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A great Gibson story


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I'm 73 and I have bad enough arthritis that my guitar playing days are over. Thankfully my pipes still work pretty well so I am not music deprived.

I met Eddie, one of my very best long time friends in high school and we raised hell together in the 60's and every decade thereafter until he passed away a couple of years ago with Lou Gehrig's disease. I had a Guild D40 and was in a couple of bands and eventually went to Europe and played in the streets, in clubs and gigs for nearly 10 years. Eddie loved music, was a guitar fanatic and live in Greenwich Village. He and I and my other buddy Walt, made the rounds of the coffee houses in the village when it was hot/hot/hot - Dylan, Dave Van Ronk, Eric Anderson, Richie Havens, Joan, Judy, Arlo and so many more.  We were high (it was the 60's remember) and high on life making the scene at Woodstock, Newport Folk Festivals, Philly Folk Festivals and more.

Life separated us, I moved to San Francisco but we stayed very close and saw each other whenever we could. Whenever we got together there was plenty of guitar playing and music. Eddie became an avid guitar collector and purchase both acoustic and electric guitars Martins, Gibsons and more. One day my Guild which I had for 15 years and came straight from the factory was stolen from my car. I lamented, I cried (literally), I cursed - it was like losing a child. After a long period of mourning I picked up Yamaha (whaah!) - which was passable and within my then current budget. I would visit Eddie or he would visit me and he always had an awesome axe with him - I played my Yamaha with great humility. 

Years went by and I accumulated a bunch of United Miles and out of the blue sent him a first class roundtrip ticket to meet me in Thailand. We had a hell of a good time and got in to a modicum of trouble -we didn't know it at the time but that would be our last road-trip - I've got to say we made the best of it. A year later and before he was diagnosed Eddie came to visit my wife and I in San Francisco. When I opened the door, there was Eddie with a big hard-shell acoustic guitar case in his hand. When we got around to playing Eddie broke out the guitar and it was a sensational, pristine, Gibson Hummingbird Starburst Cherry - a 1994 vintage whose's sound had been perfected by the passage of time. I of course broke out my Yamaha and humbly played along.

After a few minutes, Eddie asked me to pass him the Yamaha and he passed me the Gibson, wow what a beauty. He said: "Kirk, this is a gift from me to you." May be the way to express how I felt would be to say that it was the 100% exact opposite of how I felt the day my Guild was stolen- I was euphoric, ecstatic, overjoyed and overwhelmed by the amazing gift from my buddy.  My new baby was an inspiration, I had the action perfected by a local guitar maker and played my buns off adding a whole new genre of jazz chords, progressions and phrasing. What a joy.

Eddie passed away a couple of years ago. He kept his guitar collection nearby until the end, but for the last couple of years his paralysis kept him from playing. Wow I miss him.

I am a young 73, but the fingers just don't work like they used to. I joined this blog today to find out more about my Gibson, I've decided that someone else should have the pleasure of playing it. I guess I needed to pay tribute to my buddy and the guitar in the process. 

Any way I am attaching a couple of photos. It was made in Memphis or Nashville in October of 1994. On the label inside it says Hummingbird SP - does that refer to a spruce top or something else? The finish is perfect - there are a few tiny fabric sleeve rubs that would probably disappear with soft cloth but otherwise it is pristine. If you see marks in the pictures they are reflections not blemishes on the finish.  Any ideas of how much I should sell it for, it's something I need to do. 

Hope you enjoyed the story.











factory label-sm.jpg

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Edited by KirkinSonoma
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Hi Kirk

1st, welcome to the forum.  It's a cool place to hang, lots of good folk lurk here.

Thanks for a very well written and interesting intro!

 We all can testify that life hands us our share great losses as we age, but we always gain more than we loose and God doesn't give us nothing we can't handle.  

Sorry to hear that your hands are not allowing you the joy of playing guitar.  I'm 63, and I've been playing well over 50 years now.  Age wise,  not all that far behind you.  I pray daily, that my bones, and joints will not fail me until the bitter end arrives.

That humming bird is gorgeous.  The condition is remarkable, what a gift!


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