A Northern California Post-Christmas Mini-Roundup
The day after Christmas, many of us GDP'ers from Northern California gathered in San Jose to have a bit of post-Christmas cheer and celebrate the friendship that we have off the GDP, as well as online.
Most of the group
Present and accounted for were Yettoblaster, DrGretsch, bonedaddy, Parabar, macphisto, JoBigsby, afm_380, and SissieKidd (along with afm_380's wonderfully gracious mother). (Yettoblaster had to leave before we could take this photo, but you will see him in other photos and video.)
We first met at Guitar Showcase, a truly extraordinary guitar store in San Jose. Check out the very cool '57 Chevy drum kit from Gretsch in the photo above that was on prominent display as soon as you entered the store.
Some of the guitars in the vintage room behind glass
More vintage guitars behind glass
The store must have somewhere between 500 to 750 guitars on display, many of which are vintage Fenders, Gibsons, Rickenbackers, and Gretsches. The marked prices on most of them seemed a tad high to me, but I am told that they will work with customers on the price. Some of the tags are marked such that you know that the price is a firm price and that no amount of negotiations will reduce it for you. But, most of them were without that.
Bonedaddy, Yettoblaster and I arrived earlier than the 3:00 p.m. pre-appointed meeting time. So, we had some extra time to bond with the guitars. We checked out the Gretsches first and also went back into the vintage room where the truly choice specimens were available to look at and play. They seemed to be very easy going about having customers take down the guitars and put them through their paces. None of that nonsense where a store employee has to assist you in taking the guitar off the hook on the wall, and then have them hover over you as you get to play for about 60 seconds. You could take your time and really get to know the instrument.
Bonedaddy with his new guitar
Bonedaddy about fell over when we entered another room where they had some new Rickenbackers on display. As soon as he stepped in the room, he spotted an incredibly gorgeous Rickenbacker 660/6JG, complete with herringbone trim, gold pickguards, vintage style knobs, Kluson tuners, and toaster pickups. The guitar was truly incredible to see, and, with it being the wider-necked 660, the guitar was very playable. He played it a bit and then went to make arrangements with the store owners, who are guys with whom he has been doing tons of business over the years. When he walks in, they throw down the red carpet.
DrGretsch soon showed up and began drawing a crowd in the store as he began test-driving some of the guitars. He played a very cool vintage Gibson Barney Kessel model, and then he went out to his car and pulled the same guitar out and brought it in and did a comparison. He also played a Gibson Trini Lopez model. The reviews on that guitar's appearance were mixed, what with its Fender-like headstock, diamond-shaped soundholes, etc. Some like it a lot, others not so much.
Bonedaddy with 1974 Jazzmaster
I had the chance to play a 1974 Fender Jazzmaster sunburst with the oversized inlays in the fretboard. It sounded really great. I can't remember for sure, but I have a recollection of a price somewhere close to $3000.
DrGretsch and Bonedaddy have each purchased the new Fender Squire Mascis Jazzmaster that we have been reading about on the GDP in various threads. DrGretsch retrieved his from his car and began playing it. I was very curious to hear the Curtis Novak pickups that he had installed. As we found out later in the evening when we had a chance to A/B them at Bonedaddy's house, the Novak pups indeed have more of a vintage "sproinginess" to them than the stock pickups. However, having said that, the stock pickups were very good sounding pickups.
Parabar getting his Rick mojo working
Parabar arrived and we caught him checking out some of the new Rickenbackers. And DrGretsch took town an old Harmony and spent some bonding time with it.
Parabar brought in his newly-acquired 2004 Epiphone Elitist Broadway, which was an amazing looking instrument that sounded tremendous. We strong armed Yettoblaster into playing it and I caught a bit his very cool talents on video.
Yettoblaster with Parabar's 2004 Epiphone Elitist Broadway
I had never had a chance to play a Rickenbacker 4003 before, so I seized upon the opportunity to do so while at the store. They had one in a MapleGlo finish (if it had been in JetGlo or FireGlo, it might have gone home with me). I think that that bass has such an iconic tone to it. Listen to most anything that Chris Squier plays on Yes albums and you have the tone. Very cool guitar.
