One of my local guitar shops has an Epiphone Casino Coupe. It is like a small body Epiphone Casino.

Epiphone Casino Coupe

Admittedly I don’t like the modern sunburst or the headstock, but it is a hollow body and has fun P-90s! I played it acoustically and moved on. Then I saw the Gibson ES-390 in transparent red.

Gibson ES-390

Sorry for the bad picture cutting off the headstock. The important thing is that I played it acoustically and then plugged it in. Wow! I know I didn’t plug in the Epiphone, but I really liked playing the Gibson.

But it makes me wonder if it is the price tag that makes me like it more (you like more what you can’t have). Or is it the cosmetics like the color and headstock. Or the fact that I don’t like pick guards on these guitars? Is the Gibson really worth 4 or more times more than the Epiphone? What influences your guitar choices when looking at the expensive version and the budget version of such similar guitars?


Letain Guitars

A while back I posted a bunch of pictures of guitars I saw at the Tacoma Guitar show. There was one guitar that I didn’t know the maker of at the time. It was a cool mix of carbon fiber, steel, and wood. I compared it to a Parker Fly that was also at the show.

I finally cleaned up the bag of picks and magazines and ads I got from the show and found the business card of the maker of the unknown guitar. It was Letain Guitars. I went to the Letain website and saw this!

Letain Custom Electric frontLetain Custom Electric back

Isn’t this an amazing guitar? I think it is incredible. I hope Letain Guitars doesn’t mind me resizing and reposting these pictures from its website here. The only question is whether it is semi-hollow or fully hollow.

Ok, there are a few other questions. What does the neck profile feel like? What scale is it? How does it sound? How does it play? etc. I am very curious about this guitar and the possibility of having a modernized version of a Gibson ES-125TDC custom built. That would be very cool!

Another hollow body student guitar

I finally made it up to Mike and Mike’s Guitar Bar in the Seattle area. They have a very eclectic shop that needs to be visited regularly to truly be taken advantage of.

Thankfully social media and online selling forums (I’m looking at you make that possible!

During my visit I saw a lot of cool guitars and amps, but this student model Epiphone caught my eye almost immediately.

Epiphone Granada

It is the same thing as the Gibson ES-120T (probably made in the same factory, but I haven’t researched that so don’t take my word for it) that I have been lusting after in my local shop. Except that all the plastic is white (not my favorite) and the burst is the best one I have seen on these guitars. There is something about an amber burst that just makes me swoon!

I plugged it in and enjoyed playing it, but that single coil was noisy. I didn’t get it, but once again, I’m getting a better sense of what I like!

Next Guitar?

One of my local guitar shops had a Gibson ES-120T on consignment for a few months. I really liked it. But the single coil pick up and the price kept me from selling a bunch of other stuff to pull the trigger. But the neck felt really good to play and as a full hollow body guitar that was still thinline, it felt like a blues machine to me (sorry jazz people). I couldn’t wait to make it howl at the drop of a hat with feedback. It reminded me of that Hagstrom I had seen in Eastern Washington a while back. And it reminded me of the Gibson ES-446 I had lusted after in the same shop.

Then at the Tacoma Guitar Show I saw a ES-125TC with the cut away, single p-90 pick up, and a repaired neck (with new tuners that I prefer) closer to my price range. And they were discounting it a lot for the show. I almost got it. I even started discussing with a local shop owner also at the show what he might buy from me so I could buy this.

Gibson ES-125TC

Then I saw the same vendor at the show also had a great Gibson ES-125DTC deeper in their display area. It was well outside my price range, but had the cut away, two p-90 pick ups, and played very well. I really like the two pick ups, but the neck didn’t play as well for me on the ES-125DTC compared tot he single pick up ES-125TC. I still liked it a lot, but it is not in my price range (right now).

Gibson ES-125TDC

A few days later another local guitar shop ended up buying the ES-120T and putting it up for sale (it is a mixed blessing when the shop owner messages you a picture directly). I played it again and recognized how good the neck felt that made me interested to begin with.

Gibson ES-120T

I haven’t get any of them. But now I have a much better idea of what I want in my next guitar.

  • Hollow body
  • Thin line
  • two P-90’s
  • Cutaway
  • Trapezoid tail piece
  • Tune-o-matic bridge
  • Wonderful

Shouldn’t be too hard to find! Right?

Tacoma Guitar Show

WARNING – Lots of pictures.


G.A.S. hit hard at the Tacoma Guitar show. But I’ll get into the specifics on a future post.

I was surprised by how few pedal makers were there. But Lollar is based in Tacoma and it was really cool to see their booth.

I also met Joe Riggio who refinished and aged my 62 SG. He was happy to see some of his old handiwork, which was cool!

For now, here’s a bunch of cool guitars that caught my eye!  You may notice a trend in where my interests are taking me.

Wow! These Epiphones are amazing. I love the mini-humbuckers and the fading burst, but the bigsby makes me curious. I did not ask to play either one.

