First, 'The Story': Before one of the Newport/Miami Guitar Festivals, I had Larry Robinson, Craig Lavin and John Kinnaird over for dinner. I mentioned to Larry that I wanted to build a guitar for my dad (who was still living at the time). He asked what we had in common. My immediate thought was that what we had in common were personality, sense of humor, etc.....things that don't make for interesting inlays. After thinking about it for the weekend, I thought about the cars. My dad's first car was a Model A Ford. He bought an old rusted out Model A Ford for my 15th birthday and had it rebuilt for my 16th birthday....we both had the same first car. Then he bought a 1935 Ford V8 Pick-up again in rough condition; we had it made into a 'hot rod' and I drove that my senior year in high school and took it off to college (with my instruments in the back). I thought those would be a great inlays for the guitar that would really make my dad happy.
Larry did a fantastic job of re-creating the cars and Craig created the likeness of my dad on the headstock. At the festival, John found this beautiful set of Birdseye Maple with the best taptone of any wood I had acquired (to that date). Everyone worked at lightening speed so we could have that guitar finished in time for my parent's 68th wedding anniversary (3 months). The guitar made it...my dad did not.
I picked this shape of guitar and the woods specifically, gave special instructions to John that I wanted the sound to remind me of my dad's voice, bright, clear and happy (light bass), as that was how my dad's voice was in my mind.
Rather than having Mike play his composition on this guitar, I am singing the song that inspired this guitar, "Papa's Song"