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Thread: Keeping instruments for sentimental reasons

  1. #1

    Default Keeping instruments for sentimental reasons

    What is everyone’s thoughts on keeping instruments for sentimental reasons?

    Let’s say you have reached middle age and have instruments that have been in your care for 30 years. There are recordings of you with these instruments (from your teens). You used them in your first bands, etc…

    There are a dozen personal instruments along with amps, etc.. There is no doubt you would have some regrets if you part with these, yet they are taking up a lot of space, have to be climate controlled and most of it is never used.

    Keeping these instruments is an option, but there are other possessions with just as much importance from a sentimental standpoint. Great Grandfather’s hand tools (that built several of the families homes) among them. The list goes on…

    Combine this with all the other stuff one manages to accumulate and it starts to become a burden. I am guessing many of you have been faced with this. A good problem to have, but a problem none the less.


    I would love some thoughts on how you would deal with this. I am thinking it may come down to taking some nice photos and saying goodbye.
    Robert Fear
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  3. #2
    Registered User Roger Moss's Avatar
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    Default Re: Keeping instruments for sentimental reasons

    My rule of thumb is usually if I haven't used somethimg for a whole year, I probably don't need it. That said, I do have a small number of little items I keep to commemorate some significant time or event in my life. Musical instruments generally fall into the first category. I'm trying to hold onto a spare mandolin for emergencies, but in general, if I don't use it, it goes.
    When the sun beats down and I lie on the bench, I can always hear them talk.
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  5. #3
    two t's and one hyphen fatt-dad's Avatar
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    Default Re: Keeping instruments for sentimental reasons

    yes, the piles of special treasures. Wish I knew. . .

    I have sentimental items in my house. I have a few that I know that are up in the attic - just have to refind them!

    I have my first mandolin ('50's Kay) and I have my first guitar (Ariana classical). I have various instrument carcasses - stuff that will never play, but. . .

    Heck, I still have 20-yr old shirts in my closet! I guess being in my '60s means it's getting time to parse?

    f-d
    ¡papá gordo ain’t no madre flaca!

    '20 A3, '30 L-1, '97 914, 2012 Cohen A5, 2012 Muth A5, '14 OM28A

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    Registered User Dave Fultz's Avatar
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    Default Re: Keeping instruments for sentimental reasons

    I have a few old instruments like that. Not too many because I didn’t have the money to buy much when I was younger.

    Dad burned my first guitar. He seemed to think that storing it in his garage for a few years was just too much of a burden. He did keep my brothers much cheaper guitar. ??? So that’s resolved.

    The first guitar I bought with my own money was a Harmony Monterey, I still have it. It does not take much room.

    My first mandolin was a homemade monstrosity I bought from some old Italian guy. Dad gave it to his toddler grandchildren to play with. I suspect it final fate was shared with the guitar. It would be fun to have as a curiosity.

    So dear old Dad took care of 2/3 of it for me.

    I’ve a bunch of other guitars around. I kind of binged after my wife passed away. I’ve been slowly weeding them out.

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    Default Re: Keeping instruments for sentimental reasons

    If you can't bear to sell them, perhaps donating or loaning them to a music program where others will benefit might ease the parting blow.
    Personally, I'm fairly unsentimental and I don't tend to suffer from this issue. I sell or donate about as often as I acquire.

  9. #6

    Default Re: Keeping instruments for sentimental reasons

    First my mom, then I hung on to my grand-dad's ukes for years, and after another move trying not to damage them, I resolved to learn to play them, and another sloppy amateur musician was born. It is motivating to know they were his when he was a college man way back in the 20's. I just selfishly wish his guitar, banjo or mandolins were preserved.

    I am a sentimental hoarder by nature, but often a whole family of stuff can be reduced down to one key item. Also, it can be easier (emotionally) to give things away than sell them. Good luck, clutter is the curse of the sentimental!

