Sunday, July 6, 2008
Buck Owens Harmony Acoustic
In honor of 4th of July weekend I thought I'd post about the Buck Owens red, white and blue acoustic that I once had, but remains in the family. So, technically it did get away, but I know where it is. I walked into a guitar shop in Laguna Beach one day and was checking out the amazing selection of gutiars they had. I walked into the acoustic room and immediatly my eyes were drawn to a really beat up Buck Owens acoustic. When I was a kid, my dad would watch Hee Haw every weekend and eventually Buck Owens and Roy Clarke would do a song. On that show Buck always played his red, white and blue signature Buck Owens Harmony acoustic guitar. That guitar was an absolute icon to me. I won't even go into how cool Buck Owens is...if you're not a country fan and think Buck is just one of those old country dudes, think again. An amazing guy in both music and business and his band back in the day featured one of the all-time most influential guitarists, Don Rich. Now back to the guitar...
I inquired about the price and it was only $250. The guy pointed out some serious cracks on the back of the guitar, and the action was pretty high. The white paint had faded to a yellowish puke color. And the pickguard was missing...though someone had put a generic, cheap white plastic guard on it. Even with all those faults, I wanted it. I wanted to fix it up a bit and give it to my dad. I took it down to Fred at the Repair Zone in San Diego, one the guitar gurus in town, and asked if he could help me find or create an original pickguard. I had found some photos, and you could still see the faint outline on the guitar where the original had been. Fred hand cut a new one for me and we were back to original appearances.
The headstock on these guitars are a thick plastic overlay that seems to be made out of some very brittle material. On MANY of these guitars, the headstock overlay is cracked, pieces missing, peeling away, or just plain missing. The one on mine was in pretty decent shape except that right where the words "Buck Owens" were, was kind of scraped or rubbed off mostly. I didn't really want to pay for a neck reset, especially since my Dad doesn't play guitar, so I left that "as is." It actually had a decent case too and lots of interesting case candy.
I had asked the guy in the store about the stuff in the case and he said "No matter what's in the case when a guitar comes in, unless it's damaging to the guitar, I leave it in. I figure that's part of the guitar's mojo."
I have now adopted that rule myself when buying any guitar. I keep the mojo together. I took the guitar to my dad who really seemed to like the gift. I don't know that he's really attempted to play it, and a few times when I went to visit I found it out in his garage in the HOT summer in Sacramento...probably not the best place for a guitar. I have tried and tried to get him to put it in a safer spot and I have no idea if it's currently in a storage unit or at my dad's place. I'm worried that it's in the storage unit, going from hot summer to cold winter and probably falling apart in the case. But, not much I can do...just hope for the best. It's a really cool guitar, warts and all, and it will forever remind me of being a kid in Tulsa, OK, watching TV with my dad on a Saturday evening.
2014 UPDATE: In this past year, my dad moved in with me as he is getting older and it just made sense. When he moved all his stuff from storage into my garage, I kept waiting and waiting for them to unload a guitar case off the truck. Nothing. Finally I asked him about the guitar and where it was. He said, "Well, I think the guys that helped me move stuff into the storage unit a long time ago stole it. I haven't seen it since then, so I guess it's gone. DOH! I just sort of knew that the fate of this guitar was not going to be good. I guess I'll keep an eye on Ebay and see if I can spot it at some point. With all it's cracks and fading, it should be easy to spot.
Once again, since the guitar is not in my hands, I have found some photos on the internet to use for this story. This is not the actual guitar I gave my dad.