Epiphone Riviera mini-hum Epiphone Riviera

Here’s an incredible Fender Starcaster, which were originally full hollow body guitars (unlike the reissues).Fender Starcaster

I love this guitar. It just looked so good. So well worn, but so well loved. I like these ES-330’s.

Gibson ES-330

Some other great old Gibsons. I love the single cut away a lot. Those thin lines are so cool, but that middle P-90 makes me nervous!

Gibson ES-225T Gibson ES-120

And in an even more slightly more approachable price tag, here is a Guild.

Guild T-50

Made me think about trading my acoustic national resophonic for this dobro resophonic!

Dobro Tele

And here are some really modern guitars that I really liked. The Parker is always a cool guitar, but the other one (sorry I forgot the maker’s name) caught my eye. I wish I had played it. EDIT: The guitar is from Letain Guitars.

Custom Something Or Other Parker Fly

I hope to go to the next one. And maybe next time I’ll come home with something besides pictures.

JSBX Freedom

I have seen this band a lot over the years. And they area always best live.

JSBX - Seattle 2015 first

I was first introduced to them when a coworker at my crappy college job putting price tags on candy bars loaned me the Orange album. Bellbottoms blew my mind!

This year, and I guess part of last year, they have been working on an album and performing all over New York.

As always, they played their trusty guitars.

JSBX - Seattle 2015 second

Jon Spencer played his Zimgar something or other guitar and it looked like he ran it through a smaller Peavey amp, but the amp may have been for his harmonica or theramin. Judah Bauer played through two teles that ran through what looked like a Fender Deluxe and Fender Twin. Premier Guitar did an interview here for their last album (Meat and Bones, which I also saw them perform) and Judah Bauer rig rundown. I can’t compete with that, so check it out!

Forgive or just forget?

Forgive me, Internet, for I have sinned. It has been over two months since my last confession. I am still here. I am still alive. I’ve seen Jon Spencer Blues Explosion (again), attended the Tacoma Guitar Show, sold some equipment, purchased some equipment, almost purchased and sold more equipment, and dabbled with the guitar in that time.

  • Have I joined a band? No.
  • Have I learned a song? Almost.
  • Have I lived life to the fullest? Trying.
  • Am I back? Probably.

I haven’t written anything, but I have some pictures from the past few months that will hopefully turn into blog posts. I also don’t know if I have a lot to say right now, but am willing to try. I do have a certain gift for blathering on about guitars. I do have a new work schedule that has me taking on more child care duties. That has been a blast! My kids are awesome and, while I am by no means a perfect Dad, I can freely admit I would rather be engaged with them than playing guitar. But I do take some time to play while they make up songs, which is the best of both worlds. Perhaps I’ll post some of their diddies here in the coming months.

If you have any topics or gear you would like to see on Guitar Wanna Be, let me know. I’ll see what I can do!

Unusual Guitars?

While out of town at a training for work, I stopped by a fun guitar shop. I wish I could visit this place on a regular basis. The inventory is so eclectic and changes so often. But it is a bit of a trip and its hours are limited, which don’t match my schedule. Plus I can’t really afford regular visits there. However, I did not buy a guitar this time around!

ovation breadwinner

This visit did not disappoint. I finally got to play an Ovation Breadwinner. The neck felt a bit thick when I first picked it up, but as I played it that feeling went away. It is actually very even along the whole neck. And probably thinner than my old Epiphone Sheraton VSB. The body really does feel as good as I hoped it would. It fit really well when I was sitting. It is compact, but substantial in the right places. And the pickups are very interesting. I liked it a lot.

I also played an unusual guitar that looked like something I would build. It was a Rickenbacker 4001 base style body (with rounded edges) and a bolt on neck (with a very ugly headstock IMO). It had two backwards tilted P-90 style pickups with wings, a roller bridge, and trapeze tailpiece. I was a bit shocked at the price they were asking for because the build quality seemed kind of like the parts guitar I built my daughter, but I liked the overall feel for what looks like a one off guitar. I did love how light it was! And overall, it played well.


And now that I’ve looked it up, it is a bit more unusual than I had originally thought. It is a hollow body! So check out SonicF.

What “unusual” guitar shapes do you like?

Guitar Mags

I’ve been sick in bed for the last week. While not where I wanted to be or what I wanted to do, it did give me a chance to catch up on all the guitar magazines I’ve allowed to pile up unread for last few months.

I have a subscription to Premier Guitar, which is still the best guitar magazine in the U.S. I used to have a subscription to Guitar Player, but they just haven’t been able to complete. However, a coworker’s Mom bought him a GP subscription that he gives to me. He’s a drummer!

For Christmas, my kids got an issue of Guitar World and an issue of Guitar Aficionado. GA was very pretty and GW had some good song tabs, but still not my favorite.

Now I realize these are all U.S. magazines. Am I missing any? How about in Europe? I remember some really cool magazines when I lived there.