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Everly Brothers Flat-top Guitars

1964 Gibson Everly Brothers Flat-top

Color: Jet Black, Rating: 8.75, $8,800.00 (ID# 02011)
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An Original Everly Brothers Model

 

1964 Gibson Everly Brothers Flat-top

This super rare 'Jet Black' 16 1/4 inch-wide, 4 1/2 inch deep "Everly Brothers Flattop Guitar" weighs just 4.90 lbs. Laminated maple back and sides. Selected two-piece Spruce top with a multi-bound 4 inch diameter sound-hole. One-piece mahogany neck with a very comfortable nut width of just over 1 11/16 inches, a scale length of 24 3/4 inches and a really nice medium-thick neck profile. Individual Kluson Super 'waffle-back' tuners with tulip-shaped metal buttons. Rosewood fretboard with 20 medium jumbo frets, and inlaid pearl 'five-pointed star' position markers. The top and bottom of the guitar has three-ply binding, the sound-hole rings are in two groups of seven and three, and the fretboard is single-bound. Headstock with inlaid pearl "Gibson" logo and pearl 'five-pointed star' inlay. Black plastic truss-rod cover with white binding and with "EVERLY" engraved in white and secured by two screws. Serial number "203715" lightly impressed into the back of the headstock. Two elaborately shaped celluloid (tortoiseshell) pickguards which extend to below the bridge. Adjustable bone saddle on rosewood bridge with three pearl dots and the strings anchored through the bridge. The frets and the fretboard show almost no signs of any wear. Inside the sound-hole is the orange oval Gibson label with the model "Everly Bros" stamped in black and the serial number "203715" written in black ink.

The guitar looks quite amazing, and has that great 'Everly' sound - however under ultra-violet light one can see that some expert restoration has been carried out (by Gruhn guitars). The spruce top has been re-finished (the pickguards are both original), the headstock face has been re-finished, the back of the headstock shows evidence of some very 'light sanding' and the impressed serial number is very feint. There is a small area (less than 3/4 x 3/8 inch) on the treble-side of the back of the neck just behind the eighth fret where a small surface chip, ding or dent has been expertly re-touched and then over-sprayed with lacquer. The over-sprayed area measures approximately five inches. There is some very light and minor checking on the top and a few tiny and insignificant surface marks/indentations. There is no evidence whatsoever of any repaired breaks or repaired cracks, and to the naked eye the guitar looks like a million dollars. The maple back and sides show perfectly under ultra-violet light as does the back of the neck (including the back of the headstock) apart from the aforementioned re-touched ding behind the eighth fret. Even with these imperfections this fifty three year old beauty looks like a near mint (9.25) example but we will give it a reduced rating of excellent plus (8.75) condition. This is certainly the best looking example that we have ever seen. Complete with an original 1964, 12 page Gibson Folk Instruments catalog, and also an original 'Everly Brothers' specification sheet. Housed in the original Gibson four-latch, shaped black hardshell case with orange plush lining (9.25). A great opportunity to own a very rare guitar that looks, plays and sounds absolutely incredible - and a half the price of an all original example - if one could be found!!!

"An unusual concept in jumbo flat top guitars, designed and developed in close cooperation with the Everly Brothers. A new principle in bridge design combined with the finest in materials and workmanship has resulted in an instrument that is unique in every way. It offers a powerful resonant tone, plus terrific sustaining qualities." (Gibson Folk Instruments Catalog, page 3).

Only a relatively small number (488) of the Everly Brothers Model were made during its production run from 1962 to 1971. According to the Gibson records the individual yearly shipping numbers were as follows: 1962 - 2: 1963 - 148: 1964 - 69; 1965 - 41; 1966 - 22; 1967 - 8; 1968 - 48; 1969 - 51; 1970 - 60; and finally in 1971 - 39, making a grand total of 488 guitars. The model was based on the great J-185 which had begun production in 1951 and finally been deleted from the Gibson line-up in 1959. The J-185 was an amazing jumbo guitar by Gibson. Though they didn't make a ton of them in the 1950s, it was truly a great guitar. The feel, size and sound was very punchy, but not as dry sounding as a J-200. Also the look of the bridge and maple back and sides was very impressive. The mahogany neck seemed to smooth out the maple, making the J-185 a better sounding guitar than the J-200. It was a really great model.

In the late 1950's The Everly Brothers were playing Gibson J-200's. "By far, the biggest stars of the Gibson roster, Don and Phil Everly had cut their teeth on Gibsons. Their father Ike had been a contemporary of Merle Travis and one of the first to use the thumb-and-finger picking style that came to be known by Travis's name. Don and Phil had played various Gibsons onstage from the beginning of their recording career in 1956. Their endorsement model was a flattop with an oversized bridge (designed by Ike), oversized double-pickguards, and stars on the fingerboard." (Walter Carter. Gibson Guitars 100 Years of an American Icon, p.235).

