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Clarence's D-18

 
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freddairy



Joined: 21 Sep 2007
Posts: 66

PostPosted: Fri Oct 23, 2009 1:04 am    Post subject: Clarence's D-18 Reply with quote

Legend has it that Clarence's D-18 from the Kentucky Colonel days was run over by a car, repaired, and then stolen. Does anyone have any pictures of that guitar with Clarence playing it?
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freddairy



Joined: 21 Sep 2007
Posts: 66

PostPosted: Fri Oct 23, 2009 1:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm assuming this is the D-18
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Brian



Joined: 22 Aug 2006
Posts: 1360
Location: Southern California

PostPosted: Sat Oct 24, 2009 7:57 pm    Post subject: Re: Clarence's D-18 Reply with quote

freddairy wrote:
Legend has it that Clarence's D-18 from the Kentucky Colonel days was run over by a car, repaired, and then stolen. Does anyone have any pictures of that guitar with Clarence playing it?


Don't have any pictures, but the story that you mention above is true. Roland talks about it in detail in the recently release "The Essential Clarence White Bluegrass Guitar Leads" book.

It happened at a gig im Massachusetts...Clarence backed over a D-18 and D-28 with their car. The D-28 was slightly damaged but playable...the D-18 couldn't be played and was in pieces. Afterwards at a gig in Ann Arbor Michigan they took the guitars to a luthier named Herb David who repaired the D-18 which reportedly sounded even better after the repair.
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Larry Miller



Joined: 24 Feb 2008
Posts: 3
Location: Cambridge MA

PostPosted: Mon Oct 26, 2009 12:16 am    Post subject: Clarenc's D-18 Reply with quote

The story of Clarenceís D-18, as I recall it, goes like this.

I was hanging around a coffee house in Detroit (ca 1964-66) called the Retort. The Kentucky Colonels had played there once before, so they had a solid fan base in the Motor City. I was playing a lot of music from Appalachian Swing on my folk music show on WDTM.

As the Colonels came through Detroit coming back from Newport, we learned that Clarence had backed over his D-28 and thoroughly trashed it, and needed to borrow a guitar for the gig at the Retort.

I had a D-18 that I had bought while living in Honolulu in 1962. My first wife Carole and I were in her home town of Detroit attempting a career as folk singers, and working at the Retort.

I stepped up and offered to loan my D-18 to Clarence. As I was playing light LaBella silk and steel, he immediately restrung it with heavy gauge strings, which caused the top to lift off. They took it to a luthier in Ann Arbor who repaired it, and Clarence was able to use it for the Retort gig.

We used to rag on him to try to get him to crack a smile onstage. He deadpanned us as usual, and our teasing was to no avail. On the last night of the gig, he finally responded, flipping over the guitar to show a huge smile that he had drawn and colored on paper and taped to the back side. We were in hysterics. He still refused to smile. A golden moment.

I havenít read Rolandís account of all this yet, and I have a feeling that we remember it all a little differently.

As they were getting ready to depart for California, Clarence asked if he could borrow the guitar for the remainder of the trip, as they had other gigs to play along the way. He would either Railway Express it back to me, or buy it from me, once they got back home. I agreed.

That was about the last I heard about it for a while. Itís hard to imagine these days, but back then a common old D-18 wasnít such a big deal. I acquired a D-21 to play with, and wasnít really all that upset that I didnít get any followup from Clarence. Besides, a guitarist of that caliber gets a pass sometimes.

In 1971 I moved to L.A. to take a radio DJ gig at KLOS. I ran into Carole, by then my ex-wife, who was working the box office at the Troubadour. One day she called to tell me that she had run into Clarence, and had mentioned that I was in town. He called me to tell me about the D-18. It turns out that somebody had broken into the recording studio and stolen all the guitars from a Byrds recording session, including my D-18.

I went to visit him at his home in the Valley, and he wrote me a generous check for the guitar, which I used to buy an MG-A.

I recall that this D-18 had a five digit serial number, which would have made it late 30ís or early 40ís. In reading the blurb on the Martin site about the release of the CW D-18, I saw that he had come to prefer the mahogany sound of the D-18, and may have had more than one.

While in L.A. in 71, I saw him do a gig with the Byrds at radio station KPPC, and a reunion of the White family at the Ash Grove.

