Finding the One
Guitarist Jeremy Ivey, PG editors, and our Reader of the Month discuss their personal holy-grail guitars.
Q: Do you have your dream guitar yet? What is it and why?
Photo by Cal Quinn
Jeremy Ivey — Margo Price
A: I have a Gibson Hummingbird and an early ’60s gut-string Gibson. I would love to have an early ’70s Martin D-28, but I’m pretty satisfied when it comes to acoustic guitars right now. My dream electric would be a ’67 sunburst Epiphone Casino with the original P-90s. I love Casinos because the hollowbody allows you to play it unplugged and write with it.
Photo by Cal Quinn
Current obsession: My obsessions lately have been playing with our 9-month-old daughter Ramona, painting (mostly with oils), re-reading Naked Lunch, and listening to Charles Aznavour and Sandy Denny.
Stewart McLellan — Reader of the Month
A: My ’93 Gibson Nighthawk. It used to belong to one of my idols, Shaun Verreault. I have several dream guitars, but this one I’ll be buried with. A DiMarzio Tone Zone wasn’t doing well in another guitar, but in the bridge position of the Hawk, it lit up. The mahogany is light, and there is a bell-like, almost Brian May tone from this particular guitar. It’s extremely versatile—I’ve taken it into any situation in all styles. This one sold out from under me in my local shop the day I saw it, but came back in a local buy-and-sell a few years later. Be careful, you can manifest anything!
Photo by Craig418 / CC BY-SA 3.0
Current obsession: Pushing forward with an improvisational style I began to form in the late ’80s: “feeling” where intervals should flow by sound, and less by familiar patterns. It’s freeing and dangerous all at the same time. It’s like cursive/script handwriting over typewriting. I’ve also discovered how responsive I am to drums played with soul. I play off the nuances. I concentrate on the pocket and become part of the music over being the guitar player.
Ted Drozdowski — Senior Editor
A: Mine fell into my lap in early 2015, when I was still a touring artist. Chris Mills of Zuzu Guitars asked if I’d be up for playing one of his instruments. I wrote him back with a description of my dream guitar—which would cover all the humbucker and single-coil tones I love in Gibsons and Fenders. He said, “I’ve got just the guitar.” A few days later it arrived, and I’m still in love. I dubbed my Zuzu, which weighs less than a Strat, the Green Monster.
Photo by John Thomas Collins
Current obsession: Nashville guitarist Dave Isaacs’ The Perpetual Beginner. There’s something inspiring in this book for every player.
Andy Ellis — Senior Editor
A: I love the twang of long strings, so meet my Martin J-28 and TV Jones Spectra Sonic baritones. Built with D-28 woods, the 27.5"-scale J-28 has a jumbo body (17" lower bout) and a big, sassy growl. I replaced its onboard active electronics with a passive L.R. Baggs M1 soundhole pickup, otherwise it’s stock. The 29.4"-scale Spectra has stock electronics, but I juiced the Bigsby with a Vibramate String Spoiler, TonePros roller bridge, Sperzel Trim-Loks, and curved Chet Atkins “wire” handle. Rock solid!
Current obsession: MasterClass online video instruction. It blows my mind to watch Annie Leibovitz, Neil Gaiman, Danny Elfman, David Sedaris, Herbie Hancock, David Lynch, Hans Zimmer, and Helen Mirren explain their approaches to creativity and craft.