At the Ottawa Guitar Show held on June 12, 2011, I came across this Gibson for sale. It’s a beautiful looking guitar and although I didn’t get a chance to hear it, I did talk to the current owner and heard some of the story behind it. It’s a 2003 model, and when the current owner bought it, the paint on the pickguard was quite heavily worn by use.

Beautiful guitar for sale

I was surprised that Gibson would issue a guitar of this caliber, with a painted pickguard – seems odd. Especially when some of the inlay work on the frets is quite intricate and pretty.

Nice inlay

To make a long story short, the current owner, with a view to eventually selling the guitar, took it to Custom Pearl Inlay, and Kief inlaid a new pickguard for it, using white and gold pearl. Look at the vines – they’re so thin and absolutely exquisite. All of the leaves are just right – all placed just as they should be. The pieces of petal fit together perfectly. All the feathers on the hummingbird are so smooth. No wasted saw strokes here. And you notice that there’s no evidence of any cavity that was even slightly too big for the pearl. This translates to an absense of gaps where coloured glue would normally have been used by ordinary mortals as filler. I like the contrast between the Gold and White pearl; it just seems so rich. And in the end there’s no paint to wear off on this pickguard; it’ll stay gorgeous forever.

Beautiful work

Click on the thumbnails below to see a higher resolution slide show of the guitar and pickguard. Only the pickguard is Kief’s work. but I thought you might like to see the rest of the guitar, so I’ve included a few photos of it as well. As usual, click on the arrows at the bottom of the photos to advance or go back. Click on the middle of the picture to end the slideshow.