Buying a guitar in the Sixties

Don Craine here describes his guitar buying experience experience:

I’d seen Keith Richard playing a Harmony over at the Eel Park Island, and I absolutely adored the sound. I scraped the money together, and I went along to Jim Marshall’s, because Albert’s Music Shop in Twickenham didn’t go as far as foreign guitars, or anything like this. German was the nearest you were going to get, and they were nearly all little guitars. He specialized in Spanish guitars for kids learning how to play, and all this. I got a few Hofners there, Hofner Colorama, and the Hofner of this, that, and the other. They were like cheese graters that you put your finger on.

You put your fingers on them, and, uh! The strings were about six inches away. I exaggerate of course, but the strings were nowhere near the neck really. Nobody actually taught you, that could adjust any of this.

If you wanted something better, off you went to Jim Marshall’s. I went in, and I asked for a Harmony Sovereign. We can get you one, he said, but what sort of stuff are you playing? This is what you really want, he says. He came up with this nice acoustic Gibson, a little DR with a pick-up on it. Oh, it was lovely. Instead of spending 40 pounds, which I could afford, I ended up owing Jim Marshall 125 quid. He let me have the guitar, but he got my phone number and address, and I had to come back with my dad to guarantor the thing. I had a little book, and I had to pay two and six pence a week until the 125 quid was repaid.