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Moderne: The Holy Grail of Vintage Guitars (Book) Paperback – December 1, 2008


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Centerstream (December 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1574242415
  • ISBN-13: 978-1574242416
  • Product Dimensions: 11 x 8.5 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,662,700 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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Great book, I recommend it to all my guitar collecting friends.
KM
The history of the Gibson Custom Shop edition from the early 80's as well as the Moderne copy guitars from other manufacturers is covered in detail.
R. Mend
Often, the author assumes the reader has knowledge that they do not have -- knowledge the book itself should be imparting.
Dan Amrich

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Will the Thrill on December 23, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A self-confessed guitar nut, I own several Moderne-copy instruments, as well as another 50 other guitars. The mystery of the Moderne holds a special place in the anals of Gibson history, so this book offers a welcome insight into the convoluted birth of this modernistic instrument. But it was never really "birthed" as fans know, because, unlike the Flying V and Explorer, the Moderne was sadly aborted before it reached the marketplace. This "book" actually is interesting at first, with plenty of quotes from industry insiders and a few shadowy period photos and drawings. Things quickly take a dive, however, when the author starts presenting word-for-rambling-word transriptions of phone conversations he has had with a variety of "experts" who have very little to say. By the final 20 pages or so, the book reads like a series of notes that clearly exist to bulk up the volume to acceptable "book" status, whether the actual content has any real merit, or even makes sense. This is one of the most bizarre guitar books I have ever read, and believe me, reading it became a struggle when it devolved into this sketchy, unfocused blather. There are no other books on the fabled Moderne guitar, so you may still want to buy this one. Just be fore-warned that it is a bit of a light-weight in terms of real content, and offers some unintentional humor as the book's author throws in everything including the kitchen sink to flesh out the pages with highly questionable "content," no matter how off-the-wall.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Dan Amrich on January 7, 2012
Format: Paperback
I was hesitant to give this book a one-star rating, knowing that so many people ignore them as knee-jerk reactions. But in good conscience -- especially considering the price -- I can't bring myself to award it anything higher, and that makes me very sad as a big guitar geek. Here's why.

The Moderne is a fascinating footnote in guitar history -- one of Gibson's "lost" models from the 1950s, designed but not mass-produced. Any prototypes or one-offs that might have escaped the factory would today be of huge historical significance, not to mention financial value. So I was thrilled to see that someone was going to tell its tale...until I saw how it was told. Some of the content is written by people other than the author; it's not clear that he's simply republishing someone else's work until you're halfway through those sections. Many photos are run without captions, so you don't know what you are really looking at or why it is important (at one point, this goes on for nine pages straight). Some photos are run multiple times. Several photos are low-resolution and blown up so you can see artifiacting and jagged lines; a few even have watermarks from the photo websites where they were originally posted.

Key people are interviewed without being introduced as to who they are or why they are significant. Names of key players in the Moderne saga are bandied about without context or definition; if you're not already up on some of the myths and legends surrounding the Moderne, you will have to figure out who they are as you go. Fonts change in the middle of sentences. Telephone interviews are run verbatim, rather than being edited for clarity.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By R. Mend on January 19, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Most people interested in the vintage guitar trade are fascinated by the story of the elusive Gibson Moderne, sister of the mega-collectable Explorer and Flying V, the korina-wood solid body electrics that went over like the proverbial lead balloon when introduced in 1958.
Too "out there" to be taken seriously by the guitar playing community, they were quickly discontinued from production by Gibson and pretty much forgotten until their rarity made them into some of the most sought out collectables in the eyes of many vintage guitar nuts.
The Moderne however never made it beyond the design stage and into production. Only prototypes, it was rumored, ever saw the light of day and they are now seemingly extinct.
While the Flying V and Explorer have been written about often, the Moderne seldom has gotten much play beyond the occasional mention, usually in the form of rumor or legend. Who has one? Who's seen one? Not me... (although the uncovering of a '59 `Burst or Moderne at a garage sale has occupied my fantasies for years)!
Ronald Wood has taken upon himself the task of documenting this elusive ghost of the guitar world and actually researched so extensively as to produce 208 interesting pages, illustrated throughout (the majority in color).
All rumors and legends are discussed and many interviews with informed guitar community members are presented. The history of the Gibson Custom Shop edition from the early 80's as well as the Moderne copy guitars from other manufacturers is covered in detail.
Here's hoping that sales of this book far exceed the sales of this mysterious guitar!
Nice job Mr.Wood!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By C. Fortier on March 26, 2011
Format: Paperback
I was somewhat disappointed with this book. Bought it used and was glad I did, $30 would have been way too expensive for this. There is lots of repetition and it's missing some easily found info. One of the guitars shown was the Epiphone Mo' Baby and while several photos were included, details like the 7/8th overall proportions (the "baby" term) and included distortion switching were missed. The "Gumby" headstock is mentioned, but more info would have been nice for people not familiar with that term. Overall if you are a Moderne Fan then get the book. If you are looking for a well researched book with new information not available elsewhere, then this may not be what you were waiting for. But definitely buy used!
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