Guitar World

A Like-New ’57 Teddy


- — Damian Fanelli

AS PRESIDENT OF Gibson Guitars from 1950 to 1966, Ted McCarty put a Flying V-shaped rocket under the electric guitar industry. Along with overseeing the developmen­t of iconic Gibson models like the Les Paul, SG, Firebird and ES-335, he designed the Tune-o-matic bridge and helped popularize the use of humbucker pickups.

In the latter half of the Fifties, McCarty caught wind of some disparagin­g comments from competitor Leo Fender, who apparently found Gibson’s output old-fashioned. This provoked McCarty to produce flashier, more cutting-edge guitar models such as the Explorer, the Moderne and, yes, the Flying V.

During that period of intense creativity, McCarty sketched a guitar that would have looked right at home in the Jetsons’ apartment. Signed and dated March 18, 1957, the drawing depicts a swanky-looking ax with a scimitar headstock, double Florentine cutaways and a walnut strip running through the middle of the body.

Sixty-five long years later, Gibson’s staff has unearthed that design from the vault and brought it to life. The Theodore — the first offering from the new Gibson Archive Collection — made its debut on the anniversar­y of its draft’s creation: March 18. That release date matches the number of Theodore guitars that have been made: 318.

The Theodore comes in three different colors: Natural, Cherry and Ebony. Its alder body, Custom Soapbar P-90 pickups and mahogany neck give it strong tone, resonance and sustain, and its oncefuturi­stic, now-retro look sets it apart from any other guitar in today’s world. —Damon Orion


ALTER BRIDGE’S MARK Tremonti has announced a new covers album, Tremonti Sings Sinatra, on which he trades electric guitar riffing for sultry crooning as he takes on a series of classic songs by Frank Sinatra. Scheduled to arrive May 27, the album was created in partnershi­p with the National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS) — which helps support individual­s with Down syndrome and their families — and will be released through a new charity initiative created by Tremonti called Take a Chance for Charity. Proceeds will go toward the NDSS.

The cause is close to Tremonti, as his daughter Stella was born with Down syndrome last March. “For years, I’ve loved singing along to Frank’s songs,” Tremonti says. “One night, I found an old video of him performing ‘The Song Is You’ from 1944. It made me want to dive into his vocal approach. I was all in and I wanted to do something with it. When we found out about our daughter Stella’s

Down syndrome diagnosis, the stars aligned. My obsession with Sinatra had its reason. Frank Sinatra raised more than a billion dollars for charity, and that is a fact I wish the public knew more about. Beneath his cool and calm persona, he had a big heart.” — Sam Roche


COUNTRY SINGER AND ace guitar slinger Marty Stuart left his family’s home in Philadelph­ia, Mississipp­i, at age 13 to tour with bluegrass legend Lester Flatt. By his early 20s, he was backing Johnny Cash, leading to a lifelong friendship. Cash’s personal gloss black Martin D-35 is one of many guitars on display in “The World of Marty Stuart,” an exhibit of musical artifacts Stuart has collected at the Museum of Mississipp­i History

in Jackson. Other important guitars on display include A.P. Carter’s 1936 Martin 000-28 and guitars owned by Pops Staples, Carl Perkins, Charley Pride and Merle Haggard. The exhibit runs through December. — Jim Beaugez


BACK IN MID March, PRS Guitars announced the opening of their new artist showroom — a cozy space nestled within the happenin’ SoundCheck Nashville rehearsal studios. The showroom is equipped with the newest PRS axes and amps, all of which are available to artists (and there are more than a few artists in Nashville) to check out, borrow and road test. The showroom is open to artists 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays — and by appointmen­t.

“[This new] showroom will provide an easily accessible, inspiring space for musicians to connect while fostering a deeper relationsh­ip between PRS and artists in the Nashville region,” says Bev Fowler, PRS’s director of artist relations.

 ?? ?? The Gibson Theodore in sketch form [left] and in the flesh
The Gibson Theodore in sketch form [left] and in the flesh
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