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How many guitars is enough?

Johnny - a la bluesman
Johnny - a la bluesman
Johnny Ozelius

For the first fifteen years of my guitar playing career I owned no more than two guitars.  My acoustic was a sunburst Ovation Custom Balladeer with and extra deep bowl.  This guitar was so great, I rarely felt anybody else had a guitar better than mine and I still believe that I hit the guitar jackpot the day I bought it in Boston.  My electric however, was a second hand Epiphone which sucked as bad as most Epiphone guitars did in the eighties. In it's defense it had a cherry red strat body with a gibson style neck and pickup that probably fell off a Sears guitar. The guitar was clearly confused.  However,  it was the best I could afford at the time.  Let it be said that it didn't inspire my greatness.

After playing in numerous rock bands through high school and college I found I had an affinity for doing the Singer-Songwriter thing.  Working my originals songs around covers of Harry Chapin, James Taylor and Jackson Browne, I built an undercover career as a troubadour.  I say undercover because no one remembers my career except for me.  

Three kids and a mortgage later I woke up one day and plugged in my crappy Epiphone electric guitar.  The volume pot was so scratchy I thought it had taken a swim. My interest in the electric guitar was lower than ever, and I sold that electric at a yard sale for $10 which was more than it was worth.

At the same time I pulled out the blessed Ovation and restarted my singer songwriter career. I had been chasing diapers so long I had forgotten how great the roundback sounded.  A new set of D'Addarios and suddenly I was in business again.  After reworking the set list and adding lots of new songs, I began to hit the local open mics and got tuned up.  I unexpectedly found a large group of  new friends who gathered several times a week to make music and hang out over a few beers.  Soon I added a Guild D4, a Takamine 12 string and a Tacoma Chief to the collection.  

I still have the Ovation, although it is in need of some overdue TLC so I've been playing the other eight guitars in the room.  Eight guitars you ask?  Why do I need eight guitars?  I don't know, but I have several friends with thirteen, at least one with twenty four and one who probably doesn't know how many guitars he owns.  How cool is that?

What guitars do you own?  What do you have in your collection?  I'd love to know more about your guitars.  Leave a comment and let me know.

Until then. . . Rock on


  • the other Johnny O 5 years ago

    Great story! At one time I had 6 guitars. I got them not only for the sound, but how they looked. My problem was that I had a revolving guitar door. I would sell one and then get another one. One day my dad said, "Every time I see you, you have a new guitar in your hand". I never got to know one for very long. I traded my Brian May guitar away. Not good. But now my collection is stable at three guitars. An Ibanez RG-470 in purple, a GREAT home built, made by the guy you know with 24+ guitars. And an Ovation acoustic. You're right, he is not sure how many guitars he has, but makes all of them sound great. He probably could have made your electric POJ sound good. I had a cool Axis guitar with a "golden curly maple" veneer. It had a kick-butt tone. I sold it to a good freind of mine. Maybe that will re-ignite his love of the electric. I look forward to your next article. "The second glance was my first mistake": Triumph - Spellbound! Rock on!

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