Over the years, a musician of Richie Sambora's calibre has developed an acute knowledge of instruments, leading him to collect rare and exceptional guitars. This 1959 Epiphone Sheraton is no exception, and serves as a reminder of the breadth of the guitarist's tastes when choosing his pieces. Produced as part of a 46 run in 1959, this Epiphone sunburst hollow-body harks back to Epiphone's heyday and confirms its remarkable melodic potential. An exceptional guitar to discover at Matt's Guitar Shop!
Before being associated with cheap and foreign-made Gibson alternatives, Epiphone was a demanding guitar maker in the public eye. This Sheraton dates from the early days of Gibson's ownership of Epiphone, at a time when the manufacturer's own characteristics were still present in the design. Beyond the components, the Sheraton bears the hallmarks of Epiphone's glory years. This guitar features the famous short headstock, which was enlarged in 1964, adorned with a mother-of-pearl tree-of-life inlay. Its ebony fingerboard features elegant V-shaped position markers with abalone corners inlaid in mother-of-pearl rectangles. The top of this guitar is made from the finer laminated maple that Gibson used on its pressed models until the end of 1958, considered to have a brighter sound than the laminated woods that followed.
This Sheraton has a lovely, subtle flamed grain, and the sunburst "iced tea" finish extends to the edges of the top. The handle profile is also quite interesting with its V-shape. Other distinctive Epiphone details include the superb pre-Gibson Octagon radio buttons, the elongated pickguard with characteristic "E" inlay and the two-stage Frequensator tailpiece. The latter was designed to balance the tension of the bass and treble strings across the bridge. Finally, the single-coil pickups nicknamed New York are an integral part of the Sheraton's unique sound. They are also the last vestiges of Epiphone's independent years.
Gibson's shipping records show that only 46 Sheratons were made in 1959. The example available at Matt's Guitar Shop is a rare gem in many ways, and is just waiting to deliver its delicate and warm voice. It's in stunning condition, and was signed on the back of the head when it passed through the collection of Richie Sambora, a fine collector and a talented guitarist.
Band : Bon Jovi
Main guitar : Fender Stratocaster signature
Compulsory listening : Livin’ On A Prayer
Such is the history of rock: for every Mick Jagger, there is a Keith Richards. For every Steven Tyler, there is a Joe Perry. For every Robert Plant, a Jimmy Page. For every superstar that gets the crowd going, there is a moody, infinitely cool guitar player that has the singer’s back and only takes the front of stage for quick assaults of thirty seconds.
Richie Sambora joined the New Jersey band Bon Jovi in 1983, a few months after its creation. Right from the start, Sambora’s playing and personality perfectly matched the image of founding singer Jon Bon Jovi. Together, they created a songwriting duo that would come up with hard rock classics that remain mainstays of every radio station playlist. The true explosion happened in 1986 with the Slippery When Wet album, on which Sambora co-wrote nine out of ten songs, including mega-singles Livin’ On A Prayer, You Give Love A Bad Name and Wanted Dead Or Alive. The guitar hero’s virtuosic, precise and energetic playing are in full force on that album. Sambora has integrated Van Halen’s influence to his style like any soloist of the time, but he added his personal twist to it. His talent for arranging can be head on the twelve-string parts of Wanted…, the pitch shifted solo to You Give Love A Bad Name or the talkbox for Livin’ On A Prayer.
After the release of the album, the band gets huge and starts touring around the world for sold-out crowds of entranced fans. Bon Jovi’s genius is that they achieved mainstream success at several points in their career, which makes them relevant to several generations of fans. They once again topped the charts with Always in 1994, then with It’s My Life (co-written by Sambora too) in 2000. That last song earned them a new audience that still follows them to this day.
A victim of his demons, Sambora had to quit the band in 2013 in the middle of one more world tour. Since then, he has launched the RSO band with his ex Orianthi. Over time, he seems more and more interested in the Telecaster and the Esquire, whereas he was the poster boy for superstrats in the glory days of Bon Jovi. Sambora’s musical future probably has a few great surprises in store.