A few things struck us about Russ Dunn's collection. First, was the variety -- he's no Fender or Gibson devotee. Second, was the amount of one-of-a-kind, handpainted and modified guitars. Finally, we were convinced to show off Russ' collection when we realized that it represented one thing: a love for the instrument. There's nothing snooty about his collection -- no vintage treasures or high-end masterpieces -- instead you'll see a collection of guitars that Russ just plain likes.
"The physical guitar for me is an art piece," Dunn explains. " I really don't know if there is any consistency in my collection. Some I bought because of the beautiful wood and finish. Some had a really cool shape. Some are just plain weird and unique."
His collecting hobby began as a way to boost his motivation to play. "I played a little bit in college, and then after college I jumped into my career in fiber-optic networking. Working a lot and trying to climb the corporate ladder I found that I never had time to play but seemed to have a little spare cash. I think I started collecting because I believed that if I got a new guitar I would somehow budget my time for more playing and practicing. So, I'd buy another guitar and a few months later another. Before I knew it I had a dozen guitars, then two dozen, and today I think I've passed the 50 mark."
Russ now plays worship music at a friend's church. His rig is simple, just a Line 6 POD XT through a Line 6 Spider Amp, and a Fender Acoustasonic 30 for acoustic songs. He says, "It's nothing high end, but I can come up with a variety of sounds and it's easy to blend in with the worship band when you're trying to imitate other artists' sounds... I have fun playing with different effects and just adding a little dimension or alteration to the music I'm playing."
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"On the far left is a hot-rodded V guitar by Stagg. Yup, those are chorme exhaust pipes coming out of it -- I just have to figure out how to get it to smoke! After that is a BC Rich Mockingbird, which is actually an acoustic thin-body done in transparent blue. After thatis my Star Wars Yoda guitar, which is part of a series of three Star Wars guitars that Fernandez did. On the end is an American flag guitar by Galveston."
"Continuing down the same wall, to the far right is a Fender Strat that I had a local artist paint up to match Eric Clapton's "Tuxedo" Guitar. Next to it is an Epiphone USA map guitar. Someday I'll probably woodburn the states into it. Third in line is a Kramer Pacer guitar that I had custom painted with a Mustang theme. If you look closely, you can see a flaming horse running down the neck. I've hardly played these guitars; they hang over my staircase and are pretty much just for show."
"The natural-finish guitar that is partially cut off is a Washburn N2 Nuno Bettencourt model -- a true shred guitar with great neck action. After that is my BC Rich 10-Bich. This is the more recent recreation of the original that was introduced in the late seventies. I loved this guitar from the first time I saw it in a Jefferson Airplane video -- with four of the strings strung backward and the tuning pegs down past the bridge, this guitar was an awesome design and concept.