Free Guitars Delivered to Players Who Lost Instruments in the NorCal Fires

Guitar Player's 'Play It Forward' benefit bolstered by Fender, Danelectro, and Mitchell
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Eric Wilhelm tests out his Mitchell HD400 while other recipients of PLAY IT FORWARD guitars check out their new instruments.

Eric Wilhelm tests out his Mitchell HD400 while other recipients of PLAY IT FORWARD guitars check out their new instruments.

Thanks to Fender, Danelectro, and Mitchell, the day before the one-year anniversary of the devastating Northern California fires brought a small but significant ray of light to those who lost instruments in the blazes.

On October 7, the final phase of Guitar Player’s “Play It Forward” benefit concert and guitar giveaway reached a joyful conclusion, as these three manufacturers made it possible to get guitars back into the hands of Sonoma County players — some of whom had also lost their homes, businesses, and/or livelihoods to the fires — who had sent an email request for a guitar to the GP office before the April 20, 2018 concert at the Luther Burbank Center for the Arts in Santa Rosa.

[READ ABOUT THE PLAY IT FORWARD BENEFIT HERE]

[WATCH A VIDEO FROM THE CONCERT]

As Guitar Player was founded in Northern California by the late Bud Eastman, and was based in the San Francisco Bay Area from 1967 until just this summer, it meant a lot to the GP staff to be a small part of the region’s musical healing process. When GP launched the benefit idea early in 2018, no one could have foreseen the concert coming together in such a beautiful way, nor that Fender, Danelectro, and Mitchell would sign on with gusto for our mad dream of replacing some lost guitars.

The visit on Sunday, October 7 to start the process of delivering the free guitars took place in the parking lot of the Luther Burbank Center for the Arts, and the venue itself is still under construction to repair damage sustained in the fires. While there were lots of smiles and gratitude, it was also extremely clear that people in the affected areas are still rebuilding their homes and lives. 

We thank everyone once again — from the gear manufacturers who offered a hand, to the artists who donated their performances (and/or instruments to be auctioned) for the fundraising cause, to the Luther Burbank Center for believing in and supporting the event, to the people in the community who came out and cheered on April 20 — for coming together to bring a dollop of hope to those who suffered from this tragedy.

Levi Smith with his Fender Mustang.

Levi Smith with his Fender Mustang.

Dale Beltz lost a '70s black Telecaster in the fires, so he was glad to get the only black Mustang that Fender sent to the benefit.

Dale Beltz lost a '70s black Telecaster in the fires, so he was glad to get the only black Mustang that Fender sent to the benefit.

Craig Woodworth

Craig Woodworth

Scott Parvin with his Danelectro 12-string.

Scott Parvin with his Danelectro 12-string.

Mary Rogers and Donald Dean.

Mary Rogers and Donald Dean.

Zara Alexander with Fender acoustic.

Zara Alexander with Fender acoustic.

Ricardo A. Adam with Fender CC60S.

Ricardo A. Adam with Fender CC60S.

Victoria.

Victoria.

Luke Gladstein accepted some guitars for the LBC Education Department's Mariachi Program for youngsters.

Luke Gladstein accepted some guitars for the LBC Education Department's Mariachi Program for youngsters.

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