Wilson and Alroy's Record Reviews We listen to the lousy records so you won't have to.

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Alroy's Amazing Out-Of-Control Guitar Collection

Guitars on this page:

Kent electric guitar - Vantage bass guitar - Ibanez Silver Series - Mystery Epiphone - Fender Musicmaster bass - Fender 70s Stratocaster - Gibson Les Paul Studio - Traveler electric guitar - Gibson Les Paul Double Cutaway - Epiphone Sheraton II - Rickenbacker 650S Sierra - Tyler Mountain Bouzouki - Gibson Les Paul SmartWood - Capri Orange Fender Stratocaster - Walnut Fender Stratocaster

I'm a lunatic. Insane. Crazy. Certifiable. All true, but that has nothing to do with the fact that I own several million musical instruments and counting, despite a near-total lack of musical talent. Hey, if other guys can have trophy wives, I can have trophy guitars. Here's my entire tale of woe. Let it be a lesson to us all...

IMPORTANT NOTE: I do complain about some of my instruments on this page, but I am not interested in selling any of them. If I really couldn't stand them I'd either sell them on eBay or give them away to friends. (JA)

Kent electric guitar (1980s?)
I can't remember much of anything about this maroon-colored SG copy. It just seemed to materialize in my life out of nowhere. Well, not exactly; I admit my dad bought it for me right before I started college. Must have thought I wasn't nearly cool enough to survive freshman year without looking the part. Thanks for the vote of confidence, pops. I almost never played the thing and, thanks to it having the world's worst tuners, couldn't keep it even kinda sort of vaguely in tune. Cats in heat couldn't have sounded worse. Might still be lying around somewhere in my dad's two-story attic that passes for an apartment (you think I'm a packrat...). (JA)
I'll always have a certain attachment to this one, because it was the first guitar I ever played, but it really couldn't hold tune worth a damn. (DBW)

Vantage bass guitar (198?)

Okay, so it's 1984 and I've just started college and some bozo down the hall in my dorm wants to unload the world's heaviest, most awkward looking natural finish P-bass copy, with the world's worst tuners. And I've got $150 I'm just itching to get rid of. Too bad I never did figure out how to tune it (that pesky tone deafedness thing again). Suffice it to say the thing is still sitting in the closet and I'm still not playing it... (JA)
I kinda liked this one, and don't remember it going out of tune too much, but it really was heavy. (DBW)

Ibanez Silver Series (1977)

Bought for $200 from my rock 'n' rolling major advisor the summer before my junior year in 1987 ("my son is ready for something better now" [ahem]). College biology wasn't a complete waste of time! Anyway, this was the instrument I taught myself to play on (wasn't Jimi Hendrix self-taught? I am such a stud). A beautiful sunburst Strat copy - yeah, a lawsuit Strat copy - with such fantastic low action that I proceeded to shred it to death; the frets are as flat as a board. Specifically, the fretboard. (JA)

Mystery Epiphone (1980s?)

Bought by my dad (him again) in the early 90s for $300 at an auction in Saugerties or some other damn town in upstate New York ("it's near Woodstock, so it must have belonged to some famous musician..."). This is the ultimate mystery guitar, a classic 80s heavy metal thing that I simply can't match to any known Epiphone model. Looks vaguely like a BC Rich Bich but just isn't one. One way or another, you've got to dig all the mystery switches and the retro hair band vibe. I never play it, it's way too clunky, and although you'd never guess it, I was not the next Yngwie Malmsteen. (JA)
So cool-looking, and the only reason I didn't play it last time was that the strings were totally dead and I was too lazy to change them. Next time... (DBW)

Fender Musicmaster bass (1973)

Bought for $300 from my office mate in about 1995. A nice rich red color that's the perfect compliment to your living room decor. The Musicmaster is a 3/4 scale, single-pickup toy that's basically made for little people. Or little old ladies. Or cripples like me. I'm not kidding about that, I have a deformed left arm; that's why I'm strictly a lead guitarist - playing rhythm is impossible when you're missing 90 degrees of rotation. Hmm, what does that say about lead guitarists? One way or another, I still can't play bass to save my life. But I do play the thing on the rare occasions that I do play bass. (JA)

Fender 70s Stratocaster (1999)

Okay, so my Ibanez is falling apart and all my other guitars just completely suck. So what do I do? Pick something out of the Musican's Friend catalogue! That's right, I blew something like $600 on a shiny new natural finish/white pickguard Mexican Strat with one of those beautiful 70s big headstocks. Mmmm, just gotta have one of those big headstocks. Play this one fairly frequently although the action is a wee bit too high. (JA)

Gibson Les Paul Studio (1995)

Bought on eBay for $650 in December 2002. My first big eBay splurge. Paid about $100 too much for it and the damned thing buzzes no matter how you set the action. Plus it has a rosewood fretboard instead of ebony - the horror! Someone just shoot me! Tried to give it away to Wilson but he refused to check it in at the airport and risk damaging it. What a saint. On the plus side, this was the first step in convincing me that Les Pauls totally rock. An all-black metal machine, but Studios kind of suck anyway, they're too heavy and they don't have any cool trimmings. Closet stuffer at this point. (JA)

Traveler electric guitar (2002?)

