This Ol' Guitar

Summer, 1973, around a campfire somewhere in Colorado. My dad and a neighbor are playing guitars, taking turns singing “Country Roads,” “Folsom Prison Blues,” “Peaceful, Easy Feeling,” and other great old songs that were still new then while the rest of us sing along. My seven-year-old self thought it was the greatest sound in the world. I learned a few chords on my Dad’s old Harmony F-hole acoustic, enough to play along with my cousin on some Beatles songs, but it wasn’t until I turned 13 that I bought my own guitar, a 1980 Alvarez 5022 acoustic I bought new with lawn mowing money. Since then I’ve played more or less consistently for forty years. I took a few lessons, but mostly learned on my own, by ear, and from playing with friends. I’ve played in talent shows, around campfires, in nursing homes, at church services, and some other unpaid gigs. I played for my wife on a mountain in Colorado where I asked her to marry me. I played for my daughters when they were toddlers and then played along with them as they grew older and learned to play their own instruments. But more often than not I just play for myself and the Lord and maybe our dogs, although I’m not sure if they really listen. I play whatever I feel like, across all genres of music, with a heavy emphasis on the 70’s and 80’s, the golden years of guitar singer-songwriters. For a long time I only had the Alvarez, but then a few years ago I picked up a mandolin and learned to play Irish tunes with my daughters. Then I added the bass guitar and a 12-string guitar and started buying and selling other used guitars. Like my taste in music I don’t really care if a guitar is old or new, or has a few nicks and dings on it, only that it’s built well and sounds good to my ears. I still have the old Alvarez and it's the only one I’m sure I’ll still have forty years from now, but for however long I own them, I’m willing to share the other ones here.

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