Sometimes in life, events turn out so perfectly, you just have to sit back and smile. You know the universe smiles sometimes and, every once in a while, it smiles on each of us. This is the case with the story of The Guitar Behind Dylan and Cohen.
In Ron Cornelius’ book, there are many intriguing stories, but they all begin and were made possible by this very first story: the story of the guitar.
The Story of the Guitar
1959 is the only year that the Gretsch Country Gentleman was a handmade guitar. Also in 1959, Gretsch decided to award a select few of these guitars to young, talented guitarists across the country. Two recipients from California were chosen. Ron Cornelius was one.
You can imagine the excitement of a young man about to get such an amazing prize! Not only was he going to receive this guitar, he was also going to have the opportunity to meet the man who hand crafted it.
Being young at the time, Ron didn’t remember too much about the man who made his guitar. He was more focused on his prize than anything else! He thanked him, shook his hand, and held the guitar that would be forever his one and only.
The following year, they automated the making of the Country Gentleman, making Ron’s guitar that much more unique and treasured. It would be the guitar to back many stars, not the least of whom was Bob Dylan
You didn’t think we’d forgotten to tell you the second part of the story about playing with Bob Dylan, did you?
Playing with Bob Dylan, Part II
As you’ll recall, when we left off, Ron was climbing the stairs of Manny’s Music, desperate to find someone to repair his guitar. He opened the door and entered, hopeful yet doubtful. This man, he’d been warned, only worked on acoustic guitars. Ron’s Gretsch is an electric. He had to try anyway.
He presented the guitar to the man at the workbench who took it gently in his hands. The man looked from Ron to the guitar and back again. Ron barely breathed. If this guy refused, he’d have to break the news to Bob Dylan that he didn’t have a guitar to accompany him. He didn’t even want to imagine doing that!
The tension was thick as the older gentleman finally spoke. “You don’t remember me, do you?” he asked Ron.
Ron shook his head, confused. This certainly wasn’t the salesclerk from earlier. How would he have ever met this guy?
The older guy smiled at Ron. “I’m the one who made this guitar.”
Small World Afterall
Ron couldn’t believe it! He’d received the guitar in California, now here he was, across the country, upstairs in Manny’s Music, meeting him again! Not only that, he was meeting him at the perfect time, the most important time, and with just enough time to still be able to play with Bob Dylan.
The universe smiled on Ron that day, and on many other days, too. The repair worked and Ron went on to back Bob Dylan on his album, New Morning.
Sometimes things work out perfectly. Thankfully, this was one of those times!
To read more great stories from the road, Dylan, Cohen, Charlie Daniels, and many more, grab your autographed copy of Ron Cornelius’ new book, The Guitar Behind Dylan and Cohen today.