A Guitar Story - by John Gerlitz
When I was 11, I was in a band playing rhythym guitar with Pat Ronahan (lead), Rick Kotush, (vocal), and Greg Martin (percussion). I remember Rick finally convinced his dad, Pete, that he wanted to learn to play guitar.
Pete went to Titz Music Studio and bought Rick a Silvertone archtop (f-holes) and signed him up for lessons. I went with Rick to one of his lessons and remember sitting there looking at the huge logs the house was made from and the massive stone fireplace while Rick was in the other room learning the melody to 'Spanish Eyes'. Not exactly the Stones but hey...
Rick's brother Wayne also wanted to play but Rick wouldn't let him change the strings over, Wayne being left-handed so that's why Wayne learned to play upside-down and backwards
Rick has long outgrown the silvertone and our band and is playing with folks like Gary Malone And Earl Banman. going through a Harmony, a big red Gretsch Country Gentleman and finally a Gibson SG which I believe Wayne's family still has.
After Rick's untimely passing, his mom, Blanche gave the Silvertone to Graham McRae, one of Rick's close friends as a keepsake.
.....fast forward..... (about 10 years)
I was talking with Graham and asked him if he still had that Silvertone and he told me that it was broken and had been given to someone to see if it could be fixed. I knew that person so I asked him about it and he told me the guitar was beyond repair and on it's way to the dump on the next run. I asked if I could have it and he said it was in his garage and to help myself. I did.....after about 25 years of sitting in closets and corners, a conversation with Dave Carlson had him looking at it as a possible restoration. It was in 3 pieces and 1 piece was missing, and it needed a neck reset. Dave did the neccessary repairs and rebuilt the missing fretboard for a modest cost. That Silvertone now hangs on a wall in my house, which is the site of the former Titz Music Studio and sometimes when I look at those huge logs and massive fireplace I imagine i can hear Rick in the other room learning to play the melody to 'Spanish Eyes'....
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