I’ve been collecting guitars all my life. I mostly collect American-made acoustic guitars, although I have a few electrics and some imported instruments. Each guitar has its own individual sound. Lately, I’ve come to realize that most of them also have a unique story. This is the story of my Martin D-42, purchased new in the mid-1990’s.
The guitar has a spruce top and a Koa back and sides. Dreadnaughts (hence the D in the name) have a loud, booming sound. To my ear, the Koa balances that sound and makes it a bit more even, giving the D-42 a most unique sound.
I played the guitar and loved the sound. Plus, it didn’t hurt that the music store had done a great set-up, assuring that it played like butter. A lot of music stores don’t do that. I’m sure they lose a lot of sales because of that omission.
I took the guitar to my home in Chester County, PA, and sat on the couch to play. My terrier-mix Mandy immediately jumped up on the couch and pressed her puppy butt against my body.
I didn’t think much about it until later that day when I played the guitar while sitting on the loveseat in the den. As soon as I strummed the first chord, she jumped up and pressed tightly against me. She had never done this before with any other guitar.
Every time I played the D-42, Mandy was right by my side. It had to be something in the sound that attracted her. I asked the vet and she said although she had never heard anything like this, it was possible that something in the sound reminded her of her mother.
Mandy continued her “guitar snuggling” whenever I played the Martin. Soon, it was the guitar I played the most. With my wacky schedule at work, I didn’t have much of a social life at the time, so Mandy and I spent a lot of time together. She knew my play list better than I did.
I took her to QVC many times. Once when she was being petted and loved by one of the female hosts in the host lounge, she ran away from her and jumped one the sofa when I strummed the first chord on the Martin (I played it on-air many times). The host came over, saw what was happening and laughed. “I’ve never lost anyone to a guitar,” she said.
No other guitar in my collection had this effect on Mandy. She continued even when I moved to Nashville. Because of her reaction, I definitely played the D-42 more than any other guitar. My current dogs don’t react to the Martin or any other guitar. If I ever get a guitar made of beef (maybe Lady Gaga has one), their interest will perk right up.
It’s still one of my favorite guitars. I am fortunate to own a 2 other Martins, a D-21 and a mahogany Road Series OM. But I’ll always have a soft spot for the D-42. The time playing it with Mandy is one of my favorite guitar memories.
© 2021 Steve Bryant – No portion of this or any blog can be reproduced or copied and posted on any online site or read aloud on any audio or video media without the express permission of the author.