This basement beauty is back in action, thanks to my friend, and the best guitar tech I know, John Mooy. May I present the B&J Serenader, ladies and gentelmen.
I discovered this guitar sitting in a corner of my grandparents’ basement covered with nothing more than an old, tattered, canvas case. It turns out that my grandmother picked it up at the Salvation Army back in the 50′s as a gift for my aunt who was learning guitar at the time. (I had no idea!) There was quite of a bit of damage to the instrument, but most notably, the neck – the thing was pulling away from the body and had nearly a centimeter gap at one point! The string action was so high that it was really only playable (if at all) as a slide guitar. I could sort of fret up to the third fret, but on a good day, it was slightly out of tune at best.
Fast forward several, SEVERAL years later… I learned a few slide guitar licks and was in the midst of recording my first solo album with my friend, co-producer, and engineer, Boone Spooner. Some of the stuff just begged for slide, so I rediscovered the instrument and played it a bit on the recordings. I loved what I got out of it on songs like “Truck”, “Sign Me Up” and “Hard As I Try”. The instrument sounded so cool… so retro. Since then, it basically sat unused in storage either in San Francisco, CA or, most recently, in Nashville, TN. It was a sad existence for this thing. Enter my friend, a wonderful guitar tech, and host of Guitar Tech Tour Talk, John Mooy.
Guitar tech extraordinaire, John Mooy, holding the revived B&J Serenader in the lounge of his workshop.
John has tour managed, run FOH and stage sound, guitar tech’ed, and studio engineered for some of the most notable artists in the business, run an artist relations department at a major manufacturer, and just about every other thing you can possibly imagine doing in the music scene. To say he has a lot of experience is the understatement of the year… In any case, I follow John’s Facebook and Twitter profiles online. Not long ago, he posted an image of a nearly identical guitar that he was working on with nearly the same issues as mine. The similarity was uncanny… So, I reached out to him, set up a time to meet, and swung by his shop en route to Los Angeles, CA to do some demo vocal tracking for a songwriter I met earlier this spring. Some time later, I got the call that the instrument was ready to rock. That was earlier today, and pretty much since then, I have been playing it non-stop.
I honestly can’t thank John enough. I never thought this guitar would (or could) ever play and sound this good. The transformation is remarkable. I’m so impressed and really can’t recommend his work highly enough. I know John doesn’t need any recommendations or endorsements (he’s one of the best in the business at what he does), but if you’re in need of some specialized work on an old, vintage, or otherwise important guitar to you, look him up! In the mean time, I’m gonna put this laptop away and get back to pickin’.
PS: Don’t tell my aunt… this thing plays so well, she just might want it back!