Photos ~ Guitar

Click on a thumbnail image to see the full-size photo.
Guitar, front view. Label says Maxitone. No other labeling. Missing string along outer left hand side of guitar; or on right as one faces guitar.
Guitar, back view appears good. Small chip or ding near foot; see photo below.
Guitar, small chip or ding near foot, aging on metal of foot.
Guitar, blemishes on head, slight wear on text label. Made a 2nd attempt to clean this after photo was taken, but it may take more to restore it. Update: All clean now, see 11th photo.
Guitar, gouge or scratch within bridge, otherwise OK.
Guitar, sound hole and interior appear good.
Guitar, back of head showing tuning pegs and gears appear good.
Guitar, showing light colored stain flush with surface on right hand side near neck.
Guitar, left rib appears good.
Guitar, right rib appears good except for stain discoloration near neck.
Guitar, head showing cleanup behind strings near tuning pegs.

A musical question: Some time back, discussions here and elsewhere had me getting curious about the possibility of learning the guitar. I looked at prices and concluded I didn’t know beans, and should have someone along if/when I was ready to devote the time, learn, and practice.

I had thought I still had a guitar stored in the closet, but was it cheap or at least good enough to learn? The main issue was, I was sure it was out of tune and would need to be tuned.

Well, in bopping around the house this weekend, I saw the guitar sitting there, all lonesome-like, and I’ve just looked it over.

Hey, it’s in remarkabley good shape, considering it’s been sitting in closets for years and years, not played or tuned. It needs a light going-over with a damp cloth to clean it up, but aside from what looks like some importunate paint spattering, thankfully little, a scratch or ding or two that may simply need cleanup, hey, I think this-here ghee-tarr is actually in good shape. -- It is, however, somehow missing a string, the outside rightmost string as you face it with the neck up. It most definitely has not been tuned in years and I’d need a tuner, advice on how to tune it myself. If I know what it should sound like, I should be able to get it there. I don’t have much formal instruction on reading music, and none on guitar, so I don’t know if you just tell me, but I can hear fairly accurately when two tones or pitches are the same. Or at least, I’m confident enough to try. But I’d need advice on getting a tuner, and strings, and I’ll need to buy picks, a strap, and a case. I have no idea if I need to buy a (forget the name, a clamp musicians use on stringed instruments) either. I don’t think I need to bother with a case or cover yet, but would later. And advice on what to get to learn to play the darn thing.

This guitar dates from when I was 12 or younger. I don’t know if it was my dad’s or uncle’s before I was born, or if my dad bought it specifically. My earliest memory of this guitar was my dad saying he’d tried to learn to play when he was younger, and I think he had some ancient-looking, to me at the time, sheet music. But I didn’t get any tutoring or lessons, and the guitar sat in the closet (not my closet) for years, before I moved it, and it’s sat there neglected, all but forgotten and ignored since, almost passed over when I was earlier thinking of learning.

So I have what looks like a serviceable, perhaps good, at least beginner’s level, guitar, and I don’t know, it could well be better than that. I’d like to find that out too, if possible. This is an acoustic guitar. It could date from when my dad was young, in his teens, possibly during or after his Army service, so any time from the late 1940’s or early to mid 1950’s as an oldest starting point, on up to my late childhood when I was around 10 to 12, thus about 1976 to 1978, for its latest origin date. It’s very plain and ordinary looking, unremarkable, neither especially handsome nor ugly. It’s in good shape, mostly because it’s been in a closet unharmed. As I said, with a little cleanup, a new string (or all six new strings) and tuning, I think it would be ready for me to learn. I don’t see any indication of maker or brand, except the word Maxitone at the head where the tuning keys are.

I’m not sure of the construction. It appears to be all wood and metal, except I’m not sure what material is on the fret bar at top near the head and at the base, the foot of the guitar. The strings are metal, I think. They are not, ah, animal / biological. -- I’ll try to remember to take photos this week and post them, if that’d help identify it.

I tend to think this guitar was new or nearly new when I first saw it. It’s been too many years for me to recall, but I don’t think this was presented as a gift to me, more like introduced, maybe to see if it was a hit, love at first sight, or just an eh-so-what thing. (And that in itself is a strange approach, knowing myself and my parents.) -- I sang in our small church choir as a kid and teen, as much by default as anything else. My parents met in church choir and singles class, both amateurs, so, y’know, I went with them to choir practice and then sang too. I loved that. I had a year and a half to two years of piano lessons as a young teen in junior high, but didn’t have the maturity to stick with practice. (What, do the same thing over and over again? I thought I knew it. Why repeat so much if I already know it? ... Why? Because, kid, you only think you know it. If you can’t play it from memory without looking, you do not yet know it.) This, despite that I liked it. I was overconfident of my ability and immature. (However, during the same time period, I excelled with my first foreign language class, and that became a lifelong love.) I don’t get why my parents would not have talked up the guitar more or given some lessons or signed me up with a teacher. I don’t think I’d asked about it, but I did love singing and did love music. It’s just a puzzle why my dad (or mom and dad together) took the approach they did, not like them, and not like how I could be motivated to learn or to become interested.

I don’t remember my dad ever playing it. I think he strummed a chord or two, if that. I do remember the sheet music looked much older than it should have, even if he’d had it in his late teens and early 20’s. :: shrugs ::

Why didn’t I take to the thing and try to figure it out on my own without any instructions? Because that was not typical of me, especially as a kid. Even with something I was avidly interested in, there were supposed to be books and things and someone to show you how, to teach it. I wasn’t usually the hands-on, no-reading-the-instructions type, and not the head-banging garage band type of boy, either. (Too bad, I think there’s use in that approach too.) There weren’t kids in the neighborhood to form a band with anyway, and I don’t know where the guys at school were who were at that stage of banging on instruments and forming a band with their buddies in the garage. So this is why I didn’t become a great rock-and-roll or country or classical musician. ;) (I wish I’d stayed with the piano!)

So, here’s this guitar, winter’s near (I’ll try not to say “Winter Is Coming!”) and it seems like as good a time as any to get what I need and start.

I’m in Houston, but I have no idea of the local music stores or who / where I’d find someone to tune this guitar. I’m game to try it myself, and I think as long as I have the source sounds to aim for, I should be able to get there. My ear is generally good enough, or at least I think so, to match until the two sounds are equal.

So, raw newbie advice, please? Tuner, strings, other necessities? Learning / self-teaching materials? (I have a Mac desktop and an older Win7 laptop.) -- Aha, I think the word has come to me, but I have no idea of the spelling. the musician’s clamp is a “cay-poh,” probably spelled capo or capeaux and pronounced American-style instead of European Continental style, capo, head, or whatever a capeau (instead of a chapeau) would be. Er, linguistic tangent aside, do I need to get a capo, and what do I get? What about guitar strings? How do I even string the one, let alone all six if I need to restring the other five? Total newbie here.

Ouch, callused fingers, here I come?

Somewhere, Chet Atkins and Jimi Hendrix, among others, are probably laughing their butts off right now. :D