually a hollow mahogany design it can be a bit more experimental. With the T-Type Jr I was looking for a fat, warm sound without the associated weight of a Les Paul for example and the result is a very lightweight but incredibly loud guitar. The pickups are only there to amplify the core tone and colour the sound to a point – we have a saying here that you ‘can’t polish a turd’ and with pickups that’s very true as they will never make a terrible guitar sound great. So once I know what a customer wants in terms of tone, the rest is about making it feel and of course look great by using the right finishing products, hardware and professional set-up.

Do you have one instrument that is your favorite or that makes you the most proud in terms of craftsmanship, sound, look, and so forth?
Oh, I love them all but the Blonde S-Type ‘Betsy’ is a truly wonderful guitar – as is the Custom T-Type that I made for Sound Venture Guitar Boutique. I also love the T-Type Jr as well as the new Olympic White over Three-Tone Sunburst J-Type that has just been christened ‘Lola’.

How do you consider musical styles and genres when building your guitars in terms of selection of pickups, woods etc.?
That’s good question. Usually a customer will have at least a vague idea of what they want, but not always, and some people are embarrassed by a lack of knowledge. Sometimes I have to coax it out of them but by asking the right questions I can usually narrow it down. As I’ve mentioned above, some wood and pickup combinations are classics that will work 99% of the time whereas sometimes I have to be a bit more creative and interpret what a customer needs and wants into a workable design. The Eleanor E-Type guitar is a good example – it’s owner Mike approached me to make a one pickup T-Type relic but with the feel and sound of an Ibanez Jem… On the surface, it looks like most of my other guitars but the neck profile is copied from one of Mike’s own Jem guitars, there are 24 frets on a 16” radius fingerboard with a bullet truss rod adjuster at the headstock. The lower cutaway on the body is deeper than normal for better access to the top frets and on the back the heel is sculpted away and there’s also a ribcage contour. The pickup is a DiMarzio Evo2 which is coil split and makes a great T-Type twang as well as all the usual hi-gain grunt. Oh, and there’s a kill switch and an angled jack socket like a Jem too…

Are your guitars especially common among musicians playing a certain genre?
Not especially. Obviously the more classic vintage designs lend themselves to certain styles of rock, jazz and blues but a great sounding guitar can work in any musical environment. Ultimately, I’m happy to build whatever the customer wants and if that means installing a Floyd Rose on a banjo then I’ll consider it..!

When building a custom guitar or a bass for a particular player, what considerations do you make?
It’s up to me to get it right first time so I ask A LOT of questions and nail down the exact spec. before picking up any tools. My guitars represent a fair investment for most people so they have to be right in themselves and for the individual player. Everything from fret size to the capacitor values can be specified and decided in discussion with the customer. Once the build is completed I then go through an exhaustive set-up procedure to ensure that the instrument plays at its best for the style that the player requires and most importantly how he or she plays because we all play differently…

Any interesting new relic guitars or basses on your workbench right now?
I’ve just finished a Reverse J-Type in Sea Foam Green that is a killer one pickup guitar and I’ve also been commissioned by a gentleman in Sweden to build a VERY obscure Jeff Beck S-Type which has been a lot of fun as no one anywhere has any real knowledge of the instrument except some footage from a German TV show in the early ‘70s.

Any advice for players looking to order a custom relic guitar or bass?
Don’t be afraid to ask! Almost anything is possible be it a straight copy of a classic vintage guitar or something hybrid or totally unique – drop me a line through the website or give me a call. I love a challenge too…

Given that this is for a blog, what role has technology (the internet, your website, etc.) played in the success of your business?
It’s vital in creating awareness if nothing else. Technology plays a huge role in marketing a brand or business and for a one man business based on the seaside in England it means I can reach customers worldwide as well as locally. I’m currently building guitars for customers in Sweden and Japan too – and that would never have happened without the internet…

Any famous last thoughts?
Thank you so much for talking to me! I now have to return to repairing guitars and refitting the bridge to an old 12-String acoustic  – it’s not all glamour here… ; )