1960’s memorabilia

Some of you may remember me writing a post about how I first discovered folk music and through it, Joan Baez. It was back in the mid sixties and, though it sounds a bit extreme, it changed my life. It wasn’t long before I decided to buy myself a cheap guitar and try my hand at playing. It was 1966 or 67 and my first guitar cost me £3 ($4.85).

I thought I was never going to be able to change chords and keep the rhythm flowing, but thankfully it just happened like magic one day. I placed a Joan Baez song on the record player (yes, we only had record players then) and played along with it until I was able to keep up with Joan.  For some daft reason I chose a fast and complicated finger picking song. I have no idea why, but it certainly made slower songs easier for me to master. When I sourced this on YouTube and played it, memories of me sitting on my bed night after night practicing came flooding back to me.


It was the sixties, so I painted flowers all over my guitar. It was a cheap one, so it didn’t matter.  I was soon to go to a very posh music shop in London’s West End and buy myself a really expensive and beautiful classical guitar. Now I was serious about playing.

I’ve had many guitars over the years, including a beautiful 12 string. I changed my playing style too, as I progressed.  I still have three guitars – an electric acoustic, a solid electric and a Yamaha ‘Silent’ guitar which, as the name suggests, can be played through ear phones without annoying people around you. I haven’t played for some time now but, who knows? I may have a go again one day.


Imagine my surprise when I was told that my very first, 1960’s guitar was…..


I had passed it on to my niece when she was just a child. I am amazed that she kept it and passed it on to her younger brother, who still has it. I expect his kids have all played around with it over the years too.  He lives in Wales and brought it with him on a visit to his mum (my sister).  He thought I might like to see it again.


I was over the moon!  It’s a little battered about, but after almost fifty years, it’s hardly surprising. Here it is, in all it’s flower power splendour.

My 1960’s memorabilia – My little ‘Gospel Ship’ guitar


Guitar close

I wish it could transport me back in time. Back to the sixties.


  • Sandie

    Happy days:0)

  • That is so fantastic! The flower power guitar looks to be in pristine shape! That’s marvelous too. You should continue to play, Babs! I so envy people who have musical abilities! Just lovely!

    • I might just have another go at playing. If I can get my fingers to do their job.

  • Comedy Plus

    You can play this? I’m impressed. Way cool and how wonderful that your $4.95 guitar is still in the family. This post made me smile.

    Have a terrific day. Big hug to you both. 🙂

    • I was so surprised to find out that it even existed and was still in the family.

  • Wow, Babs, I know that took you right down memory lane! So happy you got to see it again. Love the decorations!

    Your story reminds of a similar story John Denver told about his guitar. Here’s a link to the story/video (hope it works).

    John Denver’s guitar

    • Thank you for that link. I loved John Denver and that was a lovely story about his guitar. Mine was only a cheap guitar, but the sentiment is the same 🙂

  • You know, while the 3 guitars up above are newer, shinier and more expensive, I think the flower guitar is the loveliest. And I’m pretty sure I hear it calling your name, Babs. 🙂

    • Ha ha! I must admit, it was very ‘me’ at the time. In fact it’s still ‘me’, if I’m honest 🙂

  • Ron

    Babs, reading this post and then listening to that video clip brought back a TON of wonderful memories for me! I too was a big fan of Joan. The ’60s was a decade of some incredible music – especially folk music like, Peter, Paul and Mary, and Janis Ian.

    I am so HAPPY that you reconnect with your guitar. Seeing it put a huge smile on my face because I could feel your JOY!

    Love the touch of flowers! Blows me away that you painted them on yourself!

    I had flower stickers all over my school books and bedroom. Yup…the ’60s were all about FLOWER POWER!

    Thanks for sharing, my friend!

    X to you and Mo!

    • I loved the time of flowers and even painted flowers on my own clothes. I had special fabric paint in tubes that you used a like a large ball point pen. This enabled me to always be different and original 😉 Those were the days of wearing anything you wanted and it being acceptable.

  • Happy New Year!

    Love your flower power guitar. Music heals all ills. Playing guitar is a great talent and a wonderful way to decompress. When you dabble in the arts, it always keeps you connected to your youth.

    I took guitar lessons but my teacher was a stoner. I didn’t learn much and once took him to the emergency room because he had an asthma attack…from smoking pot.

    • Ha ha ha! I don’t mean to laugh, but a pot induced asthma attack!

      I may start playing again, because I miss it 🙂

      • I guess that’s probably the most enjoyable trigger for an asthma attack.

  • Happy New Year!!! First I need to apologize for not seeing this post. Your blog isn’t coming to my Google reader so I thought you were taking some time off to recuperate. How are you???? I will click over to your site until I figure out how to get your feed working to deliver your posts to me.

