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Presley guitars

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Richard Bridge 05 Aug 03 - 03:06 AM
Murray MacLeod 05 Aug 03 - 03:31 AM
Steve-o 05 Aug 03 - 04:19 PM
PoppaGator 05 Aug 03 - 05:47 PM
Mark Clark 05 Aug 03 - 06:19 PM
Lanfranc 05 Aug 03 - 06:42 PM
Richard Bridge 05 Aug 03 - 07:20 PM
mooman 06 Aug 03 - 04:13 AM
Lanfranc 06 Aug 03 - 04:28 AM
Roger the Skiffler 06 Aug 03 - 09:28 AM
GUEST,Glen Reid 06 Aug 03 - 09:40 AM
Murray MacLeod 06 Aug 03 - 06:23 PM
CraigS 06 Aug 03 - 06:39 PM
GUEST,Bob 07 Aug 03 - 12:04 PM
Richard Bridge 07 Aug 03 - 12:42 PM
GUEST,freojonny 21 Feb 04 - 10:27 PM
van lingle 22 Feb 04 - 09:25 AM
GUEST,Frank Allen, of The Searchers 15 Apr 07 - 08:15 PM
GUEST,Maurice 18 Apr 07 - 05:44 PM
Richard Bridge 18 Apr 07 - 07:26 PM
GUEST,Jim 19 Apr 07 - 02:43 PM
the outlaw 03 Jun 09 - 10:52 AM
PoppaGator 03 Jun 09 - 12:43 PM
the outlaw 04 Jun 09 - 02:16 PM
GUEST,MikeJ 01 Nov 09 - 08:39 AM
GUEST 04 Apr 10 - 12:09 PM
ichMael 04 Apr 10 - 10:26 PM
GUEST,denver pete 23 Dec 10 - 09:55 PM
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Subject: Presley guitars
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 05 Aug 03 - 03:06 AM

It's quite well known that Presley (Elvis of that ilk) used to play a Hagstrom Viking II deluxe.

Recently it was put to me that he also used to play a Hagstrom J45 or J45E (or the same guitar with a different model number, in the time-honoured Hagstrom way). It would be interesting to see if this could be verified. Are there any Elvis fans out there (I'm sure some of us are the right age).

I think I remember seeing publicity pix for some of his films showing him carrying an acoustic guitar, but my memory is insisting that they were Gibson J45s, and/or Gibson tailpiece flattops, not Hags.

Has anyone watched all his films closely enough to be able to say what guitars he played in them?

Doe anyone remember what acoustic guitars he played/was depicted as playing/endorsed?


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Subject: RE: Presley guitars
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 05 Aug 03 - 03:31 AM

I can't say offhand which movie(s), but I have certainly seen Elvis playing a Martin D18 in at least one of his earlier films.

Murray


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Subject: RE: Presley guitars
From: Steve-o
Date: 05 Aug 03 - 04:19 PM

Sorry, have no knowledge of the Hagstrom(s). Earliest performance photos have him certainly using his D-18, and I've seen later photos with a J-200. His last concert as the "real Elvis" (my definition), sometimes called his "comeback concert", he was playing a black Gibson hollow-body electric (a-la-BB King).


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Subject: RE: Presley guitars
From: PoppaGator
Date: 05 Aug 03 - 05:47 PM

He is definitely playing the D-18 in "King Creole," a very early B&W film (his 2d, I think) and one of his best, if not THE best.


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Subject: RE: Presley guitars
From: Mark Clark
Date: 05 Aug 03 - 06:19 PM

It wasn't the real Elvis who played the Hagstrom. It was, I believe, the comeback Elvis in 1968. He only played a Hagstrom for a short while even then. The Hagstrom model he played wasn't introduced until 1967 and was only made for a couple of years. You can see the Hagstrom Viking II at the linked site.

      - Mark


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Subject: RE: Presley guitars
From: Lanfranc
Date: 05 Aug 03 - 06:42 PM

If you do a Google Image Search for "Elvis Presley", you will come up with a number of photos of him playing guitar.

The most common pictures show him playing what looks like a Martin of some sort clad in a peculiar corset-like cover. Others show J200's and a couple of interesting looking f-hole guitars.

There are a couple of early shots that show him playing a small-bodied guitar similar to a Gibson B25, but the one frame that shows the headstock has no makers' decal.

Personally, I have always thought that the idea that he played a Hagstrom was an urban myth, probably thought up by someone desperate to sell one!

Why should Presley have bought a guitar made by an obscure Scandinavian maker when he had all the US makers to go at?

Alan


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Subject: RE: Presley guitars
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 05 Aug 03 - 07:20 PM

No, Lanfranc, it's establishable that Presley played a Viking II, and FYI Hagstroms are increasingly sought after, particularly in the USA despite any chauvinistic opinions of US guitar manufacturers (as distinct from luthiers).

The F-holes could well have been Haggies. I'm not so well up on the Haggie electrics.


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Subject: RE: Presley guitars
From: mooman
Date: 06 Aug 03 - 04:13 AM

Yaaaaarggggh! I do wish I hadn't sold my beautiful and spotless Super Swede now! seemingly I would be worth some money!

