My first guitar which I got in 1969 for about $75. Actually a re-branded Harmony H165. This guitar always sounded great but the action was rather high.Found this site which shows the Harmony H165 and this site which has this exact model. It has solid mahogany top, back, and sides. It originally had Waverly 3 on a plate tuning machines but sometime in the 70's I replaced them with some open gear Grover's.
Eventually the neck got so out of wack that it was not playable so I added a filed down nail to the nut to raise it even more and I just play it with a slide. For a while I used a Dean Markley pickup so I could play electric slide. This worked for a few years but eventually the guitar just sat in the closet.
Over the years I took it in to a couple of guitar shops to see if it could be repaired and the answer was always "It's not worth fixing". Sure it was a cheap guitar to begin with, but it was my first guitar which I learned to play so many songs on. So it sat in my guitar closet in my garage just waiting for the day.
Then in the fall of 2019 I discovered a series of guitar repair videos on YouTube by Jerry Rosa. Jerry makes custom mandolins as Rosa Sting Works, has a bluegrass band, and repairs all manner of stringed instruments. His videos are very well done and make working on guitars approachable. So after watching him do a neck reset a couple of dozen times I pulled out my old guitar and gave it a go. Call it beginners luck but it came out really good. This guitar now plays better than ever before and sounds as sweet as ever.
I got the Sigma in 1988. Its a Japanese Martin. I probably play this one the most. Its got a rich, full bodied sound, and it plays nice. Sigma guitars were based on standard Martin models and were inspected at the Martin factory before going to market. While they discontinued this line in 2007
they still have a website. Mine is a DM-1B shown here.
Martin has since let go of the Sigma brand and it was acquired by AMI in Germany, so the old website listing this model is no more. There is some information here.
Still my go to guitar. Love the sound and still love playing it. I do wish I had a smaller body guitar though for times when I don't need all the sound that this one projects. (NOTE: since then I have acquired 2 smaller guitars, the Teton and the Larrivee.)
All through August 2019 I was researching small body guitars. I eventually decided I wanted a 12 fret to the body, short scale, all mahogany, parlor guitar. Problem is these things are impossible to find in local guitar stores. I even started calling around in Portland and Eugene. Then, just before labor day, I saw this Teton on Reverb.com for under $300. I jumped on it. Teton is a company out of Idaho. The guitar of course is made in China, but seems to be very high quality. And it is really gorgeous to look at. It has that characteristic mellow tone of a mahogany top guitar, that I really love.
- Solid Mahogany top. Mahogany back and sides.
- 12 fret to the body, parlor size, short 24" scale.
- Slotted headstock.
This guitar is for me to get a lot better at finger picking. That's the goal.
I wandered into The Troubador some time in July 2019 and saw this nice Martin 00-15m mahogany guitar. This piqued my interest as I had been thinking I wanted to get a smaller body guitar than my Sigma dreadnaught. I also really like mahogany guitars. This one was a bit out of my price range so I started looking around and doing some research. I found that Bredlove, out of Bend, made a all magogany parlor guitar and they listed Bullfrog as a dealer. So I went into Bullfrog. They had lots of gorgeous Bredlove guitars but evidently they quit making the parlor model. They did have this really nice Larrivee OO-03 at a very attractive price, but still more money than I had.
So I was on the fence for about a month still looking around. Meanwhile the Martin 00-15m sold. Just before labor day I found the Teton STP-103NT on Reverb for a price I couldn't pass up. So I jumped on it. I still had it in my mind that maybe I would also get the Larrivee. A week later I was at a party with some of the friends from San Diego that first met 50 years ago in 1969. So I'm talking to Don and he slips an envelope to me and says "I'm paying you back for the money you loaned me in 1971". I was floored. It was more than enough to by the Larrivee so thats what I did.
- Hand crafted in California. Born on Feb 18, 2010. Serial #109661
- Solid Sitka Spruce top and Mahogany back and sides.
- Double O size, a little bigger than parlor. 12 frets to the body.
- LR Baggs anthem pickup and preamp.