    I tried to play the guitar when I was younger and I failed miserably. My short fingers and small hands seem not to be able to hold the strings for chords. Plus I have no talent….so there is that too.

    • I did take some time off, but thought it was about time I posted something 🙂 I’m doing very well and have to keep reminding myself that I have to still take things easy.
      I also have small hands and fingers. I was never able to play bar chords because I don’t have the stretch to hold all the strings down.

  • Jay of The Depp Effect

    Wow … Babs, I BET you were over the moon!!! What a wonderful thing to be able to hold it and admire it again! And how wonderful that it’s still being played. You did a great job with the flowers, didn’t you?

    Trust you to pick a song like that to learn. But I’m no different – I’m picking out the fast-paced rock songs in Italian to learn to sing along with. Talk about tongue twisters!! Learning some interesting words, too…. 😛

    • I was over the moon 🙂 I suppose we pick the more difficult songs to get a real sense of achievement once we accomplish it.

  • Babs, you KNOW what I’m going to ask you, right? You must play for Dave and me when we visit! I haven’t a bit of musical talent in me, but love to hear others play. I wish I could, but it’s just not in me. Dave, on the other hand, is very musically talented. We would love to hear you on the flowered guitar 🙂 So happy for you that it came back to you.

    Incidentally, have you heard the story about Peter Frampton getting his guitar back after decades where he thought it was lost forever? http://www.npr.org/2012/01/07/144799712/framptons-dream-guitar-recovered-decades-later

    • Oh Kathy! I haven’t played for so long that I’d probably mess up some chords. I would only play if dave does – Deal? I’m afraid the flower guitar has gone back now. To be honest I did try to play it, but it was hard going, it’s so old.
      How funny is that, about Peter Frampton’s guitar and John Denver’s? I’m in excellent company for lost and found guitars then.

  • $4.85?? Although I’m not that surprised considering how inflation works. I picked up a Silvertone a few years ago and was surprised to find out that they used to cost around $19.95 or something like that.
    It is interesting how instruments can transport you. Each one is different and we develop a bond with them as we take the time to learn to play them.

    • A weekly wage was probably around £20 back then, so £3 was a cheap guitar. Each one of my guitars has been so very different to play. Some more special than others, that I wish I still had.

  • I love LOVE love Joan Baez. SO MUCH!!

    Playing the guitar is hard! Kudos to you. I think you should play again. Like tonight!

    And I am also AMAZED your old guitar has held up so well after 50 years!!

    • I will have to start playing again now. Kathy is expecting me to play when she comes to England, so I’ll need to brush up on it. It’s been a good few years since I played. I was amazed that my first guitar still existed after all these years 🙂

      • Oh – well then, there’s your inspiration to start playing again!

  • Liudmila

    Oooo… Imagine the surprise and the feelings! I “met” my guitar after about 20 years and it seemed to me all the events of my youth overflow me in one moment.

    They had to film you when they gave you the guitar! :-)))

    It seems the head still is going round to you when you write this words! How strange is our memory… :-)))

    • It was a real surprise. Unfortunately it came just as I was going into hospital, by which time I was in a lot of pain and discomfort. It took the edge off it a bit 🙂

  • Babs! It’s beautiful! Music is an important part of my life too. I can relate. I learned to play the flute when I was 10. I still have my first flute (my only flute) and I pull it out from time to time. Since then, I’ve dabbled in learning the piano and bass guitar but I don’t really play much anymore. Like you though, I think, “Maybe I’ll pick it up one day.” For now though, Brian, my husband, is the real musician. He’s a guitarist, too.

    • Don’t wait too long, or you may never play again.

      I have come to a time in my life when all hobbies (music, painting and various crafts) have come to a halt. I’d like to think I’d do at least one of them again. Maybe playing the guitar is it.

  • Rob Lenihan

    Oh my goodness, what a great story. I’m so glad you were reunited with your old guitar. If only we could go back in time. Start playing again and maybe it’ll feel like time travel.

    I love Joan Baez. She was profiled on a public TV program called “American Masters.” Here’s a link to some outtakes from the program: http://video.pbs.org/video/1274928278/

    • Hi Rob. Thank you so much for that link. We’ve just finished watching it and it brought back memories of seeing her perform. Joan often travelled to the UK and I saw her many times at the Royal Albert Hall. They were great times.

  • mkuppe

    Wow Babs, that’s incredible! If it were me, I would have offered to buy it back, just to hang it on the wall and smile at it… or maybe, to play it again?

    • I tried playing it but the action is far too high. I don’t know how I managed to play it before. The memories are great, but the guitar is not 😉