My First Guitar

• ~400 words • 2 minute read

In perusing my list of bookmarked books to possibly buy someday I came across My First Guitar: Tales of True Love and Lost Chords from 70 Legendary Musicians. It's an interview book with 70 well-known guitarists, and as someone who loves the instrument guitarists from Django to Jimi, I can see why I bookmarked it.

I started playing guitar around the time I was 12 and continue to play to this day, but can remember that passion and drive of playing when I was younger. I can also clearly remember the guitars I grew up on:

  • An Art & Guthrie acoustic guitar from Artichoke Music that I still keep freshly strung and playable at my parent's house. Still love the way this guitar sound and smells — the unfinished, mildly abused cedar top has aged beautifully.

  • A cream-colored, Fernandes Stratocaster clone from the now-defunct Apple Music Row in downtown Portland. They'd had to move all of their inventory that winter because the river was threatening to flood into downtown. I'd put the guitar on some kind of layaway — courtesy of my parents — before that, but when we'd gone in to pick it up there was a noticeably new ding, so the ordered a new one. I loved that guitar for a long, long time.

  • A 3/4 size, nylon-string, catalog guitar from the 60s or 70s by way of my aunt. The tone was noting to write home about but it was a staple of my childhood growing up, before learning to play the thing had even entered my mind. Inside the sound-hole, obscuring the manufacturer's label was a splattering of dried blood. Decades earlier a friend of my dad's had been strumming, evidently too enthusiastically, and reopened a wound on his finger.

  • A beautiful, 7-string, all koa semi-custom guitar from Carvin — a graduation and birthday gift rolled into one, when I was knee-deep into my "serious" musician days that lasted into my very earl 20s. That guitar still sees action to the day and was my friend to many jazz festivals and venues around town through all of my college years.