same guy standing next to John Cruz. John said,
“Okay, I’ll make the Tele.”
I wanted it to look like my Gibson, and
he matched it. The Tele arrived and I had the
two guitars on stands in my living room. I
thought, “Imagine if I could get other compa-
nies to do this—and we could sell them and
donate the money to MERSI because they
have so few research dollars.”
Is this your first fundraiser for MERSI?
I’ve been involved in auctions for the hospital.
They do simple auctions where people donate
typical things, and I donated guitars. This
time, I wanted to do more.
How did you involve other manufacturers?
John was working on the Tele at his bench in
California, and people would see it in the factory.
I called him about a Strat, and then I talked to
Martin and Gibson. By then we were in our second year of guitar models. And then came basses—and they all had to be pinkbursts. I could
have bought guitars and had them painted, but
the key was having the manufacturers make official guitars. That’s what matters to collectors—
that they get that official slip. Once I explained
the reason for this, everyone was onboard.
TKL Cases All Pinkburst Project guitars come with a custom TKL case adorned with the Pinkburst Project
logo (the one shown here holds a pinkburst Gibson Custom Shop Les Paul), and a Red Monkey Pinkburst
Project leather guitar strap in pink, white, or black.
Did you request common features from all
My wish list included trapezoid fretboard
inlays—which we got on all but three of the
guitars—rosewood fretboards, and matching
colors. But, as Obama says, it involved the
art of compromise, to a degree. So I had to
compromise. Some of the guitars were made in
China and had certain set inlays, fretboards, etc.
After three years, I’d say this is quite a success
story, with 99 percent of my wish list fulfilled.
was interesting to see what each company chose
as iconic. They are all beautiful works of art, and
I strongly doubt that any of these instruments
will be used. They will be collected and displayed.
Does each piece have a unique serial number or identifying stamp?
Every amp has a brass plaque with the Pinkburst
Project logo, and every guitar has a custom-made
TKL case with the project logo. Everything was
so disparately made that the custom shops put
their own numbers on them. All the serial numbers are available on the website.
out there on my daughter’s behalf has been so
rewarding. It resonates with people. MERSI
needs research dollars. People need help. I can’t
thank all the manufacturers who participated
enough. It is one thing to sit at your desk and
dream of an idea, and quite another to have it
realized. In addition to the philanthropic aspect
to the Pinkburst Project, as a guitar player and
collector, this is a dream come true. Many of
these companies’ products have provided years
of pleasure and satisfaction to me through the
very same guitars, amps, and cases that are
featured in this collection. I will remain a collector of many of the models represented in the
Pinkburst Project—as well as other fine instruments and amplifiers—for the rest of my life.
So you didn’t make any other special requests—
for instance, regarding necks, pickups, or frets?
I left it up to the discretion of the builders. With
John Cruz, for example, he put in the Twisted
Tele pickups. That was not me saying, “I want
this fretwire and 400 windings on the pickups.”
All I asked for was the most iconic models, and it
Are there any other ways that you’re plan-
ning to raise money year-round and from
musicians who would love to own a pink-
burst but can’t afford one?
Red Monkey made straps with the logo, and
they will probably make extra ones to auction
off and help the cause. They are affordable for
someone who just wants to do something to
help. The possibilities of other things are endless,
but we had to focus on the singular reason or
it would drive me crazy. I had to keep my eye
on the ball or lose my mind. People say, “How
much will this make?” It could bring in the
minimum bid or it could bring in way more. If
they’re all sold, it will probably make enough to
send a nice check to the hospital. If enough people read about it and understand the uniqueness,
then it can appeal to the vintage guy, the collector, the one-of-a-kind guy, someone who wants
a pairing. I tried to get gear that would create a
passionate connection to a broad base of people.
The guitar and amp companies were very fair,
and some didn’t charge me at all. I was surprised
at some of the largesse that was shown to me.
With this project, I found something that
is more important than my life. Putting myself
THE PINKBURST AUCTION
The Skinner Auction House in Boston
will host the Pinkburst Project auction
April 23, 2011, to benefit ongoing work
at the Massachusetts Eye Research and
Surgery Institution on behalf of the Ocular
Immunology and Uveitis Foundation. (The
exact auction date was yet to be determined
at press time, check premierguitar.com for