Guitar Stories: The Bones of J.R. Jones' Dean CE Cutaway Resonator

I bought my guitar on a whim in a small shop on the outskirts of Buffalo about seven years ago. It was on sale for 350 dollars.

The guy threw in a gigbag too.

My previous guitar was a beautiful Taylor that cost me more than I pay in rent even today.

I played it out for a number of years, but found myself beholden to it. It was too pretty, and knowing myself I could never give it the respect and love that it probably deserved. So I sold it for half of what I paid, and set out to find something I could break.

I realized that if I wanted to make music full of raw and ugly passion, I needed to find something that I could lay into. An extension of that feeling. I only had a couple requirements: It had to be cheap, it had to be a resonator, I wanted it electrified, and most importantly… it had to feel right to hold. It had to sit just right in my lap and not overwhelm my smaller frame. I didn't want to battle it and struggle to reach around the body. I found that guitar in March of 2007.

It was a Dean CE Cutaway Resonator. It didn't sound perfect, but it felt right. That was worth more to me than the 2,000 some odd dollar National at the end of the spectrum. Buying this Dean was going to be a fight, but I felt confident enough that I could make it play the way I wanted it to.

Seven years later I think I'm still in that fight, for better or worse. It buzzes, refuses to stay in tune, the pick-ups are too hot, and has been tattooed with chips and dings. As a result masking tape, wood glue, cork, and a pure willingness to not give up on this thing keep me at it. I love this guitar. I have owned probably close to six guitars in my life…and I could never say that about any of them before this.

I know eventually I will move on. I'm playing out more and more.. and I'm worried that the Dean just can't keep up. I will have to give in at some point and buy a new guitar. That being said, I plan to ride this one as hard and as long as possible without a doubt, until it reaches a firey grave on stage.

Hear it played on "Good Friend of Mine"

The Bones of J.R. Jones is the brainchild of Jonathan Linaberry. Linaberry performs and completely inhabits the persona of the early-twentieth-century blues musician, The Bones of J.R. Jones. “For me it’s an outlet more than anything else.” His new album Dark Was the Yearling, is out now. More at

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