Friday, May 18, 2012
I've loved guitars ever since I can remember. In fact, around the age of five or six, I remember my brother and I taking our dad's pieces of plywood, drawing the outline of a Lea Paul on them, then taking his jigsaw and cutting around the outline so that we could have our very own "Les Pauls." Of course, my favorite band at that time was Led Zeppelin so everything else in my world revolved around Jimmy Page and his No. 1 Cherry Sunburst Les Paul. But then reality would set it, dad would come home and realize what we'd done with his plywood and then use the remaining cut pieces to teach us both a lesson in the proper uses of "his" plywood!!! Bottom line, guitars have been an obsession of mine for a very long time, and today is no different. Which is why I couldn't think of a better topic for this blog other than to discuss my obsession with guitars and how it's now turned into a business for me! My obsession got me to Nashville when I took as job as Gibson's web editor in late 2006. But then the economy tanked a few years later and I found myself laid off by the company I thought I'd work for for the rest of my life. So much for job security! In hindsight, however, it ended up being the best thing that's ever happened to me (other than meeting my lovely wife and having our two beautiful children). Because today I have the pleasure of having a job actually enjoy waking up to in the morning and leaving the house for. For the longest time, I bought and sold guitars strictly over the internet. That's how I met my business partner. It was going so good for us - and my partner is such a forward thinking business person - that we decided to put a face on our business and open up a retail establishment, which we finally did about six weeks ago. I must admit, at first I was very skeptical. I was scared that dumping money into a "music store" in a town full of music stores and to that "guy" down on Broadway, that I really thought we wouldn't last long. But my partner made a very compelling argument ... something about "where do we go from here?"-type of argument that made some sense. But me being the ever pessimist that I am, I still had my doubts, and I dreaded seeing all that money going into the design and decoration of our store. I though for sure we would only last a handful of months before I would say something stupid to my partner like "I told you so." Looking back on it now - just a mere six weeks after our grand opening - I am very happy to say that it was I that was the fool. I'll be the first to admit when I'm wrong, and here goes ... I WAS WRONG!!! There ... I said it. I wasn't just wrong, either. I was grossly wrong ... terribly wrong ... wrong beyond anything I've ever been wrong about in the past. Because the feedback and support we've received since opening our doors on April 9, 2012 has been absolutely tremendous. And I can honestly - and thankfully - say that I owe everything that's happened to us to my business partner - and very, very good friend - Mr. Brady Seals. He's been the one that talked me into doing this. One of the main points of our partnership agreement was that if we couldn't both agree on something then we wouldn't do it. And I didn't agree with wanting to open a store. After all, who wants to give up working at home? In their underwear in front of a computer with dogs sitting at your feet? With a refrigerator just a few feet away, and all the comforts of home within arm's reach? Who in their right mind would want to lose that kind of freedom? I surely didn't. But after much prodding and persistence, and after looking at a dozen or so places that definitely didn't fit what we were looking for, we found Edgehill Village and all the good people there. And man am I glad we did. Today, I sit behind our counter, in front of a beautiful wall of guitars, talking to nice people about vintage guitars and amps all day long, making sales left and right, in a store that I would have never in my wildest dreams would have EVER imagined would be mine. I can honestly tell you that I am living a dream, and I thank God every day for it. I thank him for bringing my business partner and friend into my life, and I thank him for the wisdom he gave me to make the right decision when it came time to decide to either go with it, or lose another opportunity to open a retail store. The feedback from people has been phenomenal. People from all walks of life have stopped by and told us what a nice place we have, and are SOOOOO happy to see another vintage guitar store in Nashville that is actually nice to its clientele. All I can say is this ... THANKS to all who were involved in making this dream come true. Because that's what this is ... a dream come true ... for me, for my business partner, for my wife, and for my mom, who's always wished the best for me. So, thank you all again. And please DON'T EVER STOP COMING BY OUR STORE, OR SHOPPING WITH US ONLINE!!!! Our inventory is constantly changing, so check back frequently. And remember ... LIFE IS TOO SHORT TO PLAY A LOUSY GUITAR!!! Take care, GJH
Wednesday, January 4, 2012
Hey all you pickers out there! We hope everyone had a wonderful Holiday season and safe New Year. And we'd also like to wish everyone all the best for a great 2012.
As for us, we got our New Year started off on the right foot by purchasing some pretty incredible vintage and new, high-quality guitars over the Holiday season, many of which are now on sale on our web site at www.musiccitypickers.com.
You simply gotta see them to believe it.
