Heritage Pap

My Daddy’s Guitar

Pap and Paul picking and grinning


Paul and Pap

Pap’s first guitar was a Kay-he shared with his brother. Pap thinks it came from a furniture store. The strings were high off the neck and so hard to push down that when you hit a chord you could hear it in the next holler. Jack and Ed Dockery, a couple of local boys from the other side of the mountain in Moccasin Creek, were Pap’s first musical influence.

While Pap was in the Marines he bought his first Gibson Guitar from a fellow service man for $7.00. After a furlough home-he drove back a car he had acquired instead of taking the bus. The Gibson was lying in the back floorboard when a buddy accidentally stepped completely through the guitar.

Around the early 60’s Pap drove to Asheville to make his next guitar purchase. He settled on a Martin Guitar (the one in the picture above). The salesman tried to persuade him to buy a Gibson Dove-but since it was more expensive Pap resisted and bought the Martin.

After a few months of use the neck of the Martin begin to warp. Seems Gibson held the patent on putting an iron rod in the neck of guitars for many years. When Pap returned the guitar the salesman said “I told you so”. Pap made up the difference in cost and returned home with the prize of a Gibson Dove. He paid $399.00 for it. It’s well worth over $3,000.00 now.

Out of the three of us kids Paul was the one who showed the greatest interest in following along Pap’s musical footsteps. After he had been playing long enough for Pap to see he had a real interest and a real talent, Pap saved up the money for Paul’s guitar-a Taylor. The day he bought it I wrecked my car. Lucky for Paul-Pap didn’t know until he had already paid for the guitar.

Over the years Pap and his brother sang together as The Wilson Brothers. They sang gospel music in the polished high harmonies of the classic brother duet style. They performed at churches, festivals, homecomings, and benefits throughout the south. Over the years they won many awards including the 1998 North Carolina Heritage Award. They were also featured in many publications such as “The Old-Time Herald”.



You Might Also Like


  • Reply
    Miss Cindy - Black Mountain, NC
    June 18, 2008 at 6:54 pm

    Tipper, there is such beauty in your words as you speak of your family and your love of tradition. Have you ever thought of writing a book? I could see each post as a chapter and of course you’d include all the pictures.
    What do you think?

  • Reply
    Jennifer in OR
    June 15, 2008 at 9:22 pm

    I love the guitar stories and photographs. Wonderful that you’re recording this heritage here for future generations of your family!

  • Reply
    Fishing Guy
    June 15, 2008 at 2:19 pm

    Tipper: What a great remembrance of the guitars of your father.

  • Reply
    The Texican
    June 15, 2008 at 8:10 am

    Tipper, I enjoyed scrolling through the selections by your brother, dad, and family. I enjoy strumming and singing. My wife and I sought out local venues when we lived in N.W. Arkansas – So much talent in those mountains.

  • Reply
    June 14, 2008 at 3:53 pm

    What lovely memories of your roots you’ve shared. My husband’s grandfather played the banjo and wrote many, many songs. He also did some sort of “stomp and clap” type of beat when he sang without the banjo. All of the great grandkids loved it.

  • Reply
    June 14, 2008 at 12:00 pm

    I’m so excited! My silly computer wouldn’t load your site for quite awhile now, but I finally fixed the problem and am excited that here I am again!
    What a wonderful post. I love that black & white of your Dad. There’s so much love in playing music together.
    I would absolutely love to buy a Wilson Brothers CD!

  • Reply
    Julie at Elisharose
    June 14, 2008 at 11:03 am

    What a beautiful story. My family heritage has always been important to me, too. Your father sounds wonderful.
    Thanks for stopping by my blog. Come back any time!

  • Reply
    June 14, 2008 at 10:13 am

    I wish I had my Dad’s guitar. We lost it when our house burnt when I was a teenager. I don’t remember the brand.
    I love to hear the guys sing. Brings back good memories.

  • Reply
    Julie O'Neill
    June 14, 2008 at 10:10 am

    What a beautiful guitar. You help me be able to reach out and touch true Americana. We are a bit removed from that where I live.
    I am doing a fun Blog game of tag and have linked to you from my site. Just trying out this fun game of tag. You are tagged! Go check out my site to join the fun!

  • Reply
    noble pig
    June 14, 2008 at 9:58 am

    Tipper I love this! What a great tribute to your Dad and his love of music. This is really special.

  • Reply
    June 14, 2008 at 9:23 am

    Hi Tipper,with school out, it has been a while since I have had full access to the computer to be able to have time to read everyones blogs.I have just finished reading through yours. I so enjoyed it, especially the wedding and the daddy’s guitar. What beautiful music and talent! I have my uncle’s old Kay guitar. He and my other aunt and uncle used to sing on the local radio. I always wanted to be a song writer and was given my uncle’s guitar when I was 14. Won a few contests in my youth, was heading to Nashville, and then…. fell in love, had babies and the rest is history.(with no regrets){: So enjoyed visiting here! Have a good weekend! blessings, Kathleen

  • Reply
    June 14, 2008 at 8:41 am

    What a small world this is. About a month ago, when I was looking at the Penn’s Store site and did a search for someone, I remember seeing that someone was asking about The Wilson Brothers and wondering if the group by that name now was the same as the one they remembered. I bet they meant your Wilson Bros.! They were trying to find their music. I’ll try to find that again.

  • Reply
    June 13, 2008 at 11:02 pm

    your post mentions the John C Campbell Folk School…Gosh, I get their catalog and YEARN to go there. I dream of teaching baking in exchange for taking a class or two. It just sounds dreamy!!
    Thanks for your daddy’s tunes!

  • Reply
    June 13, 2008 at 10:49 pm

    How sweet that they can share their love of music together! Thanks for the back story – it makes pickin n grinin even better.

  • Reply
    June 13, 2008 at 10:30 pm

    Thanks so much for visiting my blog and commenting. I am enjoying perusing yours and listening to the music. What a blessing to grow up in such a musical family. I grew up listening to mountain music, but no one in my family played.
    That’s one beautiful guitar! Thanks for sharing the pics and the music, it makes me feel like I am back home.

  • Reply
    Carolyn A.
    June 13, 2008 at 8:20 pm

    I just love your walks down memory lane. It takes me back when the men folk would just pick up a guitar and play the old hymns and songs from the hills. When we were little, they were just like lullabys to us. Pap and Paul have such great voices. xxoo

  • Reply
    June 13, 2008 at 8:00 pm

    That Gibson Dove is such a beautiful guitar. It must be treasured.

  • Reply
    Razor Family Farms
    June 13, 2008 at 7:27 pm

    What a terrific post! Of course it is… I’ve never found less than perfect here. I love the pictures! A Gibson for $7? Wow! I have a Gibson and a Martin. I love them. Nothing sounds quite the same now. I hear these new guitars and think — something is missing.

  • Reply
    June 13, 2008 at 7:01 pm

    What a beautiful history of your family’s musical talents. I enjoyed it very much. That Gibson-Dove is beautiful. I’m sure your father cherishes it.
    Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment about Brandon. He is doing much better today. A little TLC goes a long way.

  • Leave a Reply