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Custom Guitar Man

October 29, 2000

In "Guitar for Sale" (Pop Eye, Oct. 15), you reported that the Jimi Hendrix guitar that was burned on stage at the Miami Pop Festival was restored by Frank Zappa. Actually Zappa only arranged for the guitar to be restored.

On March 13, 1976, Frank gave the burned-out body, no neck or electronics, just the body, to the visionary luthier Rex Bogue in the San Gabriel Valley. Rex restored it per Frank's instructions, that it be left in its burned-out state and just lacquered over, with a new neck and electronics added.

While Frank did play the guitar at some shows, many times the guitar would be placed on a stand, center stage, with a single spotlight trained on it. I am assuming this was in homage to Hendrix.

Rex not only did these kinds of custom restorations, he built custom guitars as well. Each one was a work of art, constructed of the finest bird's-eye maple with mother-of-pearl inlay vining up the neck. Carlos Santana, John McLaughlin and many others were clients who sought out his groundbreaking work in the '70s and '80s.

Rex passed away on Feb. 8, 1996.

BILL DUNN

Temple City

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