These are not my guitars, but this is my guitar story.
One of the distinctly Wisconsin ways in which we raise money for our school’s music programs is the brat fry.
We usually camp out in front of the grocery store, fire up the grill, plug in the roasters and fill up the coolers, selling burgers and brats and pop to anyone who comes along. If we’re not working at one, we’re having lunch at one.
So it was last month at the music store run by our band director’s husband. After having downed my brat at their brat fry on that blisteringly hot day, I took momentary refuge inside the air-conditioned store, where visitors were encouraged to sign up for raffle prizes. On my way home from a record-digging trip that afternoon, I learned that I had won a nice Yamaha acoustic guitar.
Our son Evan, who has a gift for talking people into giving him guitars, figured my guitar also would be his. After all, his pal Collin loaned him the guitars you see above. (Not seen is the old amp that also came from Collin.)
Back in the ’60s, my dad brought home an electric guitar that had been damaged in shipping. It had a big crack along the side of the body. The customer didn’t want it, and understandably so. (My dad worked for REA Express, sort of like today’s UPS. If a customer declined a shipment, he could put in a claim for it.)
My guitar was red, with a long whammy bar. Even with that big crack, we had a lot of fun with it. That must have been 1966, maybe 1967, back when some older kids who lived up the alley had a garage band.
I’ve been looking for my old guitar for some time now, wading through Google image searches. After all that research, I’m fairly certain it was a 1964 to 1966 Sears Silvertone, a model that apparently was a favorite of garage band guitarists of modest means. I’m not sure it’s the red one in the picture from the 1966 Sears catalog, but that’s as close as I’ve gotten.
We kept that guitar, crack and all, well into the early ’70s. It had to have been around the house in 1973, because I sussed out and cranked out the chords to “Smoke On The Water” like every other 16-year-old.
One day, though, it went out in the trash.
So, yeah, I’ve been thinking about my old red guitar as Evan noodles on his. Maybe someday I’ll find out exactly what kind of guitar I had.
That’s my guitar story. Here’s another.
“The Guitar,” Guy Clark, from “Somedays The Song Writes You,” 2009.
That’s a song my friend Wally might have liked. Peace, my man.