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Gearhead: Dave Stryker’s Plex-able Guitar Mods

A sodium chloride problem led the guitarist to customize his treasured Gibsons

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For nearly 30 years, Dave Stryker has been nearly inseparable from his Gibson ES-347s. “I saw Marvin Horne playing one at the Village Vanguard with Elvin Jones,” he explained while touring to promote his latest release, Eight Track III (Strikezone), on which he covers an assortment of ’70s pop tunes with the help of organist Jared Gold, vibraphonist Stefon Harris, and drummer McClenty Hunter. “I liked Marvin’s sound. Then I saw what would become my main guitar, a tobacco sunburst 1980 ES-347, hanging on the wall at a guitar store in Brooklyn. I traded my ES-335 for it.”

Known for his rich tone, textured chording, and articulate yet soulful solos, Stryker is often asked about his gear after shows. Yet he still chuckles over the query he hears almost every time: “The question asked most often is about the tailpiece,” he says. “The ES-347 originally had microtuners on the tailpiece. Because I like to palm the bridge, I removed them. But then my sweat wore off all the gold finish—and that bothered my skin. So I had my guitar tech make a black plexiglass cover for it, and people are always like, ‘What … is … that?!’”

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Emile Menasché

Musician, journalist, and author Emile Menasché has composed soundtracks for Oscar- and Emmy-nominated documentaries. He is jealous that his dog Hudson gets more attention from passersby whenever they’re seen in public together.