I love cool guitars, I love weird guitars, I love unique guitars…I LOVE GUITARS!
I think I collect them because they are like candy for the eyes and not always but candy for the ears when you get a great one.
People who have seen me play know that I have a lot of odd shaped guitars…Why?
Here is why. When I was a kid one of my favorite bands was KISS. My first concert was the KISS Dress To Kill tour with RUSH opening at the San Diego Civic Center and there was only maybe a couple thousand people there…it wasn’t sold out! I also saw KISS the next year on the Kiss Alive tour with Montrose opening…Up to that point the dream for me was to have a Gibson Flying V, Explorer or even better a REAL Les Paul! I was in 6th grade.
Here is where it all changed for me…
I saw KISS again on the Love Gun tour or as some call it the Kiss Alive II tour with Cheap Trick opening (Rick who is the king of weird guitars didn’t have any weird guitars back then) BUT when Paul Stanley came out with that first Ibanez Iceman I spent the whole concert and several weeks after trying to figure out what that guitar was…it really had an impact on me!
Fast forward to me in my San Diego High School band THIS KIDS…
I thought if I played a weird guitar like that I would stand out more and maybe be noticed more, after all when your unknown you want people to notice you and talk about you…and I still believe in that philosophy today. When I walk out on a stage I like people to talk about my guitars! I want them to ask themselves…WHAT THE FUCK IS THAT GUITAR STEVIE SALAS IS PLAYING AND WHY DOES IT SOUND SO GOOD!
I really went nuts around the late 90’s when I decided two things…
1. I would never where white sox again except when necessary (I only wear weird colored sox that I often buy in Italy since they have the best sox…Now everyone is doing it but I was doing it before it was cool).
2. I would try not to play any guitars on stage that looked like a Strat or Les Paul. I still do when necessary but I try not to…Especially now that Gibson just gives Les Paul’s away to LAME non guitar playing guitar players in these shit pop bands…When I worked for American Idol Gibson would hang out at my rehearsals trying to whore these second rate Gibson’s onto the players I was hiring wanting to get their guitars on TV (not the great Custom Shop Gibson’s mind you but these made to order crappy ones). THAT MADE ME SICK AND PISSED ME OFF! Talk about ruining your brand…People want to go out and buy guitars that GREAT and COOL guitar players play not lame ass none playing crap guitar players …Oh well Gibson is huge and I am not so what do I know….
Ok so in the mid 90’s a friend in Germany who owns a cool music store named Uli’s Music wanted to make me a custom guitar as a gift…so I said…Make me a square guitar…and he did…One night I got called to jam with Guns n Roses after Slash left the band and I brought the square guitar. All night bass player Tommy Stinson kept wanting me to jam with that guitar…See what I mean…Weird guitars get noticed and can help you get noticed and to be remembered!
Most of my guitars are based off these principles…Mahogany Body, Maple top, Maple Neck and Rosewood or Ebony fretboard….I Know what you’re thinking…like a Les Paul with a maple neck right? Well lets face it…a great old Les Paul sounds killer as does a great old Strat..no need to reinvent the wheel BUT I like to take those classic wood combos and give them cool shapes and cool pick up combinations.
Ok so here is my point I want to leave you all with…The MOST important thing is to play good and have great tone BUT why be like everybody else…BE UNIQUE….Think about this…In a world full of guitar players trying to get a gig, if you audition for a band and its down to you and another guitar player with equal skills if you come original with a cool guitar and a unique image and vibe you will be remembered and having that edge just might make the difference with you getting a gig or staying home and playing in your bedroom.
My new Framus Stevie Salas Idol Maker
Here are some other cool guitars I own. Remember Kramer guitars? This was made by them but called a Vaccaro..only 3 of these were made, one for me, one for Lenny Kravits and one for Kid Rock
This is a cool DBZ guitar …they are making some great guitars these days!
And before there was DBZ which stands for Dean B Zelinsky, there was the original Dean Guitars…I had an original Chicago Dean in my high school band This Kids…Funny thing that I sold it in 1982 in Oceanside California and it recently showed up on the other side of the United States…I am working on getting it back now!
Here is my friend Richie Kotzen holding one of my Framus Idol Makers
My original early production Hamer Californian now on the wall at the Hard Rock Casino
My Carbon Fiber Handle guitar from Italy
And my Caparison that recently went into the Smithsonian Museum
Custom Shop Yamaha I designed with Leo Knapp 1990
My Caparison in the Smithsonian Museum in New York City
Grabbed this weird guitar out of my locker for a French Magazine cover…I don’t even know what it is but it sure looks funky!
My first band THIS KIDS at an early gig while I was still in High School….Rocking the Destroyer that belongs to Rick Gould (who let me use it as a kid and who would go on to be a photographer for Guitar Player Magazine.)
Carbon Fiber??? It can be very cool
Vaccaro Custom….I played it at Fuji Rock 1999
My square guitar jammin’ with Billy Gibbons
The KING of the weird guitars Rick Neilsen from Cheap Trick
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