A new axe to grind!

It had been raining for days. I’d played my guitar until my fingers were raw. Cabin fever was upon me!

I’ve been thinking about buying a new acoustic guitar for years! My old Jap built Epiphone FT135, that I bought in the late 70s is great for bashing out chords, but she’s hard work when it comes to finger picking. Actually, I’ve tried to buy a new acoustic before, tried 100s, can’t find one I like.

Après avoir accompagné des jazzmen célèbres (Bill Coleman, Stéphane Grappelli, Don Bayas, Albert Nicholas…), écumé les salles et usé ses cordes de gala en gala, Georges Suchod décide de raccrocher sa guitare pour créer le premier vrai magasin de musique limougeaud. savoir plus…

Anyway, with dreams of a new acoustic I set of in search of Suchod Musique in Limoges. Never been there before, but surely they’d have something. Little did I know what was in store…

As soon as I walked through the door I just knew it was gonna take some time. Just hundreds of gorgeous guitars, like an aladin’s cave. Electrics and acoustics, Yamahas, Takamines, Taylors Godins…..”Oh look Carla, that Fender Tele, lovely”… Strats, Teles, Arch top Jazz guitars from Ibanez and Gretch, birds eye maple, cool. Beautiful flame top Les Pauls……. and then, there she was, waiting for me…a Gibson Explorer!!!

I asked if I could try it. I’d dressed to try guitars, no zips, studs, or watch, only soft clothing, I pointed this out to the sales assistant. He goes off to get Monsieur Suchod, I dunno why. So, this old fella hands me this gorgeous guitar, and ushers me to a stool next to an amp. By the way, it’s a nice Fender tube amp, not some nasty transistor thing. As the amp warms up, the old fella is telling me what a great guitar it is, and how they’re so versatile and much more than just a rock machine. Yea, I know that.

My 68 Cherry Explorer - a peach of a guitar

It’s a great guitar that’s well set up. I’ve owned Explorers before, this is a good one. Monsieur Suchod is still extolling it’s virtues. I ask him if he plays, “a little”, he tells me. I get up and offer him the guitar, he declines, but I insist. He plays a few stiff notes. What happens next is amazing…

As we chat, Monsieur Suchod starts to play some fabulous jazz stuff. Super lines, and some chord inversions I’ve never seen before. I try to clock them for future reference but they’re gone in a flash. He stops for a second, asks if we mind him smoking, lights a cigarette and continues to play. He’s away now, playing with the casual style and confidence that only comes from years of playing. I wish I’d had my camera with me at that moment because the sight of this old jazzer, ciggy hanging from the corner of his mouth while he rattled out a few tunes on an Explorer was quite surreal. Yes, they really are a versatile guitar, and Monsieur Suchod sure can make it sing.

Turns out that the 79 year old Georges Suchod has been playing guitar all his life. He’s played with all the big names of the jazz world. There’s a picture of him backing Bill Coleman on his office wall. He opened his first music shop in 1968 the year that Carla was born! Oh yes Georges knows his way around a guitar alright.

A young Georges Suchod (on the left) backing Bill Coleman

I bought the Explorer. How could I not buy it. She was there waiting for me, the only one in the shop, a proper cherry one, and a peach of a guitar. It was meant to be, and sold to me by Georges Suchod. You can’t change destiny. I’ve been in hundreds of guitar shops and bought nothing. Tried hundreds of guitars and walked away. But this one, she’s mine, it was meant to be.

Georges Suchod and me.

If you are ever in Limoges, I reckon a visit to Suchod Musique is a must. Even if you’re not a player, go in and meet Georges, ask him to play. He’s a great bloke, a superb player, and you’d be in for a real treat. If you are a player, they’ve got everything you could possibly need. I recommend them highly.

You’ll find Suchod Musique at 6 rue du General Cerez, Limoges.

Gibson Explorer headstock

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