My Guitar Toolbox

There aren't many pieces of musical equipment you can buy for two dollars that will last more than forty years. My guitar toolbox is one such item. It is the first thing I ever bought with my own money...and I still use it every day.

Come with me now as I reminisce about the origins of my oldest piece of gear. 

When I was a kid it was my Grandpa's tradition to hand out silver dollars to the grand kids at each visit. The dollars he handed out weren't like the dollar coins of today. Those Eisenhower dollars were, big, heavy, and felt significant, especially to a kid whose hand's were barely big enough to hold them. When I think about it I can still feel the weight of two or three of them in my pocket. Grandpa was also an avid fisherman. It's no surprise to me that the first thing I ever bought with a couple of those silver dollars was a plastic tackle box. I'm sure my collection of fishing lures, weights, and bobbers was fairly small, but owning a tackle box made me feel like part of the club.

I was only around 5 years old when I got it, but I can still remember several details about that day. My cousins and I walked the few blocks to the store from Grandpa's house. It was a blistering summer in Nampa, Idaho, and the store's air conditioning felt positively chilly as we walked in the door. I already knew what I wanted, so it was just a matter of finding one in my budget. I scanned the aisles, and there it was: bright orange, and only two dollars. I remember plunking those heavy dollars on the checkout stand and walking out the store with it, feeling very satisfied that my money had been well spent. I had no idea.

That was nearly forty years ago. In truth I only used the tackle box for its intended purpose a few times. It very likely would have been lost and forgotten if not for a stroke of good fortune: at age fourteen I started playing the guitar. In an environmentally conscious move well ahead of its time, I "repurposed" the tackle box into a guitar toolbox, and it remains in service as such to this day. For twenty-five years it has stored soldering irons, string winders, wire clippers, screw drivers, and other assorted tools used for adjusting and repairing guitars, and every day I open it and think of my grandpa and those heavy silver dollars.

Two dollars well spent indeed.


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