Chris Cornell and the Gibson ES-335 Guitar

I'd heard of Soundgarden long before I ever heard their music. I'd bought some magazine because it had had either Robert Plant, Jimmy Page, or both of them, on its cover. Also inside that magazine was an article about an exciting new heavy rock band out of Seattle. The grunge music explosion of the 90s hadn't started yet. Or in truth I guess it had started, it simply hadn't caught on across the nation.

I was just getting out of high school when Nirvana was taking over the radio. Drinking beer, smoking things, and listening to music was what I did to have a good time. Soon there were lots of new and exciting bands being played on FM radio, and Soundgarden was one of them. I remembered that I'd heard about them a couple years prior, so I bought their earliest compact discs, the ones which weren't ever played on FM radio in Dallas, Texas. I loved that stuff, it was heavier than the more popular Soundgarden material.

So I feel like I've grown up along side Chris Cornell in a way. I'm so glad he survived where persons like Kurt Cobain and Scott Weiland did not. Popular music trends always leave some persons in the dust, they rode a wave and then the riptide yanked them into whatever comes next.

Who can we compare Mr. Chris too? Eddie Vedder has been a comrade and contemporary who's not faded away or burned out. But Cornell's wide vocal range is somewhat more reminiscent of persons such as Axl Rose, and Robert Plant. He's the best screamer Generation X ever got to scream along with.

Actual talent in music is increasingly rare. These days you have a photogenic face, large breasts, and some record executive will make you a sensation in our dumbed down youth culture. Chris Cornell represents something quite the opposite of any number of unworthy of mention hip hop stars, pop stars, or 'bro country' miscreants. He's a nearly four octave vocal range, has written some of the anthems of my generation, and continues on making great music today, and hopefully for a lot of tomorrows to come.

Myself, I'm a subscriber to Guitar World magazine. That fine publication ranked Chris Cornell as the single finest vocalist in rock music. Wow! Rolling Stone and Hit Parader also rank Chris very high in this or that sort of greatest vocalist. His talent has never been in question.

Chris Cornell playing rhythm guitar in Soundgarden

A child of two highly intelligent parents, young Chris was notoriously reclusive. He had depression and anxiety issues, dropped out of school, and spent massive amounts of time listening to four of the most creative musicians in modern history, The Beatles. He'd work as a chef and as a seafood salesman. One of his sisters had already done some singing, and Chris probably knew he could sing early on, but was simply too reclusive and shy to do so.

When he founded Soundgarden in 1984 with some friends who he'd previously met in a short lived band, he was positioned to be a drummer and a vocalist. But drumming and the kind of intense singing Cornell does don't seem to be so doable at the same time. Another drummer was found. It would be three years before any recording was done, and then years more before those recordings would be released on any sort of respectable label. Ultramega OK was an interesting, highly experimental sounding album, and it got some attention, but Louder Than Love was one which really turned my crank at the time. By the time Badmotorfinger was released, everyone could see which way the wind was blowing. Soundgarden would be massive album sellers, radio staples, music video stars, and cultural heroes for some time to come.

I doubt Chris Cornell looks anything like the Jesus of the Bible. Then again, he might, because his mother was very much Jewish. In any event, he looks very much like the infamous and ubiquitous European-ized images of Jesus we all see everywhere. And he cut a fine Christ like figure in the big hit by Temple of the Dog. The song 'Jesus Christ Pose,' another smash classic, would later be covered by Johnny Cash, who was very seriously a Christian. I'm not sure one would classify Cornell's song writing as spiritual, but you could not ever mistake it from the common wonky woman objectified party music you'd hear from Van Halen, or countless others. Chris's songs are much more cerebral.

When Superunknown hit the streets and the radio, myself and all my friends thought it was maybe the greatest thing there was. You had grunge metal with a psychedelic bent to it. All those hours spent listening to The Beatles showed up in some of the songs. It was trippy, and so were the music videos. Soundgarden had arrived as a supergroup. Soundgarden won Grammy awards for two of the songs. They would make more albums and thought by some to be the best rock or metal band since Led Zeppelin.

To be sure, Chris Cornell was never the primary guitarist. The type of singing he does can get pretty labor intensive. It would be nearly impossible to play the guitar, even in a rhythm capacity, while belting out vocals the way he does. Chris can and does play the guitar very well, however, and this stems from him being a song writer. One needs some rhythm music to work with while composing.

Chris Cornell and the Gibson ES-335 Guitar

Besides Soundgarden and Temple of the Dog, Chris's solo career and Audioslave have all been big successes. There are also collaborations with other artists which have got lots of coverage and play. Chris Cornell is purported to be worth sixty million dollars at present, and he's still a good looking fella with a high output. I'd expect a Soundgarden reunion tour. That would surely catch some of that nostalgia dollar making.

Chris writes songs which do not follow standard or traditional chord progressions. His melodies don't fit in a diatonic scale all the time either. His baritone singing is often soulful, but he can sure scream and growl too, and hit notes high in the tenor range. In recent years he has seemingly fell in love with Gibson ES-335 guitars. He's hardly the first to do so, the ES-335 is a Gibson classic desired the world over.

The year 1958 was a stupendous year for Gibson guitars. The Gibson Les Paul had been around for a few years by then, but 1958 would see the birth of the Gibson Flying V and the Gibson Explorer, two additional and very different solid body electric guitars which are still produced and loved the world over today. Also debuting that year was the Gibson ES-335, one of the most versatile electric guitars ever produced. The ES-335 is a semi-hollow body guitar. The center of the guitar is absolutely solid, it is the 'wings' on either side which are hollow chambers. The hollow chambers can provide a warmth of tone a solid body guitar won't have.

There have been countess great guitarist who love the ES-335. B.B. King's earliest 'Lucile' electric guitars were often 335s, and the guitars which commemorate him today are of the 335s chassis. The Chris Cornell Gibson ES-335 guitars are extremely rare. You see one for sale, you had best buy it. You may never again get an opportunity.

There are not one, but two Chris Cornell Gibson ES-335 models. These are both decidedly striped down. They are not fancy or adorned much. But the two models are distinct. There is the olive green model, and the black satin model. The olive drab one has a Bigsby vibrato, the black one does not. What sets them apart from the typical ES-335? Mostly what is unique here are the Jason Lollar pickups found in either the black or the olive green guitars. Then the hard shell cases have a symbol on them which is something Chris Cornell identifies with. These are not, however, signature series guitars, as Chris's signature isn't found on them. The Lollar pickups are some of the finest pickups available anywhere today, and those in and of themselves represent a substantial chunk of dollars. These are some of the most desirable Gibson ES-335 guitars available anywhere.