This all brings back fond memories like jamming with Snowy White and Phil Lynott with my Haggie at a garden party about 25 years ago!

moo


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Subject: RE: Presley guitars
From: Lanfranc
Date: 06 Aug 03 - 04:28 AM

OK, EP may have played a Hagstrom electric, but not an acoustic!

I know of a couple of people with aging Hagstroms of the J45 copy variety, and I have seen a couple on eBay. As with Levin Goliaths of similar vintage, I have no doubt that a good one in decent nick could be a very good guitar indeed.

Alan


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Subject: RE: Presley guitars
From: Roger the Skiffler
Date: 06 Aug 03 - 09:28 AM

More important, surely, what did Scotty Moore play?!

RtS
(all shook up)


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Subject: RE: Presley guitars
From: GUEST,Glen Reid
Date: 06 Aug 03 - 09:40 AM

Someone mentioned earlier about Elvis's Martin D 18 being "clad in a peculiar corset-like cover".
That was in fact, hand tooled leather and very popular with old time country musicians,back in the 50,s and 60,s.
Hank Snow certainly comes to mind and Elvis being a protege of his, would account for the customizing.
Even Waylon Jennings had a Fender electric done up.

Mudcat,s own Rick Fielding, besides being a musicians musician, is also a gifted tooled leather artist, as I have a couple of his beautifully crafted personalized guitar straps.
I have also seen intrument cases he has done and I'm sure he has even done a guitar cover at some time.

Cheers,
Glen


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Subject: RE: Presley guitars
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 06 Aug 03 - 06:23 PM

Roger, Scotty Moore played an enormous f-hole guitar, can't remember the make (uh-huh-huh ). Somebody will know however. Probably a Gibson or a Gretsch of some description.

James Burton was another guitar player who sported the tooled leather guitar cover on his Telecaster, at least when he played with Emmylou Harris. She called it a "Paisley Telecaster" whatever that might have meant ....

Murray


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Subject: RE: Presley guitars
From: CraigS
Date: 06 Aug 03 - 06:39 PM

I have seen 50s pictures of Elvis playing a Martin D28E, and a sunburst Gibson, probably a J45 or 50. Scotty Moore played Gibson - I think a model 295. In the 50s it was common to take the maker's name off the headstock (or cover it with tape on the BBC) to prevent free advertising on TV. A Paisley Telecaster is a standard Telecaster which has a Paisley design decal on the front - Paisley pattern was very fashionable in the sixties, but most people stuck to Paisley shirts. The design has a certain popularity, and has been re-issued recently - my local music shop is currently trying to sell a Shocking Pink Paisley Stratocaster - you need shades to look at this thing!


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Subject: RE: Presley guitars
From: GUEST,Bob
Date: 07 Aug 03 - 12:04 PM

Scotty Moore played a Gibson ES-295, essentially a gold-top ES-175, with single coil pickups.


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Subject: RE: Presley guitars
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 07 Aug 03 - 12:42 PM

I've been to the main Presley sites, and it seems there is no systematic record of Presley's guitars. Isn't that extraordinary?


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Subject: RE: Presley guitars
From: GUEST,freojonny
Date: 21 Feb 04 - 10:27 PM

The main point everyone seems to be missing is that elvis was a terrible player, and only knew a few basic chords.Only the very early sun recordings feature his playing. After he transfered to RCA session musicians and of course Scotty played.
He did play piano on a number of recordings though. The guitars were mainly props,as used in his early films see love me tender and notice the lack of strings!!


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Subject: RE: Presley guitars
From: van lingle
Date: 22 Feb 04 - 09:25 AM

Can't agree with you, freojonny. Elvis' acoustic backup on the Sun recordings is simple but rock solid and propulsive and on the "comeback" TV show he swaps his J-200 for Moore's hollow body electric and plays some pretty decent blues licks on "Let it Roll".
He wasn't fancy but I don't think he was terrible. Regards, vl


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Subject: RE: Presley guitars
From: GUEST,Frank Allen, of The Searchers
Date: 15 Apr 07 - 08:15 PM

Regarding Presley and Scotty Moore, Presley`s early Martin was a D18 but he also used a D28 (I don`t recall seeing a D28E mentioned by someone earlier)and I think this was the one he had the hand tooled leather case on. From Loving You onwards he favoured the much more glamorous bolnd J200 but throughout his career was seen with various other models, customised Gibsons that were basically J200s souped up and overdecorated. He used a Fender (Coronado I think) in the comeback special and in one of his films used a Burns 12 string electric. There are actually too many gitars used very fleetingly to list including a very cute old Martin in Love Me Tender.It might be interesting for somone to compile the definitive list at some point.

Scotty only had the gold ES295 for the 54/55 period (appx) from when he turned to a blond L5 with P90s. He soon changed that for an L5 with humbuckers but in Jailhouse Rock was using a blond Super 400 with ventian (rounded)cutaway. In the comeback special he was using a sunburst Super 500 with a florentine (sharp) cutaway which Presley took from him thus reducing which could have been a wonderful jam session to a merely interesting one in my opinion. Sacrilege

Obviously both he and Presley have used many more models throught their lives but these are the main ones you will see.


