Bushwhacked by the Past (1965 Kay K350 Titan I Electric Guitar)

1965 Kay K350 Titan I Electric Guitar

This all came together in 1965 to form the Kay Titan I, a remarkably nice little guitar despite it’s looks. Technically, the Kay Titan I lasted only one year, although it was still around as the Kay Titan II beginning in 1966, when the juke box company Seeburg purchased the company.

A Nice Faucet But Can You Play It? (1963 Framus Television 5/118 Electric Guitar)

1963 Framus Television 5/118 Electric Guitar

What I’d gotten in that dark, dusty Philadelphia guitar shop was a 1965 Framus Strato Deluxe, essentially a solidbody version of the hollowbody 1963 Framus Television 5/118 shown here.

Losing It in TV? (1965 Teisco TRG-2L Electric Guitar)

Vintage 1965 Teisco TRG-2L Electric Guitar

How would you feel if you got a gig playing on your local television station and your gear didn’t work? Well, in a way, that’s what happened to me and this 1965 Teisco TRG-2L guitar! Sort of.

The Wages of Sin (1978 Kawai KS-700 Electric Guitar)

1978 Kawai KS-700 Electric Guitar

Now, I don’t really think there was – or even would have been – any sinful activity associated with this guitar. And the fact that its design is based in part on a religious motif is purely coincidence. But it is a funny story how this rare 1978 Kawai KS-700 guitar was discovered, in SinCity, no less.

Making a Guitar Living

I’ve been earning a living with my guitars now for thirty odd years. I did a stint as a commercial artist for a couple of years when I finished high school — I say commercial artist, what I mean is I worked in a commercial art studio learning the ins and outs — but after a couple of guitar playing jobs I decided to focus on music as a career. I could earn more in a couple of nights playing than in a week of the day job.

Buddy Meets Bigsby (1956 Bigsby Magnatone Mark III Electric Guitar)

1956 Bigsby Magnatone Mark III Electric Guitar

Bigsby’s first “commercial” design for Magnatone was the Mark III, a neck-through-body semi-hollow guitar, Bigsby’s take on a Ricky Combo. We know some of these were built because one turned up a few years back at an L.A.-area yard sale (how often have you had that fantasy!). But it appears that Magnatone’s production folks made some changes and almost all that are found with solid bodies and a glued-in neck with a “tongue” extension that slips in under the neck pickup. The formica pickguard and Daka-Ware knobs are a little dated now, but back in ’56 they were strictly the cat’s pajamas!

Roundup for a Texas Longhorn (1978 Hondo II Longhorn Electric Guitar)

1978 Hondo II Longhorn Electric Guitar

Most of us probably know this longhorned guitar shape from the legendary Danelectro Guitarlin. Indeed, this Hondo guitar was intended to be a tribute to that ‘60s beauty. Danelectro bit the dust in 1969, yielding to the beginnings of international guitarmaking.

Flip Flop Fantasy (1985 Ibanez XV500 Electric Guitar)

1985 Ibanez XV500 Electric Guitar

There are a lot of guitar stories in the BigCity. A lot of them come with names like Gibson and Fender and a lot of people follow them around like mindless lemmings, genuflecting at the sound of the names. And pay out lots of money. But luckily for you and me, there are a lot of other stories down obscure alleys and behind underpasses. Providing encounters where you come face to face and you say, “I gotta have that guitar.” And even luckier for you and me, there’s a guy on the other side saying to himself, “Oh boy, have I got a sucker on the line now!” Then for a couple hundred instead of a couple thousand clams you walk away with another cool – and usually very good – axe like no one else’s. The BigCity is full of these stories. This 1985 Ibanez XV500 is one of them.

Sex, Drugs and Rock ‘n Roll (1967 Fender Coronado XII Wildwood 12-String Electric Guitar)

1967 Fender Coronado XII Wildwood 12-String Electric Guitar

Yeah, man, that’s why we get into guitars, isn’t it? All of which is evident in this cool Summer o’ Love 1967 Fender Coronado XII Wildwood!

Guitar Tuning & Set-Up Tips of the Stars!

Tuning a Gibson Acoustic Guitar

This month’s column focuses on my pet peeves and some very important and yet overlooked aspects of guitar playing and your enjoyment of your guitar: tuning and set-ups. Everybody deserves to have a guitar that plays well, stays in tune, and is in tune with itself. This is not just the privilege of globetrotting superstars, but everyone who owns a decent instrument.