Don’t Be Fooled by Price – Even Cheap Guitars Can Be Amazing

Just because a guitar is expensive doesn’t mean it’s good, and just because a guitar is cheap doesn’t mean it’s bad! In fact, some of our favorite instruments in the shop right now are budget-friendly options with tons of professional grade features for every type of player.

With all the promotion, advertising, and flim-flam surrounding the guitar industry these days, it’s easy to be fooled by the mainstream guitar industry’s marketing machine. The big companies love to make a big deal out of features that were industry standard just a few years ago. The big guitar makers advertise “handmade” and “special edition” guitars, or newly added features designed to make you empty your wallet. But more often than not, guitars advertised with these buzzwords are no different or better than guitars that are less expensive, made 10 or 20 years ago, or have been modified and customized in some way.

A great way to find a great deal on a high quality guitar is to shop brands that are well-known and well-established, but lack the prestige of the bigger companies like Gibson and Fender. Remember, the big companies spend big bucks on marketing and advertising, and that investment gets passed along to the consumer in the form of higher prices. Worst of all, as the big guitar manufacturers become more and more popular, their production facilities are running at capacity almost all the time, resulting in poor quality control standards, and more guitars with loose knobs, bad neck joints, and lower quality hardware. Look for smaller or less popular brands like Ibanez, G&L, Danelctro, and Washburn, to name a few.

Another way to save some dough and still get a great guitar is to look for modified and customized instruments. Guitars that have had aftermarket and custom parts installed or swapped out are lovingly called Partscasters. Partscasters are a particular favorite among tinkerers and DIY luthiers, but many a budding young musician has benefitted from a cheap guitar that has been Frankensteined into a monster.

You don’t have to spend a lot of money to get a great guitar. There are smaller or less popular manufacturers out there producing guitars that have tremendous value, used instruments from the 80’s, 90’s, and early 2000’s are a in the low-price sweet spot, and modified and customized instruments have parts and features that are sometimes worth more than the guitar itself. Here’s a few examples from the shop that we think are notable for their high quality and low price.

Brand New Danelectro 59M-NOS – $379.00

Danelectro is one of the longest-running electric guitar manufacturers in America. For 70 years, Danelectro has been making cool, funky guitars that have become iconic because of their early use in the surf, rockabilly, garage, and punk scenes. But Dan-O’s have real street cred – Jimmy Page of played a Danelectro in the early years of his career. The Danelectro 59M-NOS is built to be almost identical to the Danelectro models available in 1959. The single coil “lipstick tube” pickups have a sweet, crunchy, twangy tone that is unmistakable. See it on our website.

1988 Fender USA Standard Strat – $999.99

A brand new American Strat can cost $1400 or more. Instead of paying extra dough for a brand new, slightly overpriced model, why not look for a top-notch used model from the 80’s, like this 1988 Standard Strat? This one’s got an Alder body, modern 2-point fulcrum bridge, Alnico VS pickups, a sweet sunburst, it’s made in the USA, a tremendous build quality, and sports a price tag under $1000. Best of all, since it’s from 1988, this guitar is on the verge of being considered a vintage instrument. In another 10 years, Strats from the 80’s will be a hot commodity and will appreciate in value. 1980’s Fenders are a great investment guitar. See it on our website

Brand New Ibanez AR325 Artist – $599.99

The Ibanez Artist is one of those rare guitars that, although pros have known their value for decades, amateurs and beginners seem to completely ignore. It’s a shame, because the Ibanez Artist is a KILLER axe. If this guitar said ‘Gibson’ or ‘Fender’ on the headstock, it would likely cost twice as much money. The feature set on this guitar is just insane. First off, it’s a set-neck design, similar to the neck design on a Les Paul. The body is rock solid Mahogany, the ultimate tonewood. The top is figured Bubinga. Yes, you read that right. A figured Bubinga top on a guitar under $600. But our favorite feature of this guitar is the pickup switching system. There are two humbucker pickups that are accessible via the normal 3-way switch. But each humbucker itself has 3 distinct modes: series, parallel, and tapped single coil. That means the Ibanez Artist is capable of 15 distinct tones. Yes, you read that right. FIFTEEN different pickup combinations. Need we say more? See it on our website.

Guitar Hangar has a huge selection of new and used merchandise, and our stock is constantly being updated thanks to our buy-sell-trade-consignment clientele. Make sure to bookmark our homepage and check our new arrivals section to see all the newest gear available in-store and at

Supro Brings American Tube Tone To Guitar Hangar

Supro Amps: Classic American Tube Tone
Supro Amps are a bit of a legend in the guitar world. Used by the likes of Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Page, Albert Lee and countless others, Supro amps helped lay down the foundations of blues and rock. But Supro’s roots go way back, to a time before rock n roll even existed… All the way back to the birth of the electric guitar!

Supro dates back to around 1926, in the pre-electric guitar days. Originally calling themselves the National Resophonic guitar company, Supro made resonator guitars that became a blues tone standard prior to amplification. Eventually, National and Dobro merged in the early ’30s to form Valco and Supro. Valco-made Supro amps were soon tearing it up on Chicago’s south-side scene, establishing the tone that has been synonymous with electric blues ever since. In the mid 60’s, Jimi Hendrix was playing a Supro Thunderbolt amp on tour with Little Richard and the Isley Brothers. Soon after, Jimmy Page showed his love for the classic blues guitar tones by using a Supro Model 24 to cut numerous Led Zeppelin tracks. And so it goes.

Guitarists inspire one another with technique and tone, and Supro’s been there the whole time. From Chicago blues, to American psych, to British rock, to modern Indie, Supro is the way to go.

Shop Supro USA Guitar Amps on

The Music Man Story

The Music Man journey began in 1971, with a small company called Tri-Sonix, Inc. After a few hits and misses, founders Forrest White and Tom Walker invited their old friend Leo Fender to come aboard. Leo Fender’s involvement was limited to a silent partnership, thanks to a 10-year non-compete contract that was part of the sale of Fender Guitars to CBS. Fender wasn’t happy with the Name Tri-Sonix, and eventually the company was re-named Music Man, at his urging.

Music Man started off making ground-breaking hybrid tube/solid state amps that are still popular among collectors today. At the same time, Music Man collaborated with CLF Research (another Leo Fender-owned operation) and Sterling Ball, to begin design and production of the original StingRay bass as a CLF product. Technologically speaking, the StingRay was miles ahead of the competition. It was the first bass to feature active electronics, a built-in preamp, and advanced EQ capabilities (bass and treble knobs!) The addition of a dual-humbucker model was of particular interest to tone aficionados. Unfortunately, the ultra-clear, glassy voice of the StingRay didn’t make a big splash, with many musicians saying it was “too clean for rock n roll.”

Trouble ahead, trouble behind

Music Man in the late-70’s/early-80’s was not a pretty picture. CLF Research and Music Man were treated as separate companies, headed by Leo Fender and Tommy Walker, respectively. Fender made the instruments, while Walker’s company made the amps. The instruments were made by CLF, and shipped to Music for inspection and distribution. Problems with quality control caused Music Man’s inspectors to reject a high percentage of the instruments, and return them to CLF for refinishing. Music Man’s high quality control standards were costing CLF money, which opened a rift between CLF and Music Man. Eventually, production issues caused infighting and lawsuits, finally resulting in Leo Fender leaving the Music Man and starting G&L Guitars. Meanwhile, the remaining owners of Music Man continued fighting. Those dramatic blowouts are the stuff of legend in the guitar industry.

At the same time, a guy named Ernie Ball was running a less-than-successful guitar company called Earthwood, with his partner George Fullerton. Fullerton had been a Fender employee since 1948, and was co-founder of G&L guitars with Leo Fender (that name again!) Ball and Fullerton were looking for a new venture, so they made an offer to take over Music Man. In 1985, Music Man began production of the first “modern” Music Man bass in San Luis Obispo, California, where they are located to this day.

More Than Just A Pretty Bass

The new Music Man got off to a quick start. Musicians came around on the StingRay bass, and it remains one of their most popular models to date. Used by professional bass players on stage and in the studio, the StingRay effectively changed the bass guitar market. But what really set Music Man apart from the competition were their forward-thinking designs.

