Looking for Mr. Goodaxe

My First Electric Early 64 Fender Duo Sonic

Forgive me, I hate the term axe for guitar-it’s just so seventies. But it seemed like a good starting point for talking about the quest for your perfect guitar. It kind of starts when you first realize that you want to be a guitar player. It happened for me when I saw the Beatles on Ed Sullivan in 64. I was 12 years old and I was young and oh, so impressionable. First of all, what’s not to like about a zillion girls screaming for you. I stuck my nose right into the old Zenith set and tried to read the brand on Lennon’s guitar. It sure looked like Rickenbacker but I’d never heard of it. I knew George played a Gretsch and I’d heard of Fender and Gibson but without the internet, how did one go about finding out what the hell a Rickenbacker was?  Hermies Music Store in Schenectady sold Fender and Martin and that was it. Georges Music Store down the block on State Street sold Gibson and a cheap Japanese import called St. George. I was a shy teenager but once I had the guitar strapped on, I was, to quote a famous film director, “King of the World”. Or at least king of the high school gym. It wasn’t me carrying on like a lunatic up there, it was “the guitar player.”  Well, I never was a rock star but I did a lot of performing as a guitarist between the ages of 13 and 21. You never forget the feeling and you never forget the feel of a guitar that feels just right for you. I went through a few guitars before I found  what I then considered “the one”. My first electric was a 64 Fender Duo Sonic that my father bought for me. Not long after I proved to him I was serious, he took me to New York City to buy a Stratocaster. I didn’t wind up with the Stratocaster because the salesman talked me into a Jaguar for almost the same price. I was never totally comfortable with the Jaguar-it had too many switches and it wasn’t well laid out

My Second Electric Guitar 65 Fender Jaguar

I sold it, which really annoyed my father and bought a used 63 ES 330. I played that guitar all through high school and loved it. Yes, it would feed back if you faced the amp but still, it had a great neck and great tone. I had a Vox Royal Guardsman (cost $600 which like $3000 today) for a while and while it looked very cool, it sounded like crap and broke all the time. So, I sold that and bought a used Fender single Showman for $200. As a big Cream fan, I wanted to sound more like Clapton and I needed to get that “woman tone” I was so taken with. He was playing an SG (“The Fool”) at the time and while I didn’t go for the psychedelic paint job, I loved the tone. So, in late 68, I bought a brand new SG. I couldn’t even afford the case for it, so I carried it in the cardboard box it was shipped in until I could. Damn thing never got set up right and I learned all about intonation from it. Mostly because it wouldn’t intonate. I was pretty discouraged with the SG. It sounded great but I was bending notes just to get them in tune as I went past the seventh fret or so on the B and G strings. It did a lot for my ear and might have even helped my playing but I couldn’t wait to get rid of it. I wanted my 330 back.

My Third Electric Guitar 63 ES 330

Then I heard about the 335-more or less a 330 with humbuckers-I could have the tone I was after-without the feedback- and the shape and feel I was used to.It was too much money-I just couldn’t afford it but, as luck would have it, bass players were in short supply and our bass player was really a guitarist and he often brought his Epiphone Riviera to gigs and I started playing it. That was in 1969 and that was the beginning of 40 years of 335s-and it wasn’t even a 335. The point is that the right guitar has to speak to you. It has to feel like an extension of you and you have to have a relationship with it. Once you find out what guitar that is, then you can look for the right 335 or the right Tele or the right Les Paul. That’s the fun part. I’ve owned a lot of non 335’s between 1969 and now-I had a Mosrite while I played in college that looked much cooler than it sounded and I had a Hamer in the 70’s when Gibson and Fender were turning out crap. I stopped playing for a number of years while I built a career and a family but started again when my son was born in 1987. I had kept the Hamer and a Martin D-28 in the closet along with the Fender Princeton that my father had bought with the Duo Sonic in 1964. In fact, the Duo Sonic was still at my parents house and I got that too. That was the beginning of the collecting part. I bought a lot of guitars in the 90’s and got my son into playing. He became a better player than I am and had his choice of a lot of my guitars to play. What did he pick? The Stratocaster. He says he likes the 335 but he likes the Strat better. He still has my Stratocaster and I’m guessing that I’m not getting it back.  My perfect guitar? I still haven’t found it but I know it’s a 64 ES 335. I’ve had a half dozen of them and it’s as close to the perfect guitar as I’ve ever been.

My Fourth Electric Guitar 68 SG

My First "Almost 335" An Epiphone Riviera

64 335. Mr. Goodaxe and then some.

3 Responses to “Looking for Mr. Goodaxe”

  1. Eric says:

    Awesome post. I’m still looking for Mr. Goodaxe and it’ll probably take me awhile, but very encouraging post. Thanks for sharing.

  2. OKguitars says:

    Well it took me about 45 years to find the right make model and year. Now I just have to find the right guitar. I’ve had lots of great ones-just not -THE ONE.

  3. Rich says:

    I have been playing for about 5 years. Working on it seriously for th elast two or three. I have gone through a les paul, strat, a tele and now a 335 type Epiphone Sheraton II. While Like the simplicity of the tele and the tone and really want that to be the number one because of the compact size, the Sheraton just feels right to me. I suspect the 335 type of guitar is sticking with me. For me the neck, the fretboard radius and scale just feeels right to me. Although the Epi Sheraton is good for me at the moment, I hope someday to find a real ES 335 with the great neck profile. The ES 335 type guitar just seems to be able to fit almost any niche for me.

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