The guitar has always been a special part of my life. I started playing when I was eight years old when my mother took my brother and me into a local music shop and said choose which instrument you want to learn. I wanted drums, but my brother also wanted drums. So, being logical, I chose guitar since I knew if we were to play together two drummers just wasn’t going to work. I made the right choice.
I looked around the shop in wonder at the wall of guitars and all the different of shapes and colors. A burgundy colored guitar caught my eye. I picked an Aria, a Japanese made SG knockoff. I did not even know at the time that I needed and amplifier. Sometime later I would find my mother’s portable PA system that she used on the hood or the car in local parades to announce the majorettes that were approaching down the street. It had a ¼ inch input so I plugged in. It was tinny, but it was loud. And loud was cool.
Through time, the guitar would become a major part of my life, a trusted friend that I could go to and get absorbed into the moment with. When it is just the two of us, we are transported to a special place in time together. We write together. Sometimes it’s just a melody or riff that may have some legs to it. Sometimes lyrics come to the surface that I wonder how I came up with that. When playing with others, I can hear the mixing of the sounds just lifting the space we were in. The only word I can convey is harmony.
I have a love for crafted wood. To see the grain and to feel the finished surface affects my senses. I salute the luthiers who create these wonderful playable works of art. They have the craftsmanship to turn a tree into such beautiful companions for us. I don’t have many guitars in my collection, but I use each one. They all get a turn out on stage when I perform either with my band or just jamming with friends. Each one is different in some way. Some I purchased new, one from a friend, but most were used by someone before me. Who, I will never know. I often wonder who made them, who played and owned them before me, how did they end up with me? And I seem to not be alone, I often hear the story people tell me about their guitars. I am fascinated by the unique story that every guitar has and thought what if I created a place where guitarist could share their own personal story? What if the story could follow the guitar? Chuck Holley wrote in his book “A Perfectly Good Guitar” that just maybe nobody owns a guitar, we all just borrow them. But, what if there was a way to journal the journey that these guitars travel as we borrow them? So, I am dedicating this site to those who wish to document and share the stories. Send us your stories and pictures so they can be passed on with the guitar’s journey.
With that, I will kick it off with this Paul Reed Smith acoustic private stock I had made from the factory in Maryland. It is an Alex Lifeson signature series private stock acoustic. I love the Koa wood on the backs and sides. The depth of the grain looks like a three dimensional window. The top is a bearclaw spruce. I had visited the PRS factory a number of times for their event shows and owned one electric and an SE acoustic prior to ordering this guitar. These guitars are works of art as well as playability, so after researching several of their signature series I fell for this guitar, placed the order and as expected waited six months for the craftsman to build it.
While waiting for the guitar to be completed I visited the Woodstock Guitar Luthier show event in Woodstock New York. This is always a great show and the guitars are just amazing. The PRS guys had a booth setup and I recognized the two acoustic luthiers from my visits to the PRS events in Maryland. I approached to say hello and let them know that I just placed an order for this guitar. The luthier smiled and said you won’t believe this, but I have your guitar on my bench right now and working it. I was very excited to hear this and even more excited to experience the personal connection I had with the builders of my guitar. When I received it I was very pleased with the craftsmanship and to have this connection between the guitar and the builder. I have used this guitar to write and record the first five songs for my first upcoming CD. I look forward to writing and playing more songs with this guitar.
Barry is a singer songwriter in New Hampshire and lead guitar player for the Watts Up Band.