Vintage Tours: Swingin’ at the Most Magical Place On Earth
Our vintage buyers travel to the Orlando International Guitar and Music Expo, where dreams come true.
Deep in the heart of dreamland, gilded by the rays of the Sunshine State, there’s a place where fantasy becomes reality; where the imagination is manifest, and the pictures, songs, and movies you love spring to life in front of you as if under a benevolent spell. That place, of course, is the Central Florida Fairgrounds, home to Hamcation, Nude Nite Orlando, and the Orlando International Guitar and Music Expo.
While not the biggest Mickey-ophiles, our vintage buyers will travel anywhere for a score, especially when it’s snowing in Chicago, and Coco was pretty good, so we stuffed their black leather fanny packs full of cash and sent them off for a few days in the Florida sun. Except that there was no sun.
Orlando was gloomy. Like London, with plenty of fish and chips, except without the biscuits and bobbies and Sir David Attenborough. Beneath the cold, gray sky, Orlando’s 100-plus lakes were ice-black, shading the ground around the endless blacktop that stretches across the wetlands in smooth, still sheets. But like the warm cookies that waited for them at their Orlando DoubleTree hotel, The Orlando International Guitar and Music Expo brought a much warmer, much brighter feeling.
Although the show coincided with Super Bowl LIV, just a four-hour drive away in Miami, the 33rd Orlando show bustled with activity. Dealers from all over the country, as well as regional stores and resellers, filled the Central Florida Fairgrounds, drumming up frenetic, buoyant energy as intoxicating as the big game itself.
It was like a daydream as the doors opened and they spotted some of the cleanest vintage finds they’ve seen all year,
like this Fender MIJ Rosewood Telecaster with Custom Shop wiring and electronics,
this National Resonator with a bakelite neck and matching ‘30s Tenor model,
five (yes, FIVE) lovely Les Paul Customs, one loaded with EMGs,
a 1967 Epiphone Casino in a rare Sparkling Burgundy custom color,
a mid-’70s Gibson 345-TD semi-hollowbody electric guitar with Pelham Blue refinish,
a pair of Sunburst Gibson ES-175Ds, one from 1968 and one from 1955,
and a Limited Edition ‘78 Gibson Explorer with a wide nut and big neck, much like the one played by The Edge from U2.
All in all, our vintage buyers took home 28 pieces, so many their knees started to ache from crouching over case after case, relishing in the glow from the stars of their fantasy world.
As much as their joints whined, our buyers felt light on their feet. The trunk was full, but their fanny packs were empty, and every pang was a dull whistle compared to the thrilling roar of the fairgrounds. A swim would’ve been a fitting end to the stay, but even in Florida, February means it’s too cold to enjoy the hotel’s outdoor pool. So, like a Disney movie, or a far stranger dream, our buyers spent their final night in the Magic Kingdom at a nearby dance hall, lindy hopping to a real orchestra, while somewhere the Orlando sun faded into night.