I've been making time to get out in the shop this week, to work on a very special project. The rehabilitation of an old Kay guitar I found stuffed into the corner of a run-down outbuilding, on the edge of a friend's property in Dover, New Hampshire.
As the story goes, this guitar was bought at a local yard sale by none other than Irish music legend Tommy Makem. He decided he didn't like it so he gave it to his cousin, who then gave it to another cousin, my friend Charlie Boyle. Charlie is known for the musical get-togethers in his greenhouse, and apparently one night a friend broke the guitar in a fit of frustration over not being able to play it, and it was stuffed into a corner of the outbuilding. I discovered it there this past fall and asked Charlie if I could have it, to try to restore it.
It was in awfully bad shape after all of those years partly exposed to the New England elements... but the neck was still straight and all of the pieces were there, even if most of the old glue joints had popped loose. So this week I have been carefully re-gluing, heat bending and clamping the old girl back together. It is apparently a Kay 3500, a student model guitar which sold new for $30 back in the 1960's.
But as with many things involved in our hobby, the value of the story behind this instrument far outweighs any actual monetary value. Any time you can use materials that have a great story behind them, do so! That story gets carried forward into what you create, and lives on. To me, that's a pretty special thing.
Ben "Gitty" Baker
June 14, 2018