Guitars I Don’t Have

Somehow I managed to do my homework ahead of time, since my intro video included the story of main main guitar, an acoustic I’ve had since age 15. I thought I would turn this inside out and talk about 2 guitars I do not have, since they have stories too.

Once in a year or two the natural progression on my new road to fame as the next Jimmy-Pete-Eric-Keith guitar star was to get an electric. Through an ad in the classifieds of the Baltimore Sun, I called the dude on a landline (just double aged myself), and bought this beauty, a blonde Telecaster:

cc licensed ( BY SD ) flickr photo shared by cogdogblog

I just liked to hold her, she was beautiful (and heavy). The amp that came with it was a Peavy Backstge. My career with it pretty much was limited to solos in my basement, save one party when some friends brought a keyboard and drumkit (parents were on vacation ha ha ha). When I moved west to Arizona in 1987 for grad school, it was one thing I decided I did not need. Arethe might spell it R-E-S-P-E-C-T, but my song is R-E-G-R-E-T. As sort of a way of keeping it in the “family” I sold it to my friend Kevin for a ridiculuous price, $25, with the quasi undestanding we would buy it back off of each other on a regular basis.

Except I did not stay in contact with him.

Fast forwrd to more recently, and Kevin and I met up when he was in town for a conference in Phoenix, and we’ve been well connected since; I’ve visted his home in Pennsylvania a few times. The good thing is the guitar is in his family, and being put to use by his son, Cal, who can really really play it well. When I visited in September of 2011, we went to Cal’s house, and I got to hold her again:


Cal, then a student at Penn State, played in a trio called Think Twice, Dublin, who play some rather avant garde complex music, beyond my 3-chord repertoire for sure. Cal has a deep music love, appreciation, and facility (as he shared some unique vinyl). Their web site then featured a photo of Kevin with the Telecaster back in the 1980s when we shared an apartment in Baltimore. Cal even has the original hard case, which was falling apart when I got the guitar in 1980. Long live duct tape.

A video of them, playing in the outdoors (I never got out my back door)

It is fascinating to watch a love of connection of music between my friend and his son- you expect music tastes to divide parents and children, but here it bonds, genuinely. I could not be prouder to be a small part of this chain, and as Kevin said last night to me and Cal (and agreed by us three), “The Tele is here, but it really belongs to all of us.”

When I wrote about this encounter in 2011, I mashed up my own then and now photos, 31 one years in the making.


Like the Dude, the Tele abides.

I could not be happier not to have it anymore. You might “keep” guitars, but the music is not ours to hold.

The other story, not so dramatic. I might have the timing off when I traded the guitar to Kevin, because it was earlier then I moved to Arizona when I picked up a cheap Fender Mustang as a less than decent replacement. It was okay to play since it was light, but it was no Telecaster, and it actually broke beyong repair.

Since I always had dreams of being Pete Townshend, on a party before a time I moved away (maybe that was when I went to New Mexico– for 2 days– another story, they wont stop connecting).

So for this party, I actually did get the guitar out of the basement– to smash it Pete style on a big rock in the yard. It’s actually harder to really bust it than it looks! Fender Electric guitars are solid! I carted around for a while a piece of it long gone. A very grainy scanned photo of the smashing event:

cc licensed ( BY SD ) flickr photo shared by cogdogblog

I am now, at 49, thinking again of getting an electric guitar, maybe I will keep it.

And play it.

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An early 90s builder of the web and blogging Alan Levine barks at on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person.

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