A good guitar fits like a well-worn pair of sneakers. Players often christen them with names, mods, and wear and tear that’s carried like a badge of honor. These two new illustrated books examine such beloved guitars in unique fashion.
VG regular Dave Hunter’s Ultimate Star Guitars takes a more-historical tact as he covers the most famous “star guitars” used by players from Son House, Django Reinhardt, and Charlie Christian to Jimi, Eric, the Edge, and others. Each instruments’ story is told along with its repairs, hot-rodding mods, and battle scars – all illustrated with hundreds of images of players, guitars, and associated memorabilia such as album covers, gig posters, and more.
From Clapton alone, there’s his Bluesbreakers ’Burst, the ES-335 he played with Cream, the psychedelic Fool, and, of course, Blackie. Plus there’s SRV’s First Wife, Neil Young’s Old Black, B.B. King’s Lucille, Billy F. Gibbons’ Pearly Gates, and players of all ilks – Nels Cline, Steve Cropper, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Eddie Cochran, Dimebag Darrell, and so many more.
Housed in a cool slipcase and chock full of photos, it’s pure, luscious guitar porn.
Photographer Chuck Holley took to the road in search of the favorite guitars owned by 46 musicians, most of whom play in the realm of folk, country, blues, and Americana. A Perfectly Good Guitar is illustrated with dozens of specially shot images of the guitars and stars, backed by stories from players.
Dave Alvin and John Hammond rave about their Nationals while Marty Stuart, Bill Frisell, Redd Volkaert, and Bill Kirchen rhapsodize their Teles and Esquires to the heavens. Tommy Emmanuel tells of his Maton acoustic, and Cindy Cashdollar sings the praises of a particular ’40s Gibson lap steel. Further stories come from the likes of Waddy Wachtel, G.E. Smith, Jorma Kaukonen, Rosanne Cash, and more.
Interwoven with Holley’s gorgeous images, the text is very personal – love stories about the romance of a player for a special instrument.
This article originally appeared in VG January 2018 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.