by Steven Pisano
Consider, if you will, the following partial description of an object in an exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which ended this past weekend:
Archtop with F-holes and Venetian cutaway; laminated maple body and neck, rosewood fingerboard; 23½ in. scale; natural finish with white & black double binding, set neck with mother-of-pearl split parallelogram inlays and white binding to fingerboard; mother-of-pearl Gibson headstock logo with crown inlay; two PAF humbucking pickups,...
Sounds pretty fancy, doesn't it? Maybe a rare piece of furniture from a Renaissance craftsman, or a priceless treasure from a European estate?
Hell no! This is how the catalog begins the description of the Gibson ES-350T (ca. 1958) that Chuck Berry strutted on stage with in the late 1950s and early 1960s, playing hits like "Johnny B. Goode."