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Although the 2020 Guitar Gathering Conference was canceled, a few of us decided that we would like to visit Nashville anyway. We contacted Steve and he said he would be happy to see some familiar faces and could meet us one day for lunch. So the trip was on.

After arriving in Nashville, Keith Morgan and I had a quick lunch and then headed into Nashville and guitar stores. North American Guitars (formerly Cotton Music) was first. We had a great time playing some very expensive guitars and chatting with shop owner Kim Sherman. We met up with Collin Hill and it was on to Gruhn Guitars. Gruhn has recently started carrying sinker mahogany OMs and I was eager to see what those were like. Between the two of us, I think Collin and I played about every sinker OM in the store. Greg Voros came down from the third floor and we talked a bit about the COVID impact on the shop (many of the employees have been laid off). Collin and I narrowed the sinker mahogany search down to one or two specimens and Greg took us upstairs to see if there were any OMs we had missed. George Gruhn joined us and suggested that we play in the shop stairwell (very nice acoustics). See photos below.

On Thursday, we met Steve and Paulette for lunch and then headed back to the hotel for some rest and relaxation as well as a bit of guitar practice. Keith and I had intended to perform a song at the conference – Keith was ready – I was not 🙂

After an early Friday morning meeting with Instruments of Joy President Joshua MacLeod, Keith and I visited Artisan Guitars (where Keith played a killer Collings C100). We then headed to Clarksville to visit Collin and his family. In spite of getting lost - hey – we only missed their address by 16 miles – we eventually found Collin’s new home and got a tour of his new studio. After a brief tour of downtown Clarksville, which included a new guitar store owned by a former Gruhn's employee, we had a nice dinner, and then it was back to the hotel in Brentwood. By the way, the Holiday Inn Express in Brentwood was a great place to stay. It was convenient to both Nashville and the Franklin/Cool Springs area.

The trip was over all too soon. Hopefully, we can all be together next year.

Photos below:

-Gruhn's new mural (under construction)

-Collin playing the best sounding sinker mahogany OM

-Collin playing in the stairwell

-George and Greg listening to Collin playing

-Our mini Guitar Gathering 2020 official photo

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That looks like you had a great adventure trail, from one store to another and then to Collin's studio and the restaurant. I am glad you all had a lovely day.

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Fun times you lucky guys!  Looks like a very packed and enjoyable day for everyone. Wish I too could have been there to share it with all of you.

Greg

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Sounds like a great trip in spite of the masks!    I'm stopping by Gruhn's in a few weeks to get a bit of work done (one advantage of living a couple of hours from Nashville), but I doubt I'll get the royal treatment like you guys did!

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23 hours ago, William Nelson said:

Sounds like a great trip in spite of the masks!    I'm stopping by Gruhn's in a few weeks to get a bit of work done (one advantage of living a couple of hours from Nashville), but I doubt I'll get the royal treatment like you guys did!

William - Give Greg a call or ask for him at the front desk - he will make sure you get royal treatment at Gruhn's! Hope you have a great time.

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@Dave White  what a great, fun trip, a mini-conference, this had to be.  I am appropriately envious.  Since it made me so envious, I'm not sure that I'm appreciative.  But I'll say it as a formality, "Thanks for sharing".  😉 🤣  (Of course, kidding)

One part of your story was left unfinished however!    "I think Collin and I played about every sinker OM in the store."    What were the sinkers like?  And, far and away most importantly, did anyone go home with one?!?! 

The concept of making a guitar from wood that had been submerged for nearly a century is just fascinating to me.  And I have heard multiple raving about how  the sinker guitars sound amazing. 

For anyone not familiar with the "sinker" guitars story, a lot of mahogany from Central America sunk in rivers on the way to sawmills.  Mr. Gruhn somehow acquired all of this "sinker" wood.  The full story is here

So Dave?!!?  Are we going to soon see a NGD post for a sinker guitar?🤔 If not, can you give us more details about your impression of them? 

 

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@matonanjin – you are most perceptive. Yes – I did leave out the ‘What happened to that guitar?’ part of the story. So here you go.

I had looked at Gruhn’s sinker OOOO’s when I attended the fingerstyle retreat last fall. Not needing another guitar, not being a big Martin fan, and not being interested in an OOOO-sized guitar, I didn’t even pick one up. Mark Cantwell (PapaMark) can fill you in on the details of those as I believe he eventually purchased one. At the time, I asked someone at Gruhn’s if they were planning to make sinker mahogany OM’s and they said ‘no’. However, as I wrote above, when I looked at Gruhn’s website before leaving on the trip, it listed a whole herd of sinker OM’s.

My impression of the sinker OM’s? We played a lot of them and were not smitten by all of them. There could be a variety of reasons for that – they are all new guitars and are all tight (not broken in), they all probably had strings of varying ‘newness’ – and part of it could have just been us (what we were hearing). That is why I always like to have Collin along when I am trying out a guitar – he is a great player and has a great ear. The one we both liked had a big sound – I can only describe it as dreadnought sounding. It sounded like it was already broken in.

So after playing all those guitars, I told the staff at Gruhn’s that I had an interest in THAT one (carefully noting the shop and serial number) and said I would get back to them.

Then it began. [Be careful when you visit a guitar shop with fellow guitar “enablers”. It is a good thing I don’t hang with drug addicts 😊] “Dave, are you going to buy that guitar?” “Dave you should really buy that guitar.” “Dave did you buy that guitar yet?” Even Collin’s parents got in on the act. So, to make what should be a short story even a bit longer – before I left town, I called Gruhn’s and had them ship it to me. My fellow travelers were pleased, I assume the folks at Gruhn’s were pleased, and I am happy to own one of George’s sinker mahogany guitars. Greg did a nice job of setting it up for me and kindly installed a strap button as well.

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Would have loved to been on this trip,

Only thing that shocked me was how close everyone is sitting as they're not a the "circle of 10"and no face covering, then I remembered this is the US, not Canada. 

Sorry for the covid hi-jack

 

Play that guitar,  get some love scratches on it

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@Dave White thank you for finishing the story.   That is one gorgeous guitar.  And I'm sure it sounds as great as it looks.  I hope we hear a recording with it soon to confirm that.

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Wow! That sure is a great looking guitar!! 

So glad you guys got to go visit! I'd love to get back out to Nashville sometime soon! 

Thanks for sharing the pics!!! :)  Y'all look great!! :) 

 

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  • 4 weeks later...

Dave,  I took your advice and also took Greg up on his invitation to the second floor.    That can be a dangerous and expensive habit to fall into.    I played one of those Sinker OMs as well and almost thought about trading.   I really like the small size compared to a dreadnaught.     But I really enjoyed playing a vintage1932 Martin.    Just not ready to spring for a guitar that cost more than my first home.    But I really enjoyed speaking with George who honored me by allowing me to play his new dream guitar, a 1925 Gibson L5.  

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