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Trevor Boone Strums for Vintage Left-Handed Guitars

The Emerald City Guitars owner draws from his lifelong love of collecting and bygone eras.

By Angela Cabotaje Photography by Chona Kasinger December 22, 2022

Trevor Boone grew up around guitars—literally. His dad started Emerald City Guitars in Pioneer Square. 

The descriptor "old soul" gets tossed around a lot these days, but if it were fitting for anyone, it would be Trevor Boone. The 33-year-old grew up with a deep appreciation of the past, influenced in large part by his dad, Jay, who established Pioneer Square's Emerald City Guitars in 1996. "I was influenced by a lot of vintage things from the backseat of my parents car on vacations, listening to Motown and the Beatles and all that," Trevor says. "So I kind of always had a sense of something a little bit older." 

Trevor often tagged along on his dad's road trips to Montana, Wyoming, and Oregon. "We'd go to every Salvation Army, yard sale, garage sale, estate sale, pawnshop, antique shop looking for old guitars," Trevor says. "It's like a subliminal thing that I took in from osmosis that I was always collecting stuff."

Now running the business, Trevor dabbles in other collections—vintage signage, guitar straps, beer cans, suitcases—but his main love is guitars. Specifically, "30 really cool, unique, left-handed guitars." Of course, they're vintage.

Trevor Boone extends his love of collecting to other items, like guitar straps.

On his love of vintage

"I'm so drawn to the '40s and '50s era as far as craftsmanship. I feel like guitars fully encompass midcentury modern."

"I love old unique designs that fully encompass a certain era. I really love the color, the aesthetic of it. A lot of these color palettes from back in the day are absolutely amazing. You probably see a lot of pastel blues and shell pinks, turquoise, things like that, that you don't see every day. I love those old colors."

Trevor's collection of left-handed guitars is narrowed down to "the ones I really wanted."

On the left-handed thing

"I do everything right-handed. Throwing and writing, everything right-handed. Except for guitars, which is funny. Growing up in a guitar shop, it's like the worst nightmare."

"It's kind of given me this little power because I get to find guitars for friends. You know, kind of my specialty in what I do is I build collections and take care of collections for the crazy wealthy collectors, all the rock stars, actors, actresses. The guitar market is crazy."

"There's instruments for half a million dollars, and I can't afford those, but I get to be the vessel they flow through. My specialty is finding guitars for certain collections and for collectors. They say, 'If it was so good, why don't you buy it?' Well, it's because I play left-handed."

Another collection? Vintage beer cans.

On his guitar named Faye

"My favorite guitar is a 1952 Fender Telecaster. That's kind of the first mass-produced electric guitar ever. Back in those days...I don't even know if they knew people would play left-handed. So there's only a few out there from that first year."

"I was able to get one from an older gentleman who came in my life at one point and he showed it to me, and I said, Man, I'll never be able to afford this. But if you ever sell it, you gotta give me the call. And I thought about that guitar for 10, 12 years until he called me."

"He said, 'I got to sell this.' I said, Well, I still can't get it. But I went over to his house and as soon as I held it, I just was like, I'm going to do anything I possibly can to get this guitar."

"I sold everything I own. I started back from zero. I mean, you name it, I sold it: my car, every guitar amp, any personal belongings. And I bought this guitar from him."

"When I got the guitar, I said, Hey, have you named this yet? He's an older guy and was like, 'I haven't named it, no.' And I'm like, Well, if I get this guitar, I'm going to name it after your grandma. Her name was Faye and I'm like, All right, I'm gonna get this guitar and I'm gonna name it Faye."

"So once I got the guitar officially from him, he sent me this letter that I still keep in the case. And it says, 'So happy that you got this. I hope it brings you years of joy. My grandma Virginia Faye was a prostitute in the '30s and addicted to opium. She got sober and became the most amazing woman in my life and was loved by all.' I still pick that guitar up and I think about her, and I think about where this guitar has been over all these years."

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