TOM WITTROCK
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Tom Wittrock
“My first encounter with a ’Burst, face to face, was a chance meeting with Billy Gibbons in 1972 or ’73.

 

“I was tagging along with my older brother, Bart, and our friend, Everett. Everett grew up in Billy’s neighborhood. While we were visiting Everett one day, we drove through town and ended up stopped at a intersection – and there was Billy, coming the other way.

“Everett hollered at him, and we went to Billy’s house to look at guitars.

“I pretty well kept my mouth shut while Billy showed us some cool stuff. He said “Pearly” was somewhere else – the rehearsal place, maybe? But he did have a totally faded ’Burst he called the ‘Unburst.’ It was the first time I had heard about the color fading. I was lucky enough to touch it, but of course, I didn’t really get to play it.

“I was a big fan of Billy’s and I knew that ’Bursts were cool. I also knew that ‘Pearly’ was something special. And seeing my first ’Burst at Billy Gibbons’ house was a very special moment, for sure!

“I bought my first ’Burst in the fall of ’75, after I’d moved to Springfield, Missouri. A friend saw an old Les Paul in a red sunburst finish at a local music store. I sped over, and sure enough, it was a ’Burst; a very clean, all-original, late-1960 with loads of thin, tight curl. They wanted $2,000, cash – no trades. I left them a deposit and proceeded to go to my personal bank – Dad, what a guy! – and got the money.

“I was then known as ‘The Crazy Idiot Who Paid $2,000 For a Used Guitar!’

“My big brother, Bart, was afraid I’d been ripped off, so as soon as I could, I drove to Houston, interrupted his band practice – it didn’t take more than one glance at the brown case to call a break – and we both drooled over it. It was a classic late-’60, with a thin neck, first-style reflector-top knobs, and a bright cherry sunburst finish. I named it ‘Curly.’ I still have and love it!”