I ask myself this every time I come through my front door. How did I become the owner of over 200 used and vintage guitars? I am asked this daily (at least once).
When I was about 9 years old my brother Bee came home from the Navy with a Gibson guitar. I had been taking piano lessons but wasn’t exactly enthralled with it. James Taylor’s Fire and Rain and Sweet Baby James had just started playing on the radio and once I saw that guitar and heard how my brother played it I was smitten and have never looked back. It was the early 70’s and there were 14 in our family. We had lots of
people around but very little money. I knew I wanted that guitar and I wanted to play it. Somehow we acquired a Truetone from Western Auto Hardware store. The strings were steel and fat and probably rose about 1/2″ off the fretboard. I didn’t care. I somehow got my hands on a book of chord diagrams and marveled at what an invention this was. Somebody had the presence of mind to label the strings and the frets and put black dots where your fingers needed to be to make that chord. It didn’t take long before I knew all the basic chords and some of the more intricate ones. I started to hear the chords in songs and started playing by ear at that point. I would practice for hours. There was no X-box or Cable TV or internet or Snap Chat, even worse, no Facebook. How did we survive?
Catholic grade school afforded weekly opportunities to play music at our Friday masses. Guitar masses were fairly a new thing and very popular with the kids. Then came playing at first communions and graduations and weddings. High school brought jazz bands and trips on the bus to Moorehead State U in Kentucky for their annual band clinic. In my teens I was lying about my age to get into bars and restaurants and play.
I have digressed. The one motivating force through all of this is that I had an intense love of guitars, all guitars. We never had much money so my lifelong goal was to be able to have any guitar I wanted. I would have spent my life in a music store if I could have gotten away with it.
Life had some major ups and downs and I found myself starting over in a rented house that doubled as a consignment shop. My front room soon became the display case for any guitars I bought and cleaned up and restrung. It never occurred to me at the time that other people might actually enjoy what I was doing. It just felt to me like every other obsessive compulsive thing I had ever done, except so much more rewarding. Soon people started wanting to come over and sit and play. Others asks me to keep my eyes open for a certain kind of guitar or banjo. This was the birth of Fraulein’s Fine Guitars later to be known as Music Plays On.
At this point I have been at this a little over 3 and a half years. How did I get here? I still ask myself that but I don’t dwell on the answer. God is doing for me what I could not do for myself. That is all I need to know.