Master luthier Scott Baxendale (once long-time owner of the Colfax Guitar Shop and now has his own shop and lutherie academy in Athens, Georgia) has repaired or restored guitars for a ton of legendary players over the last four decades, including Billy Gibbons, Johnny Cash, Hank Williams, Jr., Steve Howe and Elvis Costello. Now he can add Elvis Presley to the list, as Baxendale was recently commissioned to restore and maintain the King's Graceland guitar collection.
"About a year or so ago we did one of our Conversion guitars for Lera Lynn, who was relocating from Athens to Nashville," Baxendale says, explaining how the opportunity presented itself. "At some point, she met up with Buddy Miller, who loved the guitar, and so he ordered one from us. We rebuilt a late '40s Kay super jumbo for him. Then he ran into Michael Lockwood and Lisa Marie Presley. Michael fell in love with the Kay, so we rebuilt a couple for him."
Last month, Lisa Marie Presley recently performed at the Jungle Room at Graceland, and at that point, Baxendale says they realized that several of the guitars in the Elvis collection were in bad need of repair. So Lockwood did some research and found out that Baxendale used to take care of the guitars in the Hard Rock Cafe's Collection, as well as the Roy Acuff collection at Opryland. Butch Walker also put in a good word, evidently, resulting in Baxendale being asked to take care of the instruments.
Baxendale says he's heading back to Graceland in February to start working on the guitars, and is excited to work on all of them, especially Presley's 1956 Gibson J-200 acoustic, which, he says, is the most iconic and most valuable of the King's guitars.
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