In fact, he kept it for
his entire life, from 1927 until his death in 1995
(a total of 68 years, from the ages of 25 to 93).
His grand-daughter, Linda
Keller, of Williamsport, Pennsylvania,
recalled in 2002, "Pappy used to keep the guitar under his bed.
He never really learned to play it very well.
But he made a cassette tape of himself playing it".
He was interested in teaching himself how to play, so he purchased and kept this book:
The guitar came from the
Martin factory set-up to play in the Hawaiian style.
In other words, it had a high nut and bridge saddle, thus lifting the strings
off the fretboard so the guitar could be played
by sliding a Hawaiian steel bar up and down the strings.
Earl purchased and used this steel bar:
This style of playing
was very popular in the United States
from the teens through the forties of the twentieth century.
However, by the 1950s and 1960s, the style waned.
In 1974, at the age of
72, Earl wrote to C. F. Martin & Co.
asking how his guitar might be converted from Hawaiian
to the conventional "Spanish" style of playing.
Martin historian Mike
(Indeed, as Longworth states, whereas the standard scale length on a Martin "O" size guitar is 24.9 inches, the scale length on Earl's 0-28K is 24.75 inches).
Evidently, it crossed
Earl's mind to pursue the possible sale of his guitar.
He wrote a letter to Bill Ivey at the Country Music Foundation but,
having thought twice, he opened the envelope and threw the letter away.
He kept the addressed envelope, however, perhaps as a reminder of just how close
he came to parting with his guitar:
Earl never pursued having the guitar converted to Spanish style.