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American Showster AS57 Chevy Guitar/Bass Guitar

American Showster AS57 Chevy Guitar/Bass Guitar

American Showster Logo Does it work?  Who knows.  Is it cool?  Absolutely! More Info at 101 Basses
  American Showster Website
(As of February 2, 2013 this website has appears to have been shut down.)
(As of December 28, 2014 The website "is back")

American Showster was started in 1984 by Rick (Rich) Excellente. David Schwab (currently of SGD) was for a time an employee of the company.  Apparently some of the paint work for AS was done by Kramer during this period.  Although AS received funding through private investors, the company fell on hard times within a few years.  At some point William (Billy) Meeker purchased the rights to the company and continued production of AS instruments, but these instrument were quite different from the original line.  Most notably, the later models featured the Chevy chevron below the bridge.  AS obtained permission from General Motors to duplicate, and use the names of, the various paint colours used by GM in the 1950's

Bill Meeker passed away in late 2011

Links to an American Showster article on Jedistar submitted by David Schwab owner of  SGD Luthiers


Rich Excellente's X File - The Making of The 57 Chevy Guitar - from part 1...

"The idea for a guitar which resembled the tail -fin of a 1957 Chevrolet first came to me while helping a neighbor wax his ?57 Chevy sometime during the fall of 1967. This fella died in Viet Nam, but the memory of that day remained with me.

In 1983, I started a custom guitar shop known as ?American Showster Custom Guitars" in Maplewood, New Jersey. My specialty was building custom guitars to order...mostly vintage style Strats and Teles. My customers were not only locals, but professional players like Richie Sambora, and Alec Such of Bon Jovi.

Sometime during the spring of 1984, Alec Such stopped by. We got into a conversation about classic autos, which shifted to custom guitars. I mentioned that I had a long-time idea to create a guitar that looks like the tail fin of a 1957 Chevrolet. Alec immediately gave me a standing order to build him one.

I contacted a long time friend and associate, sculptor Mark Dornan of Point Pleasant, New Jersey. In the past, Mark and I worked on several original custom sculpted guitar projects. I then commissioned him to build me a guitar body that resembles a 57 Chevy Tail-fin. I supplied him with a rough template which I sketched to show dimentions and size. The main difference between the actual Chevy fin and the much smaller proposed guitar, was the angle of the fin, which , unlike the straight top edge of the actual Chevy, the guitar fin angled more diagonally (about 15 degrees), much like a ?Flying V?.

The following month, Mark drew a scale rendering, which I approved. He then began sculpting the body from a solid plank of mahogany, complete with detailed tail-lamp, bumper and top molding strips made from maple. But the original mahogany prototype was too heavy (about 12 lbs.). I then suggested the body be made from basswood, a lighter wood used in guitar manufacturing. Mark re-worked the body using basswood. I completed building the guitar by having Rich Koener of Time Electronic configure and route the neck pocket and electronic control cavities.
" --more--

See Part 2
See Part 3
Update April 19, 2013

Thanks to David Schwab for the reference to Rich's site.  It has been pointed out to me that some of the facts in Rich's article may not be accurate.  But I present the information given to me.  The reader can determine the facts.

Terri Breeze American Showster AS57

More Links: http://www.robbincrosby.net/guitargallery/showster.htm

Additional information April 19, 2013 ... "Thank you for the beautiful American Showster Chevy tribute page.  It's been a long road for me with many stumbling blocks. Although I have gained many good friends and accociates through the years,  there are only several who seek to discredit me with untrue statements.  I wish them no harm, and they become bigger (and foolish) enemies to themselves and their own integrity.  ...  I have recently posted the true story about Elliot's guitar in my "X File" post, and in invite you to read it. ...  Thanks again, Terry!  Rick Excellente"


(Address apparently defunct)
American Showster
930 Main Street
Bayville, NJ 08721





Title: American Showster AS-57 (The 57 Chevy Guitars)
Mfg: American Showster
Bass Builder?: Yes
Models:  AS57
Categories:  [Atypical Instruments]
Country:   US [us]  Locale: NJ, Bayville
Page History... 
Cleanup: December 18, 2014
Updated: April 19, 2013
Updated: February 24, 2013
Previous update: February 2, 2013
Orig: March 30, 2011