Tag Archives: Vintage

Limited time offer: Save BIG on these three Gibson guitars!

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.

V&R Proudly Presents Bass Gear Ltd (UK)

We have had the pleasure of meeting our friend and partner Phil Nixon who is the owner the shop Bass Gear Ltd based in Twyford, in the outskirts of London. As the shop name suggests, it is exclusively dedicated to dealing with bass guitars and other bass gear.

At Vintage & Rare we are very happy to work with Bass Gear since their philosophy harmonize very well with ours. In the spirit of Vintage & Rare, Bass Gear focuses on bass guitars that are generally hard to find. This typically involves low volume production brands as well as iconic vintage basses. Bass Gear does not stock just anyting, but only what fits within this philosophy. Visit Bass Gear on Vintage & Rare to view a selection of world class basses for sale.

In the short video clips below you can watch Phil present himself, his shop and not least some  incredibly fine basses. Enjoy!



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.

Nick Hopkin Drums Interview with owner Nick Hopkin

Nick Hopkin, funder of Nick Hopkin Drums took the time to answer our questions. After several years touring in Europe as a drummer, Nick started Nick Hopkin Drums… from a hobbie to a full time job, he tells us the story of his company.

Could you please tell us about Nick Hopkin Drums? Where are you located?
I’m an independent drum shop specialising in classic and vintage drums. Located in Wales, UK, I ship worldwide with customers in USA, Canada, Australia and Europe so far. I sell Full kits, snare drums, stands, pedals, cymbals, spares… you name it really.  1940’s-1980’s.American – Ludwig, Slingerland, Gretsch, Rogers; English – Premier, Beverley, Ajax, Olympic; European – Trixon, Sonor ASBA, and lots more. I at least clean all the drums that come through my shop. Some need a complete refurbishment. Original fittings and parts are replaced as required. I also sell Remo drum heads including pre-international sized for pre-1968 premier drums.

What initially motivated you to set up an online drum shop, and when was that?
I started restoring a 1960’s Premier set in red glitter some years ago and began attending drum fairs and reading lots of books and articles online about vintage drums.  I soon outgrew my garage and needed a workshop; I outgrew that within 3 months and so opened a shop! Its something I’ve always wanted to do, and it all just kind of happened. People heard what I was doing and got behind me; other dealers offered me spare parts and advice and it quickly grew into a fully fledged business. Its still very early days and I have lots of ideas and plans, but small steps at the moment.

Are you a musician yourself? If so, when did you start to play, what styles/genres. Are you still active in bands and other projects?
As a child i always banged pots and pans. I have memories of drumming along to The Dave Clark Five’s ‘Bits n pieces’ on  tupperware tubs, filled with a few marbles and covered with greaseproof paper and sellotape… the heads never lasted long! I played snare drum in primary school and progressed to lead drummer in the Boys Brigade marching band  aged 12 and then onto my first kit, a 1960′s Premier in red sparkle with a matching Royal Ace snare. It won my heart and I still have it now. I spent my teens and twenties playing in numerous bands – pop, funk, jazz, metal – playing thousands of gigs across the UK and Europe. I stopped playing in bands 10 years ago, and until about a year ago have been recording and producing my own music and releasing it online. I sometimes play in my local church on a Sunday and take along the latest kit to come in!

What do you consider the biggest challenge for drum dealers today?
Quality. So many vintage kits appear on auction sites, but they’ve been adapted over the years with newer parts;they often have extra holes or the original wrap has been painted or removed. Its hard to pick up classic drums that are both original and in good, playable condition.

How do you choose what products to carry?
The market is open to all brands – some people prefer American, some English, some European; some buy only from a particular era, so I try and buy across the board. I try to stock the classic English and American snare drums and good quality drum kits. As a rule, I stock drums that are in good condition structurally; wrap and chrome can be cleaned and polished to look new again, but drum shells with too many extra holes or structural damage are a no. Occasionally I re-wrap the drums.

