All right, welcome to The Local Pickup! I'm Jason Broadwater, and we don't have
Chris Gervais with us today, except he is here! He's behind the camera! Say "hey" Chris!
Yay! And we are in the coolest store anywhere around. This is a vintage guitar
store, amp store, repairs, it's called Heyday Guitars, and Charles,
let's start out, why don't you tell us a little bit about yourself, how you got
into vintage guitars and opening the store.
Oh, okay. So I went to school at
App State in Boone for recording. So this used to be called-- myself and the
other owner were employees at a place here in town called Sherwood's Music, so that
was my internship for college. So I got out, instead of doing, like, the studio
thing -- because I wanted to still enjoy recording -- it's like the chef and the cooking
at home thing, right? So I was like, "All right, I have a lot
of old gear. I can intern at this place, be the retail manager, learn how to fix
my stuff, there we go. So then, you know, four years go by, and I was the
basically the manager. There was me and Brian and then Matt Sherwood, who was
the owner, so it's kind of just like the three of us. And there was a couple,
like, part-time employees to help me out, but we did that for four years, about, and
then the owners of the building wanted to, you know, put a hotel there and all
that kind of stuff, so they kind of-- It was time for the lease to come up and Sherwood
wanted out and we were like, "Hm, yeah, let's keep going." So we changed the name,
moved it down, basically purchased all the assets,
created a new business. We have all these assets and all the dealer accounts
and all that stuff.
Is that when you moved here?
Yeah. So that would have been... 2015 we took it over, 2016 we
moved in here. Basically, like, finished out the 2015 lease and then moved it
down here. So this summer will be... four years?
Congratulations. That's great.
But really in my mind it's been eight!
Right, yeah, right!
Well it's a great spot. I mean, Lexington right here, North Lexington in downtown Asheville--
It makes a big difference.
Yeah, I bet.
And the Moog factory is just right down the road, so you get a lot of people that walk in with their their Moog bags, and I mean
we're friends with all of those people. And we were sending-- what's cool
is we were always sending people down kind of this block anyways, because with
Static Age is next door and Voltage Records is a little bit down the way, we've
got-- Like, our friends own the bars around here.
So it's a community.
Yeah, this is kind of like a local block in downtown still.
That's great, because a lot of it's not that way anymore.
Right. If you, you know, you go one
or two blocks north or south of us and it's like-- it's very... it's a different
crowd that it is appealing towards.
And much higher rents I would imagine.
Much higher rents, yeah. For a while I was paying more in rent for my house than
the store rent, which is really, really
hard to come to terms with.
Very cool, man. So you've seen all kinds of
wonderful, amazing instruments, one of which we're holding today. So what is this?
This is a 1965 Gretsch. The model's a 6117 Double Anniversary.
And so this is one that there was a batch of labels in 1957, I believe, that
went missing in the factory, and so then in '65 they had found them, and so there's
a subset of '65s that have a label from--
The label would have, like the serial number.
Yeah, so if you look at that serial number, it's a 1957, but it's
absolutely not a 1957 because it's definitely a 1965.
Yeah they had them left over, they found them, and it was like...
If you go to the serial number databases, you'll see where it's--
there's this little group where, all of a sudden, it's like--
And this is a full hollow-body.
Full hollow, you've got the Hilotron pickups.
So what's up with Gretsch's pickups? It seems like you always have a unique pickup thing going on.
They're definitely, like, they look like humbuckers, but to me they're
sort of how P-90s are where it's a single -- or like lipstick Danelectro
pickups are -- where it is a single coil, but there's definitely... the way that it's
built, it sounds different than a traditional, like, Strat or Tele pickup would.
Right, it absolutely does, yeah.
And then there's variations between a couple
different models. Filtertrons, Hilotrons, TV Jones pickups, I know I'm forgetting another one.
These are all on Gretsch's?
They're all, yeah, different ones
you'll see on Gretsch's, like some have-- they're, like, all-metal
and with the two lines, and then some with these. So they all sound a little
different, but essentially it's like a jazz box, this one is.
So I've heard
the term "Gretsch-bucker," is that, like, a humbucker made by Gretsch? Okay.
That could be, that could be the Filtertron. I know someone out there
will be like, "No, it's the other one! How could you not know?!"
Yeah, believe me, we put ourselves out there. We're "guitar enthusiasts," yeah.
There's definitely different ones. There's definitely crunchier ones. If
you're trying to go on stage and rock with this, you totally could, but, like,
something crunchier's gonna get you a little further.
So this has a jazzier kind of quality.
To me it's, yeah, it's definitely that more mellow-- with the, like, two
volumes and master tone and fixed tone switch, it's one of those, like, get your
blend, set it and forget it, or switch between your neck and
your bridge for solo tone or rhythm tone.
Well it plays so great, the action on it's fantastic.
This one is in one of the better,
you know, it's not perfect, but a lot of the time, like, the binding's still intact.
That's the big thing with Gretsch's.
The binding comes off, yeah.
