NOT long after the start of the great 2020 coronavirus lockdown, I decided to keep myself amused by writing the “43 Guitars…and Counting!” blog, initially on Facebook, and later, in expanded, updated form, on WordPress.
The idea was to list every single guitar I’d owned since 1978 – but also to tell their stories and explain how I came to get each one (and in many cases, why I sold them again soon afterwards!) That’s quite a lot of guitars – and quite a lot of stories, all of which I hoped might be of interest to someone, somewhere.
I’ve been a major gearhead (not in the Jeremy Clarkson sense – for the uninformed, it’s common muso-speak for an equipment obsessive) for more or less as long as I’ve aspired to be a musician, so it was always going to be a bit of an epic task.
I called it “43 Guitars…and Counting!” as a nod to my pal, the excellent Norfolk guitarist and all-round good chap Ron Sayer. Around the same time, Ron started a video blog on Facebook called “42 Guitars”. There are two major differences though: He still has the 42 guitars and basses and has owned even more; secondly, he’s not only talking about them, but using his considerable fretboard gifts to demonstrate each one on video. (No danger of me doing that, you’ll be relieved to hear!)
I probably couldn’t have done this without the vast number of pictures I’ve hoarded down the years on my hard drive – from fuzzy black-and white images, scanned and blown up from scratched old contact sheets, to pin-sharp hi-resolution shots from my current Samsung smart phone.
Down the years, my archive has proved really useful for all sorts of things – not least recording serial numbers and distinguishing marks which might come in handy in the event of a guitar, amp or whatever getting stolen.
All those photos were certainly invaluable when I started looking back on my guitar collection a couple of months ago. Without photos to prompt my memory, I don’t reckon I would have remembered roughly a third of the instruments which found their way into the blog…there were even a couple which even now, I have only the vaguest recollection of ever owning!
Well so far I’ve managed to stretch it to 59 guitars, of which I have retained considerably less than half. All the same, it was inevitable I’d eventually run out of guitars to write about, leaving me to look at on ways to keep the blog going…
Maybe not that many, though I’ve had quite a lot down the years, including some quite rather interesting, desirable and unusual pieces. However, they’re somehow just not as personal or interesting as guitars.
Yes, I’ve had many more than that – probably still do, now I think about it. A couple of people did suggest this, but to be honest, I can’t help feeling the appeal of that would have been pretty minimal outside a very particular cohort of extreme nerdiness.
So how to fill the next few days of enforced idleness?
The answer, my friends, with apologies to the makers of a certain TV programme from a few years back…
FANTASY FRETBOARDS… 10 Guitars I’d Love to Play
Stay tuned for tomorrow’s opening chapter. 🙂