Woody Guthrie Home Made into Guitars
This land is your land—and Woody Guthrie’s land is about to become someone’s guitar. At least that’s the plan, as guitar-manufacturing company Gibson is set to auction off eight custom-made guitars built with wood from Woody Guthrie’s childhood home in Oklahoma.
Only eight Woody Guthrie London House Model Southern Jumbo guitars have been made—or will ever be made, say Gibson officials—and the proceeds from the auction will go to Woody Guthrie London House, a nonprofit leading the charge to rebuild the folk legend’s boyhood home, known as London House, to its early 20th century state.
Even 47 years after his death, Guthrie remains one of America’s most influential acoustic-guitar-toting songwriters—penning such mid-century staples as “This Land Is Your Land,” “Grand Coulee Dam,” “Bound for Glory,” and “Roll On Columbia.”
The Guthrie family moved to the two-story, six-room London House—on a weedy hillside in Okemah, Oklahoma in 1913, when the future folk-legend was just a year old. The Guthries left Okemah for Texas in the late 1920s and, due to fire damage, London House sat vacant for decades before finally being demolished in 1980. Wood and stone from the house were stored in a lot across town.
In creating the guitars, Gibson luthiers crafted fingerboards and bridges from the white oak floor joists of the old Guthrie homestead; the body of the guitars are comprised of a solid AA-Sitka spruce top and Honduran mahogany back and sides. The wood has a vintage-looking “sunburst” finish and period-correct “firestripe” pick guard.
Two of the Guthrie guitars will be auctioned at a time beginning May 1 on eBay. The guitars will be up for bid for one week, and then the day after bidding closes another pair of guitars will be on auction for a week, and so on.
For more information, visit www.thishouseisyourhouse.org.
Check out the above clip of Pete Seeger introducing rare live footage of Woody Guthrie to a BBC audience.
See more The Week in Acoustic Guitar: April 14-20 articles.