The FrankenGibson

I bought my first "real" guitar in 1976.  It's a '67 Gibson SG Standard, with a dark walnut finish (think Angus Young, Frank Zappa, Robby Kreiger and you get the picture).  The same year I bought it, I arrived at one of our band's (very few) gigs and when I opened the case...


The neck had somehow, in transport, snapped where the heel joined the body.  Luckily, the other guitar player had a spare guitar, so we were able to play.  But my beloved "real" giutar was now real junk.  I decided to snap it the rest of the way, so I could get glue to coat the entire break.  I re-set the neck, and then I refinished the guitar.  It actually didn't look too bad, in spite of the hideous scars at the heel, and it played like butter after the glue set up and I put everything back together.

I played that guitar for many years, and it never failed me again.  In fact, it's the other way around.

25 years after the  neck break, though still a great instrument, it had become a piece of wall art.  Very playable, but even so, just wall art.  Then one fateful day, I took my battered old SG down from the wall, to show my wife and son as I told the tragic story of the broken neck.  I set it on a stand, and then, as I explained how delicate and fragile an SG's neck is (one reason they play so well is because they're very thin), I somehow knocked it right off the stand, and it hit the deck.  Hard.  The headstock split completely in two, as one of the tuners went flying, still attached to the end of its string.  Mother-of-pearl inlays separated from the headstock and skated across the floor; I eventually found them all.

The whole event was so surreal that the three of us actually broke out in laughter.  I mean, it didn't just break; it exploded!

Out came the glue again.  Due to the oddly fortunate angle of the headstock break (lots of surface area for the glue to stick to), the guitar made it successfly through its second major surgery, though I didn't even bother with the cosmetics this time.  I decided that this guitar had become too ugly for another facelift.  I gave it a couple of weeks for the glue to cure, slapped the tuners back on, re-strung it, tuned it up, gave it a quick test drive and then back on the wall it went.  The mother-of-pearl inlays are stored in a little box where they haven't seen daylight in two decades.  They probably never will.

To this day, my good old FrankenGibson still plays as well or better than any other guitar I've ever held.  It looks awful, but it certainly has "character".  As in, a character from a horror movie.  I guess SG must stand for Seriously Grotesque.