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Looking Backwards and Forward (not at the Same Time)

"The Mexican" found in Guadalajara, Mexico where it had spent 40 years as a player

Everybody does a year ender so why would I be any different. Call this post highlights of 2010 and predictions for 2011 or just random musings for the most boring day of the year (OK, maybe Easter but at least the weather doesn’t suck). I think the biggest thing that happened in the guitar part of my life was starting this website and blog in April of 2010. I somehow managed to write 120 posts in 9 months and never ran out of subject matter. Let’s see if I can do another year without repeating myself. This was also the year I went from collector/player to collector/player/writer to collector/player/writer/dealer.  The dealer part was quite by accident , really. I always bought and sold 4 or 5 guitars a year, almost always 335’s or 345’s as I searched for my “keepers”. When I started writing this blog, folks started coming to me to help them find 335’s and also to help sell them. These opportunities pushed me decide to become a dealer. Rather than just being a “guitar” dealer, I decided to be a 335, 345 and 355 dealer, keeping my focus as narrow as possible and learning as much as I could about these great old girls. Yeah, I might take a trade on a Fender something or othercaster and you’ll see them up for sale here or in my Gbase store but my acquisitions will be only the best 335’s, 345’s and 355’s that I can find. I’ve developed a pretty good system for finding the ones that are under beds and lurking in closets-often with the help of regular or, sometimes, casual readers. Since April, I’ve somehow attracted 4,790 unique visitors, most of whom keep coming back. This doesn’t exactly put me in the top 100 but I’m happy to have every one of you. And you’re spending a bit of time here as well. The average reader spends almost 2 and a half minutes here each time he or she shows up.  While you were sitting at your computer reading, I was out in the real world where  I had three or maybe four extraordinary “finds” this year-the kind most collectors dream about. The first was the blue Trini Lopez. This came from Ebay and there was actually a second one that came up this year as well. The rumor has always been that there are only 12 of them but I think there are more. The next one was “The Mexican”-a super rare cherryburst stop tail 65 ES-335 that lived in Guadalajara for 40 years. Guts? You want guts? Who buys a guitar from Guadalajara from a guy with zero feedback? Guts…guts I tell you. There are something like 10 of these in the world. Next and perhaps the best of all was the red 59 ES-345 that isn’t supposed to exist. This guitar seems to have its own built in curse as it caused me to take an inordinate amount of crap from some members of the Les Paul Forum and was, in fact, the event that made me decide to become a dealer. There are now at least 4 of them that have surfaced but mine still is the oldest of those that have turned up. While it isn’t mine any more, I am thrilled to have owned it. It is the single most beautiful guitar I have ever seen and one of the best players to boot. This one did not come from Ebay. Guitars like this never do. I never gave it a name ; I only had it for a couple of months and spent as much time looking at it as I did playing it. The color, as my wife put it, just “breaks your heart”.  It was the color of a freshly sliced watermelon on a hot June afternoon. So, I’ll call it “The Watermelon”. Almost as extraordinary was “The Hoosier Daddy”-a 61 ES-335 I found in Indiana that the original owner got as a gift for his grade school graduation from his Aunt with the stipulation that he take one year of lessons. Well, he did just that and then put the guitar in the closet at his Aunt’s house where it remained, undisturbed and unplayed for 47 years. The Aunt passed away in the Summer of 2010 and the owner was cleaning out her house and found his old guitar in the closet. He agreed to sell it to me. I still have that one. So those were my high points, along with starting this site and my Gbase store. I’ve had a lot of fun doing this and I’ve enjoyed the input from you, my readers, so keep it up in 2011. If you’re looking for something, I’ll help you find it. If you’ve got one to sell, I’ll try to help you sell it. If you need to know what its worth, I’ll help you with that too. If I find the same grade of guitars in 2011 that I found in 2010, I know it will be a successful year. They are out there. Under beds, in closets, basements and attics just waiting for me-or you-to find them. It takes time and perseverance and, yes, luck and I had all of that this past year. But I also had all of you and that’s just as valuable because without readers, I’m pretty much telling myself stuff I already know. One resolution for 2011: I promise to find some other backgrounds for my photos. You must be getting pretty tired of that black leather chair.

We'll call it "The Watermelon" a guitar so beautiful it breaks your heart. The actual color cannot be captured on a digital image.

"The Hoosier Daddy" The finest 1961 ES-335 in all of Indiana (so named because, uh, Indians once lived there).

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