The Back Story:
I am a music junkie and a little bit of a hoarder. This combo creates the perfect equation for one of my favorite hobbies – guitar restoration. I have 11 guitars and they are all my babies. They all have names, special memories and songs behind them. My room at home has a wall covered in guitars, I have found some of them for free and I have also paid upwards of $300. I love the variety of playing options and getting to try new sounds!
Guitars Have Souls?
I don’t really have any close friends that play instruments so I have never been able to have a conversation about guitar collecting. This being said, I listen to a lot of podcasts about music. One day I was listening to Jess Weiner’s podcast “We’re All Going To Die, Anyway” with special guest – Joshua Bassett. Joshua talked about his first instrument, a ukulele from his late grandfather and he mentioned that he believed the ukulele had a soul and had the songs still in it that were played by his grandfather. This has always stuck with me because I believed the same thing but I couldn’t put it into words like Josh had.
When I find these beat up guitars at thrift stores they may be raggedy but they have souls and bunches of songs forever instilled in them. They sparkle despite the lack of shine left in them. When I say they all have names, I don’t mean I give them names but they kind of name themselves. Sometimes I know the names at first glance and sometimes they are a bit shy and take a few times playing them to learn their names.
1. My First Guitar – Fernando
My very first guitar was a childrens learning guitar with just three out of five strings that my older brother had left stranded in the basement. On a lonely day in 2018 without any older brothers to annoy, I grabbed the abandoned guitar from its ten year slumber in the depths of our family home. I looked up a video on how to restring a guitar and found a cheap string assembly kit on amazon. I ran to the mailbox two days later and started strumming with the help of some more youtube videos. The first song I learned was Two Ghosts by Harry styles.
Now I have plans to give Fernando a little revamp. I took off all of the strings last summer and sanded it down. Next I am going to stain it with Miniwax “True Black” whenever theres a warm day in an Iowa March/ April.
2. Liz – Acoustic Electric Guitar
This acoustic-electric was my second guitar and the first electric guitar I had. It is a classic acoustic and the sound is super bright with just enough bass and is just perfect. It is one of my favorites and I can pick it up most of the time without having to tune it! Funny story, when I first got this guitar as a Christmas present from my mom, the wood was in pieces from its rough delivery journey. But, we got a new one with little problems and it remains a staple in my collection!
3. London – Two Tone Electric Guitar
I got this pretty lady for my 18th birthday amid the Covid-19 Pandemic and it taught me a whole new way to play guitar. It feels like an art piece on my wall and I fall in love with it all over again every time I take it off its easel.
4. Guinness – Classical Acoustic guitar
$5 at a thrift store, $10 on strings
I found Guinness at the beginning of my freshman year of college when I was in a rough time. It was a SUPER beat up guitar. The wood was falling apart and it had approximately 3 strings. I had been watching a lot of videos with classical guitars and I knew that I was looking for a new sound. This ugly duckling had stuck with me walking through the whole thrift store and before checking out I grabbed it and never looked back. This guitar became my best friend in my single freshman dorm in Carpenter Hall.
5. Ovation – “O” – Hollow Back Acoustic
This weird acoustic is a monstrous round-back that came in this huge case. My dad found this one at a thrift store for $45 and it didn’t need any work! I could play it right out of the box! Until, one day I opened the case to play it and the whole bridge was dismantled. I had to superglue the piece back on with clamps and it has worked ever since! Knock on wood….
6. Lefty (the Rainbow Guitar)
My dad found this guitar for just $10 at a thrift store and it was in pretty good condition. Just one thing, it was a lefty guitar. I immediately swapped the strings around so I could play it and after about a month, the strings were worn out and I needed new ones. So, I ordered a set on amazon and when they showed up, they were a rainbow string set. This was mid 2020 so I was bored but I couldn’t just go out and buy new ones so to this day, lefty still has rainbow strings (and it’s still a lefty guitar, that doesn’t change).
7. Ruby – Mini electric guitar
$17 at a thrift store
This super mini, sparkly red electric guitar might be one of the funkiest I own but it has been the biggest pain! I got it for a Christmas present to have something to work on over break. Whoever had it before changed out the tuner pegs for plastic ones and they all broke off so I have to fix them. I have ordered three different peg sets and none of them have worked. So, my next step is drilling new holes so I can finally get to play this one.
8. Annie – Acoustic
Sometimes in the summer, you go out for a little joyride in your 2008 Mazda 3 just to feel something. On one of these occurrences I was in the depths of nowhere, Iowa and saw a guitar with a “free” sign next to it sitting up against a tree. I did a 360 and snagged that guitar. All it took was a new set of strings and she was ready to play! This guitar is “Annie the Orphan.”