If you’re going to make signature models for guitar legends like Steve Lukather (Toto), Albert Lee, John Petrucci (Dream Theater), and Eddie Van Halen, your guitars better have some innovative tech features. Music Man gained a lot of traction in the industry by making players guitars, with cool technology like quick change pickup assemblies, Teflon coated truss-rods, low noise pickup designs, piezo bridge pickups, 5 and 6 bolt necks, sculpted neck joints, graphite acrylic resin coated body cavities and most importantly, consistently high quality fit and finish.

Built for professionals, made for everyone

Finally, under the control of Ernie Ball and George Fullerton, Music Man had come into its own. Their focus on quality, consistency, playability, and technology paid off, and now Music Man enjoys a reputation for building some of the coolest, most sought-after guitars on the planet. Music an makes a vast selection of signature models for some of the best guitar players in the world, and boasts an endorsee roster featuring some of the biggest names in the music business.

Despite their use by professional musicians in every genre, Music Man instruments aren’t just for professionals. In 2009, in order to give everyone access to their high-quality instruments, Music Man introduced their Sterling by Music Man line of guitars. Using less expensive materials and far east production facilities, Sterling by Music Man gives you an instrument built to Music Man’s legendary standards and specifications, for under $1000.

Music Man is now owned and operated by Ernie Ball’s son, Sterling Ball. Sterling is a well-known and controversial figure in the music industry (and the professional BBQ circuit). I’ve met Sterling Ball personally, and he seems like a genuinely nice guy. In 2001, Sterling Ball decided to raise Music Man’s starting wage to $10.10 per hour. One third of the then current workforce of 226 people got a raise. He said he wanted to attract and retain high quality employees, and improve his community. “It’s contrary to a lot of traditional business theories, I know, but I did it because it’s the right thing to do, fundamentally.”

Guitar Hangar is proud to be an authorized Music Man dealer. We love Music Man because they consistently provide a level of quality and consistency that’s pretty rare these days. Pick up any Music Man guitar and you can instantly tell that you’re holding a top-quality instrument. Stop by the store and play one today, or check out our selection online.

Leo Fender And The Amps That Changed The World

Most people know that Leo Fender was the father of the modern electric guitar, but fewer people know that Leo Fender is also responsible for innovations in guitar amplifiers that shaped the sound of modern music. Fender products are famous for their sound, but their forward-thinking technical innovations are usually taken for granted by modern players. We all know and love the Strat and Tele for their elegant designs, their soulful tone, and their iconic looks, but electric guitars would never be heard if it weren’t for the amps they’re plugged into. Leo Fender pioneered the use of vacuum tubes in guitar amps, which made them capable of louder volumes, and distortion – two of the defining characteristics of Rock and Roll.

Obviously, the name Leo Fender is synonymous with guitars, but educated players know that Leo’s biggest, most important tech innovation was his approach to the guitar amplifier. Before Fender, guitar amps were, for the most part, crappy solid state jobbers with very few tonal options (and very low volume). It used to be, if you wanted a guitar tone that was sometimes glassy and sometimes nasty, well, you’d need to buy two different amps for that! And even if you did have a couple amps on stage with you, you’d have to hope your drummer didn’t play too loud or you might not be heard on stage. Leo had years of experience repairing radios and televisions, and saw the potential contained in those labyrinths of wire and glass tubes.  Leo Fender was critical of the flaws in his competitor’s products, and knew he could do better, so he set about creating a guitar amp that utilized the triode vacuum tube, just like the powerful radios of yesteryear.

With the release of the Fender Champ, Fender Bassman, and the iconic Fender Twin Reverb, the sonic palette of the electric guitarist was forever altered. With the vacuum tube technology pioneered by Leo Fender, amps now had a lot more headroom, a lot more volume, a lot more tone. By adding tone and volume controls, push/pull boost, reverb, and vibrato, suddenly guitar players could sculpt and personalize their tone. Pretty basic stuff for 2016, but in the 40’s and 50’s, that was a big deal. A REALLY big deal.

Players all over the world suddenly needed a Fender amp. It was a revolution. In America, the rock and roll revolution of the 50’s had players like Dick Dale, Chuck Berry, and Link Wray pushing their Fender amps to the very edge of tone. Eventually the 50’s rockabilly-infused sound gave way to the 60’s garage rock sound, so Fender continued innovating and introducing new models and features to keep up with the times, like dual-channel. By the time the 60’s rolled around, players all over the world had discovered what Leo Fender and his dedicated followers had known for years: find a way to boost the signal in a tube amp, and you get distortion. And if there’s one thing guitar players love, it’s distortion.

Simply put, if it weren’t for Fender amps, the guitar world (and the world in general) would be a very different place. So the next time you’re listening to a face-melting, high-gain guitar solo, take a moment to thank Leo!

Guitar Hangar 2016

Stay tuned for the next chapter: Leo and the 60’s…

Rick Tedesco And The Hunt For Mick Ronson’s Ziggy Stardust Les Paul

Saying goodbye to an old friend…

In the spring of 2000 I was driving with Ian Hunter and we were having a conversation about Mick Ronson as we had done many, many times. Ian told me he still had several of Mick’s guitars stored at his house and I commented on what an inspiration Mick had been to me and that I would love to own one of his guitars. I said, “the guitar I would love to find is the stripped LP Custom that he played with Bowie.” Ian replied “ God only knows where that went, Mick probably gave it to some guy walking across the street. He didn’t care about gear, it was just a tool to him.”


   And that’s how I started, my quest to find and eventually own Mick Ronson’s most famous and recognizable guitar. The 1968 Gibson Les Paul Custom, aka the “Ziggy” guitar.


   I started my search by posting to guitar websites and forums that I was looking for information on its whereabouts. Eventually that led me to Justin Purington who was doing a fanzine called “Just A Buzz” which was Mott the Hoople based but had Ronson content as well. Justin had interviewed me for my work on Ian Hunters latest album “Rant” and we got to talking about my quest to find Mick’s guitar. He mentioned that he remembered reading somewhere that Mick said he had donated it to the Hard Rock Café in Australia. Eureka! I had a lead to follow! And follow it I did.


  I began by calling the HRC corporate office in NYC and began going through the chain of people to the person in charge of memorabilia. When I finally did get in touch with the right guy ( which took weeks ) he told me they had no record of anything Ronson related. He did give me another lead on a guy who’s name escapes me that was in charge of the memorabilia back in the early 80s that would have been the one to deal with Ronson’s guitar during the time it was donated. I got a number and tried to reach him. We played phone tag for a week or so until things lined up and we were finally able to speak. He had no recollection of anything that Mick had donated. I was pretty deflated at this point and began to feel like the guitar was at best, in someone closet. Someone that probably didn’t have a clue as to what they had. God Dammit! I want to find that guitar!!


I am as stubborn as they come and I thought I would call the current HRC memorabilia guy one last time to double check. Maybe it was under David Bowie, or Michael Ronson? He again patiently looked through his inventory database and nothing came up. I said, “how can this be? There is an interview of him saying he donated it to the HRC in Australia!” He said, “Australia? They just license the franchise. I have no idea what they have. Their database is not searchable by me. Here is the number for Sydney and Melborne …”


“Holy shit.” Hope came flooding back in.


I had to wait till almost midnight because of the time difference and I was actually leaving to drive to Florida at 4:00 the next morning for vacation but I didn’t care about the 18 hour drive facing me. I was calling that night.


11:59 … ring ring ring


HRC dude: Hard Rock Café!


Me: Hi, my name is Rick Tedesco and I’m trying to locate a guitar that you might have in your inventory there of memorabilia? Do you have anything owned by Mick Ronson?


HRC dude: Yeah mate. Im standing right next to it. Been hanging here for 12 years.




HRC dude: Yeah mate.


Me: Holyfuckingshitholyfuckingshitholyfuckingshit … is it natural wood on the top?


HRCdude: Yeah mate.


