That One Guitar - Matthew Chenoweth

Matthew Chenoweth

Location: Atlanta, GA

Instrument: 1979 Gibson SG - customized by private luthier

It’s the first guitar I ever purchased, the guitar I write most of my songs on, and the guitar i have used for most of the 2000+ shows I’ve played. 

Being my first, it has become the standard for what I like a guitar to feel and sound like - from the neck shape, to the frets, pickups and balance. It also has a little piece of every show locked away inside and has tremendous value to me on that level.

1979 - purchased new by eager 14 year old who emptied bank account for purchase.

1979-1983: The Amerimen (Punk, New Wave & Rockabilly) & Subdubtion (Reggea, Ska, Punk). Played 100+ shows and recorded 70+ songs.

1984: Got to Berklee and discovered ‘79 was a bad year for Gibson - the neck was falling off the guitar and had to be refitted. Added Khaler Tremolo and custom finish to make it a boutique instrument.

1984-1986: Session musician in NJ and Boston playing in bands and on records.

1988: Started rock band Crab Daddy - play 25+ shows and an eponymous EP.

1989: Landlord burns down house while roommates and I are watching a movie - guitar in living room. Headstock and finish are singed, then watered down by Fire Dept.

1990-1992 - Crab Daddy becomes local fav band in Boston. Notable shows include Bill’s Bar & Lounge the night it burned while Crab Daddy was performing - literally on stage. Again, guitar hosed down by Fire Dept. 100 plus shows.

1992-1996: Crab Daddy signs with Ace of Hearts Records, moves to Athens GA and tours US extensively. This guitar was my main guitar during this period and we played 150-200+ shows a year, playing with Paul Westerberg, The Drovers, Charlitans UK, and others. Shows included pizza joints for gas money and a slice to sold out Cabaret Metro with roadies and green rooms, local rock starts like Jimmy Chamberlain and Liz Fair. During one of these tours my guitar fell face down out of a guitar stand and the top ‘horn’ of the SG fell off - bad glue from Gibson.

1996-1999: started Atlanta band Trampoline. During load out one day it was knocked out of a loading bay and fell straight down on the headstock, bounced an inch, and fell face down again. A small piece of the headstock (matching the body) fell off. I have both pieces, by the way.

2000-2004: joined band Shamgod. wrote and recorded dozens of gigs, played around 100 gigs and made 2 CDs.

2004-present: stared band Brain Box. Played SxSW and every major club in Atlanta and Athens. Also started The Goldest, Turn Down Service, Main Street Exiles (Rolling Stones Tribute), and Convoy (Country & Southern Rock tribute), joined Tag Team, joined Band. James Band, and have filled in as a session player for numerous bands, recording sessions and musical enterprises.

I have used this guitar continuously since I bought it. It is the standard I judge other guitars against. I have written over 500 songs on this guitar, and recorded 300 of them - about 100 have been released on 9 records. It is a work horse that won’t quit, even as it loses pieces off of it. It sounds amazing, plays like a dream and is one of the best guitars I’ve ever held in my hands. 

Bands: Brain Box, The Goldest, Tag Team, Convoy, Band. James Band

Website (Facebook pages for all bands, too)

Sound Clip