• Comeaux Collection: The Fretted Instruments of Dr. Tommy Comeaux

    Comeaux Collection: The Fretted Instruments of Dr. Tommy Comeaux

    LAFAYETTE, LA — The University of Louisiana Press has announced the publication of Comeaux Collection: The Fretted Instruments of Dr. Tommy Comeaux.

    Comeaux collected some of the most beautiful and valuable instruments ever created — exquisite guitars inlaid with shimmering abalone and mother-of-pearl; mandolins sculpted from highly figured, exotic hardwoods; and fretted instruments painstakingly crafted by late, legendary artisans like Orville Gibson, Lloyd Loar, John D'Angelico, and James D'Aquisto.

    The Lafayette, Louisiana pathologist toured the world playing mandolin, dobro, and electric bass in the Grammy-winning, progressive Cajun group BeauSoleil. He'd been collecting instruments for 20 years when he was killed while riding his bicycle in 1997.

    In this beautiful, full-color, deluxe volume, Comeaux Collection presents 126 instruments photographed in meticulous detail by Jim France with descriptions by author and accomplished musician David R. Hussong. In addition to the historic acoustics, in these pages you will find Gibson guitars and mandolin-family instruments. There are archtop guitars from the big band era, steel-bodied Hawaiian guitars of the 1920s and '30s; Fender and Gibson solid-body electrics from the 1950s and '60s.

    Serving as a tribute and celebration of Comeaux, this volume weaves in loving tales of memorable musical moments shared both at home and on the road by interconnected friends, including Jerry Douglas, Sonny Landreth, Michael Doucet, Eric Johnson, and Tim O'Brien.

    $49.95. 144 Pages, hardcover, 11" x 8.5".

    About the Author and Photographer

    Author Dave Hussong is a musician, writer and proprietor of Fretware Guitars, an internationally known vintage guitar business he started in 1978, and a longtime contributor to Vintage Guitar Magazine.

    Jim France is a commercial photographer working in Naples, Florida and Colombia, South America. To capture the full beauty of these instruments he shot with a Mamiya RB67 camera in 2 1/4" by 2 3/4" film format with Norman P2000 strobe lights, with 22" beauty dish, a 36" soft box and a 6" freznel spotlight.

    Additional Information

    Tommy Comeaux Lloyd Loar mandolin
    Comments 8 Comments
    1. William Smith's Avatar
      William Smith -
      Another great book of splendid eye candy!
    1. TheMandoKit's Avatar
      TheMandoKit -
      The University of Louisiana Press site has some page/image captures. Some really beautiful instruments there.
    1. Mandolin Cafe's Avatar
      Mandolin Cafe -
      There is a series videos of the instruments being played. Here is one featuring Daniel Coolik.

      Other videos on this page.
    1. mandocrucian's Avatar
      mandocrucian -
      when he was killed while riding his bicycle in 1997.
      Some epileptic guy was driving himself to the hospital and had a seizure and ran over Tommy. Not another car or anything else on the rural road. 10 seconds difference one way or the other and Tommy would have been rendering the guy first aid instead. A real bummer; Tommy was a real good guy.

      Mike Doucet (F2), Tommy Comeaux (F4), Niles H (F4); all early 20's Gibsons.
    1. AlanN's Avatar
      AlanN -
      I remember you telling me this tragic story, Niles. Tommy bought my Monteleone GA shortly before the accident.
    1. goaty76's Avatar
      goaty76 -
      So does anyone have this book yet? I would love to know more about the Orville guitar on the cover. Also, how much information is given for each instrument? Is this book mostly really nice pics or more of an informative piece?

    1. Mandolin Cafe's Avatar
      Mandolin Cafe -
      Received a copy today. Remarkable book with more mandolins than I personally anticipated. Too many instruments--guitars and mandolins-- to dedicate a full page to each one, though many have just that. At 142 pages I think a full page to each one would have made the project financially unfeasible. The mandolins in numbers are easily Gibson of course, 5 Gilchrists at least, and then couple of D'Angelicos, a Monteleone Grand Artist and a Danelectro zouk. The only Loar I saw an H-5. No serial numbers associated with any of the instruments that I saw.

      Fair number of remembrances from a lot of musicians most would recognize like Tim O'Brien, Jerry Douglas, Michael Doucet, etc. Few articles sprinkled about.

      The guitar on the cover appears to be the first instrument featured in the book, a 1902 Orville Gibson dated May 2, 1902.
    1. Mandolin Cafe's Avatar
      Mandolin Cafe -
      This excellent book was published one year ago today.