Me: MOTHER FUCKER I FUCKING FOUND IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Ehem … I gained my composure and then proceeded to work on procuring the guitar for purchase. We eventually landed on a deal where I would supply them with several guitars to replace that one. I agreed to send them 2 Gene Simmons signed basses, a PRS guitar that was owned by Ian Hunter, a strat that I got from Joe Bouchard, Some Bowie gold records I got off ebay and a signed picture of Ian playing the guitar and a signed CD of Ians album “Rant”.


But first I needed to make sure that the guitar was in fact THE guitar. He took several pics of the guitar and emailed them to me. I sent them to Suzi Ronson and she compared them to some detailed photos she had of Mick playing the guitar back in the day. She packed up a few photos and mailed them to me. I checked it out and because the paint had been sanded off, the wood grain on the top of the guitar was like a fingerprint. There it was with zero room for doubt. They had exact wood grain pattern. It was THE guitar.

I confirmed everything was a go and shipped the giant box containing everything I had agreed to and the countdown started. A week went by and I called the HRC and asked … “has the package arrived?” No haven’t seen it or heard anything. Another week … nothing … another week … nothing. Jesus! I confirmed the address with the guy and realized that I had made a HUGE mistake and sent everything to the wrong place!!!  He took the tracking info and found it in a lockup at a UPS center a couple hours away. They rerouted the package and finally my shipment had arrived to them. He packed up Mick’s guitar and told me it was on the way. This was 2000 and the idea of getting tracking numbers to check on the internet was still a new concept I guess.


   About a week later I had to run a few errands and was out for a couple hours. When I came home there was a rather large box leaning against the garage door. I looked at the label and it was from Australia. OMG yes, UPS left Mick Ronson’s guitar leaning against my garage door.


    There are a few moments in your life that are so special … so exciting … so magical … that they leave a mark that last forever. You can close your eyes and go back and almost relive it at will. This was one of those times.


   Time for a little back story here. I had purchased my parents house a few years earlier and had started an online guitar store in the downstairs room of that house. This room was the very room that in 1974 I discovered David Bowie. This was the room I sat in as a wide eyed 13 year old boy and watched the “Ziggy Stardust” concert on tv when they aired it on the series “In Concert”. This was the room I sat in and saw Mick Ronson play the guitar that made me want to be a guitar player. This is the room that I opened up the box that contained that very guitar. Talk about the stars aligning. It was surreal to say the least.


I opened the box like a little kid at Christmas … very carefully began undoing the bubble wrap. Holy shit there is no case… dear god don’t let the neck be broken. It wasn’t. The guitar made it in one piece. The strings (which I saved) were rusty and crusty. I carefully took them off and put them in an envelope. I cleaned the fretboard and polished the frets, put on fresh strings, adjusted the truss rod and plugged it in. urrrrr urrrr urrrrr … no signal. Shit. I took the input jack plate off and cleaned the jack. It roared to life. I played Ziggy Stardust. I took a million pictures of it. I stared at it. I played Ziggy stardust again. I played every Bowie song I knew. I stared at it again. Wow.


A couple days later I had a gig at a local club and Ian and his wife Trudi came and I showed him the guitar with Mick’s signature on it. He said, “that’s Mick’s signature alright.” I played it for the first set. When I came off stage, Ian asked if I felt Ronson surging through me and laughed. Funny thing is, I did. I just remember staring down at it thinking holy shit, I’m playing the guitar that recorded every song I ever loved as a kid. I kept the guitar for a few months and played it a few times at a few more gigs then decided to see if the R&RHOF was interested in putting it up on display. I felt I owed that to Mick.


  I called a man named Howard Kramer that was the head of things like that at the Hall of Fame. I got his number from my friend and soon to be band mate Dennis Dunaway who had a bass there from his Alice Cooper days. I got Howards secretary and left a message with my number saying I had Mick Ronson’s guitar from his days with David Bowie and wanted to know if they were interested in displaying it there. She said she would pass on the message to him. I don’t think the phone hit the cradle before it rang. It was Howard. He wanted the guitar in the hall … really badly!


   We talked and I arranged a 2 year loan to display the guitar there. Later Howard told me of all the guitars they had on display … everyone that was anyone gravitated to and remembered that guitar and commented on it. Mick played with a lot of people and used that guitar on a ton of projects. I also got Ian’s doubleneck “H” guitar put in the hall around the same time since Howard and I hit it off so well.


The 2 years passed and I really wanted the guitar in my hands again. I just missed it and I also was having an issue with the R&RHOF on how much insurance I wanted on it versus how much they thought should be on it. I got the guitar back and used it on several projects over the next few years. I used it on the Dennis Dunaway Project cd “Bones from the Yard”. I used it on Ian’s album “When Im President.” I used it on the Main Man David Bowie tribute album “Hero” when I did “Moonage Daydream ” with the Dennis Dunaway Project. I lent it to Phil Collen of Def Leppard for a couple shows in the area. I used it on my band “Psycho Merchants” debut album “Rubiks Cube” and it’s featured in the video “Fire”. It was featured in many publications from “Guitar Aficionado” to Lisa Johnson’s amazing book “108 Rock Star Guitars” The guitar was making music again.

A friend of mine named Madeline Bocchiaro that is very big into Bowie and Mick and Mott etc… ( she is always sending out blogs and info on cool stuff ) contacted me about a TV show that dealt with R&R memorabilia called “For what its Worth.” She asked if I would be interested in taking the guitar on that show. It was Gary from the Howard Stern show and another guy hosting it. I went and did it. The episode never aired with the guitar on it but the “expert” they had to give his opinion didn’t think as highly about the guitar as I did obviously as he valued it much lower than I thought. Eh, whatever dude … he was definitely proven wrong.


 A few years ago I got the idea to do a video for youtube about Mick’s gear. I had acquired a lot of it over the years. I bought all the remaining things Suzi Ronson had of Micks. I own the Marshall Major head he used with Bowie and the Marshall ½ stack he used on “Heaven and Hull” Several pedals and keyboards  and his record collection and a mountain of 2” 24 track tapes and several other odds and ends. Most of this stuff was documented in the Weird and Gilly book “The Spider with the Platinum Hair” that I was interviewed for as the owner of Mick’s guitar. I would get calls all the time about the guitar. People came from miles around to get a chance to see it and I would always try to accommodate. Any fan of Micks was ok by me. Everyone always did the same thing I did. Played “Ziggy Stardust”. Even Phil Collen did that!


   So I put together this video of me talking about and demoing Mick’s gear. Once again I was talking to Ian about Mick and telling him about the video and he still has Micks guitars stored so I asked him if he was cool with being in the video and talking to me about the guitars he had of Micks. He agreed and that made it a 2 part video. When I put it up I began getting all kinds of comments and likes etc … It was a labor of love and people got it.

The video had been out for a while… a year or two … and out of the blue I got a email from a guy saying he saw my youtube video and loved it and Ronson and asked if I would ever consider parting with the Ronson guitar. I got emails like this all the time and I always replied the same way. I wasn’t looking to sell it, I wasn’t trying to sell it, it would take an enormous amount of money to pry it from my hands.. and not just enormous… stupid enormous.  I had many people try to buy it on the cheap over the years. Bob Rock offered me 50k for it. No thanks Bob. But this guy came back with “how much would it take for the guitar and the Marshall Major?” I did some research on him to see if he was for real. He was. He was very well off. A house in Monte Carlo well off. Money wasn’t going to be a problem for him and he was the first guy that approached me that I felt was like me. He really wanted it for the same reason I did and I got that. The negotiation was very fast. I threw him a number. He countered with a number that was well into the neighborhood.  I came back with another number and took the amp out of the deal. He said done deal. Ill wire you the money. I was devastated.


