Vintage Guitar - March 2017 - Open - 42
he iconic "singing cowboy" was created
by Hollywood actors like Gene Autry,
Roy Rogers, Tex Ritter, and others. Many
used fancy, customized guitars, often with
their name emblazoned on the fingerboard,
and the majority were high-end flat-tops
including Martin D-45s and Gibson J-200s.
This 1940 Gibson Super 400N was made for a genuine
Texas cowboy and larger-than-life character named
William Fulton Peale, Jr.
Born in San Antonio on January 5, 1922, he was first
cousin to Norman Vincent Peale, author of The Power of
Positive Thinking. His father was successful in the oil
business in Texas and left his son financially secure.
As a young man, Peale was a competitive pistol
shooter, and at age 40 transitioned to skeet shooting. He adopted an unorthodox stance, holding
both elbows straight out from his sides, but
still managed to qualify for several Sports
Afield All-America teams in the late '60s.
He went on to an effective career in skeet
shooting and in '91 was inducted to the
National Skeet Shooting Association Hall
of Fame. Contemporaries remembered
him as a great storyteller, especially when
he reminisced about his early years in
The William Peale, Jr.
Gibson Super 400
BY GEORGE GRUHN AND STAFF
A Gibson MB-4 fretboard from the late '20s
shows how, instead of creating a pocket in
the surface, the area to be inlaid was cut out
completely. A mix of pearwood and sawdust
was used to raise the inlay to level.