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Charlie's Guitar

Crutchfield web editor Charlie has entertained people for decades playing a variety of guitars, but one in particular has a story right out of The Natural. Check out the video above to learn how this one-of-a-kind instrument came to be, and how it relates to a former U.S. President and local Charlottesville, Virginia hero.

Read video transcript

Charlie: This guitar has been pictured in a couple of our catalogs recently and a lot of music lovers have been calling in and asking what in the world it is, and it's a pretty interesting story.

A friend of mine here in Charlottesville, Virginia is a cabinet maker, and there was a tree on the Lawn here at the University of Virginia that was planted by Thomas Jefferson in 1826, and it was a very famous tree called the McGuffey Ash, and the tree was hit by lightning in 1989 and my friend Dave Ramazani the furniture maker was hired to make furniture for all the houses on the Lawn here at the University and he made a bunch of tables and chairs. He had one board left over and he threw it in a scrap pile.

Twelve years later I was going in to talk to him about making a guitar for me and just before I got there he was gesturing, talking to a friend, and he threw a tool over his shoulder and it went into his scrap pile. He dug down into the bottom of the scrap pile and he found this piece of wood.

It wasn't much larger than this. This is all one piece. And he ended up making the guitar out of this piece of wood from the McGuffey Ash, along with his assistant Devon Malone. And the cool thing about this guitar, you can see, it's from what they call the crotch of the tree where a bunch of limbs come together.

It's very stable. It's got the cool little knot on the back of it here. And they assembled it using some aftermarket parts for the neck and the pickups. It's obviously modeled on the Fender Telecaster and it's an awesome guitar; very rare for a first time guitar maker to come up a guitar like this but it's fantastic.

And I guess the reason that I'm telling you all this is because, well number one, it'll satisfy your curiosity about this amazing looking machine. But number two, just so you know that when you're calling here to talk to people at Crutchfield about car and home audio stuff, that you are talking to people who either play music or go and listen to music.

They're music fans and they're really into the gear that they're selling. And that's a pretty cool thing. So thank you very much. The McGuffey guitar — the only Thomas Jefferson Telecaster in existence.

  • Chris Pasterfield from Regina, SK Canada

    Posted on 2/24/2021

    Hey Charlie, speaking of guitars...I saw you have a 2cd set overview of the music you were apart of - 'Charlottesville' - I would like to purchase a set. Best source? Cheers! Chris ????????.

  • David Gunckel from Bisbee, AZ

    Posted on 8/27/2015

    Great seeing Charlie after all these years. Used to listen to him and his band in Charlottesville back in 1971-72. Wonderful story about that historic guitar.

  • Jeff Deavers from Arlington,VA

    Posted on 8/17/2015

    Awesome story-didn't know a thing about this, and I've seen Charlie play,oh, maybe a few hundred times!

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