MY LOVE AFFAIR with all things strings started when I was about 10 years old, having been taken to our local theatre, the Hippodrome in Bristol, to see a band I later learned was called The Shadows.
I saw a smiley man with big red glasses and an even shinier red guitar, creating an astonishingly beautiful sound.
I got my first guitar, a cherry sunburst Columbus Stratocaster, in 1984 for £100, including the case, and almost instantly started tinkering! The guitar quickly became black to be more like Clapton's, and gained a new scratch plate, bridge, tuning heads and pickups pretty soon after.
In truth, the guitar was becoming more like "Trigger’s broom” by the week, (if you don't know what I'm talking about, watch this "Only Fools & Horses"
A chap I worked with gave me a book ("Make Your Own Electric Guitar" by Melvyn Hiscock, Blandford Press, 1986), which I studied for some time before the book found itself on the shelf in an area marked "Dark Arts & Witchcraft - Leave Well Alone!".
Some years later, I was in need of a lap steel guitar to play a track in the band I was performing with ("Stuck In The Middle With You" by Stealers Wheel), but I had no money with which to buy one (the Musicians’ Curse!). My quest was underway!