Video: Midland to Sell Rare Vintage Guitars and Road Finds on Reverb

With road songs, cheating songs, and drinking songs—especially in the form of the hit "Drinkin' Problems"—Midland has carved a spot for itself in today's modern country charts with classic songcraft and a love of hard honky tonk guitars. Their sound recalls a time when Waylon and Willie made hit country their own way. So it tracks that the group shares a love of vintage instruments to match its vintage style.

In The Official Midland Reverb Shop—which is now open—the group is parting with some killer guitars, amps, and effects they've picked up on the road, including prime vintage gear they've played on their albums and on stages.

"I always found myself falling in love with different guitars," lead guitarist Jess Carson tells us in the video above. "I try to not be a bottleneck of vintage guitars. I play 'em, I give use out of 'em—a lot of these guitars were my No. 1 guitars at different times and hope they will go on to be other people's No. 1 vintage guitars."

You can hear Carson and Mark Wystrach talk about and play some of the best guitars going up for sale in The Official Midland Reverb Shop. They include:

  • A 1967 Fender Telecaster Custom that Carson played at the very first Midland show and remained his No. 1 for years. "When I got this it was the exact guitar that I had been dreaming about. I always had a thing for the double-bound sunburst Telecasters, this kind of '60s neck profile. I just thought they were the coolest," Carson says.
  • A 1961 Gibson ES-335 that Carson used for some of the biggest shows Midland ever played, including their most-recent performance, at the Houston Rodeo, just before the pandemic. "This guitar is not a wall hanger. It's the kind of guitar that's meant to be played—it sounds and plays incredible," Carson says.
  • A 1967 Gibson Firebird 12-String that Carson played extensively on Midland's breakout On the Rocks tour: "This is probably one of about a dozen that were made–you're not going to ever see another one like it. I would play the intro to 'Electro Rodeo' on this guitar, so it's got some cool history and I hope it goes to a great home."
  • A 1964 Gibson J-200 electric guitar that Carson played live on tour: "I've always been a J-200 fan. I think they're the coolest, biggest, boldest acoustics and they have been played by so many people that I love, from Bob Dylan to John Prine. This is a really great example of one."
  • A 1963 Fender Stratocaster that Carson played extensively on tour and in the studio over the past three years.
  • A Fender Ron Emery Acoustic present at the very formation of Midland, at bassist Cameron Duddy's wedding, where both Carson and Wystrach were groomsmen: "There's no surprise that the genesis of Midland was a result of that atmosphere and the celebration that was Cameron and Harper's wedding. And yeah, a little bit of alcohol, some nostalgia, and three buddies that were musicians. It was the perfect setting and the perfect chemical reaction to start Midland."

A portion of proceeds will go to Dell Children's Medical Center in Midland's hometown of Austin, Texas. Dell Children's is the only dedicated pediatric level one trauma center in the Central Texas region, serving Austin and a 46-country area. To learn more or donate yourself, click here.

The Official Midland Reverb Shop is now open.

For an extra treat right now, keep scrolling to get an inside peek at Jess Carson's home studio, and to hear straight from him about some other prized pieces in his gear collection.

"I think it was Albert Einstein who drew a comparison between clutter and genius. Or maybe I just imagined that to justify the jumble of relics covering every surface in my little home studio. But I do get a sort of inspiration from the weird antiques and curios I've acquired in my travels."

"But my prized possession is the black Resistol hat which belonged to my hero, the late Gary Stewart. It was given to me by his daughter Shannon and he's wearing it on the Greatest Hits LP cover."

"I like old guitars and analog equipment. If I see something rare and strange in a music shop on the road, it's hard sometimes to roll on out of town and leave it behind. Things turn up in the strangest places. The vintage Roland Chorus Echo I found in Stephenville, Texas, in a shop that primarily rented brass and woodwind instruments to high school students. It was just sitting there on the floor, out of place and covered in dust."

"The sidecar is used mostly to record vocals and guitar. I'll run either the Rupert Neve Designs Shelford Channel or the API through the Tube-Tech."

"I've got a thing for Fender Princeton amps as you can see. From left to right, there's a 1966 Blackface Reverb. Then, the 1958 Tweed, which I used on the Let It Roll album. And then the '62 Princeton Reissue Chris Stapleton model. The Tweed one is probably my favorite. It's a little beast—put a humbucker through that and it gets pretty nasty."

"Resonators are fun to experiment with different tunings. The resonator on the left is a National 1.5 Tricone. It was actually a custom build for me from National—they gave it a slimmer neck profile and installed a pickup."

"The red one is a 1964 National Folkstar. I saw an identical one in a shop while we were on tour in Scotland. I wanted to get it but I decided it would be too difficult to haul all over Europe. When we got back home, Luke found this identical one for sale right here in Austin! These are acoustic guitars, but I sent it to National to have a resonator cone pickup installed in it."

"The Gibson J-200 is a 1963. I like to find guitars that have a story. On the 17th fret, somebody added an inlay with the name 'Dodge,' and the truss rod cover was replaced with a brass one engraved with the initials 'RMD.' Even though I have been unable to uncover who 'RM Dodge' was, I can tell that they loved this guitar."

"The old Ace Tone drum machines are fun to play along with. The smaller drum machine [on the shelf] is an Ace Tone Rhythm Ace FR-1. I think this is similar to the one JJ Cale used on 'Call Me The Breeze.' I've used it in the studio, pairing it with a live drummer."

"The bigger one [on the floor behind the National resonator] is an Ace Tone Rhythm Ace FR-20, which has a built-in speaker, and it sounds incredible! I love analog drum machines because of the tangible ability to create a beat with the push of a button or the turn of a dial. You can combine different patterns on these and also add or cancel various percussion. You can actually get quite a lot of variety from their minimal controls."

The Official Midland Reverb shop launches Wednesday, July 15. Sign up with your email address above to get a chance to own some choice vintage guitars and gear from across Midland's career.

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