Sing to him, sing praises to him;
tell of all his wondrous works!
1 Chronicles 16:9
Several years ago, I was visiting at the home of Gene and Carolyn Sword. Gene, knowing that I appreciated guitars, pulled out a case with a dilapidated Gretsch guitar inside. It was in pieces.The paint had been sanded off, the neck and the body were separated and the hardware was stored in plastic bags. What had once been a beautiful musical instrument, was now a nearly worthless pile of wood. It had been neglected, abused and it’s, once wonderful, harmonic tone silenced.
Gene told me that it had been purchased at a pawn shop and that it had been a practice instrument for the famous guitarist Chet Atkins. Gene’s brother bought it for him and Gene had hoped to, one day, restore it.
That old Gretsch was, in many ways, like us. Once we possessed a playful, child-like voice that giggled, laughed and sang at the sheer joy of life. However, over time, we were worn down by sin, circumstances and the abrasive ways of the world. Our voice became quiet and our song was eventually muted.
Not long before Gene’s death, he asked me if I could find someone who would buy and restore his beloved guitar. Eventually, I found Huw, an English writer and Master Luthier.
In a series of magazine articles, Huw describes how he took Gene’s old Gretsch and reduced it to even smaller parts. With painstaking attention to detail, Huw examined and restored every element of the guitar until the masterpiece was revealed.