The step-by-step story of how RS Guitarworks rebuilt a hurricane-damaged ES-335.

Rich Robinson onstage with his 1963 Gibson ES-335 at the 2008 Newport Folk Festival, pre-Hurricane Sandy.

We’ve all heard horror stories about instruments ruined by fires, floods, or other natural disasters, but sometimes these damaged goods do see a happy ending. When Hurricane Sandy handed lemons to Black Crowes guitarist Rich Robinson and his beloved Gibson ES-335 in 2012, he decided to make lemonade with RS Guitarworks and launch an intensive restoration project. These images document that amazing operation.

The emotional wallop of the acoustic guitar sometimes flies under the radar. Even if you mostly play electric, here are some things to consider about unplugging.

I have a love-hate relationship with acoustic guitars. My infatuation with the 6-string really blasted off with the Ventures. That’s the sound I wanted, and the way to get it was powered by electricity. Before I’d even held a guitar, I knew I wanted a Mosrite, which I was sure was made of fiberglass like the surfboards the Beach Boys, Surfaris, and the Challengers rode in their off time. Bristling with space-age switchgear and chrome-plated hardware, those solidbody hotrod guitars were the fighter jets of my musical dreams. I didn’t even know what those old-timey round-hole guitars were called. As the singing cowboys Roy Rogers and Gene Autrey strummed off into the sunset, the pace of technology pushed the look and sound of the electric guitar (and bass) into the limelight and into my heart. Imagine my disappointment when I had to begin my guitar tutelage on a rented Gibson “student” acoustic. At least it sort of looked like the ones the Beatles occasionally played. Even so, I couldn’t wait to trade it in.

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Megadeth founder teams up with Gibson for his first acoustic guitar in the Dave Mustaine Collection.

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Jazz virtuoso Lionel Loueke joins us in contemplating who we’d put at the helm while making the album of a lifetime. Plus, musical obsessions!

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