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A Kay Value Leader branded Old Kaftsman much like the guitar Lonnie Johnson used in his final years living in Toronto. Kay was one of the largest manufacturers of catalog guitars during the booming fifties and sixties.

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This Gretsch 6121 Chet Atkins model was owned by Mme Painchuad in Sherbrooke Quebec. Her family had a music store for years and she played it proudly in their band.

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This red Crucianelli guitar is the same as used by Mississippi Fred McDowell and features large in the TV series Guitar Picks as well as the album "A Friend in the Blues". In the Swingin' Sixties, Crucianelli guitars were often branded Espana and Vox, among others.


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Spy Guitar

Here's a Lake Placid Blue Fender from the mid sixties, a 65 Jazzmaster w/pearl dots and binding.

The blue Jazzmaster above was used in Guitarchaeology

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A Gibson L-5CESN from 1958. As used by Wes Montgomery, a great jazz guitar and much more besides.

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Boris, the Blue Fender Jag

Fun, Fun Fun

Here's a close up of Boris, the Blue Fender Jaguar. This is a very nice and light example of Fender's top of the line in 1967.

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The SG is a classic that always returns. A 1967 Standard was Danny's Edward Bear guitar, given up for the Telecaster in the seventies.

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Surfin' Safari

The 1958 Fiesta Red Stratocaster

In the mid seventies I had a house gig at the Bermuda Tavern on Yonge Street. That job was a grind! Six sets a night plus a matinee. Each and every set, you'd welcome the girls up. They had three songs to disrobe to. This was a humbling real world learning experience for a young musician, down quite a few notches from his rock star days with Edward Bear.

Yes, I had dues to pay, and I paid them on my Telecaster. Before that, I was strictly a Gibson man with the SG. Around this time, I picked up my first Stratocaster. It was a seventies hardtail, candy apple red, light as a feather and much more fun to wield than the old slab Tele.

One night at a gig I met a guy named Peter Cotton. He said, "I've got a real one of those, I'd like to see it go to a real player". I was curious. I thought my guitar was real. After swapping him a Gretsch Country Gent and $100, I was the proud owner of a real 1958 Fender Stratocaster, #022953. The guitar came in its' original case, which had Gary written on it, a clue to its' original owner. It was lovingly painted Fiesta Red. I wonder who Gary's favorite guitarist was?

Unlike my seventies Strat, this guitar was born to whammy. I'd purchased a big lot of NOS Fender Squire strings from Kindness and Son. I tossed out the low E and added a banjo A for the top. That's how we did it in those olden days before custom gauges. I plugged into a rare 1963 brown Fender Vibroverb. This was my ticket to twang.

The 1958 Stratocaster has a svelte yet substantial feel, a couple of ounces short of eight lbs. The neck has the perfect V shape and size found in this era.The sound and authority of the pickups cannot be beat. We measured them once at 5.85, 5.87 and 6.4 from bridge to neck. The actual magnets look more substantial than modern repro's.She's on her second, and final re-fret. I believe she still retains her sunburst finish, beneath the red. One day we may look.

Strats always sound like Strats, however, they have the transparent ability to allow the sound of the player through, from Jimi to Hank, SRV, Dire Straits and the Ventures, Ike Turner and more.

Speaking of Hank, the Shadows became huge all over the globe, especially across the Commonwealth, but not in The USA. It must be noted that the Shads blazed the trail that allowed the Beatles to make the recordings they did.

Here in Canada, thanks to Capitol records and A&R man Paul White, Hank's influence was felt, especially in Ottawa players, like Bruce Coburn. In Winnipeg, Randy Bachman and Neil Young are still Shadowmaniacs. Jorgen Ingmann's Apache was the big hit here, but there was no escaping the unique way that Hank's guitar pulled on your heart strings in The Young Ones.

If we're lucky, we get one great guitar in our lives. The '58 was my main axe for two decades when I made Guitarchaeology, after which point a couple of very bad repair jobs sidelined her. She fell in the repair shop and was severely shaken up. For a few years I've laid her to rest.

At the request of our Roger L, I'm undertaking a full restoration of this guitar which will culminate at the Retro Rock Lounge on December 8. Hope to see you there. Danny Marks. 2007

Pictured with the mighty Tweed Bassman Amplifier, Leo Fender's 40 watt masterpiece.

This Gibson es335td is from 1968, and it has a terrific lively sound. It's totally stock, and sets up quite high, so it rings out nicely. It's proven to be versatile, and usable, has a warm clean tone, and will overdrive in most creamy fashion.

