The love child of a Gibson Flying V and Fender Telecaster? Meet the Fly-Caster. Although we don’t know what kind of wood this body is made of, there’s a lot of it here.
The serial number is stamped into the neck plate, along with “TV,” which presumably refers to the “TV yellow” finish, a color Gibson introduced in 1955 once they discovered that white Les Paul Juniors created an objectionable glare in the primitive television cameras of the day. Seen on a black-and-white TV, Gibson’s mustard-yellow finish appeared white—or close to it.
I love going to guitar shows. You get a little of everything there—new, old, expensive, collectable, rare, cheap, bizarre—you name it. A while ago, I drove down to the Spartanburg Guitar Show in South Carolina with my friend David Holt, who plays a lot with Doc Watson. David is into acoustic guitars, while I’m more into electrics. He walked right by this guitar and just kept walking (smart move). But I did a double take—it was one of the most bizarre guitars I’d ever seen.
Is it a Telecaster or a Flying V? Hey, it’s both! Meet the Fly-Caster in “TV yellow.” I first saw a picture of one of these as a joke in an e-mail that someone sent me last year. At the time, I thought it was a custom monster someone had hatched in a basement laboratory. But apparently, it’s an actual production model made in China for the Indiana Guitar Company.
I knew the dealer selling it because I’d bought something from him a few years ago. So he understood my bottom feeder nature, and when he saw me checking out this guitar, he approached me and said he had several of them he was trying to get rid of. He whispered he could do a lot better than the $200 price tag on it, and to let him know if I was interested. I asked him how much better he could do, guessing that he would probably say $175. When he said $125, I immediately said “deal,” shook his hand, and paid him cash to close the deal before he could change his mind.
Bottom Feeder Tip #279: When someone offers you a great deal, don’t look a gift horse in the mouth. Accept it as a gift from the gods and don’t ask questions. The seller told me there was also a gig bag included, and that was just icing on the cake for me. When David walked back and saw what I had just bought, he shook his head and laughed. “What were you thinking?” he muttered.
When I got the Fly-Caster home, I really didn’t expect much. However I was pleasantly surprised when it played rather well and sounded pretty darned good through an amp. Very Telecaster-ish. And the weight isn’t quite as bad as one would think. Mine weighs in at 9.8 pounds. Not bad considering the amount of real estate involved here.
So is it a keeper? Yeah, for now. Why not? It’s unique, it gets a laugh whenever I show it, and the price was right. My serial number is in the low 50s, so that tells me there probably weren’t that many made, and it might even become a collector’s piece someday (probably long after I’m dead and gone).
Will Ray is a founding member of the Hellecasters guitar-twang trio. He also does guitar clinics promoting his namesake G&L signature model 6-string, and produces artists and bands at his studio in Asheville, North Carolina. You can contact Will on Facebook and at willray.biz.