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Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Bacon and Day Senorita guitar

John Fahey album cover with him holding the Bacon and Day Senorita guitar

    The Bacon and Day banjo company made a few guitars they called Senorita. No one seems to know how many of them were made. This was maybe during the 1940's. The Senoritas were a bit different. They had one that was quite elaborate with stones and inlays and color and one that was plainer. They were bigger than a parlor size but not as big as a dread naught size. When I first came to Berkeley in the summer of 1965 I worked for a while in Lundberg's Guitar shop. Jon and Dierdre Lundberg moved from the Midwest to Berkeley in 1960 with the intention of starting a guitar shop in San Francisco. After talking with Barry Olivier at his guitar shop near the University of California campus above Telegraph Avenue they opened Fretted Instruments their shop on Dwight Way in Berkeley just above Shattuck Avenue it became a haven for all people who played steel string wooden instruments for decades.

       When I moved to Berkeley in the summer of 1965 I found a job working the counter of Lundbergs' and helping and learning about guitar repairs from Jon Lundberg. This was before Country Joe and The Fish. I met Ed Denson who owned Tacoma Records with John Fahey. The label release Johns' first ground breaking guitar instrumental LP's. John lived in Los Angeles but would often come to Berkeley. I also became the boyfriend of Pat Sullivan. Pat Sullivan had been girlfriend of John Fahey. Pat and John and Ed all came from a town back east and knew each other well. Pat played the guitar very well in the many folk styles that everyone was trying to play back in the early sixties.

            Below is a sound file video of a mystery person playing his brand new ARK New Era Senorita, enjoy!

         John bought a Bacon and Day Senorita from Jon Lundberg and that guitar is seen on the cover of the album above. The guitar came back to Jon Lundberg and I bought it in 1970. Stefan Grossman also owned the guitar at one point. Later I found out through Bill Belmont who was "managing" my career that Dougal Stermer (sp) had and wanted to sell another Senorita. I bought his. It was not as fancy as the other one. Less ornate. A few years later I sold both guitars through Sam "Fat Dog" Cohen of Subway Guitars in Berkeley. It was something I have regretted for years.

      About two years ago I was playing a gig at the Berkeley Fellowship of Unitarian Universalists hall at Cedar and Bonita. On the show was Henry Kaiser and he showed me a guitar made for him by a guitar maker named Tony Klassen.  He had a history of making classic steel string guitar replicas under his own name. They were perfect. Henry told me that Tony had just found a Senorita just like the one I had and had sold and asked if I wanted him to make me one.

      I contacted Tony and made a deal for him to make me one. He made three. One for Henry Kaiser. One for Stefan Grossman. And one for me. Those are the pictures above of the brand new ARK New Era Senorita.