Show features lots of eye-catching guitars

November 01, 1998

Guitar showBy KERRY LYNN FRALEY / Staff Writer

photo: RICHARD T. MEAGHER / staff photographer

The sheer number of guitars at the Hub City Guitar Show impressed Hagerstown resident Robert Craig.

"I've never seen so many guitars in one place," said Craig, 29, who came to the show Saturday looking for an electric guitar similar in sound and feel to the vintage guitar he already owns.

Walking around the Venice Inn ballroom, he said he saw some things he'd never seen before in person, like a steel-body guitar, circa 1928.

"I've heard them on old blues albums. I've never actually seen one," said Craig, who was also impressed with a Gibson "Les Paul" guitar, autographed by the guitar legend himself and dated "Oct. 19, 92."


Price tag: $1,650.

Based on his market research, show organizer Bob Rudolph said he correctly predicted that interest would be strong enough to warrant having a show in Hagerstown.

Turnout at his first show here, which started Friday and continues today, has been so strong that Rudolph said he has already booked the ballroom for the same time next year.

His attempt to have it double as a benefit for Food Resources Inc. has been very disappointing, he said.

"We didn't raise a lot of food. We tried," Rudolph said.

He said the sad thing is many people seemed to know they could get $1 off the $6 admission by bringing a food donation. They just didn't care.

Rudolph, whose nickname is "Mr. Kitchen," said he goes to shows with the guitars he builds out of countertop materials every weekend.

Six times a year, he turns promoter, bringing together vendors from different states selling new, used and vintage instruments, parts and related accessories, he said.

While guitars were clearly in the majority at the show, there were more than a few banjos, mandolins and fiddles among them.

Though there had to be a few hundred, it seemed no two guitars were exactly alike - with numerous shapes, sizes, styles and makers and the spectrum of colors and prices.

Among the eye-catchers were: an Elvis Presley Signature Model acoustic guitar, with the King's pearlized name spelled out in the neck ($4,095); a B.C. Rich electric guitar with a "rare graffiti print" ($575); silver-colored Dean electric guitar with "Coors Light, The Silver Bullet" written on the body ($395); and a small, thin and very light acoustic guitar - called a "backpack guitar" - made by The Martin Guitar Company, of Nazareth, Pa. ($165).

Just off work at a local music store, Rich Hannon said he decided to stop by and check out the show.

"I'm into the vintage stuff. Just wanted to come out and look at a bunch of stuff I can't afford," said Hannon, who said he didn't plan to buy anything but hadn't ruled out the possibility.

The five guitars he has now are not enough, he said.

"Different instruments have different sounds for different types of music," Hannon said.

He's attracted to the quality and tone of vintage instruments, he said. "Handmade as opposed to stamped out on an assembly line," he said.

Tim Monn, 46, of Cumberland, Md., said he came with his 17-year-old son, Andrew, to make contacts with used instrument dealers for future purchases.

A pastor and long-time musician, Monn said he plays mandolin, banjo and guitar in mostly bluegrass and folk styles.

Still, he said, it has been more than 20 years since he saw as large a selection of guitars at a music store in Philadelphia.

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