Musician, producer, engineer and guitar collector Perry A.
Margouleff is an old friend of Christie’s — he first introduced
us to his guitar collection in Christie’s Magazine in 2014.
‘I have probably owned more than 3,000 guitars in my lifetime,’
he told us on that occasion. ‘But I’ve never bought anything
I didn’t like. I don’t think these things are to be looked
at. The beauty of a guitar is when it’s making music.’
In our short film we catch up with the collector at Pie Studios
in Long Island, New York, the recording facility he owns
and where the likes of the Rolling Stones, Aerosmith, Billy
Joel and Alicia Keys have come to employ his expertise.
‘I was really just a kid and I was buying guitars with lawnmower
money,’ he explains of his early attraction to the instrument.
‘I realised that when you went into the new music store,
and you played the two, three, 400-dollar guitars, you could
go across the street to a pawn shop, and they would have
the same guitars — but 10 years older — at 70 dollars, 80
dollars… [and they were] the better guitars.
‘I was probably making more money than all my teachers, just
swapping guitars. Back then, they were really just used instruments
— they weren’t collectables,’ he observes.
‘These instruments never became dated. You look
at a Stratocaster, and it looks just as hip on [Red Hot Chilli
Peppers guitarist] Jon Frusciante as it does on Buddy Holly’
Margouleff’s collection currently numbers in excess of 300
guitars, but you won’t see them on display. ‘When I go to
somebody’s house who is a “guitar collector” and they have
their guitars hanging by the neck on the wall, subjected
to temperature changes and whatever else, I frown on them. Poor guitars! Would you want to be hanging around by your
The camera pans across row upon row of guitars — Fenders,
Gibsons, Bigsbys — carefully stored in their pleasingly battered,
meticulously labelled leather cases.
Neither is the musician given to fetishising the provenance of
his instruments. ‘I owned a guitar once that belonged to
Jimi Hendrix and I sold it because I thought, “It doesn’t
really play good and I am not Jimi Hendrix. It doesn’t mean
anything to me.”’
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As he fine-tunes an old Les Paul Standard, Margouleff recalls acquiring
his first one, for $2,300: ‘It sorta meant that I ate pizza
for six months afterwards.
‘These instruments,’ he continues, ‘never became dated. You
look at a Stratocaster, and it looks just as hip on [Red
Hot Chilli Peppers guitarist] Jon Frusciante as it does on
Buddy Holly. It never became, “Oh look at that antique guitar,
it’s no good any more.”’
Margouleff remains ‘an avid collector’, but, he points out,
‘the joy and payback of all of this is to see people having
pleasure from it.’ Relishing his demonstration of how a vintage
Les Paul Standard should sound, he adds, ‘That’s the best
thing in the world.’