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Thread: Gary's V2

  1. #1
    Tone Member DoronEsh's Avatar
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    Default Gary's V2

    A couple of days ago I took my guitar to be refretted and set up by my friend and tech Yair Smoilov. As we talked, he told me an amazing story about a very unique repair job he's done. This was such an amazing story, that I had to share it. I took the trouble to translate the V2 story to English, as I suspect most of you can't read Hebrew. it's long, so just be patiant. It's worth it.

    Gary's Gibson Flying V2

    The story of this special electric guitar began a long time ago. I met Gary a couple of years ago. He has recently immigrated to Israel from the US. Gary was born and raised in Detroit, and was highly influenced by the sound of Motown. He has played music professionally for all of his life, sharing the stage with some of the biggest names in the industry, including The Temptations, Sly and the Family Stone, Funkadelic, Three Dog Night, The James Gang, and many more. His amazing Gibson Flying V was made in 1980 and is a V2 model. The V2 was made only between 1979-1981. Its body is made out of 5 alternating layers of solid maple and mahogany. The neck is made with the same woods, with an ebony fingerboard. The bridge and tailpiece are brass. The pickups are single-coils, and are V shaped, as you can clearly see in the photos.


    A year ago I fixed the broken neck of a Les Paul. After seeing that repair work, Gary told me he had a project for me. He said, "You're a real artist Yair, and I have something really interesting for you".

    "Interesting", I said, "What does that mean?"

    He then started telling me the story of that particular guitar: "About 25 years ago I had three main guitars I used to play: a Les Paul, an Explorer E2 and this V2. I would play all 3, using each for its own distinctive sound and feel. As things turned out, this V2 was smashed to pieces by my 1st wife. The neck was completely disengaged from the body and the body was broken into 3 major pieces and a lot of small splinters. Many small pieces were gone altogether. It was very hard for me to see this lovely instrument in this horrible situation, so I panicked and tried to put it back together again, but I did a very messy job. When the glue has hardened, I saw that the pieces didn't match. As sad as I was, I had a strong feeling that this guitar will play again, some day in the future. I put it back into the case, and closed the lid on it. But", he stressed once more, " I knew it will play again some day."
    "A lot of years have gone by, I had the V2 case with me all of the time, and when I came to live in Israel in 2009, I took it with me. I had a lot on my mind, and other things to attend to, but now, after I saw this Les Paul neck repair job that you've done, I know that you're the one to revive my loved V2 and bring it back from the grave."



    As I listened to Gary's tale, I understood that this was a unique story, and, indeed, a very interesting project for me. I could repair this instrument and bring happiness to a dear friend.

    "I'll bring you the V2 the next time we meet", said Gary, "You can tell me then what you think about it".

    "Sure thing", I said.

    A couple of weeks later, Gary brought me the V2 in its case. As I opened the case, I was hit with a strong scent of mold. What was once a limited production custom made Gibson guitar was now covered with mildew: guitar, case, and all. "This looks bad". I thought. Gary must have read my mind. "It waited for 25 years. There's no rush", he said, "Do what you think best". I nodded, saying nothing.

    The first thing I did was dry this thing up and clean it. I just put everything out in the open and for a while, and then cleaned it all. After it was clean and dry, I could assess the situation with a clear mind. As I examined the body, I saw that it was, indeed, badly glued together. The problem was that the gluing was very strong. Inaccurate, but strong. I decided not to take it apart, but rather fix what I can, add the missing parts, and try to get it back to balance. I peeled whatever survived of the original lacquer, and glued the neck back to its place. Gluing the neck to the body was, by itself, a very demanding project, as the area where these two parts meet was broken as well. The neck, fretboard, and frets had to be re-adjusted, because all were warped by time and humidity. I had to do a lot of small adjustments to the body, to keep the general balance and feel of the guitar. I had to clean all of the brass parts, so they could shine again, and had to repair some of the brass parts, as they, too, were damaged by the fall. This was not a fixing job. It was a re-birth, a renaissance, of a vintage masterpiece.


    A couple of days before his birthday, I met Gary and gave him the closed case with the guitar inside. He took it expecting the worst. After 25 years of waiting, he just didn't know what to expect. After a while, and not without some pressure on my behalf, Gary held his breath and opened the case. His eyes lit immediately.

    "This is my guitar", he said, "you brought it back to me. It looks just like I remember it to be. It's amazing".

    "Well", I said, "it's time to Rock-n-Roll. Plug it in".

    That night, Gary played the V2. After the show he came to me and gave me a big hug. "It looks and feels just like I remember it", he said, "I knew this guitar will come back one day, and the day has come. It's fantastic. I'm so happy, and I'm also happy that it's you who's made this dream come true".

  2. #2
    Ultimate Tone Slacker dmandude123455's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gary's V2

    Wow, Thats awesome dude.
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    Default Re: Gary's V2

    Thanks for sharing.

    My number 1 guitar 1996 G&L Legacy, was stolen from my Father's home in 2004. I had given up. The police arrested the thief but he refused to tell who he sold it to. My insurance did replace it, my number 2 is a 2004 G&L Legacy. In 2006 I went into a little music store 30 miles from my home to replace one broken string before a performance, and there it was. It had been played hard for a couple of years and was certainly no longer in good shape. I showed the owner photos in my wallet of the guitar with serial number showing. He sold me the guitar for $100.
    He said he was suspicious of the guitar, but something inside urged him to purchase it anyway. He said he was satisfied that his feeling was meant to reunite me with my guitar. I took the guitar to the police. They gave it to the insurance company and the insurance company asked me if I would buy it back for $300. I was so surprised and happy. I put a lot of work and time into making the guitar an expressive instrument again. Now it is my main guitar for live performance and recording again.
    I had given up hope of ever playing it again, and I say a prayer of thanksgiving every time I pick it up.

    Strange but totally true. I am blessed to play it.
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    Dawn Of The Shred TheLivingDead's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gary's V2

    Awesome. Very awesome.

  5. #5
    Mojo's Minions KeeperOS's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gary's V2

    That's pretty cool, both the guitar and the story.

    Thanks for sharing!
    Quote Originally Posted by Blue_Fingers_Jay View Post
    I prefer cheaper guitars, nothing is as cool as a cheap guitar that sounds awesome.
    Quote Originally Posted by That90'sGuy View Post
    Not all guitars are created equal, so make sure it sings and if it does, you'd be silly to pass it up.

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    Master of his Domain Agileguy_101's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gary's V2

    That's an awesome story. One question - Gary who?
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    Toneologist guitarkid4143's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gary's V2

    Very cool

    -gk
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    Heh.

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    Ultimate Kitten Puncher King IzzO)))'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Gary's V2

    Ha, I played one of those once, ewwwww.

  9. #9
    Mojo's Minions JohnnyGuitar's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gary's V2

    לא רע

    We're blessed with quite a few cool builders here in Israel. I'm starting to be pretty confident about their skills after buying an amp from Two Tone.

    Of course there's Gil Yaron, and now this guy...

    Not sure how I feel regarding this V2... it's definitely a mutant...

  10. #10
    Professional Scapegoat BloodRose's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gary's V2

    havent had the chance to read the story yet. will after work. But the guitar... I saw one of those at a pawn shop about 20 yrs ago. I wanted to get it as it looked so odd/rare.. couldnt muster up the dough and never saw another until this...
    Believe me when I say that some of the most amazing music in history was made on equipment that's not as good as what you own right now.

    Jol Dantzig

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