Acoustic Guitars

on Apr 10 in Flotsum & Jetsam by

For the past 35 years, I’ve had a love affair with an acoustic guitar.

When I was 14, my friend Bob showed me a bunch of chords and we started passing weekends with him fingerpicking and me playing little melodies up the neck.

I fell hard. That spring, my mom signed me up for group lessons at the Cheltenham Art Center, and then agreed to hiring Bob’s teacher, Jerry Schurr, who arrived wearing an illegal smile, and taught me fingerstyle guitar a la Mississippi John Hurt.

I still have my first Martin: a 00018. I think of her as a little Amish girl, all 12 frets, her tiny unadorned body, small enough for even a teenager to get his arms around. She set my mom back maybe $300 in 1971 and unlike the idea of a beauty in our culture, she is now worth a grand.

In my early twenties I worked as a talent scout for Arista Records in New York. As low man on the totem pole, I was the guy Clive Davis paid to listen to dozens and dozens of awful demo tapes each day, and then got sent, on expense account, to NYC clubs like Hurrah, Mudd Club and CBGB to come up with wording so Clive could politely pass on his wealthy friends and fellow music biz lawyers –talentless acts. The year I got that job, I evaluated my own talent as a singer/songwriter, and stopped playing. Ten years later, I was a working stiff in corporate America.

Lots of guys collect things that are referential to what they love, and would be doing, if they weren’t working constantly. I bought my first such guitar in 1990 — a beautiful sunburst Collings that I play now. A couple years later, I bought a Martin D45 KLE, guitar of the month, 27 of 50 made — with a bear claw spruce top and koa back. Next came a tiny all-koa Taylor and after that, a sunburst Santa Cruz with absolutely incredible inlay.

I hope I’ll never quit playing, but I’m messing around now with mandolin, fiddle and electric guitar, so last week, I put them all up for sale.

One Comment

  • Dean M. says:

    This entry resonated with me this week in particular. I’ve collected “things” (no specificity needed) over the last 35 years. This week I moved from my home of 20 years to new digs. I was so deeply saddened throughout the week over how many “things” I’d accumulated. I wanted to renounce ALL of my worldly possessions. Instead I rented a dumpster… gave shit away… set aside some specials for eBay… and glumly put some into storage for a day that I know will never come.