Aardvark at the SoCal Vintage Show: All Over

It’s over. After three fun-filled days, at 4:00pm the doors closed, and the exhibitors gave a warm round of applause to Larry Briggs and crew for another well-organized, successful show.

Sundays are the most relaxed days at vintage guitar shows: there’s no rushed setup, customers seem to be a bit more casual, and the overall volume coming from the various guitar amps creeps up a little more each hour. We made friends with and sold guitars and amps to people from Japan, Italy, and Australia. We purchased a few more really great guitars (including a beautiful Martin 00-21). We saw what may be the mintiest 1965 P-Bass on the planet. We ate bad food. And we packed up the booth and began the long drive home.

Aardvark at the SoCal Vintage Show: Day 2

Wow! What a day. We had a quick breakfast then headed to the fairgrounds. Things started with a bang when we had a run on lap steels–we had expected to sell one or two during the show, but we found ourselves sold out of them by shortly after lunch. Sales were good for other instruments, too. Our particularly sweet-sounding 1979 Martin D-28? It’s now on it’s way to Japan, along with our coolest tenor flat top. We also met some great people, including pickup winder Don Mare, the man who seems to have cracked the code of old Tele pickups. While there are a number of great winders who build wonderful sounding pickups, somehow, magically, Don’s pickups sound old.

We were lucky enough to pick up a number of instruments today: a 1915 Gibson mandolin, a 1957 Gibson mandolin, a beautiful 1956 Gretsch Country Club in Cadillac green, and a minty Gibson CS-336 from the Custom Shop. We wish that we would have been able to afford the beautiful, original D’Angelico that was for sale, but $49,000 was a bit out of our reach. All-in-all, it was a great (yet very busy) day. Look for the new instruments to be listed for sale within the next week or so.

We’re down to the final day of the show–and then, Sunday evening, we’ll pack everything up and head home.

Aardvark at the SoCal Vintage Show: Dealer Day

Day one in Costa Mesa: we sold a number of guitars and amps to fellow dealers and enjoyed getting reacquainted with a number of our old friends, including Bill from El Dorado straps. Based on what we have seen so far, the vintage market seems to be recovering from its recent several-year slump. Popular instruments include Guild flattops and electrics, ’70s Telecasters and Gibson 330s and 335s. We also believe Firebirds are going to remain very popular. We bought a nice recent ‘Bird in sunburst today that will soon be on our site.

Tomorrow we will be hosting the first day of public sales.

Aardvark at the SoCal vintage show: On the road

The hardest part of any guitar show is the preparation (and in this case, the drive). We began restringing guitars two weeks ago in preparation for the Southern California World Guitar Show that starts tomorrow. After checking out each guitar, making sure it had fresh strings, cleaning pots if necessary, and giving each thorough cleaning, we we ready to pack. Other dealers may have their fancy trailers, ultra-tall vans, or box trucks. But we’re cowboys from Utah, so we travel in a classic 1993, full-size Chevy Suburban with 275,000 miles. It’s a little bit like seeing how many clowns you can stuff into a Volkswagen Beetle, only in our case it’s seeing how many guitars and amps we can jam into a Suburban while leaving room for the three Aardvark partners. This year, we managed to fit six amplifiers and nearly 50 guitars. Yup, no one wanted to be the passenger in the cramped back seat–something about having guitar cases poking you in the back of the head.

After a long drive, we had a great Cuban meal at the Habana. We’re looking forward to the show, and hope you can drop by and say hi.

Join us at the 2014 SoCAL World Guitar Show January 25-26

It’s that time of year again–our favorite vintage guitar show is just around the corner. As usual, we’ll have a double booth packed with the cream of our inventory. We’ve met a lot of great people at this event over the last seven years–famous (and not yet famous) rockers of all varieties, manufacturers of cool gear from pickups to stompboxes to amps and transformers, the best of the west-coast vintage dealers, members of various online communities (including the Gretsch Discussion Pages, TDPRI, the Unofficial Martin Guitar Forum, the Fender Forum, the Les Paul Forum, and more), the legendary R.C. Allen, and, of course, a whole bunch of really nice guitar players. It’s always good to see our old friends like the guys from Antique Electronic Supply (a.k.a. Tubes and More), Kennard and Leo from Intermountain Guitar and Banjo, and Steve Swan (if fine vintage Gibson acoustics are your thing, be sure to check out his site).