First, we were incredibly lucky to get hooked up with the fabulous Rich Robinson of the Black Crowes (personally, one of my all-time favorite bands!), and we ended up buying a few of his prized guitars that he used during his time with the Black Crowes.
You've got to understand ... these guys buy and collect literally hundreds of guitars over the years, and Rich was no exception. He literally has a warehouse FULL of guitars, amps, effects, pedals, and everything else you'd expect one of the world's best guitar players to have! So at some point these great players start to consolidate and get rid of some things they may not be using as much anymore, and - like I said earlier - we were lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time when he decided to part with some of his personal stuff.
We already sold Rich's beautiful 2006 Gibson Custom Shop Les Paul Special (1960 Reissue in TV White) that was made for him by the fine luthiers at Gibson's famed Custom Shop. We sold it to a collector in Germany, who was EXTREMELY happy to get his hands on this unbelievable guitar. We had the chance to plug it in and play it for a few days before we had to sell it, and what a true pleasure it was ...
Obviously, it was professionally set up and tweaked to Rich's personal tastes, so all we had to do was plug it into one our own Marshall half stacks and let it rip .... needless to say, my wife didn't like me for a couple of days!
But that's OK ... I mean, how many times do we get to play Rich friggin' Robinson's guitar?!?!
So now we're offering guitar No. 2 in our exclusive Rich Robinson collection, which is an incredible early 1930s National Steel Duilian which Rich has had since the early 1990s, and the early days of the Black Crowes.
If you do a web search for Rich Robinson's gear, just about every listing that comes up will have a 1929 National Steel Duolian as one of Rich's main guitars. Well, this is it!!! We have the distinct pleasure of offering up for sale, and we know this thing won't last long, so if you have some serious interest then call us at 1-888-407-1019 and we'll give you all the details on it.
According to Rich himself - and documented on the Letter of Authenticity that accompanies the guitar - he used this fabulous vintage guitar on every single Black Crowes album from The Southern Harmony and Musical Companion (1992) until the last one, Before The Frost...Until The Freeze (2009). Of course, it also accompanied Rich on the road during many of the countless Black Crowes tours over the years, especially the last few years after he installed a pickup in it.
Personally, I remember Rich playing this guitar at several of the probably 15-to-20 BC shows I've seen over the last several years, including the last two at the historic Ryman Auditorium here in Nashville.
Needless to say, this is one pretty special guitar, and we are very proud to be able to offer for sale. So give us a call and we'll fill you in on all the great details, and pricing.
As for everything else we have sale, if you're a vintage guitar collector we're fast becoming one of the best vintage candy stores in the land. Check out these latest offerings:
- A beautiful, ORIGINAL vintage 1957 Fender Stratocaster, which is probably the nicest original 1957 Strat on the market today;
- Another 1949 Martin 000-18 that is just ONE SERIAL NUMBER DIGIT off from the last one we sold a few months ago (the first one was serial number 111576 and this one is 111575 - unbelievable, isn't it?);
- A vintage 1957 Gibson-125;
- An amazing - and VERY rare - 1966 Gibson non-reverse Firebird V; and
- A NEAR MINT 1964 Gretsch 6120 Chet Atkins Hollowbody guitar which will blow you away!
This is just a small sampling of some of the absolutely incredible vintage guitars we are now offering for sale through our web site.
And - as always - we are buying as many vintage guitars as we can get our hands on. The cool thing is that our phones are finally starting to ring from people all around the country looking to sell their vintage guitars to us. I guess the word is getting out that we're paying TOP DOLLAR for vintage guitars, amps, and other vintage gear, with no hassles, and LOVING every minute of it!
Like we've always said, our aim in this business is to make friends, not enemies, and it really seems to be working for us.
As a matter of fact, we got a call two weeks ago from Hank Williams, Jr. ... that's right, Hank Williams friggin' Jr., the son of the legendary country music star! He was looking for the perfect acoustic guitar to give his daughter Hilary (another budding Williams country music superstar), and he happened to see our beautiful 1963 Gibson Hummingbird with a couple of really cool rose decals on the top. Well, he saw it and played it over at Joe Glaser's shop here in Nashville and fell in love with it. Long story short, he bought the guitar for his daughter, and Hilary found it undernearth the Williams Christmas tree on Christmas morning.
Now, isn't that cool????
Needless to say, we're pretty excited about how good our 2012 has begun, and we plan on keeping up the momentum by continuing to buy and offer up some the best vintage guitars and vintage instruments in the land.