  10. #7
    fishing with my mando darrylicshon's Avatar
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    Default Re: Keeping instruments for sentimental reasons

    I have sold so many of my instruments, i can't count. But I do have some I would like to keep, but I realise I'm getting older and might need to sell some. I have my first mandolin I probably will never sell. I wish I had my first guitar my girlfriend at the time went to visit Seymour Duncan, her mother used to sing in his band. She brought a pickup that he made only 3 of Nancy Wilson and Vivian Campbell had the other two, man that pickup made my cheap city sound great, it got stolen. I have a drumset which I bought in the 80's a Ludwig I will never sell , many drummers have tried to buy them from me. I have my first two real guitars I bought in 1986 keepers also a fender strat and a charge model 4 . Just about everything else I have decided I need to figure out what to do with. I have 24 guitars 52 mandolins, 10 violins and a few other instruments which I'll probably start sell most in the next few years, it's hard to let loose of a lot of them but there is a time you just have to. I almost always have a instrument on eBay or reverb and Craigslist but those instruments were bought to play for awhile then sell for a profit.
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  11. #8
    Registered User Timbofood's Avatar
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    Default Re: Keeping instruments for sentimental reasons

    I have kept my 1976 D-25 M because it was my first good guitar, my Alvarez Mandolin from 1975 because it was the best thing in the marketplace when I started playing. I use them both. I toy with selling them when I get depressed and then my wife says “you will never replace them.” And I extract my head from my backside and go on with life.
    The 1919 Gibson Mandolin banjo was built by my wife’s great uncle for his wife Helen. That will never leave her hands or mine. I don’t have a lot of things that I collect aside from grills (9) Coleman lamps (6) and tons of kitchen equipment which all see service through the year, I’m keeping all of my stuff unless someone really needs something that I can share with them.
    Timothy F. Lewis
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  12. #9
    Rush Burkhardt Rush Burkhardt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Keeping instruments for sentimental reasons

    Great topic!

    I have been playing and "collecting" for +/- 60 years now. I imagine I have owned hundreds (2+/-) stringed instruments. By the time we moved to SC 10 years ago I had reduced my collection to about 30 instruments. In the time in SC I pared down to an even dozen, which I have to this day!

    Included are my main player, a '37 Gibson F-12 (reworked by Randy Wood in '67 and owned by me since '69). If I could find a young mandolinist (BG), of high character and commitment, whom I believe would keep it and play it, I could see parting with it, just because it should be played!

    I have a '42-'43 "Only Gibson Is Good Enough!" J-45 that my dad resurrected (it was a wreck; broken head stock, open cracks in back and front, etc.),from a pawn shop, in '55. Probably will be left to a grand kid.

    My uncle carried a mid-'30's Gibson L-10 to Europe in WWII and gave it to me 30-years ago. I converted it to a mando-cello. Probably will be left to grand kid.

    I got a '37 A-1, that Lou Stiver had put a long neck on and re-calibrated, a few years ago. It sits by my chair in the living room. Probably left to grand kid.

    That leaves 8...with little sentimentality! Fiddle to uke to acoustic bass to electric mando to Portuguese parlor guitar to Holzapfel Brazilian parlor guitar, etc. Time to get them gone! Starting tomorrow!
    Rush Burkhardt
    Towson, MD


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  13. #10
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    Default Re: Keeping instruments for sentimental reasons

    Robert, I'm in a similar situation. We've just downsized as my youngest moved to college. In the prior house I had a dedicated music/instrument room. In the new house, they're presently in the guest bedroom. I've bought most of my instruments to fill a tonal void, so it's hard to think about parting with them. I mean, when I need the RM-I, none of the others will do. My 1N was my first "real" mandolin, and my first guitar, which my now deceased grandmother helped me buy, is still an excellent Spruce/hog player that I use regularly. I also use the other 2 acoustics regularly, but, I'm gonna have to move some stuff. I've actually given a couple of things away recently that I didn't feel were worth the hassle to sell/ship, and prior to leaving the old house I used a couple of project guitars as kindling. Realized that I was just never going to get around to fixing them, and they weren't playable without significant overhauls. They were also cheap production imports, so not like I torched an old Martin or anything.

    More than the sentimental aspect of it, though there is some of that, I just like all of my instruments, and still play them all, though others admittedly much more than some. The reality, though, is this is a hobby for me. I think I'm going to try to get it down to 2 mandolins, 2 acoustic guitars, 1 tele, and 1 bass. Can't decide whether to keep the mandocello (which I love, but that scale is a beast to play cleanly for me), move it altogether, or turn it into a mandola. Honestly, I could survive with 1 mandolin and one guitar, but I like having the variety since I function as the utility guy in our praise band...
    Chuck

  14. #11
    two t's and one hyphen fatt-dad's Avatar
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    Default Re: Keeping instruments for sentimental reasons

    I didn't fully disclose my problem.

