We fought for justice and not for gain

This was my grandmother’s guitar. When she was a teenager she saved her earnings from an entire summer serving lunches and drinks to workers in the fields around her family’s farm to buy it from the Sears catalog.

It originally had a tortoise shell celluloid pick guard that has long since crumbled into innumerable tiny pieces. I suspect the bridge may have been replaced several decades ago. When I first received it I researched old Sears guitars hoping to learn more of the history of this model. Unfortunately the guitar bears virtually no distinguishing markings or characteristics unique to any particular brand.

It is also entirely possible that the family folklore surrounding its acquisition is factually flawed.

Quite honestly, though, this guitar could have been hand crafted by demons in the fiery pits of Hell and handed straight to Robert Johnson by the devil himself and it would not alter its value to me one scintilla. This guitar has a soul — a wicked, yet redemptive soul that is priceless in my eyes.

This guitar is untameable. Due to the odd bridge the strings sit unfathomably high above the fretboard. The player must possess strong hands to keep even the lightest gauge strings pressed against the frets. The frets, made of rough, cheap steel, chew away at your callouses as you play. The tuning pegs may as well be windmills — maintaining consistent pitch is either a quixotic endeavor or a complete waste of time.

Playing this guitar for an hour is like going fifteen rounds with James Braddock while being enticed by the curves of Rita Hayworth. It’s a brutal and exhausting effort — and unquestionably worth it.

Categories: MusicPhotography


Shelley · 5 September 2009 at 10:10 AM

This was just a really lovely entry.

(also a hot photo of you!)

Carol · 6 September 2009 at 10:19 PM

Great post. Your grandmother would be proud.

Luke · 15 September 2009 at 10:23 AM

Cool… that guitar sounds a lot like a guitar my grand dad give to me… he got from the Montgomery Wards Catalog… Bad Frets, Bad Tuners, Cheap Bridge, the Nut on the headstock I’ve replaced a couple times…. the body isn’t very quality so everything sounds a little flat and dry… but I think I love it for the same reason you love yours

Comments are closed.