Guitar Aficionado

Collector's Soul: Filmmaker Bruce Hendricks

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Music and film have been a lifelong passion for Bruce Hendricks. A filmmaker for more than 25 years, Hendricks served as a producer, director, and studio executive on blockbusters that include The Sixth Sense, Armageddon, The Rock, Alice in Wonderland, and the Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy, where he met guitar legend Keith Richards. Hendricks has also been a pioneer in digital 3D photography, with directing credits that include the Hannah Montana Best of Both Worlds 3D concert film and Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experience.

How did you get started collecting guitars?
When I was in my twenties, I had to sell my only guitar, as I needed the money. I swore that once I could afford to, I’d buy several guitars and would never sell any of them. I’ve stuck to that, with the exception of occasionally donating to a charity or gifting a friend. With my collection, I try to keep things diverse. I play in a local Los Angeles band called Plan A, and we like to mix things up, so having different types of instruments helps create different sounds for us.

How do guitars fit in with the design aesthetics of your home?
I used to keep them in cases and rotate them out when I wanted to play them. Then one day I had the opportunity to work with Keith Richards on Pirates of the Caribbean. He was kind enough to sign a Custom Shop Gibson J-200 that was made for me as a Pirates-themed guitar. When I told him that I would never play it for fear of scratching it, he gave me the best advice on guitars I ever received, which was, “Just play it.” It was that simple, but honest. Now I leave out all my favorites in every room of the house.

What do you look for in a guitar?
The neck has to feel right. Guitars speak to me in a very primal way. There’s either a connection or not.

What are some of the guitars in your collection?
I have a beautiful bird’s-eye-maple Les Paul signed by the man himself! I also have several Custom Shop Strats, including a 75th anniversary model celebrating Disney (number four of 75) and a 2004 50th Anniversary Custom Shop Stratocaster. My acoustics include a custom Taylor cowboy sunburst acoustic made for the 2003 NAMM show, a Taylor Koa 12-string, and a Martin HD28V acoustic. I also have a National Reso-Phonic for slide playing, and, of course, my Keith Richards–autographed J-200

Which of the guitars is your favorite, and why?
In the band I play my 50th Anniversary Strat along with my Les Paul. For acoustic playing it’s my Martin D-28 and my J-200 Pirates of the Caribbean guitar.

What’s your dream purchase?
My dream purchase would be Brownie, Eric Clapton’s ’56 Strat, which sold for $497,500 in 1999. I like to dream big! On a more realistic note, I’d like a ’54 Strat to go with my 50th Anniversary model Strat.