Dad's Gibson

Slade In Wales, 2011.


"Sam Li (or Lee) had a workshop in Wardour Street and was very well known to London's guitarists. There were only really Sam and Emile Grimshaw in the pro set-up and repair business at the time. It was Sam who made that vaguely SG-shaped guitar (with a Gibson neck) that Dave Hill of Slade used to use."
The guitar being discussed on a Shadows forum was Dave Hill's trademark guitar (prior to the John Birch 'Superyob' which he commissioned for the '73 US tour) referred to affectionately by Slade anoraks as "Dad's Gibson" because Dave's father, Jack, bought it for him when he turned pro. It wasn't built for him, it was a "bitsa" ('bits of this & bits of that' Resurrected from old parts) that his Dad spotted in a shop window.
"I believe it has the neck of a Gibson 345; because it has the unusual 'split trapeze' dot markers and, equally unusual, no marker at the first fret & a bound fretboard.  
The electric parts I believe are off a budget Gibson SG "Melody Maker"; which is what the plaque behind the bridge originally said, up until John Birch replaced the bridge with one of his own around 1974, put two studs where the stop tailpiece used to be & changed the plaque to read “Custom Made”. 
That bit I remember distinctly as I had a poster on my wall as a kid of H from around '72 & the "Melody Maker" was clearly visible. ("Melody Maker" guitars have a small plaque with that name between the neck & the first pick-up which could have been cut down by Sam Lee.) 
The single coil at the neck isn't Fender (IMO) it's probably a rarish Gibson, if you find the right picture it has squared off ends, I'd guess so as to avoid Fender’s copyright.  
This early picture of Dave with the guitar, before John Birch's mods."

Stu Rutter: Slade In Wales,  2011
The Gibson machine heads were replaced with some generic chrome and the pickup switch moved for convenience. The string saddles on the bridge are Fender probably because John Birch string saddles are rather primitive and tend to move around. 

The guitar had a nasty accident in Belgium where the neck was almost completely snapped - Gibson necks are notorious for this. If a Gibson falls over it can easily suffer a neck break due to Gibson's method of joining a separate piece of wood at an angle to the neck to make the headstock. Hill told Stu Rutter that the original had been retired due to serious damage after a gig. He had commissioned a 'Dad's Gibson' replica from Jaydee (John Diggins, a John Birch protégée) long before the accident but it hasn't been seen in public for many years.

I guess 'visually similar' does not make it 'feel like' the original and the sentimental value certainly will not be there.

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