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Date this web site was last edited:  11/21/2018







Pickin' Stories

We've got plenty of places to post stories about When We Met Chet, Where We First Heard Chet, and how many guitars we got for sale.  So, this is a place to simply tell funny, sad, serious or just down right stupid stories about our own picking experiences. 


"What a Pickin' Week it Was" - by Palmer Moore (10/7/11)

Once a year a bunch of us head on down to Muhlenberg County, Kentucky (the birthplace of our beloved "thumbpickin") for the annual Home of the Legends Weekend - which includes inductions to the National Thumbpicker's Hall of Fame (NTPHF) on Friday night (this year Brent Mason was induced as Picker of the Year)- an International Guitar Championship (IGC) during the day on Saturday - a Concert on Saturday night - and, Pickin' in the Park (Paradise Park) on Sunday.  (This year it was held on Sept 23 - 25th, 2011.)

I was delighted to have been invited to stay at Marilyn (Mom) Kirtley's house (her son, Rodney, as Judge Executive of Muhlenberg County, was instrumental in founding the IGC, NTPHF, acquiring funding for the Merle Travis Music Center, and Paradise Park (a replica of an old coal miners town with original buildings - including Merle Travis' birth home.)  Marilyn is still very involved with all of those organizations, soooo seeing how my lodging was FREE I drove down a day early to see if I couldn't help her out with my youthful energy and manly posture before the weekend.  Folks, if you have pacemakers you better have them turned up to "max" if yer gonna try to follow this "young" 85 year old great-grandmother around.  That woman about put me in an early grave!  Up at 6:30 am...cookin', cleanin', connivin', concentratin', concoctin', creatin', complainin' (not much - but, she does).... Oh yea, and CHATTIN".  The woman likes to tell stories - especially if she's asked to tell one.  Anyway, I could fill the rest of this website with what all we did and talked about - which I just might do, someday.  Suffice it to say - this energetic woman is passionate about the world of thumbpickin' and will win your heart - in a heart beat.  Thanks for your hospitality, Mother Kirtley.

We have a young OFGC member by the name of Shohei Toyoda who is a regular at our OFGC Tuesday Night Club Jams - and, quite talented at finger style guitar.  Through the urging of your club organizer (me) and finger style super star, Pat Kirtley, Shohei came out to compete in the IGC this year.  Son-of-a-gun if he didn't win two of the three competition Categories - and, the GRAND PRIZE!  Which was a brand new Gretsch 6120 Chet Atkins signature guitarCONGRATULATIONS, Shohei - you made us proud!

Then, that Wednesday after the weekend I drove young Shohei down to Newark, OH to "meet n greet" his guitar hero, Tommy Emmanuel, and to enjoy his concert at the beautifully restored Midland Theater. (The acoustics were simply amazing!)   After hearing about Shohei's win at the Travis Music Center he gladly autographed the very Chet Atkins 6120 Gretsch guitar that Shohei won - AND, played him a couple CHET ATKINS tunes on it for him.  The young man was on cloud nine!  (I was rather happy, ma'self.)

So impressed with his "much mellower" concert Wednesday evening I decided to drive down to Springfield, OH for Tommy's Friday night concert at Clark State to hear some more.  TONS of OFGC members were in attendance and all excited about coming to hear Tommy play.  On this occasion I was lucky enough to have been invited backstage to Tommy's dressing area before his show to hang out with him, Scott and "Front Row" Maggie Taylor, and Jay Radabaugh.  You folks have got to understand that when Tommy is "on the road" he plays a concert in a different city almost every night, and his life is primarily spent inside a huge bus that gets him from one place to another pretty much while he is sleeping.  Soooo, he doesn't always know exactly where is is playing - geographically.  Whenever he sees me show up he knows he's somewhere in Mid-Ohio,  "Palmaaaa, am I close to where you live?"  (Ya just gotta love the guy.)

Then, during the middle of his concert he shocked the daylights out of me by announcing to the ONE THOUSAND attendees,  "If you folks would like to learn how to play like I do - and/or get together with others that play like this - contact Palmer Moore in the audience - he's with the Ohio Fingerstyle Guitar Club!!!!"   He also acknowledged that Scott Taylor was in the crowd and he is in charge of the Kentucky Thumbpickers Club.  That was terribly nice of him to do that.



