Where did you get that?

     Hello. I spent some time recently going over some of the instruments I have and remembering the story each one has to tell. I can tell you the particulars on how I acquired any amp or guitar. It has been said that we as guitarists never "own" any instrument but instead we are given the opportunity to be its "caretaker". I think this is a responsibility that true guitarists treasure and understand. The electric guitar became popular beginning with Leo Fender's introduction of the "Broadcaster" (It became the "Telecaster in 1952) in 1950 introducing the first commercially available and affordable solid body electric guitar. Gibson followed quickly behind with the introduction of the Les Paul in 1952. Here we are 60+ years of solid body electric guitars later and, unlike throwaway items, these instruments continue to not only survive but live and breathe if given the chance.

        When we pass from this earth what happens to instruments that we held in such high regard? I think in many cases the family members may not hold these items anywhere as dear as we might have so they get sold or transferred along the line. When I have purchased a used guitar or amp I am always fascinated if I can find anything about it's previous owner. An initial scratched inside of a backplate, a sticker from a long ago closed music store or maybe the original receipt. What tells a better story is how well it was cared for by it's previous caretaker. Is there "mojo" of stale cigarette smoke in the grill cloth, sun fading of an aniline finish or was it played and revered showing honest playing wear with signs of impeccable care or was it a under the bed "bought and forgot" beauty of a model long ago discontinued? 

     Somehow it seems as if guitars and guitarists seem to "find" each other. Maybe you walked into a store and it had just been consigned. You went in to buy a pack of strings but whoa! Hey where did that come from? Another case finds its way into your car. It's 2:00 am and Ebay is always open. Unfortunately. What? Do I want to buy an…At that price? I would be crazy not to. The real special ones usually have a good story. These are the guitars and amps that WE wouldn't trade or sell for anything. Well, like I said before, we give it ALL away at some time. 

   Any instrument you acquire is at your mercy. Is it going to be just a "tool" like a hammer? Anyone of 'em will do. Perhaps, if you are like me, the brand new ones will receive honest playing wear. I believe that guitars were built to speak and allow you to speak through them. They will be well cared for, no "belt buckle rash" for mine thank you. For the ones that came to me with a "history" then I have done my best to do what ever I can so that they can continue on. To care for all of them until the next person walks into the store and say's, "Whoa, are you kidding me? Check this out! Oh man, I gotta have this. I know, I know. Well it's easier to be forgiven then get permission. Listen to this…" To that person I say, "Please take care of it because it's really cool, but play it man, play it!"                          


by Robert Gundry