Guitars with sentimental significance for you?

Discussion in 'Other Cool Guitars' started by JT19, Jul 12, 2020.

  1. JT19

    JT19 Gretschie

    Nov 28, 2009
    Atlanta, GA
    I thought it would be cool to hear stories about guitars that have sentimental significance for you.

    I've bought and sold way too many guitars over the years, but there is one guitar that I'll never part with (again).

    Back in 2005, when I was an active recording/performing fingerstyle guitarist, I had a guitar custom built for me by luthier Kent Hamblin. It featured a cedar top, flamed "fiddleback" mahogany back and sides, and a longer 25.7" scale length, since I used dropped tunings (DADGAD, CGDGAD, and CGCGCD) almost exclusively.

    As an extra personal touch, my friend--and talented inlay artist--Bill Nichols inlaid my signature (in maple, to match the guitar's bindings) into the back of the headstock.

    A few years later, I went through a rough patch and had to sell off some of my expensive guitars, including this one. I'm not sure what its history was over the next 10 years... but two years ago, my son Owen happened to see it listed for sale on a guitar forum, and he decided to buy it back for me as a surprise birthday gift.

    Now... my son had recently graduated from high school and started his first real job. This is the most expensive guitar I've ever owned--and I have no idea how much he paid to reacquire it. But it must have taken an incredible amount of patience and sacrifice to slowly save up the funds for it.

    When he presented it to me on my birthday, I was so shocked I couldn't even speak. I just looked back and forth between Owen and the guitar in disbelief until my eyes welled up with tears. Even now, it's hard not to get choked up talking about it.

    Needless to say, this guitar will never change hands again... at least until I'm gone and it gets passed back to my son.




    For what it's worth... this guitar has a twin--a cedar/rosewood Hamblin SJ that also has my signature on the back of the headstock. I have no idea where it is now (it was sold at the same time as this one), but every once in a while I do a search to see if I can find it.

    I don't think I'd ever be in a position financially to reacquire the rosewood sibling, but I'm still curious where it ended up. Even if I eventually tracked it down and reacquired it, though, it would never be able to come even close to the sentimental value that this one has.

    I also had a cedar/cocobolo Hamblin SJ at the same time (this is the guitar that's featured on the cover of my Celtic Guitar Solos songbook):


    I bought that Hamblin from a good friend of mine, and it was the one that inspired me to order the pair of custom guitars before eventually selling it back to him. He unfortunately passed away a few years ago, but we were both trying to track this one down for him at the time. Still have no idea where it ended up, either.

    Here's a couple of shots of the Hamblin triplets when they were all together:



    Anyway... enough about mine. What guitar(s) have special significance for you?
    JC higgy, radd, MTurner and 7 others like this.
  2. wabash slim

    wabash slim Gretschified

    Feb 10, 2010
    lafayette in
    I have three.

    I have a '69 Voxton (became Yamaha) parlor flattop that I got for my 20th birthday while in the Air Force. Went around the world, it's the guitar I learned on. Still have it.

    Bought my Peavey Cropper with some inheritance money. I think of my Mom every time I play it.

    I inherited my father-in-law's fiddle and guitar. Fiddle's in great shape. The guitar, not so much. It's a '30s Silvertone sunburst (and I don't like bursts) that somewhat survived a car crash. It has a bilious gold flake pickguard, and a horrid mashed in top---and still somehow plays. He told me it reminded him to never drink again. The '35 Chevy didn't fare as well when the tree jumped out in front of him.
    radd, section2, new6659 and 1 other person like this.
  3. Stefan87

    Stefan87 Synchromatic

    May 20, 2019
    Brisbane, Australia
    I have three at the moment.

    My very first acoustic which is a cheap no name one, worth nothing money wise but it was my first guitar so worth a lot to me, my 6119 which was my first Gretsch and my 21st present second time round so too speak, and my current white penguin which I have wanted since I can remember, there will be a fourth though but that will be the last thing my parents buy me so hopefully that is a long time away.
    JT19 likes this.
  4. dougmon

    dougmon Gretschie

    Jan 9, 2013
    They all start to have sentimental value eventually. If they don't, I sell them. The one I'm most attached to, though, is a Taylor 812c; there's a picture of it over in the "what guitar-related gear have you owned the longest?" thread.
    JT19 likes this.
  5. thunder58

    thunder58 Super Moderator Staff Member

    Dec 23, 2010
    tappan ny
    Admin Post
    Sentimental and I'll never part with it . My Yamaha FG-160 . I was 16 and on top of the world ( and I didn't even know it ) . My father and I went down to The Bronx to Bronans Music . We spent the day together in The Bronx and had lunch at McDonalds when McDonalds was good eatin' . Dad HATED ! the fact that all I wanted was to be a famous rock star . Still got the guitar and still got dad ....he'll be 90 in September . He's 88 in the photo

