Monday, March 28, 2005

Gibson Trini Lopez Standard Guitar

My Dad bought me this guitar for Christmas when I was fifteen years old. We traded a 1957 Fender Stratocaster with an original tweed case and one hundred dollars for this guitar at Hugh's Music Store in Florence Kentucky. Bear in mind that a 1957 Fender Stratocaster in playable condition would probably go for $17,000 in today's market. The Trini is gaining some ground however. In the mid 1990's you could get a vintage Trini Standard for $1200-1400. Currently I'm seeing these offered for $2300-2500. My guitar is a 1967 model according to Gibson records of the serial number. The inside label reads, "Trini Lopez Regular", instead of Standard.

The guitar is expertly crafted as were all Gibson guitars of that day. I have never had to adjust the tune-o-matic bridge since the guitar was measured and made by expert craftsmen that knew the exact measurements, so there is no need to compensate by adjusting the bridge saddles to achieve perfect tonality. And this was way before CDC machines. The pickups are just great. They are not loud and dirty by today's standards, but they provide a mellow blend to capture that great ES-335 sound. The guitar is essentially a modified ES-335. The headstock is the striking difference. An ES-335's headstock has 3 on a side tuners with the traditional Gibson carve on the top. The Trini Lopez Standard has a headstock exactly like a reverse Gibson Firebird. It is sort of Fenderesque with six on a side Kluson tuners (that do not slip). The other striking feature is the diamond shaped "F holes" and matching split diamond fretboard inlay. The fingerboard is rosewood. The strings are at just the right height. It requires little or no effort to play. The electronics are all by Switchcraft and are excellent quality.

In the mid 1970's I added a Bigsby tailpiece to the guitar of the same era. This caused too much distance between the first string and the tuner, so the high E string in most sets will not reach that top tuner. I have to buy .009 long neck banjo strings. These work out fine since they have a loop end that fits the tines in the Bigsby.

I seldom take this guitar out of the house. I've had it so long and it is a treasure because it was Daddy's gift to me.

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