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.