    Attached Files:

    radd, mbkri, MTurner and 7 others like this.
  6. JT19

    JT19 Gretschie

    Nov 28, 2009
    Atlanta, GA
    That's awesome! And great genes, too... both of you look much younger than you are!
    thunder58, section2 and Jeff67 like this.
  7. Jeff67

    Jeff67 Country Gent

    Nov 3, 2019
    Crockett, Texas
    If Rich hadn't said that was his dad and that he's 88, I would have thought they were brothers! Not saying you look old, Rich, but that your dad looks so young for 88.:)
    section2 likes this.
  8. flip

    flip Electromatic

    Jun 22, 2020
    Manchester UK
    I think this is an interesting topic, not least because when I started reading it I thought 'oh dear another bragging list'. How wrong I was. It got me thinking that guitars are 'things' and just inert pieces of wood, metal etc, like most 'things'. I have a collection of metal Minolta cameras that have served me well over the years but they too are just 'things'. The difference is that my guitars have another life. With human help they can produce beautiful sounds, even in my inept hands. They create other more ethereal things, things that transcend ownership. I wrote in a memoir created for my family that 'Music lifts the spirit and breaks the heart' and I think that's what makes my guitars special to me. Cameras, on the other hand, merely record what they are pointed at.

    Incidentally, when I was updating the memoir, I thought I'd read that clause somewhere else but I've googled it and it appears to be original. If it was my original I'm quite proud of that, but though the words may be original the idea behind them isn't. I imagine most people here share it for a start.
    new6659 likes this.
  9. JT19

    JT19 Gretschie

    Nov 28, 2009
    Atlanta, GA
    Perhaps... but I'd argue that a good photographer has an artistic eye for subject, framing, etc., that most people don't. Good photography can be an expressive art form that evokes emotions (similar to music). I don't have that photographic talent... but my son does. We can both point our cameras at the same thing, but his photos are going to be better than mine every single time.

    Both musical instruments and cameras are tools... objects that in the right hands, can make us feel something.

    But I think... or at least hope... that the thread isn't about guitars as objects, but rather about our experiences and our emotional connections to other people. I love hearing stories like thunder58's trip to the music store with his dad to buy a guitar he still has 44 years later... or the guitar that went around the world with wabash slim while he was in the military (and still has 50 years later).

    In cases like these, it's who or what the guitars remind us of that makes them so special.... nothing to do with the qualities of the guitars themselves, really.
    mister rain and audept like this.
  10. audept

    audept Senior Gretsch-Talker

    Dec 1, 2010
    Sydney, Australia
    Here's my 1962 SG Les Paul with genuine PAF pickups. I modded it extensively in 1968 soon after I swapped it for my 1959 Telecaster. After only a few shows the headstock had cracked behind the nut and the original fretboard was lifting off. In the process of having the repairs done by the best luthier I could find, I decided to make some big changes to customize the guitar for me. (Who knew what these would be eventually worth back then!) The fretboard was replaced with a 40 year old (in 1968) piece of ebony, I helped the luthier cut out real mother-of-pearl blocks from the shell. The truss rod was replaced with a custom double truss-rod. and a Zero Fret added. The wiring was changed so that there is an on/off switch for each pickup, but only 1 master volume and 1 master tone. The original pickup selector switch was rewired to put the middle pickup in/out of phase. I had a bridge handmade with individual height and intonation for each string, and a custom stop tailpiece made. This guitar is still rockin' after all this time and wipes the floor for tone with all other SG's I have ever tried. The original PAF pickups are awesome, even back in the 60’s I knew there was something very special about the sound of my SG compared to others that I played.