What is the coolest drum set you’ve ever sold? A great story to share?
I recently sold an early 70’s Hayman Vibrasonic set to legendary British drummer Steve White (Style Council, Paul Weller, Oasis, etc). I’ve just acquired a Premier Projector kit in a custom black glitter (22,10,12,13,14,16) which was made for Nigel Glockler of Heavy Rock band Saxon, in near mint condition. A great story?  A lady in America bought a 10” Ludwig tom in champagne sparkle for her husband last month as a birthday surprise…he’d been looking for one for 3 years! I wish I’d been there to see the look on his face.

Do you have any personal favorite drums in your shop? If so, why is said drum your favorite?
I fall in love with pretty much every drum I buy, but have to let them go (most of the time!). I adore a 70’s Slingerland ‘Buddy Rich’ wooden snare drum with TDr strainer; Kit wise I’m currently torn between the 70’s Ludwig Super Classic in 24,13,16 and the 60’s Gretsch round badge in 22,13,16…both kits go out as studio hires, so I have the chance to play them at lunchtimes! The 70s niles badge COB snare drums are pretty nice 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 has been invaluable. Presently, 90% of my sales are done online. I realised a full e-commerce website which offered worldwide shipping was important from the beginning, if my business was going to be successful. I’ve been fortunate enough to be featured on popular drumming websites and on specialist sites such as Vintage & Rare; along with sites such as facebook, twitter and linkedin, I’ve been able to develop a positive online presence for my business. The many drumming forums have enabled me to connect and communicate with the worlwide drumming community.

Is there a general trend to the people who purchase from you, in terms of how skilled or experienced they are?
No, it’s right across the spectrum from beginners to professionals. I try to educate young players and show them that they can by a vintage kit that looks and sounds stunning, often for less than a mid range modern kit. Vintage English drum kits are very affordable at the moment, and with quality shells and die cast hoops, they sound great!

What advice would you give to somebody looking to purchase a drumkit from you?
Decide on what drum sizes you prefer and what your budget is, and take it from there. I recently read an interview with a famous drummer who said that all the classic kits were 20 or 22” bass drum with 13” tom and 16” floor tom; this wasn’t a mistake! Tonally, those sizes complement each other. Despite the modern trend to add smaller toms and larger floor toms, I think the 4 piece set up will always remain a best seller.

How do you see the international vintage drum market today?
Its very exciting, as I constantly come across kits and snares that have been stored for 40 plus years and are in great condition. Thanks to the internet and specialist sites such as Vintage & Rare and my own website, vintage drum kits are easier for customers to buy.

Are your drums especially common among musicians playing a certain genre or style?
I think that a classic drum kit will sound good within any style or genre of music. Head choice, drum sizes and tuning play the key roles in adapting to different styles. Taking Gretsch as an example, vintage Gretsch drums can be heard on most of the great jazz recordings, all The Rolling Stones’ records (Charlie Watts), and on the new Feeder and Take That records (Karl Brazil). Unlike guitars and amplifiers which have distinct sounds associated with particular genres and eras of music, I think the sound of a vintage drum kit is timeless.

Any famous last words?
Don’t you just love the smell of a vintage drum when you first take the head off….

Website – www.nickhopkindrums.com
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/nickhopkindrums
Twitter – https://twitter.com/NickHopkinDrums
LinkedIn – uk.linkedin.com/in/nickhopkindrums

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/

Isolated guitar and bass tracks

We love vintage musical instruments and we love vintage recordings.

The sixties and the seventies have been the most exciting decades in terms of sound research and recording technique. However, we love it when the technology which is surrounding us nowadays provides us with a whole new way to listen to our favorites.