The binding disintegrates. Similar to old Gibson pick guards, if this stayed
in the case the whole time, the binding gives off-- off-gassing, it
gives off a chemical, and it corrodes the electronics, yes.
So you'll see ones that are perfect with no checking and no marks and no play
wear, but the binding's gone, the pick guard's disintegrated, the hardware's
all rusted, all of that.
So this one, because it was left out of the case and played, you've got
binding and it's, you know, like, yes it's going to come off, yes it's going to fall
off eventually, but this is, like, a really-- so when you see, like,
"Oh, well this one's all whatever." Yeah, the binding's gone, the pickups have been
changed, it doesn't have the pick guard. This is, like, original
case, case candy.
Does it stay in tune? I know the Bigsby, the old Bigsby--
Pretty well. Because it's got the roller bridge, it's not, like, binding in a V-shaped
saddle. So the idea is that it rolls.
That's why sometimes you'll see people -- not on this -- but put, like,
roller nuts on guitars with tremolo systems, just so it
doesn't bind. That's definitely a place where it's like, "I use
my Bigsby and it never goes back to where it is." It's not this
spring because it's going back, it's when it,
yeah, the string binds here at the top, and then it changes pitch on stuff.
And is this mounted?
That's floating, so if you took the strings off, this would fall off.
It's going everywhere, yes. So really you should do it one at a time,
but, if I was gonna do an actual setup, I would put tape.
Like on mine, I've got a guitar that I just put, like, little marks.
So when you take it off you know where to put it back on?
Yeah, if it ever moves-- or it's really
easy, like, sometimes when you put your hand on it and
rest. Like, a Les Paul bridge, that's going nowhere, some people will rest their
hand there. You rest your hand there and it'll slide.
So you've gotta be aware of that I'm sure.
Just be mindful. Be mindful of it.
But this isn't-- to me, again, it's not one of those, like, you could, but with
the full hollow and all that, it's like, you're not gonna go play this in front
of a half-stack super loud somewhere.
You'd be feeding back pretty bad.
Very quickly, yes.
Now, you talked about checking. So checking is when the lines form in the finish, or...?
In the old nitrocellulose finish, it's just the way it is.
So sometimes it'll go-- to me it always kind of goes with the grain, but
we've had some that are purely horizontal, and you'll see
here, like, it's not checking, and then here it is. There's, you know,
basically, I think it's from temperature changes, essentially.
They've become kind of-- people have gotten real into checking
as a positive thing, haven't they?
Yes, well and it kind of lets you know it's real.
Like, my EB-3 that's back there, you can see that, like, you can't fake that. Like
yes, custom shop stuff does great, and yes, you can relic things, and yeah, take it
and drag it behind your car, but you can take a-- there's ways, right?
They've got techniques, but there's, like, something about when it's age, you just know.
I believe that guitars have something in them, I don't know, you can call it a "soul,"
whatever it is, but I've got a '53 Epiphone archtop that's electric, and
I can play it for, like, an hour. I can just play it and play it, I write songs on it, I write
riffs, any time I pick it up.
And then I'll pick up one of my other nice guitars, and I'm like, "Eh."
It's totally nice, and it sounds great, but there's something, there's definitely something to that.
Sounds fantastic, man.
So yeah, you've got your pickups.
So this switches back and forth between pickups.
Yeah, so you can set, like, a quieter,
quieter volume and then...
Oh, and then switch, yeah.
Yeah, and then with your master, overall...
Okay. So you've got independent volume controls,
you've got a master volume, this is switching back and forth between these
two pickups, and this is, like, a tone.
It's like a tone-- sometimes, what
gets confusing to me is with all the different models, like, sometimes it's a
phase thing. Sometimes it's a tone thing. Sometimes it's only on one pickup.
sometimes it's... so.
You know what I've noticed on the Rickenbacker?
You just flip them a lot?
And just, like, run with it.
I noticed Rickenbacker has that one
extra knob that only affects the neck pickup, gives it a drive.
Well and then there's some that, on some of the 12-strings, it's like
an overall high cut, or sometimes it's a low cut.
Depends on the year and model, I guess?
Or did somebody mod it?
Like, I modded my Strat to be middle pickup and treble pickup
on the tone knob, whereas traditionally it's neck and middle on the tone, and you
have no control over the bridge pickup.
So if you have the magical superpower of
being able to take the electronics out of a guitar and alter them the way you
want, do you find yourself doing that all the time?
A little bit. It's definitely--
It's like, you should make something work for you in the way that you want it to.
I did a similar thing to my bass; I took the tone knob -- and it's
called a "no-load tone pot" -- to where if you take a normal tone pot and turn it all
the way up, even though it's all the way up, it's still going to have that amount
of resistance. Like, if it's a 250k tone pot, there's always going to be 250k
resistance in your signal.
Even though you're turning it.
