Saturday, May 22, 2010

Nashville Flooding Destroys Irreplaceable Guitars

I posted an article covering my National Guitar Workshop experience and mentioned how guest artist David Grissom keeps a complete setup stored in Nashville when coming to town for studio work. This was the first time I heard of this practice but it makes perfect sense unless your storage warehouse is next to a river 12 feet over flood stage.

It started raining on a Saturday and did not stop until Sunday evening. By the end, we had encountered the worst flooding in the area since the 1930s. The toll of this disaster was over 20 dead along with loss of homes and the irreplaceable memories within. Nashville also lost part of its music heritage at Soundcheck Nashville, the largest storage facility in town located next to the Cumberland River.

The river flooded the facility and destroyed thousands of guitars and amps. Many of these were museum pieces worth $100,000 or more. Local guitar repairer Ed Beaver summed it up in The Tennessean; “This is the music version of the Louvre Flooding.” This story hit a bit closer to home for me as I got my guitar hobby start with lessons at the Musician’s Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville.

“The Musicians Hall Of Fame And Museum is the one and only museum in the world that honors the talented musicians who actually played on the greatest recordings of all time.” Joe Chambers, the hall’s proprietor, had to vacate his location to make way for a new convention center and had his collection in storage at the Soundcheck Nashville facility. You can look in this video as he surveys the damage and get an idea of the kind of instruments and history destroyed by the flood waters.

This flood also has interrupted musical heritage yet to be born as Gibson’s Nashville factory is also closed. If you plan to buy a Gibson electric do it now as supplies are running out. The plant expects to be back in operation in July.

Rebuilding continues but part of Nashville’s musical heritage is lost forever.