The Old Guitar
By Jacob Hatcher
Over the last nearly twenty years, an untold number of guitars have passed through my hands. There’s the Hummingbird that I bought with the last bit of Christmas money my Nana ever gave me, and the J-200 I purchased with my first check after getting a promotion. I’ve had a few Martins and still tinker on a pawn shop banjo from time to time.
As much as I love these guitars, there’s one more that I love the most. It’s a dark red guitar made by a company called Palmer. The sound is a little thin, and the bridge has slits worn into it where the strings have worn through over the years. I had to replace the tuning pegs some years ago; the originals were so loose that when you tuned it, you could hear it going back out of tune as soon as you let go of the tuner. It’s the guitar I used to write my very first song and the guitar I played when I joined my first band.
But my favorite thing about it is the fretboard. Originally it had a black finish on it, but long before it ever became my guitar, it was my Daddy’s. And where there used to be black, the natural wood grain is showing through from so many evenings of Daddy sitting on the couch watching TV, plucking away at that old guitar.
This is probably what made me fall in love with music; not the Opry stars or the songs on the radio. It was Daddy quietly wearing down that fretboard. That’s when I learned that not only is music art and entertainment, but it’s also therapy. It’s a way to unwind from the day.
Sometimes I would sit and watch, and it seemed like the weight of the day faded up and away with each note that vibrated off the strings. And those old songs he’d hum seemed like an old friend sitting down beside him, bringing the kind of smile that only an old friend can bring.
That old guitar might not be worth much, but to me it’s priceless.