When Deke Dickerson’s first Strat In The Attic book debuted in 2013, it was an instant best-seller among guitarists in the smart set. Beer parties were abuzz; jam sessions dissolved into ersatz book groups rife with heated literary discussion. As the subtitle promised, the volume was chock full of “Thrilling Stories of Guitar Archaeology,” just the kind of bedside tales guaranteed to make guitarists and bassists dream sweet dreams – or wake up in cold sweats with bone-chilling nightmares about the one that got away.
Now, Dickerson is back with installment number two, and the plot thickens.
Here are 26 chapters of guitar sleuthwork, running the gamut of rare, bizarre, and downright lucky finds from Strats to Standel amps to a Thomas Maltese Cross bass with gold-glitter pickguard. There are even life-threatening hazards and death-defying feats along the way – or at least the odd grumpy owner who won’t sell and an asthma-inducing, rat-infested workshop to overcome. Anyway, Indiana Jones would be proud.
The stories are told by players and collectors – including surf-guitarist Pete Curry, luthier extraordinaire T.K. Smith, mystery scribe and guitar fan Jonathan Kellerman, fretman Joe Bonamassa, and others.
There are tales of a ’60s blond-tolex Fender Showman formerly owned by David Marks of the Beach Boys, a custom ’60 ebony Les Paul Standard, the three-pickup Tele played by Marc Bolan and Mike Oldfield, Bonamassa’s landmark find of two mint Marshall stacks practically in his own backyard, Paul Bigsby’s toolroom “mule,” and much more.
Many of the yarns are Dickerson’s own. The guy is truly obsessed – not with buying, collecting, and owning rare instruments, but with preserving guitaristic history that he has witnessed being lost just in his own lifetime.
Dickerson is a natural storyteller (well-practiced over a tall, cold one, probably). We’ll leave analysis of the literary merits of his prose, use of analogies, and dialectical subplots to the scholars and simply effuse over the sheer fun of reading these stories – then cross our fingers for a third volume.
This article originally appeared in VG‘s April ’15 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.