To say we have a blast at this event every year is a bit of an understatement. So please come and find us–you’re welcome to pick up any of our guitars and put it through its paces. And even if you don’t find your perfect guitar at our booth, we can almost guarantee that some other dealer will have just what you’re looking for. And we know that from experience–we buy several guitars at this event every year. And speaking of buying, we’d also love to make you an offer on any cool gear you’re interested in selling.

We’re sad that there will not be a Deke Dickerson Guitar Geek Festival this year–it was a great way to unwind after a day of guitar sales. If you didn’t make it to one of Deke’s shows, we’re not sure that words can adequately describe what you missed. Let’s just say that its absence leaves a hole that may never be filled for the in-the-know members of the vintage show and NAMM crowds–Deke (and a lot of other people and sponsors) poured their hearts and souls into an event that was absolutely unlike anything else we’ve ever attended. That said, we’ll do our best to drown our evening sorrows with great food at our favorite Cuban restaurant in Costa Mesa, Habana on Bristol Street. If you happen to see three guys there who look like they’ve been standing on a concrete floor all day, come on over to our table, have a drink with us, and swap guitar some stories.

The SoCAL World Guitar Show is held January 24 (dealers only) and January 25-26 (general public) at the Orange County Fair and Event Center in Costa Mesa. Complete information is available at: http://www.texasguitarshows.com/NewLAJan.htm

Come on down!

Nick Forster buys a vintage Harmony at the 2013 Moab Folk Festival

Nick Forster, bassist for multi- International Bluegrass Music Awards winning band, Hot Rize, lead guitarist for their alter ego band Red Knuckles and the Trailblazers, producer and host of the NPR E-Town radio program, and all around nice guy stopped by the Aardvark booth at the Moab Folk Festival and picked up a fine old Harmony guitar. While he played his set on stage with Eliza Gilkyson, Aardvarkers Dave and Steve did a custom setup to suit Nick’s playing preferences.

Nick strikes a chord

Steve Lutz, Aardvark partner, rated best dobro player in SLC

Aardvark Guitars’ own Steve Lutz was recently singled out as Utah’s best dobro player in the first annual IAMMY awards ceremony, held December 12 in Salt Lake City.

Lutz was among 16 honorees selected by members of the Intermountain Acoustic Music Association (IAMA). Other awards included best bluegrass band, best fiddle player, best percussionist and best banjo player, among others.

Each winner received an award shaped like a guitar headstock and tuner.

To read a more detailed article about the ceremony and IAMA, click here.

The Aardvarkers exhibit guitars at the 2011 Moab Folk Festival

The weekend of November 4-6, 2011, brought showers and unexpectedly cold weather to the normally temperate Moab environs in southeastern Utah. But a bit of inclement weather wasn’t enough to undermine the enthusiasm of the many attendees, performers, and volunteers who turned out to listen to a range of top-drawer talents at the 2011 Moab Folk Festival.

Drizzly conditions prompted organizers to move the festival’s daytime performances from the Moab ball field to the town’s high school auditorium and foyer, but the event remained festive and the operators of Aardvark Guitars had a great time talking to and picking a few tunes with the many talented performers and audience members. We also sold a number of guitars and other stringed instruments, including a very cool vintage Kay mandolin, an early ‘60s Gretsch Double Anniversary, a numinous Mills guitar that we had on consignment, and a cool silverface Fender Princeton amp. Singer/songwriter Steve Forbert, one of the festival’s featured talents and a very nice guy, tried out and eventually succumbed to the charms of a beautiful thinline Telecaster.

To find out more about this very well-organized and entertaining festival, click here. And yes, Aardvark Guitars plans to be back next year. It’s quickly become one of our favorite fall music events and is definitely worth checking out.

Visit Aardvark Guitars at Costa Mesa, CA Show January 21-22

Once again, Aardvark Guitars will return to Costa Mesa, California to exhibit at the Orange County Vintage Guitar Show at the Orange County Fairgrounds, 88 Fair Drive, the weekend of January 21-22.

The ‘Vark Guys will have lots of new inventory on hand to try out, including a rare (only about 200 made) 1968 Gibson Flying V, a late ‘50s Gretsch Duo Jet, a ’62 Gibson ES-330, and an original “Jack White” Airline from the mid-‘60s, among many other cool instruments, some not yet on our website.

We hope to see you there!