Peter Saldana, of Green Bay, Wisconsin, has hit a dead end in his search for the history of the old Gibson guitar. His father, Amado P. Saldana, purchased the guitar from Henri’s Music in Green Bay in the late 1960s. He paid between $2,000 and $2,500 for it, Peter Saldana said. An hour later, the music store called Amado Saldana back and offered him $5,000 for its return.
“It was more of gibson super 400 pickguard a show piece. It was not for sale,” Peter Saldana said..Amado Saldana died in 2002 and his son now hopes to learn more about his father’s favorite instrument. Peter Saldana said using the serial number (A26594), he was able to determine through Gibson Guitar, which was founded in Kalamazoo in 1902 and moved to Nashville, Tenn., in 1984, the instrument was shipped out of the Parsons Street facility on Nov. 15, 1957.
At some point in the mid or late ’60s, the original neck was replaced with a custom neck believed to be from 1964. The neck features some “beautiful” inlay work depicting a rose in a vase. The vase has a “G” on it, which Peter Saldana assumes stands for Gibson. The head stock contains a golden bee flying around golden roses.
“Everyone who sees it in person, their jaw just drops,” he said.Peter Saldana wants to know:
Did Gibson do the inlay work or did a third party do it?Who had the neck replaced and when was it done?Peter Saldana has contacted several experts on guitars and Gibson guitars. He also spoke briefly with Maudie Moore, of Kalamazoo. Moore worked for several years at Gibson facility in Kalamazoo where she did a lot of inlay work. Moore said she is looking into it.
Peter Saldana had the instrument appraised in 2000. It was worth about $15,000 then he said. His father gave it to him on the condition he’d never sell it.
“I don’t need the money. It has sentimental value,” he said.
Peter Saldana, 43, said his parents were migrant workers who “followed the crops” to Texas, Ohio, Wyoming, Nebraska, Colorado and Wisconsin. No matter where he went, his father took the Gibson guitar with him. He also frequently played it in church, Peter Saldana said.
“I’ve come to the realization that I may never solve the mystery of the guitar and it’s a beautiful guitar,” Saldana said. “I’m more interested in the story and trying to figure out the reason behind it.”
Saldana said he’d given up the search until he stumbled across on article online about a 1959 Gibson Super 400 made for Kentucky country singer Merle Travis for the NAMM Show, a major trade show in California. The inlay work on Saldana’s guitar is very similar to the work on the Travis guitar.Saldana said he knows it’s a long shot to get all of his questions answered. Perhaps only one or two people know the instrument’s history and they may no longer be alive.He said he brought the guitar in to another Green Bay music store a few weeks ago to have it inspected and the employees marveled at it.