Six-string obsession

guitar collection

A guitar collection is never complete, according to Dr Howard Holmes of Carousel Orthodontic Centre in Cannington, WA

“My guitar collection happened by accident. Back when I was a dental student in the late ’80s/early ’90s, I was playing in a cover band called Thornton Thruster and the Fools in Love, and I could barely afford an electric guitar. I even had a homemade amp. The guitar I played came from Cash Converters—it was pretty average but it did the job.

“Eventually, I was able to upgrade to a slightly better guitar. And then another one. And another. I think this happens to a lot of musicians because every instrument is unique. You purchase one and have fun with it, and then you see something else that grabs your fancy. Before you know it, you’ve got a roomful of instruments.

“Fortunately, my career has allowed me to collect some very nice vintage and newer custom-made guitars that are just lovely to play. And I do play them. Every guitar gets a go and it always brings me great joy.

“I follow a few online guitar collector sites and it’s always a source of much remorse when a collector sells a guitar. I still own the first guitar my parents bought me when I was 10 years old. It’s a Yamaha Spanish nylon-string and it’s beaten up like you wouldn’t believe. I did sell a couple of guitars when I was younger and needed money, but I can’t see it happening again. In fact, just thinking about it now fills me with regret.

“I’ve been lucky to play with some very good musicians and I still play in a band today. Actually, we’re all middle-aged blokes with families and day jobs but we can still rock out! It’s difficult for five busy guys to find the time to rehearse, but we manage it somehow. After all, it would be hard to justify my collection of guitars to my wife if I didn’t play.

“One of my favourite guitars in the collection is a 1967 Fender Coronado Hollowbody. It’s made out of a unique material called Wildwood. The Fender company injected coloured dyes into living beech trees and the dye diffused through the grain of the wood as it grew. Those trees were then harvested to make the Fender Wildwood guitars for just a few years, so they are actually quite rare and valuable.

“At present I’m on the lookout for an older Gretsch Firebird like the guitar that Malcolm Young from AC/DC used. There’s a saying in guitar-collecting circles that the ideal number of guitars to own is n+1, where n is the current number of guitars you own. I guess I subscribe to that proposition.”

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