The Bay School of San Francisco – Bay Splash 2013: Toasting San Francisco
Auction Ends: Apr 5, 2013 03:00 PM PDT

The Unique

Handmade Electric Guitar by a Bay Family

Item Number
Estimated Value
$1,250 USD
Opening Bid
$600 USD

Live Event Item

After the online close, this item went to a Live Event for further bidding.

Item Description

A note from the maker, Charles Simons:

My son, Ian and I made our first guitar together over 7 years ago – a ‘hybrid’ electric guitar we designed together which was heavily influenced by the Gibson Les Paul Junior. That guitar had a short scale length for a shorter guitar player. Ian played the guitar for 4 years before he grew out of it and wanted his first full size guitar. Three years ago we built his present guitar – our first SG (“Solid Guitar”… get it?). This is a very cool, and very easy to play guitar that remains his favorite of all (don’t ask!) of our guitars. We build them in our 9’ x 14’ ‘garage’ here in San Francisco on 27th Avenue.

It’s the first guitar to sport our new name: Golden Gate. We’ve never put a name on any of our guitars, but it seemed that this one should have one since its going out into the world without one of us to accompany it. We thought first of naming it ‘Bay’, but it didn’t quite ring (for a guitar…). The Golden Gate always comes to mind when we think of the Bay school so it seems to fit pretty well.

Its been a mostly enjoyable project that has seen great involvement from Ian. I have been making both acoustic and electric guitars since 2002 after a lifetime of wood working hobbies and endeavors from jewelry box making to house building. We’re looking forward to future projects which may include a custom shop to sell our main guitar – a Gibson 1959 Les Paul Standard tribute guitar.

The guitar on display here is a “tribute guitar” modeled on Gibson’s famous “SG” as played by Eric Clapton of Cream days. Our goal was to come as close as possible to the 1965/’66 SG which many see as the peak year for this model (SGs have been in production continuously from 1961 to the present day). Our guitar has the following original features: (sorry for the jargon, but its hard to specifically describe without it)

  •  Body is from lightweight African Mahogany for resonance
  • Neck is hand carved from quarter-sawn Honduras Mahogany for stiffness, strength and resonance
  • Fretboard is bound Cocobolo Rosewood from Central America
  •  Frets are .105” wide for easy note bending (it’s a blues guitar!)
  •  Over 30 - very thin - coats of hand rubbed Pelham Blue lacquer applied. This color was used on very few SG guitars in 1965/66, and only in those years.  Original Gibson SG guitars with this color are worth twice as much as any other, non-celebrity owned SG ($35,000 vs $17,000 – source: 2012 Vintage Guitar Price Guide)
  •  Over 30 very thin coats of hand rubbed clear nitrocellulose lacquer, hand sanded to 24,000 grit with ‘Micro Mesh’ (220 grit is normally considered ‘fine’). Added bonus: thirty years from now when the clear lacquer naturally and gracefully yellows, the guitar will turn to a spectacular olive green color.
  •  Two ‘GFS Professional’ humbucker dual coil pickups with Alnico V magnets and wound to 7.9k ohms resistance for the neck pickup; 8.2k ohms for the bridge pickup
  •  Les Paul-style, nickel-plated bridge and stoptail
  •  500k ohm Alpha potentiometers for volume and tone controls
  •  ‘Paper-in-oil’ capacitors (.022 uf) between volume and tone pots for that 1960’s Eric Clapton sound. Played through a tube amp, these ‘caps’ are known for eliminating harsh frequencies from clean tones and adding snarl and depth to distortion tones
  •  ‘Switchcraft’ three-way switch and jack
  •  .010” to .046” nickel strings
  • Hard case

This guitar has been set up to play very easily, but we will be happy to work with the buyer to make sure it fits your individual playing requirements.

Thanks for looking!

Item Special Note

No shipping - must be picked up at The Bay School.

Donated By:

Charles Simons, Annette Gardner, and Ian Simons