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I started “playing” the guitar back around 1963-4. This was during the folk music revival and the rise of Bob Dylan, PP&M, Judy Collins and Donovan etc. I added the quote marks because the guitar I had at the time was one of those with an action that was a finger killer; way too high to play for any length of time and usually resulted in bleeding. It was what I could afford and didn’t know any better. I have no idea what brand.

I purchased the Bob Dylan, the Judy Collins and PP&M songbooks along with a few other compilations and would check out copies of “Singout” from the library, all in an effort to learn and understand the music.

I also hung out at a local Coffehouse called the “Café Orpheus” run by Sean Slattery.

No PA needed



Sean leading a march after Kent State

I soon found out I was generically incapable of finger picking. I learn the basic chords and their relative minors, just the minimum requirements. But I had a knack for remembering the words.

I think I got another guitar but things are hazy and the next one I remember is a German 12 string I got in Kansas City while crossing the country when I went AWOL in September ’68 (a story for another time). Took that with me to Vietnam.

Brought back it back too (that's my hold baggage).

Went through a couple more until I picked up an Epiphone (American made), had a  sweet neck and kept it for quite a while. Now it gets interesting.

Cross over the orange guitar string bundle for the rest of the story.

Back in 1954, my brother-in-law got a Gretsch “Round Up” for his birthday.

Never played it. In 1980 I bought it for $300 thinking I’ll learn to play the electric guitar and it was a beautiful axe. Well crap, I didn’t have a clue how to make it sound the way I wanted so off to trade up to a better acoustic. Took it all over to guitar shops, and nobody wanted it until I was able to trade it for a Martin 12 fret (no idea what model). It was a nice rig but the neck was too wide for me. Off to the find something better. Went down to one of the local music store where I bought strings and such. On previous visits I had noticed this nice looking guitar hanging up on display; a Guild of some sort. Started dickering for a trade. I wanted a straight across trade but the manager wanted a little more. At the time I was a Chimney Sweep and we made a deal to swap guitars and I would clean his chimney; deal! And what a deal it was. I was now the proud owner of a 1969 Guild F-47. Sweet.

When you find the one guitar that is THE one, all the world is right. For 32 years I’ve had this gem and it has been a true companion through thick and thin.  Gigged with it, protested with it, jammed with it and entertained friends with it.

It’s sitting right next to me as I type this in case I get the need to get a fix or learn a new song.

Taking a nap

On the Group No W bench outside Rep. Earl Blumenauer's office.

Playing to a mob of DFHs at an anti-war rally.

Hanging around the shanty and getting a good buzz on.

Originally posted to Bend Over Here It Comes Again on Sun Oct 20, 2013 at 09:21 AM PDT.

Also republished by DKOMA and Protest Music.

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