Some great stories in this thread and I hope that there are more to follow. I'm just waiting for my guitar story to happen. It will go a bit like this....
I'm walking around town not looking for anything in particular (as usual) when I pass one of the charity shops and spy a 1932 Selmer Maccaferri guitar. Everything about it is authentic right down to the 640mm scalelength and D hole 'grande bouche' soundhole. I even manage to take it in my trembling hands to the lady at the till. The price ticket says £10 and I think about asking if she will take a fiver cos it will need new strings....but a strange feeling of calm serenity passes over me and I offer twenty sovs for it (charitable to a fault) which is gratefully received.
Slightly off-topic, but related, this is a rough (very rough - please don't judge me too harshly) demo of a song I wrote based on a 'guitar story' someone posted on That Other Guitar Forum (in a thread that seemed to subsequently be deleted for no apparent reason, so I could never share it with him...).
Reminds me of guy Clark's song "the Guitar" which I've always liked because, well it was Guy and it was rather like an old gibson that michael watts showed me in guitar Junction - only it got away from me.
This is my humble (very humble) version of guy's song;
I do check ebay now and again to see if my old D-03R pops up, but not too often as I don't currently have means to buy it.
Well ain't that typical. Writing about that Larrivee had me take a little look to see what I could find, and up pops this. I can't be 100% certain that it was mine, but I did polish out the back (they have a matte finish) and the top looks very similar.
Very glad to discover that the Larrivee for sale on ebay is NOT my old Larrivee!!! I found a close-up photo of mine and the grain doesn't have enough silking on the one for sale. I don't know why this makes me so happy - but it does!
So, I sold my D35 to a good friend (who still owns it bt asn't cared for it well, and I bough my a "pair". A Martin J12-40 and a J-40. Really had a tough time with them, couldn't do what I used t be able to do on my D35.
got booked by a pub/club to open for the late great Isaac Guillory. (great talent and extremely nice bloke). I whinged to him about my new guitar. He handed me his Martin D35-S. and all of a sudden I discovered my hammer-ons and pull-offs again.
This was that guitar : I commenced a search for a guitar, with a wider fretboard.
There wasn't a 12fret Martin dreadnought to be had in the country. One one desperate trip to the West End seeking same, I jumped on a train and visited the "Acoustic Centre" in Wapping (now sadly gone). Whilst looking around at the wonderland of guitars (all 14 fretters), the sales person (one Seamus Brady) asked me what I was looking for.
He took careful notes in his little black book and, I confess, I didn't have much faith but in a few weeks I got a call from Seamus and was hithered thither to find a soundproofed booth with a Martin HD28-S, a Santa Cruz D-12, and Bourgeois Ds260 and a Collings DS2h.
The Collings eventually came home with me and has since been joined by "some" more Collings guitars. My guitar was the second Collings (or at least Collings DS2h) to come into the country , and the first was bought in by the Acoustic Centre, and used for review items in guitar magazines. Once returned - it was bought by ...Seamus Brady(!) who subsequently wrote some great articles about the history and benefits of 12 fret dreads.
Shortly before curmudgeon started this thread, I acquired a guitar that could have had a big impact on my life, had I bought the same model when I had the chance many years ago. At 53 years old it was playable and sounded good, but the setup was poor, the top was cracking because of pickguard shrinkage, and it had had a very hamfisted refret done at some point. Everything else seemed to be more or less original though, including the case, and I knew it could be brought back to life. It’s from a well known but, in my view, under valued maker and as a result the price I paid for it left me enough headroom to make the necessary investment in fixing it.
I read other people’s guitar stories with great interest and enjoyment, but decided to hang fire on mine until I’d had the necessary work done to get my guitar into shape. That’s now done - it cost me slightly over half what I paid for the guitar, but it was well worth it. I’m just finishing off a little video I’ve made to demonstrate it.
When I was 21 I decided it was time I had a “real” guitar, having been playing since the age of 15 on poor quality, difficult to play instruments. I saved up enough to get into the low end of the used Gibson/Martin markets. At that time, a shop called A1 was Manchester’s main guitar store; I remember they kept a lot of the decent stuff literally hanging from the ceiling, presumably to dissuade casual try outs.
At that time, there were two things on my mind: one, I wanted a “name” guitar and two, I wanted it to be easy to play. At that stage I had no real idea about set up, and didn’t know anyone capable of adjusting them; all I knew was that I was fed up of having to use a capo to make my then current guitar remotely playable. I remember having been quite taken with the look of a Gibson J45 (sunburst, of course) and a couple of dark topped Guild dreadnoughts (mahogany and cherry finishes, if I recall correctly) that I’d seen in another shop window, but in the event the only two guitars at A1 that were affordable for me were a Gibson LGO and a Guild F-20 Troubadour.
I went to and fro between these two for a long time. The Gibson was from 1963 and, although I didn’t realise it at the time, had been heavily refinished. It was ok to play, not super easy but better than what I currently had. I don’t remember an awful lot about the Guild, except that it seemed very small. I did like the name Troubadour though.
In the end, the Gibson name proved to have the stronger pull, and the LGO went home with me. I quickly felt the first pangs of what was to become a regular experience - buyer’s regret. It just never felt right. When I came to sell it, I discovered that the refinish had killed the value. The Troubadour was long gone from A1. I bought a Harmony Sovereign which I later traded for a Guild dreadnought, a heavy beast with an arched back which was quite nice to play but not really the thing for fingerstyle.
