Saturday, March 2, 2019

The Guitar Company

Last  year I paid The Guitar Company in Breda a visit to check out some guitars. I promised the owner, Erwin van Waardenburg, that I would return later to check out his new location in Etten-Leur.

Last week I noticed an ad for a 1947 Gibson ES 300 and it happened to be a guitar that was for sale at the Guitar Company. The guitar looked so gorgeous that I was very interested and quickly made an appointment to check out that blonde beauty. Erwin promised me to bring his own 1952 ES 350, a model that I had never played and was very eager to hear! Together with Eva (my daughter) we made the trip on a sunny sunday.

Of course the ES 300 was great in all respect. Mint condition, no issues at all and even the original frets showed little sign of wear. A closet queen! I could hardly believe my eyes when I first saw her. Such an old guitar in such a great condition. And she sounded like you'd expect from a P90 equipped vintage Gibson. Classic bebop sounds. Like a real lady, she was not cheap so I had to leave my beloved 63 Barney Kessel behind to be able to afford her but I quickly knew she going with me. I'll do a separate Blog entry on the ES 300 with plenty of specs on this model later so I'll move on to the other guitars that I played. 

The second guitar I played was a blonde 1952 Gibson ES 350, the cutaway version of the ES 300 What a great axe. It had a super comfortable neck with plenty of wear - I always like that - and it was equipped with two P90 pups and, like the ES 300, simply oozed bebop. Apparently it once belonged to Lloyd Davis, who recorded with Stanley Turrentine and Willis Jackson a.o. In the market for vintage ES jazz boxes, this is probably the most desirable guitar money can buy. But with prices ranging from 8-10 k on the market, they are not very affordable instruments ... If you can live without the cutaway, the ES 300 is probably just as great. The big difference with the ES 300 is the neck. The 300 has a mahogany neck and the 350 a maple one, thus making the 350 an all maple guitar.

The next guitar was a bit of surprise to me. Erwin handed me a 1958 ES 225 and it took me only a few seconds to realise just how great it sounded. I mean, I am not used to playing thinlines that sound so huge. I am familiar with the ES 125t but the ES 225 is really a big step up from that model. It hardly sounded like a thinline and was more in vein with the 300 and 350 that I had just played. Big fat boppy sounds. And that from a thinline ...

Next was a 1952 Gibson ES 295. The quintessential rock and roll guitar. I had actually never played one earlier. Basically it's a 175 with some fancy appointments, like gold finish, different tailpiece, ivory colored pup covers and a pickguard with gold floral design. To me, it just sounded like a regular 50s ES 175. Fine sounding vintage guitar but you have to be willing to pay a hefty premium for the 50s rockabilly mystique ...

The last guitar I checked out was a 1961 Gibson ES 335. At 22k, by far the most expensive one in the house. Though I once owned an 80s 335, my experience with vintage ES 335s is limited. This one is probably kick ass but I simply prefer hollow bodies. It did sound pretty big for a 335, so much I noticed.  

For a short impression watch the vid below. However the lofi sound hardly does the guitars justice. And my playing is not very focused ...

We drank coffee, talked guitars, jammed some and then ....I went home with a beautiful 72 year old lady! Thanks Erwin (The Guitar Company) and thanks Eva for driving me and taking the pics!

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