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Tommy Bolin tribute guitar

Dean Guitars unveiled their Tommy Bolin Tribute “Teaser” model at the NAMM 2008 convetion held in Los Angeles on January 17-20 this year. The guitar is based on measurements and specs taken from one of Tommy’s surviving axes.

There was a Tommy Bolin memorabilia display at the Dean Guitars NAMM booth, featuring some of Tommy’s personal effects including clothing, rare photographs, and handwritten lyrics to some of his songs. Tommy’s brother Johnnie Bolin was there signing autographs and giving away posters of the ad that will be seen in the guitar magazines as soon as the guitar is ready to ship to dealers.

Lacey Conner of the VH1’s TV show “Rock of Love” conducted an interview with Johnnie Bolin during the display:

Thanks to Greg Prato and Blabbermouth.net for the info.



25 Comments to “Tommy Bolin tribute guitar”:

  1. 1
    solitair says:

    As his brother said: Tommy was one of the best. It all did not work too well with Tommy and Purple, but after all Deep Purple can be very proud to have Tommy Bolin as part of their band history. He was unique, a guitar hero, really.
    The guitar is great!

  2. 2
    T says:

    I own two Deans—the Schenker Flying V and a Sarasota—and like them both quite a lot. The Sarasota in particular has a very nice bite to it. I’m sure the Bolin edition would be very nice, and quite collectible for a Purple fan.

    I’m glad they chose a Stratocaster shape, as Tommy is most associated with the Fender during his Purple days. The video never said how much it cost, however, and I’ve been unable to find out so far.

    I have always liked Tommy’s playing. The problem with MkIV never had much to do with a lack of guitar as far as compositions were concerned and they even had some strong live performances from time to time. Rather, the drug use is what brought it all down, as it has for so many rock musicians (and others).

  3. 3
    Roberto says:

    One of the peak of Tommy’s carrer is live dates with Deep Purple: live california 76 is a witness.
    I think that Tommy is the most underrated guitar player ever(composer ang vocalist).I love his sound which can be recognized whatever He played.That’s the true 70 sound!
    I will recomand to everyone the album:’from the archives vol 1′ which show every side of his playing.

  4. 4
    BILL MAJOR says:

    LISTEN TO TOMMY ON THE MUNZON RECORDINGS AND THEN THE BILLY COBHAM SPECTRUM ALBUM WHERE HE REALLY PEAKED. HE WAS REALLY GOOD ON THE 3 JAMES GANG ALBUMS HE DID. LISTEN TO JAMES GANG BANG. SOME REALLY GOOD UNDISCOVERED STUFF THERE. HE GOT TO PURPLE AT THE SAME TIME HE WAS DOING THE TEASER SOLO ALBUM AND THE STUFF WAS GREAT THERE AS WELL. RIGHT THERE WAS WHERE THE WHEELS RAN OFF THE TRACK. THE HEROIN GOT HIM QUICK. I SAW PURPLE WITH TOMMY IN MARCH OF 76 AND THIS WAS 9 MONTHS BEFORE HE DIED. IT WAS SAD. IF YOU LISTEN TO THE LIVE RCORDINGS OF PURPLE WITH TOMMY IT WAS DISASTEROUS. THEY ALL SAID HE WAS ONE OF THE GREATEST GUYS THEY HAD EVER MET WITH ALL THE TALENT IN THE WORLD BUT WHEN IT WAS GONE, IT WAS GONE. IN LATE DECEMBER I HAD TICKETS FOR HIS SOLO ACT IN ATLANTA AND WAS ON THE WAY DOWNTOWN TO ALEX COOLEY’S ELECTRIC BALLROOM WHEN I HEARD HE HAD DIED IN MIAMI THE NIGHT BEFORE FROM A DRUG OVERDOSE. NO SHOCK. IF EVER THERE WAS A TRACEABLE DECLINE DUE TO DRUGS THIS HAD TO BE IT. JUST LISTEN TO THE MUSIC. THIS IS AS SAD AS IT GETS. SHADES OF THE BADFINGER STORY. HE HAD IT ALL. HE COULD PLAY VERY EARLY ON AS WELL AS WRITE JUST AS WELL. WAY TOO YOUNG TO BE THRUST INTO PURPLES PRESSURE COOKER. JUST GO BACK AND FIND ALL THE EARLY STUFF AND YOU WILL BE A AMAZED.

