Shaggy’s Custom Flying V


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A mystery custom made Flying V owned by a dearly missed friend.

I’ve sat on this guitarnerd story for a little while but have decided it’s time to post it up. It started as the usual ‘cool guitar… nice photos’ story that I usually do but over the last few weeks has turned into a much sadder story.

A little while ago I was poking through the Stones Corner Cash Converters and spotted a strange silver V hanging on the wall. The price was $250, which I instantly knew was a bargain. I grabbed it and walked around the shop in a state of panic for a while before my ‘one for one’ rule whizzed through my head and I calmly decided “I don’t need this guitar. I have two Flying V’s. I don’t need this guitar. I have two Flying V’s. I don’t need this guitar. I have two Flying V’s.” It worked… I snapped a photo, posted on the guitarnerd facebook page that this V was the bargain of the year and hung it back on the wall.

My good mate Shaggy whizzed around within 30 minutes and snagged the V plus it’s new hard case for 200 bucks. A V’s hardcase is $150 easy, so he basically got the guitar for $50. Crazy.

Shaggy quickly gave the guitar a setup and strung it up with 10′s. I then asked if I could borrow it for a guitarnerd story, so popped around to his house a week later and picked it up. And what a weird guitar it was.

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We came to the conclusion that someone had spent a decent amount of time and money putting this together. It had a flamey birdseye maple neck with THICK ebony fretboard and huge jumbo frets. Plus a big chunk of what might be wenge running through the neck. The profile was narrow and thin with an unfinished/oiled neck… it was a shredders axe.

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The headstock was pure Gibson V, with a string retainer. It was unplayable when I saw it at Cashies as someone had fitted bass strings to make it a Drop F monster. It was awful. Thankfully Shaggy got her playing sweet quick smart.

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The body was really thick for a Flying V… almost double the width of my ’74. The previous owner had added some sandpaper tape to the underside to help when playing sitting down… but no-one should EVER play a Flying V sitting down. I’m pretty sure it’s against the law in some States.

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The hardware was a Schaller two piece bridge as per my 1970 Iommi SG, along with EMG humbuckers. These aren’t cheap, so again… bargain of the year. Shaggy took out the microtuners as a few were missing. They do get in the way a little anyway, so it was a sensible move.

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The strange part of the whole guitar was that someone had gone to all the trouble of putting together this Flying V using quality parts… and then sprayed it in the crappiest silver paint job you’ve ever seen. It was rough as hell… probably done with a rattle can. Just awful. Shaggy and I were baffled. It was like cooking a gourmet dinner using only expensive organic ingredients and then serving it in a bucket and smothering it in tomato sauce. Even the backing plate was made from shitty cardboard/fibreboard. WHY?! WHO WOULD DO THIS?!

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I hung onto the V for a few weeks and finally decided that I liked it a lot. With that thick body it was like a Les Paul Flying V, and the neck was so sweet for my little hands. Shaggy and I discussed me buying it down the track, so he was going to hold onto it for me until I got around to buying it in a few months. No hurry. I dropped the guitar back that Friday, and also picked up my ’74 Gibson Flying V which Shaggy had swapped out the pickups for me to some beautiful vintage Dimarzio PAF’s I’d scored. We had a laugh about the silver V and I left. The next day I messaged Shaggy about how great the PAF’s sounded in the ’74 V and thanked him for the great job. Shaggy had expertly fixed the headstock and revived the V when I bought it, so that guitar was very close to him. He was really proud of it.

A week later I was stunned to find out that Shaggy had passed away. I was numb… I’d only seen him a few days earlier and now I’d never see him again. The last conversation we’d had kept going through my head and I just can’t fathom that it would be the last time we’d ever speak to each other.

Finding fellow guitarnerd’s who have the same passion as I do is a rare thing. A lot of people’s eyes glaze over when I talk about pickups, bridge saddles etc… and I can see why. But for a certain group of people, this stuff is fascinating. Shaggy was one of those guys. He will be dearly missed in the Brisbane rock community. Every time I play my 1974 Flying V, I’ll think of the love and respect that Shaggy put into it to make it into the amazing guitar it is today.

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