    I can't sell my A3 - had it too long.
    I can't sell my L1 - had it too long.
    I can't sell my 914 - bought it from John Cephas and Taylor made it for him to carry to the White House.
    I can't sell my Cohen A5 - Dave made it for me, he's a friend and I love it.
    Just bought my OM-28Authentic - can't sell that!
    Who'd sell a pancake? No way! I'll carry that to the beach!
    I guess I could sell my Muth, but. . . Larry made it for me and it's the only mandolin with a pickup!

    Sort of want to buy another mandolin, so I have some psychological disorder, perhaps?

    I don't drink!

    f-d
    ¡papá gordo ain’t no madre flaca!

    '20 A3, '30 L-1, '97 914, 2012 Cohen A5, 2012 Muth A5, '14 OM28A

  15. #12

    Default Re: Keeping instruments for sentimental reasons

    Only been a couple that I have kept for sentimental reasons.

    Wouldn't take nothin for my mando-journey.

  16. #13

    Default Re: Keeping instruments for sentimental reasons

    From the deceased point of view, it doesn't matter. No Earthly thing matters.
    When I'm gone, it won't matter, and I won't care.

    Until then, my tally seems comparatively low. I don't really have anything on my radar. It's all good.
    I should update a valuation list for insurance and just in case.

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  18. #14
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    Default Re: Keeping instruments for sentimental reasons

    Robert,

    Bite the bullet. Sell one, and see if you regret it.

    I sold two a while ago thinking there wound be regret, that they'd be missed. - Not at all. It felt good to see them go to new owners who were very happy and would put them to use.

    Admittedly these sales were supposed to open the gates to move a number of other instruments out of the house, but that hasn't happened. Yet.

  19. #15
    Isolated enthusiast Caleb's Avatar
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    Default Re: Keeping instruments for sentimental reasons

    I’ve got a crappy acoustic guitar I keep because I sang a song with it to my wife at our wedding.
    "The only people who achieve much are those who want knowledge so badly
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    Default Re: Keeping instruments for sentimental reasons

    I still have my first guitar; it's unplayable, and my first mandolin; it wouldn't be pleasant to play so it generally hangs on the wall. I also have my first decent guitar and my first decent mandolin which hardly ever get played. To those you can add a dozen or so other guitars and a similar number of mandolins together with a couple of basses and a uke.

    I suppose I could sell a few but that would give me the problem of what to spend the proceeds on?

  22. #17
    Registered User Ranald's Avatar
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    Default Re: Keeping instruments for sentimental reasons

    Quote Originally Posted by colorado_al View Post
    If you can't bear to sell them, perhaps donating or loaning them to a music program where others will benefit might ease the parting blow.
    Robert, I'm not trying to tell you what to do, and my sweetheart would assure you that I'm no expert on getting rid of things. I believe in the concept of "sentimental value." That being said, I came across a teenage neighbour from a low income family who had given up guitar because he'd graduated from junior high to high school, and the high school music program didn't lend guitars. I inquired among my musical friends, and quickly came up with a no-longer-used guitar that a woman was willing to pass to him. Four years later, he's in university and still playing that guitar. I hate to think how many fine instruments are out there unused, while others -- children or adults -- could give them loving attention.

    I'm with Colorado Al (above). I've held a fundraiser for an organization that provides instruments and musical training for children in the Canadian north, and plan to give them a couple of neglected children's fiddles (the grandchildren never took up the instrument) when I'm down Toronto way -- shipping them to Toronto is expensive. Other countries must or should have similar programs.

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  23. #18

    Default Re: Keeping instruments for sentimental reasons

    My simple, maybe incorrect maybe not rule would probably be - Keep the things that are the very most important, and anything that is hanging on the edge of just sentimental enough to want to keep but not sentimental enough to be useful and important, try to find a new home for those things whether you sell it or give it, try to find a friend, relative, neighbor, or someone like that to give it a new life and a new importance. That way it's still within your ability to see it and watch it take on this new life while giving a new player a shot at enjoying it.
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  24. #19
    Registered User bruce.b's Avatar
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    Default Re: Keeping instruments for sentimental reasons

    Sell em if you don’t use them. I consider possessions to be boat anchors, they weight you down, so the less the better.

