Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Mark Farner's: "The Most Famous Messenger" Guitar

Labor Day was the last day to check out the "Rock Star's Car's and Guitar's" exhibit at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan. So,I was on a mission to meet the Messenger! Guitar, that the sign say's: "It was Grand Funk's first guitar voice and was used to record the first three albums"

I walked right past the Kiss costumes. Too much makeup,not enough chords. And sure the cars were cool. I did slow down by Elvis' Caddy, Kid Rock's Ride was all right, Alice's Billion Dollar Babies mobile was interesting but, the lure of the Guitar's behind plexiglass pulled me just around the cordoned corner from Janis Joplin's pretty little psychedelic Porsche. Here hangs the Famous and frazzled stringed-ones in suspended animation. One in pieces, from The Who, it was displayed underneath a
likely story from Pete Townshed on how it accidentally got smashed when he tripped, creating a signature Axe Assault expectation to their shows. There was an "H" shape guitar from Ian Hunter, A Checker board guitar along with too many other things to care about from Cheap Trick, John Entwistle's Axe from the "Ox" was an "Awww-Wow" attention grabber but, the one many little boys and Farner Fanaticals stopped to fingerprint the glass in front of was that magical Messenger with the sign reading: "The most famous Messenger guitar in the world" Courtesy of MARK FARNER:

I took a picture of every inch of this unique piece of history so when Mark Farner tells his story [click here for tekky interview] I can refer you to:

"The Jimi Hendrix Fuzz Tone" toggle switch! Built right into the guitar. Reached down and flicked it on during a lead.

"The body was HOLLOW. Sound would get in the "F" holes and just feedback and squeal so, I stuffed it full of foam and put duct tape and masking tape on them then, I did a psychedelic paint job on it, kinda glow in the dark a little bit"

"WHY the Messenger? Because my friend, distributor in Michigan, allowed payments on the $200 dollar purchase! Used it up until '71-'72 right up in there..."

"The neck, actually, you didn't run into any wood until the last fret. That's when the body began, so you could play it, it was the same dimension all the way there so, it was very easy to play, aluminum neck and, inside the body was an A440 tuning fork"

The Messenger Axe that became an instrument of Hard Rock at it's masters fiery fingers at the Atlanta Pop Festival, Shea Stadium and huge crowds in America and Japan!

The taped guitar something to be hold! I hope it gets home safe.

And to the right of the legendary Messenger...The Gibson L5S, we'll save that for another story...stay "In Tune"




Anonymous,  Sep 15, 2009, 7:14:00 PM  

Thank you for these incredible photos(!) of the humble guitar that transformed american music and concerts. The guys at Messenger could never had predicted or conceived of their impact. They were just trying to create an affordable model with a couple standout twists/gimmicks.

rockerdoc Jan 23, 2010, 9:02:00 AM  

Little did Messenger know what fame their guitar would obtain. These go for 5 to 10K. I just paid 6K for one and have been searching for 14 years. Why you ask? Because I wanted a piece of the history that shaped my life forming a brick in my life's foundation that has become a part of who I am. Thank you Mark Farner for all you have done to shape music and lives. You are a true patriot.


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