Above: The serial number is stamped
into the neck plate, along with “TV,”
which presumably refers to the “TV
yellow” finish, a color Gibson introduced in 1955 once they discovered
that white Les Paul Juniors created
an objectionable glare in the primitive
television cameras of the day. Seen
on a black-and-white TV, Gibson’s
mustard-yellow finish appeared
white—or close to it.
2011 INDY FLY-CASTER IN TV YELLOW BY WILL RAY
Ilove going to guitar shows. You get a little of everything there—new, old, expensive,
collectable, rare, cheap, bizarre—you name it.
A while ago, I drove down to the Spartanburg
Guitar Show in South Carolina with my
friend David Holt, who plays a lot with Doc
Watson. David is into acoustic guitars, while
I’m more into electrics. He walked right
by this guitar and just kept walking (smart
move). But I did a double take—it was one of
the most bizarre guitars I’d ever seen.
Is it a Telecaster or a Flying V? Hey,
it’s both! Meet the Fly-Caster in “TV yellow.” I first saw a picture of one of these as
a joke in an e-mail that someone sent me
last year. At the time, I thought it was a
custom monster someone had hatched in a
basement laboratory. But apparently, it’s an
actual production model made in China for
the Indiana Guitar Company.
I knew the dealer selling it because I’d
Is it a Telecaster or a Flying
V? Hey, it’s both!
bought something from him a few years ago.
So he understood my bottom feeder nature,
and when he saw me checking out this guitar,
he approached me and said he had several of
them he was trying to get rid of. He whispered
he could do a lot better than the $200 price
tag on it, and to let him know if I was interested. I asked him how much better he could
do, guessing that he would probably say $175.
When he said $125, I immediately said “deal,”
shook his hand, and paid him cash to close the
deal before he could change his mind.
Bottom Feeder Tip #279: When someone offers you a great deal, don’t look a gift
horse in the mouth. Accept it as a gift from
the gods and don’t ask questions. The seller
told me there was also a gig bag included,
and that was just icing on the cake for me.
When David walked back and saw
what I had just bought, he shook his head
and laughed. “What were you thinking?”
When I got the Fly-Caster home, I really
didn’t expect much. However I was pleasantly surprised when it played rather well
and sounded pretty darned good through
an amp. Very Telecaster-ish. And the weight
isn’t quite as bad as one would think. Mine
weighs in at 9. 8 pounds. Not bad considering the amount of real estate involved here.
Right: The love child of a Gibson
Flying V and Fender Telecaster? Meet
the Fly-Caster. Although we don’t
know what kind of wood this body is
made of, there’s a lot of it here.
So is it a keeper? Yeah, for now. Why
not? It’s unique, it gets a laugh whenever I
show it, and the price was right. My serial
number is in the low 50s, so that tells me
there probably weren’t that many made,
and it might even become a collector’s
piece someday (probably long after I’m
dead and gone).
WILL RAY is a founding member of the
Hellecasters guitar-twang trio. He also does
guitar clinics promoting his namesake G&L
signature model 6-string, and produces
artists and bands at his studio in Asheville,
North Carolina. You can contact Will on