Ian Summers Plays the Twelve String Guitar

This week I’m rambling on Flinders Island, off Tasmania’s north-eastern coast. But instead of island life, because so many of you enjoyed a recent post on Tasmanian music, I’m going to feature another tune.

In a recent post, you got a chance to listen to Ian Summers’ play and discuss his banjo. In this update and audio recording, he talks about his twelve string guitar. How it came into his life in a sorry state. How, like my bike, he decide an imperfect fix now was better than a paid repair later in life, in that fabled, elusive, time “when I have the money”.

Ian Summers and his twelve string guitar (St Marys, Tasmania)

In the recording you’re about the hear you’ll hear three voices. Ian and I are sitting in his shop visiting. Neighbor Beth Elliot, whose car is being worked on at the garage across the street, has just dropped by to offer Ian and I some of her home made scones and jam. She ends up hanging out a bit while Ian plays.

Careful tuning required: listen to the interview and Ian will explain why he fear overtuning his repaired guitar

Ian tells the story of his twelve string, the choice he made, how he cut the top off to make repairs…. Then he plays a bit, takes a breather and if, you listen carefully, I ask Beth if she plays an instrument. Then it’s back into the tunes, this time Beth joining Ian for some beautiful harmonizing on “Side by Side”.

Given the relationship between and my bike, you’ve gotta love the last lines of this recording “Just traveling the road, sharing the load, side by side…..”. Ian and Beth’s voices are exquisite in their aliveness. All in all, a beautiful recording of a man who revives a broken musical machine.

Nights, in my hammock, I often listen to this piece as I drift off to sleep – just to reinforce the lesson that in life and bicycles, you’re often best just plunging into repairs instead of waiting for “one day”.

For some fine Tassie tunes, click the audio player button…

(PS: Thanks Ian for the music and Beth for the biscuits, cream and marmalade. Both very tasty!)

Carolyn Howell
2011-02-13 09:48:18

I am thoroughly enjoying your ramblin’ stories and Ian’s music.
“Side by Side” brought back many fond memories. I used to sing that song over and over as my Daddy played his guitar.

2011-02-13 17:20:09

Bernie, I loved the last sendings about Ian Sommers from St. Marys!!!. However for some reason I can’t pick up the sound effects from the, “Audio Player Button. I’m reassured that other people, ie, Carolyn Howell, seem to be getting through O.K.!!! On the other hand, the maps are functioning very nicely.!! I can almost imagine seeing your ,“campsite, bicycle and hammock quite clearly!!!! Aside from the lack of feeling those ,“Leeches”, I can almost get the feeling of being ,“right there”.!!!!! Love Vatti

kathyrn garcia
2011-02-17 11:20:20

Hi Bernie,

I met you briefly in Oriental when you were doing a piece on the Dragon Boats. Right now my husband and I are on our boat in Honduras.

I read about your trip on TownDock and came to your site. Thanks for this lovely piece about your adventures. I enjoyed the music and it made me smile!

Safe travels,

kathleen croddy
2011-02-21 19:31:12

hey! this story of wagons and horses has inspired me to cut loose and travel so.. here in usa Im gone..sure hope to find a guitar player to go with me cause I have sung a few professionally. fun way to make some change. and I have trained a few ponies too. always loved the book black beauty…hope o find the right horse…

2011-02-23 13:25:27

hallo Bernie thats so the truth about not waiting for “one day” give it a go and surprise yourself, thats for me. keep going luv. you are doing a great job.
love peta


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