Digital technology such as the moog file format and even popular video-games such as Guitar Hero allow us to tear a song a part and listen to one isolated track at the time. Whether the purpose of doing this is to learn thoroughly a song on guitar or find out what kind of mixing tricks have been used to create the sound that we love so much, what we discover is astonishing and inspiring. The musicians’ skills and technique don’t seem to be quite as important as the feeling they’ve put into it. We often find mistakes in the execution, mistakes that disappear or even add a magic feeling when we listen to the track in its whole.
Many isolated tracks are hosted on youtube. As Vintage & Rare we picked our top 5. Needless to mention that these tracks are taken from the history of rock.

So, whether you’re looking for inspiration or if you want to analyze how your guitar hero used to rip his instrument in the studio, or how he wanted his track mixed in your head, go ahead and check these links. But beware! It might sound bad from time to time..but hey!! Who cares about perfection? These people wrote a piece of history. And we all should be grateful.


The Beatles – SUn King – Guitar track

The guitar bounces softly from the left to the right and back again creating endless space in our mind..

The Who – My Generation – Guitar Track

In this live recording from the 1970 Pete Townshend’s shredding guitar. You can hear a couple of the purely valve sounds we still love so much. Something punk rock bands are still trying to reproduce today. Pure rock ‘n’ roll.

Black Sabbath – Into the Void – Guitar Track

Pioneers of heavy metal..Double tracking fills up your ears and kicks ass. At 3:08 min Tony Iommi gives his best.

Nirvana – Kurt Cobain – You know you’re right – Guitar Track

Noisy and cool..this track reveals Kurt Cobain’s taste in guitar sound and songwriting. His typical alternating quiet verses with noisy choruses. And how he holds the feedback at 1:16. Amazing!

Rage Against The Machine – Killing in the name – Bass track

Tim Commerford grooves his way through the song..It’s hard not to imagine the drums pattern though..The rhythmic session in this song is a badass rolling stone.

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:

Peter Frampton and the doomed 1954 Gibson Les Paul

From time to time the unthinkable happens. We all know somebody who knows somebody it has happened to. And we all retell the story to friends and familiars with quacking voices, shivering hands and fear painted in our eyes. I’m talking about a musician’s ultimate nightmare: The losing of your favorite instrument. This was exactly what happened to guitar legend Peter Frampton in November 1980 when a cargo plane carrying his precious 1954 Gibson Les Paul crashed during takeoff in Caracas, Venezuela tragically killing the pilot and co-pilot.

The master piece seen on the picture to the left was presumed lost for 31 years until it finally reemerged last month having spent just over three decades on a little Dutch Caribbean Island called Curaçao. So what happened?
In 2010 (before the reemerging) Frampton gave an interview to rumerz.com as his Gibson signature model of the very same guitar hit the market. Frampton traces the history of how he came in possession of his ’54 Les Paul and it’s clear that he was still dealing with the loss at this point:


What is it about your black Gibson Les Paul that you love so much? How did it come about for you to release a signature model with Gibson?
[Frampton] “The original black Les Paul that I had was when I was playing with Humble Pie supporting the Grateful Dead in San Francisco back in ’70 or so. I had swapped a Gibson SG for a Gibson 335, a semi-acoustic. With the loud levels we used to play, when I turned it up for solos, the sound was just all over the place, whistling feedback, you know. There was someone at the concert that heard the problem, and he offered to let me borrow his Les Paul for the next show. I told him I’d never had luck with a Les Paul and that I preferred SG’s. He brought it ’round to the coffee shop the following day, and it was this 1954 Les Paul. I played it that night. He had re-routed it for three pickups instead of two and it was recently refinished by Gibson. It looked brand new. I don’t think my feet touched the ground the whole evening. It was just such an amazing guitar. I came off stage and told him thank you, and asked if he’d ever want to sell it, and thanks so much. He said he didn’t want to sell it to me, but he offered to give it to me. He gave it to me. Mark Mariana is his name. We keep in touch even today. Unfortunately in 1980, we had a disastrous plane crash with all our gear on it in Caracas, Venezuela. The pilot and co-pilot were lost, and their loss was very tough. Their lives meant so much more than that guitar. I’m not saying I don’t miss it, but it was a piece of wood compared to their lives.

