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A Guitar's Odyssey

Total Topics: 21
Total Posts: 190
Bill ask that I post these pics for everyone to enjoy. I THINK at the risk of boring, that I should fill in a bit of the history of the guitar to go along with the pics..
The guitar's life began as I understand it, at either the Dobro Factory or at National...nobody seems to know for sure WHICH company made these guitars for Sears & Robuck in the late 20'a and early 30's.
My father was playing professionally (At least making PART of their living with music) in 1932. My Mother and Father were newlyweds in August and
times were tough in the bottom of the depression. Jobs were scarce and the average pay rate for what ever one could find was .15 cents an hour in the Golden State.

Dad played a Gibson 00L in a string band, but the problem, which was often the case in those days, was the guitar couldn't be heard.
Dad so wanted one of the NEW "Dobro's" with the built in "Amplifier"...they could get the "Top Paying" jobs then! Which sometimes brought as much as $1 a night to each player! But of course, you couldn't buy ANYTHING with those may as well wished for the moon!!

Mom got a job in a cannery slicing Del Monte Peaches for 15 cents an hour for a 12 hour shift. MOST of the $1.80 a day went for food and lodging but she managed to save a $1.00 a month w/o my Dad knowing and bought him this 1933 "Dobro" guitar ($10.50) for Christmas 1932.

Music was a "Family" persuit in those days, and my Father had a "Little Brother" who had been born on his 9th birthday. They were close, even with the difference in their ages...the "Little Brother" also learned to play, actually going on to help introduce Country (Bluegrass) to England in the early 50's...but that's another story...
During the middle of WWII, The "Little Brother" Turned 18 and enlisted in the Navy...on the day he shipped out as a Sheet Metal Smith he asked my Dad if he "Could take the old guitar" with him...
Dad handed it to him and told him to "Take care" of it..but that the ONLY thing he wanted him to bring back was the "Neck"!
Actually...of course, Dad really didn't care about the guitar...he just wanted his Brother to return! :)
The guitar went to the South Pacific..surviving many months of "Sniper Fire" Monsoon rains, mud, blood and VERY little beer often being the only interainment available during the 24 hour days of repair of landing fields and airplanes..I WISH this guitar could could tell a lot of stories...some of "Speak Easy's" and Bootleggers" and of war and death and dispair..AND of hope ...of good times and bad...then...maybe it's best it CAN'T talk...some of the stories one might not WANT to hear..

My Uncle AND this guitar were on a troop Transport somewhere off the Soloman's when the boat was sunk..many did not survive the shark infested waters...but some how a few of his outfit managed to scramble aboard a small life raft and the Old Guitar was was the only paddle and "Baling bucket" they had during their 3 day ordeal w/o food or water or protection from the sun...they took turns paddling, emptying out the sea water and struming it or trying to sing songs to keep up their moral...those who survived the ordeal signed the guitar with a pocket traveled home, being played hand to hand 24 hours a day for 2 weeks on the open floor of an LST from Hawaii to San Deigo at the end of the war 1945!

Sorry for the long post...thanks for your are the pics...I hope you enjoy...even though it's no longer playable...I love this Old's my Hero...

Oct 27, 09 | 1:17 pm
Bill Cory

Total Topics: 158
Total Posts: 3584
That's one of the most heroic and amazing guitar stories I've ever heard or read. Thanks a bunch Ray for putting it up here! It's amazing what a guitar can mean to people in the "right" circumstances! That's certainly a treasure.


Oct 28, 09 | 8:19 am
Woody O'Keefe

Total Topics: 31
Total Posts: 102
Great story Ray,

Thanks so much for sharing.


Oct 28, 09 | 8:44 am

Total Topics: 38
Total Posts: 480
Now that is a very intriguing story. Thanks for telling us. Look after the guitar!
Maybe your guitars will have such a journey. Don't forget to put waterproof labels in them.


Oct 28, 09 | 9:26 am
Ken Hundley

Total Topics: 40
Total Posts: 2169
Fantastic! This needs to be in a book somewhere!

Oct 28, 09 | 11:42 am

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