Somehow his wife discovered the guitar that very same evening. I don't know for sure about all the details of what happened. I was only about 10 or 11 years old and recalling what my dad had told us. But anyway, there was some argument and finally the woman slammed the guitar against the floor or maybe a couch. She then demanded that he get that tool of the devil out of her house immediately.
This guy was a friend of my dad and they saw each other that evening. The man told dad what had happened and dad bought a brand new fresh out of the store $750 Gibson guitar for $100. The side near the bottom and the back were busted up pretty good. Dad pressed it together as best he could and used wood glue to seal it up. It was a bit rough looking but it worked.
|Just before dropping the J45 off at Gary Cotten's|
What you see is actually the wood glue my father
used to press this together almost 40 years ago
A few years later my dad was killed. I was 14 and some folks in the family decided to steal everything I had. Everything I owned vanished; all the toys, books, souvenirs, guns, fishing stuff... You know just the usual stuff a 14 year old boy has accumulated. Anyway, I mention that only to bring up the fact that at the time my dad was killed that old Gibson just happened to be at my mothers place. She had borrowed it. My mother gave me that guitar and a pick that had belonged to dad. That was well over 30 years ago and I still have that guitar and that pick. Until just recently they were among the very few things I had from my life before dads death.
When I was a teenager I was hitch hiking up and down the Eastern U.S. and many times I was carrying that Gibson with me. Over the years the guitar saw some heavy hard times. It was even taken to jail with me. I was sitting in my cell and I could hear the jailer and his buddies out there strumming on my old guitar.
Somewhere in there I loaned it to my mother and she had it for 2 or 3 years or so. During that time my baby brother was allowed to play with it and it laid around in the floor just like another toy. When I saw it there were no strings and one of the keys was missing. The finish was full of chips and scratches. When I saw it, it actually hurt my heart to see it like that. I put strings on it and found an old odd key (Bought it at the Big Furniture Store in Morehead, Ky which is now long gone) but it wouldn't play very well. The neck was bent, the busted wood dad had pressed together had separated and the bridge was coming loose.
Through all the hard times and the living that old Gibson wound up in some bad shape. It started right out by getting busted up on the day it was taken from the store and it went on to have a rough hard life.
About 15 years ago I took the guitar to a Luthier in Floyd County Ky and I was told that the guitar would be worth around $3500 if it were in good shape. He also told me that it would cost more than that to restore it to "mint" condition. Well, this guitar means more to me than money so I'm not really interested in how many dollar bills it might be worth. I didn't want it to be restored to mint, I only wanted it to be returned back to a playable condition, but that didn't happen for years, in fact it just happened this month!
|You might notice a defect in the binding. That is|
where the binding was broken and a small piece
was actually missing. Other than that the repair
is perfect. Gary even worked the finish to match
the rest of the guitar very well/
To make a long story just a little bit shorter Gary did an excellent job and I really mean that. You can hardly even tell that it was ever busted up and only then if you knew it. The action is nice and smooth from one end of the neck to the other. I can actually enjoy this old guitar again. Some of you may understand how much this means to me, it's more than words can say really. I plan to pass this box to my oldest daughter one day and perhaps she will pass it on to her son. I hope my children and grandchildren will appreciate and enjoy this old flat top as I have.
Thank you Gary Cotten! Now, I need to write a song about this old J45...
By the way everyone, Gary is a master Luthier. He builds custom made guitars, mandolins and banjos. He also does setup work and repairs. Gary also has no idea that I am writing this or talking about him here! Check out Gary Cotten Acoustics at GaryCotten.com
Feel free to scroll down a bit and post a comment. Choose "anonymous" you can also put in your name if you like.
UPDATE - I just found the Gibson Acoustic Serialization Page:
( http://www.gibson.com/Files/downloads/bluebook/GibsonAcoustics.pdf ) and according to the list of serial numbers this J45 was made in 1967. I'm not sure how that affects the "story" but it seems that when the guitar was bought in 73 or 74 that it could have been a used guitar. That or it had sat in a warehouse for some years.