Thursday, November 21, 2013

Ronnie Montrose memorabilia up for auction

A vast array of instruments, personal items and memorabilia from the late Ronnie Montrose are among the items available at Julien's Auctions' Icons & Idols: Rock 'N' Roll event December 6 & 7 in Beverly Hills CA.

Luthier CJ Hutchins describes Ronnie's 1997 Baker B2 "The Beast" guitar which is offered in the auction as "a very special guitar." Hutchins tells the story of how for years Montrose's sound was produced by a Gibson Les Paul that sadly was stolen off stage. Since Ronnie was more comfortable with a 25.5 scale length and a 17/8" nut width, he pretty much quit playing Gibson Les Pauls and Gene Baker made him "The Beast" to bring back the power into Ronnie's arsenal. He added that "this was the go-to guitar for a Les Paul that's more Les Paul than a Les Paul." (Estimate: $5,500-$6.500)

"Flat Top Red — If ever there was a man's alter ego, Flat Top Red was it! If I had a dollar for every time I heard the opening riff from 'Rock Candy' played on a stage somewhere in the world, well, you get the idea," said Hutchins. "The Beast was much sweeter but Flat Top Red has more throat. He used it everywhere for nearly everything. He loved it so much; in fact, he had Gene make a clone of it, only in blue which he named 'Blue Dog.'" This very special guitar offered at auction is estimated at $5,000-$5,500.

Hutchins also explains the Bogner Shiva and how he would describe Ronnie changing guitar rigs like he changed his socks. Montrose was always looking for the elusive ratio between headroom and distortion and how the FX loop was engineered was also vital to him. He personally modified that part of the amp to make it more clean and less reactive to his tone, in other words more transparent. The Shiva was all he used at home, in the studio and on stage. "Gamma 4" was recorded with the Shiva. The custom-modified amp will also be offered at auction with an estimate of $3,000-$4,000.

Other highlights include a Ronnie Montrose-owned, -played and personally modified 1963 Fender Stratocaster (Estimate: $15,000-$17,000), a Ronnie Montrose 2003 Taylor 712 CE guitar which he used as his main acoustic performance guitar (Estimate: $3,000-$3,500), original Montrose handwritten lyrics (Estimate: $1,000-$1,200), a Ronnie Montrose-owned and played 1994 Fender Stratocaster "Skinny" model guitar (Estimate: $6,000-$7,000), a 1943 Gibson J4 "The Old Boy" guitar (Estimate: $6,000-$7,000), a Ronnie Montrose Custom MOOG System (Estimate: $800-$1,000), a Ronnie Montrose 1980s SHO-BUD pedal steel (Estimate: $1,200-$1,400), a 2002 Baker BJ "Montrose" model guitar (Estimate: $4,000-$4,500) and much more.

A portion of the proceeds from the sale of Ronnie’s gear will go to Sweet Relief, an organization that provides financial assistance to all types of career musicians who are struggling to make ends meet while facing illness, disability, or age-related problems.

"Ronnie truly had great concern for the personal welfare of those that have chosen music as their way of life,” said Ronnie's wife, Leighsa. “Knowing the unexpected needs are graciously met by those able to reach out making a difference in an artists' life is what resonated deep within him."

For details on the auction, click here.

Montrose, who died March 3, 2012 from a self-inflicted gunshot wound following a five year battle with prostate cancer, has been called the Father Of American Hard Rock. In his short time with Van Morrison, Ronnie created the iconic guitar riff for the classic song “Wild Night.” In the Edgar Winter Group, he crafted heavy riffs on songs like “Free Ride” and “Frankenstein.” But it would be his self-titled release, “Montrose”, that would become a cornerstone of American hard rock.

The 1973 debut crafted classics like “Rock the Nation”, “Bad Motor Scooter” and “Space Station #5”. It laid the ground work and became the template for bands like Van Halen and countless subsequent musicians.

The “Concert For Ronnie Montrose - A Celebration of His Life In Music” will be released on DVD on December 10.

Following Ronnie’s passing, friends and musicians gathered at San Francisco’s Regency Ballroom to pay homage to one of rock's legendary and influential guitarists with a tribute concert.

For full details on the release, cick here.

See also:

Ronnie Monrose tribute concert coming to DVD
Sammy Hagar recording new music with former Montrose bandmates
VIDEO: Montrose reunite for Ronnie Montrose tribute concert
Ronnie Montrose live DVD due next month
Ronnie Montrose death ruled a suicide
Ronnie Montrose tribute concert announced
Sammy Hagar comments on the death of Ronnie Montrose
Ronnie Montrose dead at 64