So, keep coming back ... because our inventory changes almost every day, and you just never know what you're going to find when you visit our web site.
And PLEASE don't hesitate to call us with any questions, concerns, rants, raves, or just plain 'ole guitar talk. We LOVE talking guitars and music, so we never mind the calls! Remember, we consider ourselves very lucky to be doing what we do ... this is definitely our dream job ... so please take the time and visit our web site, or give us a call. We promise you won't regret it.
Until next time, help keep the peace, be nice to your neighbors, and please spread some love in your world by buying and playing one of our vintage instruments!
We'll chat again very soon ... take care y'all!
Gabe and Brady
Tuesday, November 8, 2011
Hey there, and welcome to the “official” blog of Music City Pickers! We’re incredibly happy you’ve taken the time to get to know us, and what we do – which is buy and sell vintage guitars, amps, and other old or newer, high-quality musical instruments. We’ve only been around for a short time, but our plan is to stick around for a VERY LONG time, so we hope you enjoy what you read about us, and – more importantly – we hope you’ll become one of our many satisfied and happy customers.
One of the great satisfactions we get from what we do is listening to some of the stories that are shared about the instruments we buy and sell. We were very fortunate early on (just a couple of months ago, actually) to come across an acoustic guitar that was used by the late, great Keith Whitley, and it was absolutely fascinating to hear the story behind that guitar. We recently sold it to current country music superstar Chris Young, who played it live on the Grand ‘Ole Opry on Oct. 11, 2011, singing Whitley’s legendary classic “Don’t Close Your Eyes.” Not only was this a great moment for Chris, but it was a great moment for Music City Pickers as well, as we were able to really see what it means to someone like Chris Young to hold and play such a special instrument.
But you don’t have to be a superstar to have a fascinating story behind your vintage guitar or gear. And the story that follows is about a vintage guitar that we didn’t even buy, but the story is so cool that we thought we’d share it with you anyway, because we’re sure – especially if you love guitars like we do – that you can identify with the feelings of this very special guitar and the man that owns it.
This is a story about how an old, beat-up 1962 Gibson SG that was restored could come to make such a difference in the life of 75-year-old man by the name of George Inman.
The story begins on Oct. 3, 1959. That was the day that Inman — then a young Navy corpsman — walked into Byerly Bros. Music in Peoria, Ill., and laid down the first of 12 payments for a Gibson SG Special finished in white. Inman was basically a weekend picker who realized he couldn’t adequately support his family with his earnings from the Navy, so turned to music and a Harmony archtop to make some extra cash.
“I was starving to death with a wife and a house full of kids so I ended up playing music six or seven days a week, and sometimes twice on Sundays,” Inman said.
Over the next 15 months, while Inman was away fulfilling his naval obligations, his family made monthly $25 payments for the new SG until the owed balance was finally paid off in full on Jan. 10, 1961. The family packed up the new SG and sent it off to Inman.
Upon receiving the guitar, Inman and the SG began an odyssey not uncommon between a man and his guitar, although this bond was particularly special. Over the next 10 years, the SG accompanied Inman aboard every naval ship, and every assigned mission, including three different tours of Vietnam during the late 1960s.
On occasional sojourns, when Inman and his SG would return home for well-deserved down time with family and friends, the guitar also became a tension reliever and a means of escape. The SG wasn’t just a money-maker for his family; it became a loyal companion.
“For as long as I can remember, my father always had that guitar,” said Stewart Inman, 51, one of George’s seven offspring. “He was quite the hell-raiser in his day, and that SG just sort of fit his personality. He had a family he raised and took real good care of, but come Friday and Saturday nights, he’d be out playing his music with that SG. It brought out the rebel side of him. Everywhere he traveled, that guitar would go with him. He was all about that SG and his music.”
As the SG made its way around the world — and to various annual family gatherings — it began to show the wear and tear of the road. Somewhere along its journey, too, its pristine white finish gave way to a bright, metallic green sparkle paint job that was applied under rather capricious circumstances.
“Oh God, we were living out in California and this buddy of mine painted Cadillacs for a living,” George reminisced. “So one drunken Sunday we basically went out to his shop and gave it a new paint job. We loved it on Sunday, but we didn’t like it so much come Monday morning.”
Nonetheless, the guitar remained green. George’s playing days, however, were slowing down to a trickle, partly because the guitar also suffered a broken headstock at some point. The SG was eventually repaired by a luthier in Vermont in the early 1990s, “but it just never played the same,” Stewart said.