JoBigsby arrived, as did afm_380 and SissieKidd. JoBigsby got delayed in his trip to the northern coast and so he had a chance to meet up with us. He enjoyed looking at the vintage electric guitars, and I saw him playing an old Gretsch Club (which someone had modified extensively), but what really got his juices flowing was the upstairs acoustic guitar room. He spotted a "vintage series" Gibson acoustic that kept calling out his name, but he managed to exercise more self-restraint than the rest of us and left it there.
afm_380 and SissieKidd (along with afm_380's mom) had spent their holidays at their home in the SF Peninsula area, so it was a quick jaunt for them down to join us.
Group Hug time (macphisto hadn't arrived yet)
They also had some vintage amps at the store.
DrGretsch Spots a Gretsch Executive
DrGretsch found an old Gretsch amplifier from what appeared to be the early 60's. I tried to plug it in so that he or Yettoblaster could play through it, but we couldn't seem to get it to turn on.
We went across the parking lot to a consignment store that the Guitar Showcase operates and checked out their guitars there. JoBigsby found a small bodied-Martin that he took a fancy to. It was the oddest thing -- the guitar sounded great from a distance, but when you played it, it sounded much less pleasing.
JoBigsby playing a Martin
The consignment shop also had a Bamboo Yellow Country Club with Dynasonics and synchrosonic bridge for sale. It was priced at $1600 and DrGretsch just about took it home. He was trying to negotiate a trade for a 60's-era G6120 doublecut that he had in the car with him. (He obviously had a large car that is loaded with gear, so anytime you want some vintage gear, his is the right one to steal!) In any event, I have every reason to believe that he is going to wait for a week, and then try to squeeze the seller a bit for a deal on it. Don't be surprised if you see a thread soon on the GDP where he has it.
We also discovered something that none of us had ever seen before. There was what looked like a Strat-style parts-caster in the consignment area. There was nothing about the guitar that was remarkable, until we looked a bit closer. Okay, who from the GDP who has purchased a Tru-Arc™ bridge has offed this guitar at the Guitar Showcase?
An Interesting Tru-Arc™ Discovery!
Parabar with a Beast!
We also found a Gretsch "Beast" in the consignment area. I immediately thought of SuprDave and his Fred-Gretsch-branded-BST when I saw this guitar.
DrGretsch with a lovely vintage Gibson
We retreated to the acoustic room and put some of their Martins, Taylors and Gibsons to the test. Again, the people at the store couldn't have been more gracious and accommodating to have us there playing their guitars. It may have been the fact that two of us bought guitars (Yettoblaster bought a Fender MIM Strat), but I think it is more of just their casual attitude there. Really a fun place to play stuff. Some of Steve Miller's amplifiers were up for sale in this room with their letters of authenticity. There were some of his guitar scattered throughout the store as well.
We then left the guitar store for some dinner. Some of us had already been at the store for upwards of four and one-half hours and we were starving! We had some great Indian food at a restaurant that Bonedaddy frequents often. And then we retired to Bonedaddy's maison where we all met his lovely wife, Sharon. What a treat she is. When you look up the definition of "marrying up" in the dictionary, you will find Bonedaddy's photo there. He done good.
They laid out a spread of treats and wine for us and then we broke out some amps and guitars and got some playing in. DrGretsch had a very cool amp -- an oxblood Tolex covered Deluxe Reverb reissue. It sounded just great. Parabar had also brought along his 3-channel Mesa Boogie. As a guy who has two Mesa Boogie amps, I really liked that one. And, then, of course, we got to hear Bonedaddy's 1964 Fender Princeton. The amp sounded awesome. It was only lacking for some reverb, but that is something that he will be able to supplement with a pedal from Tavo (once he begins making those too). However, it sounded just fine.
