Guitar Gavel Lick Of The Week with Ian Cowan
Some blues with a little twang. This is a quick, super fun lick Ian does in Am, but you take it where you want! Bend it brother!
The story begins with the short-lived guitar company, Odyssey Guitars, of Vancouver, B.C. In 1981, after a few Loverboy hit records Dean had some spending money and commissioned Odyssey to produce him 50 guitars.
These are the guys that styled the Paul Dean guitar shape that Hondo made famous followed by Kramer and and here’s a link to an Odyssey fan Facebook page. If you examine the header image on that page you can see the root body shape for Dean’s guitar and how it fits into their design family.
In the same year, Loverboy was the opening act for much of ZZ Top’s El Loco Tour. Billy Gibbons had a connection to Hondo through his good friend Mark Erlewine as the two collaborated on the Erlewine Chiquita travel guitar (opening scene in “Back To The Future”). For a short while the Chiquita was licensed to Hondo.
Taking it back one step, Hondo is the brand name of International Music Corporation (IMC) which was formed in 1969 by Jerry Freed and Tommy Moore in Fort Worth, TX. It was IMC that bought Charvel/Jackson from Grover Jackson in 1985. Clearly there’s a lot of Texas connections in play between Erlewine, Gibbons, and IMC.
However the conversation came up between Gibbons and Dean, it came up. An introduction was made to Hondo and in 1983 the Paul Dean signature Hondo PD-II and PD-III hit the streets sporting the same body style crafted by Odyssey.
Hondo’s guitars at this time were made in Korea by Samick. The PD-II sported two humbuckers and a 24.75” scale length. The PD-III had three single coils, 25.5” scale. Original MSRP for either guitar in 1983 was $379.00, production lasted less than two years.
1983 Hondo PD-II specs: Ash body, 3-piece maple neck, Samick X-14 humbuckers (optional DiMarzio’s), Badass bridge style, Master volume and tone, 3-way switch
Dean went on to have a signature model for Kramer as part of their “Artist” series guitars centered around Paul Dean, Richie Sambora, and Vivian Campbell. Essentially, the Artist series could be included in the “American Series” batch of guitar that technically had its start in 1986. The impetus for the design was Dean’s Hondo model… or more appropriately his Odyssey commission.