One Last Melancon (New Pictures)

inmyhandsinmyhands Posts: 11,652
edited December 2019 in General Guitar Discussion
First ....... please read my post for Gerard Richard Melancon in the Bring Out Your Dead section of the forum.

Second ...... grab a bear, your favorite mixed drink or a nicely rolled doobie. This might turn into a long post even for me. I'm still working out Gerard's passing. A master builder. 58 years old. My #1 Forever.

OK. Let's go.

          I recently found that my very favorite and most respected guitar builder had passed away. The news hit me hard. I kind of thought of Gerard Melancon as my own personal guitar builder.  
          I first encountered Melancon guitars at Fazio's Frets and Friends in St. Louis County maybe 15 to 18 years ago. They had two examples hanging behind the counter where they always placed the high end boutique models like Terry McInturff, Baker, Roger Giffen, John Suhr, etc.. At the time I thought of these instruments as those I couldn't and never would be able to afford. From that first time seeing them on the wall, having a salesman bring each one out one at a time and allowing me to play them while my wife Debi listened and offered her opinion I fell in love. It was like finding a missing arm or a long lost family member. In a very silly way this came to be a moment in our life together.  
          Debi and I shared much the same taste in music, guitars and bands when we started dating in 1972 . The difference was that Debi's knowledge and opinions about guitars started around 1964 while mine went well back into the '50s. When we got together I was playing a Gibson SG Deluxe and she thought that was cool, (thank God / lucky me). A few years into our relationship I brought up the idea of me buying a Fender Telecaster. You'd have thought I'd dumped a bucket of crap in the room. She couldn't have been more negative to the idea. Let's say I put that idea on the back burner. Maybe three or four times over the next 30 years I brought the same subject up. Nope. Sticking a cockroach up her ass would have garnered a more positive response. Note* During these same 30 years Debi found and fell in love with vintage and then modern metal while I remained preferring the guitar sounds of the '50s through the early '80s.
         In 2002 Debi agreed with me buying an entry level MIM Fender Telecaster. I think of it as a "throw him a bone so he gets over it" moment. Fail. I loved it. Within another year or so we were in Fazio's getting an introduction to Melancon guitars. Both of them were Tele shaped with deep cutaways and beautiful tops. Two Tele singles on one and a pair of humbuckers on the other. Debi still didn't like the shape but was really impressed with the humbucker version. A tiny inroad? It didn't really matter because I couldn't afford either one. Still .....
        Around 2008 I purchased a Shur Custom T. Single coils but no Tele bridge. A Gibson like rosewood neck. I got the feeling it was the Tele bridge and maple fretboards that turned Debi off. Debi was OK with this purchase but she never really liked it.
        A number of years down the road while doing "Melancon" searches on ebay, (because they had been my "grail" since that day at Fazio's), I stumbled on a beautiful Custom T model that would normally have a street price of around $3500. A thick burl maple top on mahogany with a set of humbuckers. It was listed as Brand New and offered at $2500. With some investigation I found the seller was a music store in Tallahassee that was closing its doors. The guitar was / is beautiful. Often, while checking this guitar out with photos the store sent me, Debi would be standing behind me looking over my shoulder. When I felt like I was going to burst I turned to look at her and she just nodded and said yes and that It was beautiful and why did I take so long to ask? Geez?!?!  Hoorah !!! A T shaped body for me with Les Paul tones for her. Within days of it's arrival I knew it was my #1 and within a few months Debi shared with me that she thought it was the best sounding guitar I'd ever owned and that my recent playing skill level seemed to have gone up quite a bit. "You seem bonded to that guitar. You're like a matched set". Today that Melancon Custom T is still my #1 guitar.
       So. These many years down the road I find and share with her Gerard's obituary. I felt wrecked. Surprisingly, It messed with Debis head too. It got us to talking about trips we'd made to guitar stores and guitars I've owned over the years. She was still positive the Melancon Custom T was the finest guitar I'd ever owned. The following day I was online going through any remaining Melancon "dealer stock". I found less than 30 and many were being sold as "used". Of the "brand new" offerings I found less than ten T style. There're probably more because he shipped to dealers world wide but I found what I could find. After weeding out sellers I just didn't feel I could trust I was down to four ranging from $2695 to $5600. Debi had been coming in and out of the room. She said "Have you made up your mind"? I was surprised because we'd agreed my guitar buying days were over. I went to show her the four models remaining and she said "I've seen all four already. Pick one". In my mind I'd already selected my favorite but had misgivings. On the plus side my favorite was the lowest priced offering. On the other side it was that old monster rearing its head. No humbuckers here. No maple top. A Telecaster Telecaster. A solid ash body finished in "shell pink". Chrome hardware. A Wilkinson vintage steel Tele ashtray bridge with 3 brass compensated saddles. A Melancon VintageTele pickup in the neck and a Melancon Blues Tele in the bridge. Locking tuners on the headstock of a birdseye maple neck with a 10"radius, Deep "C" neck carve, heavy frets, black dots and decal on the headstock. A Telecaster.  She saw. She knew. "Do it".

With any luck the guitar should arrive this Friday. I've got my fingers crossed. The Telecaster's been on my wait list for far too long.
Post edited by inmyhands on


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