Even though it's all the
way open, just naturally. So what I put in mine is, when you turn it all the way
up, it's like it's not there. So you still have a tone knob that works, but when I turn
it all the way up, it's basically like I have wired the pickup straight to the
jack. So yes, absolutely, you can get in
there and tinker, but that's why you see, like, '70s Tele's or Strats or whatever
that have had a humbucker cut into them, and have-- the '70s were a
bad time for Fenders getting modded. '70s, '80s, and that stuff.
Yeah, we ended up with a '79 Strat that had, like, Mustang pickups in it, and
it had all kinds of crazy stuff.
And you don't know, like, why it did that. A lot of
times it could be something happened, so they did this. You don't get to
know the story, but, like, there are other times when you get something and go, "Oh, no."
I know, yeah.
But to that same effect, it's like, yes you can take your Fender Bassman
and turn it into a Marshall, right? Like, that's where the early Marshalls came
from. They took the early Bassmans -- yeah it's a Bassman -- they took the
Bassmans, Jim Marshall did a little tweak, gave it some more gain, there's your early Marshalls.
This is where Marshalls come from.
Really? That's interesting. Did he work for Fender?
No. He was a British dude that-- they were taking Bassmans and hot rodding them, essentially.
And he came up with what became Marshall.
Right, and that is the early--
So, there's a kind of JTM Marshall, they call them "Marshall Offsets,"
so where, like, within the head box -- whereas nowadays they're right in the center --
these are all shifted over to the side. And those are, like, the early--
There's a recording studio in town called Echo Mountain that has one of the early,
like, actual Marshall Offsets.
Does it sound fantastic or does it sound--
They sound great. It also just
kind of sounds like a Fender Bassman. So in that effect, it's like, yes so
you can do that, but don't buy something to try and turn it into a Marshall.
Right, right, right. Does it-- I guess it
decreases its collectible value when it's been altered? Is that--
Yes, and then that's a whole other thing, because, like, cosmetic condition and all of those
things, like, you can have a guitar that's super perfect and has no cosmetic issues and is like
a time capsule, but then people try to charge so much money for them that it's like
you're getting into, like, the collector side versus, this is in really good shape
and it's worth money like this, right?
Yeah, there's wear on it. Yeah it's not perfect. But it is one of the better
cosmetic examples, so this is going to be worth more than one with no pick guard, no
original case, no binding, pickups changed, new tuners, right? So it's like all of
those things. When I first started working at the other place, like, refrets
still hurt the value. It's like, well if there's no frets on it and you can't
Why not refret it?
Yeah, you've got to make it be playable, but
people finally realized, "Oh, you kind of have to."
Now there's the possibility that it was refretted poorly.
Absolutely. Or the same way when somebody, you know, services
an old tube amp, and you have to change the caps, and they do a bad job. Or like, you know,
refinishing kills the value.
Oh yeah, yeah. I always skip anything I see was refinished.
That's how I got that Danelectro bass. That's a refin, yeah.
Is that a '60s Danelectro bass?
Could be '50s. Could be '50s.
'58, '59, kinda?
Somewhere in there. I haven't, like, really dated the pots and stuff.
That's cool. So the way you date a guitar
is you take out the electronics and look at the pots?
Ideally. So with Fender,
once you get into the '70s, has a pretty good serialization where it,
depending on-- you know, I can tell you just by looking at it, unless-- if you know
that nothing else has been changed, I can tell you what year it is on the serial
number. Gibson gets a little tricky because they've reused serial numbers or it
doesn't always work. With Martin, you have, like, the last serial number for a year,
so you know that if it's, you know, under this but over that it was this year, right?
But, like, that '60s Gibson, or the SG Junior. You look at the serial number it could be this
or it could be this or it could be this, but then you date the pots, and they all--
Same with speakers. I can look at speakers or transformers or pots
and tell you who made it and what year they made it, because there's, like, a week
and a year code.
And then on guitars that have bolt-on necks, you can take off the neck and look, like Fender--
So on Fender stuff, then you can, because of that--
It could've separated the neck from the body.
Yep. So you can do-- you date the neck, you date the body, you date the electronics,
meaning the pots and the pickups.
And if anybody doesn't know, a pot is, you've got the knob--
--which goes to the potentiometer, which then goes to the pickup.
Yeah. Or, well, do it the other way, because of where the signal starts.
Oh, that's true. So it's coming from the string, it goes through--
String vibrates it, magnet picks it up, sends a signal to the volume pot. With a
tone pot you would take that signal, it would be affecting this the whole time,
and then it goes out to the jack or to the, you know, the switch.
Where the cord is, which goes to the amp, which makes it appear. There you go!
Every episode we pick a nonprofit, and we give to them using Givolio.com,
which is a web app that we developed. And on this episode, we were at Heyday Music
in Asheville, North Carolina, so I thought'd be cool to pick a nonprofit that's local to Asheville, and I went with
the Appalachian Sustainable Agricultural Project, or ASAP. We hear a lot about the
farm-to-table movement, and this nonprofit actually facilitates that whole industry
by connecting farmers to markets and supporters to actually make farm-to-table
happen and be a sustainable thing.