Bars Aren't Necessarily a  Solo Guitar Friendly Venue - by Palmer Moore (05/17/ 2011)

For years your hard werkin' OFGC club organizer, in an attempt to find less costly meeting space (prior to being kindly adopted by the McConnell Arts Center here in Worthington, Ohio), shied away from several offers from bars or restaurants with bars in the area.   But, until after attending a concert in a bar last night I never really knew how right I was.

Last night my son, Clay, and myself attended a Laurence Juber concert at a beautiful venue called The Bluestone in downtown Columbus, Ohio.  Mr. Juber is a Grammy winning acoustic guitarist that gained fame playing with Paul McCartney of the Beetles,   Even though Laurence isn't in the same talent stratosphere as Tommy Emmanuel, Richard Smith or Doyle Dykes - he is, in fact, well worth listening to and mostly very enjoyable entertainment.  IF YOU COULD HAVE HEARD HIM!

Like I said, The Bluestone is a very elegant facility - but, it turned out to still be a bar!  Like the cruel joke says "God invented alcohol to give ugly guys a chance, too."  Well, it also gives guys a chance to be loud jerks at a solo guitar concert - which two or three were at the bar all night long.  There were also several couples at tables that decided their "lovey dovey" conversations were more important than allowing the other attendees of the concert THAT PAID TWENTY BUCKS A HEAD to completely enjoy Mr. Juber's efforts.  

The Bluestone has just been purchased by two apparently nice well-healed guys, Dan and Dave, that I talked to last night.  It's obvious from their schedule that they are positioning the facility for a wide variety of upscale music concerts and events.  And, it is just as obvious that they have decided on solo guitar as one of those varieties.  I'm sure with that huge investment that they'll quickly figure out there is a difference between blues, fusion and solo guitar concerts.  They had a gorgeous unused bar in an adjacent enclosed room - USE IT!

Palmer Moore - Organizer, Ohio Fingerstyle Guitar Club

"Chet Story" - by John Rogers, Knoxville, TN

Two kids, 14 or 15, was in Broadway Sound one day and there was a full size stand up poster of Chet over in the corner,  One kid says to the other, "who is that guy."  The other kid says I dun no, I think he is one of those jazz guys.  -----  So time rolls on. They could play some good rock & roll licks.

Stay in tune, John

"The Jealous Wife" - by David Gillis

Made my way to the antique store
Saw the sweetest thing there standin’ by the door
Worn and locked in the closet most her life
She was the victim of a jealous wife

I checked her over and hemmed and hawed
Had to have her, though she was flawed
A real nice neck and a pretty trembling voice
Had to have her, didn’t have much choice

Nine hundred bucks seemed kind of high
I told myself it was a heck of a buy

Took her home snuck past my wife
Down in the basement where I have my secret life
I played this baby, felt like a star
Let me clarify I’m talkin’ ‘bout my new guitar.

Played until my fingers bled
Just past midnight I snuck in bed

While I was passing the time away
I found this lick that was fun to play
Took it up to show my wife
That’s nice dear but you need a life

“O bye the way, what’s this”, said she
That new guitar seems foreign to me
I ain’t never seen that one before
Now you march that thing outside the door

Made my way to the antique store
The same damned one from a week before
Man said no returns, how ‘bout a trade?
Here try this girl, she’s Kalamazoo made.

Took it home snuck past my wife
Down in the basement where I have a life
Played until my fingers bled
Just past midnight I snuck in bed

© copyright 2002 David Gillis

I Thought I Had Heard Every Excuse - by Palmer Moore

I got an e-mail from a new OFGC club member (who will remain nameless) today apologizing for not making our last Richard Smith Pickin' Party.  "My eX-wife uneXpectedly came into town - and, I had to play host to her...."

Folks, this guy obviously needs to git his PPs (pickin' priorities) straightened out.  "It's your EXwife for goodness sakes!!!  And, we're talkin' Richard Smith, here.... "  

Just foolin' around.  I'm sure she's a wonderful woman....  That's why you divorced her.... (he he)

A Day in the Life of a Marginal Picker - Thanks to Paul and Mike - by Palmer Moore

Every since I got back from Mose Rager Day in Drakesboro, KY a couple weeks ago I’ve been listening to Nine Pound Hammer off Paul Moseley’s tape – thinking all the time that "I’ve just got to learn how to pick that tune slower and somewhat as smooth as Paul does." But, not having a "tape player" in my new XP computer (to have Musician’s CD Player help me with "rewinding" the tape) I remembered that Chet recorded that thing on his Guitar Country album – and, of course (1), that album is part of a new "two-fer" CD I bought last year at CAAS – from FunkyJunk, of course (2). So, in the computer she went.

