In this edition of Guitar Notes, I sat down with resident expert Derek White, Guitar Advisor at Musician’s Friend Private Reserve Guitars. Derek’s job is ultimately to help match players with the guitar they’re after.
That’s no supermodel—it’s Derek White, Guitar Advisor at Private Reserve Guitars
Brian: What sets PRG apart from the competitors?
Derek: The amazing part of the Private Reserve is that we have this immense inventory that allows us to work with our customers to hand-select the actual perfect instrument for them. In this regard, the Private Reserve is in its own league entirely. I just looked today and we actually have 76 Taylor 814ce models—Not to mention over forty J200s, dozens of 1959 Les Paul guitars, and over 50 Masterbuilt Fender Custom Shop guitars.
Also, this isn't just a room with piles upon piles of guitars. We have highly qualified techs that inspect, photograph and set up every instrument. And I’m here to guide customers to the exact guitar, bass or amp that they're looking for. For example, in the last week I've compared a trio of Authentic 1931 D28s, two sets of a handful of J200s, a group of five lemon burst Les Paul ’59 reissues, and we've shot three on-demand comparison videos. [Editor’s note: This is a new program to give customers an even more detailed look.]
Private Reserve Guitars’ Derek White visits the Martin Museum in Nazareth, Pa.
Derek checks out Kurt Cobain’s D-18 at Martin Guitars
Brian: How long did you work in the retail environment?
Derek: Six years, and I think I held about every position you can in a store. I learned a ton there. It started out as a flexible job as I made my way through college, and evolved into the position I'm in now.
Brian: What's the most important thing you learned working in a music store?
Derek: Every instrument is its own thing. You can ask anyone that has spent time un-boxing guitars and has played hundreds—every single guitar plays, feels, and sounds a little different. I've had dozens of customers ask me why we inspect, weigh and offer to play and compare any instrument that comes through the Private Reserve. They ask why weight makes a difference and how different serial numbers of the same model can sound different. It's still not widely understood that each instrument has its own personality. The coolest part about the Private Reserve is that every guitar here is spectacular. It's just about finding the one that's going to sound and work best for each player.
Brian: What’s your favorite part of the job here at PRG?
Derek: While I love working on designing new special runs of guitars, visiting manufacturers and getting to play all this amazing gear, my favorite part of my job is actually a toss-up. Every morning, I love looking at what's come in the night before. It's always fun seeing new gear that we've been waiting for. I also love really digging into a group of guitars for a player/customer and finding one that's a gem. Lining up five Les Pauls, D-42s, or 814s and finding the one that the planets aligned for is seriously awesome. These are all such great guitars. It’s the process of finding the one guitar with that indescribable X-factor that makes our customers really appreciate what we do here.
Derek White with Fender Custom Shop Master Builder Dale Wilson
Brian: What’s your favorite guitar and why?
Derek: We have a Gibson Custom '57 Les Paul Goldtop Reissue we went nuts over. It just had this perfect resonance that you could hear even unplugged. It was perfect right out of the box.
Brian: On average, how many Private Reserve guitars do you play in a week?
Derek: Wow, maybe thirty or forty. I've had friends and customers both tell me that I have the perfect job. I do. It rules.
Visit www.privatereserveguitars.com or contact Derek White directly at 866-926-1923. He can get you the absolute lowest price on your dream guitar. Connect with Private Reserve Guitars on Facebook and Instagram. Until next time, keep playing!
Brian Baggett is Video Presenter for Musician’s Friend Private Reserve Guitars. He curates the Private Reserve guitar collection on video, visits guitar factories and works closely with luthiers and signature artists to gain insight into the greatest guitars being built today. He is also a professional guitarist playing every Wednesday and Saturday night at The Green Lady Lounge in Kansas City. A former jazz guitar professor, Brian continues to teach guitar lessons and has a book and DVD titled Keys To Unlocking the Fretboard. Find Brian on Facebook and twitter.
Read more Guitar Notes from Brian Baggett: Guitar Notes The HUB