I think I'll be playing this for a long time.
Gretsch Boxcar Square Neck Resonator (G9210)
I certainly didn't need another resonator guitar when I saw this sitting on the counter at The Fingerboard Extension in Corvallis. I was actually eyeing a cheap Lap Steel which was next to it when it caught my eye. I'm a sucker for dark mahogany for sure but one strum of this thing and I was hooked. The sound is incredable. The richest most resonant sound I have ever heard, especially from a low priced guitar made in China. I already had my Regal resonator which cost about the same and sounded nice, but this was in a whole other league.
Needless to say I bought and currently play this more than any other instrument. I still waiver between bottle neck and lap style. This being a square neck can only be played lap style. I kept the Regal resonator to play bottle neck style. I've been playing this one in open D. The sound really moves me deep inside. I hope I can get good at it and can keep playing for many years to come.
Regal Resonator Guitar (RD-40)
I happened in to the Troubador Music shop one day only to find they had sold my Gibson ES-333 I had on consignment. I could have walked out with the money but then I saw this guitar. I'll admit I was attracted to the vintage Regal decal even though I knew this one was made in China and had nothing to do with the legacy Regal guitar and ukulele company of Chicago in the 1930's - 1950's. It is actually a very authentic reproduction of Drobro models from that era, and it sounded pretty good so ...
I have been trying to play bottle neck slide for so many years. My old Fender with the raised nut just wasn't cutting it. The action is low enough on this guitar so that you can play chords and notes as well as slide. It's a round neck so it can be played lap style or bottle neck style. At first I was playing it mostly lap, dobro style, but after I got my Gretch Boxcar Resonator I tuned this one to open G and play it bottle neck style most of the time.
Allen Melbert Custom 8 String Lap Steel Guitar
I was looking at lap steels on eBay and one of these came up. I lost that auction but started a correspondence with Bob Allen who makes these in Tennessee. He made this one for me and gave me a great deal. I've got this tuned to C6.
Here is the Allen Melbert Lap Steels website.
Every few months I pull this out and try to play it, but I'm not making any progress. Maybe it's the C6th tuning or maybe 8 strings is too many. I may sell it and get a 6 string lap steel.
Makala Soprano Ukulele
Linda got this at a flea market. She really liked the dolphin bridge. Turns out that Makala ukuleles are make by Kala as their lower price brand. For the price this is really an great sounding instrument. My fingers are a little fat for small fingerboard so I prefer playing the Tenor ukulele.
This is now January's Uke. Wish she would play it more.
Kala Tenor Ukulele
After Linda brought home the Makala I decided to get a Tenor Ukulele. Got his one new on eBay. Came with a great case and a chord book. It has a great tone and is really easy to play.
Its very easy for a guitar player to adapt to a Ukulele. While the tuning is different (high G C E A ) the notes are relative to the 4 high strings on a guitar. So the same chord position works. All you need to know is that a D guitar position plays a G chord on the Ukulele, and then transpose from there.
Here is the Kala Ukulele Website
I sure play this Uke a lot!
My first vintage guitar. Made in 1956, this model was the first Gibson electric first introduced in 1936. The 50's model featured a P-90 pickup which really puts out the juice.
We were in Portland visiting Adinah and we went out to a place where a guy was playing an old Gibson arch-top. I asked him what model it was and he didn't know. I liked the look and sound and decided I wanted an old arch-top and asked Andy (Adinah's boyfriend at the time) to look around for me. I looked at a few ES-175s which were all in the $1,500 to $2,000 price range. Andy fond mine at the Portland Music Co. Because it had been modified (the cut off switches are not original) it didn't qualify for the vintage market and I got it for $600 with new strings, setup, and a hard shell case. I'm pretty sure its the same model that the guy we saw was playing. Most later models had either single (ES-175) or double cutaways (like my ES-133).
I sold my ES-133 so this is the one I play when I want to plug in. Still sounds great. Love the drive on the P-90 and the warm rich sound when plugged in to my Silvertone vintage amp.