August 16, 2019 – The Great American Guitar Show was recently held in Oaks, P.A. Lots of vintage gear was on display for viewing as well as purchasing. The show is presented twice a year at this location – Summer and Fall, giving you ample opportunity to find that special piece of gear. Primarily consisting of guitars and amps, the spaces were mostly filled by small vendors; a lot of them from New York including the well-known Rudy’s Music. They may have been small but the gear they had on display was nothing short of amazing.
I arrived at the venue to find parking was difficult but not impossible. Coming a few hours after the show opened, it seemed that the show drew a good crowd. There were a few people outside looking to sell their gear as well. After a reasonably short waiting line to purchase tickets I soon made my way into the venue. Not knowing what to expect, I found there were pieces I had never seen before and some I never knew existed like this Gibson Les Paul recording guitar, complete with a built-in microphone. No doubt this was so Les Paul could sing at the same time as he played guitar. Another gem was this Gibson harp guitar. In addition to the standard six strings, it had an additional 12 strings that would ring out sympathetically as the guitar was being played. You could also play the additional strings as well. Equally cool was this Fender Stratocaster double-neck 6/12 guitar (click to view larger.)
Also on display was a Gibson combination lap steel/six string solid body double neck guitar built 15 years before the first Les Paul guitar – The ESN-150.
I found lots of cool stuff to my particular taste such as this Sears Silvertone guitar made by Danelectro with the amp built into the case. It was in working condition. A few were available starting at $400.
With all of the controversy lately regarding Gibson’s lawsuit against Dean Guitars over their alleged use of the Hummingbird guitar design, I saw something ironic. Here was a Martin acoustic guitar that had a hummingbird inlay on its pick guard, much the same as the Gibson. It even had a hummingbird inlay on the neck and looks to be original. Hmm…
One of the coolest things I saw was this Ampeg combination guitar/organ amplifier. I recall seeing one of these years ago in a music store when I took my first guitar lessons. It was cool then and it is still cool now. Another amp I found interesting was this 1960 Gibson Explorer amp. No doubt it was meant to be paired with their Explorer guitar. I wonder how many of these were sold in comparison to the guitar (click on to view larger.)
If you’re into Fender amps, there were vintage Bassmans and Showmans in abundance. I didn’t see too many Marshalls but I did happen upon these two-mid 70s 50-watt models as well as one or two other vintage models in the 50 watt variety.
The only well-known manufacturer at the show was PRS guitars. Their contingent had a large display with lots of beautiful electrics. There was even an appearance by the man himself, Paul Reed Smith.
Here is a gallery of some of the cooler guitars on display: One featured here is an Ibanez “Lawsuit” Les Paul copy. These were so good Gibson sued Ibanez to stop making them in the 70s. My favorite Strat (being a Gary Moore fan) was this Fiesta Red Stratocaster. The price was reasonable too. If you’re into Van Halen, there were several signature models on display including the Stealth (not shown.)
All in all, it was great to see these vintage and unusual guitars. Being that the NAMM shows are for new gear that is coming out, it’s good to be able to go to a show and see/purchase a vintage guitar with so many to choose from. If a guitar show is coming to your area, be sure and check it out.
Have you ever been to a guitar show?