Thursday, April 8, 2010

Coming back to roost

There she is, at the top of the musical heap:  The first guitar I ever owned, a sunburst acoustic six-string Dorado by Gretsch. 

Nothing fancy, I think it was purchased for $115 back in 1971 at a store in La Crosse, Wisconsin. You can't help but wonder how much more it would have cost to score a Gibson or Martin back then  -- and what those instruments would be worth today.  But if you think too much about these things you start worrying and fretting, and that's just not healthy.

The Dorado now graces the wall of a home recording studio in East Nashville, Tennessee.  How cool is that?  More than a few songs have been written on her (sure wish we could remember the words to "Ocklawaha Blues"), but she's pretty much retired now except for an occasional pick 'n' strum.

We've asked the question before, about the whereabouts of your first guitar -- if you never owned one get out there today and start looking. It's more than an instrument, it's art. And furniture!  We hope if that first one got away from you there's at least a good story behind it.

Me, I couldn't be prouder that mine's still in the family, occupying a lofty perch on the fringes of Music City.  Best of all, I have visiting rights.


  1. 1965 Gibson J-45 sunburst, bought in 1968 for $125 I believe. Still have it, all original except for Schaller tuners I put on. In the past 20 years I have used it mainly for recording.

    Over the years I have given away two old Harmony Rockets - saw one in a music store the other day for $650.

    Worst mistake letting one get away: a Mosrite Ventures model that I traded for a middling Les Paul. Although I later traded the Les Paul for another J-45, 1963 model

    I don't think I'l ever sell or trade any of the guitars I own today.

  2. I keep killing myself for trading away my 1979 Les Paul Standard (my first electric) for a Music Man 100W tube Amp. as I and everyone else at the time wanted to be like Eddie Van Halen and wanted Strats with whammy bars and humbuckers.

    Years later, in 2001, I bought a 2000 Les Paul Classic Cherry Sunburst like my 1979 Paul, and its never going to leave my side again.

  3. Two vintage J-45s? Now that's impressive. I have a '66 J-50 that is not my first guitar but might very well be my last. When you own an old Gibson you don't have to feel so needy.

  4. Yeah I'm lucky. But they weren't always so crazy-priced. I got the second one because it was a good trade and I needed an acoustic I could plug in.