A LITTLE BIT ABOUT…how the guitar bug bit me BIG TIME

 A LITTLE BIT ABOUT…how the guitar bug bit me BIG TIME

Yeah guitars….. There’s not too many things on the planet that are as cool as these guys.  I’m going to rattle on a little bit here about my introduction to guitars and the effect that they have had on me.  I’m goin’ way back.  I suspect that there’s a few of you out there that will understand the following and may remember similar times.


As a 5 year old kid, I had already ”kind of figured out” just how special this instrument would be to me.  The lure of it dangled right out there in front of me, was almost intoxicating, and seemed as if it was there just for me.  I was destined to discover the magic which the guitar was and is, so readily available to share with me, as I got closer to it.  I think most young kids, if put into the same room as a guitar, can’t help but be drawn to it, almost as if there was some type of magnetic attraction.  There really is a strong desire to want to get their hands on it.  I’ve witnessed this more times than I can count.


I remember the excitement of the first guitar that I actually touched… It wasn’t an expensive guitar by any means.  It belonged to one of my uncles who was living with us at the time.  He would always warn me when he was getting ready to leave the house.  “Whatever you do, don’t touch my guitar.”  I knew it wasn’t locked up, but so readily accessible and inviting.  The guitar lay on its back, without a case, underneath his bed, calling me, to come, just a little bit closer… the forbidden fruit.

I viewed his warning not as a caution, threat, nor a test of obedience, but rather as an invitation to the sheer ecstasy which might be mine.  It would usually last until the time I would hear my uncle’s car return home.  That was just the beginning.  Just to run my fingers across the strings.  The sound.  That tone.  I needed nothing else at the moment.  Satisfaction was mine, for a short while, and would once again be mine, just as soon as the next time that he would leave the house again.  As I think back, it was quite amazing how much time I spent reaching underneath that bed, just to feel the touch of and hear the sound of the strings.


During those days there was a hit song out on the radio that I managed to get my parents to buy for me.  The song was El Paso by Marty Robbins.  The wonderful lead guitar in that song was played by a member of the Nashville A Team, Grady Martin.  It remains to be one of my favorite guitar lead parts to this day.  What a great combination of notes, one right after the other, and then the groupings of two or more at a time.  Tasteful bliss!  (The lead guitar part here is so very fine.  Even at that age I knew what a sweet lead guitar part sounded like.)

I managed to do okay without a guitar until that fateful evening of February 9th, 1964.  I was less than two weeks away from my ninth birthday and would probably have been okay if my two older brothers hadn’t turned on the T.V.  The two of them, being three and four years older than I was, knew exactly what every teenager of the day was talking about.  Yes, it was The Ed Sullivan


Hi Tom. Thanks for your comment. Bob wrote that article for Guitar Player back in the ’80’s when George came out with his Cloud 9 and was on the cover of that particular issue. Since then I believe many mysteries have been uncovered and more information has become available with the internet and such since then. Thanks for writing and if you’d like to sign up for the free email newsletter I’ll let you know when more fun stuff gets posted. Best, Jack


So I found a 604 at an antique mall knowing nothing about its history..its pretty worn and I need help figuring out what year it is. There doesn’t seem to be a lot if any difference year to year. Can you help me?


Hey Alex,
Thanks for checking in. From the info I have found, that particular model was manufactured starting in 1959 as the model 608 and then in 1961 the model # was changed to 604. Mine was purchased in February 1965 right before my 10th birthday and the model # was once again changed,this time to 1204 by fall of 1968. – Jack

Peter Quast

you didn’t mention what an awsome guitar player you are so I will. You are definatly one of the best I ever had the pleasure to jam with. Too bad it was short lived but I had a great time. Thanks Brother…

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