Home > Diary, trips and journeys > A Hearty Thanks To My Friends At Gibson, U.S.A.

A Hearty Thanks To My Friends At Gibson, U.S.A.

So, today is the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Show at the Dolby Theater here in Los Angeles! Who would have thought that you would hear Run DMC and Jefferson Airplane in the same sentence? Anyway, the taping of the show is tonight so I’ll talk about that more tonight or tomorrow but first I need to thank and honor my friends at Gibson.



So I’ve been playing Gibson guitars all my life and I’ve loved them all. I bought my 1958 Gibson J-50 in Dayton, Ohio at Pop’s Music Store in 1959. It cost a hundred bucks, and worth every penny. I learned to finger pick on that guitar… it’s the guitar I played Embryonic Journey on. Learned to pick, sing and write on that guitar. It was the musical story of my life for… well, a long time. When I’m gone it will belong to my son Zach.

IN 1965 or ’66, I bought a Red ES-345 Stereo at Sherman and Clay in San Francisco for about $400. I bought it on time… it seemed like a lot of money back then. That guitar became the guitar I developed my sound in the JA on. I owned a number of ES-345’s and ES-355’s back in that day, but that first red one was always the one. I gave it to my friend Maj when I was flush with cash and buying a lot of guitars. It was stolen from him in London and has been gone for over forty years.

When this Grammy Lifetime Award came up, I contacted my old friend Ron Moe down at Gibson Guitars in Nashville. I wondered what the chances were that there was an ES-345 around that I could use for the ceremony since we’re playing some live songs on the show. He said he’d run it up the flagpole to see if there were any salutes.

Enter his friend Mike Volz the director of Research And Product Development at Gibson, Memphis. Mike saw to it that his team hand crafted a replica of that 1964 Gibby, including the original wiring harness and matched caps and pots. The paint is off the charts… the hardware is lightly stressed and it plays like a dream. I’ll be using it a lot in upcoming shows.

Mike Volz, Jorma, The Guitar and Ron Moe

Mike Volz, Jorma, The Guitar and Ron Moe

This was totally unexpected… it is such a blessing! Many thanks to Mike and his team of craftspeople. And Ron… well, you know how I feel.

ES-345 and replica period case!

ES-345 and replica period case!

It is true that we’re missing Passover being here in LA like this, but it is a mitzvah of another sort.

Zeissen Pesach…

…and let’s rock!

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  1. John B
    April 23rd, 2016 at 13:08 | #1

    Thank you Gibson and thank you Jorma got the little history lesson.

  2. jim hitchcock
    April 23rd, 2016 at 13:29 | #2

    Oh the guitars I have shared time with, how do I repay their their kinship?

    More recent electronic tales:

     7 yo GE microwave gave up the ghost on Wednesday. Needed a quick fix. Went on the internet, Walmart had all these amazing machines advertised, so of course I went down to the local Wallyworld, and the shelves were bare, nearly Soviet Union bare.

    They did have one marginal model on display, but no boxed product underneath, so I asked a wandering Wally aisle walker if they had any stock.

    He came back with a supervisor a few minutes later, who apologized, saying they did not have that particular item, they were currently experiencing a microwave shortage, but expecting new stock in 2-3 weeks.

    So I relented, and loaded a cheap ass $108 Panasonic model into my Wallycart, and took it home.

    I did read the manual once I got home, and one important safety instruction stood out, in bold type:


  3. John B
    April 23rd, 2016 at 14:42 | #3

    For a few bucks more you could have gotten the “pet friendly” model. Live and learn.

  4. Joey Hudoklin
    April 23rd, 2016 at 16:38 | #4

    Awesome Jorma!

  5. Steve
    April 23rd, 2016 at 19:27 | #5

    Pardon my French but that is just simply too motherfucking cool!!!!!! NICE!!!!

  6. George Anthony
    April 23rd, 2016 at 21:34 | #6

    Hey Jorma,

    Great guitar stories from you and WOW to the Gibson team.

    In March, we saw you perform solo in Port Washington, NY (Sleep Song was pure), also loved your shout-out to the old Ghost Motorcycle Store on Main Street.

    I hope to hear you play your new JA model ES-345 guitar in August, at “The Space” Westbury, NY (former movie theatre, now a wonderful musical room, Steve Winwood played there recently).

    Have fun playing JA material with Cathy R. We loved “Eskimo Blue Day” w/ Rachel & Teresa (and Justin) @ Beacon last year!

    Congrats to you, Jack, Grace and Marty (and families of Paul and Spencer) for “Grammy Lifetime Achievement”.

    Happy Passover; the best to Vanessa and the family.

    George on Long Island

  7. Dave G
    April 23rd, 2016 at 21:58 | #7

    That’s wonderful to see you with a 345 once again! I hope it becomes more of a habit (not to knock the Firebird, et al).

    I have a Memphis 2006 ES-345 (Cherry, stereo) that I dearly love, and had wanted one for over 40 years. Now I happily play the dream.

  8. Ham n Eggs
    April 24th, 2016 at 14:05 | #8

    Happy passover to you and your family.
    Not so strange to think of you and rap together for me. I sometimes have used Rev. Gary Davis doing Children of Zion to discuss some of the places rap came from in my classes.
    Love All Ways

  9. Sweetbac
    April 24th, 2016 at 14:53 | #9

    Beautiful 345, Jorma
    Have you and Jack had a lot of guitar/bass gone missing over the years?
    Anyways, get the electric Tuna crew back out here to San Francisco and play in the park for hardly strictly bluegrass.

  10. Joey Hudoklin
    April 24th, 2016 at 16:08 | #10

    Yes. Please come back to California soon.

  11. John R.
    April 24th, 2016 at 17:46 | #11

    Make sure the case has a “Jefferson Airplane Loves You” sticker. Congrats, Jorma, Jack, and the rest of the gang.

  12. Steven Levenson
    April 24th, 2016 at 20:45 | #12

    Hmm, George Clinton speaks of Jefferson Airplane as an inspiration, so a connection to Run-DMC may not be so unusual.

  13. Sweetbac
    April 25th, 2016 at 03:49 | #13

    I’m just sayin’ that these wanna be musician punks out here in San Francisco need to witness what it’s like when GROWN ass men strap on they Gibsons and kick out the jams well proper, like Tuna known to do. Preferably in Golden Gate Park.

  14. Anna Stegemoeller
    April 25th, 2016 at 07:07 | #14

    Wowzy! I still dream of having a Gibson ES someday. Great tales, great times. Congratulations. Happy trails and tributes.

  15. David Sonnenberg
    April 27th, 2016 at 14:15 | #15

    Looks like a dream, probably plays and sounds dreamy too. I love my epiphone Jorma sig. model, but this looks too cool.

    Whenever I take it to the shop for anything, no matter where, they ooh and aah over “The Jorma”

  16. Cyndy Consentino
    May 1st, 2016 at 12:47 | #16

    Dear Jorma,
    Wow, how great for you! And for all of us, too, when we get to hear you play it