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While my guitar deeply wails.

My go to guitar these days is a 1930 Martin 2-17. Martin made these guitars from 1922-1938. During that sixteen-year production period they made 7,431. In a 1925 Martin catalog, the 2-17 was described as "amateur size" and as being handy for "general knock-about use.” http://217.dougschmude.net/index.html


Two of my guitar heroes are B.B. King and Willie Nelson.

B.B. named his guitar “Lucille” after a woman who worked in a dance hall in Arkansas, where B.B. had played a gig in the winter of 1949. During the gig, the hall burst into flames because of two men who knocked over a kerosene heater during a fight. Everyone was evacuated including the band. B.B. realized that he had left his guitar in the dance hall and retrieved his beloved Gibson before the fire reached it. Later, he learned that the men who started the fire were fighting over the dance hall woman, Lucille. B. B. named his guitar after Lucille to remind him never to fight over a woman and never to run into a burning building again.

Willie named his guitar “Trigger” after Roy Roger’s horse of the same name. Willie bought his Martin N-20 in 1969 after his Baldwin 800 C Classical Acoustic-Electric was stepped on by a fan who had had too much of the falling down water. A luthier in Nashville, Shot Jackson, told Willie that his Baldwin was beyond repair and offered Willie the Martin N-20. Willie bought the Martin unseen and it has been with Willie ever since. Willie says that one of the secrets to his sound is beyond explanation, but that his battered old Martin, Trigger, has the greatest tone he’s ever heard on a guitar.

I named my guitar Lomo. I call it the little guitar with a big sound. Since my Martin is an all mahogany guitar, I thought Mo would be a good name. After a while, I started using medium strings on “Mo” for the tone, and decided to tune the guitar down a whole step because of its size. It is a small body parlor guitar, and I thought the medium strings may be too much tension for it to handle. With the guitar tuned down, the tone of the instrument seemed to widen and of course, deepen. With a growling, deep and guttural tone, Mo begged for a name even more suited, and he became Lomo. Then later, I learned that Lomo in Spanish means the lower back of a human. Lomo has got my back and I’ve got his, as well as his front and sides.

 

If you’re ever in the market for a guitar, there’s a special shop in Nashville called Cotten Music. That is where I found Lomo back in 2010. I am grateful to Kim Sherman of Cotten Music for steering me towards Lomo, the little guitar with a big sound...