"Most of the guitars in my Gibson Custom Collection are newer reissues from 2001 to 2008. I made the jump and bought my first ‘59 from Willcutt’s guitars for $4000. It was a lot of money but quite frankly once I got the guitar, I realized I would rather have the guitar than the money so I was hooked and now have quite a few of them. The sound of a Custom Shop Les Paul is just so much better than anything else for rock guitar. I pretty much only play a Strat every now and then, especially for whammy bar gymnastics.
"Here are a few of my prime Custom Shop Les Pauls a few years ago. These are some of my favorites actually. However, I have never found one guitar or amp
that does it all. There is no true "favorite” -- they are all different. I have
never had a guitar I thought was "the one." Perhaps this is the devil’s
snare for materialism. I also could not fathom buying a real '59 because
I already worry enough when I put a '59 reissue in the back seat of my
car. Imagine getting a $300,000 guitar stolen?
Ice Water Mansion - Mark is second from left
"In the eighties I was in Ice Water Mansion
– a hard rock eighties hair band
from upstate New York. I used to use BC Rich (USA high
end), Dean (USA), Fender (USA) and Ibanez, but never liked seventies or eighties
Gibsons. I bought an '84 Explorer that just sucked. I only wish they had
the custom shop of today back then.
"This was a song I wrote
about being scared of the dark – “Ghosts in the mirror”. I used my
Marshall JCM 800 with a Fender Strat loaded with a humbucker with a
boss compressor as a boost for lead schwing.
"I don’t play in a band anymore at the moment but I certainly play about two hours every day and all weekend. I have twp boys, ages four and five who both love guitars. My four-year-old plays drums like a man and also loves his plastic guitar collection. He has about ten, which makes me wonder if we are teaching him the sin of excess which I never meant to do myself.
"I guess at 43, I am done trying to make it big so I just focus on playing for the soul and the enjoyment. When you play a guitar, you forget about the wood in your hands and just kind of get “out there” and that is my bliss.
"I have also really enjoyed building, testing and working on gear too. I never thought I would even play guitar past 25, but I guess it now plays me!"
Listen to Mark's Guitars
Mark was nice enough to share some YouTube clips of his guitars in action. Says Mark, "These are by no means anthing but my wife holding her sony camera sideways but you can sure hear the tone…"