I can’t really explain the depression that hit me. I felt like a loved one died. Empty hollow darkness. What had I just done? I know to some this all may sound mellow-dramatic and quite douchey, but whatever … you will either be able to put yourself in my place or you won’t. To those that get it, keep reading. To those rolling their eyes … its only gonna get worse so you might want to quit now. 😉 Anyway … My god did I need the money as I just signed a lease to open a brick and mortar storefront. This would make all the difference in the world and pay off all my debt in the process. The time was absolutely perfect for this to happen. Yet I couldn’t even open the case and look at the guitar. I felt like I had betrayed it and my word as this guitar was NEVER about profit for me. I called Ian almost in tears and told him about the deal. He laughed at me! He said, “What are you, daft? Sell it and don’t even think about it. That’s why you buy things like that! It’s an investment and the investment just paid off you silly bugger!” While I deeply appreciated his approval I knew, if I was ever going to sell it … deep down in my soul I knew this was the right guy, the right amount and the right time … all my senses said now is the time … I still struggled. There is a window for things like this. The window slowly closes and the passion to own something connected to an artist like Mick wanes. As the children of the 70s grow old … their kids and their kids kids … will they appreciate Mick Ronsons gift? Will they pay big money for something he owned? I had a conversation with Suzi Ronson a few weeks before this guy popped up about that very thing as she was considering selling Micks blue telecaster and was asking me for advice on what I thought it was worth. She agreed the window is closing on this stuff as well. That sort of put it in my head that this was the time if I was ever going to do it. Then there was Suzi … she had asked me so many times if I was ever to sell the guitar to give her first shot at it. I always said I would. And I had every intention to honor that. But the amount this guy and I agreed on made that a moot point. It was Suzi that brought Mick Rocks 50k offer to me. I knew where she needed to be on it and this offer was so out of that neighborhood that it wouldn’t have made a difference if I ran it past her or not. I still felt absolutely horrible about it and when I told Suzi, I was very relieved that she seemed ok and understood my position.


  The money arrived in my account a few days later. I never got a wire that big. It was impressive but I can honestly say … aside from a little relief of financial pressure being lifted …there was no joy or celebration. “What had I done” was all I felt. The money came late in the week and we needed to figure out a way to insure it for shipping. No one would touch it. Where do you buy that kind of insurance for a guitar shipment? Finally I came up with the idea for him to put it on his home owners policy with a travel clause and that worked. Sunday afternoon I walked down into my studio and brought the case out into the middle of the room. It was time to say goodbye. I set up a video camera. I plugged it in and played Ziggy Stardust one last time. As the song came to an end, I cried, kissed her goodbye and closed the case and never opened it again. She left the following day via Fed Ex to her new home across the pond. I know she is in good hands.

   So yes, I owned the Holy Grail and for a period of time, I was honored to be its caretaker. I feel I did good things with it and for it. When the time came, I passed the torch. The one thing I take from this is the joy the new owner got from getting it. He sent me pictures of it in its new home and it brought back the memories of that day in my parents basement.

Rick Tedesco


As an addendum to this blog, I just heard from the gentleman that bought the guitar from me and he is fine with people knowing who he is and that he is a huge Ronson fan as well. His name is Simon Dolan. A very cool guy in my book. The guitar is in very good hands.

— Rick Tedesco, 2014

Legacy Of Shred: The Ibanez Story

The saga begins
Let’s face it: since the early 90’s, Ibanez hasn’t had the best reputation in the guitar industry – but it wasn’t always like that. Ibanez has had its ups and downs over the years, but there is no question that they are a titan in the guitar industry, deserving of a place in the pantheon of musical instrument makers. By producing high quality, affordable instruments for every type of player from beginner to professional, Ibanez has made an indelible mark on the guitar industry, the music scene, and the world.
Ibanez was founded in Japan in 1908 as Hoshino Gakki, a simple sheet music and accessories distributer. Hoshino Gakki got into the guitar business in the late 1920’s, importing ultra-high-end guitars made by the then-famous Spanish guitar maker Salvador Ibanez. By the 1930’s, Hoshino took over the name Ibanez and began making their own guitars – mostly entry-level cheapos that wound up in department stores and catalogs, setting the precedent for later companies like Silvertone and Danelectro.
Still based in Japan to this day, Ibanez has endured more adversity than most companies can survive: two world wars, changing tastes and trends, a slew of economic depressions, earthquakes, tsunamis, and one of the most infamous lawsuits in guitar history.

Lawyers ruin everything
By the 1960’s, Ibanez had gained recognition in the United States by making high-quality copies of popular Fender and Gibson models like the Les Paul and Stratocaster. These Ibanez copies became extremely popular for their professional craftsmanship and inexpensive price tag, but eventually the companies they were ripping off caught on. In the 1970’s, Gibson’s parent company, Norlin, launched the most famous lawsuit in guitar business history, finally settling out of court in 1978. This became known as the Ibanez “Lawsuit Era.”

(photo courtesy of

But all this turmoil didn’t stop Ibanez from enjoying an excellent reputation among well-respected professionals. Paul Stanley (KISS) played an Iceman for much of the 70’s, Jazz legend George Benson and Bob Weir from the Grateful Dead each had their own Ibanez signature models, and Eddie Van Halen is said to have used his own customized “Shark” Destroyer on the first three Van Halen albums (Eddie’s Ibanez “Shark” Destroyer was featured on the cover of the 1980 Van Halen album Women and Children First).

The greatest pedal in the world

While the Ibanez legal department battled Gibson in the courtroom, Ibanez engineers were busy creating what would become the most popular guitar pedal on the planet: the Ibanez Tube Screamer.

Known for its creamy distortion, the Tube Screamer was (and still is) found on pedalboards in every genre. Thanks to its versatility, the Tube Screamer is universally beloved in every genre of modern music. From rock to blues to jazz and everything in between, the Ibanez Tube Screamer remains an industry standard.

Notable Tube Screamer fanatics include Steve Vai, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Kirk Hammett (Metallica), Eric Johnson, John Petrucci (Dream Theater), Carlos Santana, and Trey Anastasio (Phish), just to name a few. The Tube Screamer has seen many updates over the years, but the original 1970’s, made-in-Japan TS808 is considered the Holy Grail of pedals.

Let there be shred

By the time the 80’s rolled around, classic rock was dying out and was being replaced by high-kicking, speed-shredding, hair-spraying metal bands like Racer-X, RATT, Poison, and Motley Crue. The classic Strats and Les Pauls favored by 70’s stadium rockers were collecting dust in pawn shops, and guitarists were looking for something different. This time, Ibanez was the trend-setter, producing some the most iconic guitars of the 1980’s. Affordable models from the RG and S-Series brought performance guitars to the masses, and made Ibanez a household name.

While these less expensive models were being gobbled up by beginner and amateur players, Ibanez also busy handing out endorsements and higher-end models to a slew of professional heavy-hitters like Jennifer Batten (Michael Jackson), Phil Collen (Def Leppard), and Marty Friedman (Megadeth). These endorsements promoted the higher-end premium models, and helped Ibanez gain respect among professionals and more discerning players.

And speaking of discerning players… no history of Ibanez would be complete without mentioning Ibanez’s signature models for the two biggest names in shred: Steve Vai and Joe Satriani. With direct access to Ibanez engineers, Vai and Satriani were given free rein to come up with innovative and exciting features like extended scale 30-fret fingerboards, 7- and 8-string models, onboard high-pass and low-pass filters, gain boosters, new pickup designs, and famous cutout handle featured on the Steve Vai signature JEM guitars. Many of the technical innovations achieved by Ibanez engineers for Vai and Satriani are still found on their respective signature models to this day.

By the end of the 80’s, Ibanez was riding high. Almost every guitar player on the planet had owned an Ibanez at one time or another. Sure, there were higher-end companies like Jackson and Kramer, but Ibanez guitars were iconic and within reach. Even the nicest, most expensive Ibanez rarely fetched a price of over $1000, and you could get a really nice RG or S-Series Ibanez for under $500.

Grunge and the end of an era

Coming out of the 1980’s, Ibanez was riding high. But then, in the early 90’s something happened that would change the guitar world forever: Grunge. Driven by a DIY ethos that harkened back to the punk movement of the 70’s and 80’s, Grunge players rejected the flashy neon spandex 80’s vibe and opted for a sound that was more raw, and a denim-and-flannel look that was more… Grunge-y.

