A woman recently brought a guitar to Lee's Music to find out it was rare

Rare guitar for sale at Lee's

Lee's Music Guitar Boutique in Kamloops has a rare guitar selling for $15,000 and a 'Canadian Legend' is trying to buy it. 

A woman recently brought her late grandfather's guitar to Lee's Music thinking it was just an old instrument collecting dust underneath a bed - but she quickly discovered it was very unique.

"A few weeks ago we had a knock on our front door and there was a lady on the other side of the door with a guitar in this crazy old case," says Mike Miltimore, co-owner at Lee's Music.

Miltimore immediately had a good hunch he was about to discover something special inside the tweed case, which was frayed all over the edges. 

Inside the case was a 1955 Gretsch Roundup guitar - one of 400 made. It's now being sold through Lee's Music.

"It's a hollow body guitar structure so it really has a really distinctive tone to it. The pick-ups are kind of infamous for their tone as well. The little electronic circuitry they have in there was their secret sauce. Back in the 50's, everybody was trying to figure out what the magic mixture for guitars was and this is one of the guitars that birthed into the Chet Atkins country gentleman guitar,"

Miltimore says it's unique in its build construction and the sound and technology that went into the pick-up. 

"When you look at the guitar, that's where things get wacky.  In the music industry - the wackier the better," he explains. "There's a belt-buckle that's actually put on to the front of the guitar, as far as I know, I've never seen another guitar with a belt-buckle on it. This is stock from the factory."

On the side of the guitar is a strip of leather that goes all the way around the perimeter of the guitar. Embossed into it are images of cacti and Texas longhorns.

The guitar has a cattle-branded 'G' on it for Gretsch while the inlays are hand inscribed with different images of cattle and cacti. "It's the ultimate Western-style guitar," says Miltimore.

"It has been 45 years since my dad opened this store and this is the first time we have seen something like this come through," he continues. "And the lady had no idea what it was."

"Her aunt had passed away and she was the executor of the estate.  She found it collecting dust underneath her aunt's bed."

The guitar belonged to the Aunt's father/the executor's grandfather who was a local musician that played guitar in the '50s and '60s in Kamloops. Miltimore says he previously understood it was her uncle but can now confirm it was her grandfather. 

"The guitar ended up in a pawn shop at one point in time, and the Aunt rescued it and put it underneath the bed all these years."

As the woman was emptying her aunt's home, she discovered it and brought it to Lee's Music, not knowing if it was worth $100 or $1000.

"Well guess what," says Miltimore. "It's worth a lot more than that."

Lee's Music is selling the guitar on the woman's behalf, which is priced at $15,000.

Miltimore says he's getting calls from all over North America for the '55 Gretsch. "It was an iconic guitar," he says."It's like finding a '66 Shelby Cobra Mustang in somebody's garage."

He describes the guitar as a 'player's guitar' with wear marks on it, but classifies it as 'good condition.' He estimates it originally cost from $300-$400. Lee's Music restrung it, did a 'set-up,' and assessed it. It can also be played."It's such a cool, nostalgic piece. It's got mojo, tons of mojo."

As for who is interested in purchasing a $15,000 guitar, Miltimore tells Castanet a 'Canadian legend' is currently making bids for it - but out of respect for the privacy of his client, he is unable to share any names.

The 'family of artists' is even offering to pay with private concerts and signed memorabilia for the woman - but no sale yet. 

Through his company, Riversong Guitars, Miltimore has made guitars for Prince William and Paul McCartney, and he says this story is right up there with those experiences.  

"It constantly makes me wonder 'who else has things of value under their bed?'" Miltimore laughs.

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