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Subject: RE: Presley guitars
From: GUEST,Maurice
Date: 18 Apr 07 - 05:44 PM

Hello Frank, I really enjoyed browsing through your collection of Hofners in "guitar and bass" mag, last month, took me right back. The current issue has a collection of Hagstroms and it says that Elvis played a viking 11 on his '68 comeback special programme. It was borrowed on the set from Al Casey, the guitarist behind several bands including The Monkees.


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Subject: RE: Presley guitars
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 18 Apr 07 - 07:26 PM

I'm pretty sure it was one of the Vikings with single pole pickups. I prefer the humbucker ones.


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Subject: RE: Presley guitars
From: GUEST,Jim
Date: 19 Apr 07 - 02:43 PM

If the Gibson was a sunburst, it wouldn't be a J50. The J45 and J50 were the same guitar, but the J50 had a blonde front and the J45 was sunburst. I've seen a few (my nephew has one) J45s that have been refinished to look like J50s, but they still say J45 on the spine.

I'm talking about Kalamazoo made guitars. I think that Gibson has now made a signifigant difference in the J45 and J50s. I owned a '58 J50 and it was a great guitar.


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Subject: RE: Presley guitars
From: the outlaw
Date: 03 Jun 09 - 10:52 AM

elvis started out with a late 40's-early 50's martin 000-18 guitar but after a few months moved up to a 1942 martin D-18 AND in 1955 he bought a new Martin D-28 and had a leather cover made for it so he would stand out from the other performers. HE switched to a new 1956 gibson j-200n used from 1956-1971 and this was his favorite of all time(he sent his original one to be modified for a new pickguard and the elvis name but when he got it back the serial#didn't match and in 2001 gibson found the guitar in its stock modified for elvis and returned it to EPE.In the 68comeback he plays a 68 red hagstrom viking
but it wasn't his nor was the 63 gibson s400(both are electric)
1971-1973 he used the famous black 69 gibson dove and briefly in 1975
from 1974-75 he used a blue 1968 Gibson J-200. 75-76 HE USED A SUNBUSRT 70'S GIBSON DOVE.the middleo of 76 he used a 74 guild F50. IN EARLY 1970 he used a gretsch countrygentlemen(1964).in late 76-feb77 he used a martin D-35(1970'S) and from then until he died he returned to the martin D 28(1970's model)


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Subject: RE: Presley guitars
From: PoppaGator
Date: 03 Jun 09 - 12:43 PM

What's the deal with those tooled leather guitar-soundbox covers? I would think they'd muffle the sound, at least a little bit.

Well, they look nice, and are obviously an expensive luxury, perhaps nothing more than a case of conspicuous consumption (i.e., a "status symbol").

I knew that Elvis had a D-18 early on, and assumed that the D-18 was the guitar that got the leather cover. Of course, it could just as easily be a 28 or any other dreadnaught under all that leather ~ with the cover in place, you don't get many visual clues as to the instrument's features.


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Subject: RE: Presley guitars
From: the outlaw
Date: 04 Jun 09 - 02:16 PM

It is a D-28 under the leather Elvis had it made so he would stand out from all the other musicians at the time


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Subject: RE: Presley guitars
From: GUEST,MikeJ
Date: 01 Nov 09 - 08:39 AM

Elvis also played Guild in the 70s and a Danelectro at the 1958 sessions - Photos show him complete with army uniform. A basic rock steady rhythm player - listen to early TV shows and Money Honey in particular. Even the great Steve Cropper said he knew his way around a guitar when they played together. I also think he played a Chet Atkins 'Country Gentleman' in some of his come back shows. Of course ...as Steve Cropper also said ..his greatest ability was like Otis ...crying out a lyric in a song.


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Subject: RE: Presley guitars
From: GUEST
Date: 04 Apr 10 - 12:09 PM

You guys are wrong bout the purpose of the tooled cover. He had it done to protect from beating up his Martin against his belt buckle. THats all.

And Elvis was a solid Rhythm guitarist and Scotty Moore has said not many could capture his rhythm drive on his Early Sun stuff. Nuff said.


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Subject: RE: Presley guitars
From: ichMael
Date: 04 Apr 10 - 10:26 PM

http://www.scottymoore.net/55D28.html

Link to a site with info about Presley's guitars. The leatherwork was decorative but protective. Apparently Presley's cover was made by a man named Marcus van Story.


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Subject: RE: Presley guitars
From: GUEST,denver pete
Date: 23 Dec 10 - 09:55 PM

Just got a 40-year old copy of a J-200 by kiso suzuki-- man, is it sweet! I have played a new on the shelf real deal J-200 and the two aren't far apart in tonal character, both being solid woods, spruce on top, and maple back and sides.   I can understand why Elvis played a J-200 for so many years......    after just a few hours of playing, I am ready to mothball my Martin/Sigma dreadnaughts, one of which is a DR-7 I bought new in the 1970's.

If the lottery pays out, I will be buying a J-200 from the Custom Shop at Gibson for sure!


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