Kurt Cobain played beat up “pawn shop” guitars like the Fender Jazzmaster and Mustang. Pearl Jam used a Strat and a Les Paul to get their signature sound. Kim Thayil from Soundgarden melted faces using a Gibson SG. You know what none of those guys played? Ibanez. By the mid-90’s, no self-respecting “cool” guitar player would be caught dead using a neon dipped Ibanez.

Tides had turned and guitarists were abandoning the guitars that had made Ibanez a household name, but Ibanez wasn’t down for the count. The company scrambled to come up with designs that kept with the vintage-inspired Grunge aesthetic. By the mid-90’s Ibanez had released their Talman and Ghostrider series famously played by Ministry’s Al Jourgenson. But the era of the hair band was over, and the Talmans and Ghostriders, while popular, weren’t as popular as the RG’s and JEMs of the previous decade. Ibanez was treading water.

Nu-Metal and the rebirth of a legend

As dark as the 90’s were for Ibanez, they had enough popularity stored up to carry them through the grunge era. Then, at the dawn of the 2000’s, bands like Korn and Limp Bizkit ushered in a new era of metal, befittingly known as Nu-Metal. Bands were tuning down to drop-D and sweep arpeggios replaced two-handed tapping as the coolest guitar solo technique around. Players were looking for guitars that could keep up with the ultra-low tunings and ear-bleeding solos – and lucky for them, there was already a guitar equipped to do the job: the Ibanez Universe 7- and 8-string models. With extended octave ranges and thin, fast neck profiles, the Ibanez models that had been forsaken by the previous generation of rockers were back in a big way.

Even though sales had declined in the 90’s, metal fans were still very aware of Ibanez guitars and what they were capable of. These shred-friendly models were the perfect complement to Nu-Metal’s dark arts, and a whole new generation of players were introduced to Ibanez.

Not Just electrics

Most people associate Ibanez with electric guitars. Whether it’s a solid-body shredder, a semi-hollow or hollow body jazz box, or a vintage-inspired Talman, Ibanez has a well-earned reputation for electrics, but did you know Ibanez also makes a wide variety of acoustic guitars, classical guitars, banjos, ukuleles, mandolins, and other folk-oriented string instruments?

With their Performance (PF) line of acoustic guitars, Ibanez has cornered the market for the under-$200 category of acoustic guitars. These budget-friendly guitars are perfect for beginners or for players seeking a “knockaround” acoustic for camping trips or vactions. And because PF Series instruments come in a wide variety of colors and styles, the Ibanez Performance Series has something for everyone.

The Artwood Series takes things one step further, giving players professional features like a solid top, back, and sides, made from legendary tonewoods like Rosewood, Spruce, Mahogany, and Cedar. Artwood Series guitars sound as good as $1000+ models from other companies, but come with a price tag that’s often under $500. Side note: Here at Guitar Hangar, the Ibanez Artwood Series is the most popular model of acoustic guitar we sell. Players gravitate towards the Artwood acoustics for their perfect balance of tone, quality, and price.

For the more adventurous spirit, Ibanez recently introduced their Exotic Wood Series, featuring jaw-dropping combinations of exotic tonewoods like Zebrawood, Spalted Maple, and Walnut. With dramatic Venetian cutaways and thinner concert-style bodies, the Exotic Wood Series guitars are a dramatic entry in the Ibanez catalog, perfect for stage performers or players who value both sonic and aesthetic beauty. Exotic Wood Series instruments start around $499, so even though they look like works of art, they’re still accessible to players on a budget.

Finally, Ibanez also produces a huge variety of ukuleles, mandolins, banjos, resonator guitars, classical guitars, and more. These instruments are produced using age-old techniques, premium materials, and modern features like built-in electronics to keep up with the needs of modern folk and world music performers. Ibanez has truly transformed themselves into the go-to company for instruments of ALL shapes and sizes.

Ibanez today: better than ever

These days, Ibanez boasts one of the broadest product lines in the guitar industry. Whether you play rock, metal, jazz, blues, folk, or world music, there’s an Ibanez for every type of player – from beginner to pro and everything in between. Entry level electrics like the RG are still giving players a professional quality guitar at a price that won’t give mom and dad a heart attack. Prestige and signature model guitars are still chock full of technical innovations and premium materials. Ibanez acoustics and folk instruments give players budget-friendly options that outperform similarly priced instruments from other companies.

It doesn’t matter why you love Ibanez. Whether it’s their heritage and history, their famous lawsuit guitars, iconic effects pedals, neon-dipped 80’s shred machines, the groundbreaking 7- 8-string Nu-Metal monsters, or professional-quality affordable acoustic instruments, Ibanez has a well-deserved place in guitar history, and in our hearts. Go to or come by Guitar Hangar’s Brookfield, CT location to check out our selection today!

Guitar Hangar 2016

in memoriam david bowie space god

So softly a super god dies…

I started writing this in my head at 3:00 this morning as I woke to the rushing wave of disbelief that I had been experiencing all day. David Bowie has died. Much like I think about that possible phone call in the middle of the night hearing that one of my parents has died ( which thankfully has not happened )… through my life I also thought about what it would be like to find out that he has died. He was that important to me. When I thought about writing about it, my first thought was, who am I to write about David Bowie’s death? Everyone under the sun that has ever known him or crossed paths with him has come out of the woodwork in the past 12 hours to speak on this subject and I’m sure there will be more to follow. No one would care what I thought. I have been one degree of separation away from him for several years and through friendships with Ian Hunter and Suzi Ronson I have heard a lot of inside stories so I guess that gets me a little closer than some, but still … I am a no one in a sea of no ones that loved him. As I contemplated writing something, it hit me that every one of us in one way or another had a very personal relationship with this man. We feel loss and it doesn’t matter if he knew us … what matters is we knew him. Whether we were inspired, captivated, mesmerized, lured or shanghaied into his world, we were all woven into the wonderfully artistic fabric that was Bowie and over the decades, we were all taken on one hell of a ride. So yes, we all are connected, feeling a massive loss and grieving. I needed to write this all out to try and get this horrible shitty feeling out of my system. Writing about things gets them out of my head and allows me to understand them. This is my attempt at a cathartic “purging of sorrow” if you will. This blog is more about my personal life journey than David Bowie but he played a huge part in that journey.

Before I can come to terms and begin to explain how I feel now, I need to tell you who I was and how I felt when I discovered him. Time for some back story…

I was a bit of a strange kid I think… disconnected from much of the normal things kids like and think about. Wasn’t into sports or anything like that. Didn’t play army or cowboys and indians … I was a daydreamer. I fantasized. I loved escapism. I loved thoughts of haunted houses and monsters, magic and ghosts, demons and wizards and dragons. I was obsessed with vampires. I can remember being scared to death of the dark as a kid after watching a scary movie but I couldn’t stop watching them. “Twilight Zone”, “One Step Beyond”, “Alfred Hitchcock Presents” were among my favorite tv shows. I was drawn to the macabre. The only books I read were horror books. I remember hearing about this new movie called “The Exorcist” and wanting to see it so bad but I was only 12 at the time and mom and dad were not about to take me to see it. I did manage to sneak a copy of the book though and loved it. I had every monster model Aurora made. Dracula was my favorite of course. I was a weirdo.

I always loved music but it didn’t really develop into a career focus until my early teens. I had a guitar given to me by my parents when I was maybe 9 or 10? This would have been about 1970. I didn’t get lessons and couldn’t really get past the hump without some guidance so it didn’t really become an obsession yet. I was an alter boy and in catholic school at the time and one of the nuns showed me a few chords so I could play at the folk mass. aaaaamen … aaaaamen … aaaamen, aaaamen, aaaamen. Not exactly what I would call inspiring.

