From the Road: I Love Guitars!
Singer/Songwriter Matt Nathanson shares insight from the road in this monthly series.
I love guitars. I look at them online like most people look at porn. Over the years, I’ve built up a nice little collection. Acoustics from the ‘30s. Electrics from the 50s.
When I’m on tour, I make a point of finding rad guitar shops (thank you, Gbase), guitar factories to tour (thank you, Collings!!) or museums with exhibits that have anything remotely guitar about them.
Over the summer i was playing a show in Indianapolis, and happened to catch signs hanging around downtown for the Eiteljorg Museum’s “Guitars! Roundups to Rockers” exhibit. So I busted a move over there, not knowing what to expect.
The ultimate thing for my guitar nerd self is to be in the presence of an instrument owned and played by one of my heroes. I was the kid at hard rock café in New York City, staring up at Gene Simmons’ bass for an hour or standing frozen, mouth open, under Eddie Van Halen’s Frankenstein… examining the fret board. the nicks and scratches, that were made by the people I worshipped.
So, I was really psyched to find out that the guitar exhibit in Indianapolis was made up, mostly, of guitars played by folks like Johnny Cash, Jimi Hendrix, Gene Autry and Cliff Burton.
Check out this gallery of a a few that I really dug!
Thanks! See you next month.
And last but not least... Gene Autry's 1927 Martin 0-42. Love the neck inlay. Love the pick guard. This is a beautiful guitar!! And don't even get me started on the case. The whole thing feels super understated. Classy. Just enough flash to let you know who the boss is. What I wouldn't give to have been able to play this.
Gibson 1902 Style 03 Guitar. Influenced by violin construction, the back and sides of this guitar were carved from one solid piece of walnut, with no internal bracing or blocks. The top is spruce. Paddle-head headstock with banjo tuners and the binding!! Perfection!! This guitar killed me. A true piece of art.
1930s Larson Brothers Prairie State Grand. And on the opposite size spectrum of awesome from the Martin, it's a 1930s Larson Brothers Prairie State grand size guitar.I don't know much about the Larson Brothers, but I do know beautiful. And i love this guitar in all of its wacky glory. The shoulders, the huge body. Kinda looks like a Wandre' or something you might find in an Antoni Gaudi building in Barcelona. Love it!
1870s Martin Acoustic. This Martin wasn't played by anyone special, but have you ever seen a more no bullshit, beautiful instrument? It's from the 1870s and the wood looks paper thin. I love it. Simple, slotted headstock. Understated and perfect.
Jimi Hendrix ’56 Les Paul Custom. I always associate Hendrix with a Strat, or the occasional flying V. So to see this '56 Les Paul Custom that he played kinda blew my mind. Again, on its own, this guitar is a beast. Knowing that Hendrix tore shit up on it makes it about 10000% cooler.
Johnny Cash's 1956 Martin D-21. I mean... a '56 D-21 on it's own is a sexy piece of work. But the fact that the man in black wore this top down himself definitely sends the chills.
Gene Autry Case. Gorgeous.