  5. 5
    AndreA says:

    TB was great,Hughes felt good playng with him in DP,also Coverdale and LORD. all together gave out good funky hard rock…It is a pity that TB is gone for a better life,Gods Bless him,a great musician:
    the Wild Dogs never die.
    Come Taste The Band is superb

  6. 6
    Roberto says:

    Bill Major Tommy played on two and not on three of james gang albums.Mouzon it’s not surely his peak(spectrum with Cobham is surely better).
    Live recording with Purple disasterous?:Live california 76 is the best live album (after Made in japan) they ever recorded!That’s Tommy’s peak.
    I will recomend that live album to everyone + ‘from the archives vol 1’ and ‘wishpers and roses vol1’.These are surely Tommy’s peak, the cd to own o understand that Tommy is a Guitar God with an own style!

  7. 7
    Scratchplate1 says:

    I love Come Taste the Band and Billy Cobhams Spectrum..there is however a case of mistaken identity on the track Quadrant 4. The astonishing guitar playing on that track is mostly Jan Hammer playing with a type of distorted guitar type sound and people often give Tommy the credit for that!

  8. 8
    T says:

    According to Simon Robinson: “Check out his work on ‘Snoopy’s Search’ or ‘Quadrant 4’…for openers. At times he is so fast and fluid you could be forgiven for thinking it was a synthesizer doing the parts.”

    Okay…someone help us out. Jan Hammer or Tommy Bolin?

    Apparently, Tommy played on all but two of the tracks.

    Contradiction aside, it’s a great album not just for guitar. Check out the drumming. Cobham was a jazz drummer.

  9. 9
    T says:

    Oh, if anyone gets that guitar…PLEASE write a review!

  10. 10
    CP says:

    The initial volley on Quadrant 4 was in fact Jan,but the guitar solo on that still smokes,and Tommy was pretty fluid back then.As for all of the live work with Purple being bad,that’s a matter of personal opinion I suppose.I think floating around are as many good performances as bad,but the worst of the lot,Tokyo,is around in full stereo,so there you go.

  11. 11
    T says:

    Even the Japanese concert was not as bad as usually depicted. It is mostly villified through reputation–word of mouth–not actual playing, and there are some high points even in this most “infamous” show.

    Bolin managed to pull through despite the physical problems and this performance demonstrates that the rest of the band could play under stress. If a listener was not aware of the story behind the scenes, he or she may not even notice something was amiss–as is often the case. Only hardcore Purple fans know better.

    “Burn” was an interesting mix with the organ high up to compensate for Bolin’s lack of dexterity that night–but Tommy’s playing is still interesting, enhanced with effects–his trademark. He also did a stellar job on “Wild Dogs.” “Gettin’ Tigher” was extended as was the routine of the time, and it is a good version of the song. Lord managed an airy organ solo in the latter half of the concert, interspersed with classical music and themes from older Purple numbers.

    Only “Highway Star” was totally butchered, the fault of the whole band–not just Bolin. The band can not be forgiven for making it a parody of their own heritage.

  12. 12
    CP says:

    Wild Dogs sounds like a different guitar player,Tommy sounds just fine period,like there’s no problem at all.But let’s be honest,he doesn’t come out in the same shape after Jon’s solo as when he left the stage.He’s hopeless on Lazy to the point he can’t even manage a good slide solo,and Strombringer has an Ed Wood-ish quality,it works even though its a train wreck.I’m a huge MKIV fan and a Tommy fan since seeing him with the Gang,and I can’t defend this one.That’s just my view.

  13. 13
    CP says:

    Or,maybe Stormbringer even.See,it was so muddled it even typed wrong.:)

  14. 14
    T says:

    Oh, you’re right overall…but it’s exactly my point. DP fans know better. The casual listener wouldn’t know anything was amiss. Not his best performance *at all*–but not as bad as history paints it.

    As for “Strombringer”–you’re not the only one. It was typed this way on one of those no-name reissues of “Made in Europe” LPs! My friend and I nicknamed it “Strombringer” ever since!

    Nice comments CP.

  15. 15
    Roberto says:

    Live in tokyo is a good album but live california 76 is far superior.I think it’s a masterpicece so go to listen to that album!All the members play wonderfully particulary Tommy Bolin wich gave a new dimensions to the old songs!
    How can’t you recognize it!

  16. 16
    AndreA says:

    Thank you Roberto,
    I recovered the double cd live “california 76” from dust and I have fired it in my ears..really good.