I was driving somewhere a couple of years back, and the radio played ďChestnut MareĒ. I was especially enjoying the wonderful acoustic guitar leads that Clarence was playing, when it struck me that I was listening to my very own actual guitar. I had to pullover to the side of the road.

Larry Miller
Cambridge MA
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Rosemarie J



Joined: 25 Aug 2006
Posts: 284
Location: Port Townsend, WA

PostPosted: Tue Oct 27, 2009 5:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Isn't that totally awesome! I sometimes randomly will play a cd and while listening to it I hear something new each time....it gives me the chills. It never stops to amaze me what he brings to me when I listen to him playing or singing.
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rickhouston



Joined: 27 Aug 2006
Posts: 106
Location: houston

PostPosted: Tue Oct 27, 2009 10:53 pm    Post subject: chills from memory Reply with quote

Larry, i understand the emotional chill you must have had. i get that way too when i occasionally meet someone who saw/ heard/ met him, etc, closeness stories. the folks on the website are all in total awe of Clarence.
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Brian



Joined: 22 Aug 2006
Posts: 1360
Location: Southern California

PostPosted: Wed Oct 28, 2009 9:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My own perception was that during Clarence's Byrds tenure...he played exclusively D-28's and occasionally Ovations (live). I assume that's a D-28 on Chestnut Mare...
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Larry Miller



Joined: 24 Feb 2008
Posts: 3
Location: Cambridge MA

PostPosted: Fri Oct 30, 2009 8:17 pm    Post subject: Clarence's D-18 Reply with quote

That may well be part of the history, but after all, it was my D-18 that was stolen from a Byrd's recording session. I've also heard the he had the original D-28 restored and was playing that as well. But I'll stick with my recollection, and enjoy the illusion that it's my guitar I hear on some of those Byrd recordings. Gotta have a dream..
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freddairy



Joined: 21 Sep 2007
Posts: 66

PostPosted: Sun Nov 01, 2009 4:37 pm    Post subject: Re: Clarence's D-18 Reply with quote

Larry Miller wrote:
That may well be part of the history, but after all, it was my D-18 that was stolen from a Byrd's recording session. I've also heard the he had the original D-28 restored and was playing that as well. But I'll stick with my recollection, and enjoy the illusion that it's my guitar I hear on some of those Byrd recordings. Gotta have a dream..


Interesting stuff. I had always heard he sold the D-28 around the year 1966 so it wouldn't have been the old Kentucky Colonel D-28 on any of those Byrds albums. But this is just stuff I've heard I have no way of proving anything.
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freddairy



Joined: 21 Sep 2007
Posts: 66

PostPosted: Sun Nov 01, 2009 4:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Also, I guess now with Larry's story Clarence would have had two D-18s along with the old D-28 during the Colonel years.

I'm thinking his original 50s D-18 which is the one that got run over by the car might be a pretty unmistakable guitar if it were to turn up somewhere today.
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Brian



Joined: 22 Aug 2006
Posts: 1360
Location: Southern California

PostPosted: Sun Nov 01, 2009 7:11 pm    Post subject: Re: Clarence's D-18 Reply with quote

freddairy wrote:
Larry Miller wrote:
That may well be part of the history, but after all, it was my D-18 that was stolen from a Byrd's recording session. I've also heard the he had the original D-28 restored and was playing that as well. But I'll stick with my recollection, and enjoy the illusion that it's my guitar I hear on some of those Byrd recordings. Gotta have a dream..


Interesting stuff. I had always heard he sold the D-28 around the year 1966 so it wouldn't have been the old Kentucky Colonel D-28 on any of those Byrds albums. But this is just stuff I've heard I have no way of proving anything.


By the time Clarence was in the Byrds he was a rock star and most likely had numerous guitars to choose from...many of which were provided by manufacturers. As for hos old D-28 that Tony Rice now owns...the story goes that he gave it to the person Tony acquired it from as collateral for a loan when Clarence was starting to play electric (1966 or so)...So no...he never used or had possession of that D-28 guitar ever again.

The only pictures of Clarence as a Byrd were with new looking (for the time) D-28's and Ovations (when they first came out)...after Byrds' it was his Noble and Whitebook custom guitars.
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