There was no shortage of spectacular guitar playing at the 2016 Guitar Center Onstage with Vince Gill Contest, which took place in September of that year at a nightclub in Los Angeles.
That’s because the event featured five gifted guitarists taking turns playing lead for country music legend Vince Gill in competition for a grand prize that included $10,000 in cash, $20,000 in gear from Boss, D’Addario, Fender, Jim Dunlop, Martin, Planet Waves and Shure, a trip to Los Angeles to record a single with Grammy-winning producer Justin Neibank, and, best of all, the opportunity to open for Gill at one of the country star’s scheduled concerts.
Before the competition started, though, Gill treated attendees to something very special—a half-hour solo set. In that intimate venue—the Mint, a popular music club in central Los Angeles—the performance had a wonderful “storyteller” vibe that made things feel more like a Nashville guitar pull than a country concert.
Gill performed some songs with a full band, but if there’s one tune many of the guitar players in the crowd will remember, it’s likely “This Old Guitar and Me,” which Gill performed solo on a Martin steel-string. If you’re a “lifer” guitarist, some of his verses on the tune will surely resonate with you. Here are a few lines from the song:
This old guitar and me, the things that we've been through / C.F. Martin built it back in 1942
I remember when we met I was only 17 / I spent all my college money on a half a dozen stringsThis old guitar and me, Lord, we did the best we couldOne was born a sinner, and one a piece of wood / God sent a wooden angel to guide me on my way
We were meant to be together until my dying day.
To watch Gill perform this love song to one of his favorite hunks of wood and wire, check out the exclusive video from Guitar Center’s Onstage with Vince Gill contest below.