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Gibson possibly owned by Don Williams


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I am looking to find out more information on a guitar that my grandfather passed on to me. I personally think the guitar is from 1947-1951 based off the logo on the headstock.


The guitar is currently not functional electrically but could still be used acoustically.


The story from my family is that this is a guitar that was once in possession of Don Williams, the country musician.


Don Williams was a personal friend of my grandparents, Ray and Anna Jane Rhule. Ray Rhule was a gunsmith in Ingleside TX. He did most of the gun work for the local police departments. My Grandmother said they actually gave Don some money to get by when he was struggling to get his music career started. I thought that was a cool piece of information to hear directly from my grandmother.


Ray Rhule was born Sep 19, 1927. Don Williams grew up in Portland, TX and graduated from Gregory-Portland High School in 1958 according to Wikipedia. When looking at the timeline of this, it makes sense that my grandparents would have been in a position to provide some money to him as Ray Rhule would have been 31 years old at the time of Don's graduation. Portland, TX is only 10 miles away from Ingleside, TX as well. That whole area is somewhat all connected.


Don Williams may have received this guitar when he was young, as I was thinking the guitar was made anywhere between 1947-1951. This may have been a guitar that he learned how to play music on, which would be really cool if that was the case. It certainly fits the style of guitars that he liked to play.


Don Williams eventually gave the guitar to my grandfather in lieu of payment for some gunsmithing services.


It had been in possession of my grandfather until he passed away May 13, 1993. The guitar was willed to me after his death.


I have done some research into the guitar but a lot of the older guitars look very similar so I am having trouble finding what model it is.


Also I have yet to find another with a tremolo system like this. This one has a tremolo system like a surf style tremolo from Ac'cent and has "pat pend" on it. Not sure if this is original or modified. The pick guard does not appear to be original either.


It does not appear to have the original knobs on it either. They may have deteriorated or been replaced with these modern knobs at some point. I am not sure but all I know is that they do not belong on a guitar of this age or timeframe.


The tuners are also not original but has old Grover tuners that were clearly replaced a lot time ago. I can actually see a screw hole in the back of the headstock where the original tuners would have been attached.


What is also interesting is that it does not have any marking on the inside or a center brace on the inside. As a result the back is starting to split. The guitar is very worn and it somewhat rougher shape but it is old so...


Any information that you can provide would be great. I am looking to get more information on the guitar but I am unsure what model it is.



Thank you for taking the time to read and view this post.


Here is a link to where more photos are hosted:



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When I first looked at the photos, I was convinced it was an ES-300 that had either been custom ordered in black or refinished. At first glance, it has all the attributes. However, I noted your comment about the back splitting... an ES model would be laminated and therefore wouldn't split like that. In addition, I don't believe the ES-300 had a heel cap. Therefore my guess is that this is an L-7, refinished black, P-90 pickup added, non original tuners, Gretsch pickguard....and I've never seen that tremolo before.


One absolute way to determine ES-300 vs. L-7 is to see if the top is laminated (ES) or solid (L). You could take the two pickup screws out and look at the edge of the wood in the top.


(The missing cover to the pickup is a $5.00 easily obtained part btw)

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....and I've never seen that tremolo before.


That's an Ac'cent tailpiece vibrato, made in the 1950s and 1960s,

They were originally fitted to some Rickenbacker guitars, but this one looks different.

It's probably very rare, I have never seen one like it.

The first ones had an "Ac'cent By Paul" logo stamped on the plate.

I'm guessing the "Paul" was Paul Barth, who worked at Ric in the late 1950s, but I'm very possibly mistaken.

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