    1962 SG Les Paul 003.jpg 1962 SG Les Paul 006.jpg 1962 SG Les Paul 008.jpg 1962 SG Les Paul 014.jpg
    radd, Jeff67, Trash Kidd and 3 others like this.
  11. radd

    radd Country Gent

    Dec 27, 2017
    Santa cruz

    My almost 50 yr old Ovation. The first good guitar I ever bought. Went with a dear friend and I bought that guitar, he bought a Martin and we both still have them and are still very close friends.


    my Gretsch 5420 that my oldest daughter researched by herself, she is a non player, purchased it by herself and completely surprised me at Christmas two years ago.

    GlenP, JT19, MTurner and 5 others like this.
  12. audept

    audept Senior Gretsch-Talker

    Dec 1, 2010
    Sydney, Australia
    My Maton FG100, part of a special run of 12 made for Maton's first overseas guitar exhibition in San Francisco in 1969. I was invited out to the Maton factory in Melbourne Australia and allowed to pick one of the batch as a prize in a band competition. 51 years old and sounding better all the time.
    Maton FG100 005.jpg Maton FG100 012.jpg Maton FG100 008.jpg
    radd, JT19, Jeff67 and 2 others like this.
  13. Ricochet

    Ricochet I Bleed Orange

    Nov 13, 2009
    Monkey Island
    How do you know when to point and at what? When I was in art school a buddy showed me this great photo he just made using a simple Yashica T5. Missing the point entirely I offered Oh I got one of those! He looked at me, pointed to his eye and said, yeah but do you have these?
    new6659, section2 and audept like this.
  14. thunder58

    thunder58 Super Moderator Staff Member

    Dec 23, 2010
    tappan ny
    Admin Post
    Thank you my friend
  15. stiv

    stiv Country Gent

    Sep 12, 2014
    Florence, Italy
    All my guitars are sentimental to me, if they aren’t well they end up in the trade market pretty soon. At the moment I own my first real guitar, my first vintage guitar, a guitar made the same year I was born, a guitar I bought for my wife, my first pre war guitar, a guitar given to me by a friend who’s not on this earth anymore, a guitar I split in 2 parts and glued back in one (just to remind me how stupid I was). The only odd baby out here it’s a Recording King that... well, it’s still here just because a man couldn’t do It without a 000.
    All the others are history.
    JT19 likes this.
  16. Scamp

    Scamp Electromatic

    Feb 22, 2018
    My Yamaha classical guitar. I was my second guitar but the first that I bought, still have it.
    I had an instructor, in the 60's, that talked about guitars like they were alive. He told me when looking for a guitar if they have 10 of the same guitar out try them all. They all look the same but as you play them you will see, hear and fell differences. Try them all till you find the one that says "Me, me, take me" Thought he was crazy till I did that, tried 8 guitar of the same model and found one that said "take me" Fun to do and it drives the sells person crazy. LOL
    He also told me if sometime you having problems playing a song, like you have all the notes and rhythm but it's just not right, try another guitar. Maybe the guitar you're playing just doesn't like that song. I've done that too. He was kinda a crazy ole guy but he was a hell of a guitar player
    Jeff67, new6659 and JT19 like this.
  17. Dana Rudd

    Dana Rudd Gretschie

    Nov 26, 2019
    Greybull, WY
    Mine would be a gift from my wife.
    Back in 1977 she came walking into the house with a guitar case in hand. Inside was a Martin D-18 shade top, brand new. I never have figured out how she knew what to buy me, but I was floored.
    Still have the wife and the guitar, love them both.
    Jeff67, new6659, bhatta and 2 others like this.
  18. kjmac

    kjmac Gretschie

    Mar 7, 2018
    Omaha, NE
    I have two guitars with sentimental value to me. One is a 2000 Affinity Strat that I bought off Ebay for $38.00 and went through to rebuild it from the ground up. That was my first mod job and I will keep it pretty much forever. The other one is my homemade Tele that I built from an unfinished Ash body and a Mighty Mite neck. Those two have taught me lots about what to do and what not to do when rebuilding, modding and building from scratch.

    Partscaster 1.jpg Partscaster 3.jpg
    Jeff67, new6659 and JT19 like this.
  19. christophervolume

    christophervolume Electromatic

    Apr 15, 2020
    St. Louis
    Probably my 335.
    It was given to me by someone very special and I’ve wrote a lot of songs and played many a gig with it.

    Jeff67, new6659, radd and 1 other person like this.
  20. Ricochet

    Ricochet I Bleed Orange

    Nov 13, 2009
    Monkey Island
    BFTmarshall, Jeff67, new6659 and 2 others like this.
IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.