Vince Gill Recalls the Inspiring Story Behind Being Gifted His First Guitar Ever

Vince Gill is one of the best living guitar players in the country music world. Whether he is playing rhythm for the Eagles or playing lead on a bluegrass track, there is no denying his chops. People who have played with him have praised him for his skill, restraint, phrasing, and more. As a result, it will likely come as no surprise that he can’t remember a time when he didn’t have a guitar in his hands.

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Most artists can pinpoint when they started playing. Gill, on the other hand, can only remember when he got his first full-size guitar. He reflected on his history with the instrument in a 1997 interview for the Country Music Hall of Fame.

Vince Gill Reflects on His History with the Guitar

“I cannot consciously remember an age when I started playing,” Vince Gill said. “I know that I had a very small parlor guitar that had a lampshade cord on it. It was broken and probably didn’t have all its strings. I don’t remember, but I’ve seen pictures of me when I was one or two just dragging that guitar around. So, I know that I have always had one around,” he recalled.

Gill went on to say that his father had two guitars that he played when he was young. Additionally, his father got him a tenor guitar when he was “very small.” Tenor guitars only have four strings. As a result, their necks are slimmer and better suited to very small hands. He tuned that guitar like a standard six-string and started learning basic chords from his father.

Then, at the age of ten, Gill received his first “real guitar” as a Christmas gift from his parents.

Gill’s First Gibson Guitar

“I can still remember finding that gift under the tree. I didn’t know it at the time but it was easily the most incredible Christmas gift I had ever gotten,” he said. “My folks scrimped and saved and took that old tenor guitar and traded it in on this new, electric Gibson guitar called an ES-335,” he added.

“Unfortunately what happens to a lot of young kids who want to learn to play or maybe have an interest in playing is because they don’t want to invest in a good instrument, they get them something that’s not good enough and nobody can play it, no matter how great of a guitar player they are,” Gill explained. “At ten years old, the fact that my parents got me something that grand and that great and so playable, it was inspiring. Even at ten years old,” he added.

“I still have that guitar today. It wound up being a guitar I would have sought as a grown, mature player because of the type of instrument it is. There are a lot of great guitar players that play a 335.”

Featured Image by Frederick Breedon IV/Getty Images for the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum

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