The first guitar I owned was an off-white star-shaped electric, like the ones spandex wearing ‘80s metal bands played.
I bought it in 1991 from a guy in my neighborhood named Niknok, who used to gig in Japan as a biyaherong musikero. Gigs abroad for him had stopped by then so he decided to stay and rent out his music gear instead; in my case, he sold one. The guitar he offered was a Hondo, which any guy into Japanese guitars would say is a fairly respectable brand. I had just learned to play guitar and was thrilled my first would be an electric, even though its shape screamed glam metal Poison when I was into thrash metal Anthrax.
Niknok sold me the guitar for P2,000. Not bentang adik but close. I sold it a year later for P2,500 because grunge had just exploded and the guitar suddenly became an embarrassment. I’ve been in and out of bands for the last 26 years and have had three guitars after the star. I regret selling it to this day.
So, even though I don’t collect I can fully understand what musician Iman Leonardo is saying about his relationship with his 500 guitars (Rare Finds,
pp. 46). His obsession is fueled by the distinct nuanced sound made by every guitar, as though each were his own person. It’s the same mindset we found in the other collectors—of handmade bicycles, old time radios, and knives—we feature this month,
As for our cover, we have two women who aren’t obsessed with what they do as much as it is their way of life. Amanda Villanueva is a pro volleyball player and Mara Lopez (daughter of ‘80s actress Maria Isabel Lopez) is very much into surfing outside of being an actress. We caught them in their natural element at our beach shoot in Batangas.
Right now I play a Franken-tele—it’s a telecaster with parts from unknown sources—that’s been with me for 11 years. The guitar knows me well enough to make me appear to be a half-decent player. I’m not selling it. Not this time.