Old Scarred Guitar


A few months back I bought an old beat up 1973 Gibson acoustic guitar. The reason I wanted a 1973 model is because I’m a 1973 model. It may sound weird but I’ve always wanted an acoustic guitar with a voice the same age as mine. One great thing about an old guitar is that it no longer thinks it’s a tree. It knows it’s a guitar. It has an identity. An old guitar’s wood has settled and if its been played a lot it has opened up. Its not stiff like a new guitar. A fine acoustic guitar is like wine. It should get better with age. But this old guitar that I bought was in terrible shape. There were cracks in the body. There are dings and scars all over the face of this guitar. It has been played a ton, which is a good thing. But it has also been neglected and abused, which is not.

The wood of an acoustic guitar needs to stay humidified. Ideally an acoustic guitar lives in its case with a humidifier to keep the wood healthy. But this old 1973 Gibson had obviously been left out and the wood had cracked and the result was that the guitar needed a complete restoration. The good news for me was that no one wanted this old abused guitar so I got if for super cheap. It was beat up, used, scarred and discarded but to me it looked beautiful and I gladly paid the price.

I took it to my luthier, Jeff, and he confirmed it needed a complete restoration. The first thing we did was get a new case for it and put a humidifier sponge in with it. Every day for three weeks Jeff opened the case and the sponge was completely dry. He would wet it again and put it back in to seal in the humidity. For those three weeks the guitar did nothing but drink that sponge dry every day. On the twenty first day Jeff opened the case and the sponge was still moist so he knew it was done drinking. When Jeff brought the guitar out he realized that the cracks that were on the soundboard had closed up. The wood had been so dry that it had cracked but once it was humidified properly the wood expanded again and reformed perfectly. Her identity as a guitar was being reborn. After Jeff set and glued a few seems and adjusted the neck she’d come back to life.

When he called me to come get the guitar he told me that he was sorry he couldn’t do anything about all the scars, dings and scrapes but that it sounded amazing. I told him I loved the way it looked. Its been through battles and its scars are beautiful to me because they’ll always remind me what she’d come back from. I couldn’t be more pleased with my old scarred guitar. I guarantee it has never sounded more beautiful.

Our God is no stranger to scars. He has scars on His hands, on His feet and on His side. They are reminders of the price He gladly paid for you. His scars are beautiful and He looks at your scars and calls them beautiful too, because He has bought back every single one of them. The damage from your past doesn’t define you. Christ defines you. Your identity is in Him. Your scars are no longer reminders of abuse, neglect or destruction. In Christ those old scars are reminders of all that He has brought you back from. He has not only paid for all the evil things you’ve done, He has paid for all the evil things that have been done to you. Those scars are now reminders of grace, love and restoration. His Spirit lives in you and His living water repairs and restores you. God couldn’t be more pleased with you than He is right now in Christ Jesus. You have never been more beautiful. You are His instrument to bring the sounds of restoration into a world that is in desperate need of a new song.

“Sing joyfully to the Lord, you righteous; it is fitting for the upright to praise him. Praise the Lord with the harp; make music to him on the ten-stringed lyre. Sing to him a new song; play skillfully, and shout for joy. For the word of the Lord is right and true; he is faithful in all he does.” Psalm 33:1-4

Bill Brimer is a singer/songwriter, producer and guitarist from Dallas, Texas. He is the co-founder, Associate Pastor and Creative Director at SoulThirst Church in The Colony, Texas.  He has recorded and released three original albums, Snakes & Doves (Grace Bomb Records 2011), Love Above All (Grace Bomb Records 2012) and Bill Brimer & The Skybirds (SoulThirst Sound 2016). All his music is funded by donations from generous listeners and available for free download.  His music has been described as a modern blend of vintage country, punk and gospel. He is the co-host and producer of the weekly podcast God Geeks. 

Twitter: @BillBrimer