The Gibson 77rvt amp came out of the Buffalo NY Guitar Show. It has two 6L6's for power, into a single 15" Jensen, and has a sound of its own. The ultimate lounge amp. Smooth.

Many people feel that the Gibson ES-355tdsv w/Bigsby is the most aesthetically pleasing of all electrics, and one must admit to a quickening of the pulse when one sees that watermelon red, and all that gold on Michigan maple, even though we know it's only plating and plywood.

Also pictured, the companion amplifier, a Gibson GA79rvt amp features el84 tubes in the power sections of two amps (stereo!), each powering a Jensen 10 inch C10N speaker.


Toasted Danish

This Les Paul pre-reissue from 1990 is an attempt to recreate Gibson's most sought after sunburst Les Paul of the late fifties. Those famous 50's guitars were made of Honduran Mahogany, Brazilian Rosewood, and Michigan Maple, and finished in nitrocellulose lacquer. The modern incarnation uses today's manufacturing methods, and available materials. Forty years from now, it will also be a classic from a bygone era.

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Gibson's Country Gentleman is a contemporary take on a fifties classic. Chet Atkins gave his name to Gretsch in 1954. Thirty years later, the new Gibson Co were the beneficiaries of Chet's great guitar insights. According to its serial number, this guitar is the first one completed on January 30, 1990. This beautiful instrument has a versatile array of sounds from jazz to country, blues & surf, when overdriven, it feeds back most musically. This is the guitar Danny used exclusively on the CBC Humline.


Another Chet Atkins model is this nylon string electric. For years, designers tried to find a way to accurately amplify the classical guitar.

Most electric rely on magnetic pickups and steel strings. Piezo pickups can sense the vibrations in the bridge of the non ferrous stringed guitar, but: they require a battery. Segovia, the king of the classical guitar felt the electric was an "abomination". Sorry Maestro.

The Epiphone Al Caiola model is one of Kalamazoo's rarest artist model instruments. Although similar to a Gibson 335,this AC Custom shows many unique appointments: it has a 25 1/2" scale, no sound holes, and no solid body core: it's completely hollow. It has a deeper thin body profile, varitone panel and archtop style bridge. Al Caiola made and sold millions of great guitar records, and is alive and well. In fact, he tours with Steve and Edie!

Four Stratocasters from left to right: 87 Mary Kay, 59 two-tone, 60 suburst, and the 58. In the background is a rare 1960 Fender Vibrasonic combo amp.
The 58 ( also shown earlier)is a desert island guitar and although it's been refinished and refretted, it exhibits the same stellar qualities of two other famous fifties Strats: Clapton's Blackie and Hank B's famous first in the UK. It is said that Danny will literally be buried with this guitar. In the background is a rare 1960 Fender Vibrasonic combo amp.

Gathered around a 66 Super Reverb are, (clockwise 1-r) October 63 Sonic Blue Strat, 66 Candy Apple Red Electric XII, a 65 Telecaster w/maple board, and the surf machine, a 63 Olympic White Jazzmaster.


Call Me George


The sixty-three Vibroverb is a rare amp. It was Leo Fender's first with built in reverb. It has a combination of features and tubes unlike any Fender before or since. To the cognoscenti it is the holy grail, and it surely sounds like it. In the foreground, a rare variant of a not so rare species: a 1964 Telecaster with a maple slab board, and single ply guard. This Tele was Danny's main guitar through the early seventies.

Here's a cool slice of Americana: Silvertone was the brand name of many products marketed by Sears. These two were probably ordered out right of the catalog, as somebody's first guitar. The guitar on the left is made by Harmony in Chicag the other's a Danelectro, of Neptune, NJ. The Dano's got lipstick tubes while the Harmony has Dearmonds, some of the best pickups ever made. Call it Variations on a theme... By Sears.


Black Gretsch 55 Duo Jet

Wave Breaker

Lights Out

Clockwise from upper right:
64 Telecaster, 57 Les Paul Model, 58 Les Paul Custom, 57 Gretsch 6120, 63 Stratocaster Sonic Blue, 57 Les Paul Jr, '60 355, 63 Jazzmaster Olympic White , '58 L5CESN, Flying V Medallion, SS Stewart, 55 Duo Jet. Centre:happy guy, with a cheap uke.


This 57 Gretsch orange 6120 in this pic was lovingly refurbished with original Grover Sta-Tites, Bar Bridge and USA Bigsby.

The Filtertron pickups are pre- PAF.This is one very powerful and versatile instrument. The Olympic White Jaguar and the Gibson SG Standard both date to 1966. The Jag is equipped with flat wound strings by Thomastic.