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Three Short Articles by H.E. Huttig

The Guitar & I

by H.E. Huttig

previously published in Guild of American Luthiers Quarterly 10 #2, 1982

See also,
“Three Craftsmen” by H.E. Huttig
“Woes of a Wood Merchant” by H.E. Huttig

My introduction to the mystery and beauty of musical instruments took place in my grandmother’s hotel suite. Grandma had been to Europe, an experience reserved for a favored few in those days. Her suite in the old Hotel Lucerne was a cultural oasis in the otherwise arid surroundings of Kansas City, a town only recently emerged from frontier days and having a considerable preoccupation with cattle and lumbering. Her rooms were filled with bric-a-brac and antique furniture. In addition there was a grand piano and numerous small instruments including violins, mandolins and guitars.

I was five years old at the time and my inquisitive fingers quickly found the strings of the instruments. I marveled at the sounds and appreciated the beauty of the polished rare woods. Later Grandma moved to Miami Beach and her guitar was damaged when a hurricane blew in the windows. The guitar was given to me all in ruins, and I managed to repair it. It is still in my possession.

Years later I met Delfin Martinez and Ted McCully, both talented guitarists. Delfin had come from Key West and was familiar with all phases of Latin music. Though he plays guitar, his favorite instrument is the TRES, a three stringed Cuban folkloric instrument Ted was born in Russia and was adopted by Admiral McCully from the crowds of Russian orphans left homeless after World War I.

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