My Kent 12 String Guitar

Double Trouble and a Disappointment

After graduating from high school in spring of 1967 I had a band. We played and sang at churches and for over the next year and half before I entered the USAF, we had a gig at the VA hospital in Black Mountain, NC. At that time I played lead guitar in the band and owned a classic Fender Mustang guitar, in my opinion one of the best guitars ever made by the Fender Guitar company and no one has ever quite equaled the necks and fingerboards of those amazing instruments.

I had landed a job in the cotton mill in Tuxedo on the evening shift. My job, music and weekend dates kept me occupied I became interested in purchasing a nice acoustic guitar and knew the upper end Gibson's and Martin's were out of reach so I began going to pawn shops looking for the elusive dream, a used Martin or Gibson that I might be able to afford on a mill workers income. I wasn't able to find one but one day while in Finkelsteins, a well known pawn outlet in the city of Asheville, a 12 string Kent caught my eye. I loved the way it looked and soon I decided I would buy the guitar. The price was $35 in those days,about half my weeks paycheck. A twelve string guitar I soon found out was a strange animal and tuned very differently from my normal guitar. To be honest I never was able to tune that guitar. The main reason was we tuned by ear and matched the tones at the frets and I broke more strings attempting to tune the guitar, I gave up and never played the guitar.

As for as my Fender Mustang, I sold it a couple of weeks before I left for basic training and the man who bought the instrument still has it. I spoke with him this past weekend and told him I'd give him his money back. A great guitarist he told me, it's not for sale but lies among the "stuff" in his basement. Originally I paid around $250 for the Fender but today it is worth over $2000.

When our house burned in 1989, I still had that old guitar and somehow it was salvaged. It was stored in my brother in laws basement where it still remains to the best of my knowledge. I have always thought about getting the old guitar and having it redone. For those who play these monsters, there is some good music to be heard and played.

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Comments 7 comments

Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

Wesman Todd Shaw 4 years ago from Kaufman, Texas

I'd go insane stringing and tuning the thing up!!!!!!!

I've screwed up some nerves in my left hand...can't type properly...or play the guitar - sad times at the Shaw place :/


Fiddleman profile image

Fiddleman 4 years ago from Zirconia, North Carolina Author

I feel for you buddy, had a Bakers cyst on my right "birdy" finger and it was hard to hold a pick. I have RA so my old fingers don't move as well. Thank goodness the Herringbone Martin almost plays itself and the 12 string may eventually wind up being a clock.


guitartunershop 4 years ago

Love the article. Something about old guitars... as for hand difficulties I have used, at differing times, dynaflex powerballs, carpal tunnel solutions or just simple sports tape that you find at Sports Authority. All have worked to varying degrees... just expressing sympathy for the musician who suffers from hand difficulties. Thanks again for the article- I too have gotten rid of guitars that I later regret.


no body profile image

no body 24 months ago from Rochester, New York

When I was a little boy I begged my mom for some instrument. She had said no to me being in the band at school and it was really okay at the time because they wanted me to play a tuba or some such brass instrument. I really wanted the flute. But all those spots in the school band was taken by girls. The band orchestrator said that larger instruments were always given the boys because they were able to carry them and had hands that were big enough. I sat at home depressed and waited. A while later, I guess my parents were getting tired of seeing me look sad, they bought me the cheapest guitar in the Montgomery Ward Catalog. I loved the way it smelled. I loved the way it sat in my arms. But the strings and I had a hard time. I fought to hold them down and they defended themselves well by making my fingers so sore that I could hardly use them. I never got the hang of tuning it and I knew, should I break a string, my parents would never buy me one to replace it. I had no knowledge of music and no one to teach me. In those days, so long ago, the only real music teachers there were were in school band, and music schools. There were piano teachers here and there but you had to have a piano to sit under their instruction. So the upside that I have mentioned so many times in comments here or there is I ended up finding the greatest instrument of all. It answered my childhood dream and never hurt my fingers. The awesome ocarina is, for me, a world of its own. It takes me away to a place where I can sing to God in a voice like that of the angels. (beautiful and I assume angels have to sound at least as good as this, probably better :)) Nice article and it helped me remember my guitar. Oh yeah, the day I moved out of my parent's home with a very small portion of my belongings, my mother had a garage sale and sold all things I had left there, intending to pick up later in the week. My guitar was one of those things. I never had learned to play it but I still loved the smell of the wood and once in a while I would pluck at a string just to hear one note and smile. Voted up.


Fiddleman profile image

Fiddleman 24 months ago from Zirconia, North Carolina Author

Thank you for your comment and sharing your experiences about your guitar. You are right the smell of some guitars especially those with Sitka spruce have a great smell. I hope maybe one day you will decide to take up guitar once again. There are lots of instructional videos on YouTube that might help you.


no body profile image

no body 24 months ago from Rochester, New York

I have developed some serious arthritis in my wrists and fingers. I don't think that I can manage the strings anymore. The ocarina doesn't hurt and it is so beautiful. I do like listening to strings. So a blend is the absolute best. Glad my story was appreciated. Bob.


Fiddleman profile image

Fiddleman 24 months ago from Zirconia, North Carolina Author

I have rheumatoid arthritis but thankful I can still play my guitar.

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