Sweet Tone 3/4 steel string acoustic (circa 1971)

This was my first guitar which my parents bought for me when I was about 8 and in grade 3 at Lindisfarne Primary School.

It’s a ‘Sweet Tone’ 3/4 size steel string acoustic guitar made in Shanghai, China. It’s got a neck the shape of a baseball bat and now sounds truly awful unless you’re playing somewhere around the middle frets. This is somewhat due to the bridge having come off at one stage and hasn’t been set back in the right place, but the sound certainly reminds me of those days when I first started strumming!

The coloured dots on the fretboard were from a guitar instruction book and were so I could remember where to put my fingers to play different chords, though the red and the green ones seem to have migrated from the C and G7 positions to the other side of the fretboard for some reason…

The first song I learnt to play on it was ‘Down In The Valley’ (which at the time I’d never heard) on those red and green one finger chords C and G7.

I remember taking it to school to play and the teacher insisting on tuning it for me (even though I thought it was perfectly in tune). She then broke the high E string and quickly said she would replace it. A week or so later, she provided the replacement – a nylon string! This poor guitar remained a five string for quite a while after that…

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