We had the dueling Mascis Jazzmasters that I mentioned previously. And Parabar brought out the 2004 Epiphone Elitist Broadway for another appearance. And, as much as we revere Parabar for his keyboard talents, the dude can play some guitar too!
macphisto playing a pre-FMIC Champagne Sparkle Jet
All in all, it was really a treat to get to see everyone again and to spend more "real-life" time together off the GDP.
afm_380 also announced the date for his Gretsches at the Winery event in the foothills as May 19, 2012, at the Sierra Ridge Winery. So, keep your eyes open for future threads about that event.
My photos were taken with my cellphone camera, so the quality is not particularly good. Hopefully, bonedaddy and others will post any photos that they took.
Here are some others:
Yettoblaster with a G6119-1962FT
DrGretsch with a vintage Harmony
Bonedaddy lording his new Rickenbacker 660/6 over Ric12
Bonedaddy and Parabar with the 1974 Jazzmaster
Bonedaddy takes the Epiphone Broadway for a spin!
Another group shot (taken before macphisto had arrived)
More Photos From Maison elbonedeedo
I'll post the photos I took later on today, in this thread. It was great seeing all of you and having you over to meet Sharon and hang out for a little bit.
It's bad enough I turned down that load to Nevada but you posting these pics is pouring salt on fresh wounds. Looked to be a great time.
Looks like a great play-date.
That Ric Bonedaddy snatched is beautiful.
Yep. The dude's got taste. We learned that when we met his wife.
The herringbone binding is spectacular.
WIREDTURTLE here SINCE2002
I'd die to live around a nice guitar shop like that again. When we lived in Loma Linda when my wife was in dental school I had the joy of that kind of guitar shop in Redlands called Calebs. Felt like "Cheers"..
kinda looks like you guys turned that one it into cheers too! how did the neck feel on that Broadway? I've been tempted to get one and CC it.
Hey RickyBob, where did you pick up that vintage sweater? It looks fantastic!
That would be my personal shopper that picked it up for me.
The only thing vintage about it, however, is the guy wearing it.
- WIREDTURTLE here SINCE2002
Nah, no LSD. I just fixed the links to the display the 'medium' size pics. Forgot Bax had restrained picture size/width...
Nice pictures guys. Looks like you had a real cool time. Is it possible that the "Harmony" that DrGretsch is playing is a "Framus" actually?
sascha, good eye, it was indeed a Framus.
Great shots! Were you using the SpatzMatic 900?
Seriously, sounds like you all had a great day.
What's going on here?
Yep, it was a Framus. My bad.
Great shots! Were you using the SpatzMatic 900?
Seriously, sounds like you all had a great day.
Lecia X1. Or, commonly known as the SpatzMatic 1000
The girl with the green hair was bussing the table behind everyone. What a rouges gallery, eh?
Hey Ric12 (Bob)
Sure was a pleasure to see you; and everybody else again!
We look good holding those two Kessels together!
We should start a band called "The Kessel Bros", Inc"
Uh..no. As between the two of us, you are the only one that can do justice to that Barney Kessel, DrG! But, I'll have a two-Rickenbacker 12-string band with you anytime!
FYI, if anyone wants the larger files or digital negative files of any of these, let me know and I'll post them for you to download via dropbox.
It was cool!
I will have to admit my partsocaster for sale in the Swap Shop did indeed inherit the Tru-Arc sticker I got from NorCal '09's AL-120 I went home with.
Best sounding partsocaster I ever built. Has coil split-able (push-pull pots) EMG 89's. Does Tele snarls and growl, Les Paul massive, and with the bridge full and the neck pu single coil it TWANGS!
Free to good home, but the obligatory case is $350.
That was yours? I was talking last night with Proteus and he was wondering who it was that he sold a Tru-Arc to that had their guitar in that shop on consignment. He will be amused to know it was you, Yetto!
By the way, great to have seen you again. You seem to get better at playing the guitar every time that I see you.
If Yetto is OK with it, I'll eventually get around to posting the video I made of him giving a quick lesson "Comin' Home Baby". Good stuff right there..
Those are some awesome photos! I sure would like to make it out west for a California Gretsch Round-Up one of these days.