Tuesday, May 17, 2011


21 years ago this month I was in Nashville, Tennessee.   Beside the stage door of the Ryman Auditorium is another door.  And going through that door is like stepping into a different world, a world where only music matters.  I walked into Gruhn Guitars to sell the little Martin guitar my mother gave me when I was 16.  She got it from my uncle Harry Powers.  He had a guitar but wanted an organ.  My mother had an organ but wanted a guitar.  About forty years before that Harry Powers was leaving Bible college and needed to sell the trailer he was living in.  Roy M. Chapell, who later in life would be the head of the PCG, had just arrived at Bible college but didn't have a place to live.  But he had a guitar.  They traded: Guitar for trailer.  How it killed me to say good-by to that guitar.  But I had two little boys and no money to pay the rent.  But there was consolation.  Gruhn Guitars was like nothing I'd ever seen.  I opened the door and was overwheled by the music.  It was like an unending song as customer after customer, some of the best musicians in the world, picked up instruments to join in the symphony and test the instruments.  I only knew 13 or 14 chords and none of them were F.  So, I wasn't nearly good enough to join in that music.  But I could listen and be amazed.  And I knew someone better than me would get my guitar and make better music.  I know Vince Gill, Eric Clapton, and Amy Grant have bought guitars there.  So, though I have always been sad for my loss, I've also thought that, maybe, the little Martin guitar was on its way to its telos that day, and I was comforted by that. And by having a roof over my family's head for a couple of more months.


s-p said...

It is a sad thing to sell a guitar, especially a Martin. I tell musicians that I have all the stuff they wish they had because I'm not a musician and have a real job. :)

I've sold off a bunch of my vintage gear the last couple years to pay bills too. The problem is, everyone else is broke too and it doesn't fetch as much now. sigh.

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