Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Cherry's scratching like a grain of sand, the trigger itch in the killer's hand.

This is the third posting in a series of posts I will be making covering all the guitars I have owned or possessed long enough to lay claim to. I have already posted the first two installments a mid 60's Teisco E-120 and an 80's Rocket Roll II. It has been very fun reminiscing about the subject of guitars and also stirs up some fond memories of time gone past. I hope you enjoy this as much as I am and please share a story about one of your stringed friends in the comments.

Number 3
1975 Ibanez 2390

In the summer of 1985 another of those epiphanous musical moments happened to me. I heard the thrum and drone of a song called "Never Understand" on Mtv by The Jesus and Mary Chain. It absolutely blew my mind that a song could sound so abrasive and mellow at the same time. I heard the lyrics and instantly felt in love with an emotion of some kind but I couldn't pin point what it was.

The way the band looked in the video was exactly like me. Floppy hair? Check! Ray-Ban style sunglasses? Check! Hole riddled jeans and dark shirts buttoned to the collar? Check! All I needed was the old hollow body guitar.

I got my drivers license in 1985 allowing the freedom to check out stores in the city of Milwaukee. On a Saturday, my brother Casey, friends Scott and Tim and I would pile in my 76 Duster and track all over the Cream City looking for record stores, head shops, clothing stores, book shops and anything else we knew we wouldn't see in Sheboygan.

On one trip we stumbled onto a store called Record Head. If you are having a hard time following this it was a head shop that sold records. The store was at 7045 W Greenfield Ave and had a pretty cool selection of used records and tapes plus if you were in the know you could see their glass pipes they kept under the counter or in the office or something. It was against the law to sell paraphernalia without also selling tobacco products and well the store wasn't called Record Cigar Head now was it.
Against one wall they had a few guitars and being that I had caught the bug I had to check them out. I read my fair share of Guitar World Magazine to know a lot of guitar companies. Nothing on the wall jumped out at me. I asked the irritable man behind the counter how often the stock rolled over and he kinda dismissed me but told me of another Record Head on the north side of town. We didn't have enough time so I planned to take another trip to check it out.

A month or so later the four of us made the trek south and searched for the other Record Head. I found it at 7418 W Hampton Ave and went inside. Holy @#&% batman, this store was amazing. There were fewer records, although they were good, but my eyes bugged out when I spied the selection of guitars. Gibson, Fender, Ibanez, Gretsch, Rickenbacker...jaw-dropping-awesome.

It hung on the wall next to another big huge hollow guitar and a black Guild bass guitar. Walnut brown, soft and round. The Ibanez 2390. Of course I didn't know it was the 2390 back then but I did know it
looked like the guitar the Jesus and Mary Chain guy played.

I pulled it off the wall and held it in my hands. So light and loud. I was sold. $225, saved while working for a small print shop after school and during the summer.

It was essentially a Gibson ES- 345 copy right down to the shape of the headstock. The finish looked new and the bolt-on neck felt the same as the Rocket Roll II's neck. In retrospect it was pretty plastic. The pots and switch were mounted onto a piece of plastic to save money I suspect. A real ES-345 had the same layout but the guts were mounted right to the top of the guitar. Ibanez did make guitars with the top mounted controls so I am going out on a limb and saying the 2390 was probably the cheapest of the catalogs Gibson ES series copies.

I owned that guitar for seven or so years. Just long enough to have the neck mounting screws strip out, the plastic neck inlays fall out and the finish start to check.

I passed it on after some light repairs, again not a luthier, to my friend Matt who was a singer but wanted to learn to play. He owned it for roughly three weeks before pawning it. I would have bought it back from him had I known he would take a loss on it. Unless the pawn shop recognizing it was a 70's guitar gave him more than $80.

Crack of dawn...Cindy's moving on...talking Cindy to everyone...til she's had her fun.

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