Or Alternately Titled: I Popped Michael Clifford’s Jet Black Cherry

Or Alternately, Alternately Titled: The Obituary of a 5SOS Fan

I’ve never been what anyone would call an accomplished musician. If anything, I’ve always been a “jack of all trades, master of none” when it comes to instruments. I dabble.

So, when Michael Clifford, lead guitarist of 5 Seconds of Summer, announced in January at NAMM that he had partnered with Gibson to release his own signature guitar, I was excited. Not because I ever hoped to play it in a way that would do it justice, but because I love 5SOS and pretending I can play guitar.  But, when the guitar was finally released in May and I saw the sticker price of $1,399, I knew that I couldn’t justify it in my budget.  That’s a lot of Starbucks I’d be giving up, and let’s face it — I love 5SOS, but I love my mocha lattes.

But, I thought about it. I thought about it a lot. I wanted that guitar. I coveted it. Lying awake at night I fantasized about its magical ability to transform me into guitar god status. I pictured myself holding it in pictures with that well-known Michael Clifford sneer on my face. It called to me like a siren. I knew that this instrument would turn my carefully plucked out rendition of ‘Old McDonald’ into the next Mainstream Masterpiece. I wouldn’t mind being a rock ‘n roll prodigy. Michael Clifford and that guitar had that power.

I Bought The Guitar Anyway

So, when I was asked to review the instrument for The Honey Pop, it was really the last nudge I needed to bite the bullet, sacrifice the mocha lattes, and bring that baby home to mama.  And let me tell you, baby is here and she’s a beauty.  But, don’t take my word for it.  Let Michael and Gibson tell you about it here:

And now that that’s out of the way, let’s get to the meat of the subject.  This guitar is sexy, friends.  It comes straight out of its case whispering love songs in your ear.  From the black stain finish to the red Gibson logo and x inlays on the fretboard, this guitar is begging you to pick it up and (in my case) learn. And I plan to. It’s magical after all.

I opened it and plugged it in to equipment worth a fraction what I paid for the guitar. The guitar was insulted. It demanded only the best, but there are only so many mocha lattes I was willing to sacrifice. The guitar had to accept the fact that by coming into my possession, it was officially slumming. But, I digress. I plugged her in (I named her Scarlet. She has a red hue undertone to the black stain and if you don’t like it, frankly, my dear I don’t give a damn) and tucked her neatly into my lap. I ran my fingers over the frets in a loving caress. This was the moment that would change my life. This was the moment I channeled Michael.

Old McDonald was elevated.

Just kidding. It sounded the same, but I was elevated. I sneered. Not in derision. Just in an attempt to channel Michael and make Scarlet do for me what my dreams had promised they would. But, alas! No matter how I transformed my face or posed in the mirror, Old McDonald was still just Old McDonald. But God did I look cool doing it.

Michael Clifford Guitar
Image source: Austin Nelson for Gibson

Now what?

Since I’ve bought the guitar and begun researching for this article, I’ve learned that Sweetwater has stated that they only received 120 issued to them for worldwide distribution. And, Trogly’s Guitar Show has estimated that less than 1,000 have been manufactured. Because of these statistics and estimates, the predictions are that this instrument will quickly become a collector’s piece. Maybe it’s worth more than a few mocha lattes after all.

Now, I own a guitar I can’t play well. A guitar that cost me approximately 405.5 mocha lattes. But, I’m learning. And isn’t that really the point? Sure, there are specs and reviews that discuss the technical merits of the instrument and serious musicians are excited about it. But, music isn’t about exclusivity and any time a song or instrument or artist inspires someone else to explore their own art, isn’t that bigger and more important than any of that?

Michael Clifford and Gibson together created a really cool guitar. And in doing so, they have reached a generation of people, myself included, they might not have otherwise. I picked up my guitar and played it again today. I’ll do it tomorrow. Today, Old McDonald. Tomorrow, the world. Or at least Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.




Featured Image Source: Austin Nelson for Gibson

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ibby morris

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