Ronnie Max Oldham's Music Pages
Bought my first guitar back in 1979. It was a Takamimie acoustic, which now belongs to my daughter. I never really learned to play it very well, but have picked up a little over the years. I learned the basic chord shapes and was able to entertain myself for hours on end, but I never really progress further. Several of my friends are accomplished musicians and I have always enjoyed listening to them play, but it remained more of a fantasy for me.
When I was stationed in the Philippines, one of the local musicians introduced me to a guitar maker called Simms Crown Music (really kind of hard to call the guy a luthier) and I had him make me a custom guitar. It is really an interesting story. The guitar shop was just outside of Tarlac, Tarlac in a fairly remote area. It took several hours to get there, but I would go every few weekends and check on the progress. I design was primarily my own. It is a jumbo size (so big I can't find a case to fit.) The bridge and headstock were modeled after a Gibson. I wanted brass hardware and was able to find gold tuners and even some bridge parts that were brass. They had some awesome handmade rice paper rosettes to choose from, but they were a bit small so the sound hole is a little smaller than normal. I even picked out the wood from some really really raw material. I sometimes joke about picking out the tree, which is not far from being true. For some reason I really wanted a blond guitar. That was no problem for the body. They had some nice soft spruce-like wood for the top and the sides and back were made from a beautiful local wood called lanka. The fingerboard was much more of a problem. While the Philippines has some great hardwoods (mahogany and nara,) but there were dark. Turns out that the guy had an old wood plane that was given to him by an American soldier during WWII. It was made of a very hard light colored wood (probably ash) and he cut it up for the fingerboard. There is wood inlay all around and even an ivy inlay up the finger board. My initials are inlayed with tortoise shell on the head stock. The guitar sounded quite good and is even better today. It is very loud and has great sustain, but there is a problem. There is no truss rod in the neck and it causes the action to be a bit too high. It also doesn't stay in tune very well. Still, I've carried it around the world and wouldn't part with it for anything.
I never really stopped being passionate about music and that only increased when I moved to Austin. Finally, in the spring of 2005, I decided that it was time to get more serious about making music. My good friend, Joel Melton, went guitar shopping with me. I finally settled on a mahogany Martin D-15. It is an awesome sounding guitar, which everyone seems to enjoy playing.
My new telecaster
Copyright © Ronnie Oldham 2005.
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Revised: April 01, 2011 .
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