SongTown USA: This Old Guitar

“This old guitar taught me to sing a love song
It showed me how to laugh and how to cry
It introduced me to some friends of mine
And brightened up some days
It helped me make it through some lonely nights
Oh, what a friend to have on a cold and lonely night”
John Denver

I will admit that I have a love affair with my guitars. There is the Gibson F-25. It may have the weirdest pick guard ever, but it sounds like a dream and rings forever.

There are stories in that guitar that I have yet to draw out. It was in a closet for almost 30 years. Forgotten and abandoned. Sold on eBay. I stole it for $800. In some ways, it is my connection to the earth. We were both born the same year.

On the opposite extreme, there is a 2013 Batson Parlor Artist series. It sounds like a 40-year old guitar. It has the sound hole on the top surface of the guitar and looks like an alien species. Everyone who sees it wants to know what in the world it is. It is the most creative guitar design I have ever seen.

While everyone else accepts the “fact” that the sound hole should be on the face of the guitar, this beauty flaunts its individuality. It inspires creativity with it’s own creative design. I have written some GREAT songs on this guitar.

Then we come to my Taylor NS-32. This guitar is like butter to play. Easy on the fingers. Easy on the ears. The first song I wrote on it was “Let Me Down Easy,” a #1 for Billy Currington. I have a superstitious feel about this one. If I’m feeling unsure about something, I know I can always count on it to pull me through.

The Big Baby Taylor was the driving force in my first top 10 song, “While You Loved Me,” by Rascal Flatts. A big career milestone at the perfect time. I was struggling to keep my writing deal. Big Baby pulled me out of the fire. It saved my butt and kept me writing for a living.

The list goes on. Each guitar I own speaks to me in different ways. I owe part of my success as a writer to the instruments that led me down different roads. They truly did teach me how to sing a love song. They taught me how to laugh and how to cry. They introduced me to some friends of mine and brightened up some days.

I know of no better friend to have on a cold and lonely night than a great guitar. Never underestimate the power of a great instrument to take you places you never would have gone on your own. Drag that old guitar out of the closet. Show it a little love. The love you get in return will far outweigh the love you give. Write on.

Marty Dodson is a songwriter, corporate trainer and entrepreneur. His songs have been recorded by artists such as Rascal Flatts, Carrie Underwood, Kenny Chesney, Joe Cocker, Leon Russell and The Plain White T’s. He once bumped Psy out of the #1 spot on the K-Pop charts but that’s another story for another day. Marty plays Taylor and Batson guitars. Follow him here:, at and at Twitter @SongTownUSA.

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