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Not Hip?

Here's a wall of hip guitars at Southside Guitars. Jazzmasters and Danelectros. Classic hipness.

I stopped by Southside Guitars in Williamsburg, Brooklyn last week because Ben Taylor (no, not that Ben Taylor), one of the owners, was interested in my 59 ES-345. Williamsburg, for those who aren’t from around here, is the ultra hip part of Brooklyn that used to be cheap until the hipsters moved in and turned it into the next generation Park Slope which used to be hip but isn’t any more. I mention this because Southside is kind of the “Home of the Hipster Guitar”. I brought my 23 year old son with me, so I was able to judge the hipness factor for myself. There were a lot of terribly hip guitars with the Danelectros in the forefront. The old 50’s and 60’s solid body Epiphones were there in profusion (I walked out with a 61 Wilshire) as were some spectacularly hip Wandres, Hallmarks and a very strange Gruggett. And, of course, a profusion of Jazzmasters.  What there weren’t a lot of were ES-335’s. Oh, there was a Trini but that became hip somewhere along the way-probably because Dave Grohl uses one-but only a couple real 335’s. I was actually surprised he wanted my 59 345 considering his clientele. The guitars that I write about are largely out of reach of the 20-something starving artists but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t 335’s that can be had for cheap. I would guess that the average age of my readership is in the 50-something range and that the average age of folks who buy 50’s and 60’s ES 335s are in that same range. Not that I’m up on what bands are young and hip right now but it seems that few, if any, of the guitar players are playing 335’s. I found an interesting article about Caleb Followill, the guitar player for the formerly hip Kings of Leon. Well, Caleb plays an ES-325 that he got on Ebay for $900. Apparently, they don’t always work so well since this article was about how he couldn’t get the sound he wanted and smashed the thing onstage during a show. I’ve got news for young Caleb: I’ve played a 325 and I would have smashed it too.  Nope, the hipsters don’t play 335’s. There’s Jack White-is he still hip?-who plays an Airline. Then there’s the

These guys are supposed to be all the rage this week. And true to hip geetar form, they're playing some bottom of the line classics. The Gibson Melody Maker and the Fender Mustang (or is that a Duo Sonic II?).

über hip, like Ariel Pink whose guitar players play a Gibson Melody Maker and a Fender Mustang (both hip) and Deer Hunter playing the always hip Jazzmaster. I called my son, Mack to ask him who’s hip these days (damned if I know) and he told me to check out Serena Maneesh. OK, let’s see Serena Maneesh…looks like a Silvertone Danelectro and the ever present Jazzmaster.  Like I said, classic hipness. But, fear not, ES 335 aficionados, Mack also gave me Vampire Weekend. Guess what they play? No, they don’t. But they play a Sheraton which is a cheap import version of a 335, so maybe we’re aren’t as terminally unhip as I thought. The truth is that a hip guitar is often a cheap guitar-hipness, after all is founded on a kind of reverse snobbery anyway.  You could argue that hipness is wasted on the young but that begs the question… Is it still possible to retain ones hipness into advanced age if one has the right hip accoutrements (and that doesn’t include a hip replacement)? Let me just grab the phone here…Hello, Keith? What are you playing these days? A what? 355? Nope, no reason, just askin’

Here's Keith in that Louis Vuitton ad with his ES-355. What's in the cup, Keith?

2 Responses to “Not Hip?”

  1. OK Guitars says:

    Not sure if this is a generic spam comment or not. Most are but I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt. My reference is my 23 year old son who is a lot hipper than I am. I reached my hipness peak in 1975 or so.

  2. kyle says:

    Check out Thrice. Teppei sports a new 335 in sunburst. May not be the hippest of hip bands, but he does hold it down.

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