My first guitar was (and still is) an Ariana nylon string classical guitar made in Japan in the late 1960’s. Ariana was the “budget brand” of Aria guitars. This was a cheap guitar. I had borrowed it from my older brother and learned the basic chord patterns needed to play bits of contemporary folk songs. I had discovered Gordon Lightfoot, Bob Dylan, Paul Simon and Joni Mitchell. My brother had “Songbooks” by these artists, but they never really sounded right. There was no mention in the books that the chords were not in the same key as some of the songs….to make matters worse, I could tune a guitar to itself, or to a recording (many recordings from the sixties were not A440), but sometimes things could have been easier if they had said “use a capo up a fret in order to play these chords in the same key as the artist. The internet has made things a whole lot easier. But i digress.

Even with the difficulties mentioned above, I made quite a bit of progress and when I was in tenth grade I was hospitalized for several weeks and the guitar was a great distraction, comfort and pass-time for me. My brother decided to upgrade his guitar to an Aria classical and he gave me the Ariana. I remember knowing chunks of songs and cool riffs I had heard and amassing quite a repertoire without actually being able to play one song from beginning to end. The “Reach For The TopTheme”, “Sunshine Of Your Love” etc. As it turns out, this was annoying to some. My dad asked whether I knew any entire songs, to which I replied in the negative. I then embarked on learning a song in it’s entirety. It was either “Hobo’s Lullaby”, “Death Don’t Have No Mercy” or “Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright”. In any case, those were the first three.

Even with all the other guitars I have owned and played, this humble friend can still wreak new melodies and patterns out of me. She is not loud, but she is loved

guitar neck

I used to leave the guitar at the foot of the stairs in my parent’s home and pick it up on the way by after sleeping or hanging out in my room. People were always warning me that it was not a good place to leave it. One day as I woke from my nap in the mid-afternoon, I descended the stairs and saw a guitar neck and  the top part of a smashed guitar at the foot of the stairs. I freaked out

….everyone was saying “I told you so” and then I realized that the rest of the guitar was not there, and on closer inspection the neck was not my beloved Ariana after all. My brother had found the neck while he was on a walk earlier in the day and decided to play a practical joke……NOT FUNNY!

The Ariana is not exactly “Trigger”, but has spent years in my hands as I learned my craft. She is beloved.

Not quite as bad as “Trigger”
Lot of varnish stripped off…practice!

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