"This Old Guitar" is a song written and performed by the American singer-songwriter John Denver. The lyrics of the song describe the sentimental attachment Denver feels towards his old guitar, which has been with him throughout his musical journey.
The song begins by acknowledging the simplicity of the instrument, with Denver singing, "This old guitar taught me to sing a love song. It showed me how to laugh and how to cry." He reflects on the memories he has created with his guitar, from the early days of learning to play to the present. The guitar has been his constant companion, accompanying him on countless stages and performances.
Denver's affection for the instrument is evident as he sings, "This old guitar gave me my life. It ain't pretty, but it's alright." The guitar has been a source of inspiration and a means of livelihood for him. He recognizes its imperfections but cherishes it nonetheless.
The song also addresses the emotional connection between Denver and his guitar. He describes it as a "song without an end," implying that their bond will endure beyond his lifetime. He sings, "This old guitar ain't mine to keep. It's only mine for a while." Denver recognizes that he is merely a custodian of the instrument, and one day, it will be passed on to someone else to create their own memories with it.
Denver's lyrics make it clear that the value of the guitar lies not in its material worth, but in the memories and experiences associated with it. He sings, "Just a beat-up old guitar. Won't get me far unless it's a song worth singing." The guitar represents Denver's journey as a musician, and without the songs he has written and performed, it would just be an ordinary instrument.
Overall, "This Old Guitar" is a heartfelt ode to the relationship between a musician and their instrument. Through his poignant lyrics, John Denver expresses his love and gratitude for the old guitar that has been his companion throughout his career. The song serves as a reminder that the true value of an object lies not in its appearance or material worth, but in the memories and emotions associated with it. As Denver sings, "This old guitar taught me to love a little, and it taught me to pray."