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  26. #20
    All in FredK's Avatar
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    Default Re: Keeping instruments for sentimental reasons

    I've sold several instruments that I don't play anymore. However, there's the Gibson J-50 Deluxe my dad bought new for me 45 years ago (my first guitar) that I can't pull the trigger on to sell - yet. There are a lot of good memories from it and it was a great way to meet girls. Had the neck reset last year and lowered the action to help with my aging grip before I purchased my first mandolin. But, the mandolin bug has infected my entire being and the poor old guitar just sits there in it's original case begging to be played. I even have pictures and a description ready to post in the Classifieds. The main purpose is to save up for another mandolin (leaning towards an octave) next year when we go on vacation and pass by some well-known, brick and mortar stores. This will happen soon but this one is the toughest.
    "If your memories exceed your dreams, you have begun to die." - Anonymous

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  27. #21
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    Default Re: Keeping instruments for sentimental reasons

    I usually hang on to special items and not so special items ! Still mowing after 28 years with the same John Deere mower. I have four mandolins that will be divided up to daughters and grand daughters. Several rather valuable violins that have already been given to daughters and two corvettes that will go to daughters. I guess my wife I will hang on to !
    My two favorite pastimes are drinking wine and playing the mandolin but most of my friends would rather hear me drink wine! Adapted from quote by Mark Twain------supposedly !

  28. #22

    Default Re: Keeping instruments for sentimental reasons

    Boy do I wish I had a Gibson A from a grandfather. Alas they didn't play. But I was able to get one when someone's family saw no use for it after they died.

    I do have both a crosscut and a rip saw from my wife's grandfather and great uncle, who built a house in SanFrancisco around 1905. I have them hanging on a wall, and I use them all the time. Good steel.

    I've known a few people with teens Martin guitars from family. It's a very nice thing to have.
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  29. #23
    mandolin slinger Steve Ostrander's Avatar
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    Default Re: Keeping instruments for sentimental reasons

    "If you own something you cannot give away, then you don't own it, it owns you." Albert Schweitzer

    The only things in my house that can't be replaced are my family and my family photos.
    Never say "bouzouki" to a TSA agent...

  30. #24
    two t's and one hyphen fatt-dad's Avatar
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    Default Re: Keeping instruments for sentimental reasons

    Back when the kids lived in the house and involved in sports, I'd keep instruments in the back of my station wagon. One, an LXM Martin, which was made from formica-like wood stuff. I'd always have that guitar in my car! Then when I'd get stuck waiting for soccer practice to end, I could noodle on the guitar.

    Several years later, our church had a preacher come in to Richmond, Virginia from Mwitikira, Tanzania (sp). Just a great fellow! He came over the house and we had fun looking at instruments and such. He told me he grew up in a village that had a guitar and it made me ask the question, "Isn't there a guitar in your village?" Well, there is now! My LXM - no case - went carry on to Tanzania. I'll still send him strings every so often!

    f-d
    ¡papá gordo ain’t no madre flaca!

    '20 A3, '30 L-1, '97 914, 2012 Cohen A5, 2012 Muth A5, '14 OM28A

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  32. #25
    bon vivant jaycat's Avatar
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    Default Re: Keeping instruments for sentimental reasons

    Quote Originally Posted by Timbofood View Post
    I have kept my 1976 D-25 M because it was my first good guitar . . .
    Dont' you dare ever let go of that one Tim. (if you do, I got first dibs!).

    I have an old Yamaha guitar that belonged to my college girlfriend, circa 1970. No way I'm letting it go, too many sweet memories there. It sat in my best friend's closet for 40 years before he remembered he had it! I took it to a local luthier to see what he could do with the action, it's pretty bad (suitable for playing bottleneck). I said, I've heard some of these old Yamahas are worth something. He said "not this one!"
    "The paths of experimentation twist and turn through mountains of miscalculations, and often lose themselves in error and darkness!"
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