Most professional guitar players have a collection of guitars from which to choose. Ron Cornelius isn’t like most professional guitar players; he has only one. This one guitar- a 1959 Gretsch Country Gentleman- has traveled the world and backed some of the best musicians the industry has seen. But if you have only one guitar, and that guitar breaks en route to NYC, how do you keep your commitment to play with Bob Dylan?

Play with Bob Dylan

The Chance of a Lifetime: To Play with Bob Dylan

When Ron was chosen to play with Bob Dylan on what would come to be known as The New Morning Sessions, he didn’t hesitate. He planned out his trip to NYC, complete with arranging his guitar’s escort service.

Oh yes, when you will only play one guitar, and you’re scheduled to play with Bob Dylan, you make careful arrangements to get your guitar there in one piece. Ron had used the system before and it had always worked just fine. It’s always worked fine since then, too. Unfortunately, the time Ron flew to New York to play with Dylan, the system didn’t work at all. His guitar arrived, broken.

Of course, if there’s one place you’d expect to be able to get a guitar repaired quickly, it would be New York. Ron didn’t worry too much about the repair. He even joined the other musicians for dinner!

The next morning, he set out to find someone who could repair his guitar. He started his search at the legendary Manny’s Music, of course. At first the sales clerk was confidant but as he searched through all of the replacement parts, his face grew dim along with Ron’s hopes. Manny’s, it appeared, was a bust.

And so the hunt was on. He scoured every shop in NYC, growing more desperate with each stop. Finally a salesclerk asked if he’d been to Manny’s. When Ron said he had been, the salesclerk shook his head. “But did you ask for the guy with the shop upstairs?”

The guy with the shop upstairs? Ron hadn’t known to ask and the salesclerk at Manny’s had never mentioned it! Ron quickly rushed back to Manny’s, the place his search had begun.

When the World Grows Small

There are times in life when the world grows small. Stars align. Call it kismet, call it karma, call it what you will, but this second trip to Manny’s was one of those times for Ron. If there was ever a need for confirmation that Ron had chosen the right path, this was it.

As he climbed the stairs at Manny’s Music to meet the one man in NYC who might be able to repair his guitar, he couldn’t have guessed how small his world was about to become. The beginning of his journey with his Gretsch Country Gentleman was about to meet him in the midst of great success, all so he could play with Bob Dylan.

PART II

We hate to wait just as much as you do but some stories are best in 2 parts. If you’d rather not wait, you can pick up an autographed copy of Ron’s book, The Guitar Behind Dylan and Cohen, now.  Remember, the only place to get an autographed copy is on the Gateway Entertainment website. Don’t miss out on this opportunity!