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21 Mar 2017  Brad Shepherd's '67 Nashville "I Want You Back"

They say “If you love something set it free. If it comes back it's yours, if not, it was never meant to be.”

Brad Shepherd of 'Hoodoo Gurus’ knows this all too well. Not long after joining the Gurus in ’82 Brad acquired a ’67 Nashville Gretsch from Gaslight Music in Bondi for what would now be considered a measly $600.

The guitar features heavily on the early work of the Gurus, including the single’s My Girl and I Want You Back, as well as albums such as Stoneage Romeos and Blow Your Cool, which spawned some of the bands biggest hits.

“It was my main instrument right through the early days of the band. We played hundreds of shows and toured the world together. It is still, for me, the quintessential Gretsch sound”

“In 1990, against my better judgement, I was coerced by our management into loaning the guitar to a large record store chain that wanted to borrow it for a window display on the occasion of us releasing Electric Soup, our first best-of compilation. The store’s Window Dresser somehow managed to send the guitar down a flight of stairs, completely destroying the headstock and neck below the 7th fret.”

Sydney Master Luthier Frank Grubisa salvaged what he could from the disaster – fretboard, tuners, even the logo inlay – and meticulously integrated these forsaken pieces into a newly crafted neck. Whilst Frank‘s repair was superb, the new timber in the neck changed the tone of the guitar sufficiently enough that Brad lost his connection with it and, in one of every guitarists many moments of weakness throughout the years where guitars are concerned, he let it go in the mid ‘90’s.

“I routinely attempted to replace it with other vintage Gretsch Nashville’s all through that back half of the 1990’s and into the 2000’s but these otherwise identical instruments never quite sounded the same as my old one.”

In 2008, out of curiosity, Brad tried once again to track down a suitable replacement. After entering “Gretsch Nashville 1967 Sydney” into a search engine, he was somewhat astounded to see that his original guitar was currently for sale in a local guitar store. It was even listed on their website “as used by Brad Shepherd of The Hoodoo Gurus”.

Brad went to scope it out & it was indeed his ’67 Nashville. “I don’t know what had happened to that instrument in the intervening decade or more, but that neck repair had now settled into the point where the guitar felt and sounded exactly as it should, that ultimate Gretsch sound that I remembered.”

Special thanks to Brad for allowing Fender Music Australia to photograph and share the story of his prized Gretsch ’67 Nashville.

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