Bellingham man recounts making Prince's iconic Super Bowl guitar
BELLINGHAM, Wash. -- It is one of the quintessential Prince moments. The kind of moment you remember where you were when it happened.
For Bellingham's Andy Beech, the 2007 Super Bowl halftime show was more than a moment -- it was life changing.
"I'm just sitting there on the couch saying, 'play it, play it,'" Beech said. "I'm like, 'please pick it up,' and when he did, I'm like, 'yes!'"
Prince was playing Beech's guitar.
"I remember how excited in that room it was, it was invaluable. It was fun," he said.
That symbol-shaped guitar made famous by Prince was made by Bellingham's self-taught, custom-guitar builder.
"That's the design you see today and I copied that design at Prince's request," said the 51-year-old craftsman.
Beech said he made four symbol-shaped and 27 cloud-design guitars for Prince.
"When you have somebody at that level giving you the chance to prove yourself, it's huge," said Beech, who called the pop star's death devastating. "He's one in a billion, there is no more."
And then there was the time Prince, with Andy's one-off symbol-design guitar, made Guitar World Magazine.
"There is Prince holding the guitar, one of the four symbols I had made, all that information had my name all over it, made by Andy Beech, it was humbling," he said.
Beech, who made his first guitar out of scrap lumber and desperation at 13, never met Prince but knows they are kindred spirits.
"Most people in his situation would take the endorsement and just play the Gibson or the Fender, but he didn't," Beech said. "He would have rather sourced it out and find unique things and unique people and that's what made his music, as well."
The full time carpenter who does finishing work on high end homes under construction and part time guitar making, says as he gets older he hopes to transition into more guitar making and less home building.
He credits timing and luck for landing the Prince jobs after a chance meeting with former Ozzy Osbourne guitarist Zakk Wylde, who recommended Beech make the copy guitars. He's made 600 guitars over nearly four decades and just cranked out a custom guitar for Judas Priest guitarist Richie Faulkner.
He hopes there will be more show stopping moments, but knows nothing will compare to that Super Bowl performance.
When asked how he will top that night in 2007, Beech said "I don't know that you can."