vintage

It’s hard to argue with an acrylic-top guitar when it looks this cool!

The Hagstrom F-11 was built with improbable tone materials, but it still sings with zing.

Growing up in the shadow of the Martin Guitar Factory, I learned a thing or two about tonewoods. Quite a few of my friends got jobs at the factory right out of high school, and over the years, I’ve seen how woods are cured, selected, and cared for. The Japanese factories I’ve visited really took this idea to the next level. I’ve seen curing rooms with classical music being played to stacks of wood. I’ve seen huge storerooms with different woods sorted by age (some well over 100 years old), country of origin, and quality of figuring. Hell, I've even seen logs that were dragged out of Mississippi swamps, shipped to Japan, and cured.

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The Firstman Liverpool Deluxe looks extreme, but would you believe it once appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show?

I've had this month's story on my shelf for quite some time, because I could really weave so many interesting threads and connections to this guitar. How does one honor a tremendous man with huge contributions to music when limited to a single page? But I'm feeling like it's time to tell at least part of the story behind one of the most interesting people I've ever met through my love of guitars.

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The price of a vintage or boutique instrument is not tied to the playing pleasure it can bring.

In 1961, Italian artist Piero Manzoni sold a batch of serial-numbered cans of his excrement, which he titled Merda d'Artista (translated as Artist's Shit). All 90 of the 30-gram cans were quickly scooped up by patrons and collectors of avant-garde artwork. The selling price for these limited-edition articles was tied (by weight) to the price of gold, which, on some psychological level, may have increased their legitimacy or at least their worth.

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