My search for storied guitars took an odd turn. Sometimes it’s the odd devices that get me jazzed. One guy even had a guitar with human teeth used for the knobs on the tuners. He was a professional boxing referee and collected the teeth for 20 years. Another guy once tried to sell me a hollow body Gibson that had a secret compartment fitted with poison darts and a blow gun. I don’t know why, but I don’t make this stuff up. One of my favorites is the one I have on my work bench right now. It needs a new volume pot. It’s a Strat look alike clad with aluminum from the Porsche James Dean died in. The guy I bought it from said a friend of a friend swiped a door from the car. (The car has never been accounted for, by the way.) He deskinned the door and used the sheet aluminum to shore up some bad cracks in the body of his guitar. He had documents. I believed him. Enough said.
I like weird guitars, and that’s about it. I’m not big on spiritual stuff and I don’t usually get scared by things other people may jump clean out of their skin about. But I had a guitar once that I couldn’t get rid of fast enough. It wasn’t the way it looked. It wasn’t the way it felt. It wasn’t the way it sounded. I had picked it up because it had these cool, bone colored knobs on a chrome pad screwed to the body instead of coming right out of the guitar as is usually seen. I never researched why they were on there like that. Maybe some of you can help me out there. It had a name on the pod and a 5 digit number. The name was “CISSA” and the number was 11653. I guess it doesn’t matter because I don’t have it anymore. But I’d love to know where it came from. But I digress. I got rid of it because it smelled like roses. I aired it out, I cleaned it, I polished it with a fine cloth. It veritably stank of roses. Not a gentle wafting scent. Not a mild hint of eau de rose. It was a gut wrenching nasal scathing roar of rose. Funny thing is, when I sold it I told the guy that I hoped the smell didn’t bother him like it did me. He looked at me and said, “Nah … I like eucalyptus.”
"Is this a three quarter size bass guitar?" I asked. "Yeah, got it from a dude in New Hampshire. He had a clown act he did at parties and such and a full size bass stuck out of his pants too far." I didn’t ask for elaboration. Didn’t need it. Didn’t want it. "Thirty bucks? Why so cheap?" Oh jeez, aren’t I the master of haggle? "It’s a piece of crap," he said. He was obviously the master of salesmanship. "Take twenty?" I waved the bill. "No, thirty, and that’s firm." "Twenty-three?" I pulled some crumpled ones out of my shirt pocket. "Done," he said. It was the extra 2 knobs and the little box wired to the side that caught my attention. I needed to compare it to a diagram I had at home, but it looked like a dual amber capacitor housing and, if it was, this was a very good thing. Sixteen of these were made by Robby Hubson in 1968 exclusively for the Winslow and Sharp guitar works. They never worked like they were supposed to and, even worse, no one knows now what they were supposed to do. Just as it sat, it could easily fetch a grand and, if it lit up when amped, the sky was the limit. I whistled happy happy tunes all the way home.