Other than Chet capoed it up to G and Paul played it in E, it was amazing how much of Chet’s version he had "borrowed." First verse was pretty much verbatim, and a lot of fun to slow down and just practice trying to get ALL OF IT - smoothly. (It’s so easy to just leave out "a couple’ thumb whacks when the melody gits tricky… Justifying, "Oh, the band will pick me up, there.. " And, then it dawns on me, "YOU DON’T HAVE A BAND, you senile old bag of wind. Yer just sittin’ in yer basement playing with yourself….. " Oh. … 8^)

Well it didn’t take long for me to understand that I wasn’t really gonna get "all of" it, so I moved on to the second verse (sound familiar… har har.) "Well. I’ll never git that part – why don’t I move on to the "more difficult" parts… duh.") However, this verse had some single line stuff that started out nice easy, but it quickly became more than I could "figger out’ on my own. And, it naturally led into the next "chord melody" verse that was completely out of my figgerin’ league. (Yet, being really "sick" with this sport – that didn’t deter me from not wanting to play it…)

So, I did a quick Search on my Larry Kuhn file of a billion or so tabs he and his network of elite tabbers has sent a bunch of us in the last year or so – where I not only found the tune with the arrangement by Chet, but one by Merle as well. Both tabbed up by Mike Joyce – the guy with the 200 IQ that has nothing better to do than roam around the world offering his technical services up for contract – and, obviously tabbing up tunes for our listening and learning pleasure. And, lo and behold – there was EVERYTHING I needed – and, was afraid to find because I knew I wasn’t going to be able to play it…. I now have still another tune I can "almost" play.

Thanks to Paul Moseley for inspiring me to go back and "work" on a classic, and many thanks (again) to Mike Joyce for sharing his immense talents with us…. This will be one my family will hear me "attempt" to play everyday for the rest of my life… (which may be soon if they legalize handguns in Ohio….. 8^)


"Close But No Cigar" - by Art Borgeson

Back in Nineteen and Seventy-Five, or thereabouts, I attended a Chet concert in Buffalo NY. After the show I approached Paul Yandell about a beautiful classic guitar he was playing. He told me it was made by Hascal Haile in Thompkinsville, Kentucky, and that he wouldn't make me one unless he liked
me and heard me play. I tucked the information away, secretly thinking the chances of me getting a Haile guitar were practically non existent.

During this same period of time I was teaching guitar to my boss and I told him about the experience. A few months later he quite his job, put me in charge, and opened a business in Mt. Pleasant Tennessee. One day, soon after  his move , I get a phone call from him telling me that Hascal wants me to come down to Kentucky to play for him and he gives me Hascal's phone number and other details.

When I get to Thompkinsville, there's a note hanging on the door from Hascal's wife Ravenella. " Come to the hospital. Hascal is in with a respiratory infection." read the note. So I go to the hospital and Hascal is in bed with tubes stuck up his nose and who knows where else. We chat for a while and he was as comfortable as one can be in this situation. He then sends Ravenella home to get a couple guitars and has me play a mini- concert in the hospital to doctors and nurses going in and out of the room.

I evidently passed because he said he would be glad to make me a guitar.

When I returned to Thompkinsville to pick up my guitar, Hascal told me I had just missed Chet. They were dedicating one of Chet's Hascal Haile guitars to the Smithsonian and Hascal had the guitar there in his home. I got to play that guitar for over an hour and didn't want to put it down because I knew I was holding history in my hands. Hascal said " you know the room we set you up in? Chet stayed there last night?

"Just Gettin' Old" - Pete Peel

Jeff (his brother) and I went to see Doyle Dykes perform at a music store clinic in Amelia, Ohio. last year.  And, as Doyle got into his routine and story telling, he mentioned Chet Atkins and Jerry Reed, and Merle several times.

A little later he is doing demos of the different styles of Chet, Jerry and Merle, and telling stories about the Opry etc, and about that time some young guy in front of us turned to his buddy and said, " Who is this Chet guy he keeps talking about".