Rick Tedesco June 1970

My family had moved from Norwalk, Connecticut to Ft Myers, Florida in 1968. We lived there till Jan 1974. I had an older 1/2 brother but he wasn’t living with us so I didn’t really have someone to turn me on to cool stuff and found my music by whatever was played on AM radio. My dad taught me how to read music and made me play the saxophone and I hated it. Every second I held that thing around my neck was an effort. My poor dad … I fought his lessons tooth and nail. I wanted to play guitar. I remember at the time being drawn to certain types of songs on the radio. Great melodies hooked me. Hauntingly sad songs hooked me. Scary songs really got to me. The band “Bloodrock” had a song playing on the radio at the time called D.O.A. about a couple that had a horrific car accident. It is one of the first songs I can remember that I looked for on the radio after hearing it initially. I can still remember the first time I heard it … it was late at night. I was listening to a hand held AM radio that looked like a gas pump that my dad had probably gotten for free with a fill up and some S&H green stamps. I was supposed to be asleep but I kept the volume low so no one was the wiser … such a naughty boy. I can remember being drawn in to the sound of the sirens and the creepy organ sound … the eerie feeling that came over me as he sang in vivid detail, “I tried to move my arm and there’s no feeling…and when I look I see there’s nothing there. And him asking … ”God in heaven, teach me how to die”. That was some heavy, scary shit for a little kid to process. But man was that fucking cool. Music was starting to call to me.

Alice Cooper hit the airwaves with “Schools Out” in 72. That guitar riff. Fuck me! How bad ass was that?!?! Now I was really getting somewhere. I admit I also liked the lighter side of things offered up on my little gas pump AM radio. Carol Kings “It’s Too Late” comes to mind … loved it. Great melody.

Trouble and problems found me fairly soon after we moved to Florida. As a kid, church was scary for me. The robes, the echoed voices droning on in Latin were pretty intimidating. The priests were to be feared, and for good reason. First of all the priests and nuns were allowed to hit you. I remember someone told my parents I said fuck at the bus stop once so they took me to a priest who told me stories of how they would take boys that said bad words and beat them till they were bloody. Wasn’t that nice? Another Florida fun fact was I was unwillingly introduced to sex at age 10. I shudder till this day over what happened to me in Florida. My innocence was stolen. My childhood and my naive little brain was suddenly tainted and my young life had a dark cloud over it. My Catholic upbringing ate me alive over it. I felt dirty because I went along with it and God saw it. I did bad things that were wrong and God knew about it. There was pleasure, and guilt. Lots of guilt. I was bad and God was watching me … as well as Santa Claus … that’s how young I was. I still believed in Santa! I was definitely going to hell AND not getting any presents. I didn’t tell anyone what happened to me. Definitely not my parents. Nope, no one was going to ever find out … not even that prick, mind fucker of a priest. I can only imagine the punishment he would threaten me with for what happened if you got beaten bloody just for saying a word. Instead, I blamed myself and lived with the weight of that for a long time. I have tried to make peace with it over the years but every part of your past makes you who you currently are to some degree. No wonder I hate religion today. I was fucking 10.

Still with me? If you are you’re probably wondering what the fuck this has to do with David Bowie? OK … Like I said, I wanted to give you the back story of what a mess I was and how broken and conflicted and disconnected I was as a kid so that you would get why I connected to Bowie and how profound my discovery was of this new alien life form that was about to enter my confused little world.

It was the summer of 74. My family had just moved back from Florida to Connecticut. It was a very turbulent time in my parent’s marriage. They fought about moving back so there was a lot of tension in my already messed up little world. Mom was done with Florida but dad wanted to stay. He agreed to come back when the ultimatum was given by my mom of “I’m leaving with the kids and moving back to Connecticut. You can come or stay here by yourself.”  He came but did not come happily and it was a while before things would calm down between them. I think I learned during all of the discourse to mentally drift away around then. Daydreaming and escaping reality was what my brain decided was best I guess. It wasn’t a conscious decision to do this mind you. It just happened.

Now back in Connecticut, we finished out the winter living with my grandparents for a few months and eventually found a house in Danbury, CT. I spent that first summer digging out stumps and splitting wood and helping get the yard and house the way mom and dad wanted it. I hated it. I didn’t make friends very well and being the new 13 year old kid in a new neighborhood and a new school was hard for me. I got picked on. I was tall and very thin and self conscious, awkward, overly emotional and prone to outbursts when picked on, making things even worse for myself. Bullies love a reaction. Truth is I was fucked up, scared and trying my best to hide it. The bullies in the new neighborhood named me “New” because I was the new kid. Geniuses, all of them. They wrote “New is a fag” in spray paint on the road in front of my house and would gather out there and call me out every morning after my mom and dad had left for work threatening to beat me up. One day I had had it and pulled my dad’s rifle out and walked out the front door with it yelling “come on motherfuckers”! They freaked out and ran for cover and never bothered me again. Yeah, yeah I know … I had no intention of shooting anyone and the gun was definitely not loaded. I didn’t even point it at them … didn’t have to. They saw it, shit themselves and ran. The only kid that was nice to me was the kid that lived right next door to us named Doug Scofield. He was sort of a tall, dumpy kid that had a trashy life and a dysfunctional set of parents. He slept till noon, had no ambition to do anything … but he was my first friend and didn’t seem to judge me so I was content in our friendship. He had this cool scam going. He joined the Columbia Record Club and got 11 records for a penny … then they would send a new record every month. And he never paid them. Eventually they would stop sending records. Then he would join as another name and they would send him 11 more records and he would never pay. Rinse and repeat … He later ended up in jail for forging checks. Go figure. I eventually talked my parents into letting me join … and I paid. I had already pissed off God enough… definitely wasn’t going to push my luck.

The first record I think I ever bought after meeting Doug was Edgar Winters “They Only Come Out At Night”. There was a monster song called Frankenstein on it! And looking back, the androgynous picture of Edgar Winter on the cover was very telling of where I was about to end up.

One day I was perusing Doug’s impressive, albeit ill gotten collection of music and I came across a new record with the most amazing looking album artwork ever. David Bowie’s Diamond Dogs. Uh, Doug? WHAT THE FUCK IS THIS?!?!?!? He put it on and OMG… All the stars aligned. There he was. The coolest monster, vampire looking musician, hauntingly singing about death and decay and drugs and sex in church basements and packs of dogs lurking in alleyways and the end of the world all rolled up in one with a ½ man ½ dog sprawled across an album cover. It was perfection. He was instantly my savior and I became a convert into the religion of David Bowie. He sang beautiful melodies, and his lyrics were brilliant and thought provoking. He had intellect and mystery. He intrigued me. He made me feel like I wasn’t alone in being different. I stared at that cover image for hours while listening to it. I read every word printed on the sleeve over and over. The opening track, a dark spoken word poem called “Future Legend” was printed on the inside cover. It ends with Bowie screaming over a massive cheering crowd,  “This ain’t rock and roll … this is genocide”. Naïve me …. “Hmmmm what does genocide mean”? I had to look it up. The killing of an entire race of people? That’s actually a thing? Cool word. The inner sleeve was a picture of urban decay by Leee Black Childers. It was a bleak, cold look at a post apocalypse prediction … possibly our future. I would meet Leee at Ian Hunters house decades later and confess how many times I stared at that picture and his name and wonder who he was. I read Tony Visconti’s name who I just met a few days ago. There were other names too … Keith Harwood, Alan Parker, Tony Newman, Herbie Flowers, Mike Garson, Guy Peelaert. These names became magical to me.

I remember talking to a guy that worked with my dad one day. He was younger than my dad by about 10 years and kind of cool. He was visiting our house and I started blabbing to him about my new found hero. He was sort of surprised. “You like him?” he said … “ He’s so strange.” I didn’t understand what he meant. I proudly showed him the album thinking he must be confused as to who I was talking about. I mean, look how cool this is! … and he said, “yeah that’s what David Bowie looks like, he’s a weirdo”. I remember getting a little defensive … no … more like angry. I remember wanting to scream “fuck you asshole!” Strange?? Weirdo?? I didn’t get what he was saying. At all. Bowie looked so cool to me. Not weird. Not strange. He was perfect. This would not be the first time people didn’t get it or made fun of my admiration for David Bowie.

In the 9th grade in my new school I knocked out Nicky Sanchez for calling David Bowie a “fag”. I can remember the teacher yelling at me, “what did you hit him with??” He was completely out cold on the floor in the hallway. I thought I killed him. He was fine, though I got suspended. My junior high school yearbook is riddled with messages like … “Get rid of the stupid David Bowie T shirts”. I wore one to school every day. I was the only kid in school that did this and I paid a price for my choice in hero’s.

