The Lone Chicken Posted November 2, 2003 Share Posted November 2, 2003 I would like to invite you all to share your stories, the histories if you will, behind your guitars and associated equipment. This can include guitars that you now own, and also guitars that you once owned. I will begin... The very first guitar that I owned was a cheap no-name electric that my parents got me as a Christmas gift around 1969 when I was 12. It was one of those "department store" models with the string action so high you could drive a truck underneath (LOL), so I didn't play that one much at all, although I did experiment using it as a "lap steel" a few years later. I didn't take that guitar with me when I moved to s.CA in 1978, and I have no idea what became of it. I got my first decent guitar in the summer of 1975. It was a Lark dreadnought acoustic, and I bought it at a small music store in my hometown of Virginia Beach, VA for the grand total of $95 (the body had a slight cigarette burn near the edge, and that helped bring the price down). The action was a bit high, but it was playable, it sounded decent, and it was on this guitar that I finally actually started learning to play (although I did get some chord books, I learned, and to this day I play, primarily by ear). The music store owner that sold me the Lark said that it was a brand that Paul McCartney played, although I personally doubt that, and the only Lark that I've ever seen or heard of is the one that I bought and that I still have today. The Lark has pretty much gone with me everywhere, through relationships, through my travel to s.CA in 1978, back to VA in 1982, and then finally to OH in 1987. Although I now own a higher quality Ibanez acoustic-electric, I will always keep the Lark. Practicing on its somewhat higher action has built up my finger strength, allowing my fingers to really fly when I go to the Ibanez or to my Fender Strat. In 1978 I replaced the Lark's old plastic saddle with a more durable bone one, and I also replaced the cheap tuners with Grovers. It was late June 1977, and I was quite excited. I had always wanted to own a Fender Strat, and Mark Milan, the lead guitarist with the CBN 700 Club studio band (back when they had a live studio band) had agreed to sell me his for $450 (no money down, and $50 a paycheck from the Hardee's restaurant where I was working part-time back then while I was in college at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, VA). I met Mark that Thursday night at the old CBN studios in Portsmouth to finalize the deal. It was a 1963 Fender Strat with a rosewood fretboard and a somewhat beat-up sunburst body, and an action so low that my playing speed seemingly tripled the first time I played it. It also had a Schecter pickup (well, I THINK it was a Schecter) in the lead position. Anyhow, that night after meeting Mark I went straight to THE FIRE ESCAPE, a fantastic Christian nightclub in the oceanfront area of Virginia Beach, where the Resurrection Band, a hard rock Christian band, was setting up. As I walk in from the back, Glenn Kaiser the band's leader saw me with my newly-acquired Strat, said, "Hey, let me try that", grabbed my Strat, plugged it into his Marshall amp, turned it all the way up to "10", and VAAARRRROOOOMMMMMMMMM!!!!!!! The bass player in ISAAC, the band that owned THE FIRE ESCAPE, said to me, "Bet you didn't know your guitar could do THAT, did you?" My amp back then, by the way, was a Sears solid state 50-watt that my late grandma got for me on her Sears credit card--that amp weighed a ton! (LOL) (I would later change the dual speakers to Altecs). My varied devices included an MXR "Distortion +" (which actually served as the "pre-amp" for my Sears amp), an Electro-Harmonix ("EH") Big Muff Plus," an EH "Smallstone" phaser, an EH "Memory Man" echo, and an EH "Electric Lady" flanger. I also had quite a collection of guitar straps. I played my Strat in two bands back then--a Christian pop group called MICAH in 1978, and, after I moved from se.VA to s.CA, a progressive Christian band called CRYSTAL CITY in late 1978 and 1979. In January 1982, after I moved back to VA, I sold my '63 Strat and all my other guitar stuff (except for my Lark acoustic) for the sake of a lady that I honestly had no business being in a relationship with and who would later leave me (that is a part of a MUCH MUCH longer story, but since this forum is about guitar playing and not about personal issues and the such, I will spare you all!) 21 1/2 years later, the Lord, as He has been restoring dreams and other things to my life, made it possible for me to once again be the proud owner of a Fender Strat. With my household's finances in better shape, this past September 2003 I began looking around for a good deal. A local Findlay, OH had Fender Strats, but they were somewhat expensive--and cheaper Squier copies--and I felt impressed in my spirit to look further. I got wind of a large discount music store in Toledo, OH, and they had Fender Strats at a much better price. The only Strat that they had in stock with a rosewood fretboard (gotta be rosewood--maple sticks to my fingers for some reason) was with a sunburst body, which was a bit more expensive than other colors, and although my first inclination was to wait until they got in other colors, I could hear the Lord speaking in my spirit, saying, "That's your guitar". So I got off work from my job in Findlay at 3:30 pm that Saturday afternoon and hurried to that music store in Toledo, getting there about 20 minutes before their closing time, and finalized the deal. When the sales rep opened the case allowing me to see my new '03 Strat for the first time--well, you all can imagine the joy I felt at, in a way, having my Strat back. I also got a GREAT deal on an Ibanez Toneblaster 25R amp (much better than the old Sears amp, and also much cheaper, much louder, and much lighter to carry!), as well as an Alesis GuitarFX (a single pedal capable of doing all the stuff that my many pedals from the old days could do--I am amazed at how much electronics have changed since the early years!) which they had on sale at 50% off that day. And finally, just last week I went back to the local music store in Findlay (it turns out the guy that owns the place does offer discounts--his father who was working the store the day I was shopping for my Strat had forgotten that or whatever), where I got a very nice deal on a very nice '03 Ibanez V70CE-NT acoustic-electric guitar. All this is much more than merely owning decent guitar equipment once again. For me, it is about realizing lifelong dreams, and about trusting a heavenly Father who is able and willing to restore our dreams and bring them back to life if we just give those dreams to Him. Robert J. ("Bob") Welch III "If you were the only person who ever lived, God still would have sent Jesus His only Son to die on the cross for YOU, because that is how much HE LOVES YOU!" Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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