Life took over and several years passed in which I was too busy with small children to play much. Then, in the fallout from getting divorced, I starting playing again and decided it was time I had a “real” guitar...
There then followed a string of purchases, sales, part exchanges..... Martins, Lowdens, Taylors, Collings, Guilds, Gibsons, Fyldes, Larrivees, an Avalon, a Brook.... I tried to buy wisely and avoided taking too much of a loss too often, but the money wasn’t the issue - I was just after the one “perfect” guitar (which we all know doesn’t actually exist, right? ). Along the way, I found an excellent set up tech, learned what I liked in terms of body size, nut width, neck profile, bridge spacing, and managed to refine the collection down to a reasonable level. I now have a rule: whilst I have no intention of going down to one guitar, I only keep ones that would satisfy me, as my only guitar, if the rest were stolen or lost in a fire.
So while I no longer go to guitar shops still looking for that elusive perfect instrument, I do still enjoy trying stuff out, always leaving stores thinking I prefer what I already have at hone to anything else. Job done eh?
But then, on one of my periodic visits to Frailers, I found a 1965 Guild F-20 - the Troubadour. I loved the body size, about the same as a Martin single-0. But having gravitated, over the years, to 1-3/4” or 1-13/16” necks I was shocked at how skinny the 1-11/16” nut felt, with a very slim neck and tight bridge spacing.
I didn’t care. Gripped by an attack of sentimental nostalgia, I bought it.
And it doesn’t meet my “would this work as my only guitar” test. But I still don’t care.
Because here’s the thing. I don’t regret, or for the most part miss, all those guitars that came and went. I loved owning them. And I love my Martins and Fyldes, with their wider nut widths and their chunkier necks and their more accommodating string spacing at the bridge. But this Guild takes me right back to how I felt, and how I played, and how I wanted to play, all those years ago. And it makes me wonder: if I’d bought that Troubadour at A1 when I was 21, would it have fitted me like a glove? Would I ever have embarked on that endless search for the perfect guitar? Or would it have been my lifelong companion, still making music with me all these years later?
I’ll never know. But I’m so glad I have this one now.
walkingdecay: I can't look at pictures of that smirking slug without wanting to throw.
Jun 28, 2020 13:31:40 GMT
ocarolan: ..up? or rotten tomatoes Pete? Or both? Probably the latter is best.
Jun 28, 2020 21:32:39 GMT
curmudgeon: The use of the nickname "Bubbles" made me think of Matt Lucas' character "Bubbles DeVere" and seeing our great leader doing (a) pressup after having a baby (poor woman!) there seems to be a connection somehow: "Bubbles Johnson? Bubbles DePfeffel?
Jun 29, 2020 12:46:24 GMT
walkingdecay: Clinical Support Bubbles in the event of an accidental press up that isn't fake?
Jun 30, 2020 11:46:39 GMT
NewDave: Boris Johnson seems to think he is a cross between Churchill and F D Roosevelt. Funny. When I look at him I see the bastard lovechild of Benny Hill and Harold Shipman.
Jun 30, 2020 17:19:27 GMT
walkingdecay: Hah! My wife says Roosevelt would be so affronted by the self-comparison he would beat Johnson into a heap of blubber with one of his walking sticks.
Jun 30, 2020 20:16:18 GMT
walkingdecay: Speaking of Benny he was a big fan of bluegrass and turned up at a lot of Bill Monroe gigs. There was one rule with him if you wrote gags though: never try to sell him any material because he'd refuse it and then blatantly steal it.
Jun 30, 2020 20:24:33 GMT
NewDave: I think he's a Hogarth for our times. But yeah, they're a bit grim. He's developing a symbolic language all his own. Steve McFadden's (Phil Mitchell from Eastenders) looks of disgust and resignation are a joy and manatees are meant to by symbols of hope
Jul 1, 2020 9:35:06 GMT
NewDave: Searching for the hidden Cilla Black can bring hours of entertainment. Or maybe that's just me.
Jul 1, 2020 9:35:41 GMT
walkingdecay: Maybe there's a hidden Cilla Black in everyone.
Jul 1, 2020 20:27:20 GMT
NewDave: Unleash your inner Cilla? The Personal Growth Weekend that's a lorra lorra laughs.
Jul 2, 2020 10:28:07 GMT
walkingdecay: Sadly the long awaited release of Homegrown hasn't granted us a vital missing piece of the Neil Young puzzle after all. I suspect Neil gets all his puzzle pieces from different boxes anyway.
Jul 2, 2020 20:33:04 GMT
walkingdecay: I still have a 'Release Potatoland' badge. Worth at least a million quid, I reckon.
Jul 2, 2020 20:36:51 GMT
NewDave: Johnson's greatest is achievement is making that blithe, insouciant lightweight Cameron seem statesmanlike. That LBC interview. Holy Cow!
Jul 3, 2020 9:05:04 GMT
walkingdecay: One of the weird things about that stupid virus is that symptoms reappear weeks later. Last week I felt like housebricks had replaced key joints of my body; now I find I can't taste anything again.
Jul 4, 2020 7:32:19 GMT
ocarolan: Housebricks for knees? There is mortar this virus than first appears! But sorry to hear that Pete - hope you will recover soon - all the best to you and Mrs Decay - stay safe.
Jul 4, 2020 9:46:16 GMT
walkingdecay: "mortar..." I like it!
Jul 4, 2020 13:15:08 GMT