My Guitar: Sheldon McBreairty's family heirloom

It's not unusual for musicians to spend a lot of money on an instrument they've fallen in love with. For guitarist Sheldon McBreairty, it was a guitar he simply could not resist.
Sheldon McBrearity plays a 1974 Guild D25M guitar. (Melissa Tobin/CBC)

It's not unusual for musicians to spend a lot of money on an instrument they've fallen in love with.

In the fifth part of our summer series about musicians and their guitars, Central Morning's Leigh Anne Power spoke with St. John's musician Sheldon McBreairty about the wear and tear his "party guitar" has endured.

Sheldon McBreairty bought this Guild D25M guitar in 1974 for $325. (Melissa Tobin/CBC)
McBreairty's guitar is a 1974 Guild D25M which he bought in the same year in St. John's. What sold him on the guitar was the pitch that Dave Nicholl, a prominent singer songwriter, had actually rented this particular guitar for an Arts and Culture Centre concert. 

"Three hundred and twenty-five dollars, the most I'd ever spent on anything in my life, got me that Guild," says McBreairty.

"It's had a fair bit of wear and tear. It's a party guitar and I had little respect for what happened to it. It had a lot of scratches and tears over the years."

The acoustic guitar had a pickup added to it. But on the advice of sound guys including Gander's Darren Bursey, the cheap pickup was eventually replaced with a more expensive one because the sound was difficult to mix with a low-end pickup.

Damaged at a party

The guitar was damaged seriously once at a party when someone started dragging the Guild D25M around while it was still plugged into the amplifier. 

"By the time I got to it, it had been dropped on the floor," said McBreairty. "It had a big crack on its side."

With the help of his wife, Hope, a friend Bill Butt and Butt's cousin, Keith Lacey, the guitar was repaired by inserting a piece of fiberglass inside. The insert worked and is still there.

The guitar had what McBreairty calls a 'major refurbishing' at Griffiths Guitar Works. McBreairty said the upgrades and improvements to the guitar have been more expensive than the original cost of the guitar.

The 40-year-old guitar has become a family heirloom and is still played regularly. 

The Guild D25M was used in McBreairty's solo recording and two Final Approach recordings because of its tone and resonance. Ironically, the guitar's was recorded through a microphone, not through the installed pick-up.

Click on the audio on the left to hear Leigh Anne Power's conversation with Sheldon McBreairty.