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My first acoustic guitar


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I received my first guitar as a Christmas present. The year was 1963 and I was 12 years old. I lived in El Paso, Texas and my parents purchased this guitar in Juarez, Mexico.


As the story goes the guitar was bought from a 'guitar street vendor' for the princely sum of $12. The guitar was made out of plywood and should have been strung with nylon strings but came with steel strings. The strings had tiny fuzz balls of different colors fed through the bridge.


The strings were about 3/4 of an inch off the fret board, the neck could have been used for archery practice, it had no truss rod and the tuners were like a 5 to 1 ratio. It was a pain to tune and it wouldn't stay in tune. Sometimes at night, I would be awakened by this loud screeching tone. First time thought it was a cat in distress. But it was the guitar strings slipping as temperature changed. It was kind of scary and happened a few times.


But I stuck with that guitar for two years, I couldn't chord it, so I played one string. (Even an adult friend of my parents who was a guitar player could not chord it properly). That sucker was a bear. On a good day I could get a scratchy E major out of it.


My luck changed 2 years later, I moved up to a cardboard guitar made in the Philippines called a Montanyo. Despite being layered cardboard it was at least playable.


My first real playing 'good' guitar was 1948 J45 Gibson giving to me by my girlfriend (Was her father's he never played it) I did give her my Aria 3/4 scale in exchange. I got that Gibson at age 21 and have not looked back since. I am on my 10th Gibson at the moment. I have come to regret every guitar I sold or gave away except my 1st one that Juarez beater.



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Cool topic Mark,


it brought me back to a Christmas memory a long time ago (maybe 1970). While this wasn't my first one, but it was the first one that I considered as my first "REAL" acoustic.


first year @ junior high I had started lessons again at the store in town. The School was just a block from the center of town, on the way home we'd walk by the music store where I'd take lessons. One day, I see hanging on the wall this Kent 12 sting. Every day as we'd walk past the store on the way home I'd stop and gaze at it.


12 strings, woah,, double the cool!


A few times, I asked if I could play it while waiting for my lesson. The store manager (reluctantly) would agree, but he was watching me like a hawk all the while, the sound of the 12 string had me in awe, even with my sub-par abilities at the time, it sounded like angles were singing all around me - man, I had to have it..


As winter approached, I eventually asked Mom and Dad if I could maybe have it as my "Only" Christmas present. The answer as expected was "Well, it's a lot of money so we'll have see about that..."


One day about a week and a half before Christmas, walking by the store I noticed it was no longer hanging there "oh no!!!!!!! it's gone". That week at my lesson I lamented this barren space on he wall where "my" guitar used to hang. I didn't say anything about it to my dad on the way home that day but I was CRUSHED... Someone else will be getting that guitar for Christmas, it is not going to ever be mine... Life had no meaning.... Christmas may as well just be over...


But alas, Christmas morning arrives, and low and behold, there it was! Sitting on one of our living room chairs, with a big red bow on it. There was much rejoicing, (and a lot of tuning.) I had that guitar for a number of years, but I can't even quite put my finger on where it wound up today. It was probably one I should have kept just for the nostalgia of still having it. Lots of memories were left in that one. I probably used in trade for my first Tele... which is yet another story..

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Man, that Christmas 12 string story was nice.

As for the Juares...it made your fingers strong and it made you appreciate all the good ones, right?


My first guitar is Mexican as well, nylon string. This one I have still and play still. It was my grandfather's. My uncle cracked it by the hole and despite that it sounds better and feels better than the Yamaha my mother bought grampa to replace this older Mexican model. Grampa was very careful with his instruments and always wiped her off, but for whatever reason, his grime is still attached to the metal of the frets and I dare not clean the bridge. When I pick it up I feel him there. He played that guitar for fun and to come up with new tunes for his band to play; making arrangements, showing his brothers what notes to sing and play on their respective instruments (no one in my family reads music so this is how we communicate songs).

I would think my SG would be the first to be rescued in a fire but truthfully, my instinct would be to take grampa's old faithful, cracked and worn as she is.

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Yes, that old Juarez guitar made at least one finger strong and callused, because I could only fret one string, one note at a time, but I got pretty fast on it.


In regard to your grandfather's guitar, I know it will always have a good home in your family. I like Spanish classical nylon guitars.


Note: That 1948 J45 I owned, I gave it to my best friend before I went into the Navy. He was a superb singer and guitar player and the guitar got gigged alot. Unfortunately he passed about 6 years later from cancer. His widow offered me the J45 back, (she was pregnant, with twins) I declined the offer and said keep in the family for your kids. Currently one their sons now 30 years old plays the Gibson

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My first guitar was a rental for a dollar a week in 1962 from a small music shop called Roselle School of Music in IL . It was a steel string folk guitar I don't recall the make but it seemed fine at the time. These were guitars that students used if they had guitar lessons. I new the owner since 1967 because I got a clarinet and took lessons there for a year or so. He sold me that guitar for $20. one day I came in to pay the dollar and he said you own it now. I didn't know much at all about guitar back then other than I wanted to learn and he even gave me a choice before I rented it and I picked out the one I liked.


My father was a carpenter and very stern . I was his sole helper building our second house a lot away form the first one he built. I saw a red 3 pickup Harmony Rocket hanging in that same store had to have an electric . It took close to a year to finish that house then I finally got the guitar.

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You ever regret or think about not having that 12 string?


Partly for sentimental value alone, yes, definitely.


Izzy, Mark brought that memory back, hadn't crossed my mind for some years. Makes me miss the folks, but so glad for the memories. I can understand what you're saying about your gramps guitar. sounds weird, but I have an old flannel shirt, my dad wore it all the time when he was doing wood working in the basement during the winter months, and raking the leaves.. it's tatered, ripped, mostly just a rag now, I still wear it, and when I do, he's there. @55 you'd think I wouldn't still feel that way,..

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