As consolation prizes go, this is pretty damn sweet.
So, I’ve had a pretty interesting week. It all started on Monday night. I was sitting on the couch, relaxing with a beer and my iPad while watching TV at the same time. At about 8pm I received an email asking me if I’d be interested in buying a Maton Vampyr. After wiping off the beer I’d spat all over my iPad, I replied back saying I’d definitely be interested. The seller then forwarded me some photos.
After again wiping off the beer I’d spat all over my iPad, I studied the photos. Apparently this Vampyr had been sitting under a bed for 40 years, and from the look of the condition… this looked true. Apart from 40 years of dust, there was no buckle rash or scratches. I had to have it! This was the holy grail of Matons. I know I use that term a lot… but this time I mean it!
We chatted a bit and agreed on a price. As the guitar was in Melbourne, I organised for my best mate Ben to pay cash and pick it up on Wednesday. Done deal. I hardly slept that night. I was going to own a frikken’ Vampyr! I was already thinking of what songs I was going to play on it.
That night I posted on facebook that I was selling my Ibanez Les Paul Bass plus some pedals due to an ‘impending purchase’. My friend Alex quickly bought my Les Paul bass, so that was cool. Then things went pear shaped.
I got a call from the seller saying another Maton collector had offered him the same amount as I had, and they would pick it up that night. (Tuesday). I sighed and kind of sussed what was going on… so I offered to also buy the sellers overdrive pedal (which I didn’t want). Deal done. All good.
The next day the seller wouldn’t return my calls or texts. Finally at the end of the day he said there was some drama and he’d contact me when he could. Alarm bells were ringing in my head. I already knew how this was going to pan out.
Friday and still no word from the seller. I sent him a text asking if the deal was still on… as I was selling my music gear to buy this Maton so I needed to know. He finally replies saying ‘Sorry, it’s gone. I feel like a dog.’
F*ck. I knew it.
I reply back that I’m not impressed, that we had a deal and asked who bought it. He simply replied that it’s gone. Sick of the whole thing, I left it at that.
So, with the money from the Ibanez Les Paul Bass sitting in my pocket, I checked out eBay for guitars between $200 and $850. Surprisingly, a very dirty 1974 Gibson Flying V came up for $650. There was only one day to go and no-one had bid on it. Taking a chance, I called the store and asked if it had a buy it now price. 15 minutes later I was the owner of a 1974 Gibson Flying V. As it was in the Gold Coast, I picked it up first thing next morning.
I was over the moon. I’m a massive fan of 70′s Flying V’s due to loving old school Metallica. To me, the sound of a 70′s Flying V is Hetfield playing the middle 8 chugging bit in The Four Horsemen on his white Flying V.
I’d owned two 1991 Gibson Flying V’s through the years and absolutely loved them. A Gibson V is just home to me… it was my second ever guitar and the way it hangs and plays… it’s me. Unfortunately there were periods when I wasn’t in bands that required V’s, so like an idiot I sold them to get Telecasters and Les Paul’s. But I’m a V guy at heart.
This beast looks like it has played every smokey pub in Australia from Launceston to Cairns. The body is FEATHERWEIGHT two piece Honduras mahogany.
The pick guard is gnarled and yellow like a hobos teeth. The Dimarzios are the same. After a thorough fretboard scrub with lemon oil (there was an INCH of finger funk on it) I plugged it in and the pickups screamed. Yep… definitely Super Distortions.
As I mentioned, the fretboard was so covered in gunk it was almost furry. After cleaning it, a beautiful dark Brazilian rosewood fretboard emerged. And the frets were in great shape. Nice and jumbo…just how I like it.
The headstock has had a very bad break. It’s been epoxied back into one piece but definitely needs further attention at some point. Right now she holds tune so I don’t want to give her up for repair yet as I’m having too much fun. I’m thinking a wafer thin mahogany veneer on the front and after sorting the repair, a stinger paint job on the back of the headstock. The tuners are pretty cool. Rare Schallers with the flip out winders. They’re definitely staying on.
The back of the next is also pretty funky. I have no idea whats going on there. I’m thinking some light steel wool and polish will clean it up a bit.
So while I’m still pretty pissed with how the whole Vampyr thing turned out… I am beyond stoked with this V. Being a ’74, it was made the year I was born and it feels like a part of me already. I guess things work out in the end.