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Guitar maker to restore Elvis' collection

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By The Athens Banner-herald
Monday, Dec. 30, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

ATHENS, Ga. — Elvis' 1956 Gibson J200 is one of the world's most iconic guitars, played by Presley in films such as “King Creole.”

If Bob Dylan's Newport Folk Festival sunburst Fender Stratocaster sold for nearly $1 million recently, Athens guitar maker Scott Baxendale thinks Presley's almost-60-year-old acoustic could fetch 10 times that amount.

If so, the J200 will be the most expensive guitar Baxendale has handled as he's been charged with rehabbing the Elvis guitar collection housed at Graceland in Memphis.

“I'm Elvis' posthumous guitar tech,” he said.

Baxendale will begin traveling in February to Memphis, the first of many periodic trips to repair, restore and document the King's collection of guitars, which he estimates number less than 25.

Most of the maintenance is general, he said. He'll be setting up a workstation in a warehouse on the Graceland property, keeping the treasures close to home.

“I'd hate to be responsible for transporting Elvis' guitars,” he said.

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