Hidden Gems #8 | Each week the staff share their personal Hidden Gems from our inventory that they think should be on your radar.
One of the best things about working at The Music Emporium is talking with people about the instruments, bands, music, and sounds that inspire them. At the end of the day that’s why we’re all here. I hope this list provides context for some of my favorite guitars and inspires you to explore new musical avenues.
~Adam | General Manager
- Goodall KCJC Koa & Torrefied Sitka Cutaway - James Goodall and his son build incredibly lush sounding guitars with rich harmonic overtones. Their instruments are consistent standouts and this one has all the resonance and complexity I've come to expect from their best guitars. A singular and special playing experience.
- Froggy Bottom H-12 Indian Rosewood & Adirondack - This model was the first “boutique” guitar I played that really blew me away. It was just so vibrant and alive. All these years later, after playing what must amount to thousands of guitars, it’s still a thrill. The sound is incredibly open and resonant with an absolute powerhouse bass register. I love handing these to customers who haven’t played a Froggy before and seeing their eyes widen on the first strum.
- Collings 001 Adirondack 14-Fret Traditional Satin - The Collings OM1A JL (Julian Lage Signature model) has been one of our most popular Collings models for many years. It’s the inspiration for this slightly smaller variation, which marries the open and articulate sound of the OM1AJL to an ultra-responsive 00 size. This is one of my favorite Collings models. Sometimes it feels like the HiFi version of my well-loved Waterloo WL-K.
- Lowden Pierre Bensusan F Model - Lowden makes such distinctive and woody sounding guitars. They really stand out as something different in a landscape full of Martin and Gibson inspired designs. This Bensusan model is a perennial favorite and really fun to play. I love to put this one in DADGAD or open G tuning and - Spinal Tap pun aside - listen to the sustain!
- Martin 000-14 All Mahogany Custom - There’s something special about a nice all Mahogany guitar. The sound is a little warmer, darker, and just…different. We took inspiration from the classic 17 series Martins and spec’d it with scalloped braces, a dovetail neck joint, and full gloss finish.
- Chuck Lee Marble Falls 11” Custom - It probably sounds strange for me to say that Chuck’s instruments stand out because of their lower register. Banjos aren’t particularly known for their bass response, but his instruments have an undefinable earthiness and power that really set them apart as something special. His instruments are consistent favorites of mine.
- Collings I-30LC Faded Cherry (2020) - Despite my best efforts, I frequently approach our electric inventory with a bit of an acoustic mindset. I can’t help it! The I-30 model has always stood out to me because it’s incredibly expressive and responds like an acoustic. At the same time, you can turn it up and get all sorts of crazy tones out of it. I don’t know if there’s truly a guitar that can do it all but this gets pretty close.
Gibson EDS-1275 Walnut (USED, 1974) - You can’t help but smile when you pick this guitar up. Try it. It can’t be done. If you’re into Zeppelin this is just such an iconic and fun guitar to play. The only thing that could make it better would be if it came with a Dragon Suit. Side note: This is the only guitar in the shop that it’s permissible to play Stairway to Heaven on.
Magnatone Panoramic Stereo 2x10 - We have a lot of great amps, but this one has some serious wow factor. The vibrato tones are incredibly unique and you can almost get lost in the depth of sound. There really isn’t another amp in our shop that does quite the same thing as this one.
- Jam Pedals Pink Flow Multi Pedal - Full confession: I love guitar pedals. But I didn’t grow up playing them and sometimes find myself in the weeds with the ever-expanding range of options available. Jam makes some of the best pedals we carry and the Pink Flow brings all the classic Floyd tones within easy reach. It’s irresistible to sit down with and explore. A word of warning: It’s nearly impossible to move off of the “seagull” sound and stop playing Echoes.