Remembering your first guitar, amp and pedal

Posted by Andrew Backover on

After 20 years or so of trying out different guitars, pedals and amps, I am grateful for how much I have been able to see and learn. I have a long way to go on the continuing education front but it’s fun to look back at the beginning of this odyssey to see where I started.

My first adult guitar was an acoustic Yamaha FG450SA. I think it cost me $250 brand new back in 1992, in Falls Church, Va., when I was a fledgling reporter covering high school sports for $40 a game. It sounded bright and clear then, and it sounds just as good now, and I can’t see myself ever getting rid of it.

In the mid-‘90s, when I was eager to try electric, a neighbor in Dallas sold me his Vantage Spirit 540, which, it turns out, is a pretty cool guitar. Made in Japan at the well-known Matsumoku plant, it is one of the more respected and sought after Les Paul copies from that late '70s-early '80s era. That one languished in the closet for the most part after losing its place in the rotation but it is a very solid and good quality guitar for an affordable price.

...My first electric, a Japan-made Vantage Les Paul copy from the late '70s/early '80s...

My first amp was a little solid-state Fender Bronco in tweed, with chicken head knobs and a chrome finish. I wish I still had it. My first tube amp was a fantastic pawn shop find back in ’97 or so. It was a tweed Peavey Delta Blues, 30-watt amp with a booming-yet-glassy 15-inch speaker. Best $178 I have ever spent, and it continues to hold its own with any of my other amps today. It's a keeper.

...Pawn shop find. First tube amp...a Peavey Delta Blues...

My first pedal that was truly mine (and not borrowed) was a Vox V847 Wah, bought in Dallas about 20 years ago. A great first choice for me and my two-chord jamming. Well-built, good tone, solid underfoot. However, once I was fortunate enough to purchase a Mu-Tron III Envelope Filter in the early '00s, that became my wah of choice. Today, the Vox is going to a good friend in Virginia as he starts his own guitar journey.

...My first wah...a Vox V847, now going to a new home...

...My forever wah...a Mu-Tron III envelope filter. Never leaving my sight...

So, that’s how I got my start on this gear obsession. I would love to hear about your gear journey, how it started and what you have loved, lost and learned along the way. Email me at or comment below, and check out for cool guitar gear.


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