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Digital Subscriptions > The Guitar Magazine > Feb 2016 > Guitar George

Guitar George

No visit to Nashville is complete without a trip to Gruhn Guitars. G&B meets its owner, the world’s leading authority on vintage American electric and acoustic guitars and related instruments

My mother always said, ‘George, you need to be diversifying, you’re putting all your money into guitars and you’re not saving anything for retirement. We have retirement accounts and we have some stocks and mutual funds and you have all your money in guitars’, and I said, ‘Mom, don’t worry, I don’t put it all in guitars, I have banjos and mandolins, too.”

Photography Eleanor Jane

Though never “strictly guitars”, when it comes to the great American guitar brands, George Gruhn has a level of interest that goes way beyond obsession. Born in New York, Gruhn’s first love was zoology, and he was already collecting snakes at the age of eight when his family relocated to Pittsburgh. The fascination with all things zoological would continue through Gruhn’s educational career, during which he studied the psychology of animal behaviour at the University Of Chicago. After a semester at the University Of Tennessee in Knoxville, Gruhn abandoned his doctorate, moving to Nashville in early 1969 when Hank Williams Jr came calling, after the country star had heard from Sonny Osborne of the Osborne Brothers’ bluegrass group that the young student had lots of old Martin guitars.

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About The Guitar Magazine

The February issue of Guitar & Bass magazine is available in print and digital forms from Friday 8 January. Join us as we take a trip to Guitar Town, tracing the history of the Nashville music scene and profiling a who’s who of the city’s galaxy of guitar stars. We go guitar shopping in Tennessee's neon-lit state capital and talk to two of the world’s leading fretted instrument experts, George Gruhn and Walter Carter, about the state of the vintage market today and we also stop by at the Gibson Custom Shop to see the company’s True Historic Les Pauls roll off the production line and find out what makes them the company’s best guitars since its golden era. Elsewhere in the mag, our DIY Workshop shows you how to ID a genuine 1950s Stratocaster, we talk guitar with Aerosmith legend Brad Whitford and we review a stack of great new gear from PRS, Dr Z, Orange, TC Electronic, Louis Electric, Fulltone, Hartke, Smorg Pedalboards, Pigtronix and more. If that’s not enough for you, how about the chance to win one of three PRS guitars for a year and become a roving reporter for G&B in the process? Buy the February issue of Guitar & Bass magazine in print and digital forms from Friday 8 January.
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