The Guitar that Gently Wept

The Guitar that Gently Wept

Be thankful that God treats us better than Greg treats his guitars!

Author: Greg Gay/Saturday, February 22, 2014/Categories: Greg Gay, Top Picks

Update August 2014 - Check out the links at the bottom of this article to listen to Greg's old guitar in the song Grace Amazing that he recorded with his daughter Melody.


Ray and his family had moved away from our ranch and this was the first time we had gone to see them at their new place, about 50 miles away. It was 1973ish, so, I was about ten years old at the time. I don’t recall too much about the visit itself, but I do remember one thing very, very clearly.

We were all sitting around the kitchen table, and as we got up to leave, Ray announced, “Greg, I have a little something for you.”

Ray was a well-seasoned old cowboy - weathered and worn by many years in the saddle on the Canadian Prairies. He had never shown much interest in me and he had certainly never given me anything before, so I was completely unprepared for what was going to happen.

“What could he possibly have for me?” I thought. I sure hoped it wasn’t some kind of stupid toy. I was way too old for that kind of thing. “No, maybe it was a good rope or a saddle blanket.” I would have liked that!

He disappeared into another room but soon returned. I strained to see what on earth he was carrying and as he came closer; I could finally make it out. A black electric guitar and a guitar amp. I seriously almost died! An electric guitar? Mint!! (we said “Mint” instead of “cool” where I came from) I don’t think I had ever been that excited in my life.

Ray said that the old guitar had been in their family for a while and no one played it anymore. It had been forgotten in a corner somewhere and he thought that I might enjoy it.

You see, by this time I had been playing guitar for about a year and a half. Ray had heard me and he thought I had some potential, so he decided to give me his old electric guitar and amp.

I mumbled some kind of thank you, shook Ray’s hand, and off we went on the long journey back home.

It wasn’t anything fancy at all. It didn’t even have a case. It was actually a 1960ish Sears Silvertone guitar and it had likely been ordered right out of the Sears catalogue. At the time, I didn’t know any of that though and I wouldn’t have cared either. It was a dream come true and the best electric guitar in the whole world, as far as I was concerned. I played it all the way home!

When we arrived back at our ranch, I could not wait to plug it in and turn that amp on. My family stood around and I flipped the switch and fiddled with some knobs and tuned it up and… wow! It was beautiful! It had such a full, rich, sweet tone. I played for hours that very first day and almost every day after that for years. My parents never had a problem getting me to practice. I just couldn’t get enough.

The years passed by and that old black guitar was just about my best friend. I would wake up and play it before school. When I came back home, I ran straight for it. Sometimes I even took it with me and played it for the two hours I was on the school bus. I would practice bluegrass and country western music. I learned some blues and later even a bit of jazz and lots of rock ‘h roll. I just loved playing my old electric guitar.

Then, one day it finally happened! I got hired on as a lead guitarist in a band when I was sixteen. Everyone else I knew had a Gibson or a Fender and I just had this old… well, it was a nothing really. It didn’t even have a name on it anywhere!

No one ever complained about my old guitar – they liked the way it sounded and so did I, but, when I walked into music stores, I would see all those beautiful, shiny, new guitars and they seemed to call my name – so, I took them home with me! Let’s see… let me try to count the guitars I have owned over the years. 4 Gibson’s, 1 Dion, 1 Lado, 1 Aria Pro, 1 Taylor, a G&L and probably 7 or 8 others I can’t quite recall. Oh yeah - and one Sears Silvertone.

About forty years have gone by and one band led to another. The musical experiences have been many and diverse, but all along the way, there was always one constant – the Sears Silvertone was… somewhere. I didn’t even have a case for it and I totally forgot that I even owned it! I never used it and never picked it up. Why should I? After all, I had two $2,000 guitars. What else could I possibly need?

Then one day a while back, I was doing some recording with my daughter Melody Joy. It was just a demo / songwriting kind of fun dad / daughter thing to do. I was doing the guitar work on a song she had written called Grace Amazing and I was having a problem. I just couldn’t seem to get a guitar sound that “fit in the mix.” My Gibson Les Paul just sounded too “big” for this song and I had already used the Taylor on other tracks, so it needed something different for the part I was working on. I tried quite a few things and I was not happy with any of them. I closed my eyes and then I could hear it – the perfect tone. It sounded familiar but I was having a hard time trying to figure out where I had heard that sound before. Then it struck me! My old Sears Silvertone! That just might work perfectly in this song.

I looked through my pile of guitars over in the corner of my office and it was nowhere to be found. I knew I had seen it somewhere but where? I seriously had no idea where it was.

I looked for a while with no success but then it finally started to come back to me. Was it in the furnace room? I opened the door and had a look around and after fumbling in the dim light for a while, I finally found it. There it was - just sitting in a corner with some other junk.

My mind was suddenly flooded with memories of my childhood. I know that this might sound a little crazy, but I felt terrible and I actually wanted to apologize to my old guitar. It was almost as if it was gently weeping there in the corner– abandoned and forgotten. My guitar had been faithfully waiting for me all of these years, as faithful and true as a Collie waiting for his master to finally come home after a long journey.

I had actually abandoned an old friend that had provided hours and hours of enjoyment, not just for me; but for many others too. I took it to my office and tears filled my eyes. Everything about it was familiar. The access panel was missing on the back. One knob was gone. It was dirty and scratched up and missing lots of paint here and there. One strap button was broken and the strings were rusty.

I cleaned it up a bit and put some new strings on it and then I plugged it in.

What had I been thinking all of these years? It sounded beautiful and it was just perfect for Melody’s new song. It does have some problems, but parts are available and it can be fixed up. I hope to do that someday.

Aren’t you glad that God doesn’t treat us like I treated my old guitar? We are all unique and we all go through different seasons in our lives at different times. Some seasons are more difficult than others. Sometimes stuff breaks and does not work the way that we wished it would. Over time we all get a bit scratched up and we might lose some paint and maybe we don’t even stay in tune quite as well as we used to. Despite all of that, God doesn’t throw an old friend in the furnace room with the junk. The thought would never even enter His mind! He loves you just the way you are and he has chosen to make you his very dwelling place! If you haven’t given Him a permanent residence card in your life, all you have to do is invite Him in and accept His love.

The Apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 4:6-9 had this to say about how God was working in His life.

6 For God, who said, “Light shall shine out of darkness,” is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.

7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves; 8 we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; 9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed;

Some of you can probably relate to what He was going through.

Later in the same chapter he goes on to say:

16 Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. 17 For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, 18 while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.

He has already fixed us up on the inside (2 Corinthians 5:17) and one day soon he is going to make everything else right too.

Heaven is near for all that know Him!

Don’t cry. God doesn’t abandoned you while you go through the tough times in life, and he is not punishing you either.

Soon He will wipe away all of your tears.

The best is yet to come!

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea. 2 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will [a]dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them[b], 4 and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.”  - Revelation 21:1-4 (NASB)

Click here to read more about Greg and music.


(c) Greg Gay 2014

Update August 2014 - You can listen to both of Melody Joy's songs that Greg played guitar and bass on below. His old guitar mentioned in this article was used in Grace Amazing. (it comes in at 2:26) You can also find Melody's songs on iTunes, amazon. com and many other online music services world wide. Check out the music section of our store for links.

  

Special thanks to Loreen May for the great pics of my old guitar.

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Greg Gay
Greg Gay

Greg Gay

Greg resides in Canada, with his wife Dawn and his Les Paul guitar.

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