The Lomax (with apologies to Dr. Suess)


This well played 59 ES-335 was owned by Peter Green, Victor Brox and Jackie Lomax. Jackie Lomax played it for more than 40 years.

This well played 59 ES-335 was owned by Peter Green, Victor Brox and Jackie Lomax. Jackie Lomax played it for more than 40 years.

…”and deep in the Grickle-grass, some people say, if you look deep enough you can still see today, where the Lomax once stood just as long as it could before somebody lifted the Lomax away.” Jackie Lomax died in September of 2013. His obit appeared in Rolling Stone and went like this:

Lomax was part of the thriving Liverpool music scene that launched the Beatles in the 1960s, playing with the Merseybeat band the Undertakers in the U.K. and the U.S., and later signing to the Beatles’ Apple Records for the release of his 1969 album, Is This What You Want? Tony Bramwell, a former publicist for Apple, said  John Lennon persuaded Lomax to sign with the label, and three Beatles (and Eric Clapton) backed Lomax on his 1968 single “Sour Milk Sea,” which George Harrison wrote. “He was a great rocker, a solid out-and-out rock and roller…”

Jackie Lomax with his 59 ES-335. Not sure when the photo is from.

Jackie Lomax with his 59 ES-335. Not sure when the photo is from.

Jackie Lomax was on the scene for a very long time and he pretty much played the same guitar for decades. This is something the great players do when they find a great guitar. Larry Carlton is another example-he’s played that late 60’s 335 forever. McCartney and his Hofner, Stevie Ray’s “Number One”, James Burton and his 53 Telecaster and lots of others. Like they say–“the great ones get played.” Jackie wasn’t a guitar god or anything, but he surely is part of the history of British rock.

I’ve been asked by the Lomax family to evaluate and possibly sell the guitar for them. So how do I quantify the value of a guitar that was played by Jackie for decades and before that was owned by British bluesman Victor Brox who bought it from Peter Green?  Simple. I don’t. You do. If you don’t care who owned a guitar before you-and many, many players and collectors don’t, then it’s just a very cool, well played 59 335 blondie with some changed parts. If history and provenance are important to you and, judging by the prices some famous guitars bring, there are some of you out there as well, then perhaps the guitar is worth a bit more. I wrote in my last post that history, provenance and context are important factors in determining whether a guitar is simply a vintage piece or a piece of history. While this guitar was never an icon, like the Dylan Strat, nor was it used on any mega hit records by a guitar god like Blackie, Brownie and that red 335, it is still an interesting and well documented example of what is probably the most desirable guitar this side of a Les Paul burst. I’ve found You Tube footage of the guitar being played in 1970 and as late as 2004. Unfortunately, I can’t find ’68 footage of “Sour Milk Sea” which is a great song and a showcase for his great voice (as well as George Harrison’s writing chops and Eric Clapton’s guitar). Jackie Lomax didn’t play guitar on it but I’m he used this old 59 to perform the song many, many times during his career.

Clearly, not that good at housekeeping. Rockers never are, it seems.

Clearly, not that good at housekeeping. Rockers never are, it seems.


15 Responses to “The Lomax (with apologies to Dr. Suess)”

  1. Rod says:

    You say this belonged to Victor Brox. I used to see him with The Aynsley Dunbar Retaliation but only ever saw him play (Hammond?) organ and cornet. This would be 1968/9. However, their guitar player, John Morshead played first a three pickup Les Paul Custom with the middle pickup removed and then a blond 335 dotmarker. Perhaps it was this one. (By then he was playing through a blonde Dual Showman.) So maybe the 335 actually belonged to Morshead, not Victor Brox.

  2. Louise says:

    Hi Rod, You’re quite right! It belonged to Victor, but John played it on certain songs. Victor has sent us a picture of John playing it.

  3. Rob says:

    Peter Green raises the cool factor substantially. At least to me.

  4. Kerry Leeds says:

    Provenance is lovely, and important, but as a player first, I see an absolutely beautiful old Dot, with lots of patina over what appears to be lovely wood. In a more perfect world, I’d buy (and play) a number of the gems Charlie unearths based on sound, feel and appearance. Celebrity owned is cool, but not a factor for me- even if I could afford the premium. As far as I’m concerned, even the best replicas and reissues, while nice instruments, pale in comparison. Just recently I was strumming/noodling my old (non-blonde) PAF ES so the sound men could set levels. The head sound man (a player) said “wow- your tone is really nice- georgeous top end.” He didn’t say anything to the other guitar player, who has an expensive hand-made replica that’s extremely close to sounding like a nice old PAF axe.

  5. Bluey says:

    Wow, the first thing I thought from seeing this pic on your previous post, was how similar the colour and look is to Peter’s old LP

    In an interview with Peter that is copied in the ‘Strange Brew’ book, Peter mentions that he has an LP special but wants to get a 335. I’ll have to dig it out and look at the date on that interview.

  6. Bluey says:

    Charlie, could this be it.. see pics of Aynsley Dunbar’s Retaliation a little way down the page..

  7. RAB says:

    I agree with Kerry’s comments. However if the celebrity-attribute reasonates with anyone and that’d enhance their owning and playing experience with this fine vintage fiddle more power to them!

  8. Kerry Leeds says:

    Excellent point, RAB! I certainly didn’t intend to denigrate anything that enhances ownership and playing of a great vintage guitar.

  9. Frank says:

    In most cases people sell guitars for one reason: the owner is not satisfied with the instrument anymore. even stars do this. surely someone is proud to own an instrument his idol did not like, but to me it would be no big premium in price. if i could choose between two guitars I like the same, I would choose tho one with the provenance.
    this is a great looking 335 and the owner loved it ’til the end…

  10. Rod says:

    Louise- only just noticed your post, sorry. It’s really nice to be reacquainted with this guitar, if only in a picture on a screen, after 46 years! One night the band were asking for requests and I asked John to play San-Ho-Zay (Freddie King) and with a big grin he said ‘F*** off!’ to me! Never found out why. Great shame this guitar will be well out of my reach now.

  11. Fred says:

    There’s a video on Youtube of The Ainsley Dunbar Retaliation with John Morshead in 1968 playing the 335 in question. Great sound from a very tasty player.

  12. Porky says:

    Have to agree with Rob, Peter Green, wow! A beautiful guitar.

  13. Paul Anthony says:

    What became of this legendary guitar? Who has it now? Mr Lomax’s mojo and soul is engrained in this axe.. I hope its not in some rich collectors cabinet gathering dust.
    This needs to be played!

  14. okguitars says:

    I tried to buy it but was outbid. I last heard it was in the hands of a player, not a collector. BTW, there aren’t that many collectors who put their guitars in a cabinet and leave them unplayed. I don’t have a single client who doesn’t play his guitars regularly.

  15. Paul Anthony says:

    thanks for the reply, and Sorry to hear you were outbid okguitars, ..good thing it went to a player though. Its a beaut!q I for one would have loved to have bought this axe for its Lomax heritage alone, but just being what it is.. a ’59 335, put it way, way out of my price range sadly, …remember when it came up at Chandler guitars shortly after jackie passed. I’d always wondered where it got to since then.
    I wonder what became of Jackie’s other guitars?

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