Nfld. & Labrador

A rock 'n' roll pioneer, Lew Skinner still has a burning obsession with guitars

There is no shortage of strings at Lew Skinner's place, nor shortage of stories about the guitars he has collected and played over the years.

For the Love of Music: Our first segment is about a dedicated guitar collector

Lew Skinner plays one of his guitars — he owns quite a few — at his home in St. John's. (Mark Cumby/CBC)

There's no shortage of strings at Lew Skinner's place.

Guitar strings, that is.

Skinner, who helped start the Ducats, one of the first rock-and-roll bands in Newfoundland, got the bug for the guitar in 1955, just as Elvis Presley was exploding. Johnny Cash was another huge influence.

"I liked that idea of people admiring what you were doing," he said. "I liked the idea of making some money with it."

The Ducats formed in the late '50s, and gained a following across Newfoundland and Labrador throughout the '60s. (Submitted by Lew Skinner)
Skinner has collected numerous guitars after becoming obsessed with them as a young fan of Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash. (Mark Cumby/CBC )

Skinner did not just have a passion for playing: he also became quite the collector, of records and indeed of guitars themselves.

In this debut instalment of our segment For The Love of Music, Skinner describes his passion — including the story of how he sold one guitar to a certain Paul McCartney.

Every instrument, he says, has a story. 

Click the player below as Skinner tells some of those stories to video producer Mark Cumby. 

Meet a rock pioneer is still obsessed with guitars

5 months ago
Lew Skinner caught the rock-and-roll bug in 1955 as a teenager, and is now the owner of numerous vintage guitars 4:29

For the Love of Music

For the next few months, we'll be bringing you some of the stories about music and musicians in Newfoundland and Labrador. Watch for it every second Thursday on Here & Now, and right here on


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