That's a guitar collection!

By Miguel Ángel Ariza

At Guitars Exchange we have been lucky to have been invited to the home that has one of the largest private guitar collections in Spain, and also have been able to take advantage of the kindness of the owner of this treasure, as he has allowed us to play with (rather than test) some of them.  

The ambience was one of old acquaintances so we didn’t have to do anything more than sit while guitars were handed to us, all with the same equalization via a Vox Ac30 from the early 60s. Some of the guitars had not been played for a long time and we didn’t have the time to adjust everything to the last degree but still, despite the guitarist, the different character of each could be heard perfectly; and the sound was marvellous.

1975 Gibson Les Paul Black Beauty

This was everything you might expect of a Les Paul of this period. Specifically what I like most about these models is that the pickups allow you to play the guitar very delicately. For example, we were able to play some blues, without it sounding ‘angry’, which is difficult to achieve with pickups nowadays as many Les Paul models are made without too much signal, or better said, made with the necessary signal to do rock but not so much other ‘quieter’ styles. With this model you can do both. Its only defect: its weight.  

1961 Gibson 'SG' Les Paul

Originally conceived to be a more economically priced model by removing one pickup from the original model, this version is the sound of ROCK in capital letters. This is from 1961, that is, the first year that it went onto the market, still being called a Gibson Les Paul (later Les Paul himself would remove his name from the model as he didn’t like it at all). The sound of the Ac30 is not the most appropriate to listen to this guitar in all its splendour, but you can quickly hear that it sounds great. Its single p-90 is all we need to be happy, and if not tell it to Angus Young.

1969 Gibson Super 400

The guitar of my venerated Scotty Moore in my hands and I can’t think of anything other than to play one of his most famous songs. ‘I am a simple man’ said Lynyrd Skynyrd. A Rolls Royce of a guitar; perfect for playing jazz, bossa or primitive Rock and Roll.

2016 Zemaitis Pearl Ring Chess

There are guitars that you don’t have to plug in to know that you are in love with them. Probably one of the most beautiful electric guitars that I have seen in my life and with a resonance, before plugging it in, that already gives you a clue about how it is going to sound with the right gear.  

Gibson SG 60's Reissue

Another of the SG’s that we had the pleasure of playing. Of the three this is the one that sounds most up-to-date as it gives more signal and, as we said, it is the perfect guitar to make the most powerful sounds. 

2011 Gibson SG Standard Custom

A beautiful guitar with the sound that you would expect from an SG but with a vintage style vibrato that, apart from its sonic capabilities, makes this model aesthetically irresistible.

2006 Gretsch 6122-12

A really fantastic guitar, which most impressed me both for its finish and for its sound. Marvellous attack and depth with this Gretsch 12 string, one of our favourites these days, because of its reliability. We loved all the high end Gretsches that we tried out.  

1967 Martin D-28

The guitar we enjoyed most out of all that we played this morning. A great sounding acoustic guitar. Even on the video, and with no reverberation in the room where we recorded, we could hear the fatness and perfect balance of the high, medium and bass frequencies of this guitar. If we could keep just one guitar, we would keep this one.  

1997 Martin D-45

A lacquered version of the Martin D-28 and a real marvel that we did not enjoy as much as we should, simply because we were left captivated by its 1967 older sister. The sound is very similar but perhaps the Martin D-28 had a lower point of resonance that made the older sister the most desired of the two.