Good deeds are not always punished (Martin content).

Discussion in 'Acoustic Heaven' started by LGOberean, Jan 5, 2018.

  1. LGOberean

    LGOberean Doctor of Teleocity

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    Yesterday I did an afternoon gig at a seniors’ community. I play this gig on a weekly basis, pro bono. As I was setting up to start, the activity director was encouraging one of the residents, a 95-year-old woman named Helen, to let me help her with her guitar.

    I had heard something before about them doing a group singalong once or twice a month, but I didn’t know it was accompanied by Helen on her guitar. Anyway, I agreed to take a look at it after the show. An hour and half later, I had almost forgotten about it, when in walks Helen with a nice hardshell guitar case. She opened it up, and the guitar inside was a 1944 vintage 0-17 all mahogany Martin!

    She told me the story of how she acquired it. In 1961, she had a Japanese guitar that she took to a local shop called The Horn Shop. The owner had taken in the Martin in trade, but didn’t really know much about guitars. Helen gave her Japanese guitar in trade plus $100 for that Martin! She’s had it ever since. In the ‘60s, there was a local Folk Music Club, and they held monthly “hootenannies,” which Helen organized.

    The help the guitar needed turned out to be tuning. Helen had someone change the strings for her, but whoever it was did a poor job of it. Still, I was able to tune it to pitch. Since they were new strings, they were stretching and needed fine tuning several times. So I got to play that resonant piece of history for 20 minutes or so, and got permission to take pictures of it.

    I wanted to make sure she knew it was an instrument of some value. She assured me she did; besides knowing it was a Martin, she had seen an episode of Antiques Roadshow in recent years that featured a Martin from the 1930s for like $20 grand. If Helen wanted to, she could probably sell it for $3 grand today. But she won’t; she has it willed to a family member.

    It was a real treat to play that old guitar. For a 74-year-old instrument, it’s in good condition. Some checking, lots of wear, dings and surface scratches, as would be expected, but structurally sound. Of course, all solid mahogany body and neck, open gear tuners, rosewood board, ebony nut, bone saddle. The most wear/damage is on the tuning buttons. And I know the TDPRI unofficial philosophy of “Pics or it didn’t happen,” so here are the pics…

     
  2. chezdeluxe

    chezdeluxe Poster Extraordinaire

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    Beautiful. You sure had fun didn't you.
     
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  3. Piggy Stu

    Piggy Stu Friend of Leo's

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    One of the best parts of this forum is people telling of things they did that I really wish I could

    Nice story, at a time where all news I hear turns me off

    Cheers for sharing
     
  4. teletimetx

    teletimetx Doctor of Teleocity

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    Sweet! Bet that box was pretty light, too. Good work, Larry!
     
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  5. steve v

    steve v Tele-Holic

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    I'm glad you told her it was worth some money, that was very nice of you ! I always enjoy stories where people do the right thing, and that guitar - beautiful !!
     
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  6. brookdalebill

    brookdalebill Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    Great story!
     
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  7. CK Dexter Haven

    CK Dexter Haven Friend of Leo's

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    I had a '57 on consignment when I had my shop, kind of the same deal, it was playable but needed a set and some brace& caul work to be 100%. Still a fun guitar to play..
     
  8. tery

    tery Poster Extraordinaire

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    How nice :)
     
  9. LGOberean

    LGOberean Doctor of Teleocity

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    Thanks, everyone. Getting to play that guitar was the high point of my week. As I said in my OP, I play this venue every week. Helen invited me to come by sometime and play that guitar again. I told her, "I just may take you up on that."

    It was as light as a feather, and played well. The neck profile was what I would call a soft V, not what I'm accustomed to, but not at all uncomfortable. Whenever I test drive a new guitar, I tend to play the same things: for flatpicking, "Old Joe Clark"; for fingerstyle, "Blackbird." Well, I wasn't sure if Helen would know McCartney's song, so I played my own fingerstyle arrangement of "Wind Beneath My Wings." But mostly, that guitar naturally brought out the old tunes like Old Joe Clark, folk tunes like "This Land Is Your Land," etc.
     
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  10. David Barnett

    David Barnett Doctor of Teleocity

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    Great story, great guitar
     
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  11. 985plowboy

    985plowboy Friend of Leo's

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    That is very cool all the way around.
     
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  12. studio1087

    studio1087 Telefied Ad Free Member

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    That's fantastic. What a great warm human thing. Very cool!
     
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  13. Teddyjack

    Teddyjack Tele-Afflicted

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    A good deed on your part for sure! Sounds like a great afternoon and that's one beautiful guitar!
     
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  14. televillian

    televillian Tele-Holic

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    some days are better than others
     
  15. drf64

    drf64 Poster Extraordinaire

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    Rock on, Helen.
     
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  16. LGOberean

    LGOberean Doctor of Teleocity

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    Ain't it the truth? I was glad for this good day.

    :) Exactly! She was wheeling and dealing for a killer guitar and organizing hootenannies when she was in her 40s, and now, 5 decades later, she's still jamming...and on that same guitar! :cool:
     
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  17. John Owen

    John Owen Tele-Afflicted Ad Free Member

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    Kind of cool when everyone gets something special out of an encounter ain't it? Congrats to both you and Helen.
     
  18. Mid Life Crisis

    Mid Life Crisis Friend of Leo's

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    Great story! The best part? That Helen still plays that guitar at the age of 95!
     
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  19. Controller

    Controller Friend of Leo's

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    Great story.

    Music is something you can do your whole life if things stay attached correctly!
     
  20. still_fiddlin

    still_fiddlin Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

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    That's a nice story! Thanks.
     
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