I still have the guitar..and the wife. An interview with Gary Polio

1. When did you first start playing guitar?

When I was about 6 or 7 years old.  I got the bug early and my father was nice enough to buy me very nice equipment, I always came back to playing while going through college, working and raising a family.  

2. Tell us about your first guitar? What was it and when did you get it?

1962 Epiphone Sorrento E452T.  Got it new in 1962.  My father bought it for me with the matching amplifier.  I had it for many years.  Played it in garage bands, with friends and spent many hours in my bedroom with it.

Unfortunately, I leant it to a “friend” who moved and I never saw it again.

I’ve looked into buying one for nostalgia purposes.  They go for around $3000.  Maybe the re-issue is a better idea!!

 3. Do you have more than one guitar? Tell us about your collection?

Yes.  It fluctuates.  I usually have around 15 at any one time.  My collection has some core guitars that I won’t sell. 

2 Gibson Les Paul’s standards, 1 1970 Les Paul GoldTop Deluxe, 1 Gibson SG 1 Gibson ES-335, 1 Fender Strat, 1 Fender Telecaster, 2 Taylor acoustics, 1 Martin acoustic, 1 custom Aria – Jeep Wrangler version and 1 Burny Les Paul. I have 4 other acoustic guitars including 2 Alvarez (one is a 12 string) an Ibanez, a Washburn and 1970 Yamaha F-180. I have 3 or 4 others in less than playable condition.

I built and restored guitars for quite a while in an effort to trade up.  I was able to get better and better guitars for a lot less money. These days I spend more time with acoustics although I won’t part with any of my electrics.

The pride of my collection is a 1970 Gibson Les Paul Deluxe Goldtop. It’s in beautiful condition all original including the hard shell case.

This is my second 1970 Les Paul Deluxe.  The first one I got when I was a teenager was from a woman who lost her son in Vietnam.  I believe I paid $200.  Over time, I made a lot of modifications that ultimately ruined it’s originality, so I traded it for a jazz guitar which I ended up selling.  

4. What do you look for in purchasing a guitar?

Quality, playability and how it sounds without amplification.  You have to know what you’re going to do with it to be happy with the choice, I recently got a Taylor T5Z that is great for playing both electric and acoustic and works playing out with my duo.

5. Do you use any pedals in your rig?

Usually only use an overdrive for electric guitars.  I have 3 that I go back and forth with.  I do have a Boss multi-effects for when I play with the band. I like to amplify the guitars intrinsic sound rather than distort it. When I play solo, I use a Boss VE-8 vocal harmonizer to fill out the songs.  It’s a marginal substitute for my partner.

6. Tell us about what Amps you use and why?

I use only Fender tube amps.  1 Fender Deluxe and 1 Fender Blues Jr. in a clean mode.  I let the overdrive pedals do the effects. Tube amps have a warm sound that is my choice.

7. What advice would you give to young guitar players/collectors/singer songwriters?

I’ve always been attracted to songs that have a good melody and phrases.  It’s hard to come up with those.  I think some think they are good players because they can play fast and pump out a lot of notes.  Keep it simple and have a good tune. 

8. Could you share a personal story about a particular guitar? 

 My older brother gave me a 1970 Yamaha FG-180 Red Label when I was in high school.  He never played it and was more interested in other things, so I got it.  It was with me through college, camping, parties and gigs.  It’s pretty beat now but I still have it and wouldn’t part with it. 

9. Where can our readers learn more about your music or band?

I play in a duo called GaryP and Wendy around the Milford / Amherst area.  I do play solo if she can’t make it but prefer the duo. The best way to see where we are playing is to go to Wendy Mace’s Facebook page for our upcoming gigs. 

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