I started playing guitar left-handed when I was 17. For many, this seemed to be a horrible choice (not that I played guitar, but that I played it ‘backwards’). I found that playing guitar right-handed felt foreign, especially as it left my more dexterous hand to strumming while my gimpy hand was forced into funny shapes and sequences on the fingerboard. Why any right-handed person plays right-handed is beyond me. Either way, we Southpaws have a hard time finding quality instruments. My dad and I found a solution to my dilemma watching a documentary on the band Queen. Brian May and his father built his Red Special guitars. I did the math;
T - Brian May is awesome
T - By extension, Brian May’s Dad is awesome
T - Dr. and Dad May built guitars.
T - I am awesome
T - My Dad is more awesome
My Dad and I will build guitars!
The guitar to your left is the second guitar we built. The first attempt will come in another post, I assure you. This guitar is the one Mel calls My First Love. it’s an apt name in that, no matter how far I stray, I always come back to her. Built in 1996, she initially had 24 frets, a Floyd Rose locking tremolo system, a push-pull coil tap on the tone knob, and Dimarzio Steve’s Special/Air Norton pickups. The body was finished by Warmoth after some customization to neck joint while the neck is finished my own Italian-Irish sweat and dirt. In her 20 years of life, she’s had over a half dozen pickup changes, moved from locking tremolo to Wilkinson to vintage Fender to fixed bridge… and I swapped the neck once (big mistake). Most recently, I cut off the last two frets and repositioned the neck pickup, thus the black filler below the neck pickup.
All this to say, My First Love and I have been around the block. She’s been to Virginia, Indianapolis, Harrisburg, Wilmington, Columbus and in every dive in Upstate and Western NY. She’s been on every record I’ve ever recorded. She’s outlasted every amp and every guitar I’ve ever owned. And I’m playing her tomorrow night at The Violet Mary for America Campaign Kickoff at Sticky Lips in Henrietta, NY (9:30p). You’re welcome to take an up-close and personal look at My First Love. I might even let you hold her!