"Don (b. Isaac Donald Everly, 1 February 1937, Brownie, Kentucky, USA) and Phil (b. Phillip Everly, 19 January 1939, Chicago, Illinois, USA), the world's most famous rock 'n' roll duo, had already experienced a full career before their first record, "Bye Bye Love', was released. As sons of popular country artists Ike and Margaret, they were pushed into the limelight from an early age. They regularly appeared on their parents" radio shows throughout the 40s and accompanied them on many tours. In the mid-50s, as rockabilly was evolving into rock 'n' roll, the boys moved to Nashville, the mecca for such music. Don had a minor hit when Kitty Wells recorded his composition "Thou Shalt Not Steal" in 1954. In 1957 they were given a Felice and Boudleaux Bryant song that was finding difficulty being placed. They took "Bye Bye Love' and made it their own; it narrowly missed the US number 1 position and reached number 6 in the UK. The brothers then embarked on a career that made them second only to Elvis Presley in the rock 'n' roll popularity stakes. Their blend of country and folk did much to sanitize and make respectable a phenomenon towards which many parents still showed hostility. America, then a racially segregated country, was not ready for its white teenagers to listen to black-based rock music. The brothers" clean looks and even cleaner harmonies did much to change people's attitudes.

They quickly followed this initial success with more irresistible Bryant songs, "Wake Up Little Susie", "All I Have To Do Is Dream", "Bird Dog", "Problems", "So Sad" and the beautiful "Devoted To You". The brothers were supremely confident live performers, both with their trademark Gibson Dove and later, black J50 guitars. By the end of the 50s they were the world's number 1 vocal group. Amazingly, their career gained further momentum when, after signing with the newly formed Warner Brothers Records for $1 million, they delivered a song that was catalogued WB1. This historical debut was the superlative "Cathy's Clown", written by Don. No Everly record had sounded like this before; the echo-laden production and the treble-loaded harmonies ensured that it stayed at number 1 in the USA for five weeks. In the UK it stayed on top for over two months, selling several million and making it one of the most successful records of all time. The brothers continued to release immaculate records; many of them reached the US Top 10, although in England their success was even greater, with two further number 1 hits during 1961. Again the echo and treble dominated in two more classics, "Walk Right Back" and a fast-paced reworking of the former Bing Crosby hit "Temptation". At the end of 1961 they were drafted into the US Marines, albeit for only six months, and resumed by embarking on a European tour. Don became dependent on drugs, and the pressures from constant touring and recording began to show; during one historic night at London's East Ham Granada, England, a nervous Phil performed solo. The standard "food poisoning/exhaustion" excuse was used. What was not known by the doting fans was that Don had attempted a suicidal drug overdose twice in 48 hours. Phil completed the tour solo. Don's addiction continued for another three years, although they were able to work during part of this time.

The advent of the beat boom pushed the brothers out of the spotlight and while they continued to make hit records, none approached their previous achievements. The decline was briefly halted in 1965 with two excellent major UK hits, "The Price Of Love" and "Love Is Strange". The former, a striking chart-topper, recalled their early Warner sound, while the latter harked back even earlier, with a naïve but infectious call-and-answer spoken segment. In 1966 they released Two Yanks In England, a strong album that contained eight songs by Nash/Clarke/Hicks of the Hollies; surprisingly, the album failed to chart. The duo were recognized only for their superb singles, and many of their albums were less well-received. Stories We Could Tell, recorded with an array of guest players, threatened to extend their market into the rock mainstream, but it was not to be. After a few years of declining fortunes and arrival at the supper-club circuit, the brothers parted acrimoniously. Following a show at Knotts Berry Farm, California, in 1973, during which a drunken Don had insulted Phil, the latter walked off, smashed one of his beloved Gibsons and vowed, "I will never get on a stage with that man again". The only time they met over the next 10 years was at their father's funeral.

Both embarked on solo careers with varying degrees of accomplishment. Their country-flavoured albums found more favour with the Nashville audience of their roots. Don and his band, the Dead Cowboys, regularly played in Nashville, while Phil released the critically acclaimed Star Spangled Springer. Inexplicably, the album was a relatively poor seller, as were several follow-ups Phil made a cameo appearance in the movie Every Which Way But Lose, performing with actress Sondra Locke. While Don maintained a steady career, playing with ex-Heads, Hands And Feet maestro Albert Lee, Phil concentrated on writing songs. "She Means Nothing To Me" was a striking duet with Cliff Richard which put the Everly name back in the UK Top 10. Rumours began to circulate of a reunion, which was further fuelled by an UK television advertisement for an Everly Brothers compilation. In June 1983 they hugged and made up and their emotional reconciliation was made before an ecstatic, wet-eyed audience at London's Royal Albert Hall. The following year EB84 was released and gave them another major hit with Paul McCartney's "Wings Of A Nightingale'. In 1986 they were inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame and the following year Phil gave Don a pound of gold and a handmade guitar for his 50th birthday. They now perform regularly together, with no pressure from record companies. Don lives quietly in Nashville and tours with his brother for a few months every year. A major reissue programme, with alternative takes was undertaken by Warners in 2001. The Everly Brothers" influence on a generation of pop and rock artists is inestimable; they set a standard for close harmony singing that has rarely been bettered and is still used as a blueprint for many of today's harmony vocalists. They were elected into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2001". (http://www.cmt.com/artists/az/everly_brothers/bio.jhtml).

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