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Doc Watson, Gallagher Guitars and flatpicking

I sort of stumbled across this as I love Doc Watson’s music. Doc Watson is indeed an interesting character. In keeping with my tradition of doing absolutely no original research of any sort whenever possible, I leave you a brief bio from Wikipedia:

“Doc Watson was born in Deep Gap, North Carolina. An eye infection caused Doc Watson to lose his vision before his first birthday. Despite this, he was taught by his parents to work hard and care for himself. He attended North Carolina’s school for the visually impaired, The Governor Morehead School, in Raleigh NC.

The first song Doc ever learned to play was “When Roses Bloom in Dixieland”. His father was so proud that he took Doc to the store and bought him his first guitar, a $12 Stella. Doc proved to be a natural and within months he was performing on local street corners playing Delmore, Louvin and Monroe Brothers’ duets alongside his brother Linny. By the time he reached his adult years Doc had become a prolific acoustic and electric guitar player.

Watson’s flatpicking skills and knowledge of traditional American music are highly regarded. He performed with his son Merle for over 15 years until Merle’s death in an accident on the family farm.”

So that is that. What interested me more was the fact that Watson always used a Gallagher guitar. This is my name and it is often not associated with music or art of any kind so I looked into it further. Gallagher Guitars is a small guitar manufacturer in Tennessee. More on their history from their webiste:

“The Gallagher family settled in the Wartrace area in the 1820’s. J.W. Gallagher was born in 1915 and lived in the same house in which he was born until his death in 1979.

J.W. Gallagher first began woodworking as a cabinet maker in Wartrace in 1939. He made fine quality furniture. However, by 1965 J.W. Gallagher was making guitars exclusively.

Don Gallagher, the fifth generation Gallagher in Wartrace was born in 1947. He literally grew up working in his father’s shop. In the early 1960’s he closely assisted his father in development of the guitar business. In 1976, Don Gallagher assumed the responsibility of operating the family business when his father semi-retired.”

I leave you with an example of Doc Watson playing a Gallagher guitar. Wonderful stuff. Go ahead and give it a listen.

Doc Watson-Sitting on Top of the World

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About Author

My name is Michael Sean Gallagher. I am a Lecturer in Digital Education at the Centre for Research in Digital Education at the University of Edinburgh. I am Co-Founder and Director of Panoply Digital, a consultancy dedicated to ICT and mobile for development (M4D); we have worked with USAID, GSMA, UN Habitat, Cambridge University and more on education and development projects. I was a researcher on the Near Futures Teaching project, a project that explores how teaching at The University of Edinburgh unfold over the coming decades, as technology, social trends, patterns of mobility, new methods and new media continue to shift what it means to be at university. Previously, I was the Research Associate on the NERC, ESRC, and AHRC Global Challenges Research Fund sponsored GCRF Research for Emergency Aftershock Forecasting (REAR) project. I was an Assistant Professor at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies (한국외국어대학교) in Seoul, Korea. I have also completed a doctorate at University College London (formerly the independent Institute of Education, University of London) on mobile learning in the humanities in Korea.

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