Carol Tedesco, Rick Tedesco 1975

     I began going through the TV guide religiously looking for his name. I wanted to see him move, speak, perform because so far all I saw were still pictures. Those were the days well before the internet and youtube and even VCRs. If it was on TV and you missed it, you missed it. I used to watch channel 5 after school no matter what show was on because WNEW radio had a Bowie commercial of Mick Rocks filming of “Jean Jeanie”.

I began getting his back records. “David Live” was next I think … I remember looking at the cover and thinking “Hey, what happened to the cool hair”? Fuck it, didn’t matter at this point. I was already sold. Got “Ziggy” and “The Man Who Sold The World”. LOVED all of it. Hunky Dory was next … it was a little lighter (sophisticated ) for me at the time but again, I loved it and I would later realize “Life on Mars” was one of the best songs ever written. Then came Space Oddity and Pin Ups. Space Oddity was folky but I listened to it religiously like all the rest of them. After school I would come home and put my headphones on and stare at the albums, read the lyrics and daydream and listen to every song on every album. I performed this ritual every single day. After much begging, my mom and dad allowed me to get a telephone for my room. When the phone guy who installed it asked me what color phone I wanted, I said red … Bowie’s hair color. Duh! I found the song book for Diamond Dogs and there were pictures of chords so I could figure out how to play them. With my new found direction and inspiration, I was back at the guitar with a vengeance this time. My neighbor Doug decided he was going to be a singer so we started a band. Basically I would put on a record in my room and played guitar to the songs and he sang. This “band” lasted a few months until I found a drummer and we quickly realized Doug sucked as a singer so we threw him out and I started singing. I don’t remember there being any problem with Doug not being the singer in our band anymore … we just stopped calling him to practice and he never asked about it. He wasn’t serious about it anyway …no ambition. The drummers little brother played sax with us at our first performance in my mom and dads basement for some neighborhood kids.


I got another book of Bowie songs that had songs from Ziggy and Hunky Dory in it and learned them too. My life path was now clear and chosen. I was going to play guitar for David Bowie. This is when I took notice of Mick Ronson and Ronson became my guitar hero. Bowie and Mick had already split by the time I discovered them but they were what formed me as a guitar player. I began getting “Circus” and “Cream” magazine and they LOVED Bowie. I found Mott, Lou Reed, Iggy Pop and T Rex as I followed the spreading Bowie web. I started getting the bootlegs that were sold in the back of the magazines. I joined his fan club. His posters were all over my walls. I was not rich or given money for my new habit. My addiction was funded and fueled by hard work. I would baby sit, mow lawns, paint porches, dig out stumps, wax cars and shovel snow all around the neighborhood. You name it and I did it to get the cash to buy the latest Bowie thing I wanted.

The Pennybaker documentary of the Ziggy farewell show was where I really got to appreciate what Mick Ronson meant to Bowie and those early albums. Though Ronson had nothing to do with Diamond Dogs and what originally made me click with Bowie, you could not deny his presence or his sound on the previous records. Mick was special and much of how I play and approach guitar today is steeped heavily in Ronson 1973.


I saw him many times in concert. My first concert ever was the Station to Station tour at the New Haven coliseum on March 22, 1976. I was in awe that I was in the same room breathing the same air as him. I was able to sing the same words at the same time as him. It was magic. I saw the Glass Spider tour at the Garden. The intimate Roseland Ballroom gig in the late 90s. I saw him at his 50th birthday party at the Garden. I saw him in Hartford, New Haven, New Jersey and at Radio City for the Outside tour. I have been fortunate enough to meet many people over the years that were involved with Bowie during that time. Mick Rock, Ian Hunter, Suzi Ronson, Woody Woodmansey. I had an hour conversation on the phone with Trevor Boulder once. Met and shook hands with Carlos Alomar at a gig, Tony Visconti, Leee Black Childers. All of them part of the wonderful glamorous fantasy world I created in my mind.

I was back stage at the Meadowlands for the last night of Bowies 1990 Sound and Vision tour. There was David, 10 feet away talking and smiling politely to a few people. Totally approachable yet I just couldn’t find it in me to approach him. I didn’t want to be the bumbling fumbling fan that said the same things everyone else said. I just looked over and smiled knowing I was close to greatness. Do I regret not saying hi or shaking his hand? I don’t know … they say, never meet your hero’s. I always thought I would cross paths with him again though and have another chance. Guess not.

Jan 11th … 7:30am … I woke up to my phone blinking. It was a text from my sister.

”For some reason I’m sad for you that David Bowie has died. Thinking about you more than usual today. Love you”.

I couldn’t comprehend it at first. What? How, why, when, … It was just his birthday, new record out, new video…what? No way … I opened facebook and there it was. Miles and miles of posts about Bowie dying. Oh my god. I think I was in shock. Then the tears came … on and off all day as I was reduced to that little confused 13 year old kid. I think I was in disbelief …. I mean I was just with Ian Hunter Saturday night the 9th and saw “Holy Holy”, ( the tribute to “The Man Who Sold The World” album with Woody Woodmansey and Tony Visconti ) at the Ridgefield Playhouse. We went back stage after the show to say hi to everyone. I spoke on facebook several times with Tony Visconti which was a huge thrill for me, So I finally got to meet him, another name printed on the “Diamond Dogs” album cover and out of the blue Bowie dies the next day? I’ll never forget the look on Tony’s face when I told him about that album and what it meant to me. He smiled and thanked me for the compliments but there was a look that I didn’t understand at the time. It was a kind, appreciative look for what I had to say … but there was sadness in his eyes. I think it was because he knew … he knew the end was near.


L to R Tony Visconti, James Stevenson, Rick Tedesco, Ian Hunter, Paul Cuttleford


Looking back, as a kid my obsession with Bowie was on the strong side to put it mildly. Yes it bordered on hero worship I guess but it was innocent magic to me at the time that took me away from my pain and awkwardness. I look back on those days fondly and now that the realization that Bowie is gone is starting to sink in, I suppose I’ll miss them more than ever. As I said … there was naive innocence to it all on my part. Honestly, what’s wrong with believing in magic and having a super hero … even if he does wear lipstick? And though he drifted in and out of my life over the years as other things took front and center, he was always there when I needed him. I know his music and creativity will always be a part of me as deep down inside, that damaged little awkward weirdo is still alive and well.

Rick Tedesco 1/12/16



guitar crush an ode to the ibanez artist series

For decades, guitarists all over the world have painstakingly searched for the perfect guitar. For players with the means, these perfect guitars often take the form of Strats, Teles, and Les Pauls from the 50’s and 60’s. Unfortunately, most of us aren’t famous musicians with unlimited funds. Workaday players need a guitar that’s versatile, looks great, sounds great, feels great, and doesn’t break the bank. That’s quite a tall order. Some players search their entire life for a guitar that sits at the perfect intersection of quality, price, tone, and versatility. Luckily, for over 30 years Ibanez has put that very guitar within the reach of players with even the most limited budgets: the Ibanez Artist Series.

Still available today with a variety of finishes and cosmetic flourishes, the Ibanez Artist has a history dating back to 1974. The Artist Series moniker was originally applied to a variety of Ibanez body shapes, including the Iceman and various hollow- and semi-hollow guitars. Eventually these models were given their own designations, and the iconic double-cutaway became known simply as The Artist. Adopted by players such as Steve Miller and the Grateful Dead’s Bob Weir, the Ibanez Artist was one of the most popular guitars of the 1970’s. In fact, Weir’s fondness for the Artist led to the creation of his own Ibanez signature model, the Bob Weir BWM1BS.

Over the years, Ibanez halted the production of the Artist guitars a number of times. Here’s the timeline according to the Ibanez Wiki page: “Due to popularity of the various Superstrat models of the late-1980s, production of Artist models halted during 1988 (although the Artfield series which contains some similar designs was introduced that year) and 1989. The Artist line was brought back for 1990 only to once more see production halted after 1992. The series was reintroduced in 1996 and has remained in continuous production since.”