Bought for about $200 in Midtown Manhattan in December 2002. You know, Wilson's guitars suck. Ask him about it sometime. So, if you're in town visiting and you want to jam, the only option is to bring a guitar, which means, you must buy a traveler guitar. Must. Absolutely required. Perfect logical deduction. Only problem is, as cool as the damned thing looks it has the world's absolute worst tuners, so the low E string stays in tune long enough for you to tune the other strings and then immediately goes out. Let that be a lesson to us all. Instant closet classic. At least it doesn't take up much room! (JA)
My guitar collection has gotten much better now that I'm in an actual band: I replaced the shorted-out pickups on the Ibanez Roadstar II with groovy new EMGs, and picked up an ESP M-1000, a Takamine classical acoustic/electric, and a Fender HMT (that's right, motherfuckers: a Heavy Metal Telecaster). So if you were planning to come over and jam, have no fear. (DBW)

Gibson Les Paul Double Cutaway (1998)

Bought on eBay on 8 June 2003 for $800. This is where things get totally, totally out of control. I mean, like, totally. Three guitars in just one month and it's no coincidence that by now I'm cruising eBay maybe 25 hours a day. Who needs work? Who needs play? Who needs anything but eBay? Can you spell midlife crisis? It was worth every penny, though: this is an absolutely gorgeous black pepper flamed maple top with fantastic action, deep cuts that let you twiddle on all 24 frets, and a super-user-friendly lightweight body, all of this later fixed up with black trimmings. OH MY GAWD. I have died and gone to heaven. Only flaw: butt-ugly creme neck bindings. Nonetheless, I play this one all the time. Guitar junkie? Who, me? (JA)
A dream to play, but I could rarely get it out of Alroy's clutches. Maybe I'll stand more of a chance now that he has the SmartWood... (DBW)

Epiphone Sheraton II (1988)
Bought on eBay on 16 June 2003 for $351. Oh yes, it's time I picked up a nice white semi-hollowbodied jazz guitar and taught myself to be the next John McLaughlin. Hey, I'm already the next Jimi Hendrix, right? Suffice it to say that I'm now more convinced than ever that we will, we will rock you. It's a gorgeous instrument and plays just fine, but screw the jazz thing. Highly fascinating historical note: this was a made-in-Japan instrument put out at a time when Epiphone had stopped large-scale production of the model. Another closet stuffer. (JA)
Hey, why no picture of this one? (DBW)
Oh, I got so frustrated with it that I gave it away to a friend. (JA)

Rickenbacker 650S Sierra (2002)

Bought on eBay 19 June 2003 for $530. The feeding frenzy reaches its peak with a beautiful natural finish walnut six-string with gold trimmings. Who says guitars aren't better than sex? Anyway, some guitars are definitely not better than sex, because this one has a bad bridge pickup, and it's too top heavy to be really comfortable. Whoops. Play it occasionally anyway, and Wilson seems to like it. (JA)
Yeah, totally fun to play. Bridge pickups are for bozos. (DBW)

Tyler Mountain Bouzouki (1990s?)

Bought on eBay in August 2003 for $281. Hey, if I'm going to be the next Jimi Hendrix and the next John McLaughlin, I might as well also be god's gift to Irish folk music, right? Super-high action and strings made out of solid lead, making it impossible to play. Straight to the closet (truth be told, I don't have any more room in my closets for guitars, so this one is just sitting around my bedroom). We will, we will... (JA)
I think Alroy rated this one a bit too high. (DBW)

Gibson Les Paul SmartWood (2000)

Bought on eBay in June 2004 for $510.01. After hunting for more than a year, I finally find one of these absolutely stunning natural finish (here we go with natural finishes again), soothingly light-weight Les Pauls made with supposedly enviro-friendly tropical wood. Hold it here, tropical wood = enviro-friendly? Try explaining this to your ecologist friends. Anyway, it plays excellently and confirms all my Les Paul biases. Boy, that extra cent sure made a difference. (JA)

Capri Orange Fender Stratocaster (1977 neck)

Bought in parts on eBay for a total of $470.37 not counting my right ear, right leg, and left big toe for drilling, routing, fret dressing, setup, manicure, pedicure, and yoga lessons. Les Paul this, Les Paul that, you just can't beat the fact that you can put together a Strat from a pile of itsy bitsy parts and literally waste hundreds of hours on eBay over an entire year trying to find them. Much better than a Fender jigsaw puzzle - probably one of those would play terribly, but wouldn't you like to find out? Plus I ended up with a hardtail bridge, a Capri Orange body - after all those natural finishes, I just had to go wild - and a scalloped original 70s neck. Now let me tell you, a scalloped neck won't help you play one lick faster, but it does make you the next Yngwie Malmsteen. Finally. (JA)

Walnut Fender Stratocaster (1979 neck)
As if the yoga lessons weren't a lesson to us all, I've now dived right back in and started yet another 70s Strat project trying to put together yet another natural finish guitar with gold trimmings, because, well, you never know when there might be a nuclear war and supplies might run short. I'm pretty much down to the pickguard assembly at this point. (JA)

I wanna rock and roll all night and all that jazz, but I suck too badly.

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