By Christopher Scapelliti
Simon Farmer hand makes guitars under the name Gus Guitars from his small studio is East Sussex, England. He builds just a few examples per year of his G1 model, which features a unique tear-drop-shaped body. This year, one of those instruments got into the hands of a guitarist who had an eye for unique instruments: Prince.
As Farmer explains in a video presented by The Guardian, it was perhaps inevitable that Prince would reach out to him. “Ever since I started making these guitars, people had always said to me, ‘That looks like the kind of guitar that Prince would play,’” Farmer says.
Farmer agreed. Years ago, on his own, he began making an instrument for Prince, hoping it would eventually reach him. The custom Purple Special was completed around 2007, but it remained in Farmer’s possession for years.
Earlier this year, though, Prince’s people reached out to ask him about the guitar. “I still don’t know to this day actually what prompted Paisley Park to get in touch,” Farmer says. “They basically came and picked it up and took it to the states.”
That was around March 10 of this year. Prince died on April 21. “He really only had it for a very brief period,” Farmer says.
Prince liked the guitar and showed it to a select audience at a show at Paisley Park on April 16, five days before his death (see inset photo). He had also requested a black-and-gold four-string bass from Farmer, which the two of them had begun to plan when Prince died.
“So I feel his loss personally,” Farmer writes on his website, “even though I never met him and mourn the passing of one of the greatest musicians and guitarists ever.”
For more information about Gus Guitars, visit GusGuitars.com.