That One Guitar - Ryan Odom

Name: Ryan Odom

City: Atlanta, GA

Instrument: 1979 Epiphone Genesis Custom

It’s a strange transitional or one off with double binding throughout and trapezoid inlays that were done quite poorly. Not a lot of info on these ‘cause they were made so briefly (‘79-‘81). I bought the guitar in 2012 for $40 dollars at a yard sale from Cassandras producer Nate Prater. It was a mess, almost unplayable, pickups and wiring harness were shot (They were likely garbage the day it rolled off the assembly line, honestly) and the back of the neck had been refinished with vinyl fence post paint or something.

Total disaster, maybe the worlds least loved guitar.

I played it out one night when I was in Damon Moon and the Whispering Drifters for a minute, and that was it. It sat under my couch for a year or two. I forgot I even had it at one point. I knew that I wanted to get the work done to it to get it combat ready, but i didn’t have the money. I started to kind of half assed put together the parts I needed, Tonepros bridge and tailpiece, all new pots and jacks and switches. I stripped off the vinyl paint from the back of the neck and refinished it myself with shellac and rubbing alcohol ($10 secret to the comfiest ride in town), and then I kind of put it off for about another year ‘cause I was going to school and starting to tour with bands and whatnot.

Fast forward to about 2 months before the Spirits and the Melchizedek Children US tour, I wanted to take a second guitar out on the road and I needed it to have single coils (That sound just plain works better for SATMC). I bought a set of new pickups for it, (Lollar Jazzmaster pickups, badass single coils, for real, they are amazing), and took it over to Jeff and Jacob at Intown Guitar Repair with a ridiculous laundry list of things I needed done to it to get it ready for 2 months on the road. They called me the day before we left, I went to pick it up and it just totally blew my expectations out of the water. They filled routs and rerouted, did the electronics to my secret specs from the ground up, fixed up the terrible re-fret the last owner had done to it (Its got the biggest frets I’ve ever seen), they totally brought this instrument back from the dead. Those guys are geniuses for real. I can’t even believe they did what they did to this guitar.

Jeff pointed out to me that he had never seen or worked on one before, and that it might be the only Genesis in the world with Jazzmaster single coils. I planned on playing it on maybe one or two songs a night on the tour just because I had never played it aside from when I picked it up and I didn’t know what to expect from it. I think we were about 4 days into the tour and my long time go-to Jaguar was relegated to one or two songs a night tops. 

This guitar is one of a kind bona fide bastard. It’s straight up evil, it could be a character in a Cormac McCathy novel. It weighs 15 goddamned pounds, it was literally covered in bong sludge when I got it, the finish is coming off, it’s too noisy to play in clubs with dirty power, and its not even a little bit easy to play (I string it up 12-56 and I tune to standard pitch but i drop the low E down to a D). It’s an orphan and an undocumented relic, its got secrets and nearly 40 years of bitter resentment from being so completely neglected. And now it gets a second chance to be loved. This guitar was going to wind up in a land fill and now I play it every night.

Everybody loves a comeback story.

Band: Spirits and the Melchizedek Children