Jeff and I looked at each other in shock, or amazement.  Being 59 at that time, and having grown up on Chet music, I thought, man I am getting old. !!

"Not even trying" by Palmer Moore

My good friend and co-organizer of our Ohio Fingerstyle Guitar Club, Chris Vickers, knows how much I love the arrangement Chet did of Alice Blue Gown - and how I practice it until I'm blue in the face everyday.  He's also quite handy with high tech tools and he sent me a copy of a video he recorded of Chet playing the tune when he was on Austin City Limits awhile back.  ---  As soon as it came in the mail I ran down to the family room and started playing it over and over again.  My 15 year old "very aloof" daughter that never even mentions my guitar came in the room on her way to some other "major event" in her life and obviously recognized the tune, so she stopped and watched for a bit.  At the end she quickly shot at me,  "I like the way you play it a lot better, Daaaddy." 

"YOU DO!! .........er I mean, you do, honey?"  I queried.  

"Yaaaa,  she replied so matter-a-fact-ly in between snaps of her ever present gum,  "He doesn't even look like he's trying....."   

(Oh, Lord, what I would give to only look like I'm not trying....)


"Something Came Up" by Palmer Moore"

There were several OFGC members that sent me memos apologizing for not being able to make this past Saturday's (1/27/01) Pickin' Party - "something came up."  (Less than savvy move... as it was an experience of a lifetime.)  And, I being one of the ring leader's of "The Sickness League of America"   strongly suggested that they needed to "git thar priorities straight."  I thought I would help clarify that position by telling a story that I witnessed at this past party:

There was a new visitor that had been standing in the back of the crowd watching the Richard Smith concert because we had run out of seats.  As he watched he noticed that there was a nice looking gentleman sitting in the front row with an empty seat next to him, so after awhile he slid up next to him and asked him if he minded him sitting in that seat.

The man responded apologetically,  "Oh, my not at all - please sit down.  You know every since my wife passed away I just instinctively save her a seat - but, please sit down.  I would love to have the company."

As the other guy took the seat he was puzzled and asked of the widower, "Man, these seats are prime real estate - why didn't you invite any relatives or friends to come with you?"

"Oh,"  the old guy said so matter-of-factly,  "They are all back home attending her funeral....."


Fretboard Newsgroup Post - Palmer Moore

Unfortunately for you guys I sprained my left thumb playing golf yesterday (do you think I might have swung too hard and used too much right hand?) – so, all I can do today is mow the lawn and post more babble and hillbilly sarcasm on the Fretboard…. 8^)

Prior to my recent life changing injury, I had been making a very feeble attempt at figuring out both Les and Chet’s lines in this Someday Sweetheart by playing it over and over again on my computer using Musician’ CD Player. And, the more I would play it – the more I enamored I became with just how brilliantly these two guys played together, and what a treasure they left us with these two albums.

Which reminded me of this stupid story when I first heard them…. again…. It was only 4 or 5 years ago that these 2Fer CDs were coming out, and I had bought a whole bunch of them and quite a few singles as well from Steve Ledford/FunkyJunk at the CAAS Convention. On my return trip from Nashville back to Columbus, Ohio I set the speed control on "80" and started tearing cellophane off the CDs like a kid on Christmas morning. One after another, hour after hour, reveling on some, fast forwarding on others – thinking, "Oh, I’ll come back to that one, later…"

By the time I got to the Chester & Lester/Guitar Monsters CD I was in a down pour rain storm (still doing "80", however) and pretty much into "fast forwarding" anything that wasn’t hard core thumb pickin’. So, I didn’t afford myself the pleasure of hearing many of those tunes. A few days later I was talking to my new pickin’ buddy, Chris (Chret) Vickers from Dayton and he asked me how I liked the Chester/Lester 2Fer. And, I expressed my somewhat displeasure in it – though, I admitted that I had skipped over most of it.

"Well," he slowly started to reply, obviously searching for kinder words for his newly acquired old fart friend than the ones that immediately popped into his mind, "you, might want to go back and listen to those albums again… One of them did win a Grammy…."

Oh, am I glad that I did. It has got to be one of my favorite CDs of all time. And, am I glad I’ve got a friend like Chris – one with patience, good taste – and, tact.



Send me your stories:  Palmer Moore Say Hello