Cut all the way forward. When I moved to Nashville about 13 years ago, I used to go hang out at Gibson. It was like my club, and I’d go hang out with the luthiers. I made a lot of friends at Gibson. Mike McGuire, the head of the custom shop, suggested one day that they should make a Peter Frampton model. We spent a year working together on trying to make it as much like the original as we could. I tried to give him as much information as I could from what it felt like, and they came so close. I love my guitar. It’s probably nothing like the other one, but I love what they did for me. We’re over 500 made now, and the PF Custom is out there and the collectors love it.

Little did Frampton know that while this interview was being made heavy negotiation was going on between the local Curaçao musician who had the instrument, Mr. Balentina – a local customs agent who spends his spare time repairing guitars, a hardcore Frampton fan from the Netherlands as well as the head of Curaçao’s tourist board Ghatim Kabbara. Confused?
Well apparently the guitar was saved from the burning wreckage of the plane and sold to a local musician from Curaçao. For the last 30 years the still unidentified musician has been using it playing hotels and bars on the Island totally unaware of the instruments history. Two years ago he handed the piece in to free time guitar repairman Donald Balentina. N.Y. Times’ James C. McKinley JR. tells the story:

Asked to repair the guitar, Mr. Balentina noticed the unusual third set of pickups and burn marks on the neck, Mr. Kabbara said. The customs agent began to suspect the guitar might be the one Mr. Frampton had played on the “Frampton Comes Alive!” album. He consulted with another Frampton fan in the Netherlands, who confirmed it had all the earmarks of the missing Gibson. Mr. Balentina also sent photos of the inner works of the guitar to Mr. Frampton. Mr. Frampton said he was stunned when he saw the photos; it looked like guitar, he said, but he could not be sure.

For two years Mr. Balentina tried to persuade the local guitarist to sell the instrument, and finally, in November, facing a financial problem, he finally agreed. But Mr. Balentina did not have money and, afraid another buyer might scoop up the guitar, he approached Mr. Kabbara at the tourist board.

Mr. Kabbara, an amateur guitarist who admires Mr. Frampton, agreed to put up the board’s funds to purchase the guitar, on one condition. He and Mr. Balentina would take the guitar to Mr. Frampton as a gesture of goodwill. “I thought the right thing to do was to give him back his guitar,” he said. “This guitar was him. The whole 1970s was this guitar.

Mr. Frampton, who is 61, said he hopes to play the guitar again when he appears at the Beacon Theater in New York in February. For now, he has left the instrument at the Gibson Custom Shop in Nashville to have some minor repairs made. The neck is still straight, he said, but he must replace old pickups with new ones, made to the same specifications as the original coils. But he said he will leave the burn marks and scrapes alone. “I want it to have its battle scars,” he said.

Ca. a month ago Mr. Kabbara managed to seal the deal via public funds and travelled to Nashville to hand over the guitar to Frampton. The moment he picked it up he knew it was the same ’54 Gibson Les Paul he almost exclusively had used throughout the 70’ies most notably perhaps on his 1976 breakthrough “Frampton Comes Alive!”. In a phone interview with N.Y. Times Frampton states: “For 30 years, it didn’t exist – it went up in a puff of smoke as far as I was concerned.”. As seen on the picture a clearly very happy Frampton is now reunited with his long lost love. To his webpage Frampton states:

I am still in a state of shock, first off, that the guitar even exists let alone, that it has been returned to me. I know I have my guitar back, but I will never forget the lives that were lost in this crash. I am so thankful for the efforts of those who made this possible…And, now that it is back I am going insure it for 2 million dollars and it’s never going out of my sight again! It was always my #1 guitar and it will be reinstated there as soon as possible — some minor repairs are needed. And, I just can’t wait to get Mark Mariana on the phone.

V&R like to congratulate Frampton for getting his prized possession back after all these years and also send a big thanks to Frank Gross from Thunder Road Guitars for making us aware of this story.