Greetings to all,
This is my second post on this forum although hopefully it won't be my last. What I want to share will hopefully help me locate a guitar that had been in my family since around 1947 when it was purchased by my father until the early 1990s. I may not be able to ultimately purchase it but it has become important to me to determine its welfare, if that makes sense, especially after my parents died in the last few years.
My parents were part of a family of professional Gospel singers and musicians called The Rushing Family Singers (brothers, sisters and eventually spouses) beginning in the mid 1940s. My father began teaching himself guitar while growing up in the hills of Alabama. He was very good and as the family's singing career developed he was able to buy a Gibson Super 400 in the mid-late 1940s, I don't have the exact date...I didn't listen as I should have when growing up I am sorry to say. In any case the guitar was an integral part of my family's performances as they traveled all over the country although my father, Charles Rushing, was first and foremost a tremendous singer. The guitar became a trademark instrument while the Rushing Family toured and even when the group finally disbanded and went separate ways as children came along, the Super 400 was prominent in all the actions of my parents as they continued touring and singing Gospel music in the Church of the Nazarene and other venues including radio and television.
I actually played his Super 400 many times left-handed as I became old enough to appreciate it as a finely crafted instrument although I was farmed out to piano teachers, lol. I even learned to play the soulful low guitar melody that was famous during the Star Trek Original Series episode Amok Time when Spock "killed his captain" :). I also received a few attitude adjustments from the leather strap which he used to support the guitar when I was doing stupid things so I suppose I didn't feel too close to it all the time :), in any case I did not embrace my dad's love for the guitar and this guitar in particular until it was too late.
After my parents retired and I went away to college and an adult life it became gradually clear to me they had health problems, etc, and so I tried to pay closer attention to what was happening as my parents got older, however they were not very forthcoming with their situations, lol...I imagine this is not unique to my situation, either, so suffice it to say dad decided to sell the guitar and didn't tell me. My mother said later it was a painful decision with which she didn't agree, to have to sell the guitar but he decided it needed to be done so sometime after 1990, I believe maybe mid 90s, while in Missouri seeing his brother, he went to Neosho, Missouri to a guitar store called "Fly by Nite" owned by Dave Crocker and ended up trading it for a J100 and cash. I still have the J100, although it never really had the emotional attachment as the Super 400.
I didn't hear of this for several months and by that time it was all done. My dad said he thought I didn't care for the guitar (yes extreme guilt showed up, lol) and besides it wasn't the original neck...it had to be replaced somewhere between 1953 and 1961 due to some type of malfunction such as a slight bow, I don't recall exactly. I was actually stunned about it being gone because, too late I realized that my dad was getting old and I suddenly knew his guitar was his oldest possession. Typical story :), wisdom came too late. So...
Dad died a few years ago and it has been building in me to find the guitar and try to get it back or at least find out it is in a good place. Recently I decided to give it a shot so after my uncle confirmed it was Fly by Nite and it had been hanging on display for ten years or more I tried to track the store down and learned it had gone out of business. THEN I found a guitar forum comment that Crocker had sold all his inventory to Meteor Guitar Gallery in Bentonville, Arkansas. I contacted the owner of Meteor and inquired about it. He got back soon and after speaking with Dave Crocker he told me that Mr. Crocker had indeed had it displayed for 10+ years but ended up selling it at the Chicago Guitar Show five or six years ago when he started shutting down the store. I don't have any more exact date than that.
I haven't had much luck finding a trail from the Chicago Guitar Show so I decided to come here and cast my net on the waters, so to speak. I don't know the exact serial number but it was made in the mid-1940s, possibly earlier since my did had it by 1947. It doesn't have the original neck. It even had the original case as far as I recall, not sure it stayed with the guitar. It looks like others I have seen online but I will post pics below of its travel through time.
If anyone has ANY lead or idea on how I can go forward trying to find this guitar I would be grateful. Apologies for the word count but I thought an instrument like this one deserved a richer explanation than a couple of "in search of" lines. Thank you for this resource, hopefully this is the correct forum in which to do this search.
Picture of guitar and family circa 1947
Picture of guitar and family 1953
Picture of guitar and me :) 1962