Every guitar has a story folks. Especially one built in 1957!
MEET BOB. Here's a great story about one of Jeff's most loved guitars, his 1957 Gibson J-200 named Bob due to that name engraved into the ornately decorated upper pickguard. Jeff has played Bob both in the studio and on tour for years. When it came back from the last tour with a loose brace, we took it over to our friends at Chicago Fret Works for repairs. While looking inside the guitar, the guys at Fret Works came across a hand written note secured to the inside of the guitar that read "Bob Smart" and listed a phone number. Could this be THEE Bob that Bob was named after? A quick google search turned up two Bob Smart guitarists from the past... one who recorded surf music in the 60's on a French label and one who recorded country music for Nashville's Tiger label... and the one photo of that second Bob Smart that we found shows Bob holding THIS GUITAR (see the photo of Bob Smart in below comment) before the upper pickguard was added. So now, there was only one thing to do. Call the number! See if there is any way that number still works... see if Bob still resides at that number... see if Bob is even still with us. The phone rings, an older woman answers. "Hi, is Bob there?" "Hold on.." she says and puts down the phone. Wow! "Hello?" "Hi, is this Bob Smart?" "Depends who's calling." Ha! We chat for a while. Bob is warm and great to talk with. He tells us he bought the J-200 new in 1958 from Park's Music, sent it back to Gibson some time after to have the extra personalized pickguard added, and played and loved it for years and years. Sometime in the past 10 years or so, Bob started to have some shoulder pains so he traded this jumbo bodied guitar for a smaller, easier to handle Martin acoustic. Bob told us he played the Nashville circuit for years, including a stint on the Ernest Tubb Midnight Jamboree. We end the call with plans to exchange music. Bob says he may not have any old Tiger records left but has it all on CD. Maybe we'll post something here. He seemed genuinely giddy to talk about the past and excited for the attention and call. Thanks to the guys at Chicago Fret Works for finding this information and helping us discover the history of one of Jeff's most prized instruments.
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