Thanks so much to everyone who helped me pay towards the repair to my guitar. It's a particularly rare and very beautiful 1959 Gibson Les Paul Junior that i've owned since early 1989 when i found it in a room above a music shop in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne while on tour with Senseless Things.
Originally designed and marketed as a budget guitar in the '50s, the Les Paul Junior was cheaper than Gibson's traditional and hugely popular "Les Paul".
It subsequently became popular with garage bands in the '60s and punk bands in the '70s - in short, every guitarist i admired growing up seemed to own one.
Priced in 1989 at £150, perhaps because it had been played so much most of the cherry red paintwork had worn off revealing the warm mahogony beneath, it was an incredible bargain. Even back then they were selling for around £450-£500, the price being closer to £1000 in London's Denmark Street.
This owner, a luthier by trade i think, had another Les Paul Junior in his shop - also from 1959 and identical in every way except that it was in much much better condition, cherry red finish intact! To me this was only an indication of how good the older-looking guitar must have been. (Shit guitars tend not to get played that much, certainly not so much that they lose nearly all of their original paintwork) This guitar had no doubt belonged to a hard working, gigging musician and i was drawn to it immediately.
I didn't have £150 but the fella was happy to take my Gretsch Double Anniversary guitar, as a straight swap. Now i can't stress how nasty the Double Anniversay was-i remember it was pretty much unplayable and would feedback the second it was plugged into an amp. And not in a good way. Costing roughly the same, i think i'd only bought it because it was green and looked a bit like the one the fella in The Cult played(!)
Fortunately Senseless Things had a rare day off as The Gretsch was back in London. I took the bus back home that night and returned just in time to get in the van headed for Inverness - after exchanging guitars of course...
30 years and 3 neck breaks later the guitar is now being resurrected by the very capable (and magical) guitar luthier Philippe Dubreuille.
Some of the luthiers, all of whom came recommended, didn't come across so good on the phone. One fella who's had a close friend of mine's guitar for a long time, requiring a not dis-similar repair, i thought had told me to call him back at the end of the day. What he actually asked was that i call him back at the end of next month.
6 weeks to fix a neck break?
I didn't want this fucker looking at my guitar let alone working on it.
So talking to Philippe, and subsequently meeting him when i dropped the pieces into his workshop last Tuesday came as quite a blessing.
After showing me some of his work - some very tidy guitars, he cracked open a bottle of Pernod and we raided the neighbouring shops vinyl record collection....
God willing i'll be reunited with me ol '59 Junior before the week's out.
Thanks so much again to everyone who donated funds and made the repair possible,
God Bless Mark Keds xx
xx Mark Keds