Throughout its career, the Artist has been offered in a variety of configurations including a double-neck version, a brass hardware model, and various inlay and flame top versions. To this day, Ibanez offers the Artist in 5 distinct models, from the Bubinga-topped AR325 ($599) to the AR2619 Prestige, which features upgraded tonewoods and hardware ($2299). But no matter which model Artist you choose, you simply can’t go wrong.

Let’s talk hardware and construction. When it comes to quality, the Ibanez Artist is not built like other “budget” guitars. Ibanez doesn’t dump a boatload of money into marketing and endorsements the way the other big guitar makers do, so money spent on an ibanez guitar goes a lot further, and it shows. Every Ibanez Artist features a 3-piece Maple set neck, dual Tri-Tone tapped humbuckers, a Mahogany body, and a top made from a gorgeous tonewood like figured Bubinga or flamed Maple. If wood grain tops aren’t your thing, you can even find solid-color models from previous years in a variety of colors, as well as models featuring elaborate neck inlays and Abalone binding.

Cosmetic features are great, but our favorite thing about the Ibanez Artist is the variety of tones available at the flick of a switch. The Artist’s Super 58 humbuckers are equipped with a Tri-Tone switch that lets players swap between series mode, parallel mode, and tapped single coil. With an additional 3-way switch to toggle between neck and bridge pickups, the Ibanez Artist offers a total of 15 pickup combinations! Say it with me: FIFTEEN different tones. And that doesn’t even account for tone knob and volume variations. As for the tone, the Super 58 pickups rest solidly in the “classic rock” category, with plenty of low end growl, high frequency chime, and a nice midrange honk when run in coil tap mode.

With most models of the Artist retailing under $1000, it’s no surprise that the Ibanez Artist is one of Ibanez’s most popular guitars. Unfortunately, many players have been burned before by the lure of a “budget” guitar. When it comes to the Ibanez Artist, the question we receive more than any other is “sure it’s got good specs, and the price is right, but how does it play?” Our answer is a single word: AWESOME. These guitars feel incredibly solid, with perfect balance, and sustain for days. The glued-in set neck increases sustain, while feeling incredibly natural and playable. Unlike the ultra-thin Wizard III neck featured on Ibanez’s more shred-friendly guitars, Artist models feature a vintage-style 12″ fretboard radius, and a thicker C-shape neck that is comparable to 60’s-style Gibson necks.

As the guitar industry continues to grow and change, it seems like the bigger a guitar company gets, the lower their quality standards are on their inexpensive models. Not so with Ibanez! Even the least expensive beginner model Ibanez guitars arrive at our shop with proper action and intonation, with all the knobs, jacks, and switches perfectly tight, with no wiggle or play – and the Artist is no exception. We sell dozens of Artist models per year, and every single one is a perfect player right out of the box. No wonky necks or sharp fret ends, no dead spots or buzzy frets. Just a nice, clean, well-made guitar that won’t break the bank.

Versatility, tone, aesthetics, and price. No matter which way you slice it, the Ibanez Artist is the perfect guitar. Try one or buy one ASAP. You won’t be sorry.

Never played an Ibanez Artist? Stop by Guitar Hangar in Brookfield, CT today and try one out! Got a special order in mind? We are a licensed Ibanez dealer – if they make it, we can get it! Contact Guitar Hangar today to check for availability on your custom order today!

Guitar Hangar
270 Federal Road
Brookfield, CT 06804
phone: 203-740-8889


Guitar Hangar Welcomes Vocal Instructor Elizabeth Russo to Our Teaching Staff

Guitar Hangar is proud to welcome our newest addition to the Guitar Hangar teaching family, the amazingly talented and vastly experienced vocal coach and singer extraordinaire, Liz Russo.

Liz Russo has 25 + years experience teaching voice to students of all levels and ages at the Singer’s Forum in New York City, as well as her private studio in Greenwich and Danbury CT. Ms. Russo works on many styles of singing, especially Broadway, pop, jazz, country, rock and classical. She has worked with much success preparing middle and high school students for regional choirs and college entrance auditions. Liz has taught Musical Theater and vocal technique at Fordham University and New York University (Lee Strasberg Institute) She developed and taught voice workshops for teenagers at the Singers Forum (New York City and week long summer intensives in Ferdonia NY), and the Connecticut Conservatory.  “In the lesson I will lead the student through vocal exercises designed to develop proper breath support and good vowel sounds, while learning repertoire to fit the needs and tastes of each individual. There will also be instruction in sight-singing with attention to intervals.”

Elizabeth (Liz) Russo, Mezzo- Soprano is well known for her powerful voice and strong stage presence. In 2011 Ms. Russo made her UK debut in London with Fulham Opera as Fricka in Das Rheingold, returned in 2012 for the same role in Die Walkure and for Wagner’s complete Ring Cycle in 2014.  “Major contributions from Elizabeth Russo, a dramatic mezzo-soprano of vocal substance created a personable Fricka well able to deal with a recalcitrant husband.” Margaret Davies – Opera Magazine London.  This production was given a five star rating by the press. “….has brought us a Ring of eyewatering clarity, raw beauty and visceral power…”  “Elizabeth Russo was a deliciously petulant, wifely and stroppy Fricka” Bachtrak, London.

Also in 2014 and immediately on her return to the states, she appeared with Worcester Chorus in Massachusetts as soloist in Rossini’s Petite Messe Solennelle after being featured in their Handel’s Messiah in 2012. “Of the four, (soloists) Ms. Russo and Mr. Lauterbach were the standouts, displaying rich tone and evenness throughout their range.”   TELEGRAM & GAZETT.  On May 16, 2015, Elizabeth debuted as soloist with The Dessoff Choirs of New York City in Rossini’s Petite Messe Solennelle.  In 2016 Elizabeth was soloist in Mozart’s Requiem and Beethoven‘s Mass in C (2013), both with Greenwich High School Super Choir and professional orchestra.  With Garden State Philharmonic, she was featured in Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass. In September 2016 Elizabeth had the great pleasure of performing Mahler’s master piece Das Lied von der Erda with the Chatham Camarata Orchestra and conductor Tom Bo.

Guitar Hangar’s Monthly Open Jam Session

On the last Tuesday of every month, Guitar Hangar hosts an Open Jam Session for our customers and friends. Right here in the store, we set up a full backline: drum kit, guitar amps, bass amp, keyboard, percussion, PA system, microphones, monitors… the whole 9 yards. The only thing you need to bring is your instrument, we take care of the rest.

Our Jam Session features a great array of players with skill levels ranging from beginner to pro. The Jam isn’t purely an amateur event – we’ve got some serious heavy hitters on the roster. But we also encourage beginner and intermediate players to get up on stage and let it rip. Over the course of the past couple years, we’ve seen some of our beginner students boost their skills and develop into real live rock n rollers!

One of the best things about the Jam is seeing players connect. We get a lot of players at the Jam Session who don’t often have a chance to play with other musicians. Younger players may have limited experience playing in bands or in front of other people. Older players may have the skills and experience, but they don’t have the time to commit to a band. The Open Jam Session gives these players and opportunity to get up on stage, crank the volume, and just let it all hang out. The look of pure joy on those players’ faces is simply amazing.

The Open Jam Session is also a great place to network. Let’s face it, the internet isn’t the best place to find compatible players for your band. The Open Jam Session brings musicians of every age and skill level together in one place. It’s like a group audition! You never know who you’re going to run into. You might learn a couple new chops, meet someone from another band that you can organize a show with, or you might find your new drummer. Anything can happen.

Back in the day, guitar shops were a defacto community hangout for musicians. With the popularity of big box music stores, the intimate feeling of going to a guitar shop where everybody knows your name is becoming a thing of the past. Not so at Guitar Hangar! We are a real-deal local, mom-n-pop, family-owned guitar shop! We encourage our customers and friends to hang out, meet other musicians, play a few songs, make some connections, and have some fun! Join the Jam Group on Facebook as well to interact with other players before hand!

The Guitar Hangar Open Jam Session is on the last Tuesday of every month at 6pm till whenever it ends! For more information, visit our facebook page and look for upcoming events. Feel free to share, invite your friends and bandmates, and come on down to the jam!