Gibson 175D (1959)

This is my 1959 Gibson ES 175D in the loving and capable hands of Sharon Cheema (I bet you didn’t notice the guitar either!) The guitar was recently returned from the luthier where I had extensive repair and restoration work done by Joey Rosito. New frets; re-set inlays, dressed fingerboard; a kink taken out at the 14th fret. Yay F# is back. Proper (authentic) tail piece and bridge installed and replaced Machine Heads.

I found this guitar in 1976 at Izzy Cohen music on what was then called Craig St. Next to Steve’s music in Montreal. I had recently discovered jazz guitarist Joe Pass who played a similar model and was starting the huge learning curve needed to play this sort of music authentically and passionately. I had $20 to my name when I first put my hands on what was to become my lover, my confidante, my companion and sometimes my nemesis. I gave Izzy the $20 and asked him to put the guitar away for three days while I gathered up the $500.00 needed to purchase this used guitar. I entered into a summer of slavery, but I got that baby! My mother thought I was nuts (which is entirely beside the point) but she saw my passion and lent me the bread. This is the first quality instrument I ever owned. My confidence, ability, and endurance all took a huge leap forward as I plunged into a life dedicated to musical pursuits.

This guitar has toured with me, been across Canada many times, down to Australia, she played herself through the travails of my first CD. she has been seriously dropped twice, splitting open like a ripe watermelon and causing me great grief and pain. If it is possible to love an object more than I love this guitar I would be surprised, and yet it is just that, an object. my true values of worth are of health and happiness, family and friends and I would gladly trade my guitar if it was needed to restore any of these elements of my life. My guitar is just an object, but the way she sings, you can tell she is loved and I feel like stroking and caressing her for hours. She makes me play beyond my capabilities and make me seem like a better musician than I am.

En duo with Dave Turner. Photo credit Sharon Cheema
Funky case. Photo credit Sharon Cheema

While undergoing a financial strain around six years ago due to a marital breakup I was forced to look at options to keep a roof over our heads. One of those options was to sell off some guitars. By far the most valuable one was this one. I had a page open looking at comparable instruments and their value. Suddenly I was confronted by my two daughters with tears in their eyes imploring me to never get rid of this guitar. One of the tenderest, hurtingest and most beautiful moments in my life.

At rest.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s