This is one of only 2*
known single pickup X-500 Stuarts. Both were special ordered in 1975 by George Mell. George (Giorgio Melaga) was a New York musician who
owned a small guitar shop on Staten Island. NY.
Apparently, it was to George that most of New York's pro jazz players
would turn for their instruments - rather like
Ivor Mairants in London in the 60/70's.
Premier Guitars Magazine. June Issue. 2010
"Big Apple Guitar Shops:
Then and Now")
The two guitars George
ordered were special in that they each had only one pickup.
These days we prefer single pickup models for that sweet jazz
tone but back
in 1976 it was a very forward thinking request. This instrument was finished in Natural, the other in
Sunburst. It is believed that the Sunburst
guitar was destroyed in a house fire.
For a while, this
guitar was owned and used daily by a Staten Island guitar
teacher who worked by day for George Mell in his shop and
taught or played in Clubs late into the night.
Joe Giglio, a well known NY jazz guitarist, who can
still be found playing in the Clubs and Bars in and around
NY and who still writes regularly for Just Jazz
Guitars magazine, remembers acquiring this guitar from
that guitar teacher (name forgotten - I
have asked Joe but it is lost in the mist of time).
Subsequently it has
spent time in one or two notable collections and I acquired
it (August 2012) from a pro NY jazz
guitarist now living in California.
So, its been
around this guitar (and probably much more
than I have been able to discover) but it seems to me
that a guitar that has been used and appreciated by so many
professionals, must have something special about it.
It certainly looks fantastic and I get the impression that
it has been revered for its looks as much as its tone.
Perhaps that is why it is still in outstanding condition and
not showing any real signs of wear.
It certainly appears to
be all original and still looks stunning.