Elizabeth

That is the name that I gave my very first, brand new acoustic guitar. A 1972 Guild D-40.

40 years ago.

I loved that guitar. It never left my side for very long from the time I was 16 until well into my twenties. I was always a rocker — I couldn’t help it. Music in the 70s really focused on rock guitar. I did a lot of playing on electrics. But the Guild would always calm my soul. She would carry me above the everyday trials and tribulations. I played that guitar extensively on recording sessions, concerts and at home and on the road.

Elizabeth has since passed on to my oldest son. Not in a formal way. It just sort of happened. He took her out to university and the Guild became his acoustic guitar. I hope he gets as much joy from that instrument as I did.

I still remember the day that I went to Steve’s Music in Montreal. Mr. Steve, as he was known to his customers back then, had a rented storefront at 51 Craig Street West — that street was renamed to Rue St. Antoine. Steve’s Music was the place for guitarists to go and hang out. To try guitars and perhaps to find that special instrument.

I remember going in the store with $400 in my pocket. It took me years to save up that amount of money. I had three paper routes at the time: Montreal Star, Montreal Gazette and the Sunday Express. I saved every penny that I earned from those paper routes. In those days, $400 was quite a bit of money.

The Guild cost more than $400. Closer to $450. But Mr. Steve was willing to cut a deal and to help a young player. He discounted the instrument so that it came in a bit below $400 including taxes. Which worked well for me as I needed some money to take the bus back home.

Over the years, I did a fair amount of business with Steve’s Music. As my playing advanced, I worked with more specialized boutique shops and builders. I would still drop by the stores in Toronto and Ottawa. I have not been back to the Montreal store in almost 30 years now.

I was saddened to hear that Steve Kirman passed away last week at the age of 65.

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