Back in the pre-Fender epoch of time, Merle had a preference for Bigsby guita... more
Back in the pre-Fender epoch of time, Merle had a preference for Bigsby guitars. He was one of the first electric guitarists, along side the late, great Charlie Christian (who was a Gibson man). Merle loved Paul Bigsby’s craftsmanship so much he even had the company craft a new neck for his Martin acoustic. Travis considered the Bigsby guitar neck to be of the highest quality craftsmanship, formed from the finest Birdseye maple.
These days, we’d never consider replacing any part of a vintage Brazilian Rosewood Martin D-28, but Merle Travis had no second thoughts. He had Paul Bigsby create a brand new neck for his main acoustic and used the axe for the majority of his career anytime the muse called for a flat top box.
Merle Travis definitely exposed the masses to the scroll headstock with his Martin D-28 custom neck acoustic dreadnought (pictured above), as well as his usage of one of the first Bigsby electrics. Merle played the custom Martin from the time he had it re-necked until his death in 1983 on all his acoustic tracks.
Music history is much like studying a family tree. The further down the branches we go, we end up at an indelible trunk that only forks off into many more roots. The journey is what its all about, where we learn where the core features of even the best acoustic guitars come from today. Stay tuned for more guitar history lessons!
Talking about gibson super 400 Merle Travis favored this guitar. His instr... more
Talking about gibson super 400
Merle Travis favored this guitar. His instrument was highly stylized. His son Thom Bresh plays a similar instrument.. Both men added Bigsby tailpieces with extended bars. Before Merle Travis passed away, the Gibson Guitar Company asked him to donate his guitar to the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville, Tennessee. In turn, Gibson built an exact replica of his special modified Super 400 CES. It is interesting to note that Merle's new guitar had a wooden center block similar to what is found on ES-335 models.