Header image courtesy David Petschulat Mini Les Paul_Courtesy of The Official Nancy Wilson of Heart Reverb Shop/Brooke Kovanda
The trend of artists listing on Reverb helps get gear into the hands of fans and fellow musicians.
By Caroline Paone
How about a 12-string PRS with a dragon inlay? Or a late ’60s Gibson SG? Great, but even better, they’re from Heart Goddess Nancy Wilson’s personal collection. The iconic guitarist is listing a cache of instruments on Reverb, which is becoming more common for artists looking to sell equipment easily.
Since the 1970s, Wilson has been one of the world’s most celebrated guitarists, with hits like “Barracuda,” “Crazy On You,” and “These Dreams.” Now, she’s offering access to equipment played over her varied career, such as the SG she used on stage for “Barracuda.”
While the history of artists auctioning storied music gear is long, over the past several years, artists have been listing their iconic guitars, drums, and more on Reverb, getting gear into the hands of fans and fellow musicians at relatively affordable prices.
Others go the auction route. Pink Floyd’s Dave Gilmour sold his $21.5 million guitar collection, and proceeds went toward fighting global warming. Journey’s Neal Schon auctioned his legendary guitars earning $4.2 million. The guitar fanatic is also a big collector himself and famously said he was selling his to make room for new arrivals.
Well, not every man or woman is in Schon’s stratosphere, but on a lower level, buying guitars is an obsession for some. Countless musicians scoop up vintage gear every year, from the famous to the weekend warriors fueling their musical passions. Indeed finding alternatives to the large cookie-cutter equipment chains is appealing, too.
Outside of financial reasons, perhaps artists embrace the idea that a fan will honor and enjoy the guitar rather than having it sit in storage or hang in a museum. No doubt, collectors, fans, and musicians looking for a vintage sound (or merely a piece of rock history) will invest in Wilson’s gear. Over two dozen items ranging from guitars and keyboards to amps will be available beginning October 19 at The Official Nancy Wilson of Heart Reverb Shop.
The versatile guitarist is known for selling gear in the past. Her Gibson Flying-V was purchased by V-loving Scorpion guitarist Rudolph Schenker. But now the average Jane or Joe will have a shot at a Wilson-owned guitar or keyboard. That’s what’s unique about how Reverb works with artists; it’s more of an opportunity for anyone to snag a piece of gear from a favorite artist versus just a high-end collector.
Wilson partnered with Definitive Authentic to certify all the gear and then worked with Reverb to get the shop stocked. Definitive Authentic is a company that works directly with world-renowned artists and more to protect, preserve, certify, and exhibit their artifacts.
A Snapshot of Wilson’s Gear for Sale:
Wilson’s 1957 Fender Stratocaster, with its road-worn scars and fading, is up for sale. According to Wilson, she traveled the world with the gritty Strat.
“It’s got all the good dirt in the sound of it from the ’50s,” said Wilson. “There’s something about the older models that have that dirty sound. It’s because they’re all grown up and are big characters.”
A showstopper of the lot is her late ’60s Gibson SG, frequently played live on the guitar-forward classic, “Barracuda.” According to Wilson, the Bigsby-adorned SG was the foundation of her massive ’70s-style riffs during the song, and the guitar became well-known by Heart fans for the two Marine Corps stickers on the back.
“It’s traveled really far with me, and we’ve done a lot of stages and shows together, and you might recognize this Marine Corps symbol here that I used to flash after ‘Barracuda’ at the end of shows,” said Wilson. “My dad was a military man, and there’s pictures of me saluting at a lot of shows. This guitar is one true hero.”
Another addition is a TV Jones Spectrasonic with a red and white finish with a Bigsby vibrato that was also often used to play “Barracuda” live, according to Wilson.
Then there’s the stunning Paul Reed Smith 12-string with a custom dragon inlay. “This is one of the coolest guitars I’ve ever owned,” Wilson said. “It came with me all over the [latest] Heart Tour. I played the first song of the tour on this guitar, ‘Rockin’ Heaven Down.'”
The shop features a notable collection of rare, vintage, and prototype guitars, as well as other gear. A Duncan Quattro from the mid-’80s that accompanied Wilson during many stadium shows.
“During certain songs, it was on a stand that I played along with a keyboard part,” Wilson quipped. “On other songs, it was the all-purpose dive-bombing ’80s style guitar.”
A very original mini guitar that graced one of Heart’s album covers rounds out the collection. The late-’70s David Petschulat Mini guitar with a Les Paul-style build features heart-shaped inlays. These miniaturized versions of the classic Les Paul were made for a few select players, such as Eddie Van Halen.
“It’s very teeny tiny,” says Wilson.” It was on stage with me. It’s also the star of the cover of Heart’s album Greatest Hits Live.”
Over the years, Reverb has helped dozens of artists get their music gear into the hands of fans, including Peter Frampton, Mike Campbell, T Bone Burnett, and more. And over time, Reverb has become the largest online marketplace dedicated to buying and selling new, used, and vintage musical instruments.
It’s true; every musician’s guitar has a story and history surrounding it, including B.B. King’s beloved ‘Lucille,’ Eddie Van Halen’s infamous FrankenStrat, and Billy Gibbons’ well-loved ‘Muddywood.’ For those reasons and more, many will appreciate a look at Wilson’s shop and surely click over. Who knows what other future musical gems will come up for sale–from the rocking ’70s to the flashy ’80s to ’90s grunge and beyond. Considering Wilson’s expansive career, it’s pretty wide open.
To preview the gear that will be available in The Official Nancy Wilson of Heart Reverb Shop and to sign up to be notified when the shop goes live on October 19, visit: https://reverb.com/news/the-official-nancy-wilson-of-heart-artist-shop-preview.
– Caroline Paone (@CarolineRex) is a contributor for www.vwmusicrocks.com and may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org