“After that, the guitar was just sitting around the house and it ended up in its case in a closet with a few strings on it,” he said. “Eventually, it ended up underneath my dad’s bed and it stayed there until we decided to get it restored.”
Longtime family friend Marty McGuire, who’d also learned to play guitar on an SG, was visiting the Inmans during the summer of 2007 when he inquired about the guitar.
“George was sitting there picking some off-brand ES-335 look-a-like, and his chops were as sharp as I recall them ever being, but his enthusiasm and zeal were missing,” McGuire said. “His true passion for playing seemed to be dead and buried. He just seemed lost, distant and disinterested. Like his glory days had left him behind.
“I asked him, ‘Why don’t you play your SG anymore? Whatever happened to it?’, and he told me about the broken headstock and how it just didn’t play the same anymore,” McGuire said. “I told him that I’d done some woodworking before and that I would take a crack at fixing it for him if he wanted me to.”
With some reluctance and even more prodding, George finally gave in and let McGuire take the guitar back home with him to North Carolina, where he would soon realize that the job of restoring such a valued instrument would probably be better left to pros. That’s when he contacted a very noted Nashville luthier, who explained the processes and time involved in restoring an instrument in the condition of George’s prized SG.
While there were some initial problems that had to be figured out before the restoration process could begin, they weren’t problems that couldn’t be overcome. So with the blessing of McGuire and George’s son Stewart — and without telling George — the Nashville luthier and his team began the laborious process of restoring the SG. Everything on the guitar was eventually repaired and restored to its original condition, including one of the pickups that needed to be rewound, the body and jack plate that needed to be reconfigured, the once-repaired cracked headstock and, of course, its original alpine white finish. It took many long hours and a little more than one year to finish the job, but time and money was no object to McGuire and Stewart. Their only concern was restoring George’s fire and passion for something that had once meant so much to him.
When the SG was completed in August 2008, it was sent to Stewart’s home in Lacon, Ill., in part because McGuire was busy serving his country in Iraq. Despite his involvement and determination to see the beloved instrument restored to its original glory, McGuire could not be present to see the look on his dear friend’s face when he first opened the case.
So, while the Inmans would surely miss their longtime friend, it certainly didn’t deter the anticipation felt by the entire family upon the guitar’s arrival.
“It arrived and I opened it up with my wife, and I was just shocked,” Stewart said. “I almost cried. I was itching to pick it up and play it … I was very tempted to plug it into my amp, but I didn’t do it. I wanted my dad to be the first one to touch it.”
A few hours later, Stewart walked into his father’s home with a brand new, black Gibson case containing the restored SG. George assumed his son had purchased a new Gibson — that is, until he opened up the case and saw his beautifully restored SG looking as good as it did the day it first left Byerly Bros. Music store some 47 years earlier.
“I almost cried,” George said. “When I opened the case and saw it sitting there in that white fleece lining, I just couldn’t believe it. It was like meeting an old friend again. It sounded just like it did when it was brand new.”
George didn’t waste any time either. He dusted off an old amplifier and plugged in the SG and turned it up.
“That guitar was his salvation,” Stewart said. “Opening up that case brought back so many memories for him that could never be replaced with anything else. We could never pay enough for what that meant to my dad. I simply cannot put into words what the restoration of this guitar has meant to my family.”
As you can see, it is stories like these that make what we do so very special. Whether or not we buy the vintage guitar doesn’t really matter.
We run across these types of stories every time we go out on the road to buy gear, and we love to hear about them. Because behind every single piece of vintage gear is usually a great story as to how it came to end up where it did, or what it meant to the people that owned it.
We at Music City Pickers definitely take into consideration the personal aspect of buying and selling vintage guitars, and we think this is what sets us apart from everybody else. This is not just a job for us. Vintage guitars are a passion – for both me and my partner, Brady. Both of us have been playing and tinkering with guitars for most of our lives. I know for me, I remember taking my father’s sheets of plywood, drawing the shape of a guitar on them, and using his old jigsaw to cut out the very first guitars I ever picked up and pretended to play.
Yeah, I probably could have lost a finger or two using that old jigsaw, but luckily I didn’t, and it spurned me on to finally get a REAL guitar and learn how to play. At the time, I was just six years old!
Our intention is to make this blog all about the stories behind our travels, as well as the stories behind the people we meet and the instruments they bring to us to sell. And while we might not buy everything that comes our way, we guarantee you that we will take the time to listen to where it came from, and what it means to you. And we’ll do it with a friendly smile, and a passion like no one else in this industry.
That’s a promise we will never break!
Thanks for reading, and check back soon for another great story.