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Reader Guitar of the Month

Name: Bill Follett

Hometown: Calabasas, California

Guitar: Plectron Labs Prototype #1

After a California wildfire destroyed his home and all his instruments, a guitarist took matters into his own hands and started building for the future.

This adventure started with an event that none of us ever want to experience. I had 10 minutes to gather a suitcase, some pictures, and choose one (and only one) guitar to save. It was 2 a.m. at our home in the mountains on the outskirts of Los Angeles when we got the call to evacuate immediately because of an approaching wildfire. We had to fit whatever we could into our cars. I left some expensive guitars, including two that I’ve had for over 40 years, but brought my number one, my Reverend Spacehawk. We lost the house and everything in it. I replaced a number of guitars with insurance money, but still, my desire for guitars vastly outpaced my budget. Then Covid hit.
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When Louis Cato received this Univox LP-style as a gift in high school, it needed some major TLC. A few years later, it got some practical upgrades and now makes regular appearances with Cato on The Late Show.

Photo by Scott Kowalchyk

The self-described “utility knife” played drums with John Scofield and Marcus Miller and spent time in the studio with Q-Tip before landing on Stephen Colbert’s show as a multi-instrumentalist member of the house band. Now, he’s taken over as the show’s guitar-wielding bandleader and is making his mark.

It’s a classic old-school-show-biz move: Bring out the band, introduce them one by one, and build up the song to its explosive beginning. It’s fun, dramatic, audiences love it, and that’s how every The Late Show with Stephen Colbert taping starts.

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Name: Jobe Jude
Hometown: Columbus, Ohio

Guitar: Julie (and many more)

Battling a scary health diagnosis during the pandemic, a guitarist set out to conquer some bucket-list items and learned how to build his own pickups. He’s built 13 guitars and counting.

I’m an avid reader of Premier Guitar and have been modding Fenders since I can remember—way before the name “partscaster” was ever used. I’ve been battling bladder cancer the past few years. Little did I know just how important my love for single-coil Strats was going to change my life. Due to the Covid-19 shutdown, I couldn’t have surgery for five months until hospitals opened surgical wards again. I was going through chemo treatments and cancer was consuming my life. I had to find a way to keep myself and my mind busy. I couldn’t be around anyone, so what was I supposed to do? It seemed like every waking moment was being consumed by thoughts of cancer, cancer, cancer.

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Name: Dana Welts

Hometown: The Berkshires, Massachusetts
Guitar: Custom Teardrop

A guitarist enlists his friend to build a teardrop guitar like the one he saw Brian Jones playing with the Rolling Stones in the early 1960s.

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Name: Rod Vardeman

Hometown: Atlanta, Georgia
Guitar: The CooderMapster

An affection for Ry Cooder and Arlen Roth inspired this glorious guitar amalgamation.

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