On Hold!

Fingerstyle pioneer Merle Travis brought a whole new syncopation to the electric guitar, inspiring a young Chet Atkins and a whole host of followers in his prodigious wake. The author of "Sixteen Tons", and many other hits, Travis blended country, blues and jazz stylings into a unique thumbpicking style that has captivated generations of performers to this day.

This ornate one-of-a-kind presentation instrument was reportedly built for Travis especially for his performance at the 1959 NAMM Show, the giant annual US music industry convention. Once owned by Scotty Moore associate Don Dean, this fabled guitar is documented in detail in an extensive interview posted here.

One of just 8 Super 400CES models built that year in the coveted blonde finish, the guitar was a special custom creation, factory equipped with a marbled armrest and truss rod cover (which match the pickguard), a long-arm Travis style Bigsby vibrato tailpiece, and a whimsical peghead inlay depicting a honeybee with several roses, masterfully executed in lustrous abalone and mother of pearl.

With a bookmatched, quartersawn soundboard of solid carved spruce, this guitar shows gorgeous fiddleback figure in the solid carved maple back and sides, and a dramatic 3 piece tiger flame neck with walnut centerstripe. The handsome older blonde finish is notably free of pick, buckle, or thumbwear, and shows some typical light age checking on the sides and back. Deeply ambered, the finish is clearly of considerable vintage, and may have been factory replaced many decades ago. The hardware is original as well, including electronics in factory shielding cans, with a pair of vintage Gibson Pat.# humbuckers being the only exception. A small hairline crack in the pickguard has been soundly resealed, and the rare marbleized material remains in gleaming condition, without crystallization.

The neck has a fine solid feel, with a gentle C profile, generous 1 11/16" nut, and a solid ebony fretboard that glides smoothly under the fingers, with a fresh high-precision setup over immaculate pro fretwork. Bridge height is excellent, with a recent neck set allowing a solid string angle over the saddles.The voice is rich and deep, with a commanding warmth and elegance that only the super jumbo body can deliver. Sweeter than honey itself, here's a rare opportunity to own an instrument of surpassing historical and musical significance, as played by a true giant of 20th century American music.

Feel the buzz: call now.

Year Condition Color Case
1959 Excellent blonde, HOLD Hard


Joe Vinikow
Seattle, WA
8:03 PM
Monday through Saturday, 10am-7pm Pacific TIme.

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Unconditional 48 hour approval on all instruments. Call 206/325-2727 for return authorization before shipping. Return instrument fully insured by air in condition received for refund of purchase price in full. Shipping charges, credit card and Paypal fees are not refundable.