  17. 17
    Nick says:

    The Tommy Bolin “Teaser” tribute guitar that Dean Guitars is producing is a KILLER axe! It is completely American-made using the best materials and hardware, and is based on the specs of one of Tommy’s surviving guitars. Everyone who has seen it is blown away by the feel and craftsmanship. I want to emphasize that it is not pretending to be a signature guitar, but rather a tribute to honor Tommy’s memory and mercurial genius. It’s not a way to “cash in” on Tommy’s legacy (it is a limited run as a special interest item), but a labor of love that will mean something to Tommy fans who yearn to have something associated with him they can actually hold in their hands. And serious players will want it for the sheer feel and playability.

    I conceived and designed it with Johnnie Bolin’s input and blessing, and we went to Dean because we felt they were the best company for the project, and a company that would respect our ideas and requests. Fender and Charvel (and other companies) talked about doing this for a long time, but 31 yrs after his death, I figured enough is enough – WE’LL DO IT!

    Tommy/DP fans and rock history buffs at NAMM were stunned to see the beautiful display Dean put together: Tommy’s custom made red velvet suit (seen in many Purple pics), the t-shirt with his iconic image painted by Prairie Prince, and a fascinating array of personal photographs and gold records. A huge cross section of people descended on the Dean booth, and were amazed and thrilled to meet Johnnie, who was kept busy signing autographs, giving away the ultra-cool poster of Tommy (to be seen in Dean ads), shirts, and trading Tommy stories with people who actually saw him perform, or know the legend. We were interviewed by a number of magazines, e-zines, rock networks, etc and the whole four days was a blast.

    The guitar lists for around $3500, but most dealers will be selling it for 2200-2500, a very fair price for an instrument of this caliber.

    Lots of pics of the guitar and NAMM can be seen on my blog: http://nicholassimmons.blogspot.com/

    If anyone has questions, don’t hesitate to ask them here, contact me, or contact Dean Guitars.

    Yes, Tommy was and is my all-time fave rocker, and CTTB is my fave Purple album! (as much as I love Ritchie)

    If the bluebird plays the eagle…..

  18. 18
    T says:

    Nick, thanks for the info. Much appreciated.

  19. 19
    CP says:

    Nick,you did an amazing job.God bless you,this is one guitar that was too long in coming.I saw Tom with the Gang in 74 and have been a major fan ever since,and CTTB is my favorite Purple album as well.I just broke out my strat and player Dealer yesterday.

  20. 20
    Nick says:

    Thank you, I appreciate your comments.

    Here’s a link to an article in The Weekender (paper in Tommy’s hometown) written by Jesse Claeys –
    thanks for the great feature, Jesse!
    Wait for the guitar to flash on the banner, and then click on it to
    read the article:

    http://www.siouxlan d.net/

    or go directly to the article here:

    http://www.siouxlan d.net/music/

  21. 21
    T says:

    Oops… This’ll work:

    http://www.siouxland.net/music/

  22. 22
    Rik says:

    i just saw the new dean guitar for tommy bolin…as someone else mention i cannot seem to find the price for that new tommy bolin guitar ..any help most appreciated……

  23. 23
    T says:

    Nick above said, “The guitar lists for around $3500, but most dealers will be selling it for 2200-2500, a very fair price for an instrument of this caliber.”

    Only 100 are to be made, according to the link to siouxland. This will be a nice collectible, but unfortunately out of my price range! I can only deal with inexpensive guitars (see my video series by clicking on my “T” above).

  24. 24
    Dan says:

    Nice guitar…would go nicely with my Tommy Bolin custom made Teaser pool stick. Too bad it’s outta my price range.

  25. 25
    Joseph Wirtel says:

    I just got my Tommy Bolin Tribute guitar today after waiting for almost 11 months…It was well worth the wait..I can’t tell you how it plays because I have vowed never to play it…It is a work of art…If has a lot of weight and substance and is built with a great attention to quality…I like the fact that, like its namesake, the Bolin guitar is MADE in the USA…In a time when it seems that we can’t manufacture anything buy porno and guns, it makes me proud to behold this fine work of art..For now, I have to buy one of those plexi glass display cases and put this baby on the wall..When/If I sell it in 10 years, I want to be able to look the owner in the eyes and say that it has never been played…Well, to tell you the truth, I did the chords to Post Toastee when the guy took it out of the case…That’s for you Tommy…I was there for the last show in Miami, and it’s an honour to own 1 of the few guitars made in honour of the man…Thanks, Joe http://www.lasolasmusic.com

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