Just some good ole boys…

For the sake of setting the record straight, I feel I must tell of my encounters with the Duke boys.

For a year or so, probably from age 15 to 16, I took guitar lessons at a little music store in Green Hills. It was one of those tiny, stereotypical stores where the sheet music took up most of the space.

I had been playing an acoustic guitar for a few months but my parents had given me an electric and the lessons for Christmas. I don’t think I’d ever changed the strings on the acoustic so I was a little unfamiliar with the process. The electric was a Stratocaster copy with a typically dinky whammy bar setup (for the non-technical, that’s the thing that makes it go “whooow” by loosening the strings) and I didn’t know what I was doing so I was breaking strings like an idiot. And changing them like an idiot.

I went to the store one day and complained that I seemed to be breaking strings quite often. The guy behind the counter took my guitar and plucked a string and was totally startled. Of course I was breaking them, he explained, because I had tuned it an entire octave too high. So the strings were unbelievably tight and when I dive-bombed on the whammy bar, I inflicted casualties.

If you’re not a guitar player, you may not be able to appreciate how stupid this made me look. But trust me, it made me look really stupid.

One day when I was browsing through the store waiting for my lesson, a tall, blonde dude walked in and looked vaguely familiar but for the normal haircut and (I think) mustache. It took me a while to place him, but eventually I realized it was John Schneider (aka Bo Duke, aka my hero). And though the string-breaking occured at a different time from the Bo Duke encounter, they are somehow connected in my brain and in others’. (Todd K tells the story with me breaking the strings in front of Bo. Not the case.)

Okay, not very exciting, but on balance with this next story, it’s moderately interesting.

A few years ago, I was getting a guitar repaired at Corner Music. I was talking with their tech who probably thought I was a complete idiot because I was repairing a $90 guitar. Or perhaps because my guitar was sparkly blue. Or perhaps because it smelled like cat urine. I don’t know. Take your pick. There were plenty of reasons for this guy to have been giving me the crook eye.

Anyway, he’s explaining to me something totally elementary most likely (because that’s usually what happens to me in guitar stores) and I notice there’s all this commotion in the store. Some clerk is walking around introducing some guy to every other employee and the interruption is moving in my direction. I just want to get my transaction over with. As I recall it was a simple repair that the dude could have done while I waited as long as he didn’t get distracted…

“Joe!” The clerk dude says to the tech who’s helping me. Joe looks up. “Joe, I’d like to introduce you to Tom Wopat.”

Goodbye, quick repair. Hello, Luke Duke.

Both Duke boys. Two guitar stores in Nashville. It beat all I ever saw.