Gear Nebraska: Matt Whipkey and Jordan Ellis

Matt Whipkey’s “Good Pal” 

What’s new: “My guitar jut celebrated our 12th anniversary. We had a lovely evening out at some bar on a stage; I sweated a lot, all over the guitar. The guitar has never seemed to mind.”

Why It’s Special: “The last dozen years my musical journey would’ve been a lot lonelier if not for my trusted and faithful companion: a 2001 Fender Custom Shop Fender Nocaster. I am a firm believer in connecting to one’s instrument. Any axe can probably get the job done, but something inside knows when it’s done right, every night. The Fender Telecaster is the first mass-produced solid body electric guitar in America. Countless other guitar models later, it stands as the pinnacle of performance and reliability [IMO].”

The History: “I’ll never forget walking into work at Dietze Music in Nov. 2002 and seeing this beauty on the wall. Immediately, I knew it would be mine. I must have had a crazed look in my eye as the owner waived the typical 30-day waiting policy on all trade-in guitars and allowed to promptly put it on lay away. Several dollars later it was mine.  I cannot even fathom how many string, pots, switches, gigs, songs, playing hours we have been through. Although I do know the guitar is due for its second complete re-fret.  I am lucky to have played some lovely guitars over the years. However, none can slash, burn, peel, weep, sing, sting, shred and strangle quite the same way. The best friends in life say Fender on the headstock. Good pal, here is to 12 rock and roll years!”

 photos by Kevin Franz
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Jordan Ellis’ Loyal Viola 

The Choice: “My favorite piece of gear has to be my viola, but it’s not an easy choice! I also have very strong feelings about my metronome and my travel case that holds everything.

Why It’s Special: “The viola’s name is Isolde, she was carved in Chicago, in 1994, and she’s a beautiful, saucy redhead. Isolde has a complex, textured voice, paired with my bow, her long-time lover, Alfred. Isolde and Alfred accompanied me on my semester in Berlin, and we are currently endeavoring to get my ass into grad school.”

Isolde’s Resumé: “I have performed with Isolde in The Betties, Classes, Justin Ready and the Desert Field, and the new Gerardo Meza band. Other instruments have been used with Universe Contest, annual Trans-Siberian Orchestra gigs, and Ryan Head and the Barroom Orchestra.”

photo by Matt Spilker